Venus & Adonis & The Rape of Lucrece: William Shakespeare - CD

Venus & Adonis & The Rape of Lucrece: William Shakespeare - CD

SKU: 9789626344293
 
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  • Written By: William Shakespeare
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
  • Published: November 2006
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Written by William Shakespeare - Audio performed by David Burke, Clare Corbett, & Eve Best - Mikael Augustsson, bandoneon player - Unabridged Poems - 3 COMPACT DISCS

Naxos Audiobooks (November 2006)

These two great poems date from Shakespeare's early years and are full of passion and invention. In Venus and Adonis, the goddess of love pleads with the beautiful boy to submit to her advances and become her love - but he only wants to hunt boar. In the more serious Rape of Lucrece, Shakespeare draws on the Roman take of the Emperor Tarquin's desire for Lucrece and its tragic consequences. These poems give prominent parts to the two heroines, and Clare Corbett and Eve Best shine.

Disc 1

1. Even as the sun with purple - 05:07
2. Upon this promise did he raise his chin - 05:19
3. By this love-sick queen began to sweat - 05:00
4. But lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by - 04:56
5. He sees her coming, and begins to glow - 04:32
6. I know not love,' quoth he, 'no will know it ' - 04:25
7. The night of sorrow now is turn'd to day - 04:13
8. Now quick desire hath caught the yielding prey - 04:06
9. Thou hadst been gone,' quoth she, 'sweet boy, ere this ' - 05:15
10. Lie quietly, and hear a little more ' - 06:02
11. With this he breaketh from the sweet embrace - 03:25
12. This said, she hasteth to a myrtle grove - 05:27
13. Here overcome, as one full of despair - 04:39
14. As falcon to the lure, away she flies - 06:15
15. She looks upon his lips, and they are pale - 04:46

Disc 2

1. From the besieged Ardea all in post - 04:59
2. Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue - 05:46
3. Now stole upon the time the dead of night - 05:52
4. Thus, graceless, holds he disputation - 05:08
5. But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him - 03:47
6. O, had they in that darksome prison died - 04:49
7. Imagine her as one in dead of night - 03:56
8. This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade - 04:37
9. Quoth she, 'Reward not hospitality ' - 06:13
10. This said, he sets his foot upon the light - 04:01
11. Even in this thought through the dark night he stealeth - 04:38
12. O night, thou furnace of foul-reeking smoke ' - 05:03
13. O Opportunity, thy guilt is great ' - 03:49
14. Why hath thy servant, Opportunity ' - 03:56
15. O Time, thou tutor both to good and bad ' - 02:56

Disc 3

1. This said, from her be-tumbled couch - 03:52
2. Thus cavils she with every think she sees - 03:42
3. As the poor frighted deer, that stands at gaze - 04:09
4. This plot of death when sadly she had laid - 03:49
5. By this, mild Patience bid fair Lucrece speak - 04:10
6. Her letter now is seal'd, and on it writ - 05:42
7. For much imaginary work was there - 04:55
8. Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes - 04:50
9. Here, all enrag'd, such passion her assails - 03:20
10. And now this pale swan in her watery nest - 03:25
11. Lo, here, the hopeless merchant of this loss - 04:19
12. Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast - 03:29
13. By this starts Collatine as from a dream - 05:11

About the Author: William Shakespeare (1564-1616), was born at Stratford on Avon in April 1564, and baptised on the 26th. His father, John Shakespeare, was a fell-monger and a glover; perhaps also a butcher and certainly a dealer, at times, in corn and timber. In 1557 he married Mary Arden, daughter of a wealthy farmer; and was successive chamberlain, alderman and high-bailiff of Stratford. William was the third child; one of four sisters outlived him and one of three brothers, Edmund, became an actor, and died in 1607. William was probably educated at the free school at Stratford, where, besides English, he would learn something of Latin – ‘small Latin and less Greek’.

