Last year at this time, I wouldn't have dreamt we'd be walking around with masks on our faces in March of 2021. I remember trying to buy some dust masks at the hardware store back then, thinking they might be useful over the next few weeks. (They were already sold out.) A month after that, when I wrote this post, I would have been equally surprised to hear that it would still be relevant, or even understandable, in 2021. But it is. So I'm posting it again: a look back to how things seemed, Shakespeare-wise, Ben Jonson-wise, and Covid-wise, a year ago.
I hope I'm not posting this a third time in 2022.
April, 2020. This month, in our time of modern-day plague, I shall not write yet one more claim that Shakespeare wrote King Lear or Macbeth while quarantined for the "pest," as they called it. (He did not.) Instead, I am offering my parody of a poem by Shakespeare's greatest rival, his brilliant contemporary, the playwright and poet Ben Jonson (pictured left of Will), who inhabited the early modern theater world alongside Shakespeare and enjoyed insulting him from his bully pulpit of the stage. All evidence suggests that Jonson and Shakespeare were friends, though they