One-Minute Book Reviews

December 8, 2008

Christmas in Shakespeare? Astound Us With Your Memory, English Majors

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 4:10 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been looking for good Christmas poetry and found enough of it that I split the material into two posts: one on the seasonal offerings for children, posted on Saturday, and a one on the possibilities for teenagers and adults, which will appear Wednesday, Dec. 10.

The biggest surprise was that I came across a wonderful passage in Shakespeare that I’d be tempted to use on my Christmas cards if I didn’t already have this year’s batch. How I could have forgotten this one is a mystery given that I’ve read it or heard it many times on film or on stage — unless the explanation is that I majored in political science was reading Che Guevara’s diary when I could have been rereading some of the plays.

Do you know which passage I’m thinking of? It’s not a free-standing poem – not one of the sonnets, in other words – but it’s entirely appropriate to the season. I’m throwing this one out there because there may be other Christmas-card–worthy lines by Shakespeare that I’ve forgotten or never known. If you can point them out in a comment, you may help people still casting about for these.

[As usual when reading poetry on the Internet, I’ve been struck by how much of it is misquoted, misattributed or plagiarized. So the Dec. 10 post will list more than a half dozen good Christmas poems for adults or teenagers with a brief commentary on each and links to trustworthy sites that have posted the full texts. Poetry may be a genteel art, but when it comes to online verse, it’s a jungle out there, and on Wednesday I will don my leopard-skin Tarzan suit and try to clear a path to the safer vines.]

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. hi janice – was it this one from love’s labour’s lost? have to confess i couldn’t remember the play – and googled for it 😦

    at christmas i no more desire a rose
    than wish a snow in may’s new-fangled mirth
    but like of each thing that in season grows..

    or were u thinking of heigh ho the holly from as you like it?

    in hamlet act 1 scene 1 – marcellus after he sees the ghost:

    some say that never ‘gainst that season comes
    wherein our saviour’s birth is celebrated….
    … so hallowed and so gracious is the time..

    Comment by su2lee — December 9, 2008 @ 7:11 am | Reply

  2. Wow, you’re good! I was thinking of your third choice (from “Hamlet”), seven lines from that scene that I’ll quote tomorrow.

    I wasn’t sure anybody would guess the passage because it doesn’t specifically use the word “Christmas” (and has “saviour’s birth” instead), so it would require a good memory or very creative searching :).

    I love that you mentioned the other quotes, too, because some people might prefer them to the “Hamlet” quote for greeting cards. Thanks a a million.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — December 9, 2008 @ 11:36 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: