By George, It’s Bill’s 440th birthday!


St George’s day has swung round again, but there will be no celebrations in the name of some bloodthirsty, semi-mythical Turk, (if you must do that, St Nicolas is a better choice) I don’t want to be involved in anything remotely jingoistic that might involve descent into choruses of
“In-ger-land! In-ger-land! In-ger-laaand!!!”

Partly because I am in Berlin where that sort of thing is insensitive & unwelcome, but mainly because I am against flag waving of any kind. (remember?)

Instead, as is traditional by now, I have decided to send you some Shakespeare..
NOT because he’s Inglish but because it’s his birthday. (He’s 440 today!)

Share and enjoy,
[Exit Caspar to the Tiergarten pursued by a bear]

From Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5 Scene 1. Spoken by Theseus.
I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

& a nice cheery sonnet..

Sonnet 64
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age,
When sometime lofty towers I see down-rased,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage.
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store.
When I have seen such interchange of State,
Or state it self confounded, to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death which cannot choose
But weep to have, that which it fears to lose.


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