Writer Ben Jonson enthusiastically said of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), "He was not of an age, but for all time!"
The greatest playwright in world literature, the English writer Shakespeare was christened on this day in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the center of of England. Married at 18, by 1588 he had joined a company of actors who performed in London.
"Be great in act, as you have been in thought," he said.
From 1594 until his death, Shakespeare created a body of work that is unequaled in Western civilization. He used 24,000 different words and his 154 sonnets are considered to be unequaled in their expression of love and beauty. "Such is my love, to thee I so belong,/That for thy right myself will bear all wrong," he wrote in Sonnet 88.
In Sonnet 130 he wrote, My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground./ And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare /As any she belied with false compare."
"Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better," he wrote in Twelfth Night.
His 37 plays--tragedies, comedies, histories, and romances--include over 1200 characters and 400 scenes. "How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world," wrote the Bard whose words, like burning candles, have endured for over 400 years, and still reach across the centuries, ablaze with power.
More SHAKESPEARE Quotations
Greatness, like a candle, burns in the heart of those who are touched.