Will Shake Spear

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?
O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

The numerous anagrams, synonyms, and puns on the name Vere that appear in Sonnet #76 (above) should suffice to convince any reasonable person of the true identity of Shakespeare. The pseudonym itself, “Will Shakespeare,” is an obvious joke, and a fitting emblem of defiance in anti-Catholic Elizabethan England. If the world’s greatest dramatist had passed himself off as “Will Flipfinger,” would anyone be so stupid as to believe that to be his real name?

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