In 1578 John Shakespeare became very unprosperous and perhaps the boy, removed from school, was apprenticed to a butcher; perhaps he was for a time an attorney’s clerk. There is a bond given previous to marriage between William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, dated 28 November 1582. Anne Hathaway was the daughter of a yeoman of Shottery, and was eight years older than the bridegroom. The marriage may have been pressed forward by Anne’s friends in order that a child – Shakespeare’s eldest daughter, Susanna (baptised on 26 May 1583) – might be born in lawful wedlock. Two years after the birth of Susanna twins were born, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet died in his twelfth year; both daughters survived their father. Three or four years after his marriage Shakespeare quitted Stratford – after a prosecution for stealing deer from the park of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote. A tradition relates that Shakespeare’s first employment in London was holding the horses of gentlemen outside the theatre. Except that we find his name joined with that of his father in an attempt made in 1592 to assign a small property to the mortgagee, we know nothing certain of Shakespeare’s life from the date of his twin children’s birth until 1592 when he was an actor and a rising playwright.

In 1593 appeared his first work, the narrative poem, Venus and Adonis, dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, the poet’s patron and friend. It is an elaborate piece of Renaissance paganism, setting forth ideals of sensuous beauty in the persons of the amorous goddess and of the young hunter, whose coldness meets and foils her passion. Lucrece followed in 1594, also dedicated to Southampton; in it the lawless passion of Tarquin is confronted by the ardent chastity of the Roman wife. Both the Venus and the Lucrece became, immediately popular. Shakespeare’s earliest dramatic works consisted probably in adapting for the stage, plays which had grown out of date. Many critics regard Titus Andronicus as one example. Another of these plays is the First Part of Henry VI. It is not certain at what date Shakespeare’s career as a dramatic author began; but 1589–90 cannot be far astray. The evidence by which the chronology of Shakespeare’s works is inferred is of various kinds, including entries of publication in the Stationer’s Registers, statements about the plays and poems or allusions to them or quotations from them by contemporary writers, facts connected with the history of dramatic companies which presented plays of Shakespeare, allusions in the plays of historical events, and quotations by Shakespeare from publications of the day. We also observe the growth of Shakespeare’s imaginative power, his intellectual reach, his moral depth, his spiritual wisdom. Love’s Labour’s Lost (1590) is perhaps his first original play. The Comedy of Errors (1591), a lively tangle of farcical incidents, is founded on the Menaechmi of Plautus. The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1592), a romantic love-comedy, exhibits a marked advance in the presentation of character. This group closes with A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1593-94). No other comedy of Shakespeare has so large a lyrical element. Meanwhile he was engaged on the English historical drama. In the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI (1592), he worked upon the basis of old plays written probably by Marlowe and Greene. In King Richard III (1593) he still writes in Marlowe’s manner, though the play is wholly his own, his chief source for his historical material being Holinshed’s Chronicle. The influence of Marlowe is no longer supreme in King Richard II (1594) which with King John (1595) in style has something in common. Shakespeare as a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s company appeared on several occasions before Queen Elizabeth. Before long he became a theatrical shareholder, and had gathered sufficient wealth to purchase (1597) ’New Place,’ a large house in Stratford, where he cherished friendly relations with his neighbours. During at least part of 1598–1604 he lodged with Christopher Mountjoy, a French tire-maker at Monkwell Street, Cripplegate. Romeo and Juliet is founded in the main upon a poem, Romeus and Juliet (1562), by Arthur Brooke; it has a lyrical sweetness, swiftness and intensity such as we do not find elsewhere in the author’s writings. Near to it in chronological order stands The Merchant of Venice (1596), between the earliest comedies and those which lie around the year 1600. The advance in characterisation from that of Shakespeare’s previous comedies is remarkable. Shakespeare’s mastery of comedy aids him in the historical plays which followed – the First and Second Parts of Henry IV (1597–98) and King Henry V (1599). There is a tradition that Queen Elizabeth commanded Shakespeare to exhibit Falstaff in love, and that he hastily wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor (1598–99). In the Taming of the Shrew (1597), adapted and enlarged from an old play, Shakespeare’s genius shows itself chiefly in connection with the boisterous heroine, her high spirited tamer Petruchio, and the drunken tinker. The same animal spirits and vivacity appear – but now refined and exalted – in Much Ado about Nothing (15987ndash;99). About this time he rehandled Love’s Labours Lost. As You Like It (1599), dramatised from a prose tale by Lodge, and Twelfth Night (1600–01) are the last of the wholly joyous comedies of this period.

