MENU
Venus and Adonis.
Imprinted as 1602, i.e.
1608
Contributed by

C.21.a.49, title page

View Image Assets
C.21.a.49, title page
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Date: Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602. 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.49, title page & sig. A2r-v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Item Date
Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602.
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.49, title page

C.21.a.49, signature A1 verso

View Image Assets
C.21.a.49, signature A1 verso
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Date: Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602. 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.49, title page & sig. A2r-v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Item Date
Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602.
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.49, sig. A1v

C.21.a.49, signature A2 recto

View Image Assets
C.21.a.49, signature A2 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Date: Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602. 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.49, title page & sig. A2r-v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Item Date
Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602.
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.49, sig. A2r

C.21.a.49, signature A2 verso

View Image Assets
C.21.a.49, signature A2 verso
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Date: Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602. 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.49, title page & sig. A2r-v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Item Date
Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602.
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.49, sig. A2v

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes.
Date: Imprinted at London, for William Leake, 1602. 
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.49, title page & sig. A2r-v
View online bibliographic record

The ninth edition of Venus and Adonis was printed for William Leake and was dated 1602 on the title page, just like the eighth edition. However, Harry Farr argued in 1923 that it was actually printed in 1608, and identifies the printer as Humphrey Lownes. Since 1923, scholars have disputed the reasons behind the false imprint.

Although Shakespeare is now known primarily as a playwright, in his own time he was equally revered as the author of Venus and Adonisfirst printed in 1593, and Lucrece, his two sensationally successful Ovidian narrative poems. Venus and Adonis appeared in more printed editions than any other work of vernacular poetry in his lifetime, and was published twice as many times as his most successful play, Henry IV Part 1

Only two copies of this edition are known to survive. The copy shown here has been in the British Library since the 19th century. It bears the stamp of Shakespearean editor George Steevens on the reverse of the title page, and was subsequently owned by the book collectors James Bindley, Mr. Strettel of Canonbury, and George Daniel. The book’s value increased steadily throughout the 19th century, and Daniel made a small profit when he sold it to the British Museum. It became a part of the British Library's collections in 1972 under the British Library Act. The other known copy is owned by a private collector.

To learn more about the plot and early printing history of Venus and Adonis, please visit the Folger Shakespeare Library's Shakespeare's Works; to read a modernized edition of the poem, see Folger Digital Texts.

Written by Erin A. McCarthy

Sources
Katherine Duncan-Jones and H.R. Woudhuysen, Shakespeare’s Poems. Arden 3. (London: Thomson Learning, 2007).

Lukas Erne, Shakespeare and the Book Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Harry Farr, “Notes on Shakespeare’s Printers and Publishers with Special Reference to the Poems and Hamlet.” The Library, 4th series, 3.4 (March 1923): 225–60.

Sidney Lee, ed., Shakespeares Venus and Adonis: Being a Reproduction in Facsimile of the First Edition 1593 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905).

 

Last updated June 19, 2017