William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure regarding to his personal history. There are only two primary sources for information: his works, and various legal and church documents that have survived. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, around April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. William was born to John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed heiress. William was the third of eight children the Shakespeare family.
Unfortunately, three of his siblings died in childhood. On November 28, 1582, at the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway. She was pregnant at the time. She was from Shottery, a village close to from Stratford. Anne was eight years older than Shakespeare.
Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. Two years later William and Anne had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Most people think that that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. Shakespeare demonstrated considerable talent. By 1592, however, Shakespeare was already recognized as an actor and playwright.
By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, but was also a managing partner in the operation as well. When the plague forced theatre closings in the 1590s, Shakespeare and his company made plans for the Globe Theatre in the Bankside district, which was across the river from London proper. Shakespeare’s name first appeared on the title pages of his printed plays in 1598. Shakespeare’s company was the most successful in London in his time. He had plays published and sold to his audiences.
Shakespeare retired from his theater work in 1610 and returned to Stratford. While Shakespeare could not be considered wealthy, by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611. The same year, William Shakespeare wrote his will. He left most of his property to his daughter Susanna. On May 3, 1616, Shakespeare died – he was 52 at the time.
He was buried in the chancel of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford. In death, he leaves a final piece of verse as his epitaph:Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeareTo dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones,And cursed be he that moves my bones.
Famous quotations by William Shakespeare
To me, fair friend, you never can be old For as you were when first your eye I eyed, Such seems your beauty still. The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.
It is a wise father that knows his own child. Friendship is constant in all other things Save in the office and affairs of love. We know what we are, but know not what we may be. Our doubts are traitors And make us lose the good we oft might win By fearing to attempt. Love is a spirit of all compact of fire. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better. The course of true love never did run smooth. They do not love that do not show their love. Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered. Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
Your lordship, though not clean past your youth, have yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. That which in mean men we entitle patience Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts. I will praise any man that will praise me.
I do know of these That therefore only are reputed wise For saying nothing. Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast. Come what come may, Time and the hour run through the roughest day. The whirligig of time brings in his revenges.
So wise so young, they say, do never live long. To be wise and love Exceeds man’s might: that dwells with the gods above. As he was valiant, I honour him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him. I charge thee, fling away ambition: By that sin fell the angels.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. In time we hate that which we often fear. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No.
Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word? Honour. What is that honour? Air.
A trim reckoning. Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday.Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions!If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.