Happy 450th Birthday to the Bard!
World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. It is hoped that World Book and Copyright Day will increase people’s understanding of copyright laws and other measures to protect intellectual copyright.
In the United Kingdom, the day is instead recognised on the first Thursday in March.
World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. The date is symbolic for world literature. Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died on 23 April 1616.
23 April has also been taken as Shakespeare’s birthday (he was baptised on 26 April 1564, and his actual date of birth is unknown). This year, 2014, marks William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday.
The Top 12 Shakespeare Quotes
- The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. (Julius Caesar)
- To be, or not to be: that is the question. (Hamlet)
- The course of true love never did run smooth. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
- If I lose mine honour, I lose myself. (Antony and Cleopatra)
- 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)
- Now is the winter of our discontent. (Richard III)
- Brevity is the soul of wit. (Hamlet)
- Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em. (Twelfth Night)
- Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. (All’s Well That Ends)
- Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow. (Romeo and Juliet)
- But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve. (Othello)
- There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Hamlet)
One of my favorite scenes, from Henry V (IV,iii) from one of my all-time favorite versions, starring Kenneth Branagh:
Enter the KING
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
Go here for a lovely list of Shakespeare’s quotes