There is an entry in Richard Burbage's diary concerning a particular incident in his life.

Richard Burbage was an Elizabethan Actor who is primarily famous for having been the lead actor in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Although actors were not considered part of high society in those days, they were still subject to the laws of mass hysteria, and therefore would commonly have a following of love-stricken groupies to attend to them.

Mr. Burbage had come into the company of the "Wife of a citizen," meaning someone of reasonably high social class. She had made arrangments with him to come to her house on a day that her husband was not to be home so that they might have an assignation. This woman was a bit on the romantic side, as followers of actors commonly are, and wished to devise a sort of code that would let her know when he had arrived. They agreed that, upon reaching her house, he would have the servants bring her the message "Richard III has arrived," because this event had occured at the time when "Richard III" was running at the Globe. Our friend Shakespeare overheard this conversation, primarily because the Globe served as living quarters for him most of the time, and decided that it would be fun to play a joke. Shakespeare arrived at the woman's house before Burbage and sent the message that "Richard III has arrived." Although we cannot make any inferences about the character of said woman, suffice it to say that she was equally impressed with Shakespeare as she had been with Burbage. When Burbage arrived Shakespeare was in the act with the woman; Burbage sent up the message "Richard III has arrived," and the servant brought it up. Supposedly this would have been a rather akward situation for the servant, who was ordered to return another message: "William the Conqueror came before Richard III"

This story is backed up by a few professors and seems to be true. After all, would you make up a story about how another man beat you to it?

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