Massey on  Shakspeare's Sonnets (12)

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-XXV-

BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA.

SHAKSPEARE'S SOUTHAMPTON.

(continued from previous page)

    In 1600 the Queen had neither forgotten nor forgiven the marriage of Southampton.  Mountjoy was now made Lord-Deputy of Ireland, and Southampton hoped to accompany him on his first campaign.  Again we have recourse to that agreeable Court gossip, Rowland White:—

    Jan. 24, 1600.—"My Lord of Southampton goes over to Ireland, having only the charge of 200 foot and 100 horse."  He was not permitted to accompany the Lord-Deputy to Ireland, and on February 9, we find that, "My Lord of Southampton's going is uncertain, for it is thought that her Majesty allows it not."  Lord Mountjoy landed in Ireland February 26, and on March 15, White says—"My Lord of Southampton is in very good hope to kiss the Queen's hand before his going to Ireland.  Mr. Secretary is his good friend, and he attends it; his horses and stuff are gone before."

    March 23—"My Lord of Southampton hath not yet kissed the Queen's hands, but attends it still."

    March 29—"My Lord of Southampton attends to morrow to kiss the Queen's hands; if he miss it, it is not like he shall obtain it in any reasonable time.  I hear he will go to Ireland, and hopes by doing of some notable service to merit it at his return."

    April 19—"My Lord of Southampton deferred his departure for one week longer, hoping to have access to her Majesty's presence, but it cannot be obtained; yet she very graciously wished him a safe going and returning."

    April 26—"My Lord of Southampton went away on Monday last, Sir Charles Danvers brought him as far as Coventry.  He is a very fine gentleman, and loves you well."

    May 3—"My Lord Southampton upon his going away sent my Lord Grey word that what in his first letter he promised, he was now ready in Ireland to perform."

    On June 8, the Lord-Deputy wrote to Master Secretary concerning the state of Connaught, wherein nothing was surely the Queen's but Athlone by a provident guard, and Galway by their own good disposition, wishing that the government of that province might be conferred on the Earl of Southampton (to whom the Lord of Dunkellin would more willingly resign, and might do it with greater reputation to himself, in respect of the Earl's greatness) rather than upon Sir Arthur Savage (who, notwithstanding, upon the Queen's pleasure again signified, was shortly after made governor of that province).  His lordship protested that it was such a place as he knew the Earl would not seek, but only himself desired this, because he knew the Earl's aptness and willingness to do the Queen service, if he might receive such a token of her favour; justly commending his valour and wisdom, as well in general as in the late particular service in the Moyry, when the rear being left naked, he by a resolute charge with six horse upon Tyrone at the head of 220 horse, drove him back a musket shot, and so assuring the rear, saved the honour of the Queen's army. [117]  It was as useless, however, for Mountjoy to plead on behalf of Southampton as it had been for Essex in the previous year.  Her Majesty was unrelenting.  And in August, about the 25th, Southampton left the Irish war and sailed for England.  There was some rumour of his going into the Low Countries in search of my Lord Grey; if so, nothing came of it.  He is said to have been summoned home by Essex.

    White tells us, September 26, 1600—"The Earl of Southampton arrived upon Monday night, and upon Wednesday went to his lady who lies at Lees, my Lord Riches; he hath been extreme sick but is now recovered."

    Such treatment as Southampton had received from the Queen was naturally calculated to drive him closer to the side of his friend Essex, who was then under the Queen's sore displeasure, brooding over his discontent.  So far had her Majesty's petty tyranny been carried, that in the March of this year Lord and Lady Southampton, together with others of Essex's friends, had been all removed from Essex House; whilst great offence had been taken at Southampton and others having entered a house that overlooked York Garden, on purpose to salute Essex from the window.

    The two Earls were drawn together by many ties, by some likeness of nature, by strong bonds of personal friendship, and links of household love.  Southampton was the nearest and dearest personal friend that Essex had; first in all matters of vital import and secret service.  When Essex was consigned to the custody of the Lord Keeper in the autumn of 1590, his two most intimate and trusted friends were Southampton and Mountjoy; to these he committed the care of his interests.  When Southampton, in April, 1600, went to join Lord Mountjoy in Ireland, Essex sent letters to Mountjoy, saying he relied on him and Southampton as his best friends, and would take their advice in all things.  It was upon the intercession of Southampton, says Sir Henry Wotton, that the fatal tempter, Cuffe, was restored to his place alter Essex had dismissed him; and he "so working upon his disgraces and upon the vain foundations of vulgar breath, which hurts many good men, spun out the final destruction of his master and himself, and almost of his restorer, if his pardon had not been won by inches."

    It was at Southampton's residence, Drury House—on the site of which now stands the Olympic Theatre—that the chief partisans of Essex held their meetings in January, 1601.  And Southampton in his youthful zeal and fervent friendship seems to have felt that, come what might, it was his place to dwell with Essex in disgrace, and if need be, fall by his side in death.  Though what the Essex conspiracy was formed for or amounted to it is very difficult to deter mine.  Essex and his sister, Lady Rich, we know intrigued and plotted for the purpose of bringing James to the throne, but that was never put forward on this occasion.

    Lord Mountjoy being under the influence of Lady Rich, and held captive in her strong toils of grace, was to some extent bound up with the cause of Essex.  His Secretary tells us that he was privately professed and privy to the Earl's intentions, though, as these were so vague and full of change, the acquiescence of Mountjoy may have been very general.  According to Sir Charles Danvers, Mountjoy had promised that if the King of Scots would head the revolution and strike for the throne of England, he would leave Ireland defensively guarded and come over with 5000 or 6000 men, "which, with the party that my Lord of Essex should make head withal, were thought sufficient to bring to pass that which was intended."  He had afterwards advised the Earl of Essex to have patience and wait.  Southampton had opposed this march on London.  He held it altogether unfit, as well in respect of his friend's conscience to God and his love to his country, as his duty to his sovereign, of which he, of all men, ought to have greatest regard, seeing her Majesty's favours to him (Essex) had been so extraordinary, wherefore he, Southampton, could never give his consent to it. [118]

    To me the attempt of Essex looks like a too audacious endeavour to apply, in a more public way, the rights of personal familiarity which he had in some sort acquired and so often relied on in private with the Queen.  But the force and freedom of the personal were on the wane.  Essex had shown disloyalty to her Majesty's person, which was more than disloyalty to her throne.  He had said the "Queen was cankered, and her mind had become as crooked as her carcase."  "These words," quoth Raleigh, "cost the Earl his had."  [119]  Also, there were statesmen round the throne who represented the public element, which was now rising in power as the life and vigour of the royal lioness were ebbing, and they were anxious that this personal fooling should cease, and the State policy be shaped less by whims and more by fixed principles.  Else, according to Camden, the so-called conspirators were surprised to hear of a trial for treason.  They had thought the matter would have been let sleep, and that the Queen's affection for Essex would cause it to be privately settled or kept in the dark. [120]  No doubt there were some who stood about the Earl and urged him on with desperate advice, that secretly nursed the wildest hopes of what a success might bring forth for them, who also calculated that the Earl's influence with the Queen would tide them over a defeat.

   Southampton had his personal complaint with regard to the attack made upon him in the street by Lord Grey, and to this he alluded in the course of the parleyings at Essex House before the surrender; but of course he knew this was no warrant for his being in arms against his sovereign.  With him it was essentially a matter of personal friendship; he acted according to his sense of personal honour, which blinded him to all else.  He had told Sir Charles Danvers that he would cast in his lot with my Lord of Essex, and venture his life to save him.  He had done all that he possibly could on behalf of a man who had lost his head long before it fell from the block.  He was one of those who in 1599 dissuaded Essex from one of his projected attempts, in which he purposed reducing his adversaries by force of arms.  He opposed the contemplated march upon London.  He advised the Earl's escape into France, and offered to accompany him into exile and share his fortunes there.  He, with Sir Charles Danvers, had, as Essex admitted, persuaded the rash Earl to "parley with my Lord General."  Evidently he had seen all the peril, but thought his place was with his friend, no matter what might be their fate.  As he pleaded on his trial, the first cause of his part in the matter was that affinity betwixt him and Essex, "being of his blood, and having married his kinswoman," so that for his sake he would have hazarded his life.  He had the good sense to see that the "rising," as it was called, the going into the city, was a foolish thing, and he said so, but he continued, "My sword was not drawn all day."  It was indeed foolish, for such a cause, and such a cry of revolution as "For the Queen! For the Queen!  My life is in danger!" were never set up in this world before or since.  Stowe informs its that the wondering citizens, not knowing what to make of the cry, fancied that it might be one of joy because Essex and the Queen had become friends again, and that her Majesty had appointed him to ride through London in that triumphant manner.

