April 23.

Since today is the day that William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, died in 1616, it’s also the day that folks who are inclined to do this sort of thing celebrate his birthday (his actual date of birth is unknown). Shakespeare is awesome. Here are some bits I particularly enjoy.

St. Crispin’s Day Speech – from Henry V

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“Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again. And then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.”
– from The Tempest
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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
– Sonnet 116
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A friend’s post on Facebook alerted me to the fact that today is also the feast day of Saint George, the patron saint of England. To honor that occasion, here is a lovely illustration by Tina Schart Hyman from the picture book Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges, which you should go acquire at the earliest possible opportunity. It’s the first book I have a clear memory of reading for myself. Sentimental favorite.
“In the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England, a noble knight was riding across a plain….”
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Cheers, friends. Lift a glass for merry olde England and her heroes (both literary and theological) today.
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