新编英语教程第三册Unit04

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Unit 4

TEXT I

A Man from Stratford — William Shakespeare

Text

On March 25th, 1616, fifty-two-year-old Master William Shakespeare signed his will leaving the famous legacy of his "second best bed and furniture" to his wife and the greater part of his estate to his married daughter, Susanna Hall. It was the will of a comfortably off man, for the income from the estate probably amounted to about $200 a year, which was a lot of money over three hundred and sixty years ago. For historians, the most interesting part of the will was that signature, because it and other signatures are all we have left of the handwriting of the world's literary genius. There is no country where Shakespeare's work is not read with something very like awe because there is something fascinating about a man whose work was so much better than that of anyone else. Yet in spite of the thousands of books that have been written about this amazing writer, almost every detail of his personal life is supposition rather than fact. Historically speaking, Shakespeare lived only yesterday but his activities, like those of nearly every playwright of his day, are so vague that he could have been born in Roman times.
Shakespeare's birthplace, the little town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, had made a thriving business out of its most famous citizen for a long time. It is a popular place for tourists from all over the world, even though many of them would have the greatest of difficulty in understanding Shakespeare's Elizabethan English. However, he has such a fine reputation that it is well worth the journey just to be able to look at the swans that swim on his river, and gaze at the cottage where Anne, his wife, lived before their marriage, and then to see his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
To plot Shakespeare's life is to become involved in a kind of detective story where there are plenty of clues but very little else. Nobody even knows the exact date of his birth, although the register of the Parish Church confirms that William Shakespeare was baptized there on April 26th, 1564. Nor can it be proved that he went to the excellent local grammar school, although he probably did as there was nowhere else for him to go. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years older than himself, and they had three children. Then in 1585 this young married man apparently left Stratford and his family, for there is absolutely no record of him for seven long years.
Exactly what happened to William Shakespeare during those seven years has puzzled scholars ever since. There are different theories, but of all the probabilities the most likely one is that he travelled abroad, spending a good deal of time at sea. Shakespeare wrote with great conviction about storms and shipwrecks and eating the hard ship's biscuits "with aching teeth".
What is quite certain is that, during the time Shakespeare lived there, Stratford-upon-Avon was visited by a great number of theatrical companies. It can never be proved, but it seems quite possible that the young Shakespeare saw some of these performances, realized in a flash that this was the life for him and talked one of the managers into giving him a job. At least nobody questions the fact that he can next be traced in 1592 in London, earning his living as a dramatist and generally getting well known in the theatre. Whatever else had happened during the lost years, plays that followed, such as Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew, were proof that the greatest literary career of all time had begun. Shakespeare soon became sufficiently well known for managers and other influential people to refer to him in writing. We know that as well as working on old plays he rapidly made a name for himself as an author of entirely new ones and also performed as an actor at court. During his fifteen years as a working man of the theatre, Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays as well as marvellous verse.
After his death on April 23rd, 1616, Shakespeare left behind a mass of questions that experts have been trying to answer ever since. What was the source of Shakespeare's amazingly detailed knowledge of so many different subjects? Who was the beautiful but apparently heartless "dark lady" who seemed to have first inspired him and then caused him a lot of sadness? So far we do not know. There have even been foolish attempts to prove that William Shakespeare's plays were in fact written by someone else.
When one remembers that he lived in an age when printing was still very expensive and that it was rare for anything written to be thrown away, it seems astonishing that nothing remains of the busy writer's own handwriting but the signature. Sooner or later someone may discover a bundle of letters that will answer the question that have puzzled so many people for so long.
From an article in the magazine Look and Learn

