• TO. THE. ONLY. BEGETTER. OF.
    THESE. ENSUING. SONNETS.
    Mr. W.H. ALL HAPPINESS.
    AND. THAT. ETERNITY.
    PROMISED.
    BY.
    OUR. EVER-LASTING. POET.
    WISHETH.
    THE. WELL-WISHING.
    ADVENTURER. IN.
    SETTING.
    FORTH.
    T.T.
  • In publishing these sonnets, the publisher, Thomas Thorpe, wishes the man who inspired them, Mr. W. H., to receive the happiness and eternal fame promised him by the immortal poet who wrote them.

    Mr. W. H.

    The identity of Mr. W.H. is unknown. The initials could simply be a misprint for W.Sh. (William Shakespeare), or they could refer to the person who inspired the sonnets—possibly the young man the sonnets refer to. The most popular guesses regarding the young man’s identity are Henry Wriothesly, earl of Southampton, and William Herbert, earl of Pembroke.