23 April: Talk Like Shakespeare Day!

Drawing from material that I have posted in the past, I warmly remind the readership that today is

Talk Like Shakespeare Day!


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 (ehem… coulds’t thou not) 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 thee off in traffic, avail thyself not of those usual short epithets common to such occasions. How much more satisfying to lower thy window and exclaim, “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.

Is some rampallian staring at you at the cafeteria?   Macbeth wouldn’t have stood for that!  You wouldn’t catch Macbeth saying, “Wanna take a photo?”.  Ho hum!  Today, try this: “The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!  Where got’st thou that goose look?”  Or should you be buying that arabical potion post-haste, a simple “Take thy face hence!”, would suffice.

Gentlemen!  Have you in eager mind the ladies to impress?  Be not afeared!

A would be bard 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.  Also, a secret, women find strange words mickle alluring … like… like… “gorbellied”.

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. future_sister says:

    OOH…. verily I say, I shall hope to have much fun with this. My next class that I shall be attending is truly non other than a dismal study of Shakespeare adaptations and appropriations which often makést me wish that I had never Shakespeare known. Just now I submitted a paper on the moral reprehensibility of the latest film my feminazi professor wishéd for us to watch and why I refused. If you are interested in knowing so as to warn others away, the title of said atrocious work is “Stage Beauty” and truly it is no beauty but a degradation of human dignity so foul it does not deserve to be a portrayal of anything pertaining to the name of Shakespeare. Hmm… now I am most desirous to dress the part of a morally upright maiden of the 16th century. I do believe I shall take into my hands full advantage of this day.

    My most humble and heartfelt thanks Fr. Z. I needed something so as to pull me out of the dismal mood that I was mired in as a result of that paper I just submitted.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:


    Will’s gonna win.

    The Fellow
    Save the day

    With wind
    And fire
    And a sneaky play.

    -adapted from, ” The Cheerleader’s Guide to Shakespere.” Copyright, MCLV

    The Chicken

  3. Catholic Granny says:

    Verily, verily, so glade you art swollen with benevolent cheer my dear Fr. Z. May thee be blest with majestic and lustrous and fancy free health as merry as the day is long.

  4. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Nearly random (and almost entirely non-Early-Modern-style) notes:

    Fr. Z asketh, “And… did Shakespeare really write the plays?”

    It has been a good while already since G. Blakemore Evans (of happy memory) included The Two Noble Kinsmen and a selection from Sir Thomas More in his magesterial Riverside Shakespeare…

    An edition of the latter is included – together with 13 other plays – in C. F. Tucker Brooke’s The Shakespeare Apocrypha (1908), happily available not only second-hand but in reprint – and digitalized at the Internet Archive!

    I cannot manage to recall or (with the help of such search engines as I have essayed to try) rediscover a Shakespeare parody I remember very much enjoying which ended something like,

    “Wessex to Exeter; and so, to bed,
    To unsay all the nonsense I just said!”

    – can anyone place it?

  5. AnnAsher says:

    “I must be cruel only to be kind.
    Thus bad begins and worse is left behind. “

  6. La Sandia says:

    If you have children, play them this version of the three little pigs!

  7. iowapapist says:

    Levity is the soul of twit.

  8. StWinefride says:

    ‘Tis a little known fact that StWinefride, that be me, and Shakespeare werest both baptised on the same day, April 26 (not the same year I have thee to understand – but 400 years apart!)

    Ah, April 26, Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel in some places;

    So gather ‘round ye all without more ado, and lend me your ears to these here fine words:

    O God, who didst give us the Mother of Thy Beloved Son
    for our Mother: and wert pleased by a wondrous
    apparition to glorify a beauteous picture of her:
    grant we beseech Thee, that ever hearkening
    to her counsels, we may be enabled to live according
    to Thy Heart, and happily to reach our home in Heaven.


    Mater Boni Consilii, ora pro nobis!

  9. APX says:

    How tempting it be to with my English final in Shakespearean.

  10. frobuaidhe says:

    Re: The Jakes – It has never occurred to me that this word is so old. In Blairs College, the former Scottish minor seminary, a necessary piece of tackle the first year of yesteryear needed to acquire quickly was ‘the jake bolt’. The boys had removed all the sliding metal bolts from the toilet cubicle doors (presumably because they could – if it’s not nailed down etc.) so to ensure privacy for those indecorous moments, each lad would carry in his pocket a jake bolt from home.

    The priest who told me that odd piece of seminary trivia would be around ninety-five years old were he alive today.

  11. Pingback: It’s Shakespeare’s Birthday! | On Pilgrimage

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh MY GOSH! I am so happy it is Talk Like Shakespeare Day! I cannot WAIT to read what Fr. Z has to say and all the comments! This is my favorite! I have to save it for tomorrow so I can get enough sleep. Rats.

    Until the morrow….parting is such….oh you know the rest!

