Tag Archives: Shakespeare

“Language most shows a man. Speak that I may see thee.” — Ben Jonson

“O rare Benn Johnson.” — Jonson’s incorrectly-spelled epitaph in Westminster Abbey It’s his birthday today. Ben Jonson did everything. Plays, poems, satires, elegies, epigrams. His talent was wide and flexible. Everything he wrote feels inevitable. However, as Michael Schmidt writes … Continue reading

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When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim, / Hath put a spirit of youth in everything …

Today is (supposedly, roughly) the birthday of William Shakespeare. April 23, 1564. (Title of the post from Sonnet 98.) One of the things I think about when I think about Shakespeare, is my late great teacher Doug Moston, who died … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Wystan Hugh Auden: “The enlightenment driven away / The habit-forming pain”

W.H. Auden was born on this day in York, England, 1907. I first encountered Auden in my “Humanities” class, senior year in high school. I got a lot out of that class, and I remember we analyzed Auden’s famous most-anthologized … Continue reading

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“For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth…” — Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine

Maybe this is him. I’m armed with more than complete steel, The justice of my quarrel. — Christopher Marlowe, Lust’s Dominion. Act iii. Sc. 4. Playwright, poet, prodigy, agent in Her Majesty’s secret service: the incomparable Christopher Marlowe was born … Continue reading

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2023 Books Read

I think I might have read more books by non-American authors than American this year. Countries represented below: Austria, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Croatia, Ireland, France, Russia, Colombia. I revisited some old favorites, which I will continue to do in … Continue reading

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“Thy soul was like a Star and dwelt apart” — William Wordsworth on John Milton

Milton was born on this day in 1608. Although he left Oxford without completing his degree, he remained a thinker, a propagandist/pamphleteer, a scholar till the end of his days. The isolated poet, focused on self and personal emotion, would … Continue reading

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“Look in thy heart and write.” — Sir Philip Sidney

“[The poet] doth grow in effect another nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclopes, Chimeras, Furies, and such like: so as he goeth hand in hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely, ranging only … Continue reading

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On This Day: October 25, 1415: “We Few, We Happy Few.”

Happy Anniversary of The Battle of Agincourt Today is the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, cobblers by trade (and patron saints thereof, although Vatican II nixed them from the calendar), fierce warriors of their faith, martyred in 286. … Continue reading

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R.I.P. Michael Gambon

All the headlines mention Dumbledore. and I get it. Fine. But Dumbledore Shmumbledore. Michael Gambon’s stage career was spectacular. He played everything (see him here as King Lear), and when I heard he passed, I thought immediately of a hilarious … Continue reading

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“Sunlight on a broken column.” It’s T.S. Eliot’s birthday.

Poets like William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane both said that they needed to forcibly divorce themselves from Eliot’s influence in order to be able to write. His language and influence had that strong a pull. Too much pull. His … Continue reading

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