Well, I missed Shakespeare’s birthday by a few days (April 23, we think), but I have a feeling he doesn’t mind. Still, I did want to raise an imaginary glass to toast his celeb status. Justin Beeber, beware! More than 400 years after he penned them, our boy Will’s plays remain the most widely read and performed in the world. What’s more, so many phrases from his work have become part of our everyday language, that most of us don’t even know when we’re reciting Shakespeare. Here are some pithy examples that may surprise you:
Ever find yourself “in a pickle,” “in stitches,” or “neither here nor there?” Ever felt that you want to “send someone packing” or fear that you’ll be a “laughing stock” or a “sorry sight” — or heaven forbid, “dead as a doornail”? And you know how it is when you’ve had “to much of a good thing” and wish it would simply “vanish into thin air”? And what about wanting to show your feelings by “wearing your heart on your sleeve” — or doing the opposite and saying, “mum’s the word”?
Well if any of these witty phrases have tripped off your tongue, then you’re giving a nod to the bard. Amazing, isn’t it, to think that so many of our common expressions were coined by a guy who didn’t even have a Webster’s! (see Sans Dictionary). It just goes to show that glorious words can and will endure. Just to inspire you along the way, a few more parting thoughts from Will:
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May. And summer’s lease
hath all too short a date…”
Ah, “the darling buds of May” — even now, I look for them. Beautiful!