    Southampton urged in his defence, "What I have by my forwardness offended in act, I am altogether ignorant, but in thought I am assured never.  If through my ignorance of law I have offended, I humbly submit myself to her Majesty, and from the bottom of my heart do beg her gracious pardon.  For, if any foolish speeches have passed, I protest, as I shall be saved, that they were never purposed by me, nor understood to be so purposed, to the hurt of her Majesty's person.  I deny that I did ever mean or intend any treason, rebellion, or other action against my sovereign or the state; what I did was to assist my Lord of Essex in his private quarrel; and therefore, Mr. Attorney, you have urged the matter very far; my blood be upon your head.  I submit myself to her Majesty's mercy.  I know I have offended her, yet, if it please her to be merciful unto me, I may live, and by my service deserve my life.  I have been brought up under her Majesty.  I have spent the best part of my patrimony in her Majesty's service, with danger of my life, as your lordships know."  Southampton was in his twenty-eighth year when he was tried for treason.  He had espoused the Earl of Essex's cause unwarily, and followed him upon his fatal course imprudently.  But there was something chivalrous in his self-sacrificing friendship; a spirit akin to that of the Scottish chieftain, who, when the Pretender made his personal appeal, saw all the danger, and said, "You have determined, and we shall die for you;" and proudly open-eyed to death they went.

    The historian notes that when my Lord Grey was called at the trial, "the Earl of Essex laughed upon the Earl of Southampton, and jogged him by the sleeve," to call his attention to his old "sweet enemy."

    Perhaps we shall get at the Earl of Southampton's view of the matter in a letter written by Sir Dudley Carleton to Sir Thomas Parry, dated July 3, 1603; the remarkable words being spoken when and where there was no need for the speaker to "hedge" on the subject:—

    "The Lords of Southampton and Grey, the first night the Queen came hither, renewed their old quarrels, and fell flatly out in her presence.  She was in discourse with Lord Southampton touching the Lord of Essex' action, and wondered, as she said, that so many great men did so little for themselves.  To which Lord Southampton answered, that the Queen being made a party against them, they were forced to yield, but if that course had not been taken, there was none of their private enemies, with whom their only quarrel was, that durst have opposed themselves.  This being overheard by the Lord Grey, he would maintain the contrary party durst have done more than they.  Upon which he had the lie hurled at him.  The Queen bade them remember where they were." [121]  This was in vain.  The bickering continued, and they had to be sent to their lodgings to which they were committed, with a guard placed over them.  On that occasion the King had to settle the quarrel, and make peace between them.

    Southampton was condemned to die, and lay in the Tower at point of death; he was long doubtful whether his life would be spared.  His friends outside hoped for the best, but sadly feared the worst.  In a letter to Sir George Carew, dated March 4, 1601, Secretary Cecil professes to be pleading all he dare for the "poor young Earl of Southampton, who, merely for the love of Essex, hath been drawn into this action," but says that he hardly finds cause to hope.  It is "so much against the Earl that the meetings were held at Drury House, where he was the chief, that those who deal for him are much disadvantaged of arguments to save him."  Yet "the Queen is so merciful, and the Earl so penitent, and he never in thought or deed offended save in this conspiracy," that the Secretary will not despair.  At last the sentence was commuted to the "confined doom" of perpetual imprisonment.

    At the death of the Queen the Earl was much visited, says Bacon, who was one of the first to greet him, and who wrote to assure his lordship that, how little soever it might seem credible to him at first (he having been counsel against Southampton and Essex on their trial), yet it was as true as a thing that God knoweth, that this great change of the Queen's death, and the King's accession, had wrought in himself no other change towards his lordship than this, that he might safely be that to him now, which he was truly before. [122] We may rest assured that Shakspeare was one of the first to greet his "dear boy," over whose errors he had grieved, and upon whose imprudent unselfishness he had looked with tears, half of sorrow, and half of pride.  He had loved him as a father loves a son; he had warned him, and prayed for him, and fought in soul against adverse "Fortune" on his behalf, and he now welcomed him from the gloom of a prison on his way to a palace and the smile of a monarch.  This was the poet's written gratulation:

"Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
 Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
 Can yet the lease of my true love control;
 Supposed as forfeit to a Confined Doom!
 The Mortal Moon hath her Eclipse endured,
 And the sad Augurs mock their own presage,
 Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
 And Peace proclaims Olives of endless age:
 Now with the drops of this most balmy time
 My love looks fresh; and Death to me subscribes,
 Since, spite of him, I'll live in this poor rhyme,
 While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes:
     And thou in this shalt find thy Monument
     When Tyrants' crests and Tombs of Brass are spent."

    Mr. Chamberlain, writing to Dudley Carleton, April 1603, says, "The l0th of this month the Earl of Southampton was delivered out of the Tower by warrant from the King," sent by Lord Kinloss—"These bountiful beginnings raise all men's spirits, and put them in great hopes."  Wilson says, [123] "The Earl of Southampton, covered long with the ashes of great Essex his ruins, was sent for from the Tower, and the King looked upon him with a smiling countenance, though displeasing happily to the new Baron Essingdon, Sir Robert Cecil, yet it was much more to the Lords Cobham and Grey, and Sir Walter Raleigh."

    Shakspeare's was not the only poetic greeting received by the Earl as he emerged from the Tower.  Samuel Daniel hastened to salute him, and give voice to the general joy:

"The world had never taken so full note
     Of what thou art, hadst thou not been undone;
 And only thy affliction hath begot
     More fame, than thy best fortunes could have won:
 For, ever by Adversity are wrought
     The greatest works of Admiration;
 And all the fair examples of Renown
 Out of distress and misery are grown.

 He that endures for what his conscience knows
     Not to be ill, doth from a patience high
 Look only on the cause whereto he owes
     Those sufferings, not on his misery:
 The more he endures, the more his glory grows:
     Which never grows from imbecility:
 Only the best-compos'd and worthiest hearts,
 God sets to act the hard'st and constant'st parts."

    John Davies of Hereford also addressed the Earl on his liberation, and grew jubilant over the rising dawn of the new reign, opening on the land with such a smiling prospect:

"The time for mirth is now, even now, begun;
 Now wisest men with mirth do seem stark mad,
 And cannot choose—their hearts are all so glad.
 Then let's be merry in our God and King,
 That made us merry, being ill bestadd:
 Southampton, up thy Cap to Heaven fling,
 And on the Viol their sweet praises sing;
 For he is come that grace to all doth bring."

    Southampton was invited to meet the King on his way to London.  In Nicholls's Progresses of James I. [124] we read, that "Within half a mile of Master Oliver Cromwell's (our Oliver's uncle), the Bailiff of Huntingdon met the King, and there delivered the sword, which his Highness gave to the new-released Earl of Southampton, to bear before him.  O admirable work of mercy, confirming the hearts of all true subjects in the good opinion of his Majesty's royal compassion; not alone to deliver from captivity such high nobility, but to use vulgarly with great favour, not only him, but also the children of his late honourable fellows in distress.  His Majesty passed on in state, the Earl bearing the sword before him, as I before said he was appointed, to Master Oliver Cromwell's house."

