William Shakespeare Achievements

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(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

William Shakespeare also wrote some of the greatest love poems in English. His short erotic narratives, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, were typical examples of fashionable literary genres. Other minor poems include contributions to the miscellany The Passionate Pilgrim and The Phoenix and the Turtle, written for a collection of poems appended to Love’s Martyr (1601), an allegorical treatment of love by Robert Chester. All these pale alongside the sonnets, which, in an age of outstanding love poetry, attain a depth, suggestiveness, and power rarely duplicated in the history of humankind’s passionate struggle to match desire with words.