Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare

There once was a playwright named Will

Whose spelling was practically Nil.

Whether Shaksper or Shakspere

Or Shakspe or Shakespeare,

Sweet Will paid his bill with a Quill.

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Tails I Win!

 

El Springador celebrates his prime on a very special occasion with a retro post of seven years ago. At eight-four, he's still a live wire!

 

I have pawsed the high-octane adventure that is my life to let you folks know that today is my birthday. I'm five! Thirty-five in dog years – the canine calendar runs on bobbins – neither Pup Gregory nor Caesar (the fellow who invented canned dogfood) could get the hang of it.

Einstein, of course, came up with his major breakthrough based on knowledge of Springadors:

E = MC2, that is, Energy equals More Chips, Too.

And I taught him all he knew about Black Holes, but not where they were located! Or wot they were for! Better whisper it low; mustn't get Herself started on that one. She's been missing a memory stick for a while now. I think we probably can't keep putting it down to a Spinone moment, or the onset of Alsatians. The thing is, you see, I read in the nosepaper about this dog-bone shaped asteroid they've discovered up there. If it should land in my patch, I need somewhere to bury it.

She's fully convinced that I'm also the genius of Chaos Theory when scatter cushions go AWOL and my rubber DNA toy is fielded by the nest of wires behind her computer. I keep telling her it's all on account of some Chalkhill Blue batting his wings up on Devil's Dyke - actually saw him once, right under my nose, looking for a pollen pad to land on - but will she have it?

Now go on, admit it. The world's still barking mad, but it's been a better place since July 10, 2004, when Dog put a spaniel in the works to set about uprooting unwanted Bushes. I'm good at that. Roses are a bit tricky, but dahlias come out a treat and I quite like the taste of camellias. I've been in the doghouse (again!) - just as well I've got my own little brick-built paw-de-terre in the garden where I can chill out – because I crashed into a blooming clump of her treasured arum lilies chasing off a hedgehog. They'd never let me in at the Hampton Court Flower Show!

Wot a life, eh? I just love every moment. And birthdays give you an excuse to create real mayhem!

It sure was a red-litter day, July 10, 2004!

Wags and Woofs,

 

Jack (Canine-Still-In-Much-Waiting to Herself)

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2009 - 2016

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Birthday Memories

Today is my birthday, my 59th, one that I looked forward to no more or less than my 58th or my 25th, even though the theory is that I'm now on retirement's cusp. My secret intention, stated only to other writers, is that I intend to start my fourth career, this one as a writer, and write until the means to write is exhausted. Too much youth was lost before I discovered I wanted to write, needed to write, and then I shunted my writing aside for the safe and secure paths my wife's nerves and fears required.

I thought about how I would novelize my birth. I was the second child born to young parents. They were piloting American life on a US enlisted man's wages in the 1950s, which Mom tells me is low, low, low, middle class. My older sis was born in '54 and I was born in '56. Others followed. I decided that if my life was being written as a novel, I would write of my birth, "He opened his eyes to see what was going on, and kept them open, trying to understand." 

I don't recall much of my birth. They claim I was there but there's no tangible evidence, just Mom and Dad's memories and circumstantial evidence. I sufficiently resemble my parents that I can't believe I belong to anyone but them. I wasn't switched at birth. Actually, that can't be said, as I could have been switched and then switched back after my moody, temperamental personality, fondness for silliness, and preference for solitude was revealed. 

As for theme music for my birth, I considered, "Bad to the Bone". It's such an overused song in that capacity that it was immediately there, quivering with hand raised, "Pick me, pick me, pick me." Same with anything from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons". Seems like "Spring" has been utilized for this a few times. I've always liked Pink Floyd and thought "Comfortably Numb" might work. "Hello, is anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me." But why would I be asking 'in'? Maybe I'd skip music and sound and come into the world emulating "The Scream". Maybe I should use CCR's "Fortunate Son", or "Born in the US" by Springsteen, or be ironic and select Lee Greenwood, with his lyrics, "Well, I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." That song always reminds me of the ending of Sinclair Lewis' novel, "Babbit". Ah, such choices. On this I must further ponder.

