It's Shakespeare's birthday and 400 years since his death.
It also happens to be my mum's birthday, so I've never forgotten this significant date! My way to celebrate is to turn to Shakespeare's words, which truly immortalise him. Here is my favourite sonnet, which strangely (speaking about immortals) I revisited the other night when watching Jim Jarmusch's wonderful vampire film, 'Only Lovers Left Alive'. Although Jarmusch sneakily attributes this sonnet to Christopher Marlowe - a vampire played by John Hurt - because well, Shakespeare was simply a dunderheaded foil for Marlowe to get his work out there! Would have been great if Jarmusch had actually made Shakespeare into a vampire...(I'm a sucker - pun intended - for a great vampire story!)
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when alterations finds
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
[source: 'William Shakespeare: Complete Works', RSC, edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, 2007]