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STRATFORD PORTRAIT OF SHAKESPEARE.






SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS:

VENUS AND ADONIS, LUCRECE,
SONNETS, ETC.



EDITED, WITH NOTES,



WILLIAM J. ROLFE, LITT. D.,

EDITOR OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS, SELECT POEMS OF MILTON, GRAY,
GOLDSMITH, WORDSWORTH, BROWNING, ETC.



WITH ENGRA VINGS.




NEW YORK:

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

FRANKLIN SQUARE.






ENGLISH CLASSICS.

EDITED BY WM. J. ROLFE, LITT. D.

Illustrated. i6mo, Cloth, 56 cents per volume : Paper, 40 cents per volume.



SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS.



The Merchant of Venice.

Othello.

Julius Caesar.

A Midsummer-Night's Dream.

Macbeth.

Hamlet.

Much Ado about Nothing.

Romeo and Juliet.

As You Like It.

The Tempest.

Twelfth Night.

TTie Winter's Tale.

King John.

Richard II.

Henry IV. Part I.

Henry IV. Part II.

Henry V.

Henry VI. Part I.

Henry VI. Part II.



Richard III.

Henry VIII.

King Lear.

The Taming of the Shrew.

All 's Well that Ends Well.

Coriolanus.

The Comedy of Errors.

Cymbeline.

Antony and Cleopatra.

Measure for Measure.

Merry Wives of Windsor.

Love's Labour 's Lost.

Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Timon of Athens.

Troilus and Cressida.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Venus and Adonis, Lucrece, etc.

Sonnets.

Titus Andronicus.



GOLDSMITH'S* SELECT POEMS. BROWNING'S SELECT POEMS.

GRAvV.SitinrT BOEMS. ^^ BROWNING'S SELECT DRAMAS.

; o JiV MM.TON. MACAULAY'S LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME.
I . . J .' ^t)ywoRTH's SELECT POEMS.



PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.

Any of the above works will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any
part of tJie United States, on receipt of the price.



Copyright, 1890, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

GIFT OP



PREFACE.



SHAKESPEARE'S Poems have generally received less attention from
editors and commentators than his plays, and no thoroughly annotated
edition of them has been published in this country. It has been my
aim to treat them with the same thoroughness as the plays. The 1599
edition of Venus and Adonis is collated for the first time, so far as I
am aware, though it was discovered more than twenty years ago. Cer-
tain of the recent editors do not appear to know of its existence.

In The Passionate Pilgrim, the pieces which are certainly not Shake-
speare's are transferred from the text to the Notes. Most of the others
are of doubtful authenticity, but I give Shakespeare the benefit if bene-
fit it be of the doubt. A Lover's Complaint and The Phcenix and the
7"urtle are now generally conceded to be his.

In the Sonnets, I have been under special obligations to Professor
Dowden's excellent editions. I have not, however, drawn at all from
Part II. of the Introduction to his larger edition, which condenses into
some seventy-five pages the entire literature of the Sonnets. For the
critical student this careful re'sume 1 answers a double purpose : as a
bibliography of the subject, directing him to the many books and papers
that have been written upon the Sonnets, if he is moved to read any or
all of them; and as a compact and convenient substitute for these books
and papers, if he wants to know their gist and substance without the
drud,gery of wading through them.

For the present volume all portions of my earlier editions of Venus
and Adonis, etc. and the Sonnets have been carefully revised, and sev-
eral pages of new matter, giving the substance of the latest researches
specially interesting and important in the case of the Sonnets have
been added to the Notes.

The text of all the poems is given without omission or expurgation.
Cambridge, August 12, 1890.



VENUS AND ADONIS, LUCRECE,

ANDOTHER POEMS.,
EDITED, WITH NOTES,

BY

WILLIAM J. ROLFE, Lrrr.D.

