While we may never know for sure, a recent documentary indicated that there is some evidence that Shakespeare’s skull may have gone wandering despite the famous curse that rests above his grave to thwart what was a somewhat common occurrence for the time.
Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.
Within on of his most famous plays, he takes a rather dismal view of fame:
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
Old Will then turned around and told us that fame might die but love could endure forever.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
After 400 years if your work is still mandatory reading, if the words you invented are quoted daily by people who don’t know their source, and if even ubiquitous Google must contribute artwork for your birthday celebration, then you are definitely not famous but very, very well loved. I must be totally besotted, since I’ve written about him so often: Shakespeare and Seasons; Brush Up Your Shakespeare; Happy Birthday Will; In Good Company; Matinee Idol?; Bucket List Revision; and Burnham Wood To Dunsinane.
Even Cole Porter couldn’t resist his charm:
So to the gentleman who has never failed in giving me unlimited pleasure: Happy Birthday dearest Bard.