The Poems (Bantam Classic reissue)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
David Bevington: Volume introduction + Revisions and annotations to Shakespeare text, footnotes, textual notes, and individual poem introductions.
David Scott Kastan and James Shapiro: Annotated bibliography.
Shakespeare’s greatest achievement in nondramatic verse was his collection of 154 magnificent sonnets that portray a tumultuous world of love, rivalry, and conflict among a poet, an aristocratic young man, a rival poet, and a mysterious “dark lady.” More profound than other Elizabethan sonnet sequences and never surpassed as archetypes of the form, these poems explore almost every imaginable emotional complexity related to love and friendship. Some poems are dark, bitter, and self-hating, others express idealism with unmatchable eloquence–and all are of quintessential beauty, part of the world’s great literary heritage.
In addition to his sonnets, Shakespeare published two long poems early in his career: Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Immediately popular in Shakespeare’s time, they display a richness that can also reward us with insights into the powerful imagery of his plays.
Rounding out this volume are two minor poems, “A Lover’s Complaint” and “The Phoenix and Turtle,” thought to be part of Shakespeare’s early writings.
subtle Sinon here is painted, So sober-sad, so weary, and so mild, As if with grief or travail he had fainted,1543 To me came Tarquin armèd, too beguiled1544 With outward honesty, but yet defiled With inward vice. As Priam him did cherish, So did I Tarquin; so my Troy did perish. “Look, look, how list’ning Priam wets his eyes, To see those borrowed tears that Sinon sheeds!1549 Priam, why art thou old and yet not wise? For every tear he falls, a Trojan bleeds.1551 His eye drops
Loosing 1648 forbade forbod 1652 robbed rob’d 1660 here heare 1662 wreathèd wretched 1680 one woe on woe 1713 in it it in 1768 faltering foultring THE PHOENIX AND TURTLE INTRODUCTION “The Phoenix and Turtle” first appeared in a collection of poems called Love’s Martyr: Or, Rosalins Complaint by Robert Chester (1601). This quarto volume offered various poetic exercises about the phoenix and the turtle “by the best and chiefest of our modern writers.” The poem assigned to Shakespeare has
hanging mane Upon his compassed crest now stand on end;272 His nostrils drink the air, and forth again, As from a furnace, vapors doth he send. His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire, Shows his hot courage and his high desire.276 Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,277 With gentle majesty and modest pride; Anon he rears upright, curvets, and leaps,279 As who should say, “Lo, thus my strength is tried,280 And this I do to captivate the eye Of the fair
in a seized cargo vessel) 3 inhearse coffin up 5 spirits i.e., literary ancestors or contemporaries. (With a suggestion also of daemons, attendant spirits.) 6 pitch height. (A term from falconry.) dead i.e., dumb, silent. 7 compeers by night spirits (see line 5) visiting and aiding the poet in his dreams or nighttime reading 8 astonishèd struck dumb. 9 He Neither he. ghost spirit (as in lines 5 and 7) 10 gulls misleads. intelligence information, ideas 11 As … boast cannot boast to have
vanquished and thus silenced me 12 of with 13 countenance filled up (1) approval repaired any defect in (2) beauty served as subject for 14 lacked I matter I had nothing left to write about PREVIOUS|NEXT|NOTES 87 Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing,1 And like enough thou know’st thy estimate.2 The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;3 My bonds in thee are all determinate.4 For how do I hold thee but by thy granting, And for that riches where is my deserving? The cause