Copyright, 1883, by HARPER & BROTHERS




By this, the boy that by her side lay kill'd
Was melted like a vapour from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground lay spill'd,
A purple flower sprung up. chequer' d with white,
Resembling well his pale cheeks and the blood
Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS 9

I. THE HISTORY OF THE POEMS 9

II. THE SOURCES OF THE POEMS 14

III. CRITICAL COMMENTS ON THE POEMS 16

VENUS AND ADONIS 41

THE RAPE OF LUCRECE 81

A LOVER'S COMPLAINT r 43

THE PASSIONATE PILGRIM 156

THE PHCENIX AND THE TURTLE 163

NOTES 9 ......<,.... 167




VENUS GENETRIX.




THE DEATH OF LUCRECE.



INTRODUCTION



SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.



I. THE HISTORY OF THE POEMS.

Venus and Adonis was first published in quarto form, in
1593, with the following title-page:^

VENVS | AND ADONIS | Villa miretur vulgus : mihi flauus
Apollo | Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. \ LONDON |
Imprinted by Richard Field, and are to be sold at | the
signe of the white Greyhound in | Paules Church-yard. |
1593-

* For this title-page, as well as for much of the other information we
have given concerning the early editions, we are indebted to the " Cam-
bridge " ed.



I0 SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.

The book is printed with remarkable accuracy, doubtless
from the author's manuscript.

A second quarto edition was published in 1594, the title-
page of which differs from that of the first only in the date.

A third edition in octavo form (like all the subsequent
editions) was issued in 1596 from the same printing-office
"for lohn Harison."

A fourth edition was published in 1599, with the following
title-page (as given in Edmonds's reprint) :

VENVS | AND ADONIS. | Villa miretur vidgus : mihi
flauus Apollo | Pocula Castalia plena minis fret aqua. \ Im-
printed at London for William Leake, dwel- | ling in Paules
Churchyard at the signe of | the Greyhound. 1599.

This edition was not known until 1867, when a copy of it
was discovered at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire by
Mr. Charles Edmonds, who issued a fac-simile reprint of it
in 1870. Of course it is not included in the collation of the
Cambridge ed., which was published before the discovery ;*
but it was evidently printed from the 3d edition. Mr. Ed-
monds says : " A few corrections are introduced, but they
bear no proportion to the misprints.' 7

Of the fifth edition a single copy is in existence (in the
Bodleian Library), lacking the title-page, which has been
restored in manuscript with the following imprint: " LON-
DON | Printed by I. H. | for lohn Harrison | 1600." The
date may be right, but, according to Halliwell t and Edmonds,
the publisher's name must be wrong, as Harrison had as-
signed the copyright to Leake four years previous. The
Cambridge editors assumed in 1866 that this edition- (the
4th of their numbering) was printed from that of 1596; but
it is certain, since the discovery of the 1599 ed., that it
must have been based on that. Of the text they say: "It

* It is omitted by Hudson in his " Harvard" ed. (see account of early
eds. of K and A. vol. xix. p. 279), published in 1881.

t Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare (2d ed. 1882), p. 222.



INTRODUCTION. n

contains many erroneous readings, due, it would seem,
partly to carelessness and partly to wilful alteration, which
were repeated in later eds."

Two new editions were issued in 1602, and others in 1617
and 1620. In 1627, an edition, (of which the only known
copy is in the British Museum) was published in Edinburgh.
In the Bodleian Library there is a unique copy of an edi-
tion wanting the title-page but catalogued with the date
1630; also a copy of another edition, published in 1630
(discovered since the Cambridge ed. appeared).* A thir-
teenth edition was printed in 1636, "to be sold by Francis
Coules in the Old Baily without Newgate."

The first edition of Lucrece was published in quarto in
1594, with the following title-page:

LVCRECE. | LONDON. | Printed by Richard Field, for
lohn Harrison, and are | to be sold at the signe of the
white Greyhound j in Paules Churh-yard. 1594.

The running title is "The Rape of Lvcrece." The Bod-
leian Library has two copies of this edition which differ in
some important readings, indicating that it was corrected
while passing through the press. f

A second edition appeared in 1598, a third in 1600, and
a fourth in 1607, all in octavo and all " for lohn Harrison "
(or " Harison ").

