For he himself is subject to his birth


Happy possibly birthday William Shakespeare!

We don’t know for certain when he was born

– in those days parish records noted baptisms and his took place on 26th April, 1564, so it is likely to have been a few days before. It has become usual practice to conflate it with his death, certainly 23rd April 1616* (about which more next year, for obvious reasons), especially since the 23rd is St George’s Day. So we can all be very British all at once!

Alas the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, near where I am visiting, had their annual birthday event last weekend. But we can all enjoy the image of the master playwright as “the infant, mewling and puking in his nurse’s arms”…

*At least , that’s what they inscribed on his funerary monument…

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