Rufus Wainwright revealed his mum used a Shakespeare sonnet as a subtle hint to say she knew he had been masturbating.

The 42-year-old American-Canadian singer-songwriter is dedicating his latest album 'Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets' to Shakespeare's greatest works, working with numerous stars including Carrie Fisher, William Shatner, Helena Bonham Carter and Florence Welch.

But music aside, Shakespeare proved to be a useful tool used by his late mother - folk singer Kate Mcgarrigle - when she used the famous poems to teach him a lesson whilst he was going through puberty.

In an interview with the i newspaper, Rufus said: ''While she never caught me masturbating when I was a kid, she had an inkling about what was going on from doing my laundry. One day she said, 'You know Rufus, what you're doing in your room is written about in Shakespeare as well.' She told me, 'Read this sonnet' and it was 'Th'Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame.'''

The sonnet his mum referred to talks about ''lust in action'' - describing the sexual act as an ''expense of spirit in a waste of shame.''

Rufus was 12 when he was first 'seduced' by Shakespeare after his father - the folk singer Loudon Wainwright - took him and his sister Martha to see 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in London's Regent's Park one summer.