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Shakespeare Sunday

05 February 2016

February 4th, 1916.

IT WAS the original intention of the Shakespeare Tercentenary Committee to begin its commemoration functions on the 23rd of April. That happens this year to be Easter Day, but at first there appeared to the committee nothing incongruous in making the Shakespeare proceedings coincide with the Paschal Feast. If the Committee had consisted exclusively of mere pagans, we should not have been surprised at their conduct, but it so happens that some eminent ecclesiastics figure on its list, and it is simply amazing that they did not take care to prevent the plan which was originally arranged. As it is, they are not free from blame, for the plan as now rearranged is scarcely an improvement on the former one. For it is now proposed to call Sunday, April 30, Shakespeare Sunday, and to ask the clergy throughout the country to observe the day with special intention. The 30th, we need hardly say, is Low Sunday, the octave of Easter, and has for its central thought the Lord’s Resurrection. This fact appears to have escaped the notice of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and if it is true, as announced, that the Shakespeare Day observance is to take the place of the Easter observance, or, at any rate, to be incongruously combined with it, the Committee must be asked to find some other more suitable date, and we suggest that it should not be a Sunday at all. Against the present proposal, though a revised one, we protest most strongly on the ground of its indecency and its flagrant disregard of Christian sentiment; and we ask the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to dissociate themselves at once from the scheme.


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