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Lindsay Ann Reid

“Certaine Amorous Sonnets, Betweene Venus and Adonis”: fictive acts of writing in The Passionate Pilgrime of 1612



In c. 1599, the London stationer William Jaggard produced two editions of The Passionate Pilgrime, a collection of twenty poems best known for its inclusion of five sonnets by William Shakespeare. Having been lengthened to include a total of twenty-nine poems, a third edition of this printed miscellany was released by Jaggard just over a decade later in 1612. This article centers around Jaggard’s decision to repackage the expanded contents of the 1612 Passionate Pilgrime with a title page that not only intriguingly advertises the collection’s inclusion of ‘Certaine Amorous Sonnets, betweene Venus and Adonis,’ but also draws particular attention to a newly appended pair of ‘Loue-Epistles’ purportedly written by the mythological figures Paris and Helen. Taking as my particular focus the acts of writing described on The Passionate Pilgrime’s 1612 title page, I contend that these putative acts provide audiences with a fictitious etiology of the miscellany’s origins. Like so many other early printed miscellanies, Jaggard’s volume exploits the perceived exclusivity of scribal coterie poetry; rather than positing The Passionate Pilgrime’s contents as texts commemorating actual courtly occasions between historical Tudor or Stuart elites (as earlier printed anthologies such as Richard Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes often had), however, Jaggard’s title page draws upon established generic conventions as well as the literary precedent provided by Ovid’s Heroides to reimagine acts of literary composition transpiring within a well-known mythological story-world.

The author

Lindsay Ann Reid is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Koç University in Istanbul. Broadly speaking, her interests lie in late medieval and early modern British literature and the history of the book; her current research focuses on the reception of Ovid’s poetry in Tudor Britain.

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1. Virtually every edition of William Shakespeare’s sonnets printed since 1790 has relied upon Thomas Thorpe’s Shake-speares Sonnets (STC 22353), a work that has popularly come to be regarded as the authoritative text. Thorpe’s variants have been so often reproduced in modern editions as stabilized works that it is easy to forget just how permeable and labile Shakespeare’s sonnets were as they were historically circulated in a variety of recombinant early modern formulations and contexts. Despite the longstanding cultural primacy of Thorpe’s edition, in the last two decades, a once obscure printed miscellany known as The Passionate Pilgrime has been attracting the interest of a growing number of scholars. [1] Produced by William Jaggard (a stationer better remembered for his association with the 1619 Pavier Quartos and 1623 First Folio of William Shakespeare’s works), this slim octavo first appeared in c. 1599—thereby predating Thorpe’s ‘Neuer before Imprinted’ edition of Shake-speares Sonnets by ten years—and contained at least five sonnets that posterity has definitively assigned to the Shakespearean canon. That Jaggard’s Passionate Pilgrime was a contemporary commercial success is attested not only by the existence of two separate c. 1599 editions (STC 22341.5 and 22342), but also by the London stationer’s decision to issue a third, much expanded edition thirteen years later (STC 22343).

2. It is Jaggard’s third edition of 1612, and, more particularly, the pointed mythological references on its two (nearly identical) variant title pages, that I take as the primary subject of this article. In what follows, I address the putative acts of writing ‘betweene Venus and Adonis,’ ‘from Paris to Hellen,’ and from Helen ‘backe againe to Paris’ which were advertised in The Passionate Pilgrime’s 1612 paratextual apparatus, and I contend that Jaggard’s miscellany both markets its contents and creates an internal sense of coherence amongst its lyrics by presenting readers with an alternative (and patently fictitious) narrative of its own literary origins. Not only does the 1612 title page emphasize the collection’s demonstrable focus on a mythological tale that had been earlier popularized in Shakespeare’s bestselling narrative poem Venus and Adonis, but it also provides a loose narrative framework of poetic inscription within which to read The Passionate Pilgrime’s miscellaneous lyrics.

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3. Before turning to the specifics of my own argument, it is helpful to review some key details regarding the edition’s composition and the changing tenor of The Passionate Pilgrime’s scholarly reception. Although for nearly two centuries after its first publication The Passionate Pilgrime was frequently reappropriated, used as a copy text for other editions, and helped to shape and define the Shakespearean canon in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it is a work that was habitually maligned or simply neglected by most nineteenth- and twentieth-century audiences. Algernon Charles Swinburne’s flamboyant dismissal of Jaggard as “an infamous pirate, liar, and thief” and his complementary derision of The Passionate Pilgrime as “a worthless little volume of stolen and mutilated poetry, patched up and padded out with dirty and dreary doggerel, under [a] senseless and preposterous title” set the tone for a century’s worth of subsequent critics. [2]

4. Such impassioned allegations of Jaggard’s piracy are largely based on anachronistic assumptions about the conditions of literary production and dissemination in early modern England, a milieu in which restrictive contemporary notions of authorship, plagiarism, copyright, and authenticity often have little relevance. Neo-Swinburnian objections (e.g. that “Jaggard was a completely unscrupulous publisher who attempted to cash in on Shakespeare’s popularity by attributing other men’s work to him” [3]) have traditionally stemmed from what was seen as the stationer’s overliberal use of Shakespeare’s name on his printed wares. While the title page to the first 1599 edition of The Passionate Pilgrime is no longer extant, the title page of the second 1599 edition reads:

THE│PASSIONATE│PILGRIME.│By W. Shakespeare.│AT LONDON│Printed for W. Iaggard, and are│ to be sold by W. Leake, at the Grey-│hound in Paules Churchyard.│1599. [4]

5. Jaggard’s detractors have noted that, although only 25% of the contents in the 1599 version of the text can indisputably be ascribed to him, the sole authorial name to appear on the title page of The Passionate Pilgrime is ‘W. Shakespeare.’ [5] Nonetheless, while the first two pieces in the collection are variant versions of the poems which have come to be known as sonnets 138 and 144 and three others were sonnets extracted from amongst the wooing and writing games of Love’s Labour’s Lost, the remainder of the miscellany’s original contents were demonstrably diverse in origin. [6] Of the remaining fifteen poems in the 1599 version, we can trace two to Richard Barnfield, one is likely the work of Bartholomew Griffin, and one may have been written by Thomas Deloney. [7] The Passionate Pilgrime of 1599 also contains a variant of the famous ‘Passionate Shepherd’ exchange attributed to Christopher Marlowe and Walter Ralegh—and famously misquoted by Hugh Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor. [8]