In 1616, the year of Shakespeare's death, the poem was
reprinted with his name as "newly revised/' but "as the
readings are generally inferior to those of the earlier edi-
tions, there is no reason for attaching any importance to
an assertion which was merely intended to allure purchas-
ers " (Camb. ed.). The title-page of this edition reads thus :

* Bibliographical Contributions, edited by J. Winsor, Librarian of Har-
vard University : No. 2. Shakespeare's Poems (1879). This Bibliography
of the earlier editions of the Poems contains much valuable and curious
information concerning their history, the extant copies, reprints, etc.

t On variations of this kind in the early editions, cf. The Two NobU
Kinsmen, p. 10.



j 2 SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.

THE | RAPE | OF | LYCRECE. \ By | M r William
Shakespeare. \ Newly Reuised. | LONDON: | Printed by T.
S. for Roger Jackson, and are | to be solde at his shop neere
the Conduit | in Fleet-street. 1616.

A sixth edition, also printed for Jackson, was issued in
1624.

The fifth and sixth editions differ considerably in their
readings from the first four, in which there are no important
variations.

A Lover's Complaint was first printed, so far as we know,
in the first edition of the Sonnets, which appeared in 1609.
It was probably not reprinted until it was included in the
Poems of 1640, mentioned below.

The Passionate Pilgrim was first published in 1599, with
the following title-page :

THE | PASSIONATE | PILGRIME. | By W.Shakespeare.
| AT LONDON \ Printed for W. laggard, and are | to be
sold by W. Leake, at the Grey- | hound in Paules Church-
yard. | 1599.

In the middle of sheet C is a second title :

SONNETS | To sundry notes of Musicke. | AT LON-
DON | Printed for W. laggard, and are | to be sold by W.
Leake, at the Grey- | hound in Paules Churchyard. | 1599.

The book was reprinted in 1612, together with some po-
ems by Thomas Heywood, the whole being attributed to
Shakespeare. The title at first stood thus :

THE | PASSIONATE | PILGRIME. | or | Certaine
Amorous Sonnets, \ betweene Venus and Adonis, | newly
corrected and aug- \ mented. | By W. Shakespere. \ The third
Edition. | Whereunto is newly ad- | ded two Loue-Epistles,
the first | from Paris to Hellen, and | Hellens an s were backe |
again e to Paris. \ Printed by W. laggard. | 1612.

The Bodleian copy of this edition contains the following
note by Malone : " All the poems from Sig. D. 5 were writ-
ten by Thomas Heywood, who was so offended at Jaggard



INTRODUCTION. ! 3

for printing them under the name of- Shakespeare that he
has added a postscript to his Apology for Actors, 4to, 1612,
on this subject ; and Jaggard in consequence of it appears
to have printed a new title-page to please Heywood, with-
out the name of Shakespeare in it. The former title-page
was no doubt intended to be cancelled, but by some inad-
vertence they were both prefixed to this copy and I have
retained them as a curiosity." The corrected title-page is
substantially as above, omitting " By W. Shakespere"

It will be observed that this is called the third edition ;
but no other between 1599 and 1612 is known to exist.

In 1640 most of the Sonnets (see our ed. p. 10), The Pas-
sionate Pilgrim, A Lover's Complaint, The Phoenix and the
Turtle, the lines "Why should this a desert be," etc. (A. Y.
L. iii. 2. 133 fol.), and "Take, O take those lips away," etc.
{M* for M. iv. i. i fol.), with some translations from Ovid
falsely ascribed to Shakespeare (see p. 215 below), were pub-
lished in a volume with the following title :

POEMS : | WRITTEN | BY | WIL. SHAKE-SPEARE. | Gent, j
Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, and are | to be sold by
lohn Benson, dwelling in | S fc . Dunstans Church-yard. 1640.

