Yorick

 

In the play "Hamlet" is a scene where the clown picks up a skull, which he says has lain in earth three and twenty years, and he states that it is the skull of Yorick, the King's Jester.

The words "laid in earth three and twenty years" appear in the Second Quarto of "Hamlet," printed in 1603, which identifies Yorick as John Heywood, the King's jester, who had died in 1580-- three and twenty years before 1603, the date of this Quarto.

The reminiscences of Yorick in this scene in the play are much too intimate and affectionate to be other than biographical, as Heywood had died in 1580 (when Will Shaksper was only sixteen years of age and was still at Stratford) Shaksper could not possibly have been acquainted with Heywood, or referred to him in so affectionate a manner in this play.

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