6. It is well known that the earliest reference to Shakespeare’s sonnets occurs in Francis Meres’ Palladis Tamia of 1598, wherein Meres claims: “The sweete wittie soule of Ouid liues in mellifluous and hony-tongued Shakespeare, witnes his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred Sonnets among his priuate friends, &c.” [9] Meres’ quotation reveals that, by 1598, some, if not all, of Shakespeare’s sonnets were being privately circulated in manuscript copies. We do not know for certain how Jaggard initially procured the various Shakespearean sonnets included in The Passionate Pilgrime of the following year, nor can we reconstruct the precise form or medium in which they arrived at his print shop; no single surviving manuscript expediently contains the precise group of poems that came to form the basis of The Passionate Pilgrime. [10] What we can say is that Jaggard himself probably played a significant role in compiling the collection, and, in all likelihood, he acquired both the Shakespearean sonnets and other poems from a variety of manuscript sources. [11]

7. The ill repute of the ‘piratical’ stationer Jaggard in nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship was further fuelled by the circumstances surrounding, and the demonstrable provenance of, the numerous additions he made to the text of The Passionate Pilgrime of 1612. Once again, ‘W. Shakespeare’ was the only author to be associated with this edition, his name prominently appearing on one of the two variant title pages (the second variant title page listed no author’s name at all). [12] Nonetheless, the additional poems included in this ‘corrected and augmented’ third edition consisted of nine poetic excerpts lifted from the scholia of Thomas Heywood’s hefty Troia Britannica (STC 13366), a work which Jaggard had himself printed just a few years earlier in 1609. [13] Notably, each of these new additions to the 1612 version of The Passionate Pilgrime was an Ovidian translation, and two in particular—verse missives between Paris and Helen derived from Ovid’s Heroides—were conspicuously advertised on the 1612 title page. [14]

8. In the wake of Arthur F. Marotti’s 1990 “Shakespeare’s Sonnets as Literary Property,” in which he eloquently explains that “what [Jaggard] was doing in printing Shakespeare’s poems and mixing them with the verse of other writers was quite legitimate,” Jaggard’s reputation has begun a slow process of rehabilitation. [15] Early modern scholarship’s trending awareness of book history has meant that our understandings of textual ownership and the historical dynamics of the literary marketplace have become increasingly nuanced. Nonetheless, despite a newfound sympathy for Jaggard’s practices, relevant scholarship remains more or less fixated on Jaggard’s use of ‘W. Shakespeare’ to advertise his miscellany. As Marotti observed, Shakespeare’s name “began to have commercial value about the time that Jaggard produced his anthology,” and in the scholarship of the last decade, questions of precisely what Jaggard’s authorial attribution might mean have been raised again and again. [16] Unsurprisingly, a variety of plausible interpretations have emerged, and they have been almost universally concerned with querying the marketplace associations of ‘W. Shakespeare’ during the period. “That Shakespeare’s name,” Sasha Roberts asserts, “had become such a charged point of reference…is a testament, in part, to his prominence as a writer.” [17] Lucas Erne speculates that “Jaggard may well have tried to cash in on the promotion…provided” by Francis Meres’ mention of Shakespeare in the recently published Palladis Tamia. [18] Patrick Cheney makes the distinction that “rather than attributing authorship to ‘W. Shakespeare,’ we can see W. Jaggard presenting W. Shakespeare as an author.” [19] And Joseph Lowenstein proposes that “Jaggard may have supposed the name, ‘Shakespeare,’ to be very nearly generic, a marker of ‘family resemblance’ among poems.” [20] While I do not mean to downplay the significance of such investigations into the early modern commercial value and resonances of ‘W. Shakespeare,’ I do want to suggest that scholarship’s generally myopic focus on the (mis)use of Shakespeare’s name on the title page of this volume has largely overshadowed the many other ways in which we might also approach this unfamiliar textual assemblage.

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9. What kind of collection did Jaggard, The Passionate Pilgrime’s probable compiler and editor, imagine or intend this miscellany to be? Recent work on early printed books has called attention to the interpretative dimension of paratexts, including title pages and stationer-authored contextualizing materials. In this vein, Michael Baird Sanger has argued that “one of the most valuable ways to understand front matter during the early modern period is to recognize that these pages constituted an early, coherent, and very versatile system of advertising.” [21] “More than front covers,” as another scholar describes them, early modern title pages were both figuratively and literally commercial spaces, essentially serving both as the public faces of unbound, printed books in shops and stalls and also as potentially separable posters and placards. [22]Although all three editions of The Passionate Pilgrime lack the extensive paratextual apparatus such as dedicatory epistles to patrons, addresses to readers, or commendatory verses often found in contemporaneous volumes, nonetheless, its title pages still mediate much information about the intended nature and anticipated reception of the collection. [23] The two variant title pages of 1612 read:

THE│PASSIONATE│PILGRIME.│OR│Certaine Amorous Sonnets,│betweene Venus and Adonis,│ newly corrected and aug-│mented.│By W. Shakespere.│The third Edition.│Where-unto is newly ad-│ded two Loue-Epistles, the first│from Paris to Hellen, and │Hellens answere backe│againe to Paris.│ Printed by W. Iaggard.│1612.
THE│PASSIONATE│PILGRIME.│OR│Certaine Amorous Sonnets,│betweène Venus and Adonis,│ newly corrected and aug-│mented.│The third Edition.│Where-unto is newly ad-│ded two Loue-Epistles, the first│from Paris to Hellen, and│Hellens answere backe│againe to Paris.│Printed by W. Iaggard.│ 1612.

10. Leaving aside, for the moment, the first variant’s controversial reference to ‘W. Shakespeare,’ I want to call attention to what I see as the most remarkable feature of The Passionate Pilgrime’s 1612 title pages: their focus on imaginative acts of writing. Its contents are ‘Amorous Sonnets’ composed by and passed ‘betweene’ characters; they are ‘Loue-Epistles’ written ‘from’ one such lover to another and putatively penned in ‘answere backe againe.’ A careful examination of The Passionate Pilgrime’s primary site of advertisement and most succinct summary reveals that this miscellany paratextually creates and markets an alternative account of its own creation, a discursive history predicated upon the appealing fiction that the miscellany’s poems are simultaneously written about, by, and to its mythological subjects. In both of its variant formulations, the title page therefore encourages us—almost obliges us—to imagine the acts of writing that purportedly produced the miscellany’s contents, compelling a reading of its constitutive poems as the resultant products of Venus’, Adonis’, Paris’ and Helen’s literary efforts.