  13. Indulgentiam says:

    Prithee have I not labored lo these many hours to use the bards english. Have I not replaced “git somewhere” with “get thy face hence” yea, yea? Hast mine own flesh and blood not inquired…”what is that? Yoda? Quaker? Old English?(whereupon I giveth thanks to the Almighty for Seton Homeschooling curriculum) Wait! saith he, Fr. Z’s blog? sheesh! ” “I shall walk yonder dog ma” take thy thyroid meds madam, thou art scary!” I have indeed gone merely about my day. I am grateful dear Father. Your post hast brightened many a moment. :)

  14. Bos Mutissimus says:

    What if the National Schismatic Fishwrap staff wrote like Shakespeare? Most titles & well-known lines would have be re-written:

    “The Non-Living-Wage-Paying Merchant of Venice”
    “Collaborative Leader Lear”
    “Theology of Errors”

    “Now is the Winters of Our Discontent…”

    “We few, we happy few, we band of aging hippies…”

    “Friends! Latins! Immigrants! Lend me your votes!”

    “…I am the Council’s Spirit,
    doomed for a certain term to haunt the Church
    and for the day confined to fast in fires
    till the foul crimes done against the liturgy
    are burnt and purged away….”

  15. Kathleen10 says:

    I could not verily retire to my chambers, when I knowest brilliant words of glowing tribute do await!
    Would’st I not read these words, sleep would not visit me, nay, only unrest. Peruse I must!

    See, pizza delivery lad yonder? He arriveth late, and victuals be made cold, hence. Therefore cried I to heaven “Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither”.
    But replyeth he, Zounds! I was never so bethumped with words since first I call’d my brother’s father dad.
    Give the lad his leave, sayeth I, and heretofore I shall dote on his very absence. Leave I beg thee, and taketh thy pizza with thee, I would not have it for a wilderness of monkeys!.
    And now…
    O sleep, O gentle sleep,
    Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
    That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
    and steep my senses in forgetfulness?
    Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
    Seal up the ship-boy’s eyes, and rock his brains
    In cradle of the rude imperious surge
    And in the visitation of the winds,
    Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
    Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
    With deafening clamor in the slippery clouds,
    That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?

    and beautifully, “Speak low, if you speak love”.

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    By the way, for a taste of a variety of plays from when everyone (in his degree) ‘talked Shakespearean’ all day, every day, though definitely not his (but some in greater or lesser part by his widely-recognized collaborator, John Fletcher, including his sequel to ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, ‘A Tamer Tamed’), I note that the Boston University students who make up Willing Suspension Productions have performed not a few, such as, ‘Bartholomew Fair’, ‘A King and No King’, ‘AMad World, My Masters’, ‘The Changeling’, and ‘The Dutch Courtesan’ (all loaded on the bu You Tube account).

    I may add I have yet to try any – whether with book in lap or on split-screen, or more simply – beyond ascertaining that the sound quality seems uniformly as good as the costuming is simple and the accents American (which some argue is generally closer to Shakespearean pronunciation, anyway).

  17. chris1 says:

    It is late. All I’ve got is this: when you need to put the dog out, say, “out out, damned Spot!”

  18. jaykay says:

    And when you’re putting out your pet jellyfish… “out, vile jelly”.

    O.k. Maybe not.

    “Don’t excuse yourself to use the “rest room”… how dull. Announce that you are headed for the jakes!”

    By my troth, thusly have we done and spoken here in Hibernia’s isle yea this three hundred year and more, since in many marks the Englishe that be spoken in this isle of verie present discontent (this septik isle, as I betimes do moan) hath been preserved unto us from the time of the first speakers thereof, they being the rude soldiery and despoilers of churche and monasterie of the Heretik Queene, one Elizabeth, she whom I fain would have called Beelzebub, which in syllable doth rhyme (and like more also). Which is to say, that in this countrie a house of ease, a privy, doth even unto the present time be frequently called “the jacks”, although such usage be not encouraged among civill men of polite discourse… saving that they be in their cups.

  19. acricketchirps says:

    I’d wager there’s more verily’s in 10 minutes of Talk Like Shakespeare Day than there is in S’s entire oeuvre.

  20. Kathleen10 says:

    I adore Talk Like Shakespeare Day. I so enjoyed all the comments too. I must say I never knew that “out damned Spot!” was Shakespearean! And certainly not “out damned Jelly!”.
    I can’t wait til next year.

  21. Kathleen10 says:

    or, “vile Jelly”. :)

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    Got to watch the videos today, Fr. Z.! Love them! “Brush UP Your Shakespeare”, excellent!

  23. xsosdid says:

    Thou ruttish hedge-born strumpet!

    Yes, and I meant it. I got that from the Shakesperean Insulter. You can try it here
    Now go try it
    Thou artless bat-fowling maggot-pie!
    (another example)

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