Sunday, 24 April 2016

Yesterday

Did you notice that I wasn't here yesterday?  Although, of course, I was here but actively involved in meditation so I completely missed the chance to make a meaningful contribution to your day.  Part of the time I was musing on the apparent naivete of the American President and/or his advisors who seem not completely to understand that membership of the European Union involves considerable loss of sovereignty and democracy.  Guess which way I shall be voting!

But enough of politics.

Yesterday was also the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.  Somehow I had got into my mind that 23rd April was his birthday but I now find that was 26th April.  Mind you, everybody who celebrated commemorated 400 years since his death yesterday was doing so on the wrong day.  Yesterday was 400 years less 11 days since he died on 23rd April 1616.

Confused?

Well, it's quite simple really.  Some time in the 1700s - about 1752 or 1723 or somewhere along the line - I do know it was in September one year - the calendar was altered and 11 days were cut out.  The country went straight from 4th September (say) to 15th.  Cue rioting in the streets with people demanding, "Give us back our 11 days!"

Hey, I've just checked and people do celebrate his birth on 23rd April.  He was baptised on 26th!!

But there can be nobody who has had such influence on language.  Today, there are in use many everyday phrases which were coined by the Stratford bard: break the ice; a wild goose chase; dead as a doornail; set my teeth on edge; the green-eyed monster; vanish into thin air. And many, many more.

Just think; I can do it all again on 4th May when it will 400 years to the day!

2 comments:

joeh said...

Our President would have disagreed with that 11 day thing.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

There are those who believe the American President is not at all naive.