Wednesday, June 02, 2004

What's In A Name

As I pondered my Shakespeare Clerihew, I wondered. What kind of name is Shakespeare anyway?

After all, what’s in a name? Or in a few varying letters? William SHAKESPEARE (or Shaxberd, or Shaxpere,) the noted English playwright, was born in Stratford-On-Avon in 1564 (no record of his birthdate, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564, or May 7, 1564 in the current calendar,) during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (or Elizabeth Tudor, or the “Virgin Queen,”) sister of Queen Mary (or Mary Tudor, or “Bloody Mary,”) and daughter of King Henry VIII (or Henry Tudor, or Monmouth) and Anne (or Ann) Bolen.

In 1582, Shakespeare (or Shakspere---his preferred spelling---or Shakspeare) married Anne (or Agnes) Hathwey (or Hathway, or Hathaway.) In 1583, the couple’s daughter, Susanna, was born, followed in 1585 by the twins, Hamnet (or Hamlet) and Judeth (or Judith.) Susanna lived to marry John Hall; Hamnet died at age 11; and Judeth married Thomas Quiney (or Quyny, or Queeny.)

Shakespeare’s (or Shagspere’s) business investments included a shared interestwith his friend in the 1599 (or 1595) building of the Globe Theater. Shakespeare’s (or Shake-speare’s) plays were then presented at the Globe---before it burned down during a performance of “Henry VIII” (or “All Is True) in 1613. Apparently, the roof (or eaves) caught fire when a cannon was set off in Act I, Scene IV.

Then, in later years there were some “scholars” who claimed Shakespeare’s (or Shackespere’s) real name was Francis Bacon (or 1st Baron Verulam or Viscount St. Albans) or Christopher (or Kit) Marlowe. And, to simplify our historical research, also born in 1564 in nearby Rowington was a William Shakspere (or Shaxpere,) a soldier and malt seller---but it was never determined whether or not he could read or write or enjoyed any of his namesake’s plays. To add to our merriment, another William Shakespeare (Or Shakspeare) was drowned in the river Avon in 1574.

Perhaps, the latter’s ghost really did the writing, giving veracity to the childhood “factoid” that Shakespeare’s efforts were really written by another person with the same name.

Topaz from Cottage Street

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