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TfL has put Shakespeare's sonnets on the tube to mark 400 years since his death

By Amy Smith

There’s a new reason to look up from your phone/book/lap/the abyss while on the tube. Three poems – including two newbies – have arrived on train carriages to respond directly to Shakespearean words and mark his year-long 400th party.

The pieces are also the latest in the long-running Poems on the Underground scheme, which has used poetry to stimulate tube riders for 30 years. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Belfast poet Michael Longley CBE, and ol’ romantic PB Shelley will find their pieces slapped all over stations for 12 weeks.

Choice bits of the Bard's work will also be displayed; there's wedding fave Sonnet 116 – 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments…'; Ariel’s song from 'The Tempest' that includes the line 'Where the bee sucks, there suck I' and a few lines from 'King Lear':

‘Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O! I have ta’en
Too little care of this. . .”

Words bound to comfort or inspire the sweaty commuter or tourist caught between armpits.

Image: joephoto uk

Check out this Shakespearean tube map

Or work your way through the ten best Shakespeare plays of all time

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