23 April: Talk Like Shakespeare Day

An oldie but a perennially valid goody. 

Last year a dear friend sent this excellent piece:

In recognition of Shakespeare’s 445th Birthday, this Thursday, April 23, 2009, will be Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Shakespeare is a part of our everyday lives. He coined more than 1,700 words still in use in modern English and his plays influence the way we think about the world we live in. Get in on the act! We hope you will send us your own ‘Shakespeariences’ and visit TalkLikeShakespeare.org often for new content!

I urge you all hence forth to speak in verse.
Pentameter iambic would be best.
O list, gentles! Also strive to use
in thy fair speech some homage to the Bard.

Maybe you could use the word "Prithee" a few times today, or, perchance, "perchance"?

Rather than just handing over the cash when the pizza is deliveréd, you could say "Here’s thy guerdon. Go!".

If a villainous churl would make to steal thy parking spot or cut you off in traffic?  Rather than the usual short epithets common to such occasions, wouldn’t it be more satisfying to shout… say… "Ha! I’ll tell thee what; Thou’rt damn’d as black–nay, nothing is so black; Thou art more deep damn’d than Prince Lucifer: There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell!"… or words to that effect.

Some rampallian staring at you at Starbucks?   Macbeth wouldn’t have stood for that!  No siree!  Rather…. nay, Sirrah, he would not!  You wouldn’t catch Macbeth saying, "Wanna take a photo?".  Ho hum!  Today, you can try this: "The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!  Where got’st thou that goose look?"  Or are you buying that potion post-haste?  A simple "Take thy face hence", sufficeth.

Hast thou in thine eager mind the ladies to impress?  Be not afeared! A would be Romeo might compare his lass to a summer’s day, rather than just say "Nice sweater".  If that doesn’t work… and i’ faith it will… there is always the trusty "Wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?" as a last resort.  Women also really like strange words… like… like… "gorbellied" or … well, you get the drift.

Art called upon to present thy case?  Give a sales pitch?  Deliver that new all-or-nothing business plan?  Always… always… use lots of words with a final "-éd".   Never think that thou shalt be banishéd from the firm.  They will gape at thy eloquence, I assure you. 

Out with the boss for a power lunch?  Don’t excuse yourself to use the "rest room"… how dull.  Announce that you are headed for the jakes!

Yes, folks, it’s Talk Like Shakespeare Day!   Have at!

And… did Shakespeare really write the plays?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Scelata says:

    “this Thursday, April 23, 2009, will be Talk Like Shakespeare Day.”

    My calendar is broken.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  2. T’is the feast of the soldier St. George,
    Who battled and killed in the name of our Lord;
    The wondrous Bard, Shakespeare was his name,
    shares a birthday with the saint of great fame.

  3. jaykay says:

    Oh dear… this is where American and British English (well, Hiberno in my case) really doth part company. The pronunciation of the letter Z. Seest thou, Father, in Amerikay thou’rt the good Father Zee but o’er here thou’rt the good Father Zed. Poor Ned’s a cold!

  4. Bos Mutissimus says:

    Now is the English of our discontent
    Made glorious Latin in the mode of Trent
    And all the Glory’n’Praise that smote our ears
    Reposes in recycle bins, unsung.
    Now are the altars once again adorned
    With Crucifixes (Benedictine Form);
    Our Signs of Peace remov’d as merry meetings,
    Once-dreaded Kumbayas to Mode VIII Chant.
    Grim-visag’d nuns have feign’d “ordain” themselves
    And now, instead of strumming guitar strings,
    To numb the souls of dumb’d-down sheep in pews,
    They caper nimbly in the Mariott Banquet Hall
    ‘Twixt hid’eous ten-foot Puppets of th’Oppressed.
    But Harry Reid, — not shap’d for higher thought
    With Nancy (who could crack a looking glass)
    Forged “Health” that’s rudely stamp’d, without debate,
    Accomplic’d by some Nuns — all renegade.
    The New York Times, curtail’d of fair proportion,
    Cheated of sales by declining readership,
    Deformèd tripe did print at Easter Time;
    Thus smeared the Pope with libels half made-up,
    And those so lamely and implausible
    That blogs bark at the scoundrel known as Pinch.
    Now Benedict in this Springtime of Peace,
    Hath introduced the Ordinariate
    Repairing thus the rift of Henry’s wrath
    And sets a precedent for unity:
    But Rowan — since he cannot check or rein
    The divers Trendiness of his Ekklesion
    He seems determined to prove a villain
    And kick the Irish bishops when they’re down.
    Copyrighted Dullness, translations dangerous,
    By drunken linguists dumbing down the text,
    Who violate the Red and harm the Black,
    In deadly hate the one against the other,
    Which Rome’s own Vicar be intent to mend.
    As Yankee Bishops stubbornly refuse
    The word “ineffable” to be retained
    Within a liturgy which promises
    The savior of the Western World to be.
    Dive, thoughts, down to my soul — here Trautman comes.