   
His lands and other rights, which had been forfeited by the Earl's attainder, were now restored, with added honours and increase of wealth.  He was appointed Master of the Game to the Queen, and a pension of £600 per annum was conferred upon his countess.  He was also installed a Knight of the Garter, and made Captain of the Isle of Wight.  By a new patent, dated July 21, he was again created Earl by his former titles.  And the first bill after the recognition of the King, which was read in the parliament that met on the 19th of March, 1604, was for restitution of Henry, Earl of Southampton.  On the 4th of this month, Rowland White writes, "My lady Southampton was brought to bed of a young lord upon St. David's day (March 1), in the morning; a saint to be much honoured by that house for so great a blessing, by wearing a leek, for ever upon that day." [125]  On the 27th of the same month the Child was christened at Court, "the King and Lord Cranbourn with the Countess of Suffolk being gossips."  March 30 the Earl was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, together with his friend the Earl of Devonshire.  Towards the end of June Southampton was arrested suddenly.  The cause was, in all probability, some sinister suggestions of one or other of the Scotch lords who were jealous of his advancement and of the favour shown to him by the Queen.  These marks of favour were followed, in June, 1606, by the appointment of his lordship to be Warden of the New Forest (on the death of the Earl of Devonshire), and Keeper of the Park of Lindhurst.  In November, 1607, the Earl lost his mother, who had been the wife successively of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, Sir Thomas Heneage, and Sir William Hervey.  We are told that she "left the best of her stuff to her son, and the greater part to her husband."  The "stuff" consisted of jewellery, pictures, hangings, &c., chiefly collected by Sir Thomas Heneage, for the possession of which the Earl of Arundel ranked him among the damned.

    The Earl of Southampton was a very intimate friend of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and both, like the sage Roger Ascham, were sadly addicted to cock-fighting.  Rowland White records, on the 19th of April, 1605, that "Pembroke hath made a cock-match with Suffolk and Southampton, for £50 a battle;" and May 13 he says, or rather sings—

The Herberts, every cockpit day,
Do carry away
The gold and glory of the day.

This fellowship in sport led to the quarrel with Lord Montgomery, recorded in Winwood's Memorials. [126]  Southampton and the wild brother of the Earl of Pembroke fell out, as they were playing at tennis, in April, 1610, "where the rackets flew about their ears, but the matter was compounded by the King without further bloodshed."

    The two Earls, Southampton and Pembroke, were yoked in a nobler fellowship than that of sport.  They fought side by side in the uphill struggle which colonization had to make against Spanish influence.  They carried on the work of Raleigh when his adventurous spirit beat its wings in vain behind the prison bars, and continued it after his gray head had fallen on Tower Hill.  They both belonged to the Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for the first colony of Virginia (May 23, 1609): Southampton being appointed one of the council.  He became a most active promoter of voyages of discovery, and a vigilant watcher over the interests of the colonists.  December 15, 1609, the Earl writes to Lord Salisbury, that he has told the King about the Virginian squirrels brought into England, which are said to fly.  The King very earnestly asked if none were provided for him, and whether Salisbury had none for him, and said he was sure Salisbury would get him one.  The Earl says he would not have troubled Lord Salisbury on the subject, "but that you know so well how he is affected to these toys."  A squirrel that could fly being of infinitely more interest to James than a colony that could hardly stand.

    In 1607 Southampton and Sir Ferdinando Gorges had sent out two ships, under the command of Harlie and Nicolas.  They sailed along the coast of New England, and were sometimes well but oftener ill received by the natives.  They returned to England in the same year, bringing five savages back with them.  One wonders whether Shakspeare's rich, appreciation of such a "find" has not something to do with his discovery of Caliban, the man-monster, and land-fish.

    It is pretty certain that the Earl's adventures as a colonizer had a considerable influence on the creation of Shakspeare's Tempest.  The marvellous stories told of "Somer's Island," called the Wonderful Island, for the plantation of which a charter was granted to Southampton, Pembroke, and others, may have fired the Poet's imagination and tickled his humour.

    August, 1612, the English merchants sent home some ambergris and seed pearls, "which the devils of the Bermudas love not better to retain than the angels of Castile do to recover."

    October 27, 1613, a piece of ambergris was found, "big as the body of a giant, the head and one arm wanting; but so foolishly handled that it brake in pieces, so that the largest piece brought home was not more than 68 ounces in weight."  Again, we read that the Spaniards, dismayed at the frequency of hurricanes, durst not adventure there, but called it Dæmoniorum insulam.

    On the 12th of May, 1614, the Earl of Southampton supported the cause of his young plantation in Parliament, on which occasion Dick Martin, in upholding the Virginian colony, so attacked and abused the House that he was had up to the bar to make submission.  Sir Thomas Gates had just come from Virginia, and reported that the plantation must fall to the ground if it were not presently helped.

    The Earl lived to see the colony founded and flourishing.  In 1616 Virginia was reported by Sir Thomas Dale to be "one of the goodliest and richest kingdoms in the world, which being inhabited by the King's subjects, will put such a bit into our ancient enemy's mouth as will curb his haughtiness of monarchy."  And in 1624, the year of the Earl's death, the colony was so far thriving that it had "worn out the scars of the last massacre," and was only pleading for a fresh supply of powder.  The good work was crowned.  "The noble and glorious work of Virginia," as it was called by Captain Bargrave, whose estate had been ruined in its support, and his life afterwards dedicated to the "seeing of it effected."

    The Earl of Southampton has left his mark on the American map; his name will be found in various parts of Virginia.  Southampton Hundred is so called after his title; and the Hampton Roads, where President Lincoln met the envoys from the South, to broach terms of reconciliation and peace, memorable likewise as the meeting-place of the Merrimac and Monitor, were so named after the friend and patron of Shakspeare.

    Our American friends were oblivious of much that was stirring in the mother's Memory, when the heart of England thrilled to the deeds done by Virginians in the late civil wars.  In spite of her face being set sternly against slavery, she could not stifle the cry of race, and the instinct of nature,—could not but remember that these also were the descendants of her heroic adventurers, the pioneers of her march round the globe, who laid down their weary bones when their work was done, and slept in the valleys of old Virginia, to leave a living witness that cried from the mountains and the waters with the voice of her own blood, and in the words of her own tongue.

    As the friend of Essex, whom King James delighted to honour, the Earl of Southampton received many marks of royal favour, although he was not one who was naturally at home in such a court.  On June 4, 1610, he acted as carver at the splendid festival which was given in honour of young Henry's assumption of the title of Prince of Wales.  In 1613 he entertained the King at his house in the Now Forest.  A letter written by him to Sir Ralph Winwood, [127] August 6, 1613, gives us a glimpse of his feelings at the time.  He was one of the friends chosen to act on the part of Essex' son Robert, in the matter of devising the means of a divorce.  And he writes with evident disgust at the conduct of affairs:  "Of the Nullity I see you have heard as much as I can write; by which you may discern the power of a King with Judges, for of those which are now for it, I knew some of them, when I was in England, were vehemently against it.  I stay here only for a wind, and purpose (God willing) to take the first for England; though, till things be otherwise settled, I could be as well pleased to be anywhere else; but the King's coming to my House imposeth a necessity at this time upon me of returning."  In 1614, he made a visit to the Low Countries, and was with Lord Herbert of Cherbury at the siege of Rees, in the duchy of Cleves.  In 1617, Southampton accompanied James on his visit to Scotland.  And, from a letter of the Earl's to Carleton, April 13, 1619, we learn that he has been chosen a privy councillor.  He remarks, that he will rather observe his oath by keeping counsel than giving it; much is not to be expected from one "vulgar councillor," but he will strive to do no hurt.  It is said that he had long coveted this honour.  June 30, 1613, the Rev. Thos. Larkin, writing to Sir Thos. Puckering, had said—"My Lord of Southampton hath lately got licence to make a voyage over the Spa, whither he is either already gone, or means to go very shortly.  He pretends to take remedy against I know not what malady; but his greatest sickness is supposed to be a discontentment conceived that he cannot compass to be made one of the Privy Council; which not able to brook here well at home, he will try if he can better digest it abroad."

    If he had looked up to this as the consummation of his wishes, he could have found but little satisfaction, and no benefit, from it when realized.  He was unable from principle to acquiesce in the measures of the Court.  Those who had kept the Council Chamber closed against him for so long had by far the truer instinct.  He is spoken of by Wilson as one of the few gallant spirits that aimed at the public liberty more than their own personal interests or the smiles of Court favour.  This writer says [128]—"Southampton, though he were one of the King's Privy Council, yet was he no great Courtier.  Salisbury kept him at a bay, and pinched him so, by reason of his relation to old Essex, that he never flourished much in his time; nor was his spirit (after him) so smooth shod as to go always at the Court pace, but that now and then he would make a carrier that was not very acceptable to them, for he carried his business closely and slily, and was rather an adviser than an actor."

