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    23 Things You Didn't Know About William Shakespeare

    The Bard would have been 450 today. Here's some stuff you might not know, via

    1. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Shakespeare wrote close to a tenth of the most quoted lines ever written or spoken in English.

    2. Shakespeare has been credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with introducing almost 3,000 words to the English language.

    3. According to Shakespeare professor Louis Marder, “Shakespeare was so facile in employing words that he was able to use over 7,000 of them – more than occur in the whole King James Version of the Bible – only once and never again.”

    4. William Shakespeare would have been considered a very controversial figure when he married a much older woman who was pregnant with their child.

    5. Shakespeare never published his plays.

    6. Copyright didn’t exist in Shakespeare’s time, so there was a thriving trade in copied plays.

    7. Aside from writing 37 plays and composing 154 sonnets, Shakespeare was also an established actor.

    8. Amongst the 80 languages Shakespeare’s works have been translated into, the most obscure must be the constructed language of Klingon.

    9. The United States has Shakespeare to thank for its estimated 200 million starlings.

    10. “William Shakespeare” is an anagram of “I am a weakish speller”, “I'll make a wise phrase”, “Lame Swahili speaker” and “Hear me as I will speak”.

    11. The UK National Portrait Gallery’s inaugural portrait was of William Shakespeare.

    12. The moons of Uranus are named after Shakespearean characters.

    13. Shakespeare had close connections with King James I.

    14. Sometime after his unsuccessful application to become a gentleman, Shakespeare took his father to the College of Arms to secure their own family crest.

    15. Unlike most artists of his time, Shakespeare died a very wealthy man with a large property portfolio.

    16. Shakespeare placed a curse on his grave in Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon in the form of a poem etched on his tombstone.

    17. Although Shakespeare is almost universally considered as one of the finest writers in the English language, his contemporaries were not always as impressed.

    18. A play called The History of Cardenio, which was credited to Shakespeare and performed in his lifetime, has been completely lost.

    19. In the King James Bible the 46th word of Psalm 46 is ‘shake’ and the 46th word from the end of the same Psalm is ‘spear’.

    20. There are more than 80 variations recorded for the spelling of Shakespeare’s name.

    21. The original Globe Theatre came to a premature end in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII, when a cannon set light to the thatched roof.

    22. The Royal Shakespeare Company sells more than half a million tickets a year for Shakespeare productions at their theatres in Stratford-on-Avon, London and Newcastle.

    23. Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. It’s celebrated on April 23 – three days before his baptism, which was recorded on April 26, 1564.

    Whatever, who's counting? Happy Birthday Shaky!