Thursday, October 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday: All the World's a Stage

William Shakespeare. The name carries weight, influence. His remarkable power with words defies comprehension. Not only the quantity of his words, but the quality of his content... When writers review the rich catalog of his works, they are impressed and humbled. The guy could turn a phrase. Moreover, those phrases contained dense pearls of distilled wisdom. How did he do it?

Well, I have since learned that he did not do it. There was a committee, founded by two playwrights Geoffrey Williams and Walter Shakespeare. They hired a team of young writers and put them to work. The published sonnets and plays were said to have been penned by a William Shakespeare. A scandal arose at one point when one of the writers revealed...

Please do not believe the muttering in this previous paragraph. It would astonish me even more to discover that Shakespeare's art had been produced by committee. Have you ever done art by committee? I myself stand in awe at the volumes produced by authors like Shakespeare who with no keyboard, no word processors, no typewriters moved the world.

The best way to enjoy a good quote, by the way, is not to read a series of them quickly, as presented here. Rather, make as if each were a tea bag. Heat your cup of water, dip it and let it steep. Allow the aroma of each idea to seep into and saturate your thoughts. Once you have supped from the first, you may proceed to the next. There are flavors rich and subtle here. Take your time, enjoy each one.

» The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

» Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.

» Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

» Be great in act, as you have been in thought.

» Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.

» Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind,
As man's ingratitude.

» There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

» Brevity is the soul of wit.

» Cowards die many times before their deaths,
the valiant never taste of death but once.

» Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

» All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts...

* * * *
This piece originally appeared on January 8, 2008
Illustration by e.

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