Shakespeare began to write poems during a time when public places including theatres were closed down because of serious outbreaks of the plague.

    From 1592-1594 he believed that perhaps by writing poetry he would gain the notoriety he wanted because the Elizabethans praised poets and not playwrights.

    It took Shakespeare until 1593 to get his first poem printed. The long poem Venus and Adonis was printed that year by a friend of his who was a London printer. Shakespeare dedicated this poem to the Earl of Southampton who at the time was 19-year-old Henry Wriothesley.

    With the success of Venus and Adonis the same London printer, Richard Field, then published Shakespeare's next long poem, The Rape of Lucrece, in 1594, which was also dedicated to the young earl.

    The theatres were once again opened in 1594 and Shakespeare then concentrated on writing plays again and in 1609 he wrote his last long poem, A Lover's Complaint.



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