Shakespeare’s Birthday
23 April 1564
He was not of an age, but for all time!
    Ben Jonson (1623)
   



 

This figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;
Wherein the graver had a strife
With Nature, to out-do the life:
O could he but have drawn his wit
As well in brass, as he hath hit
His face; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brass.
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture, but his book.
Ben Jonson 1623
  An engraving of the Bard by Martin Droeshout (from the title page of the First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays 1623)    
  Will knew persona violates the soul,
If from the wearer his own flaws it hides:
For only he who owns his shadow’s whole,
And he alone who’s whole the truth provides.
Thus, while an actor Will for good remained,
As poet-playwright he explored the heart:
This basic extravert was therefore trained,
By seeking truth, to grasp and show each part.
In short, in Arden – the imagination,
That spans the conscious and unconscious spheres;
The fertile womb of individuation –
He found himself and overcame his fears.
 
This man who featured all the world on stage
Indeed is for all time, not of an age.
Michael Peach
Jerusalem
12 March 2005