And here's how Shakespeare celebrated Epiphany. Twelfth Night (or What you Will) was written to mark the twelfth night of Christmas, and the end of Christmastide. The first recorded performance was 1602, just three months before the death of Queen Elizabeth. The play itself doesn't have much to say about the incarnation, but plenty about love, revelry and cross-dressing mayhem. Feste the clown is one of Shakespeare's most memorable characters, and his wit and music have a melancholy streak that colours the whole play. Here's what he sings when Sir Toby Belch and the ridiculous Andrew Aguecheek beg him for a love song - not exactly what they were after.
O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear, your true love's coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.
What is love? 'Tis not hereafter,
Present mirth hath present laughter.
What's to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth's a stuff will not endure.