Venus and Adonis is a poem by William Shakespeare, published in 1593, and based on passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It tells the story of the Greek goddess, Venus and her infatuation for Adonis, a mortal. Adonis is notoriously good looking, but he resists Venus' overtures. The poem ends in tragedy when Adonis is killed during a hunt. Shakespeare dedicated the poem to Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton, a patron of writers.
In 1594 Shakespeare published another poem, The Rape of Lucrece, which he also dedicated to Wriothesley. The story is said to be one of the key events leading to the formation of the Roman Republic. Lucius Tarquinius had taken the throne against Roman custom. His son, Sextus, rapes Lucrece. Before committing suicide, she tells her father and his companions what has happened and her father vows revenge. Her body is paraded in the Roman Forum, prompting the people of Rome to revolt. The entire Tarquinius family is sent into exile.