Who wrote Shakespeare?

According to Wikipedia, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has declared 23 April to be the International Day of the Book because William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes both died on that date in 1616.

Also according to Wikipedia (that callous debunker of myths) this well known ‘fact’ is not actually true, since:

Shakespeare and Cervantes … did not actually die on the same day, as the April 23 date for Shakespeare is Julian calendar (Old Style) and the April 23 date for Cervantes is Gregorian calendar (New Style)…. [T]hose were the calendars in effect in England and in Spain, respectively, at that time. The Gregorian calendar was then ten days ahead of the Julian.

Not only that, but 23 April is actually the date of Cervantes’ burial, not of his death.

Very few people dispute the fact that Cervantes actually wrote the works attributed to him. Not so with William Shakespeare … a cottage industry has grown up around the idea that Shakespeare was far too ill-educated to have written the many plays attributed to him.

Hence the clerihew below, which indicates just how Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford), Christopher Marlowe, and William Stanley (6th Earl of Derby) must be feeling right now. It was inspired by the following quote from J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan.

“I know not, sir, whether Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare, but if he did not it seems to me that he missed the opportunity of his life.”

Shakespeare clerihew

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