He is the greatest writer in the English language-perhaps in any language-and here, in one compact volume is all the verse even many of those familiar with his plays have never read. In 1593 and 1594, while English theaters were closed in response to the plague, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) turned from drama to narrative poems, and published the dyad "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrece," erotic meditations on lust and sexual power. Standing powerfully in opposition to each other, they also differ wildly from Shakespeare's romantic sonnets-all 154 of them are here. Also in this hard-to-find collection are the Bard's lesser known poems: "A Lover's Complaint," "The Passionate Pilgrim," "Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music," and "The Phoenix and the Turtle." Rounding out the collection are poems from his plays, featuring beloved excerpts from The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, and others. Not an academic work, this lovely volume lets Shakespeare's words stand on their own, resounding-as ever they do-with their own unique power and beauty.
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