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William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright and poet, from the monumental bust at Stratford-upon-Avon.

early 19th century
Bust of Shakespeare

 

They’ve got his trademark

hairline, beard and domed brow

just right. But he looks like them.

Victorian.

 

His eyes gaze beyond us

at some high ideal. Those lips

never knew a brothel kiss.

No one seeing this likeness

would accuse him of poetry.

Or of Hamlet.

 

But his marble shirt is clean.

 

 

© Stephen Devereux

Picture 10039662, early 19th century engraving after a painting, after a cast of the original bust

 

 

Stephen Devereux writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. He has had his work published in many magazines, journals and websites in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Australia and USA. He has won or been shortlisted in many competitions. He was born in rural Suffolk and worked on farms and in factories until going to UEA as a mature student. Since then he has taught in schools, colleges and universities in the North West. He lives in Liverpool.