William Shakespeare was born and died on 23rd April and 2016 is his 400th anniversary. The 23rd April is also St George’s day, the patron saint of England.

This month’s brooch is made by the small crafting company Scibbelicious located in Wales started by an English teacher. They are based in an old converted barn which they have filled with damaged and discarded books they have rescued and now turn into jewellery.  My brooch has one of my favourite quotes from As You Like It (Act 2 Scene 7) – Jaques is speaking to Duke Senior.

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then, a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then, the justice,

In fair round belly, with good capon line’d,

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws, and modern instances,

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,

His youthful hose well sav’d, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Shakespeare is one of the world’s greatest poets, he wrote 38 plays (there is some debate over the exact number) 154 sonnets and 2 long narrative poems.  I went to see my first Shakespeare play when I was 10 and I’ve been going to see them ever since.  I’ve seen all the plays except for three – King John, Pericles and Titus Andronicus and quite a number I’ve seen many times.  I’m forever surprised at how many frequently used phrases there are still being used today whose origins stem from the Bard.