Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Hoping and assuredly believing..."

Among the various and sundry undergraduate and graduate studies I have enjoyed or endured, there was an entire semester class on the person and the works of William Shakespeare taken at the College of William and Mary.

Never once was there even the suggestion that Shakespeare might have been a Christian. Common references in his works to Roman Catholic or Protestant ideas (such as purgatory, heaven, and hell) were dismissed as a writer's patronizing nods to the prevailing cultural sentiments of his day.

Bearing in mind that - just as people say all sorts of spiritual things about their loved one's faith (relatively imperceptible during life but now declared decisively upon their death), people also often adapt all sorts of spiritual perceptions of themselves when their thoughts turn to the impending reality of their own deaths - I offer the following surprising declaration from William Shakespeare in his last will and testament:

"I commend my soul into the hands of God, my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through only the merits of Jesus Christ, my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting."
- William Shakespeare, (1564-1616)

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Only, note that this is how is was all spelled:
"In the name of god Amen I William Shackspeare, of Stratford upon Avon in the countrie of Warr., gent., in perfect health and memorie, God be praysed, doe make and ordayne this my last will and testament in manner and forme followeing, that ys to saye, first, I comend my soule into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredlie beleeving, through thonelie merites, of Jesus Christe my Saviour, to be made partaker of lyfe everlastinge, and my bodye to the earth whereof yt ys made."