April 26th is the day of William Shakespeare’s christening so it’s appropriate to celebrate his birthday today. Do I believe that one William Shakespeare is the author of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and all the other plays and works attributed to him? Yes, I do.
We can’t get through the day without quoting Shakespeare. Well, that is, those of us who still use a bit of proper English.
A famous English journalist, Bernard Levin, published the proof in The Times newspaper some years ago, and this is it:
If you can’t understand my argument, and declare ‘it’s Greek to me’, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare;
if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low til the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare;
even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a doornail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody - minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness’ sake! what the dickons! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.