William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born in Stratford-upon-Avon where his father was a prosperous glover. His early life is obscure, but he married Anne Hathaway in 1682 with whom he had two children. By 1592 he was establishing himself in London, and over the next twenty years he wrote thirty-seven plays-and contributed to many more-was a prolific poet, and was taken up by several influential patrons. His Sonnets were first printed in 1609 by George Eld for Thomas Thorpe. The identity of Mr. W.H. to whom the Sonnets are dedicated remains a mystery, as does the identity of the aristocratic youth in the Sonnets and the enigmatic Dark Lady.