Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shakespeare's Valentine

Schoenbaum, S. Shakespeare’s Lives. New Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Each one of us should dip into Shakespeare’s Lives from time to time. It's a massive—and a massively-delightful—book that tells the fascinating story of what people have done with Shakespeare's biography through the years. One intensely-interesting set of anecdotes revolves around William Henry Ireland. Starting in the late 1800s, Ireland purported to find tons of documents written by and to Shakespeare. He forged every one of them, often not terribly cleverly.

For this Valentine's Day, I thought it would be amusing to see what Shakespeare wrote to Anne Hathaway (as imagined by Ireland). The image above contains the entirety of a letter from Will to Anne; but the letter isn't all. There's a poem, too. Such romantic and affecting poetry has seldom been heard before:
Is there inne heavenne aught more rare
Thanne thou sweete Nymphe of Avon fayre
Is there onne Earthe a Manne more trewe
Thanne Willy Shakespeare is toe you.
Marvelous, that. Magnificent.

Works Cited

Schoenbaum, S. Shakespeare’s Lives. New Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Links: Wikipedia's article on William Henry Ireland.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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