The Earl of Southampton

 

"Shakespeare's" Venus and Adonis was published in 1593 and dedicated to the Earl of Southampton. Will Shaksper in 1593 would be twenty-nine years old, and had only recently arrived in London.

The dedication to the poem shows that Southampton's consent to the dedication had not been obtained, which would be a very risky proceeding on the part of an unknown actor.

The following year "Shakespeare" dedicated his Rape of Lucrece to Southampton, this time in terms of high friendship.

There is no evidence that Will Shaksper was ever acquainted with Southampton.

Is it a coincidence that "Shakespeare" dedicates these two poems to Southampton, who was one of Francis Bacon's most intimate friends, both being members of Gray's Inn?

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