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W IL L IA M S H A K E S P E A R E,Stratford upon Avon 1578 A boy is sitting at a. schooldesk He listens to the teacher reads his books. learns his lessons What is he thinking about,London 1587 A young man is riding into London for. the first time He listens to the noise of the crowded. streets sees the great walls of the Tower of London. looks down at the waters of the River Thames Sweet. Thames run softly till I end my song,London 1601 The boatmen on the River Thames are. shouting to the crowds Hurry hurry hurry The, Globe theatre is filling fast Two thousand people are. crossing the river to see the latest play Hamlet by. William Shakespeare, This story about Shakespeare s life is told by his friend.
Toby Toby is not a real person perhaps Shakespeare. had a friend like that but we don t know But all the. other characters in the story were real people who. knew Will Shakespeare as a friend actor poet and,playwright Gentle Shakespeare they called him and. they knew he was the greatest poet in England His,friend Ben Jonson wrote of him. He was not of an age but for all time,OXFO RD BOOKW ORMS LIBRARY. True Stories,William Shakespeare,Stage 2 700 headwords. Series Editor Jennifer Bassett,Founder Editor Tricia Hedge.
Activities Editors Jennifer Bassett and Alison Baxter. For my father,JENNIFER BASSETT,The Life and Times of. William Shakespeare,OXFORD U N IVERSITY PRESS,STORY I NTRODUCTI ON 1. Map of Stratford upon Avon 4,Map of London 12,1 Toby remembers 1. 2 Stratford upon Avon 2,3 The actors come to town 6. 4 A new life in London 9,5 The plague years 15,6 Death in the family 19.
7 Queens Kings and Princes 25,8 A Scottish King for England 31. 9 The Mermaid Tavern 37,10 Back to Stratford 40,11 The last years 44. 12 England will remember 47,QUOTATI ONS IN THE STORY 49. GLOSSARY 50,activities Before Reading 52,activities While Reading 53. activities After Reading 56,ABOUT SHAKESPEARE TODAY 60.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 61,ABOUT BOOKWORMS 62,ELEFANTA ENGLISHTIPS ORG. Toby remembers, My name is Toby I m an old man eighty three this spring. My house is right in the middle of Stratford upon Avon and. I can watch the street market from my window But I live very. quietly now I m just an old man sitting in a chair. I once knew the greatest man in England For thirty years I. was his friend I worked with him in the theatre through the. good times and the bad times He was a good friend to me He. was also the best playwright the best poet that ever lived in. England Will Shakespeare was his name, I saw all his plays in the theatre People loved them They. shouted laughed and cried ate oranges and called for more. All kinds of people Kings Queens Princes great lords and. ladies poor people the boys who held the horses everyone. Will Shakespeare could please them all, All kinds o f people Will Shakespeare could please them all. 2 William Shakespeare, He put me in a play once Well he used my name Toby.
Twelfth Night was the play I remember Sir Toby Belch He. was a big fat man who liked drinking too much and having a. good time Queen Elizabeth the First watched that play on. Twelfth Night the 6th of January 1601 She liked it too. Will s dead now of course H e s been dead more than thirty. years and no one sees his plays now The Puritans have closed. all the theatres There s no singing no dancing no plays It. wasn t like that in my young days We had a good time in. London Will and I, I ve no teeth now and my hair has all fallen out but I can. still think and remember I remember when Will and I were. young just boys really,Stratford upon Avon, It was a sunny day in October 1579 when I first met Will just. outside Stratford near a big field of apple trees I saw a boy up. in one of the trees He had red hair and looked about two years. older than me,What are you doing up there I called. Just getting a few apples he said smiling, Those are Farmer N ash s apples I said and he ll send his. dogs after you if he sees you,Mr Nash has gone to market the boy said Come on.
They re good apples, The next minute I was up the tree with him But Will was. Stratford upon Avon 3, wrong Farmer Nash wasn t at the market and a few minutes. later we saw his angry red face above the wall on the far side. of the field, Will and I ran like the wind and only stopped when we. reached the river We sat down to eat our apples, Will was fifteen and lived in Henley Street he told me His. father was John Shakespeare and he had a sister Joan and. two younger brothers Gilbert and Richard There was. another sister who died I learnt later And the next year he. had another brother little Edmund the baby of the family. Now what about you he asked, There s only me and my sister I said My parents are.
dead and we live with my mother s brother He s a shoe. maker in Ely Street and I work for him What do you do. Shakespeare s home in Henley Street Stratford,4 William Shakespeare. I go to M r Jenkins school in Church Street Will said. Every day from seven o clock until five o clock Not. Sundays of course,I was sorry for him Isn t it boring I asked. Sometimes Usually it s all right He lay back and put his. hands behind his head But we have to read and learn all these. Stratford upon Avon 5, Latin writers I want to read modern writers and English. writers like Geoffrey Chaucer Can you read he asked. Of course I can read I said I went to school, Will sat up and began to eat another apple I want to be a. writer he said A poet I want that more than anything in the. We were friends from that day until the day he died We met. nearly every day and he taught me a lot about books and. poetry and writers He always had his nose in a book. When Will left school he worked for his father in Henley. Street John Shakespeare was a glove maker and he had other. business too like buying and selling sheep But Will wasn t. interested, What are we going to do Toby he said to me one day.
