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Shakespeare, revised

April 23, 2012

Shakespeare portrait neon

Today’s the observed birthday of William Shakespeare, since his actual day of birth is not known. It is known, though, that he was baptized on April 26, 1564. Wiki article here.

I’ve celebrated the Bard before with a different take on Hamlet’s famous soliloquy as told by a lunch meal in my Ham Sandwich Hamlet poem. And now I celebrate his birthday with some more of his great words revised. I’m not sure if he would have approved, but here it goes:

Therefore, brevity is.

– original: “Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit”
Polonius in Hamlet (Act II, Scene ii)

The better part of valor is Val.
Val’s a brave gal.

– “The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav’d my life.”
Falstaff in Henry the Fourth, Part 1 (Act V, Scene iv)

What’s in a name?
Let’s ask Wikipedia.

– “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Act II, Scene ii)

This was the most unkindest cuticle of all,
Making my finger pained.

– “This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,”
Marcus Antonius in Julius Caesar (Act III, scene ii)

To tablet or not to tablet:
That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler
To go with a laptop,
And suffer the slings and arrows
Of faces smirking over their iPads.

– “To be, or not to be, that is the question…”
Hamlet in Hamlet (Act III, scene i)

Once more unto the beach, dear friends, once more!
Summer’s about to close its sunny doors upon our faces and freedom!
In sunshine there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest bathing suits and the humility of
Knowing the blast of autumn shall soon blow in our ears.

– “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;”
King Henry V in Henry V (Act III, Scene i)

All the world’s a stage,
With all the men and women merely players
In an astoundingly large number of dull reality TV shows.
Please make more exits than entrances.

– “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…”
Jaques in As You Like It (Act II, scene vii)

Beware the Clydesdales marching,
For their super-sized hooves can
Crush peanuts and skulls unto smithereens.

– “Beware the ides of March.”
Soothsayer in Julius Caesar (Act I, scene ii)

Alas, poor Yorick!
You had such an unfortunate name, infinite jokes, and most excellent fancy clothes.
But none of these could help you against the zombie horde.

– “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy.”
Hamlet in Hamlet (Act V, scene i)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your votes!
For I and I alone know how to run this country,
And I shall bury my competitors in the polls.

– “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”
Marcus Antonius in Julius Caesar (Act III, scene ii)

(Image above is a tracing over the “Chandos portrait” of Will, attributed to painter John Taylor.)

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