A Year of Shakespeare

I spent this past year reading all the plays of Shakespeare. Each has five acts, a play runs 2-3 hours, an act can be read in 30-45 minutes. There are 38 plays, so you can read a play a week and finish well within a year.

I spent most evenings reading an act, often listening to a performance while reading to enhance the experience, and help out with some of the more difficult ones.

As an homage to this past year I collected some quotes, full and partial, which I composed here in a nonsensical manner. After spending a year with him, I feel that the bard would approve. Enjoy!

* * *

First my fear; then my courtesy; last my speech.
My fear is, your displeasure; my courtesy, my duty;
and my speech, to beg your pardons
(Henry IV p2)
Now, by my faith and honour, If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
(All’s Well)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! (Caesar)
Open your ears; for which of you will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?
(Henry IV p2)
Mine eyes smell onions
(All’s Well)
All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and
there’s not a nose among twenty but can smell him that’s stinking.
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
(As you like it)
I prithee take the cork out of thy mouth, that I may drink thy tidings.
(As you like it)

The tempter or the tempted, who sins most? (Measure)
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said, (Macbeth)
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
(Twelfth Night)

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
(Henry V)
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame and huge leviathans
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
(Two Gentlemen)
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
(Henry IV)

Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,
And give them friendly welcome every one:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
Since every Jack became a gentleman,
There’s many a gentle person made a Jack. (Richard III)