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Many Happy Returns

And we head in to our last weekend of Richard III, I feel I should write something to observe the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. And probably birth, although that anniversary is just within a day or two. And even then, the baptism was recorded as being April 26, 1564 old style, before the calendar reform in 1582 (which was not actually accepted in the UK until 1752, because you don’t want to rush into things). So although this is, by any useful reckoning, the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in 1616, it is not the moment at which the earth is in the exact position relative to the sun than it was when he died. Much less when he was born.

Are you all clear on that, now? When you read your This Day In History lists and discover that it is Admiral William Penn’s Birthday, do you question what that this day in History means? The good Admiral was born on the 23rd day of April in England, but it was already May in France, or possibly Mai, and I’m afraid I have no idea what it would have been in the area that was later named after his boy Billy. When Pedro Alvares Cabal claimed it for Portugal on this day in 1500, what day was it in Brazil?

You are better off with Camryn Walling, born twenty years ago today. You may never have heard of Camryn Walling, but then he may never have heard of you. And he knows who lives in a pineapple under the sea, which is more than you can say about William Shakespeare.

Well. All right, technically, you can say that William Shakespeare knows who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Just like William Shakespeare can say that Richard III was a murderous hunchback. Doesn’t make it true.

It does make it memorable, though, which is what this calendar-based anniversary system does, too. So even if William Shakespeare was not born on April Twenty-third, and even if April Twenty-Third didn’t fall on April Twenty-Third in 1564, still, this is the day we use to commemorate. So go and commemorate it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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