11. In one sense, Jaggard was drawing on a well-established generic convention when he highlighted fictive acts of writing in this paratextual narrative of literary genesis. Songes and Sonettes written by the ryght honorable Lorde Henry Haward late Earle of Surrey, and other (STC 13860-13866)—one of the first and arguably the most influential of Tudor England’s printed miscellanies—serves as a helpful point of comparison. [24] First issued in 1557 by London stationer Richard Tottel and comprised of lyric poetry that had previously circulated in manuscript, Songes and Sonettes had also used fictions of writing as a narrative device to generate meaning and foster a sense of internal coherence amongst its lyrics. The paratextual materials in Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes introduced readers to a modest cast of recognizable characters who were credited with composing the volume’s contents. First and foremost amongst these inscribed poets was the Earl of Surrey, whose name was prominently splashed across its title page. In the miscellany’s preface, Tottel’s editorial persona introduced readers to another of the volume’s author-characters, Thomas Wyatt, and a third named contributor, Nicholas Grimald, was embedded later in the collection’s paratextual apparatus.

12. Having carefully established the identities of these author-characters for the miscellany’s audience, one of the primary editorial methods which Tottel had employed to evoke a sense of narrative cohesion amongst the collected lyrics of Songes and Sonettes was his often-remarked “practice of providing special titles” for the collection’s poetic contents. [25] These graphic and evocative headings (almost always written from a third-person vantage point) supplied interpretative scaffolding for previously untitled lyrics, and they frequently placed the volume’s cast of character-authors in dramatic situations. As Elizabeth Heale has put it, “Tottel’s titles develop an embryonic persona, that of ‘the lover,’ whose conventional amours appear to feed a growing desire in the mid- to later sixteenth century for erotic narratives in which the passion and plaint expressed in songs and sonnets are fictitiously presented as the passionate expressions of exemplary, even genuine, amorous liaisons.” [26] These titles often centered around the act of writing itself, drawing audiences’ attention to the author-characters’ alleged motivations and narrating the supposed circumstances surrounding the composition of each lyrical outpouring. It is thus that, operating in tandem with the paratextual introduction to the miscellany’s author-characters, Tottel’s descriptive headings, such as “Prisoned in windsor, he recounteth his pleasure there passed,” “Complaint that his ladie after she knew of his loue kept her face alway hidden from him,” or “A song written by the earle of Surrey by a lady that refused to daunce with him,” provided readers with possible etiological frameworks within which to understand and negotiate the volume’s collected poems. [27]

13. A comparison between The Passionate Pilgrime and Tottel’s foundational and genre-establishing Songes and Sonettes illuminates both Jaggard’s reliance upon and divergences from established generic conventions in his own printed miscellany. Like Tottel’s earlier collection, The Passionate Pilgrime paratextually provides its readers with a cast of inscribed character-authors, and, though The Passionate Pilgrime refrains from internally titling the majority of its poems, the collection likewise encourages us to imagine the fictive acts of writing and moments of composition that lie behind each of its assembled lyrics. One way of succinctly envisioning the difference between the fictive acts of writing presented in Tottel’s and Jaggard’s miscellanies is to say that whereas Tottel incorporated prominent, socially elite personae from recent Tudor history, Jaggard drew his volume’s equally-recognizable authorial personae from the pages of prior literature. Seth Lerer, amongst others, has noted that early modern miscellanies often have a voyeuristic appeal; the printer “invites his readers into the previously closed chambers of court poetry and, but for the price of the volume, will present them with the secret sights of the coterie poets.” [28] Like so many other collections of lyric poetry during the era, Jaggard’s volume, too, capitalizes upon the seeming exclusivity of privately circulated coterie poetry. [29] The Passionate Pilgrime’s novelty, of course, lies in the fact that the volume takes this dynamic to a new level of abstraction, recontextualizing courtly posturing and the composition of occasional pieces into a more exotic and purely mythological story-world.

14. It is worth making one further point about the efficacy of such paratextual etiologies in guiding audiences’ interpretations. Modern readers, faced with the unfamiliarity of the genre, are frequently perplexed by the copiousness and plasticity—indeed the very miscellanity—of the early printed miscellany. Wendy Wall’s assessment of Songes and Sonettes, for instance, is typical in this sense when she complains that “the text thus offers no readily comprehensible generic, authorial, or structural order.” Wall elaborates that the “extraordinary permeability” of Tottel’s framework

disorganizes and confuses the reading experience. Poems by various writers seep into these seemingly compartmentalized and categorized sections, and the book ends by recounting poems that were inadvertently omitted from the primary sections. The effect is a makeshift, authorially determined cataloguing format that fails to respect fully the classification system it offers. [30]

15. Assessments in this vein only serve to show how very altered our modern notions of textual organization are from our Tudor and Stuart counterparts’ and how differently we tend to approach the paratextual narratives provided in editions such as Songes and Sonettes or The Passionate Pilgrime. Where twentieth- and twenty-first century readers à la Wall may see organizational chaos, evidence suggests that early modern readers instead found a variety of interpretative rubrics with which they could navigate the collection.

16. What W.A. Sessions has called a “cultic confusion of real and invented Surrey,” a confusion directly stemming from Tottel’s presentation of his poetry in Songes and Sonettes, shows us something of just how potent paratextual narratives could be in guiding early modern readers’ interpretations of miscellaneous lyrics. [31] Tottel’s emphasis on fictitious acts of generative writing in his printed arrangement of Surrey’s poems inaugurated what would become a tenacious—though entirely unsubstantiated and historically implausible—early modern belief that Surrey had a pseudo-Petrarchan muse, Geraldine (so named by Tottel), to whom he had addressed all of his love poetry. [32] Prompted by paratextual suggestions, early modern audiences habitually read Surrey’s contributions to Songes and Sonettes as a coherent series of poems recording the trajectory of a single love affair. So persuasive was this interpretative rubric that the Surrey-Geraldine affair was later incorporated into chronicle history as fact, and certainly Meres must have had this relationship narrative in mind when he called Surrey one of “the most passionate among vs to bewaile and bemoane the perplexities of loue” in Palladis Tamia. [33] Born entirely out of suggestions made by Tottel’s paratextual apparatus, this fictive love story was comically retold by Thomas Nashe in The Unfortunate Traveller of 1594, wherein Surrey is shown composing lyrics for Geraldine, and Michael Drayton conspicuously used Tottel’s paratextual narrative as the basis for one of the epistolary exchanges that he incorporated into Englands Heroicall Epistles at the century’s close. [34]

