Born ca. 1564 and died ca. 1616 during the Renaissance period (1450-1599). One of the greatest writers of all time, Shakespeare, the peerless poet of the Sonnets and the creator of such dramatic masterpieces as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear, is a playwright of paradigmatic originality. In his discussion of the Western literary canon, critic Harold Bloom declared: "Shakespeare and Dante are the center of the Canon because they excel all other Western writer in cognitive acuity, linguistic energy, and power of invention." However, one could go a step further and suggest that Shakespeare defines the Western canon because he transcends it. If Shakespeare, as Ben Jonson declared, "was not of an age, but for all time," the great dramatist, one could argue, spoke to the ultimate concerns of humankind, regardless of period or cultural tradition..
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"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be never so vile. This day shall gentle his condition. And gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."
"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste. Then can I drown an eye (unused to flow) For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, and weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe, and moan the expense of many a vanished sight. Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, and heavily from woe to woe tell over the sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, Which I new pay as if not paid before. But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, all losses are restored and sorrows end."
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