The first complete edition of Shakespeare's Poems, in-
cluding the Sonnets, was issued (according to Lowndes,
Bibliographer's Manual] in 1709, with the following title :

A Collection of Poems, in Two Volumes ; Being all the
Miscellanies of Mr. William Shakespeare, which were Pub-
lish'd by himself in the Year 1609, and now correctly Print-
ed from those Editions. The First Volume contains, I. VE-
NUS AND ADONIS. II. The Rape of LUCRECE. III. The
Passionate Pilgrim. IV. Some Sonnets set to sundry Notes
of Musick. The Second Volume contains One Hundred and
Fifty Four Sonnets, all of them in Praise of his Mistress. II.
A Lover's Complaint of his Angry Mistress. LONDON:
Printed for Bernard Lintott, at the Cross-Keys, between the
Two Temple-Gates in Fleet-street



1 4 SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.

The Phoenix and the Turtle first appeared, with Shake-
speare's name appended to it, in Robert Chester's Loves
Martyr : or Rosalins Complaint, published in 1601 (reprint-
ed by the New Shakspere Society in 1878).

The earliest reference to the Venus and Adonis thaWias
been found is in the famous passage in Meres's Palladis
Tamia (see M. N. D. p. 9, and C. of E. p. 101). As to the
date of its composition, Dowden says (Primer, p. 81) : " \Vhen
Venus and Adonis appeared, Shakspere was twenty-nine years
of age ; the Earl of Southampton, to whom it was dedicated,
was not yet twenty. In the dedication the poet speaks of
these 'unpolisht lines' as 'the first heire of my invention.'
Did Shakspere mean by this that Venus and Adonis was writ-
ten before any of his plays, or before any plays that were
strictly original his own ' invention ?' or does he, setting
plays altogether apart, which were not looked upon as liter-
ature, in a high sense of the word, call it his first poem be-
cause he had written no earlier narrative or lyrical verse?
We cannot be sure. It is possible, but not likely, that he
may have written this poem before he left Stratford, and
have brought it up with him to London. More probably it
was written in London, and perhaps not long before it's pub-
lication. The year 1593, in which the poem appeared, was a
year of plague ; the London theatres were closed : it may be
that Shakspere, idle in London, or having returned for a while
to Stratford, then wrote the poem." Even if begun some
years earlier, it was probably revised not long before its
publication.

The Lucrece was not improbably the "graver labour"
promised in the dedication of the Venus and Adonis ; and,
as Dowden remarks, it "exhibits far less immaturity than
does the 'first heire' of Shakspere's invention." It is less
likely than that, we think, to have been a youthful produc-
tion taken up and elaborated at a later date.

A Lover's Complaint was evidently written long after the



INTRODUCTION-. 2 g

Lucrece, but we have no means of fixing the time with any
precision.

The Shakespearian poems in The Passionate Pilgrim were
of course written before 1599, when the collection was pub-
lished. The three taken from Love's Labour 's Lost must be
as early as the date of that play (see our ed. p. 10). If the
Venus and Adonis sonnets are Shakespeare's, they may have
been experiments on the subject before writing the long
poem ; but Furnivall says that they are " so much easier in
flow and lighter in handling" that h'e cannot suppose them
to be earlier than the poem.

The Phcenix and the Turtle is almost certainly Shake-
speare's, and must have been written before 1601.

II. THE SOURCES OF THE POEMS.

The story of the Venus and Adonis was doubtless taken
from Ovid's Metamorphoses , which had been translated by
Golding in 1567. Shakespeare was probably acquainted
with this translation at the time of the composition of The
Tempest (see our ed. p. 139, note on Ye elves, etc.) ; but we
have no clear evidence that he made use of it in writing
Venus and Adonis. He does not follow Ovid very closely.
That poet " relates, shortly, that Venus, accidentally wound-
ed by an arrow of Cupid's, falls in love with the beauteous
Adonis, leaves her favourite haunts and the skies for him,
and follows him in his huntings over mountains and bushy
rocks, and through woods. She warns him against wild
boars and lions. She and he lie down in the shade on the
grass he without pressure on her part ; and there, with her
bosom on his, she tells him, with kisses,* the story of how
she helped Hippomenes to win the swift-footed Atalanta,
and then, because he was ungrateful to her (Venus), she
excited him and his wife to defile a sanctuary by a forbidden

* " And, in her tale, she bussed him among." A. Golding. Ovid's
Afet., leaf 129 bk., ed. 1602.






