Monday, 5 May 2014

Shakespeare 450th Birth Anniversary Festival – Birthday Celebration on Apr 23, 2014

Shakespeare 'Sanders' portrait - A scholar at the University of Guelph believes that in this we have the best mirror of Shakespeare's face

Shakespeare's 450th Birthday was being celebrated all over the world, and KRG readers were leading the celebrations in our part of the world - Kochi, Kerala. First, we had a reading of excerpts from the two poems with which Ben Jonson adorned the First Folio, published in 1623, six years after the poet's death.

The First Folio - the book by fellow actors Heminges & Condell without which half of Shakespeare's plays would have been lost to posterity

Jonson admonished readers not to look for Shakespeare's likeness, instead:
Reader, looke/ Not on his Picture, but his Booke.

We had a beautiful cake decorated for the occasion by Brunton hotel, and sang Happy Birthday to Master William Shakespeare.

Following the merriment the participants had tea and cake in  spacious courtyard and returned to see the second performance of Bharat, Blighty & the Bard – Shakespeare for Everyone, the one-man Play by Madhav Sharma and Miranda Lapworth.

To read more click below:

In the first of two poems Ben Jonson contributed to the First Folio edition of WS’ Collected Works, he reflected on the faceplate engraving done in brass by Martin Droeshout, a Dutch engraver:
O could he but have drawn his wit
As well in brass, as he has hit
His face; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brass:  

Joe noted that Ben Jonson, a rival poet and dramatist, some years younger than Shakespeare, was a contemporary and knew him well. Shakespeare even acted in plays by Jonson staged by his company, the Chamberlain's Men. The quality Jonson most remarked on about Shakespeare was his wit, that is, the nimbleness, spontaneity and grace which informed the words he spoke and wrote.

Talitha and Joe recited excerpts from the second poem of Jonson, titled “To The Memory Of My Beloved Master William Shakespeare.” Shakespeare was dead six years when the First Folio appeared.

To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.

                                                Soul of the age!
The applause! delight! the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE rise! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,

I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,

Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm !

Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.

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