    He was a member of the notable Parliament of 1620, when he joined the small party that was in opposition to the Court, his ardent temperament often kindling into words which were as scattered sparks of fire inflaming the little band that thwarted the meaner and baser wishes of the King and his ministers.  Contrary to the desire of Government, he was chosen Treasurer of the Virginia Company.  Also, in Parliament, he came forward to withstand the unconstitutional views of ministers and favourites.  Early in the year 1621 he made a successful motion against illegal patents; and Camden mentions that during the sitting of the 14th of March "there was some quarrelling between the Marquis of Buckingham, and Southampton and Sheffield, who had interrupted for repeating the same thing over and over again, and that contrary to received approved order in Parliament."

    The Prince of Wales tried to reconcile them.  Buckingham, however, was not the man to forget or forgive an affront.  And those on whom he fixed his eye in enmity sooner or later felt the arm of his power, although the blow was sometimes very secretly dealt.  Twelve days after the Parliament had adjourned, Southampton was committed to the custody of the Dean of Westminster, to be allowed no intercourse with any other than his keeper (Sir Richard Weston).  June 23, Sir Richard Weston declined to be the Earl's keeper, and Sir W. Parkhurst was appointed.

    The Rev. Joseph Mead writes to Sir Martin Stutville, June 30 of this year—"It is said that this week the Countess of Southampton, assisted by some two more countesses, put up a petition to the King, that her lord might answer before himself; which, they say, his Majesty granted."  [129]

    Various others were imprisoned, about the same time, for speaking idle words.  Among the rest, John Selden was committed to the keeping of the Sheriff of London; he was also set at liberty on the same day as the Earl of Southampton, July 18, 1621.  In a letter of proud submission sent to the Lord Keeper Williams, Southampton promises to "speak as little as he can," and "meddle as little as he can," according to "that part of my Lord Buckingham's advice!"  In these stormy discussions and early grapplings with irresponsible power, we hear the first mutterings of the coming storm that was to sweep through England, and feel that, in men like Southampton, the spirit was stirring which was yet to spring up, full statured and armed, for the overthrow of weak prince and fatal parasites, to stand at last as a dread avenger flushed with triumph, smiling a stern smile by the block at Whitehall.  His imprisonment did not repress Southampton's energies or lessen his activity.  In the new Parliament, which assembled on the 9th of February, 1624, he was on the committee for considering the defence of Ireland; the committee for stopping the exportation of money; the committee for the making of arms more serviceable.  He was a true exponent of the waking nation, in its feeling of animosity against Spain, and of disgust at the pusillanimous conduct of James, who would have tamely submitted to see his son-in-law deprived of the Palatinate.  The aroused spirit of the country having compelled the King to enter into a treaty with the States-General, granting them permission to raise four regiments in this country, Southampton obtained the command of one of them.  "This spring," says Wilson, "gave birth to four brave Regiments of Foot (a new apparition in the English horizon), fifteen hundred in a Regiment, which were raised and transported into Holland (to join the army under Prince Maurice) under four gallant colonels: the Earl of Oxford, the Earl of Southampton, the Earl of Essex, and the Lord Willoughby."  This was a fatal journey for the Earl, the last of his wanderings, that was to bring him the "so long impossible Rest."  "The winter quarter at Rosendale," Wilson writes, "was also fatal to the Earl of Southampton, and the Lord Wriothesley his son.  Being both sick there together of burning fevers, the violence of which distemper wrought most vigorously upon the heat of youth, overcoming the son first; and the drooping father, having overcome the fever, departed from Rosendale with an intention to bring his son's body into England, but at Berghen-op-Zoom he died of a lethargy, in the view and presence of the relator."  The dead son and father were both brought in a small bark to England, and landed at Southampton; both were buried at Tichfield, on Innocents' day, 1624.

    "They were both poisoned by the Duke of Buckingham," says Sir Edward Peyton, in his Catastrophe of the House of the Stuarts (p. 360), as plainly appears, he adds, "by the relation of Doctor Eglisham."  This relation of Eglisham's will be found in the Forerunner of Revenge. [130] The doctor was one of King James's physicians for ten years.  His statement amounts to this—that the Earl of Southampton's name was one of those which were on a roll that was found in King Street, Westminster, containing a list of those who were to be removed out of Buckingham's way.  Also, that when the physicians were standing round the awfully disfigured body of the dead Marquis of Hamilton (another supposed victim of Buckingham's), one of them remarked, that "my Lord Southampton was blistered all within the breast, as my Lord Marquis was."[131]

    This statement made me curious enough to examine Francis Glisson's report of the post mortem examination of the Earl of Southampton's body: it is in the British Museum; [132] and I found it to be so suspiciously reticent that the silence is far more suggestive than what is said.  It contains no mention whatever of the condition of the blood or the brain, the spleen or bowels, the heart or liver, the stomach or lungs.  The bladder and kidneys are the only parts described.  An altogether unsatisfactory report, that looks as though it were a case of suppressed evidence.  This, coupled with the lethargy noticed by Wilson, and the known implacable enmity of Buckingham, does at least give colour to the statements of Sir Edward Peyton and Dr. Eglisham.  But for us it will remain one of the many secrets—for which John Felton, "with a wild flash in the dark heart of him," probed swiftly and deeply with his avenging knife.

    One cannot but feel that the Earl of Southampton did not get adequate scope for his energies under James any more than in the previous reign, and that he should have lived a few years later, for his orb to have come full circle.  He might have been the Rupert of Cromwell's horsemen.  He was not a great man, nor remarkably wise, but he was brave, frank, magnanimous, thoroughly honourable, a true lover of his country, and the possessor of such natural qualities as won the love of Shakspeare.  A comely noble of nature, with highly finished manners; a soldier, whose personal valour was proverbial; a lover of letters, and a munificent patron of literary men.  Camden affirms that the Earl's love of literature was as great as his warlike renown.

    Chapman, in one of his dedicatory Sonnets prefaced to the Iliads, calls the Earl "learned," and proclaims him to be the "choice of all our country's noble spirits."  Richard Braithwaite inscribes his Survey of History, or a Nursery for Gentry to Southampton, and terms him "Learning's select Favourite."  Nash calls him "a dear lover and cherisher, as well of the lovers of poets as of poets themselves."  Florio tells us that he lived for many years in the Earl's pay, and terms him the "pearl of peers."  He relieved the distress of Minsheu, author of the Guide to Tongues.  Barnaby Barnes addressed a Sonnet to him in 1593, in which he expressed a hope that his verses, "if graced by that heavenly countenance which gives light to the Muses, may be shielded from the poisoned shafts of envy."

    Jervais Markham inscribed his poem on Sir Richard Grenville's last fight to him in the following Sonnet—

"Then glorious Laurel of the Muses' hill,
 Whose eyes doth crown the most victorious pen;
 Bright Lamp of Virtue, in whose sacred skill
 Lives all the bliss of ear-enchanting men,
 From graver subjects of the grave assays,
 Bend thy courageous thoughts unto these lines,
 The grave from whence mine humble Muse doth raise
 True honour's spirit in her rough designs;
 And when the stubborn stroke of my harsh song
 Shall seasonless glide through Almighty ears,
 Vouchsafe to sweet it with thy blessed tongue,
 Whose well-tuned sound 'stills music in the spheres;
     So shall my tragic lays be blest by thee,
     And from thy lips suck their eternity."—J. M.

    Wither appears to have had some intention of celebrating the Earl's marked virtues and nobility of character as exceptionally estimable in his time, for, in presenting him with a copy of his Abuses Stript and Whipt, he tells him—

"I ought to be no stranger to thy worth,
 Nor let thy virtues in oblivion sleep:
 Nor will I, if my fortunes give me time."

In the year 1621, the Earl had not ceased his patronage of literary men, as is shown by the dedication to him of Thomas Wright's Passions of the Mind in General.