T 6 SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.

act, for which they were both turned into lions. With a final
warning against wild beasts, Venus leaves Adonis. He then
hunts a boar, and gets his death-wound from it. Venus
comes down to see him die, and turns his blood into a flow-
er the anemone, or wind-flower, short-lived, because the
winds (anemoi), which give it its name, beat it down,* so
slender is it. Other authors give Venus the enjoyment
which Ovid and Shakspere deny her, and bring Adonis back
from Hades to be with her " (Furnivall).

The main incidents of the Lucrece were doubtless familiar
to Shakespeare from his school-days ; and they had been used
again and again in poetry and prose. " Chaucer had, in his
Legends of Good Women (A.D. 1386 ?), told the story of Lu-
crece, after those of Cleopatra, Dido, Thisbe, Ypsiphile, and
Medea, ' As saythe Ovyde and Titus Ly vyus ' (Ovid's Fasti,
bk. ii. 741 ; Livy, bk. i. ch. 57, 58): the story is also told
by Dionysius Halicarnassensis, bk. iv. ch. 72, and by Dio-
dorus Siculus, Dio Cassius, and Valerius Maximus. In Eng-
lish it is besides in Lydgate's Falles of Princes, bk. iii. ch. 5,
and in Wm. Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 1567, vol. i. fol. 5-7,
where the story is very shortly told : the heading is ' Sextus
Tarquinius ravisheth Lucrece, who bewailyng the losse of her
chastitie, killeth her self.' I cannot find the story in the
Rouen edition, 1603, of Boaistuau and Belleforest's Histoires
Tragiques, 7 vols. 121110; or the Lucca edition, 1554, of the
Novelle of Bandello, 3 parts ; or the Lyons edition, 1573, of
the Fourth Part. Painter's short Lucrece must have been
taken by himself from one of the Latin authors he cites as
his originals at the end of his preface. In 1568, was entered
on the Stat. Reg. A, If. 174, a receipt for 4^. from Jn. Aide
4 for his lycense for prynting of a ballett, the grevious com-
playnt of Lucrece^ (Arber's Transcript, i. 379) ; and in 1570
the like from ' James Robertes, for his lycense for the prynt-

* Pliny (bk. i. c. 23) says it never opens but when the wind is blow-
ing.



INTRODUCTION. ^

inge of a ballett intituled The Death of Lucryssia* (Arber's
Transcript^ i. 416). Another ballad of the legend of Lu-
crece was also printed in 1576, says Warton. (Far. Shak-
speare, xx. 100.) Chaucer's simple, short telling of the story
in 206 lines of which 95 are taken up with the visit of
Collatyne and Tarquynyus to Rome, before Shakspere's
start with Tarquin's journey thither alone cannot of
course compare with Shakspere's rich and elaborate poem
of 1855 lines, though, had the latter had more of the ear-
lier maker's brevity, it would have attained greater fame "
(Furnivall).

III. CRITICAL COMMENTS ON THE POEMS.
[From Knighfs "Pictorial Shakspere." *]

" If the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall
be sorry it had so noble a godfather." These are the words
which, in relation to the Venus and Adonis, Shakspere ad-
dressed, in ^593, to the Earl of Southampton. Are we to
accept them literally? Was the Venus and Adonis the first
production of Shakspere's imagination ? Or did he put out
of his view those dramatic performances which he had then
unquestionably produced, in deference to the critical opin-
ions which regarded plays as works not belonging to " inven-
tion " ? We think that he used the words in a literal sense.
We regard the Venus and Adonis as the production of a very
young man, improved, perhaps, considerably in the interval
between its first composition and its publication, but distin-
guished by peculiarities which belong to the wild luxuriance
of youthful power, such power, however, as few besides
Shakspere have ever possessed.

