Saturday 23 April 2011


Today is, traditionally, Shakespeare's birthday. So here is Shakespeare on the subject of getting old. He wrote a lot of sonnets about ageing, but I've always suspected that he wrote this one on his birthday:

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith, being crowned,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight
And Time that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of Nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow;
And yet, to times in hope, my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

Cry God for Shakespeare, England and Saint George.

Why has nobody ever Photoshopped™ some hair back onto this?


  1. I know exactly what he meant about parallels in one's brow. Happy birthday, Shakespeare. (And didn't he die on his birthday, too?)

  2. Fran, it's actually his deathday on 23rd April. His birthday's not known for certain, although he was baptised on 26th April so the conventional birthday guess is the 23rd.