    The historical student may learn from the political circumstances of the time why the collected works were not offered to the foremost friend of Shakspeare.  The patronage of the two brothers who were in high favour at Court was of far greater value than that of Southampton would have been, when he was in active opposition to the King and his parasites.  Player-like, Heminge and Condell "wear themselves in the Cap of the time; there they do muster true gait, speak and move under the influence of the most received star."

    Many elegies were sung over the death of Southampton, of which the following, by Sir John Beaumont, is the best—

"I will be bold my trembling voice to try,
 That his dear name in silence may not die;
 The world must pardon if my song be weak,
 In such a cause it is enough to speak.
 Who knew not brave Southampton, in whose sight
 Most placed their day, and in his absence night?
 When he was young, no ornament of youth
 Was wanting in him, acting that in truth
 Which Cyrus did in shadow; and to men
 Appeared like Peleus' son from Chiron's den:
 While through this island Fame his praise reports,
 As best in martial deeds and courtly sports.
 When riper age with winged feet repairs,
 Grave care adorns his head with silver hairs;
 His valiant fervour was not then decayed,
 But joined with counsel as a further aid.
 Behold his constant and undaunted eye,
 In greatest danger, when condemned to die!
 He scorns the insulting adversary's breath,
 And will admit no fear, though near to death.
 When shall we in this realm a Father find
 So truly sweet, or Husband half so kind?
 Thus he enjoyed the best contents of life,
 Obedient children, and a loving wife.
 These were his parts in peace; but, O, how far
 This noble soul excelled itself in war.
 He was directed by a natural vein,
 True honour by this painful way to gain.
 I keep that glory last which is the best,
 The love of learning, which he oft expressed
 In conversation, and respect to those
 Who had a name in arts, in verse, or prose."

His Countess survived the Earl for many years, and died in 1640.

    Walpole, in his Anecdotes of Painting, mentions a portrait, half-length, of Elizabeth Vernon, as being at Sherburn Castle, Dorsetshire.  It is by Cornelius Jansen, who was patronized by the Earl of Southampton, [133] and may thus have drawn the portrait of Shakspeare.  This picture, says Walpole, is equal to anything the master executed.  The clothes are magnificent, and the attire of her head is singular, a veil turned quite back.  The face and hands are coloured with incomparable lustre.  This likeness was in the Portrait Exhibition held at Kensington in 1866.  A noble picture of a queenly woman!  There is also an authentic portrait of this lady, in good preservation, at Hodnet Hall, which represents her as a type of a beauty in the time of Elizabeth.  Her dress is a brocade in brown and gold, her ribbons are scarlet and gold, her ruff and deep sleeve cuffs are of point lace, her ornaments of coral; her complexion is fresh, vivid, auroral, having clearly that war of the red rose and the white described by Shakspeare in his 99th Sonnet.  The hair is suggestive, too, of the singular comparison used in that Sonnet betwixt glossy red-brown hair and "buds of marjoram."

    An engraving by Thompson, from a portrait by Vandyke, a copy of which is in the British Museum, shows Lady Southampton to have been tall and graceful, with a fine head and thoughtful face; the long hair is softly waved with light and shadow, and the look has a touch of languor, different from the Hodnet Hall picture, but this last may be only a Vandyke grace.

    It is pleasant to remember that from this much-tried pair, in whom Shakspeare took so affectionate an interest, sprang one of the most glorious of Englishwomen, one of the pure white lilies of all womanhood!  This was the wife of Lord William Russell, she whose spirit rose so heroically to breast the waves of calamity; whose face was as an angel's shining through the gathering shadows of death, with a look of lofty cheer, to hearten her husband on his way to the scaffold; almost personifying in her great love, the good Providence that had given to him so precious a spirit for a companion, so exalted a woman to be his wife!  Lady Russell was the grand-daughter of the Earl and Countess of Southampton.  She was the daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, who was called the Virtuous Lord Treasurer of Charles II., by his first wife, daughter of Henry de Massey, Baron de Rouvigni, a French Protestant noble.

_________________________

 

 
-XXVI-

SIDNEY'S STELLA.

    PENELOPE DEVEREUX was a daughter of one of those proud old English houses, whose descendants love to dwell on the fact that they came in with the Norman Conquest.  The progenitor of the English branch of the Devereux family bore high rank in Normandy before he carved out a larger space for himself on English soil at the battle of Senlac as one of Duke William's fighting men.  He became the founder of an illustrious House that was destined to match four times with the royal Plantagenets, and to be enriched with the blood and inherit the honours of the Bohuns and Fitzpierces, Mandevilles and Bouchiers.  On the father's side, Penelope descended from Edward III., and her mother, Lettice Knollys, was cousin, once removed, to Queen Elizabeth.  Thus a dash of blood doubly-royal ran in her veins, and in her own personal beauty this vital sap of the family tree appears by all report to have put forth a crowning flower.

    Her father was that good Earl Walter whom Elizabeth called "a rare jewel of her realm and an ornament of her nobility," whose character was altogether of a loftier kind than that of his more famous son Robert, the royal Favourite.  His story is one of the most touching—he having, as it was suspected, had to change worlds in order that Leicester might change women.

    Penelope was four years older than her brother Robert.  She was born at Chartley in 1563.  Very little is known of her childhood.  She was but thirteen years of age, the oldest of five children, at the time of her father's early death, and the bitterest pang felt by the brave and gentle Earl was caused at his parting from the little ones that were being left so young when they so much needed his fatherly forethought and protecting care.

    There are few stories more pathetic than that told of this Earl's bearing on his deathbed, by the faithful pen of some affectionate soul, said to have been one of his two chaplains, Thomas Knell by name.  He suffered terribly and was grievously tormented, says the narrator, for the space of twenty-two days.  He was dying far from his poor children, who were about to be left fatherless, with almost worse than no mother.  He may have had a dark thought that he had been sent away by one of his enemy's cunning Court-tricks to be stricken and to die—"nothing was omitted," says Camden, "whereby to break his mild spirit with continual crosses one in the neck of another"—that Leicester was secretly taking his life preliminary to the taking of his wife; but he bore his affliction with a most valiant mind, and, "although he felt intolerable pain, yet he had so cheerful and noble a countenance that he seemed to suffer none at all, or very little," nor did he murmur through all the time and all the torture.  He is described as speaking "more like a divine preacher and heavenly prophet" than a mortal man, lying or kneeling with a light soft as the light of a mother's blessing, smiling down from her place in heaven, on his fine face, which was moulded by Nature in her noblest mood, and finished by suffering with its keenest touch.  "What he spoke," says the narrator, "brake our very hearts, and forced out abundant tears, partly for joy of his godly mind, partly for the doctrine and comfort we had of his words.  But, chiefly I blurred the paper with tears as I writ."  His only care in worldly matters was for his children, to whom often he commended his love and blessing, and yielded many times, even with great sighs, most devout prayers to God that He would bless them and give them His grace to fear Him.  For his daughters also he prayed, lamenting the time, which is so vain and ungodly, as he said, considering the frailness of women, lest they should learn of the vile world.  He never seemed to sorrow but for his children.  "Oh, my poor children," often would he say, "God bless you, and give you His grace."  Many times begging mercy at the hands of God, and forgiveness of his sins, he cried out unto God, "Lord forgive me, as I forgive all the world, Lord, from the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of my heart, even all the injuries and wrongs, Lord, that any have done unto me.  Lord, forgive them, as I forgive them from the bottom of my heart."  He was anxious that Philip Sidney should marry his daughter Penelope, and with fervent feeling he bequeathed her to him.  Speaking of Sidney, two nights before he died, he said, "Oh, that good gentleman!  have me commended unto him, and tell him I send him nothing, but I wish him well, and so well that if God so move both their hearts, I wish that he might match with my daughter.  I call him son.  He is wise, virtuous, and godly; and if he go on in the course he hath begun, he will be as famous and worthy a gentleman as England ever bred."  Two days before his death he wrote his last letter to the Queen, in which he humbly commits his poor children to her Majesty, and her Majesty to the keeping of God.  "My humble suit must yet extend itself further into many branches, for the behoof of my poor children, that since God doth now make them fatherless, yet it will please your Majesty to be a mother unto them, at the least by your gracious countenance and care of their education, and their matches."  The night before he died "he called William Hewes, which was his musician, to play upon the virginals and to sing.  Play, said he, my song, Will Hewes, and I will sing it myself.  So he did it most joyfully, not as the howling swan, which, still looking down, waileth her end, but as a sweet lark, lifting up his hands and casting up his eyes to his God, with this mounted the crystal skies and reached with his unwearied tongue the top of the highest heavens.  Who could have heard and seen this violent conflict, having not a stonied heart, without innumerable tears and watery plaints?"  Unhappily, the dying father's wish on the subject of his daughter's marriage was not to be fulfilled.  Waterhouse, in his letter to Sir H. Sidney, [134] unconsciously uttered a prophecy when he said, "Truly, my lord, I must say to your lordship, as I have said to my Lord of Leicester and Mr. Philip, the breaking off from this match will turn to more dishonour than can be repaired with any other marriage in England!"  The marriage did not take place, and in many ways the predicted dishonour came.

