His Sonnet LV may as well have been addressed to himself:
Not marble, nor the gilded monumentsWith that ending reference to Judgment Day, the sonnet predicts that the beloved shall live until the very end of time. Shakespeare gives every indication of going to do so.
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rime;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
And in the following passage from A Midsummer Night's Dream [II.i.148-154], Shakespeare could have been describing the works of his own imagination:
Oberon...My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid's music.
Puck. I remember.
By the way, Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday. He had recently written his own epitaph (as I learned from Stephen J. Greenblatt's excellent book, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare):
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbearLet us remember, remember.
To dig the dust enclosed here;
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.
- Bartlett's is "a collection of passages, phrases, and proverbs traced to their sources in ancient and modern literature."