    (Respectfully Submitted)

  5. jaykay says:

    Bob… brilliant!

  6. Mrs. O says:

    That it should come to this!

    I have to quoteth because I know not.

    “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
    Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;
    Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come” (Julius Ceasar)

  7. Bos Mutissimus: Remember this one?

    [Enter ICEL translator, Bp. Trautman, Archbp. Roche, minions]

    A word most horrid to mine ear, my Lord.
    Damnéd word, unspeakable, unspoken.
    How come we now this madness to propose?
    “ineffable” in translations new?
    Wouldst fleer at faithful Joe and Catholic Mary?
    Wouldst mock? Wouldst challenge them to think?
    Wouldst cause dull clerks in pulpits high
    to make the bepew’d dullards sit and stare?
    Trout do so, and all unwary fish
    when hookéd up from forth their lazing stream.
    They gape upon the bank for lack of dew!
    Thick they are, unlearn’d in things liturgic.
    [Aside] As His Grace of Erie be, fisher dour and cunning.
    It is a thing to fleer and scorn.
    Fie! Fie!
    Villian, cur, mongrel! Dumb it down!
    Hearst thou my meaning, sirrah, further down?
    Must I come the situation to explain,
    and in dynamic rendering tear one new?
    “Ineffable”, archaic and toooo haaarrrd
    shall come nor under roof, nor pages smudge.
    Our bindings shall not see its like this time.
    O tomes, our tomes most profitable.
    Most dear.
    I get the point, and swear, by all that’s dear
    my office for to keep and thee obey
    that word repugnant to thine ear
    shall come not books to mar or ambo stain.
    Let no faithful sheep ensorcel’d be
    by words arcane or ever, forfend, thoughts.
    Fear not, good my Lord of Leeds. But let us haste.
    That word “ineffable”, as dew,
    Shall sully not approvéd versions new.

    [Exeunt omnes]

  8. nhaggin says:

    Posted on mine own blog:

    To write, or not to write; that is the question,
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous bits,
    Or to take up keys against a sea of bloggers,
    And by composing, flame them. To type, to type,
    No more — and by a type to say we send
    A headache, and a thousand verbal shocks
    A writer’s heir to. ‘Tis a conflagration
    Devoutly to be fear’d. To type, to type,
    To flame — perchance to rant: ay, there’s the rub,
    For in that rant of flamage what may come,
    When we have posted off this angry spew,
    Must give us pause. There’s no respect
    In this calamity of world-wide webs.
    For who would bear the angry ignorant,
    The ill-informed, the vain and hasty scribe,
    The vulgar slanderer, the narcissist,
    The spambots unabated in their flow,
    When he himself might his quietus blog
    With a bare combox? Who would fardels bear,
    To waste his time in moderator’s work,
    But that the dread of something fireproof,
    An essay of asbestos, at whose words
    Illogic hides its face, puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?

  9. Bos Mutissimus says:

    Verily, Good Father: ’twas this, thine own entry that as my Muse did serve. Perchance, dost thou recall from April last — Hal’s soliloquy, butcher’d beyond repair, that I posted hence?