TEXT II

William Shakespeare

Most people have heard of Shakespeare and probably know something of the plays that he wrote. However, not everybody knows much about the life of this remarkable man, except perhaps that he was born in the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon and that he married a woman called Anne Hathaway. We know nothing of his school life. We do not know, for example, how long it lasted, but we presume that he attended the local grammar school, where the principal subject taught was Latin.
Nothing certain is known of what he did between the time he left school and his departure for London. According to a local legend, he was beaten and even put in prison for stealing rabbits and deer from the estate of a neighbouring landowner, Sir Thomas Lucy. It is said that because of this he was forced to run away from his native place. A different legend says that he was apprenticed to a Stratford butcher, but did not like the life and for this reason decided to leave Stratford.
Whatever caused him to leave the town of his birth, the world can be grateful that he did so. What is certain is that he set foot on the road to fame when he arrived in London. It is said that at first he was without money or friends there, but that he earned a little by taking care of the horses of the gentlemen who attended the plays at the theatre. In time, as he became a familiar figure to the actors in the theatre, they stopped and spoke to him. They found his conversation so brilliant that finally he was invited to join their company.
Earlier than 1592 there is no mention of Shakespeare either as actor or as playwright, and the name of the theatre he worked in is not known. However, by this date he had become one of the three leading members of a company of actors called the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This company was under the protection of the Lord Chamberlain, a powerful nobleman and an official at the Queen's Court. The company travelled about the country, giving performances in different towns, and also performed plays at Court.
From what we know of his later life, it is clear that Shakespeare's connection with the theatre made him a wealthy man, since his plays attracted large audiences and he shared in the profits. Towards the end of the sixteenth century he bought a large property in Stratford. It is not certain when he went back there to live but it was probably around 1603. He is not recorded as having acted in any play after that date, though he continued writing. No less than eleven of his plays were produced during the next ten years. These include the great tragedies Othello, Macbeth and King Lear. His last work was The Tempest, but he may have shared in the writing of the historical play King Henry VIII.
Even after his retirement he frequently visited London. Since the road between Stratford and London passed through Oxford, he would rest there at the home of his friend John Davenant, who had a deep respect and affection for the playwright.
Shakespeare died in 1616. Some years earlier he chose a gravestone, under which he was to be buried. He had a curse engraved on this stone which threatened to bring misfortune on anyone who might remove his body from his grave.
It seems strange that he should have had this fear. He must have known how greatly he was respected, even in his lifetime, for the genius that he showed in his plays and poems. It seems impossible that his remains could have been disturbed after his death.
Unit 4 TEXT I A Man from Stratford — William Shakespeare Text On March 25th, 1616, fifty-two-year-old Master William Shakespeare signed his will leaving the famous legacy of his "second best bed and furniture" to his wife and the greater part of his estate to his married daughter, Susanna Hall. It was the will of a comfortably off man, for the income from the estate probably amounted to about $200 a year, which was a lot of money over three hundred and sixty years ago. For historians, the most interesting part of the will was that signature, because it and other signatures are all we have left of the handwriting of the world's literary genius. There is no country where Shakespeare's work is not read with something very like awe because there is something fascinating about a man whose work was so much better than that of anyone else. Yet in spite of the thousands of books that have been written about this amazing writer, almost every detail of his personal life is supposition rather than fact. Historically speaking, Shakespeare lived only yesterday but his activities, like those of nearly every playwright of his day, are so vague that he could have been born in Roman times. Shakespeare's birthplace, the little town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, had made a thriving business out of its most famous citizen for a long time. It is a popular place for tourists from all over the world, even though many of them would have the greatest of difficulty in understanding Shakespeare's Elizabethan English. However, he has such a fine reputation that it is well worth the journey just to be able to look at the swans that swim on his river, and gaze at the cottage where Anne, his wife, lived before their marriage, and then to see his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. To plot Shakespeare's life is to become involved in a kind of detective story where there are plenty of clues but very little else. Nobody even knows the exact date of his birth, although the register of the Parish Church confirms that William Shakespeare was baptized there on April 26th, 1564. Nor can it be proved that he went to the excellent local grammar school, although he probably did as there was nowhere else for him to go. