William Shakespeare turns 448 this week. It’s the dream of every writer that in 448 years, when people are reading whatever version of ebooks exist then (mind-books?), that they’ll still be poring over the words you wrote. It’s a long-shot, but even the famous “Bard of Avon,” had to start somewhere, sitting down at a desk and opening his mind to the possibilities of a story that just needed to be told.
Of course, some of his works were bigger hits than others. “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” and “Othello” are read by every high-schooler, while “The Life of Timon of Athens” is less so. Still, the fortitude that comes with writing so many works of such incredible quality is worthy of high respect from any type of writer. For the novices all the way to the most seasoned of hands, here are a few words of inspiration about the creative, clever, and intellectual spirit (and some of its ensuing difficulties) from possibly the most successful writer of the past 500 years.
- Better a witty fool than a foolish wit. – Twelfth Night
- Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice – Hamlet
- How well he’s read, to reason against reading! – Love’s Labour’s Lost
- Brevity is the soul of wit. – Hamlet
- What is past is prologue. – The Tempest
- I say there is no darkness but ignorance. – Twelfth Night
- Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. – Henry VI part II
- Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance? – Henry IV
- Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. – Macbeth
- O, had I but followed the arts! – Twelfth Night
- Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head. – As You Like It
- The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream. -Hamlet
To be a creative individual, while definitely a gift, is something that will always wrestle inside you, waiting to be expressed through some form of art. Shakespeare did a wonderful job describing this struggle.
From all of us at Lulu, Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Do you have a favorite Shakespeare quote or play?
Max Rivlin-Nadler writes for the Lulu Blog – Archived