Happy 450th birthday, Shakespeare!
This past Wednesday–23 April 2014–was the traditional date on which we mark the Bard’s birthday. We don’t really know what day he was born on, but he was christened on this date, April 25th, and died on April 23rd, 1616, so marking his birth on the 23rd has a kind of symmetry about it. Here is a poem that Charles Williams wrote, published in Windows of Night (1925), entitled “On Meeting Shakespeare.” One explanatory note: Sax Rohmer (the pseudonym of A.H. Ward) was an English writer and friend of Williams: he was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn member and most noted for his Fu Manchu novels. Check out his wikipedia page and the official Fu Manchu page. You also may want to read some of CW’s reviews of Sax Rohmer’s books in The Detective Fiction Reviews of Charles Williams, 1930-1935, edited by Jared Lobdell. Now, here’s the poem–don’t miss that last line:
On Meeting Shakespeare
I saw Shakespeare
In a Tube station on the Central London:
He was smoking a pipe,
He had Sax Rohmer’s best novel under his arm
(In a cheap edition),
And the Evening News.
He was reading in the half-detached way one does.
He had just come away from an office
And the notes for The Merchant
Were in his pocket,
beginning (it was the first line he thought of)
‘Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins,’
But his chief wish was to be earning more money.