23 April 2007

Happy Birthday Will


Born 23 April (Maybe) 1564


When it comes to creative writing or speaking, there's something rotten in Denmark:  
Bernard Levin said it best with the following -

"If you cannot understand my argument, and declare, "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare.



If you clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop); without rhyme or reason, then to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare.

Even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a doornail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - By Jove! O Lord! Tut, Tut!; For goodness' sake!; What the dickens! But me no buts - It is all one to me

FOR YOU ARE QUOTING SHAKESPEARE"

14 comments:

Steve said...

I dont think I will ever forget my English teacher for introducing me to Shakes. I love the stuff.

Chris said...

Quality post :-)

Never really got into old Will myself.

Jamie said...

Chris,

That was the whole point. Even those who have never read or seen a play still uses phrases from Shakespeare. He invented so many of the words, phrases and expressions that absolutely litter the English language.

dog said...

Jamie: terrific post. Bet you had fun writing it.

Mz Jackson said...

Hey, I loved this post! I never realized how much Shakespeare influenced our society's verbage. Thank you.

Jamie said...

Dog,

As much as I would like to claim credit, all I did was tinker with a version I had for dramatic effect. This idea has been floating around for at least thirty years. The original was by a college English professor whose name I don't know as I would be more than happy for him to have credit.

If anyone knows, please advise.

Matt-Man said...

Never heard of the dude. Cheers!!

Comedy + said...

I had no idea. When I was in college my toughest course was literature. I just didn't get so much of it. Give me statistics, but please no more literature.

Jamie said...

GRIN ... Comedy, most "literature" courses are so pretentious and useless that it is no wonder students try to forget them with relief as soon as possible.

Steven said...

Damn, I don't think I ever knew how smart I was. I've been quoting Will for years! :-)

RebelliousRenee said...

Jamie....
Bravo!... Great post!

yes.... brush up your Shakespeare....

Linda said...

Excellent post, I tend to quote The Bard a lot and most people just look at me like I'm nuts most of the time! Little do they know, they do the same thing!

Travis said...

Brilliant! My senior English class was devoted to Shakespeare, for which I am ever grateful.

Tinuvielas said...

Quote is by Bernard Levins, to be found in The Story of English, Viking: 1986!