We can t spend all our lives making shoes and gloves. Well I said we could run away to sea and be sailors Sail. round the world like Francis Drake, Drake sailed back to Plymouth in 1581 after his three year. journey round the world but we were still in Stratford We. made lots of plans but nothing ever came of them, Will was still reading a lot and he was already writing. poems himself He sometimes showed them to me and I said. they were very good I didn t really know anything about. poetry then but he was my friend, Will was not happy with his writing I ve got so much to. learn Toby he said So much to learn, Poor Will He had a lot to learn about women too One day. 6 William Shakespeare, in October 1582 he came to my house with a long face.
T il never leave Stratford he said,Why not I asked We ll get away one day You ll see. Perhaps you will he said but I m going to be married in. a few weeks time To Anne Hathaway, My mouth fell open and stayed open Married To Anne. Hathaway Is that the Hathaways over at Shottery, Yes Will said I was working on some shoes on the table. and Will picked one up and looked at it, Well er she s a fine girl of course I said uncomfortably. B u t but Will she s twenty six and you re only eighteen. I know Will said But I ve got to marry her,Oh no I said You mean she s.
T hat s right said Will In about six months time I m. going to be a father,The actors come to town, Will married Anne Hathaway in November and she came to. live in Henley Street John Shakespeare was pleased that his. oldest son was married but I don t think Will s mother. wanted him to marry so young Families cost a lot of money. and John Shakespeare was having a lot of money troubles in. those days Times were hard in Henley Street, Susanna was born the next May All babies look the same. to me but Will was very pleased with her,Look Toby she s got my eyes he said happily She s. The actors come to town 7, going to be as beautiful as the Queen of Egypt and as clever as. King Solomon, Oh yes I said All parents talk like that about their.
children I don t believe a word of it, I didn t see much of Will s wife I knew she didn t like me. To her I was one of Will s wild friends who got him into. trouble She came from a very serious Puritan family Lots of. church going and no singing or dancing, Soon there was another baby on the way and one evening. in February 1585 I hurried round to Henley Street to hear the. news Will s sister Joan opened the door and then Will came. running down the stairs, It s two of them he said Twins A girl and a boy Isn t. that wonderful, Will had some good friends Hamnet and Judith Sadler. and he called the twins after them John Shakespeare was very. pleased to have his first grandson and everyone was happy. For a while, Will and I still went around together when we could He.
was still reading and writing and soon I could see a change in. him He was twenty three now and he was not happy with his. Stratford s too small Toby he said Too slow Too,quiet Too boring I ve got to get away. Yes but how I asked You ve got a family three young. children remember,He didn t answer, In the summer months companies of players often came to. small towns and in 1587 five different companies came Will. 8 William Shakespeare, and I always went to see the plays Will loved to talk to the. actors and to listen to all their stories of London. The Queen s Men came to Stratford in June and we went. to see the play I don t remember what it was I know that I. laughed a lot and that Will said it was a stupid play with not. a word of poetry in it,Why don t you write a play yourself I told him. Write a play He laughed Anne would never speak to me. I didn t say anything and Will looked at me and laughed. It happened a few months later I walked into the,The Queen s Men came to Stratford in June.
A new life in London 9, Shakespeares kitchen one evening and there was Anne with. a red angry face shouting at the top of her voice,How can you do this to me And what about the. children Then she saw me and stopped, Will was sitting at the table and looked pleased to see me. I ve told Anne he said quietly that I m going to live in. London I want to be an actor and to write plays if I can. Plays screamed Anne Acting Actors are dirty wicked. people They re all thieves and criminals They drink all day. and they never go to church, Don t be stupid Anne You know that s not true Listen. I ll come home when I can but I must go to London I can t do. anything in Stratford He looked at me across the room Are. you coming with me Toby,How soon can we start I said.
A new life in London, It s two days journey to London by horse and Will talked all. the way His eyes were bright and excited He was full of. plans and poems and a love of life, I talked to one of the Queen s M en he told me He said. that he could find me work in the theatre Acting perhaps Or. helping to write some plays I showed him some of my writing. and he was very interested, When we rode into London I began to feel afraid This was. a big big city and we were just two unimportant young men.


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