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William Shakespeare Poems

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is referred to as a Literary Genius and much of this praise is due to the wonderful words of his short William Shakespeare - Sonnetsand his extended poems as detailed on this page.

He is the most widely read author in the whole of the Western World - his poems and quotes from poems are familiar to everyone. And yet when we think about Shakespear we immediately we think of his famous plays and not his less famous poems.

William Shakespeare Poem - A Lover's Complaint
William Shakespeare Poem - Phoenix and the Turtle
William Shakespeare Poem - Rape of Lucrece
William Shakespeare poem - Venus and Adonis

During the Bard's lifetime dramatists were not considered 'serious' authors with 'serious' talent - but it was highly fashionable to write poems. Plays were for entertainment poems were for the elite! There was not even such a thing as a custom built theatre until 1576! Actors were common folk. Poets of the era such as Christopher Marlowe, Sir Philip Sydney, Sir Walter Raleigh were of the nobility and there poems are still enjoyed today. These poets had credibility and so did their poetry. William Shakespeare came from Yeoman stock - he lacked credibility - his poems would have helped with this poblem !. The Bard did not give permission for one of his plays or his sonnets to be published. He was, however, happy to have his poems published. William Shake-speare has been attributed with the following poems:

A Lover's Complaint Poem
A Lover's Complaint is the most neglected of the Poems of William Shakespear, assuming that it is his. It was first published in 1609, by Thomas Thorpe, under the same cover as the Sonnets; but has seldom been reprinted. The Lover's Complaint seems to be a very early poem (perhaps 1591), but no date of composition of the poem can be assigned.

Venus and Adonis Poem
April 18, 1593 Registration of Venus and Adonis Poem
Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare's narrative poem in six-line stanzas, was published by Richard Field (1561 - 1624). The poem was dedicated to Shakespeare's patron, Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton (1573-1624). This dedication refers to the author's "unpolisht lines" and contains the typically fawning language of a commoner addressing a nobleman in the hope of obtaining, or retaining, their patronage in exchange for poems dedicated to the recipient.

The Rape of Lucrece Poem 
May 9, 1594 Registration of The Rape of Lucrece
On May 9, 1594, the poem was entered in the Hall Book of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, the English government's pre-publication registry. The poem was listed in the Hall Book under the title of The Ravyshement [Ravishment] of Lucrece but was published with the title Lucrece. The Rape of Lucrece was substituted as a title at a later date. The Rape of Lucrece is a narrative poem resembling a revenge tragedy with 1,855 lines. 

The Phoenix and the Turtle Poem
In 1601 a very fine poem subsequently titled The Phoenix and the Turtle appeared untitled as one of the Poetical Essays appended to Robert Chester's Love's Martyr: or Rosalind's Complaint. It was attributed to William, and many scholars have accepted the poem as genuine. The date of composition of the poem is unknown, but this poem must be a more mature work.

The Passionate Pilgrim Poems
The Passionate Pilgrime (1599) was a poetry collection containing twenty poems by various poets. The title page to the second edition contains the ascription "By W. Shakespeare" but only five of the poems appear to be his. The poems, or Sonnets 138 and 144, despite the "never before imprinted" claim of "a Booke called Shakespeares sonnettes", were included, albeit in a slightly different format, in The Passionate Pilgrim poem.


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