The Shepherd’s Kalender

Shakespeare’s Library –  Poetry

#19 The Shepherd’s Kalender (1765)

This version of a “shepherd’s calendar” is a compendium of useful information, from the practical (signs of the weather, agricultural advice, and health remedies) to the fantastical (discovering lucky and unlucky days, finding hidden treasure). It is the sixth edition of a popular book first published in 1700, but it imitates the format and content of many sixteenth- and seventeenth-century almanacs. These pervasive books were used by gentlemen such as Shakespeare (who was the head of a substantial household in Stratford) and helped inspire Spenser’s pastoral poetry. Books like this help to provide a common frame of reference for the knowledge and beliefs of the time.

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