A never ending appreciation of the Bard

Having no choice now but to admit the presence of the black dog of depression which had been sat in the distance for some time but is now at my heels, not yet biting but there nonetheless, I turned again to the things that usually give me so much joy - the humanities - despite not being able to concentrate at full capacity and feeling like I've lost part of my memory (fog-brained) - I turn to poetry. Some studies claim that reading poetry every day is just as effective as an anti-depressant. I cannot agree, although can appreciate a tiny relief in the moment I am able to absorb a full kernel of emotion from a sentence that can often be akin to getting, in one hit, the whole poignant story of a novel length work.

However, nothing can really match the first time I read that most famous of all Shakespearean soliloquies - To be or not to be - and just being absolutely overwhelmed with sadness and joy and actually crying. Melodramatic, I know, but that's how it was. And ever since I've had this profound appreciation for Shakespeare. I turned to a book just of his sols and managed to find some humour in that from The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which reminded me so much of Spike Milligan in which he asked 'who wrote me these legs':
'I think Crab my dog be the sourest-natured dog that lives. My mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister cryng, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a great perplexity; yet did not this cruel hearted cur shed one tear... This shoe is my father. No, this left shoe is my father. No, no, left shoe is my mother. Nay, that cannot be so neither. Yes, it is so, it is so, it hath the worser sole. This shoe with the hole in it is my mother, and this my father... This hat is Nan our maid. I am the dog. No, the dog is himself, and I am the dog. O, the dog is me, and I am myself. Ay, so, so.'
It's so absurd and brilliant - the image of the cat wringng her hands, and not being able to get the shoes right - which stands for mother, which for father? I just love it. But then I was thinking of the claims that there are some, namely the Shakespeare-Oxford Society, who claim ('explore the notion') that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the body of work known as coming from William Shakespeare. Could it really be so? Could William Shakespeare, from a modest background, really not have been able to produce these works because he lacked the courtly knowledge that de Vere would have had in buckets? But then why is the reverse question not posed? How would de Vere have been 'qualified by experience' to be able to provide legions of less than courtly characters and their ways that he may not have had day to day contact with? Whoever the real author is, over four centuries of 'Shakespeare' will never easily be changed, whatever the evidence. Whoever it was, Shakespeare or de Vere, they were certainly acquainted with the full gamut of emotion - and depression - and the knowledge, and effective expression of that, be it sad, dark or absurd. And that demands no noble birth.

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