    It has been conjectured that Sidney alluded to Lady Penelope in a letter to his friend, Languet, who, in the course of their correspondence, had exhorted him to marry.  He says, "Respecting her of whom I readily acknowledge how unworthy I am, I have written you my reasons long since, briefly indeed, but yet as well as I was able." [135]  If Sidney spoke of Lady Penelope Devereux in this letter, his reasons for not marrying just then may have been that he thought her too young at that time, for she was but fifteen years old, the date of his letter being March, 1578.  Sidney had first met "Stella" at Chartley, where he had followed the Queen on her visit there in 1575.  His comparative poverty and lack of prospect may have been a cause for diffidence on his part.  In his 33rd Sonnet the Poet gives us one account of the matter.  He reproaches himself for not being able to see by the "rising morn" what a "fair day" was about to unfold.  It is not probable that the two lovers were already apart three years before the lady's marriage with Lord Rich.  The time came, however, when, from some fatal cause or other, they were sundered, although there is proof that they had been drawn together by very tender ties.

"I might, unhappy word!   O me!   I might,
 And then would not, or could not see my bliss,
 Till now, wrapt in a most infernal night,
 I find how heavenly day, Wretch!   I did miss.
 Heart! rend thyself, thou dost thyself but right;
 No lovely Paris made thy Helen his!
 No force, no fraud, robbed thee of thy delight,
 Nor Fortune of thy fortune author is:
 But to myself, myself did give the blow,
 While too much wit (forsooth!) so troubled me,
 That I respects for both our sakes must show:
 And yet could not, by rising Morn foresee
     How fair a day was near!   O punished eyes!
     That I had been more foolish, or more wise."

I see no sense in arguing against this being Sidney's lament for not marrying Stella.  There was a time when it might have been.  He might have called her his own, but he must needs show his wisdom by waiting a little longer.  He was troubled in the matter with too many thoughts, and too much 'wit forsooth.'  He stood upon respects for both their sakes, which kept them asunder until it was too late.  For whilst he would, and would not; looked and longed, other influences were brought to bear.  The lady's friends were anxious that she should wed a wealthy fool, and possibly the proud impetuous beauty of sixteen or seventeen may have felt piqued at Sidney's delay, and wilfully played into the hands of an evil fortune.  How Sidney was aroused from his dream, and awoke to the fact that he had lost his day, and might now stretch forth his empty arms till they ached, and call in vain upon those eyes that were far from him as the stars, is told in his Sonnets; how the reckless lady found that she had dashed away the sweetest, purest cup of noble love ever proffered to her lips, is written in her after-life, and in the useless search for that which she had missed once and for ever.  The two were doomed to walk on the opposite banks, with yearnings towards each other, while the river of life kept broadening on between them, pushing them farther and farther apart, who were sundered at least for life.

    The character of Lord Rich as a husband is painted by Sidney in Sonnet 22.  The description agrees with others in representing him to have been a poor, vulgar Lord with a very sordid soul.  And she was the wife of this man, and might have been his!

    Lady Penelope Devereux, in her eighteenth year, had bloomed into such a rose of beauty, as would have found (we like to think) a fit nestling place for giving forth its sweetness in the bosom of Philip Sidney!  And it seems one of those sad inevitable things which make so much of the tragedy of the human lot, that these two should not have come together.  If they had married, how different it all might have been!  What tragedies of love may be expressed in those words "Might have been!"  Heyden describes Penelope Devereux as being "a lady in whom lodged all attractive graces of beauty, wit, and sweetness of behaviour, which might render her the absolute mistress of all eyes and hearts."  She grew to be a woman of brilliant physical beauty, with intellectual capacity and mental charms to match, as richly furnished within as attractively without.

    What Sidney was, the world has gathered from the glimpse we got of him, in his brief beautiful life, and saintly death.  In his nature, humanity nearly touched the summit of its nobleness.  And from him Penelope was taken to be given to a man whose character as nearly sounded the depths of human baseness.  Thus the radiance of her tender romance died out, and the hues of love's young dawn all faded into a sadly beclouded day!

    Sidney has told the story of his love for Lady Rich under the title of Astrophel and Stella, in 108 Sonnets, which were first printed in quarto, 1591.  He asks us to listen to him, because he must unfold a riddle of his own life.  It was of this personal passion of his that the Muse said to him: "Fool! look in thy heart and write."  The object of his writing, he tells us, was that the "dear she," whom he had lost for ever through her marriage with Lord Rich, might "take some pleasure of his pain;" a sentiment that springs straight from the deepest root of the feeling of which it has been said, "All other pleasures are not worth its pains!"

    We can see something of Penelope Devereux's personal graces as pictured by her lover in the Arcadia.  In these Sonnets he again describes her as having "black eyes," and "golden hair," and he dwells much upon those "black stars," and "black beams" of her eyes.  He illustrates the peculiarity of her complexion, and the "kindly claret" of her cheek, by a story.  The 22nd Sonnet relates how on a hot summer's day he met "Stella" with some other fair ladies.  They were on horseback, with a burning sun in the cloudless blue.  The other ladies were compelled to shade their faces with their fans to preserve their fairness; "Stella" alone rode with her beauty bare, and she, the daintiest of all, went openly free from harm, whilst the "hid and meaner beauties" were parched.

                         "The cause was this ;
The Sun which others burned, did her but kiss."

 She had the most unique complexion of a blonde brunette.

    The Sonnets lead us to think that the lady's heart remained with Sidney; although or because he depicts the passion as being kept sacred chiefly through her own strength of character.  In Sonnet 11 he treats the subject in an elegantly quaint manner. "In truth, O love," he exclaims, "with what a boyish mind thou dost proceed in thy most serious ways!  Here is heaven displaying its best to thee. Yet of that best thou leavest the best behind."  For like a child that has found some pretty picture-book with gilded leaves, and is content with the glitter and the outside show, and does not care for the written riches, so love is content to play at "looking babies" in Stella's eyes, and at bo-peep in her bosom.

"Shining in each outward part,
 But, fool! seeks not to get into her heart."

 Then the lover's pleadings grow more in earnest.

"Soul's joy! bend not those morning stars from me,
 Where virtue is made strong by beauty's might;
 Where love is chasteness, pain doth learn delight,
 And humbleness grows on with majesty:
 Whatever may ensue, oh, let me be
 Co-partner of the riches of that sight:
 Let not mine eyes be hell-driven from that light;
 O look!   O shine! or let me die, and see!"

    In Sonnet 73 the Poet has dared to steal a kiss whilst the lady was sleeping, and the aspect of her beauty, when ruddy with wrath, causes him to exclaim—

"O heavenly fool! thy most kiss-worthy face,
 Anger invests with such a lovely grace,
 That Anger's self I needs must kiss again!"

This stolen kiss was the one immortalized in his famous 81st Sonnet, commencing

"O kiss! which dost those ruddy gems impart."

    In one of the songs interspersed among the Sonnets, the Poet also tells us of a stolen interview on the part of the two Lovers.

"In a grove most rich with shade,
 Where birds wanton music made;
 Astrophel with Stella sweet,
 Did for mutual comfort meet;
 Both within themselves oppressed,
 Both each in the other blest.
 Him great harms had taught much care;
 Her fair neck a foul yoke bare:
 Wept they had; alas the while!
 But now tears themselves did smile."

