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April 18, 1593
Venus and Adonis was William Shakespeare’s first work to be entered into a Stationers’ Company register. This epic poem was entered on April 18, 1593 into the Stationers' Liber B by Richard Field (entered as "ffeild"), a printer from Stratford-upon-Avon.
June 12, 1593
This diary entry, written by Richard Stonley on Tuesday, June 12, 1593, records the first known purchase of the first edition of Shakespeare's first printed work, the narrative poem Venus and Adonis (London, 1593).
This is the only known copy in existence of the first edition of Shakespeare’s first printed work, Venus and Adonis, which appeared in 1593. During his lifetime Shakespeare was known first and foremost as the author of Venus and Adonis.
Richard Barnfield’s description of “earth-delving conies” in The Affectionate Shepheard is most likely an early allusion to the “earth-delving conies” in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis (1593),
June 25, 1594
On June 25, 1594, the London printer and publisher Richard Field (entered as "ffeild") transferred his rights to print Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis over to his colleague, John Harrison the Elder.
The second edition of Venus and Adonis was published in 1594, only one year after the first edition. The speed with which it was republished suggests that the poem was popular enough to have already sold out or nearly sold out.
In 1595 William Covell, a church of England clergyman and a fellow of Queen’s College in Cambridge, wrote Polimanteia, which was produced by John Legate, the Cambridge University printer.
This is the only known surviving copy of the third edition of Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare’s first printed work. It is a heavily-repaired fragment, with the first section now lost.