A deep thinker and eloquent writer, Julius Charles Hare,
thus describes "the spirit of self-sacrifice," as applied to
poetry :

" The might of the imagination is manifested by its launch-
* Vol. ii. of Tragedies^ etc., p. 509 fol.



X 8 SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.

ing forth from the petty creek, where the accidents of birth
moored it, into the wide ocean of being, by its going abroad
into the world around, passing into whatever it meets with,
animating it, and becoming one with it. This complete union
and identification of the poet with his poem, this suppres-
sion of his own individual insulated consciousness, with its
narrowness of thought and pettiness of feeling, is what we
admire in the great masters of that which for this reason we
justly call classical poetry, as representing that which is
symbolical and universal, not that which is merely occasional
and peculiar. This gives them that majestic calmness which
still breathes upon us from the statues of their gods. This
invests their works with that lucid transparent atmosphere
wherein every form stands out in perfect definiteness and
distinctness, only beautified by the distance which idealizes
it. This has delivered those works from the casualties of
time and space, and has lifted them up like stars into the
pure firmament of thought, so that they do not shine on one
spot alone, nor fade like earthly flowers, but journey on
from clime to clime, shedding the light of beauty on genera-
tion after generation. The same quality, amounting to a to-
tal extinction of his own selfish being, so that his spirit be-
came a mighty organ through which Nature gave utterance
to the full diapason of her notes, is what we wonder at in
our own great dramatist, and is the groundwork of all his
other powers : for it is only when purged of selfishness that
the intellect becomes fitted for receiving the inspirations of
genius."*

What Mr. Hare so justly considers as the great moving
principle of "classical poetry," what he further notes as
the pre-eminent characteristic of a our own great drama-
tist," is abundantly found in that great dramatist's earliest
work. Coleridge was the first to point out this pervading

* The Victory of Faith ; and other Sermons, by Julius Charles Hare,
M.A. (1840), p. 277.



INTRODUCTION. ! 9

quality in the Venus and Adonis ; and he has done this
so admirably that it would be profanation were we to
attempt to elucidate the point in any other than his own
words :

" It is throughout as if a superior spirit, more intuitive,
more intimately conscious, even than the characters them-
selves, not only of every outward look and act, but of the
flux and reflux of the mind in all its subtlest thoughts and
feelings, were placing the whole before our view; himself
meanwhile unparticipating in the passions, and actuated
only by that pleasurable excitement which had resulted from
the energetic fervour of his own spirit in so vividly exhibit-
ing what it had so accurately and profoundly contemplated.
I think I should have conjectured from' these poems that
even then the great instinct which impelled the poet to the
drama was secretly working in him, prompting him by a se-
ries and never-broken chain of imagery, always vivid, and,
because unbroken, often minute by the highest effort of the
picturesque in words of which words are capable, higher
perhaps than was ever realized by any other poet, even
Dante not excepted to provide a substitute for that visual
language, that constant intervention and running comment
by tone, look, and gesture, which in his dramatic works he
was entitled to expect from the players. His Venus and
Adonis seem at once the characters themselves, and the
whole representation of those characters by the most con-
summate actors. You seem to be told nothing, but to see
and hear everything. Hence it is, that, from the perpetual
activity of attention required on the part of the reader,
from the rapid flow, the quick change, and the playful nature
of the thoughts and images, and, above all, from the alien-
ation, and, if I may hazard such an expression, the utter
aloofness of the poet's own feelings from those of which he is
at once the painter and the analyst, that though the very
subject cannot but detract from the pleasure of a delicate



20 SHAKESPEARE'S POEMS.



Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareShakespeare's poems: Venus and Adonis, Lucrece, Sonnets, etc → online text (page 1 of 30)