Although the composition of Shakespeare’s two narrative poems can be located, as we have seen, in a specific span of two years early in his career, the sonnets were composed and revised over a much longer time-span. It would be surprising if during that period Shakespeare had written no other non-dramatic poetry, but in fact he appears to have been able to dedicate himself more or less completely to writing plays. The number of other poems that have been attributed to him is small, and even of these not all can be said with certainty to be his. They are mainly occasional poems, and, with one exception, they are minor contributions to the canon. They are worth considering here, though, for the questions they raise about the ways in which the canon has been generated, and for what they suggest about the literary marketplace for which Shakespeare wrote.
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