Here they had met, with eager eyes and hungry ears, asking to know all about each other in absence.

"But, their tongues restrained from walking,
 Till their hearts had ended talking!"

At length the lover pleads—

"Stella, sovereign of my joy,
 Fair triumpher of annoy;
 Stella, star of heavenly fire,
 Stella, loadstar of desire:
 Stella, in whose shining eyes,
 Are the lights of Cupid's skies:
 Stella, whose voice when it speaks,
 Senses all asunder breaks;
 Stella, whose voice when it singeth,
 Angels to acquaintance bringeth;
 Stella, in whose body is
 Writ each character of bliss,
 Whose face all, all beauty passeth
 Save thy mind, which it surpasseth,
 Grant, O grant—but speech alas!
 Fails me, fearing on to pass;
 Grant—oh me, what am I saying?
 But no fault there is in praying!"

Stella replies, and

"In such wise she love denied
 As yet love it signified."

For whilst telling him to cease to sue, she says his grief doth grieve her worse than death, and

"If that any thought in me
 Can taste comfort but of thee,
 Let me feed, with hellish anguish,
 Joyless, helpless, endless languish!
 Therefore, Dear, this no more move
 Lest, though I leave not thy love,
 Which too deep in me is framed,
 I should blush when thou art named."

    Thus we have it upon Sidney's testimony, that the lady triumphed in her purity, whilst acknowledging him to be the natural lord of her love.  The conditions on which she was his are stated in Sonnet 69—

"O joy too high for my low style to show,
 O bliss fit for a nobler state than me!
 Envy put out thine eyes, lest thou do see
 What oceans of delight in me do flow.
 My friend that oft saw'st through all masks of woe,
 Come, come, and let me pour myself on thee.
 Gone is the winter of my misery;
 My Spring appears; O see what here doth grow!
 For Stella hath, with words where faith doth shine,
 Of her high heart given me the monarchy;
 I, I, oh! I may say that she is mine:
 And though she give but thus conditionly
     This realm of bliss, while virtuous course I take,
     No kings be crown'd but they some covenants make."

    The poetry of Sidney is a little like a gorgeous court-dress of his time, seamed stiffly with precious stones and pearls of price.  But to Lady Rich it is indebted for its most life-like breathings of nature and its most visible beatings of the human heart beneath.  To her beauty we owe delicious descriptions in which poetry grows divinely dainty.  It was Stella's beauty, seen through Philoclea's transparent veil, that inspired some of the loveliest, most movingly delicate things ever said or sung of bodily beauty.  This was Stella's hair—

"Her hair fine threads of finest gold
 In curled knots man's thought to hold."

These were Stella's eyes, the "matchless pair of black stars"—

"Their arches be two heavenly lids,
 Whose wink each bold attempt forbids."

These were Stella's cheeks—

"Her cheeks with kindly claret spread,
 Aurora-like new out of bed."

These were Stella's lips—

"But who those ruddy lips can miss,
 Which blessèd still themselves do kiss?"

And of love in Stella's lips, it is said that, for very sweetness—

"With either lip he doth the other kiss."

These were Stella's pretty pearly ear-tips—

"The tip no jewel needs to wear;
 The tip is jewel to the ear."

It was of Stella that Sidney wrote—

"Her shoulders be like two white doves
 Perching!"

And of Stella's hand—

"Where whiteness doth for ever sit,
 And there with strange compact do lie
 Warm snow, moist pearl, soft ivory."

Sidney's description of his own love—

"In truth, O Love, with what a boyish mind
 Thou dost proceed in thy most serious ways,"

is characteristic of his own proceedings.

    With all the simplicity of a child that is ignorant of use and wont, he dallies with, enumerates, and describes her naked bodily charms from her forehead down to her foot, "whose step on earth all beauty sets," with a freedom astonishingly frank.  And after recounting her outer perfections with the purity of a spirit whose warmest thoughts walk naturally in white, he tells how all this beauty is but

                              "the fair Inn
Of fairer guests which dwell within."

There is a lovely description of the same lady weeping in the third book of the Arcadia [136]—"Her tears came dropping down like rain in sunshine, and she, not taking heed to wipe the tears, they hung upon her cheeks and lips as upon cherries which the dropping tree bedeweth."  The chief point of attraction, however, in her life time, as now, is the lady's eyes.  It was the wonder of Sidney why, with such tawny hair and face so fair that the roses blushed and drooped half dotingly, half enviously, to see the deeper bloom in her cheek, these eyes should have been so black.  He asks did nature make them so, like a cunning painter, on purpose to produce the utmost effect of light and shade?

    Twenty years ago I did not do justice to Sidney, nor see how great a fostering influence he had been to Shakspeare; nor know how far their Sonnets are bound up together.  In all the love-poetry ever written or the poetry of love ever lived there are no pleas more pathetic, none more naïvely winsome than those of Sidney's.  His expressions of love-longing are almost unparalleled in their power of piercing to the quick.  Many of his touches are sharply pathetic.  He toys with the keen edge of his love, trying it over and over like a child essaying the edge of a knife with which he cuts himself, and as the drops of life run ruddily, keeps on smiling through those other drops in his eyes, which wear a glister of glory.  Some of his pleas are pathetic enough to give a man the heart-ache as he reads them, whatsoever their effect on the woman for whom they were written.  Some of his felicitous conceits are extravagantly fine.  But the flowers are sweet however artificial they may look; however prim in pattern; their rootage is in a ground of the naturalest simplicity of character.  His lines are loded with precious metal of subtle thought, richly worth the mining for; and this no one ever understood better than Shakspeare did.  He is fain to write in verse, and show his love, that—

"She, dear she, may take some pleasure of my pain. "
"They love indeed who quake to say they love"    (54).

He tries to entice sleep to come to him by promising him that he shall see the image of Stella enshrined in his heart more like life than anywhere else:—

"O make in me these civil wars to cease!
 I will good tribute pay if thou do so;
 Take thou of me, sweet pillows, sweetest bed;
 A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light;
 A rosy garland and a weary head:
 And if these things, as being thine by right,
 Move not thy heavy grace,
thou shalt in me,
 Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see!
"

    What a way of praying sleep to come "for love of Stella," or "for Stella's sake!"  He learned that Stella had lately pitied a lover in romance, she who has no pity for him who loves her so really.  And he pleads for himself—

"Then think, my dear, that you in me do read
 Of lovers' ruin some thrice-sad tragedy.
 I am not I; pity the tale of me."

Again,

"O, let not fools in me thy works reprove,
 And scorning say, 'See what it is to love!'"   (107)

Again,

 

"O do not let Thy Temple be destroyed."

    Sidney's Sonnets, not Daniel's, were the true prototype if not literary model of Shakspeare's.  The distilled sweetness, the antithetic thought as well as expression, the serious kind of wit, are at times pre-eminently Shakspearean, e.g.

"I had been vext if vext I had not been"    (87).
"Blest in my curse, and cursèd in my bliss"  (60).
"Not thou by praise, but praise in thee is raised;
 It is a praise to praise, when thou art praised"    (135).

In this way Love's Labour's Lost is alive with Sidney.

    Sidney's first Sonnet, with its forcible last line—

"Fool, said my Muse to me, look in thy heart and write,"

was like a trumpet-call to Shakspeare in 1591.  The impression that line stamped in him comes out immediately and most vividly in the play of that period, Love's Labour's Lost.  For example—

"Small have continual plodders ever won,
 Save base authority from others' books."

"Why, all delights are vain; and that most vain,
 Which, with pain purchased, doth inherit pain:
 As, painfully to pore upon a book,
 To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
 Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:
 Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile:
 So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
 Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes."

    I am digressing here; but this unwedded pair of lovers cannot be put asunder by any man for all time; they are so bound up together by Sidney's poetry.

