[MR] Wikipedia: Bye-bye Shakespeare
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 23 03:59:02 PDT 2023
On this date in 1616, the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, gasped out his
last breath. Nobody knows for sure the cause of his death. He died in
Stratford-on-Avon, and was buried beneath the floor of that town's Holy
Trinity Church chancel two days later. Yes, his grave is still there and
available to visit.
Now to the juicy stuff.
Well aware that he was famous and his grave might be disturbed by souvenir
hunters, Shakespeare pronounced this curse, which was inscribed upon his
gravestone (modern language used here):
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
Well, maybe the bones were moved, or at least his skull. The grave was
supposedly opened in 1794 for floor repairs, and the skull possibly was
stolen. In 2016, scans made of the grave showed disturbance where the skull
should be, or maybe we should say where it had been. Out of respect for the
dead, and Shakespeare's own wishes, the researchers were not allowed to
actually open the grave.
If Shakespeare's skull is missing, then where is it? Well, it is not the
skull in nearby Beoley, which has sometimes been claimed as the Bard's.
That one is actually the skull of a 70 year-old woman.
Supposedly, the alleged thief claimed the theft was bankrolled by a
"wealthy collector" for 300 guineas. Perhaps the skull ended up in the
hands of an actor known for playing Hamlet. Imagine a smug actor doing the
"Alas Poor Yorick" scene using the Bard's real bean! We can probably
dismiss David Garrick, who bowdlerized the play and removed the skull scene
from his production. But maybe we shouldn't dismiss him so quickly, as he
greatly admired the Bard. Or how about Edmund Keane, Junius Brutus Booth
(father of John Wilkes Booth), or even Sarah Bernhardt?
We will probably never know what happened to the skull for sure, or even if
it really is missing. Ah, the possibilities!
More about the Bard is here:
The missing skull is discussed at
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
More information about the Atlantia