Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

post updated — “spring (as seen by The Bard, by Tolstoy; and felt by us all, myself included)”

 

 

See my updated post

 

spring (as seen by The Bard, by Tolstoy; and felt by us all, myself included)

 

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/04/01/spring/

 

 

It seems relevant now.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

A Seventeenth Century Biographical Sketch of William Shakespeare

 

 

“William Shakespeare” by John Aubrey

 

Mr William Shakespeare

Mr William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in the county of Warwick. His father was a butcher and I have been told heretofore by some of the neighbours that when he was a boy he exercised his father’s trade, but when he killed a calf he would doe it in a high style, and make a speech. There was at this time another butcher’s son in this town that was held not at all inferior to him for a natural wit, his acquaintance and coetanean, but died young.

This William, being inclined naturally to poetry and acting, came to London, I guess, about 18: and was an actor at one of the play-houses, and did act exceedingly well (now Ben Jonson was never a good actor, but an excellent instructor). He began early to make essays at dramatic poetry, which at that time was very low, and his plays took well.

He was a handsome, well shaped man: very good company, and of a very ready and pleasant smoot wit. The humour of … the constable in Midsomernight’s Dreame, he happened to take at Grendon in Bucks — I think it was Midsomer night that he happened to lye there — which is the road from London to Stratford, and there was living that constable about 1642, when I first came to Oxford: Mr Jodas Howe is of that parish, and knew him. Ben Jonson and he did gather humours of men daily where ever they came. One time as he was at the tavern at Stratford-super-Avon, one Combes, an old rich usurer, was to be buried, he makes there this extemporary epitaph:

Ten in the Hundred the Devill allowes,
But Combes will have twelve, he sweares and vowes:
If anyone askes who lies in this tombe,
‘Hoh!’ quoth the Devill, ’tis my John o Combe.

He was wont to go to his native country once a year. I think I have been told that he left 2 or 300 li. per annum there and thereabout to a sister. Vide: his epitaph in Dugdale’s Warwickshire.

I have heard Sir William Davenant and Mr Thomas Shadwell (who is counted the best comedian we have now) say that he had a most prodigious wit, and did admire his natural parts beyond all other dramatical writers. He was wont to say (Ben Jonson’s Undererwoods) that he ‘never blotted out a line in his life’; said Ben Jonson, ‘I wish he had blotted-out a thousand.’

His comedies will remain wit as long as the English tongue is understood, for that he handles mores hominum [the ways of mankind]. Now our present writers reflect so much upon particular persons and coxcombeities, that twenty years hence they will not be understood.

Though, as Ben Jonson says of him, that he had but little Latin and less Greek, he understood Latin pretty well, for he had been in his younger years a schoolmaster, in the country – this from Mr … Breston.

 

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This biographical sketch of Shakespeare was published in John Aubrey’s Brief Lives, a collection of short biographies written by Aubrey (1626–1697).

The version posted here, which is in slightly edited form, was been published in Ruth Scurr, John Aubrey, My Own Life.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     September 2016

spring (as seen by The Bard, by Tolstoy; and felt by us all, myself included)

Hudson River Park 12-30 p,.m. 4-6-2020

Hudson River Park, Manhattan, April 6, 2020

 

 

In springtime, the only pretty ring time,

When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.

 

— William Shakespeare (from As You Like It)

 

 

 

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Как ни старались люди, собравшись в одно небольшое место несколько сот тысяч, изуродовать ту землю, на которой они жались, как ни забивали камнями землю, чтобы ничего не росло на ней, как ни счищали всякую пробивающуюся травку, как ни дымили каменным углем и нефтью, как ни обрезывали деревья и ни выгоняли всех животных и птиц, — весна была весною даже и в городе.  Солнце грело, трава, оживая, росла и зеленела везде, где только не соскребли ее, не только на газонах бульваров, но и между плитами камней, и березы, тополи, черемуха распускали свои клейкие и пахучие листья, липы надували лопавшиеся почки; галки, воробьи и голуби по-весеннему радостно готовили уже гнезда, и мухи жужжали у стен, пригретые солнцем. Веселы были и растения, и птицы, и насекомые, и дети. Но люди — большие, взрослые люди — не переставали обманывать и мучать себя и друг друга. Люди считали, что священно и важно не это весеннее утро, не эта красота мира божия, данная для блага всех существ, — красота, располагающая к миру, согласию и любви, а священно и важно то, что они сами выдумали, чтобы властвовать друг над другом.

 

ЛЕВ НИКОЛАЕВИЧ ТОЛСТОЙ, воскрешение (1899), Часть первая, глава первая

 

 

 

Though hundreds of thousands had done their very best to disfigure the small piece of land on which they were crowded together, by paving the ground with stones, scraping away every vestige of vegetation, cutting down the trees, turning away birds and beasts, and filling the air with the smoke of naphtha and coal, still spring was spring, even in the town. The sun shone warm, the air was balmy; everywhere, where it did not get scraped away, the grass revived and sprang up between the paving-stones as well as on the narrow strips of lawn on the boulevards. The birches, the poplars, and the wild cherry unfolded their gummy and fragrant leaves, the limes were expanding their opening buds; crows, sparrows, and pigeons, filled with the joy of spring, were getting their nests ready; the flies were buzzing along the walls, warmed by the sunshine. All were glad, the plants, the birds, the insects, and the children. But men, grown-up men and women, did not leave off cheating and tormenting themselves and each other. It was not this spring morning men thought sacred and worthy of consideration not the beauty of God’s world, given for a joy to all creatures, this beauty which inclines the heart to peace, to harmony, and to love, but only their own devices for enslaving one another.

 

— Leo Tolstoy, Resurrection (1899), Part One, Chapter One; translated by Louise Maude (italics added)

 

 

 

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See photographs of New York City in the spring, below.  Also posted here is Thomas Morley’s song (set to Shakespeare) “It was a lover and his lass.”

 

 

–posted by Roger W. Smith

    April 2016

 

 

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photographs taken in Queens and Manhattan, NYC, April 2016, by Roger W. Smith

 

 

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Woodside, Queens, May 22, 2016 (taken by Roger).JPG

Woodside, Queens, NY, May 2016

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Juniper Valley Park, Middle Village, Queens, NYC

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Maspeth, Queens, NYC

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Bryant Park, New York City

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Juniper Valley Park, Middle Village, Queens, NY