Among the many words in the English language first coined by Shakespeare is ‘mountaineer’. But was
England’s Bard a mountaineer himself? To mark the 4o0th anniversary of the death of the greatest writer in the English language, we’ve picked out a few quotes from Shakespeare’s works which seem evocative enough of the experience of walking and camping in the hills to suggest that the Bard may indeed have been a hillwalker!

Describing the landscape

“Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep”
The Tempest, Act IV, Scene I
“Rough quarries, rocks, and hills
whose heads touch heaven”
Othello, Act I, Scene III
“Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye
Kissing with golden face the meadows green
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy”
“These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
Draws out our miles, and makes them wearisome”
King Richard III, Act III, Scene III
“Night’s Candles are burnt out and jocund day
/ Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain”
Romeo and Juliet, Act III Scene V
“But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill”
Hamlet, Act I, Scene I

Describing the weather

“Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never / Remember to have heard”
King Lear, Act III, scene II
“Here’s neither bush nor shrub, to bear off any weather at all, and
another storm brewing; I hear it sing i’ the wind: yond same black
cloud, yond huge one, looks like a foul bombard that would shed his
liquor. If it should thunder as it did before, I know not where to hide
my head: yond same cloud cannot choose but fall by pailfuls.”
The Tempest, Act II, Scene II

On exercising outdoors

“Now for our mountain sport; up to yond hill,
Your legs are young; I’ll tread these flats.”
Cymbeline, Act III, Scene III
“Bowing his head against the sleepy mount / To climb his happiness”
Timon of Athens, Act I, scene I
“To climb steep hills / Requires slow pace at first”
King Henry VIII, Act I, Scene I
“I have tired myself, and for two nights together / Have made the ground my bed.”
Cymbeline, Act III, scene VI
Original article by Tom Bowker