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Playwright and RSC Writer in Residence Mark Ravenhill recites his new sonnet, commissioned by us to celebrate the offical opening of the World Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare's 448th birthday.
A New Sonnet by Mark Ravenhill
I envy you. Your world was new, unmapped,
The language that you wrote in barely fixed;
You were Shagsbeer or Shaxpeer - whatever
Form your Will-full pen chose to take each day;
Whole continents of human thought and heart
Were not yet owned by any national tongue
And were yours to chart, conquer, describe, sell:
You made an empire of our language in your Globe.
And now we rush to patent every cell
Of being: we brand ourselves with jingles,
Every word we speak or write is trading
And our little lives are ended with a deal.
You taught us language and there's profit on't
But still a greater possibility - to curse.
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