Venus and Adonis

by William Shakespeare


Venus and Adonis is a narrative poem by William Shakespeare published in 1593. It is probably Shakespeare's first publication. The poem tells the story of Venus, the goddess of Love; of her unrequited love; and of her attempted seduction of Adonis, an extremely handsome young man, who would rather go hunting. The poem is pastoral, and at times erotic, comic and tragic. It contains discourses on the nature of love, and observations of nature. 
It is written in stanzas of six lines of iambic pentameter rhyming ABABCC; although this verse form was known before Shakespeare's use, it is now commonly known as the Venus and Adonis stanza, after this poem. This form was also used by Edmund Spenser and Thomas Lodge. The poem consists of 199 stanzas or 1,194 lines. 
It was published originally as a quarto pamphlet and published with great care. It was probably printed using Shakespeare's fair copy. The printer was Richard Field, who, like Shakespeare, was from Stratford. Venus and Adonis appeared in print before any of Shakespeare's plays were published, but not before some of his plays had been acted on stage. It has certain qualities in common with A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Love's Labour's Lost. It was written when the London theatres were closed for a time due to the plague.
Venus and Adonis was extremely popular as soon as it was published, and it was reprinted fifteen times before 1640. It is unusual that so few of the original quartos have survived.
Excerpted from Venus and Adonis on Wikipedia.

person AuthorWilliam Shakespeare 
language CountryEngland
api GenrePoetry, Renaissance poetry
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description ScansGoogle-digitized
headphones AudioThanks to Librivox | Internet Archive:
Reader: Elizabeth Klett, Arielle Lipshaw, Bob Gonzalez
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auto_stories Read onlineHTML version