17. As the above example of Surrey’s fictitious love affair with Geraldine suggests, early modern readers were attuned to read the collected lyrics in early printed miscellanies in ways that may now seem foreign to us; they readily found, to borrow Wall’s phrasing once again, ‘generic, authorial, or structural order’ where initially we may see none. Not only were audiences of the era demonstrably receptive to etiological narratives surrounding poetic sequences, but they also appear to have possessed a less restrictive sense than their modern counterparts when it came to determining how individual lyrics might fit into various narrative outlines and interpretative schemata. In the remaining sections of this article, I thus examine the interpretative possibilities circumscribed within The Passionate Pilgrime’s paratext by focusing on the primary rubric for textual interpretation that Jaggard provides on the miscellany’s 1612 title page: that is, those fictive acts of writing that we are instructed to bear in mind as we progress through its contents.

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18. It seems likely that, from the start, The Passionate Pilgrime was envisioned by Jaggard as something of a companion piece to Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. This intention is only confirmed on the title pages of 1612, when Jaggard subtitled the repackaged and expanded contents of the third edition ‘Certaine Amorous Sonnets, betweene Venus and Adonis.’ Jaggard’s desire to create a synergistic relationship between The Passionate Pilgrime and Venus and Adonis in the minds of the reading public is easily explained by the overwhelming popularity of Shakespeare’s narrative poem during these years. “The younger sort,” as Gabriel Harvey famously remarked in 1598, were “tak[ing] much delight in Shakespeare’s Venus, & Adonis,” [35] a text as frequently mocked as it was widely imitated and revered as “the very quintessence of love.” [36] By 1599, the probable year of The Passionate Pilgrim’s first appearance, Venus and Adonis had been through at least six editions, and by 1612 at least three more had appeared. [37] That The Passionate Pilgrime was indeed considered by Jaggard’s contemporaries to be a complementary text is attested by the survival of two early modern volumes, now held at the Folger and Huntington Libraries, in which Venus and Adonis and The Passionate Pilgrime appear bound together. [38]

19. The Passionate Pilgrime of 1612 falls into three main organizational sections. Poems 1 through 14 focus on the mythological duo Venus and Adonis, a point to which I shall shortly return in more detail. Standing between poems 14 and 15, there is a clear and divisive organizational partition, demarcated by an internal title page reading: “SONNETS│To sundry notes of Musicke.│AT LONDON │Printed by W. Iaggard.│1612.” Thus begins the miscellany’s second section, which is comprised of six poems or songs. It seems probable, particularly given the character of this internal title page, that poems 15 through 20 may all have had recognizable and widely known musical settings. [39] Finally, the third section of the collection, made up of poems 21 through 29, represents the newly added materials of the 1612 edition and is comprised solely of the hotly contested Ovidian poetry drawn from Heywood’s Troia Britannica (with the letters of Paris and Helen prominently headlining). [40]

20. The edition’s tripartite constitution suggests that we are meant to recognize the ‘Certaine Amorous Sonnets’ mentioned on the title page as the fourteen poems collected in the volume’s initial section. Essentially, these poems form a sonnet sequence in miniature—a sequence that generates much of its meaning through the etiological lens provided on the title page. A perusal of this section reveals that its contents are carefully selected and arranged to capitalize upon the volume’s paratextual fictions and intertextual resonances. It is telling, for example, that with the exception of Poem 12, every other piece included in this section either takes the form of a sonnet or is recognizably written in the same six-line stanza that Shakespeare had earlier used for Venus and Adonis.

21. Poems 4, 6, 9, and 11—pointedly interspersed at regular intervals throughout The Passionate Pilgrime’s initial sequence of ‘Amorous Sonnets’—all depict moments in the relationship of Venus and Adonis from a third-person perspective. These four poems provide readers with a further narrative framework by characterizing the mythological authors credited with writing the remainder of the sequence’s poetry and narrating key moments in the trajectory of their relationship, such as Venus’ prescient though unheeded warning about the dangers of hunting in Poem 9. There is much in these sonnets to remind us, as was certainly Jaggard’s intention, of Shakespeare’s distinctive mythological innovations in Venus and Adonis. As in Shakespeare’s epyllion, bawdy innuendos and explicit witticisms permeate these four poems. We witness an often-bumbling, neo-Shakespearean version of Venus, the quintessential “bold-faced suitor” [41] aggressively wooing a skittish “youngling” (PP 11.3), and, as in Venus and Adonis, the bashful boy appears again and again to be “frosty in desire” (Ven. 36).

22. Significantly, as a group, Poems 4, 6, 9, and 11 also share an interest in dramatizing acts of storytelling, thus playing on associations that can be traced back through Shakespeare’s epyllion to Ovid’s version of Venus and Adonis’ story in Book 10 of the Metamorphoses. [42] In Poem 4, for instance, we learn that Venus “told him stories, to delight [Adonis’] eares” (PP 4.5), and a later piece takes as its central subject Venus’ impassioned narration of “how god Mars did trie her, / And as he fell to her, she fell to him” (PP 11.3-4). [43] Taken in conjunction with the title page’s etiological insinuations, these scenes of intimate storytelling and literary exchange provided within the narrative sonnets on Venus and Adonis further prime audiences to consider the remaining ten first-person poems in The Passionate Pilgrime’s opening section as the literary products of Venus and Adonis, thereby encouraging us to imagine the amatory circumstances and generative acts of writing that lie behind the production of each one.

23. Reading each of the ten remaining ‘Amorous Sonnets’ as occasional poetry written by Venus and Adonis fundamentally influences our interpretation of even the most familiar pieces included in the miscellany. Take, for example, the collection’s opening sonnet, in which even the volume’s typography encourages us to align Venus’ character with the speaker’s capitalized references to ‘Loue’:

When my Loue sweares that she is made of truth,
I doe beleeue her (though I know she lies)
That she might thinke me some vntutor’d youth,
Vnskilfull in the worlds false forgeries.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinkes me young,
Although I know my yeares be past the best:
I smiling, credite her false speaking tongue,
Outfacing faults in Loue, with loues ill rest.
But wherefore sayes my Loue that she is young?
And wherefore say not I, that I am old?
O, Loue’s best habite is a soothing tongue,
And Age (in Loue) loues not to haue yeares told.
Therefore Ile lie with Loue, and Loue with me,
Since that our faults in Loue thus smother’d be.

