Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

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Viola Draws a Blank
Music: Sir Arthur Sullivan
Viola tries to tell Orsino, Duke of Illyria, that his beloved Olivia is not the only woman deserving of his attention.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

“MY father had a daughter lov’d a man,
As it might be perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.”

“And what’s her history?”

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Six Posts
‘This England’
Music: Edward Elgar
John of Gaunt watches in despair as his country is milked for its wealth and shared out among the king’s favourites.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

THIS throne of kings, this sceptr’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war.

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‘There is a Tide in the Affairs of Men’
Brutus urges Cassius to act while everything is going his way, or be left with nothing but regrets.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

THERE is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.

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Two Gentlemen of Verona
two-part story
Music: Charles Avison
Parted from his beloved Julia, Proteus follows his friend Valentine to Milan, where he meets the bewitching Silvia.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

ONE day, Valentine came to bid farewell to his fast friend Proteus. Proteus had fallen in love, and Valentine, weary of listening to Proteus’s raptures about his Julia, thought he might try his luck in Milan. Luck was unusually kind, bringing him Silvia, the pretty, teasing daughter of the Duke of Milan.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
two-part story
Music: Felix Mendelssohn
Hermia and her lover Lysander elope from Athens, only to become tangled with squabbling fairies in the woods.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

WHEN Hermia’s father declared her life forfeit unless she married Demetrius, she fled Athens with her lover Lysander. But her friend Helena betrayed them, hoping in the frantic pursuit through the woods beyond the city to win Demetrius’s trust, and eventually his love.

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The Tragedy of Macbeth
two-part story
Music: Sir Arthur Sullivan; Richard Strauss
Macbeth becomes wound in spells, and finds that one murder leads to another.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

JUST before Edward the Confessor came to the English throne, two Scottish generals, Macbeth and Banquo, saved the throne of their king Duncan by repulsing a Danish invasion.

On their way home, three witches accosted them. They told Macbeth that he would one day be a king, and Banquo that he would be a father of kings.

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The Tempest
two-part story
Music: Matthew Locke; Thomas Arne
A duke with a passion for the art of enchantment is stranded by his enemies on a deserted island.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

PROSPERO, Duke of Milan, a keen student of spells and enchantments, was so wrapped up in his books of lore that his brother Antonio thought the duchy would be better in other hands. So he conspired with Alonso, King of Naples, to have Prospero and his three-year-old daughter Miranda taken out to sea, and set adrift.

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All Posts
Tagged William Shakespeare (10 posts)
page 1
1 Viola Draws a Blank
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Viola tries to tell Orsino, Duke of Illyria, that his beloved Olivia is not the only woman deserving of his attention.
2 Much Ado About Nothing
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Don Pedro’s brother John tries to ensure that the course of true love does not run smooth.
3 The Tempest
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
A duke with a passion for the art of enchantment is stranded by his enemies on a deserted island.
4 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Hermia and her lover Lysander elope from Athens, only to become tangled with squabbling fairies in the woods.
5 Two Gentlemen of Verona
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Parted from his beloved Julia, Proteus follows his friend Valentine to Milan, where he meets the bewitching Silvia.
6 ‘This England’
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
John of Gaunt watches in despair as his country is milked for its wealth and shared out among the king’s favourites.
page 2
7 ‘Not one more!’
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
The prospect of facing daunting odds made his cousin quail, but Henry acted like a true King.
8 The Tragedy of Macbeth
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Macbeth becomes wound in spells, and finds that one murder leads to another.
9 The Tragedy of Hamlet
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
The Prince of Denmark is bound to avenge his father’s murder.
10 ‘There is a Tide in the Affairs of Men’
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Brutus tells Cassius to act while everything is going his way, or be left with nothing but regrets.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Adjectives

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Curl’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Do you know ‘rim’ (4 letters), and ‘the Roman name for Chester’ (4 letters)?
Make opposites from these words using prefixes, like lucky → unlucky.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic