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The final poem in the book, A Lover’s Complaint, has in the past been more or less sidelined and not discussed in relation to the sonnets at all.

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Cosimo II de Medici became the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Construction of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul began in this year.

The author was perhaps too busy to arrange the awkward business of publication.

It is always possible that he did contemplate a complete edition of his works, such as that which Ben Jonson managed to achieve, but perhaps work and illness and an untimely death prevented him.

They were among the most popular plays of the period and were frequently performed, so that they had a wide audience already.

Publication might have diluted this audience, or indeed made the works available to rival companies.

They are sonnets mostly of pure love and devotion, marred by the fact that the beloved fair youth does not correspond to the ideal which the poet has created of love and the loved object, and also marred by the poet’s occasional failure to live up to the ideal of love as he envisages it.

The second group, 127 – 152, describes his love, or perhaps infatuation for his dark mistress. Finally the work is rounded off by a poem describing love betrayed, A Lover’s Complaint.

In this case it is a young woman’s love for a man which is portrayed, but the woman is cruelly seduced and abandoned by the man, whose sole purpose from the outset was sexual conquest.

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