24. Studied with an eye to its obvious Shakespearean intertext, various lines and phrases in Poem 1 resonate strongly with Venus and Adonis. Perhaps most striking is the speaker’s prolonged discussion of age and his façade of ‘vntutor’d youth,’ images which directly recall Shakespeare’s portrayal of the “unripe” (Ven. 127, 524) Adonis and the rather unconvincing protestations of Venus and Adonis’ lusty goddess that she is neither “hard-favoured, foul, or wrinkled-old,” nor “O’er-worn,…/ Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice” (Ven. 133-136). [44] Furthermore, the speaker’s apparent acknowledgement in this sonnet that his own youthful demeanour is feigned—a mutually satisfying ‘lie’ fuelling role-playing games between the lovers—takes on a heightened significance if we believe it issues from the confessional pen of Adonis; after all, such an admission would suggest that the naïveté evinced in his dealings with Venus is less than genuine, thereby logically paving the way for us to accept the fiction that this duplicitous character authored the numerous male-voiced ‘Amorous Sonnets’ that follow in the sequence.

25. Similarly evocative intertextual resonances pepper the remainder of The Passionate Pilgrime’s opening section. Read through the lens of the volume’s paratextual fictions of writing, Poem 2’s famous (and famously ambiguous) dichotomy between “Two Loues…of Comfort, and Despaire” (PP 2.1) in this context mirrors sentiments expressed in the Shakespearean Adonis’ impassioned distinction that “Love is all truth, lust full of forgèd lies” (Ven. 804) and thus sounds like a familiar character’s reworking of a favourite theme. References to the female beloved’s alleged divinity—such as “Thou being a Goddesse” (PP 3.6) or “Celestiall as thou art” (PP 5.13)—can be read literally if we assume Venus to be the addressee. Poem 14’s recollection of a lover’s plea to “come againe tomorrow” saliently echoes the Queen of Love’s overeager queries in Venus and Adonis: “Tell me, love’s master, shall we meet tomorrow? / Say, shall we? shall we?” (Ven. 585-586). Some of the most compelling allusions to Venus and Adonis appear in Poem 10 and Poem 13, both of which seem to have been included amongst Venus and Adonis’ alleged papers due to the synergy of their imagery with the surprising (and distinctively non-classical) moment when Venus “crops the stalk” (Ven. 1175) of the flower at the close of Shakespeare’s epyllion. In Poem 13, the transitory nature of beauty is described in terms of “flowers dead, l[ying] withered on the ground” (PP 13.9), and the lover-author in Poem 10 (here easily imagined to be Venus) laments the loss of a “Faire creature, kilde too soon” (PP 10.4) whom she commemorates as a “Sweet Rose, faire flower, vntimely pluckt, soon vaded, / Pluckt in the bud, and vaded in the spring” (PP 10.1-2).

* * *

26. Our sense that The Passionate Pilgrime is allowing us to glimpse private acts of writing by familiar mythological characters is only intensified by the nature of the 1612 additions, which form the final segment of the tripartite collection. Though lacking an unambiguous internal division like the title page earlier inserted between poems 14 and 15, nonetheless certain subtle changes in formatting as well as the flavour of the content clarify the conceptual division between ‘SONNETS│To sundry notes of Musicke’ and the Ovidian translations that comprise the concluding section; most notably, for the first time, in this third section of The Passionate Pilgrime, poems are given titles. By far the longest of the Ovidian pieces included in this final section are titled “The amorous Epistle of Paris to Hellen” and “Hellen to Paris,” those same two ‘Loue-Epistles’ which were so well- (and controversially) advertised on the 1612 title page. Jaggard’s decision to augment the earlier version of The Passionate Pilgrime with translations of two pieces from Ovid’s metatextual Heroides seems a calculated move, intended to highlight and further characterize the fictive acts of writing between various mythological characters that purportedly lie behind the majority of the volume’s collected contents. [45]

27. In order to grasp the full implications of Jaggard’s decision to include Heroides 16 and 17 in the expanded version of his miscellany, it is necessary to consider both the widespread familiarity and particular associations of the Heroides in the era. The Latin text of the Heroides (also known in the period as Epistulae Heroidum) was regularly prescribed in Tudor grammar school curricula, and Ovid’s epistolary collection had been translated into English in its entirety by George Turberville in the 1560s. An inherently intertextual work consisting of letters written in the voices of mythological characters drawn from theatrical and epic traditions (e.g. Penelope’s letter to Ulysses, Dido’s letter to Aeneas, Medea’s letter to Jason), the missives of the Heroides were frequently adapted and alluded to in early modern English literature, a creative and cultural phenomenon that is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by the appearance of Drayton’s previously mentioned Englands Heroicall Epistles at the turn of the century.

28. The defining characteristic of the Heroides is the collection’s interest in establishing verisimilitude, and early modern interpreters and imitators of the Roman epistles both recognized and replicated Ovid’s fascination with the material aspects of literary inscription and the mechanics of written communication. The Heroides’ central paradox lies in the tensions between the letters’ perceptibly fictive nature, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, their internal insistence on their status as palpable documents being penned and exchanged as part of a functional correspondence between characters. Ovid’s project in writing the Heroides extended beyond the prosopopoetic exercise of using the missive as convenient genre to explore first-person subjectivity; rather, he also sought to exploit the epistolary form’s inherent writtenness. Engaging attendant ontological questions about the status of literary texts, Ovid’s letters thus experiment with how the genesis and transmission of a pseudo-material text might be imaginatively represented. Ovid’s Heroides often recount the circumstances of their own composition, containing frequent references to the fictive acts of writing upon which their existence is predicated. We see a number of such hallmark moments in the translations of Heroides 16 and 17 included in the 1612 Passionate Pilgrime. As he hopefully pens his entreaty to Helen, Heywood’s Paris, for example, anticipates the future moment when “you [i.e. Helen] my letter haue receiud” (PP 21.22), begging his future mistress “Cast not vpon my lines a looke of terror” (PP 21.19). In response, Helen opens her own dispatch with the declaration that “No sooner came mine eye vnto the sight / Of thy rude Lines, but I must needs re-wright” (PP 22.1-2) and continues scribbling her own “theeuish lines” (PP 22.440) until proclaiming, in closure, that her fingers are tired from writing and that any further messages to Paris will be delivered orally: “My tyred pen shall here his labour end” (PP 22.438).

