Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 23, 2011
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So does the youth…so does the fairest maid.

…And it’s his death day, too—he died on the same day he was born.

Here’s his most popular video on youtube, one of my childhood’s most cherished songs…about, appropriately, how life and love is short and precious. Sing it.

And if you haven’t seen Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet, do: it’s exquisite: every face beautiful, even the old and ugly and frail and fat ones….Zeffirelli chose faces the way a painter chooses fruit for a still-life. ~ ed.

Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was unique in its day for casting kids in the play’s pivotal roles of, well, kids. Seventeen-year-old Leonard Whiting and 15-year-old Olivia Hussey play the titular pair, the Bard’s star-crossed lovers who defy a running feud between their families in order to be together in love. Typically played on stage and in previous film productions by adult actors, the innocent look and rawness of Whiting and Hussey resonated at the time with a burgeoning youth movement from San Francisco to Prague. The tragic romance at the center of the story also clicked with anti-authority sentiments, but even without that, Zeffirelli scores points by validating the ideals and passions of strong-willed adolescents. Less successful are scenes requiring the actors to have a fuller grasp of the text, though the best thing going remains the unambiguous duel between Romeo and Tybalt (Michael York). Lavishly photographed by Pasquale de Santis on location in Italy, this Romeo and Juliet brought a different tone and dimension to a story that had become tiresome in reverential presentations.


What is a youth? Impetuous fire.

What is a maid? Ice and desire.

The world wags on.

A rose will bloom.

It then will fade.

So does a youth.

So do-o-o-oes the fairest maid.

Comes a time when one sweet smile.

Has its season for a while…Then love’s in love with me.

Some they think only to marry, Others will tease and tarry,

Mine is the very best parry. Cupid he rules us all.

Caper the cape, but sing me the song,

Death will come soon to hush us along.

Sweeter than honey and bitter as gall.

Love is a task and it never will pall.

Sweeter than honey-and bitter as gall.

Cupid he rules us all.

A rose will bloom.

It then will fade.

So does a youth.

So do-o-o-oes the fairest maid.

~…..Dialogue Segment…..~

A rose will bloom

It then will fade

So does a youth.

So do-o-o-oes the fairest maid…..End


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


4 Responses to “Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare.”

  1. Michelle says:

    Ahhh…wonderful, Waylon, thanks. Couldn't agree more. In fact, I just watched the Zefferelli version last week, (downloadable on on netflix, btw) with my 15 year old daughter who's reading it in her English class. Classic and beautiful – each scene shot like a Renaissance tapestry. And their lusty, young, impetuous love. So sweet, poignant and lovely. Sigh!

  2. Can I call this a Yoga blog so I can post it to Elephant Yoga?

    I became close with William as a Literature Major at Stanford, a long, long time ago, but still very fresh in memory.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  3. Oh, Id rather say Happy Birthday Will. Thanks for all you have done.

  4. Not a lot of people celebrate their birthday on their death day…hmmm! Come to think of it.