Johnathon Swift, (1667 - 1745), author of, Gulliver's Travels, was a really snarky guy. He wrote his novel as a fictitious travel journal, and named his protagonist, Gulliver, from the root word, gullible.
In 1721, he wrote a proposal to Robert Harley, the then Prime Minister of England, in which he penned, "I see no absolute necessity why any language would be perpetually changing,"
But changed it has.
Sadly, many of Shakespeare's puns and jokes are now falling flat, owing to the fact that we no longer speak "Elizabethan." So too, many of his lovely rhymes no longer rhyme as he intended them to.
For instance, the word we know as "knife" came down to us from the later era of Old English, which was spoken between 900 and 1066 A.D., and back then "knife" was pronounced more like "kn ee fer."
Fortunately for us, scholars such as Professor David Crystal, author of The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation, spent 12 years pouring over Shakespeare' work, updating it for us.
Together with his thespian son, Ben Crystal, they have produced a delightful video for The Open University through which we can still experience Shakespeare's plays in their original form, (shown here).
They also explain such ironic phrases as, "Brevity is the soul of wit," as spoken by Polonius in Act 2, Scene 2 of Hamlet. The joke is, old Polonius was never brief, and "wit" refers to a quick, playful mind.
Considering the ever evolving nature of the English language, I do wonder how my work might be perceived one hundred years from now. Ah well. The best that I can do is to do my very best, today.