Venus and Adonis

First published in 1593, Venus and Adonis was Shakespeare’s most popular poem, and for this very reason few examples survive; copies were read and reread, lent and borrowed until they fell apart. At least fifteen further editions were published over the next forty-three years, but for many of them there is only a single witness. This copy of Venus and Adonis belonged to Robert Burton, student of Christ Church and author of the Anatomy of Melancholy, whose bequest of books to the Bodleian greatly increased the Library’s scant literary holdings. It purports to be an edition of 1602, but is in fact a pirated edition printed in 1607–8. No other copies are known.