Ministering to the sick - an illustration from the Booke of Christian Prayer

"If the while I think on thee, dear friend,
all losses are restored and sorrows end."

Shakespeare fell fatally ill in 1616, after a "merrie meeting" with friends - according to John Ward, writing around 50 years later.

The playwright Ben Jonson and the Warwickshire poet Michael Drayton both attended the occasion.

When Shakespeare fell sick, he might well have cast his mind back to happier days, as in Sonnet 30 (above).

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