    Jaykay: Sirrah, if thou mean’st Bos (for the Dumbest of Oxen am I) – I thank thee

  10. Okay, I can’t compete with y’all.
    I didn’t have Shakespeare in my college courses…I’m dummmeth to the extremeth degreeth:<)

  11. Geremia says:

    Of course you could just read the Douay-Rheims! (I disparage the D-R not; I read’t e’n when ’tis not talk ye like Shakespeare day.)

  12. Geremia says:

    Also, archaic English seems so much better for translating Latin and better preserving the meaning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou

  13. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Not feeling too creative today, so I found the one I wrote last year (never throw anything away)

    Prithee, pen such thoughts as pleaseth thee.
    They droppeth as the dew upon the page.
    To this poor wretch thy words as manna be,
    And wisdom do impart to my old age.

  14. MAJ Tony says:

    For he today at-altar that says the Black
    Shall be my Father, be he always ad Orientem,
    This day shall strengthen his position;
    And Reverends in Eerie now-at-table
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they did not abide,
    And hold their priesthoods cheap while any preach
    That did the Red for us on St. George’s day.

  15. Maltese says:

    Didn’t you all know, in reality, these plays were written by a Jewish woman:


    (The Merchant of Venice makes that one hard to believe)

    No, but seriously, when I was living in Santa Fe, NM, I learned there is a whole movement that truly believes these plays were written by a woman! We went to their party they have on Canyon Road, which, aside from their strange belief, is a good time; full of period drink and food!

  16. nhaggin says:

    For the record: change “dread” to “hope” in the fifth line from the end of my bit. It fits the idea better.

  17. Sam Schmitt says:

    Mehopes thou got thee to the Folger Library – ’tis not far from the Dubliner – in the least to view the sundry and wondrous carvings from the plays that adorn said edifice. The gift shop doth feature all things Shakespeare.

  18. robtbrown says:

    I have always regretted that on one of my visits to the Folger I didn’t buy the First Folio. I was working as a consultant in those days and could have put it on my expenses–legitimately.

    In another visit I saw Molière’s The Miser (L’Avare).

  19. irishgirl says:

    Father Z and Bos-brilliant! I love them!

    I was whispering Bos’ piece to myself….very cool!

    Sorry-I’m not very creative. [shrugs shoulders with a sad grin]

  20. Mario Bird says:

    Enter Tardy
    Eclipsed! So wronged am I to be locked out
    From these perspicuous wits come yesterday,
    For, by my troth, on Fridays I abstain
    From Father’s blog, for such is meat to me.
    Now Friday’s meat is Saturday’s cold dish
    Poor trimmings of a wedding left alone
    The gentles left, the servants gone to bed,
    No company but mice and lacquered cake.
    All life and warmth will leave this page anon,
    And I am left with mere soliloquy.
    Good Jesu, troth, he is too good to me,
    For knowing not the jewels I forsook
    He doth reveal them, quick extends my fast,
    And leaves me longing for the new advent.
    Come Sunday, then, we’ll rise again with joy,
    And seek out Shakespeare friends on other blogs.
    Adieu, you Z’s, sleep on til April next,
    That twenty-third I vow to not be vexed.
    Exit, chased by a bear.

  21. LarryD says:

    I respectfully submit a sonnet I published on my blog:

    Tempter’s Visit (a sonnet)

    Nighttide hisses malice across the wind
    And Blackness himself creepeth o’er the sill
    “I recall t’ thee that thou greatly sinned
    And thou hast once more chosen thine own will;
    Despite thy baptized mark of symboled cross
    And loathful beads pressed in thine guilty hands,
    Thine plaintive pleas please none; thou gain but loss;
    So grieve not against deep desire’s demands.
    Doth thou receive peacefulness from thine prayers?
    Doth thou believe thou aren’t so soon condemned?
    Thine countless sins hath struck thee from his care;
    When thou expires, thine soul to me he’ll send.”

    I slowly stirred my soul from reverie
    And spake “Sorry – were you addressing me?”

  22. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I can attest to the fact that Fr. Z accompanied me quite well when I delivered the St. Crispin’s Day monologue at the D.C. blognic. Well done, Pater.

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