29. I have already argued that The Passionate Pilgrime’s 1612 paratextual materials are concerned, first and foremost, with presenting an etiology for the collection that is grounded in putative acts of writing, and I have proposed that the miscellany’s title page encourages a reading of Poems 1-14 as privately composed lyric poetry being transmitted between the Queen of Love and her luckless mortal paramour. I would here take this interpretative trajectory one step further and claim that the juxtaposition of Heywood’s metatextually rich translations with the ‘Certaine Amorous Sonnets, betweene Venus and Adonis’ invites a reading of the miscellany’s opening sonnet sequence as a quasi-epistolary exchange in the vein of Ovid’s Heroides. In reattributing the lyrics of the first section to acts of writing by the amorous goddess and her tragic lover, Jaggard’s miscellany creates an interpretative dynamic that is suggestive of the intertextual engagements, material fictions, and ontological paradoxes at the heart of Ovid’s epistolary collection. Furthermore, as in the Heroides, in The Passionate Pilgrime, we are asked to accept that mythological characters, figures whose personalities and proclivities are known to us through their representations in prior literary tradition (in this case from Shakespeare’s bestselling Venus and Adonis as well as Ovid’s Metamorphoses), are the authors of those very same documents here collected and reproduced for public consumption beyond their original, private contexts.

* * *

30. By way of conclusion, I wish to observe that, when read in the manner I have been proposing throughout this article, Jaggard’s miscellany itself becomes the site of multiple negotiations between readers and authors—both real and imagined. An interesting parallel between the historical and fictive genesis of the volume emerges if we recall Meres’ famous remark that Shakespeare’s sonnets were in circulation ‘among…priuate friends’ at the close of the sixteenth century; after all, what do Jaggard’s 1612 title pages claim if not that that The Passionate Pilgrime reproduces purloined, printed copies of texts being written by and passing ‘betweene’ private hands? The Passionate Pilgrime imaginatively restyles Ovidian-Shakespearean characters as poets who, much like the members of tantalizingly exclusive Tudor and Stuart literary circles, craft texts and “responses to the texts of others in a continual literary flow.” [46] It is thus that, playing on a complex yet familiar set of tensions between private acts of writing and public literary consumption, The Passionate Pilgrime presents audiences with an alternative, fanciful version of early modern poetic production. We might say that the miscellany’s etiological conceits are simultaneously inspired by and fictionally overwrite the conditions and social interactions of the real-life coterie culture in which The Passionate Pilgrime’s ‘mellifluous and hony-tongued’ lyrics were historically penned—both by ‘W. Shakespeare’ and others.


[1] Reexamination of The Passionate Pilgrime largely began with Arthur F. Marotti, “Shakespeare’s Sonnets as Literary Property”, in Elizabeth D. Harvey and Katharine Eisaman Maus (eds.), Soliciting Interpretation: Literary Theory and Seventeenth-Century English Poetry, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1990, p. 143-173. A decade later, Max W. Thomas used The Passionate Pilgrime as a central example in his article “Eschewing Credit: Heywood, Shakespeare, and Plagiarism before Copyright”, New Literary History, 31 (2), Spr. 2000, p. 277-293. In 2002, Joseph Lowenstein drew on the same example in Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 59-68. Subsequently, Lucas Erne anecdotally began his 2003 monograph with a discussion of The Passionate Pilgrime: Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 1-2. In the same year, Sasha Roberts discussed Jaggard’s miscellany at several points throughout Reading Shakespeare’s Poems in Early Modern England, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Patrick Cheney took on The Passionate Pilgrime in Shakespeare, National Poet-Playwright, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 151-172. Most recently, James P. Bednarz devoted considerable attention to Jaggard’s miscellany in “Canonizing Shakespeare: The Passionate Pilgrim, England’s Helicon and the Question of Authenticity”, in Peter Holland (ed.), Shakespeare Survey 60: Theatres for Shakespeare, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 252-267.

[2] Algernon Charles Swinburne, Studies in Prose and Poetry, London, Chatto and Windus, 1894, p. 90.

[3] C.H. Hobday, “Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis Sonnets,” in Kenneth Muir (ed.), Shakespeare Survey 26: Shakespeare’s Jacobean Tragedies, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1973, p. 103-109, here p. 103.

[4] I have used the following facsimile edition of The Passionate Pilgrime throughout this article: Hyder Edward Rollins (ed.), The Passionate Pilgrim by William Shakespeare: The Third Edition, 1612, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940. All subsequent parenthetical poem and line numbers for The Passionate Pilgrime refer to this edition, and I have used the standard MLA abbreviation PP in parenthetical references to this text. In my transcriptions from this facsimile, I have regularized all uses of ſ to s and vv to w.

[5] In apparently attributing The Passionate Pilgrime solely to ‘W. Shakespeare,’ Jaggard was not—as he has often been charged—being intentionally fraudulent so much as following well-established generic traditions and publishing conventions. Late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century editions of lyric poetry, even sonnet sequences, were often printed miscellanies that included work by multiple poets. Editors habitually structured collections of printed poetry according to more general textual and thematic correspondences and resemblances, groupings which might or might not accurately reflect a particular poem’s actual authorship. For instance, when Richard Jones produced Brittons Bowre of Delights (STC 3633)—which he confidently characterized on the title page as a collection ‘Contayning many, most delectable and fine deuices, of rare epitaphes, pleasant poems, pastorals and sonets by N.B. Gent.’—he seemed to attribute the whole miscellany to Nicholas Breton, though it also contained works by other authors including Philip Sidney and the Earl of Surrey. In an even more well-known example, Thomas Newman published the first edition of Astrophil and Stella (STC 22536) under the title Syr P.S. His Astrophel and Stella, although it also included nearly thirty sonnets by Samuel Daniel as well as pieces by Thomas Campion and the Earl of Oxford. What is more, the so-called piratical practices that Jaggard used to collect an assortment of verses for his miscellany were shared by many contemporary stationers. Other miscellanies of the period to borrow heavily upon and substantially reframe excerpted Shakespearean poetry were Robert Allott’s England’s Parnassus (STC 378) and John Bodenham’s Bel-vedére (STC 3189) of the same year, both of which reproduced numerous extracts from Lucrece and Venus and Adonis.

