This morning I suddenly thought of Shakespeare and Tagore. Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616. Tagore was born May 8th 1861 and died on seventh august 1941.
Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright .He was widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.
Tagore is a towering figure in the millennium-old literature of Bengal. He composed about seven thousand poems,songs,short stories ,novels,dramas,musicals,letters and essays altogether.He won Nobel Prize in Literature for the English version of his collection of Bengali songs Geetanjali( an offering in songs).
Shakespeare in his play As You Like It,writes about the birth and death of a human being in the most interesting way.He portrays humankind in this play very skilfully. About the infant he says: ” At first the infant,mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms”.
Tagore also writes about the infant in a much different way: he says,” tomar holo shuru,for you it’s the beginning”.
In the second stage, Shakespeare says;”then the whining schoolboy,with his satchel and shining morning face,creeping like a snail.Unwilling to go to school.
In the third stage: Shakespeare writes; “And then the lover,sighing like furnace,with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow.
The third stage in Tagore’s song is:”You have a companion”.
In the fourth stage Shakespeare writes: “Then a soldier,full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,jealous in honor ,sudden and quick in quarrel,seeking the bubble reputation”.
In comparison, Tagore writes: “You have a boat”.
The next stage in Shakespeare’s poem is: “Then the justice ,in fair round belly with good capon lined,full of wise saws and modern instances.And so he plays his part.
The fifth stage in Tagore’s poem is: “You are sitting calmly”.
Shakespeare’s sixth stage is: “Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,with spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose ,well saved,a world too wide.For his shrunk shank,and his big manly voice,turning again toward childish treble,pipes and whistles in his sound”.
In the last stage Shakespeare says: ” That ends this strange eventful history.Is second childishness and mere oblivion,sans teeth,sans eyes,sans taste,sans everything”.
Tagore sums up old age thus: ” For me it is the ending.I have the night before me.I have stars shining.I am restless and moving. My hand is old and worn out. I am free from fear.I don’t have to look for work. I have done everything. My journey therefore is ending”.
Both Shakespeare and Tagore have written about the beginning and ending of life. Although their way of portraying the stages of life and death is very different. The conclusion is the same.