Stratford = Shakespeare

I am sure there is more to Stratford-upon-Avon than the fact that it is the birthplace and home of William Shakespeare.  However, it was the links to the famous man which convinced us to drive about 2.5 hours each way.  We had a very long day but it was definitely worthwhile.

We opted to buy the 5 site pass which was definitely good value even though we only managed to go to 4 of the locations and did not make it to Mary Arden’s Farm.

First was the Shakespeare Centre which gives an excellent overview of the life and times of William Shakespeare as well as a huge array of artifacts and memorabilia.

The family home where William was born and grew up is located next door.

26 b blog
A wandering minstrel wandered by……..

26 a blog
The garden at New Place, the site of the later residence bought by Shakespeare.  The house is long gone but it has been the site of an archaeological dig.

26 c blog

We walked past the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre.

26 d blog
A short distance from the centre of town is Anne Hathaway’s cottage.  It looks like it is straight out of a picture book and is surrounded by gardens.

26 e blog
We also visited Holy Trinity church where William was baptised and is buried.  It was a worthwhile day and I came away feeling that I knew a bit more about the man who to whom so much of our language can be attributed.

I had not seen this text until I read it in the Shakespeare Centre.  It is worth reading.

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me”, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is farther to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the devil his due – if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then – by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! – it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.

Bernard Levin

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