Another of Doncaster Council’s brilliant threads inspired by William Shakespeare to help everyone to keep going during the coronavirus lockdown.

First published in April 2020.

How is your Sunday going?

If you’re fed up of looking out the window, playing twister and putting all your Harry Potter books in alphabetical order again, we’re here to hopefully shed a ray of bibliophilia (wow, we said that VERY carefully) light in to your weekend.

That’s because it’s Shakespeare Sunday, and ol’ William had some sage advice that we can still follow to this day. The Bard had a few witticisms to help in the bleakest (and of course most joyful) of times.

So here’s a wander through some Shakespeare lines which are very appropriate for our coronavirus times. It’s almost like Bill knew we would need him now more than ever! One thing is for certain – his words of wisdom can help get us through.

There can be no more appropriate place to start than Henry V’s famous “Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more...” as we head into another week of lockdown. After all, “that island of England breeds very valiant creatures…”, so let’s knuckle down and carry on.

Title page of Q1 The Chronicle History of Henry Fift (1600). / Wikimedia

Now, Shakespeare had a lot to say about impatience – quite a few people had to wrestle with boiling impatience, melancholy and anger in his day. In the Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare said “Sheathe thy impatience, throw cold water on thy choler.” (We are not certain what the last bit means, so from Monday we will be introducing compulsory 7am cold baths for all!)

Or maybe you feel more like this? “Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate and furious, loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.” (Macbeth) Or perhaps “Who can be patient in such extremes?” (Henry VI, Part 3). We feel you, William.

You may think that “Patience is stale and I am weary of it” (Richard II), but it will be worth it in the end! So, we would rather say: “Why, courage then!” (Henry VI, Part 3).

We certainly DON’T encourage you to be “wanton as youthful goats” (Henry IV, Part 1) and get up to mischevious youthful goat stuff away from home. You’d run the risk of being seen as a “scullion”, “rampallian” or “fustilarian” (Henry IV, Part 2).

Just keep thinking “when shall we three meet again?” (Macbeth), and before long we will be back with all our friends. (We have two friends, hence the quote). “Be patient, for the world is broad and wide” (Romeo and Juliet).

And, do you know what? We will see the world again soon.

So remember, All’s Well That Ends Well. There is light and hope if we all stay home, be patient and kind.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. / Flickr - Andrew Wilkinson

Tweets posted on 26 April 2020 by @MyDoncaster.

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