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Classic Poetry from Passions in Poetry

William Shakespeare 1564 - 1616

English poet and dramatist. His plays were performed rather than published so it is difficult to know the order they were written in. It seems likely that the Henry VI plays came first (late 1580s). The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors and Love's Labour's Lost are all thought to be 1595, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice were both printed in 1600, Othello (1604), King Lear seems to date from 1605, Macbeth from 1606, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest all probably 1611. The Sonnets were written in the mid-1590s but appeared only in 1609.

Shakespeare is seen as the greatest English dramatist of all time and his work has influenced generations of later artists of all sorts.


Little is known about Shakespeare's early years. His father, John Shakespeare, was a glover and dealer in commodities and was a man of some standing in the local community. His mother, Mary Arden, was of higher social class. Shakespeare seems to have attended the local grammar school at Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was born, but no records remain.

In 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years older than he was, and they had three children by 1585. His time from then until 1592 remains a mystery. In 1594, however, he became a leading member of the newly formed acting company the Lord Chamberlain's Men (who became the King's Men at the accession of James I) and he remained with them for the rest of his career. In 1599 the company occupied the Globe theatre in London and in 1608 took over Blackfriars as a winter house. Shakespeare lived and worked in London, but his family remained in Stratford. Shakespeare's plays are still performed with more regularity than those of any other playwright and film versions frequently appear.

Available Poems
A Lover's Complaint
Phoenix and the Turtle, The
Venus and Adonis
The Sonnets - Sonnets 1-50
The Sonnets - Sonnets 51-100
The Sonnets - Sonnets 101-154

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