Shakespeare’s time – when the great were modest and didn’t “high five.”

29 Jun

Humility is a lost art.

Polite modesty about one’s self has been replaced by end zone dances and their equivalent.

But once upon a time, humility was deriguer.

Here is an incredible passage to prove it. Below we have the greatest writer in the history of the English language artfully apologizing to the nobleman to whom he has dedicated the poem Venus and Adonis.

Exercising my own modesty, I will reveal that while I read this passage I did not read the poem. My loss.

Written to the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesly

Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichefield.

Right Honourable,

            I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden: only if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour ….

Your honour’s in all duty,

William Shakespeare  

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