William Shakespeare's Tobacco Pipes Test Positive For Weed... And Not One Single Person Is Surprised
To smoke or not to smoke, that is the question: and, according to a study recently published in the South African Journal of Science, the bard with the beard’s answer was "yes." That’s right, William Shakespeare smoked weed. And nobody’s surprised — seriously, have you read A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
The study, Shakespeare, plants, and chemical analysis of early 17th century clay 'tobacco' pipes from Europe, authored by Francis Thackeray, reports that scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, tested 24 clay fragments of 17th century tobacco pipes (from here on out referred to as “tobacco” pipes, *wink*) assumed to belong to Shakespeare. The fragments were previously excavated from the playwright’s garden in Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, England, where Shakespeare famously lived. Other pipe fragments were discovered in the surrounding land, and are presumed to belong to his neighbors. All were tested for marijuana, coca leaf, and tobacco leaf — and the results prove that Shakespeare’s neighborhood was way more happening than mine.
Eight of the fragments tested positive for cannabis, and half were of those found in Shakespeare’s garden; though none of the writer’s pipes tested positive for cocaine. Basically, the bard was that friend who always brings his peace pipe over to your apartment on Friday night, but you never have to worry about him dabbling in the harder stuff (although the tests show that some of his neighbors did — two of the pipe fragments found outside Shakespeare's garden tested positive for cocaine). Thackeray believes that Shakespeare preferred weed for its mind-stimulating properties, aka he may have toked up before writing all those super-trippy sonnets.
The study notes possible references to weed in Shakespeare's writing, particularly Sonnet 76:
Why is my verse so barren of new pride?So far from variation or quick change?Why with the time do I not glance asideTo new-found methods and to compounds strange?Why write I still all one, ever the same,And keep invention in a noted weed,That every word doth almost tell my name,Showing their birth and where they did proceed?O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,And you and love are still my argument;So all my best is dressing old words new,Spending again what is already spent: For as the sun is daily new and old, So is my love still telling what is told.
So, do with that what you will. Either way, 6th period Lit class just became way less of a bummer, yeah?