(Stephen Greenblatt’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/11; via Pam Green.)

My first encounter with Shakespeare — ‘‘As You Like It,’’ in Miss Gillespie’s eighth-grade English class — left me cold. I still remember the words ‘‘I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry,’’ which I must have been compelled to recite out loud, with a shudder. But not long afterward, I fell in love with him, not through the charm of performance but through the hallucinatory power of his language.

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are, /
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, /
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, /
Your looped and windowed raggedness defend you /
From seasons such as these? 

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