WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born in 1564, the son of a glove maker from Stratford-upon-Avon, and spent much of his adult life in London. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Shakespeare's poetry first appeared in 1593, dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. It is unknown when he wrote each sonnet, but the collection was first published in 1609. He died in 1616, aged 52.