Brent quotes oust Shakespeare gems 10:51, Feb 4 2004
LONDON (Reuters) - Shakespeare's most famous quotations are less memorable than the painful sayings of TV boss David Brent in "The Office", a survey has found.
More than a third knew it was Brent who said "Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue" in the award-winning comedy.
But only one in 10 aged between 25 and 44 knew "Now is the winter of our discontent" came from "Richard III", one of the Bard's most popular plays.
Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" also proved tricky. Some thought Mark Anthony's eulogy called for "friends, Romans, countrymen" to lend him money rather than their ears.
Others thought Wordsworth's " daffodils" begins with the immortal line "I wandered lonely as a ...goat" rather than "cloud".
Only one in 10 knew Irish writer Oscar Wilde said "I can resist everything except temptation".
But more than two-thirds knew Darth Vader said "If you only knew the power of the dark side" in "Star Wars".
Former Culture Secretary Chris Smith said more should be done to make young people read the classics.
"It is understandable that people should remember contemporary sources better than the classics," he said. "But we want to ensure they are also aware of some of the great and most enduring writing in the English language."
The survey of more than 1,000 people was commissioned by phone directory firm Yellow Pages to promote a schools poetry promotion next month.