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I'm monumental, far from drab,
A fixture the whole world over.
You bet I've the gift of the gab,
Forever fashionable - moreover,
The varied globe I've travelled,
All in one remorseless city.
Although the critics cavilled,
The generous still think me witty.

My birthplace lies on a river,
Whose name makes pedants sad.
Exposure to make you shiver
And more, my rants have had.
If you need a hint, in each line
Of this majestic rhyme,
Is a lustrous one of mine.
Don't grovel - you'll know me in time.

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I think you are probably

William Shakespeare.

The relevance of the title is clear enough.

I'll explain the boldface words in what follows later.

I'm monumental, far from drab,
A fixture the whole world over.

Shakespeare's plays are famous worldwide.

You bet I've the gift of the gab,

Certainly does.

Forever fashionable - moreover,
The varied globe I've travelled,
All in one remorseless city.

Ho ho. That would be the Globe Theatre.

Although the critics cavilled,
The generous still think me witty.

So they do.

My birthplace lies on a river,
Whose name makes pedants sad.

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon. I confess I haven't yet worked out what's pedant-saddening about Avon. (Perhaps the fact that "Avon" means "river" and so "River Avon" is tautologous?)

Exposure to make you shiver
And more, my rants have had.

His writings are very, very widely copied, read, and acted.

If you need a hint, in each line
Of this majestic rhyme,
Is a lustrous one of mine.

The words I've boldfaced are ones that seem to have first seen print in Shakespeare's works. That doesn't necessarily mean he actually coined them, and in several cases he surely didn't, and in some cases his meanings differ from ours. (Though in some other cases the words are Shakespearean in the sense that his are the first uses that do match our meanings.) I'm missing a couple of lines: "Grovel" has an early Shakespearean use, but someone else got there first; and I can't find anything fitting in the "gift of the gab" line. Perhaps I'm missing something.

Don't grovel - you'll know me in time.

(I don't think this adds anything much beyond rhyming with "mine" :-).)

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  • $\begingroup$ Smh Too fast for me $\endgroup$ – NL628 Mar 18 '18 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ Some day I need to try to come up with a puzzle that you can't solve in a few minutes :-) Correct, of course. Your guess at the pedant-saddening bit is also correct. The missing boldfaced words are "bet" and "grovel", which I found on this list (warning to readers: LINK CONTAINS SPOILERS). $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 18 '18 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ in the first line, "far from drab" - if we turn "drab" backwards, we get "bard". Intentional wordplay, or happy coincidence? $\endgroup$ – Carmeister Mar 19 '18 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor OED disagrees about both "bet" and "grovel", though to judge from the quotations it lists the case for "bet" is better than I'd have guessed. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 19 '18 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor I edited your comment above to replace the link with one that goes via goo.gl, so that the URL doesn't have a spoiler in it :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 19 '18 at 9:49
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Just a small additional idea about the pedant part...

I thought the pedant bit was because stratford-upon-avon was because Stratford might imply a ford on the river Strat - but the river is Avon, like Cambridge is a bridge over the river Cam -- that said Oxford also is not a ford of the Ox river, but a ford for Oxen I expect.

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