Ah, William. You heart-breaker. You shameless flirt. You had me at “the quality of mercy is not strained.” I mean, how’s a seven-year-old supposed to resist language like that? And here’s the thing: no one saw it coming. Mom and Dad figured I wouldn’t notice you, probably counted on our age difference as something that would steer me clear of you–maybe even send me down for a nap.
From the first moment, from, “In sooth, I know not why I am so sad,” I was yours heart and soul. From there it was but a short step to, “for you, I would be trebled twenty times myself.” Ah, me, Will Shakespeare. You captured my affections before I knew I had any to bestow.
Did you know I tried to give my daughter your birthday? And when she insisted on being born two days early, I shook my head and asked, “Who will believe thee [fill in the name, fellow bard-o-philes!]?” Did you hear I middle-named my first-born after you? Called my second-born after the jolly knight of Twelfth Night?
You ruined me, Will, for anyone else. Here’s to you–I raise my bumper high and toast this, your 447th year.