April 23rd

Thinking (feebly) of Mr. S on his birthday and the quadricentenary of his death:

One who’s wicked,                                                                                                                                  Another good,                                                                                                                                  Knave or brave,                                                                                                                                              Yet understood.

Common folk and royalty                                                                                                                     In virtue or perfidy                                                                                                                          Drawn in quartos                                                                                                                            Prose and poetry.

Maid, soldier, lover, king,                                                                                                            Shout, quarrel, whisper, sing.                                                                                                            Cast our parts; direct our roles                                                                                                   Pierce our hearts; try our souls

Happy birthday,                                                                                                                                Then peaceful rest;                                                                                                                                   Scant fifty-two summers                                                                                                                           To weigh humanness.

Page to stage                                                                                                                                       And mind to pen,                                                                                                                                  Accept his gifts as ever new                                                                                                                And know ourselves again.

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