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years older than himself, and they had three children. Then in 1585 this young married man apparently left Stratford and his family, for there is absolutely no record of him for seven long years. Exactly what happened to William Shakespeare during those seven years has puzzled scholars ever since. There are different theories, but of all the probabilities the most likely one is that he travelled abroad, spending a good deal of time at sea. Shakespeare wrote with great conviction about storms and shipwrecks and eating the hard ship's biscuits "with aching teeth". What is quite certain is that, during the time Shakespeare lived there, Stratford-upon-Avon was visited by a great number of theatrical companies. It can never be proved, but it seems quite possible that the young Shakespeare saw some of these performances, realized in a flash that this was the life for him and talked one of the managers into giving him a job. At least nobody questions the fact that he can next be traced in 1592 in London, earning his living as a dramatist and generally getting well known in the theatre. Whatever else had happened during the lost years, plays that followed, such as Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew, were proof that the greatest literary career of all time had begun. Shakespeare soon became sufficiently well known for managers and other influential people to refer to him in writing. We know that as well as working on old plays he rapidly made a name for himself as an author of entirely new ones and also performed as an actor at court. During his fifteen years as a working man of the theatre, Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays as well as marvellous verse. After his death on April 23rd, 1616, Shakespeare left behind a mass of questions that experts have been trying to answer ever since. What was the source of Shakespeare's amazingly detailed knowledge of so many different subjects? Who was the beautiful but apparently heartless "dark lady" who seemed to have first inspired him and then caused him a lot of sadness? So far we do not know. There have even been foolish attempts to prove that William Shakespeare's plays were in fact written by someone else. When one remembers that he lived in an age when printing was still very expensive and that it was rare for anything written to be thrown away, it seems astonishing that nothing remains of the busy writer's own handwriting but the signature. Sooner or later someone may discover a bundle of letters that will answer the question that have puzzled so many people for so long. From an article in the magazine Look and Learn TEXT II William Shakespeare Most people have heard of Shakespeare and probably know something of the plays that he wrote. However, not everybody knows much about the life of this remarkable man, except perhaps that he was born in the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon and that he married a woman called Anne Hathaway. We know nothing of his school life. We do not know, for example, how long it lasted, but we presume that he attended the local grammar school, where the principal subject taught was Latin. Nothing certain is known of what he did between the time he left school and his departure for London. According to a local legend, he was beaten and even put in prison for stealing rabbits and deer from the estate of a neighbouring landowner, Sir Thomas Lucy. It is said that because of this he was forced to run away from his native place. A different legend says that he was apprenticed to a Stratford butcher, but did not like the life and for this reason decided to leave Stratford. Whatever caused him to leave the town of his birth, the world can be grateful that he did so. What is certain is that he set foot on the road to fame when he arrived in London. It is said that at first he was without money or friends there, but that he earned a little by taking care of the horses of the gentlemen who attended the plays at the theatre. In time, as he became a familiar figure to the actors in the theatre, they stopped and spoke to him. They found his conversation so brilliant that finally he was invited to join their company. Earlier than 1592 there is no mention of Shakespeare either as actor or as playwright, and the name of the theatre he worked in is not known. However, by this date he had become one of the three leading members of a company of actors called the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This company was under the protection of the Lord Chamberlain, a powerful nobleman and an official at the Queen's Court. The company travelled about the country, giving performances in different towns, and also performed plays at Court. From what we know of his later life, it is clear that Shakespeare's connection with the theatre made him a wealthy man, since his plays attracted large audiences and he shared in the profits. Towards the end of the sixteenth century he bought a large property in Stratford. It is not certain when he went back there to live but it was probably around 1603. He is not recorded as having acted in any play after that date, though he continued writing. No less than eleven of his plays were produced during the next ten years. These include the great tragedies Othello, Macbeth and King Lear. His last work was The Tempest, but he may have shared in the writing of the historical play King Henry VIII. Even after his retirement he frequently visited London. Since the road between Stratford and London passed through Oxford, he would rest there at the home of his friend John Davenant, who had a deep respect and affection for the playwright. Shakespeare died in 1616. Some years earlier he chose a gravestone, under which he was to be buried. He had a curse engraved on this stone which threatened to bring misfortune on anyone who might remove his body from his grave. It seems strange that he should have had this fear. He must have known how greatly he was respected, even in his lifetime, for the genius that he showed in his plays and poems. It seems impossible that his remains could have been disturbed after his death.
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