About 1600–01 Shakespeare’s mirth becomes touched with seriousness or infected with bitterness, and soon he ceases to write comedy. Some have supposed that this is connected with events shadowed forth in Shakespeare’s Sonnets mentioned in 1598 but not published until 1609. The poems form two groups – 1–26 addressed to a beautiful young man of high station, 127–154 either addressed to or referring to a married woman of dark complexion, highly accomplished, fascinating, but of irregular conduct. Shakespeare’s young friend seems to have fallen into the hands of the woman, to whom Shakespeare was himself attached by a passion which he felt to be degrading, yet which he could not overcome. The woman yielded to the younger admirer, who was, socially, Shakespeare’s superior. Hence an alienation between the friends, but at the close all wrongs were forgotten. After 1600 Shakespeare still writes comedy, but the gaiety of the earlier comedies is gone. All’s Well that Ends Well (160–02) is least happy in its mirthful scenes. Measure for Measure (1603) hardly deserves the name of comedy; it is a searching of the mystery of self-deceit in the heart of a man and the exhibition of an ideal of virginal chastity. Perhaps it is to this date (1603) that Troilus and Cressida belongs, in which certain passages are probably by another hand than Shakespeare’s. Before he ceased for a time to write comedy Shakespeare seems to have begun the next great series of tragedies. Julius Caesar (1601) and Hamlet (1602) are tragedies in which reflection as a motive-power, holds its own with emotion. Hamlet is perhaps founded on an older play, which produced a great impression about 1588–89. Shakespeare doubtless read the story, originally derived from, Saxo Grammaticus, in the English prose of the Hystorie of Hamlet translated from the French of Belleforest. And now tragedy succeeded tragedy, each of surpassing greatness. Othello (1604), a tale of jealousy, King Lear (1605) and Macbeth (1606) – a tragedy of criminal ambition. In Antony and Cleopatra (1607), Roman manhood is sapped by the sensual witchery of the East. From Plutarch also came the material for Coriolanus (1608). Timon of Athens is only in part by Shakespeare. The last plays he wrote are comedies; but they might be aptly called romances, for romantic beauty presides over them rather than mirth. Pericles, (1608), or rather Shakespeare’s part of that play, might be better named the romance of Marina, the lost daughter of Pericles. Cymbeline (1609) is also a tale of lost children at length recovered, and of a wife separated from her husband but finally reunited with him. The Tempest may have been written in 1610; it is believed that a German play by Jacob Ayrer and The Tempest must have had some common original. The Winter’s Tale (161–11) dramatises a novel by Robert Greene. Apart from the other historical English plays both in subject and in date stands King Henry III (1612–13). Shakespeare was apparently still on the stage in 1605, but had probably left it by 1610. He sold his shares in the Globe Theatre probably between 1611 and 1613, but while residing chiefly at Stratford seems to have desired a town residence, for in 1613 he bought a house near the Blackfriars Theatre. The latter part of his life was spent in ease, retirement and in conversation with friends. In 1607 his daughter Susanna married a physician of Stratford, John Hall. In 1616 his younger daughter, Judith married Thomas Quyney, a vintner of Stratford. Elizabeth Hall, his first-born grandchild, was twice married, but died without issue in 1670, the last descendent of the poet. In March 1616 Shakespeare fell seriously ill; according to tradition the illness was a fever contracted after a merry meeting with Drayton and Ben Jonson. On 23 April 1616, which is also supposed to be his birthday, he died. He was buried in the chancel of the parish church. His widow died on 6 August 1623.

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