Shakespeare 400

Special Collection

As part of the Shakespeare Lives in 2016 programme, celebrating the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death, the British Council has supported The Poetry Archive to enable us to record and present the Shakespeare 400 Collection.

The Shakespeare 400 Collection contains recordings of twenty sonnets read by ten major poets. Each poet has chosen a favourite sonnet by Shakespeare and, inspired by that sonnet, has written a new sonnet of their own.

These new sonnets are included in a new Bloomsbury anthology, 'On Shakespeare's Sonnets - A Poets' Celebration', published in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and Kings College London. The book contains 30 Shakespeare sonnets and new sonnets by thirty poets.

Sonnet 11

William Shakespeare

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st

In one of thine, from that which thou departest;

And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,

Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest. ...

Sonnet 12

William Shakespeare

When I do count the clock that tells the time,

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;

When I behold the violet past prime,

And sable curls all silver'd o'er with white; ...

Sonnet 33

William Shakespeare

Full many a glorious morning have I seen

Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,

Kissing with golden face the meadows green,

Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy; ...

Sonnet 36

William Shakespeare

Let me confess that we two must be twain,

Although our undivided loves are one:

So shall those blots that do with me remain,

Without thy help, by me be borne alone. ...

Sonnet 43

William Shakespeare

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,

For all the day they view things unrespected;


But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,


And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
 ...

Sonnet 49

William Shakespeare

Against that time, if ever that time come,

When I shall see thee frown on my defects,

When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,

Called to that audit by advis'd respects; ...

Sonnet 65

William Shakespeare

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,

But sad mortality o'er-sways their power, ...

Sonnet 73

William Shakespeare

That time of year thou may;st in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin;d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. ...

Sonnet 116

William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove. ...

Sonnet 143

William Shakespeare

Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch

One of her feathered creatures broke away,

Sets down her babe, and makes all swift dispatch

In pursuit of the thing she would have stay; ...