[6] Arthur Freeman and Paul Grinke have determined that the versions of the Shakespearean sonnets included in The Passionate Pilgrime are not derived from the extant 1598 quarto edition of Love’s Labour’s Lost: “Four New Shakespeare Quartos?”, Times Literary Supplement, 5166, 5 Apr. 2002, p. 17-18.

[7] These attributions are based on the fact that two of the poems appeared in Barnfield’s 1598 Poems in Divers Humours (STC 1488), a work conveniently printed by William Jaggard’s own brother John Jaggard; one also appeared in Griffin’s 1596 Fidessa (STC 12367); and one was reprinted as Deloney’s work several years later, in the 1631 Garden of Goodwill (STC 6553.5).

[8] An expanded version of the Marlowe-Ralegh exchange was later printed in Englands Helicon (STC 3191). On early modern textual variants of the Marlowe-Ralegh exchange, see Susanne Woods, “‘The Passionate Sheepheard’ and ‘The Nimphs Reply’: A Study of Transmission”, Huntington Library Quarterly, 34 (1), Nov. 1970, p. 25-33.

[9] Francis Meres, “Palladis Tamia. 1598”, in G. Gregory Smith (ed.), Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol. 2, 1937, p. 308-324, here p. 317.

[10] As Randall Anderson elucidates, there were two possible editorial processes involved in the production of printed miscellanies: “One is substantially influenced by economic pressures of the print trade: editorship by interception and selection of manuscript material and its publication in a printed miscellany. The other and more elusive manuscript practice is necessarily antecedent to the publisher or printer: it is an individual’s choice, from such circulating manuscript verse, of items to be copied into a commonplace book or manuscript miscellany”: “‘The Merit of a Manuscript Poem’: The Case for Bodleian MS Rawlinson Poet. 85”, in Michael D. Bristol and Arthur F. Marotti (eds.), Print, Manuscript, and Performance: The Changing Relations of the Media in Early Modern England, Columbus, Ohio State University Press, 2000, p. 127-153, here p. 128.

[11] As Lucas Erne notes, “if we recall that all but two of the Elizabethan miscellanies seem to have been collected under the supervision of a publisher or printer, we realize just how central their agency was in the formation of Elizabethan poetic taste and practice”: op. cit., p. 33. Indeed, there are numerous near-contemporary examples of verse miscellanies in which a printer or publisher is explicitly ascribed the status of literary scout. In the 1597 Arbor of Amorous Deuises (STC 3631), for example, Richard Jones’ prefatory notice “To the Gentlemen Readers” highlighted the stationer’s personal role in the collection of manuscript poetry for the edition.

[12] While it is indeterminate which of these title pages was printed first (and precisely why the emendation was made), we can safely assume that both were in circulation at the same time.

[13] The only Ovidian translations to be included in The Passionate Pilgrime that were not lifted from the Troia Britannica’s extensive scholia are the two verse missives of Paris and Helen, which had featured in the poem proper of Troia Britannica.

[14] Jaggard’s disparagers have often looked to an epistle included in Heywood’s Apology for Actors (STC 13309) of 1612, wherein the author seemingly complained to Nicholas Okes (his new printer) about Jaggard’s recent reuse of his Ovidian translations. Though Heywood may indeed have been irked that his poetry was included and misattributed in the third edition of The Passionate Pilgrime, we should not forget that Jaggard seems to have been well within legal bounds when he did so. What is more, authors’ descriptions of their victimization at the hands of avaricious, indiscreet, or careless printers—heartfelt as some of them may have been—was also demonstrably something of a rhetorical commonplace during the period. Complaints against printers, particularly printers who had published an author’s work anonymously or misattributed it, served as a way to generate controversy, and therefore public interest, in a text which was currently being sold in stationers’ shops. Moreover, indignation, real or feigned, provided the author with an opportunity to self-advertise, claim, and to republish the same work in an authorized and corrected form—which is precisely what Heywood went on to do when he included two of the Ars Amatoria translations once again in his Apology for Actors.

[15] Arthur F. Marotti, “Shakespeare’s Sonnets,” op. cit., p. 153.

[16] Ibid., p.154.

[17] Sasha Roberts, op. cit., 157-158.

[18] Lucas Erne, op. cit., p. 69.

[19] Patrick Cheney, op. cit., p. 153.

[20] Joseph Lowenstein, op. cit., p. 64.

[21] Michael Baird Sanger, “The Birth of Advertising”, in Douglas A. Brooks (ed.), Printing and Parenting in Early Modern England, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, p. 197-219, here p. 197.

[22] Lucas Erne, op. cit., p. 36.

[23] We can surmise that Jaggard was responsible for The Passionate Pilgrime’s title and paratextual marketing strategies, as this seems to have been the standard contemporary practice. To this effect, in 1624, one author complained: “If he [the stationer] gett any written Coppy into his powre, likely to be vendible; whether the Author be willing or no, he will publish it; and it shallbe contriued and named alsoe, according to his pleasure: which is the reason, so many good Bookes come forth imperfect, and with foolish titles”: George Wither, The Schollers Purgatory, London, 1624, sig. H5r. In a miscellany printed by Valentine Simmes for John Bailey (STC 6373), Francis Davison’s prefatory address similarly confirms the “Printer” wholly responsible for the book’s packaging and advertising campaign: “If any except against the mixing (both at the beginning and the ende of this booke) of diverse thinges written by great and learned Personages, with our meane and worthles Scriblings, I utterly disclaime it, as being done by the Printer, either to grace the forefront with Sir Ph. Sidneys, and others names, or to make the booke grow to a competent volume”: A Poetical Rapsody, London, 1602, sig. A4r.

[24] One prior printed anthology, The Courte of Venus (STC 24650), was likely published in the 1530s, though it now survives only in fragments.

[25] Arthur F. Marotti, Manuscript, Print, and the English Renaissance Lyric, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1995, p. 218.

[26] Elizabeth Heale, Wyatt, Surrey & Early Tudor Poetry, London, Longman, 1998, p. 191-192.

[27] This and all further references to Songes and Sonettes refer to the text provided in the following facsimile edition (which reproduced STC 13860): Songes and Sonettes (Tottel’s Miscellany) 1557, Menston, Scolar Press, 1967. In my transcriptions from this facsimile, I have regularized all uses of ſ to s.

[28] Seth Lerer, Courtly Letters in the Age of Henry VIII: Literary Culture and the Arts of Deceit, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 165.

