What's in a name? U.K. clothiers misspell Shakespeare

March 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM ET

Topshop UK /
Is this a typo which I see before me? Topshop's errant garment.

Presumably in a move to inject some cultured class into their latest line, UK clothiers Topshop recently unveiled a new line of T-shirts printed with one of the most beloved lines of English literature: “Romeo Romeo, Wherefore art thou Romeo?” But as Britain's Metro reports, the quote, taken from arguably the most famous play by William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” is followed by a serious misspelling.

This picture released by Britain's National Portrait Gallery shows The Flower Portrait of William Shakespeare. Experts at Britain's National Portrait Gallery said Thursday, April 21, 2005, they have concluded that one of the most well-known portraits of William Shakespeare is a fraud, painted more than 200 years after he died. Many experts had long suspected that the work, known as the Flower portrait, was done much later than 1609, which is the date painted on it. (AP Photo/ National Portrait Gallery/HO) ** EDITORAL USE ONLY NO SALES **

The quote is attributed to “Shakespere.” Oops.

British shoppers with a bit more reverence for their nation’s fabled literary heritage were quick to point out the gaffe, sending Topshop scrambling for a fix. My favorite line from the Metro’s story: According to the Daily Mail, when informed of the error, a Topshop spokesperson responded: "Oh my God." 

In the wake of the textile typo, the shirt has since vanished from Topshop’s website. While armies of literature professors are doubtlessly calling for a plague on Topshop’s house, it is an admonition from Shakespeare himself that they should take to heart. “Ignorance is the curse of God,” wrote the Bard in “King Henry VI.” “Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”

Alex Smith is a senior editor at TODAY.com, who insists on speaking floridly in iambic pentameter. 

Related stories: