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A bard is a bard . . .

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Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 5:05 pm

So, do you read much Shakespeare? No? Neither do I. I don't know anyone who reads Shakespeare. I think Shakespeare's body of work exists for English classes and dramatic arts productions. And, of course, trivia games. Why else would we need to remember that Shakespeare wrote in Iambic Pentameter? For the pursuit of trivia, of course.

Which is not to diminish his talent as a writer. He is known as one of the best poets and authors in history. His work has been translated into dozens of languages (including Klingon!), and his plays have been performed verbatim and rewritten and produced as modern cinematic features. Without actually reading his written words, we all know the story of Romeo and Juliet; of Kate, the untamed shrew; of King Lear and his quirky parenting skills, and, of course Hamlet, the Melancholy Dane who had mommy issues.

Of all the bards coming out of Avon, Shakespeare is probably the best known.

That said, because of his proficiency with words, many of his phrases have become permanent fixtures in the English vernacular. In a book that I actually did read, 'The Essential Book of Useless Information' by Don Voorhees, note the following:

A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse! (Richard III)

All that glitters is not gold. (The Merchant of Venice)

All the world's a stage. (As You Like It)

A pound of flesh. (The Merchant of Venice)

A sorry sight. (Macbeth)

A spotless reputation. (Richard II)

Bated breath. (The Merchant of Venice)

Brave new world. (The Tempest)

Budge an inch. (The Taming of the Shrew)

Eaten me out of house and home. (Henry IV)

Foregone conclusion. (Othello)

For goodness' sake. (Henry VII)

Full circle. (King Lear)

Heart on my sleeve. (Othello)

In my heart of hearts. (Hamlet)

Knock, knock! Who's there? (Macbeth)

Let's kill all the lawyers. (Henry VI)

Method in the madness. (Hamlet)

Neither a borrower, nor a lender be. (Hamlet)

Neither rhyme, nor reason. (The Comedy of Errors)

Parting is such sweet sorrow. (Romeo and Juliet)

Pomp and circumstance. (Othello)

Short shrift. (Richard III)

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (Hamlet)

Strange bedfellows. (The Tempest)

Sweets to the sweet. (Hamlet)

The be all and end all. (Macbeth)

The better part of valor is discretion. (Henry IV)

The green-eyed monster. (Othello)

The milk of human kindness. (Macbeth)

The most unkindest cut of all. (Julius Caesar)

The primrose path. (Hamlet)

Too much of a good thing. (As You Like It)

To thine own self be true. (Hamlet)

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. (Henry IV)

What's done is done. (Macbeth)

That's quite a list! But If I've misquoted or made a mistake in this list, blame Mr. Voorhees (Although I seriously doubt if he's read all of these plays either).