I've had many pleasant birthday memories. I'm not actually big into celebrating them, for me or or others, but I do like cake. I have one absolute favorite birthday even though I didn't have cake that day. I met my wife at the end of June before my 15th birthday. She and I felt an instant connection. The second time I saw her was on July 4th. She and I flirted terribly, and I flirted with more intensity than I'd ever flirted before. There was just something about this girl. Then she asked to see my watch, the one my father had gifted to me when he bought a new watch. I loaned it to her to look at and she refused to give it back, vexing me terribly. Then, after the Independence Day fireworks ended and midnight passed, she presented it to me, telling me, "Happy birthday." She didn't have anything to give me and wanted to give me a present, so she stole my watch and gave it back.

I can't reminisce about these things with her. She cringes with embarrassment, gags at the schmaltz, and begs me to stop. That's how our story together began, though. It still continues forty-seven years later. We've been married forty of those years. Many force five storms have been endured but everything damaged has been more or less repaired. No matter what's happened in the years since, my first birthday with her remains my best memory.

Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. 

 

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The Historian and the Bard

I was reading Plutarch's description of  Cleopatra's barge this morning, which reminded me of one of my favorite passages from Shakespeare. So, in honor of the Bard's birthday, I thought I would contrast them.

First, Plutarch, from the Life of Antony:

She received several letters, both from Antony and from his friends, to summon her, but she took no account of these orders; and at last, as if in mockery of them, she came sailing up the river Cydnus, in a barge with gilded stern and outspread sails of purple, while oars of silver beat time to the music of flutes and fifes and harps. She herself lay all along under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus in a picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids, stood on each side to fan her. Her maids were dressed like sea nymphs and graces, some steering at the rudder, some working at the ropes. The perfumes diffused themselves from the vessel to the shore, which was covered with multitudes, part following the galley up the river on either bank, part running out of the city to see the sight.

 

Now Shakespeare, from Antony and Cleopatra:

Enobarbus: I will tell you.

The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,

Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold;

Purple the sails, and so perfumed that

The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,

Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made

The water which they beat to follow faster,

As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,

It beggar’d all description: she did lie

In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold of tissue,

O’erpicturing that Venus where we see

The fancy outwork nature: on each side her

Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,

With divers-colour’d fans, whose wind did seem

To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,

And what they undid did.

 

Agrippa: O, rare for Antony.

 

Enobarbus: Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,

So many mermaids, tended her i’ th’ eyes,

And made their bends adornings. At the helm

A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle

Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands

That yarely frame the office. From the barge

A strange invisible perfume hits the sense

Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast

Her people out upon her; and Antony,

Enthroned i’ th’ marketplace, did sit alone,

Whistling to th’ air; which, but for vacancy,

Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,

And made a gap in nature.

 

Agrippa: Rare Egyptian!

 

Enobarbus: Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,

Invited her to supper. She replied

It should be better he became her guest;

Which she entreated. Our courteous Antony,

Whom ne’er the word of “No” woman heard speak,

Being barbered ten times o’er, goes to the feast,

And for his ordinary, pays his heart

For what his eyes eat only.

 

Agrippa: Royal wench!

She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed;

He plowed her, and she cropped.

 

Enobarbus: I saw her once

Hop forty paces through the public street;

And having lost her breath, she spoke, and panted,

That she did make defect perfection,

And, breathless, pow’r breathe forth.

 

Maecenas: Now Antony must leave her utterly.

 

Enobarbus: Never; He will not:

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety. Other women cloy

The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry

Where most she satisfies; for vilest things

Become themselves in her, that the holy priests

Bless her when she is riggish.

 

 

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