The Bard’s Birthday

William Shakespeare was born on this day in the year 1564 and, incidentally, died on this day in 1616. 

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.

      —As You Like It

Happy Birthday, William!

And because it’s National Poetry Month, I think I’ll paste one of my favorite sonnets by Shakespeare below, Number 130:

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

Ah, what the heck.  Here’s another one, because I have black hair, Sonnet 127:

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slander’d with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature’s power,
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrow’d face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ brows are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.

If you want more, visit William Shakespeare’s Sonnets page.