[29] For a discussion of another early seventeenth-century imaginary coterie (The Overbury Circle) similarly created by a stationer (Lawrence Lisle), see John Considine, “The Invention of the Literary Circle of Sir Thomas Overbury” in Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (eds.), Literary Circles and Cultural Communities in Renaissance England, Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 2000, p. 59-74. Considine argues that, in marketing the ever-expanding collection known as Sir Thomas Overbury’s Wife, Lisle employed a “marketing tactic designed to appeal to “middle-class book buyers’ increasing awareness of a system of coterie transmission of texts from which they were substantially excluded”: p. 74. According to his argument, “Sir Thomas Overbury’s Wife does not record the literary exchanges of Overbury and his friends. It is a document not of a literary circle but of an invented literary circle. Inventing a literary circle was Lisle’s business throughout the early publication history of A Wife. It gave him the opportunity to bring out one enlarged edition after another of his book without appearing to intrude extraneous material. It gave his readers a sense that the printed book they bought encapsulated a world of courtly textual exchange”: p. 73.

[30] Wendy Wall, The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1993, p. 24.

[31] W.A. Sessions, Henry Howard, The Poet Earl of Surrey: A Life, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 190.

[32] The single most significant of Tottel’s titles is the frame which he provided for Surrey’s poem which begins “From Tuskane came my Ladies worthy race.” In Songes and Sonettes, this poem of praise is called “Description and praise of his loue Geraldine.” In the early modern era, this apparent ‘Laura’ to Surrey’s Petrarchan poetic persona became popularly identified with Elizabeth Fiennes de Clinton (née Fitzgerald). On Surrey’s relationship with Elizabeth Fitzgerald, see W.A. Sessions, op. cit., p. 187-199.

[33] Francis Meres, op. cit., p. 320.

[34] Surrey’s letter appeared in the 1598 edition of Englands Heroicall Epistles, and the dispatch from Geraldine was first printed in the 1599 edition. Like Nashe before him, Drayton transparently relied on Songes and Sonettes in composing his own rendition of this love story.

[35] Qtd. in Virginia F. Stern, Gabriel Harvey: A Study of His Life, Marginalia, and Library, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1979 p. 127.

[36] Venus and Adonis is referred to thus by the Cripple of Fanchurch in the early seventeenth-century play The Fair Maid of the Exchange: qtd. in The Shakspere Allusion-Book: A Collection of Allusions to Shakspere from 1591-1700, John Munro et al. (eds.), vol. 1, London, Humphrey Milford, 1932, p. 177.

[37] Venus and Adonis was entered into the Stationers’ Register in the spring of 1593; the poem appeared in quarto versions later that year and again in 1594 (STC 22354 and 22355). Rights to the work were subsequently transferred to John Harrison the Elder (although Field continued to print the work for Harrison), who issued the third and fourth editions in octavo in 1595 and 1596 (STC 22356 and 22357). Rights to the poem next seem to have passed to William Leake, who appears to have published two editions in 1599 alone (STC 22358 and STC 22358a), and an additional spate of editions in or after 1602.

[38] Jeffrey Todd Knight recently described both of these volumes in “Making Shakespeare’s Books: Assembly and Intertextuality in the Archives”, Shakespeare Quarterly, 60 (3), Fall 2009, p. 304-340, here p. 328.

[39] I draw this conclusion based upon the fact that, included in the middle section of The Passionate Pilgrime as Poem 19 is a variant version of Marlowe’s poem now known as “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” appended with a truncated version of “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” attributed to Walter Ralegh; this was printed as a song along with its music in the Second Book of Ayres of 1612 (STC 5769), and it was also printed at least once in broadside ballad format in the early modern era. Additionally, Poem 17 had been published previously, again with a musical setting, in the 1597 Madrigals of Thomas Weelkes (STC 25205).

[40] Besides the Heroides translations, this section also included Heywood’s translations of poems from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris

[41] William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, The Norton Shakespeare, Volume I: Early Plays and Poems, Stephen Greenblatt et al. (eds.), 2nd edn., New York, Norton, 2008, p. 635-662, here l. 6. All subsequent parenthetical line numbers for Venus and Adonis refer to this edition, and I have used the standard MLA abbreviation Ven. in parenthetical references to this text.

[42] The story of Venus and Adonis appears as a story-within-a-story as constituent part of Orpheus’ song in the Metamorphoses; furthermore, Ovid’s Venus becomes an inscribed storyteller when she, in turn, relates the tale of Atalanta to her paramour.

[43] This is an exemplum which Shakespeare’s Venus had also used to illustrate her own desirability (Ven. 97-114).

[44] Later in the sequence, Poem 12 again returns to this same subject in its meditation on the incompatibility of “Crabbed age and youth” (PP 12.1)

[45] On a more superficial level, there are also a number of connections established between Venus and Paris/Helen through the Trojan prince’s frequent references to the so-called Judgment of Paris. Throughout his Ovidian epistle, Paris, who says that he is led by “Venus her selfe” (PP 21.36), emphasizes the prominent role that the goddess played in instigating his own romance. “I aske no more then what the Queene of Beauty / Hath promist me, for you are mine by duty” (PP 21. 26-27), he declares to Helen, insisting that “golden Venus hath by promise given” Menelaus’ wife to him (PP 21.66). Paris goes so far as to quote Venus’ own words in support of his claim: “Ile giue thee what thou louest best, (louely Swaine,) / The fairest Saint that doth on earth remaine / Shalbe thine owne, make thou the Conquest mine, / Faire Ledaes fairest Daughter shalbe thine” (PP 21.149-152).

[46] The historical circulation of early modern coterie poetry is described thus by Margaret J.M. Ezell, “Reading Pseudonyms in Seventeenth-Century English Coterie Literature”, Essays in Literature, 21 (1), Spr. 1994, p. 14-25, here p. 23.

Pour citer l'article :

Lindsay Ann Reid, « “Certaine Amorous Sonnets, Betweene Venus and Adonis”: fictive acts of writing in The Passionate Pilgrime of 1612 », Études Épistémè, 21, 2012. Acts of Writing, II - Self-Reflexive Acts of Writing.

URL: http://revue.etudes-episteme.org/?certaine-amorous-sonnets-betweene

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Études Épistémè,
21, 2012. Acts of Writing


I - Material Acts of Writing

II - Self-Reflexive Acts of Writing

III - Acts of Writing and Authorship

IV - Monumentalization and the Act of Writing

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