Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Do You Know Your Shakespeare?

Poll: Many Britons don't know Shakespeare

LONDON, March 27 (UPI) -- A British survey suggests a third of Britons cannot correctly identify the profession of playwright William Shakespeare.

The survey of 3,000 people also found a quarter of respondents did not know John Keats was a poet and less than a third did not know "Winnie-the-Pooh" scribe A. A. Milne was an author, The Sun reported Thursday. An additional two-thirds of respondents could not correctly identify Oscar Wilde as the author of "The Importance of Being Earnest."

The poll, conducted ahead of a poetry contest run by English poet laureate Andrew Motion, suggested 70 percent of Britons have never written a poem to a loved one although two-thirds of survey participants said they would like to receive one.

"Although most people accept that poetry has a vital role in personal as well as national life, these findings show a depressing level of ignorance," Motion said. "The good news is that 61 percent said they would like to have poetry play a role in their lives -- in which case we hope they might also want to write one."


Here's a Shakespeare poem so you won't be among these people!

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

2 comments:

Lisa P. said...

Hey, did they ever figure out who Shakespeare's boyfriend was?!!

I enjoy this passage from Shakespeare, that is one of lesser known...

To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,

Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell.

To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.

To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten?

Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?

Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.

Chris said...

"With a mere mitten." That line says it all!