    The marriage of Penelope Devereux with Lord Rich appears to have been promoted by the Earl of Huntingdon, then Lord President of the North, who was a great friend of the family, a relative also, and one of the guardians of the young Earl of Essex.  The sisters, Penelope and Dorothy, sometimes resided in his house.  In a letter addressed to Lord Burghley, the other guardian, March 10th, 1580, the Earl of Huntingdon proposed that a match should be made between the Lady Penelope and the young Lord Rich, "he being a proper gentleman, and in years very suitable." [137]  In August of the same year, Essex informs Burghley that he is about to leave Cambridge for a time, on purpose to accompany Lord Rich. "who, for many causes not unknown" to the guardian, was very dear to him.  The handing over of the Lady Penelope to this Lord Cloten was then about to be completed.

    In his "Epistle to the King," with which the Earl of Devonshire accompanied the "Discourse" written by him in defence of his marriage with Lady Rich, the case is thus put on behalf of the "poor lost sheep," shut out of the fold, as he calls his wife.  "A lady of great birth and virtue, being in the power of her friends, [138] was by them married against her will unto one against whom she did protest at the very solemnity, and ever after; between whom, from the first day, there ensued continual discord, although the same fears that forced her to marry, constrained her to live with him.  Instead of a comforter, he did study in all things to torment her; and by fear and fraud did practise to deceive her of her dowry; and though he forbore to offer her any open wrong, restrained with the awe of her brother's powerfulness, yet as he had not in long time before (the death of Essex) in the chiefest duty of a husband used her as his wife, so presently after his death he did put her to a stipend, and abandoned her without pretence of any cause, but his own desire to live without her."  It was, says Mountjoy, after Lord Rich had withdrawn himself from her bed for the space of twelve years, that he did, "by persuasions and threatenings, move her to consent unto a divorce, and to confess a fault with a nameless stranger!"

    Two years after the marriage of Penelope Devereux with Lord Rich, Philip Sidney married the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, but if we are to trust the Sonnets, and poetry is often true to the deepest truth, his love for Lady Rich, and her love for him, must have survived the marriage of both.  Sidney was struck down with his mortal wound at Zutphen, on the 22nd of September, 1586, and he died on the 17th of the October following.

    His widow was again married, this time to the Earl of Essex, in the year 1590.  She thus became sister to Lady Rich, Sidney's first love.  The Sonnets in which Sidney had proclaimed his passion were first published in the next year.  And, as a curious illustration of the manners of the time, Spenser, in a new Volume of Poems printed in 1595, also celebrated the loves of "Astrophel and Stella," and inscribed the poem "to the most beautiful and virtuous Lady, the Countess of Essex."  Thus Sidney, having lost his first love, and being in all likelihood married at the time, was not only deeply in love with the wife of another man, but sang of it in fervent verse, and rejoiced in it, "though nations might count it shame," and, after his death, his friend, the Poet Spenser, publishes an apotheosis of this passion, and respectfully dedicates his poem to Sidney's widow, who had now become Lady Rich's sister!

    In applying the latter Sonnets of Shakspeare to the character of Lady Rich, it will be well to recall this puzzling state of things, in relation to the Sonnets of Sidney, and the poetry of Spenser.  Spenser introduces Lady Rich as "Stella" in his Colin Clout's come home again

"Ne less praiseworthy Stella, do I read,
 Though nought my praises of her needed are,
 Whom verse of noblest Shepherd, lately dead,
 Hath praised and raised above each other star."

And in his Astrophel; a pastoral Elegy upon the Death of the most noble and valorous Knight, Sir Philip Sidney, he has caught up for immortality that early love of Sidney's for Lady Rich, with the tenderness of its dewy dawn about it, and the purple bloom of young desire.  Many maidens, says the Poet, would have delighted in his love, but

"For one alone he cared, for one he sigh't,
 His life's desire, and his dear love's delight.
 Stella the fair, the fairest star in sky,
 As fair as Venus or the fairest fair;
 A fairer star saw never living eye
 Shoot her sharp-pointed beams through purest air;
 Her he did love, her he alone did honour,
 His thoughts, his rhymes, his songs were all upon her.
 To her he vowed the service of his days,
 On her he spent the riches of his wit,
 For her he made hymns of immortal praise,
 Of only her he sung, he thought, he writ.
     Her, and but her, of love he worthy deemed;
     For all the rest but little he esteemed."

And this is dedicated to Sidney's widow.

    This "gentle Shepherd born in Arcady" was engaged in hunting, on foreign soil, in a forest wide and waste, where he was wounded by a wild beast.  There he lay bleeding to death,

"While none was nigh his eyelids up to close,
 And kiss his lips like faded leaves of rose."

    At length he was found by some shepherds, who stopped his wound, though too late, and bore him to his "dearest love," his Stella, who, when she saw the sorry sight,

"Her yellow locks, that shone so bright and long,
 As sunny beams in fairest summer's days,
 She fiercely tore, and with outrageous wrong
 From her red cheeks the roses rent away.
 His pallid face impicturèd with death,
 She bathed oft with tears and dried oft;
 And with sweet kisses sucked the wasting breath
 Out of his lips, like lilies, pale and soft."

He dies, and her spirit at once follows his!

"To prove that death their hearts cannot divide,
 Which living were in love so firmly tied."

    Spenser's representation is false and utterly unfair to Sidney's wife, who followed him to the Netherlands in June or July; was near him in his pain, to soothe him and kiss the fading lips, and when the knitted brows smoothed out nobly into rest, she was there "his eyelids up to close."  This thought, however, did not trouble the serene Spenser in his poetizing.

    Matthew Roydon wrote lovingly of Sidney—

"When he descended from the mount    [139]
       His personage seemed most divine;
 A thousand graces one might count
       Upon his lovely cheerful eyne:
 To hear him speak and sweetly smile,
 You were in Paradise the while.

 Did never love so sweetly breathe
       In any mortal breast before;
 Did never Muse inspire beneath
       A Poet's brain with finer store:
 He wrote of Love with high conceit,
 And Beauty reared above her height."

    We are not told in prose how Lady Rich felt and bore the death of Sidney, but Lodowick Bryskett, in his Mourning Muse of Thestylis, [140] professes to give an account of her bearing and appearance under the affliction.  He says 'twas piteous to hear her plaints, and see her "heavy mourning cheere," while from "those two bright stars, to him sometime so dear, her heart sent drops of pearl."  He continues in some quotable lines—

"If Venus when she wailed her dear Adonis slain,
 Aught moved in thy fierce heart compassion of her woe,
 Her noble Sister's plaints, her sighs and tears among,
 Would sure have made thee mild, and inly rue her pain:
 Aurora half so fair herself did never show,
 When, from old Tython's bed, she weeping did arise.
 The blinded archer-boy, like lark in shower of rain,
 Sat bathing of his wings, and glad the time did spend
 Under those crystal drops, which fell from her fair eyes;
 And at their brightest beams him proyned in lovely wise.
 Yet sorry for her grief, which he could not amend,
 The gentle boy 'gan wipe her eyes, and clear those lights,
 Those lights through which his glory and his conquest shines."

We shall not find a prettier picture of Love and Lady Rich!

    Spenser, in his poem on the death of Astrophel, makes Stella follow "her mate like turtle chaste."  Lady Rich did nothing of the kind in reality; it might have been better for her if she had.  Her position was now most perilous; one that made her beauty a fatal gift.  Much that was noble in her nature seems to have passed away with the noble Sidney.  In this sense there may have been some allegorical shadow of the truth in the Poet's representation.  There was no love in her own home to kindle at the heart of her life, and touch the face of it with happy health, and hallow her superb outward beauty with the light that shines sacredly within, or gives the expression from above, whilst the well-known fact of Sidney's love for her, and the halo of romance which his poetry had created round her name, were but too likely to expose her more than ever to fresh temptations.  To these sooner or later she undoubtedly yielded; and "not finding that satisfaction at home she ought to have received, she looked for it abroad, where she ought not to find it."  Whether Mountjoy was the first cause of serious quarrel betwixt her and Lord Rich, is not on record.  But according to his statement, it must have been as early as 1592 or 1593, that Lord Rich, either with or without just cause, withdrew himself from his marriage bed.  He soon found that the wife he had bought had to be paid for.  Her friends had forced her to the altar, where she made her unavailing protest, but there was the after-life to be lived with her, face to face, when the same friends could not help him.  She was not the kind of woman to bear her sorrow proudly silent, or receive his unkindness meekly. [141]  His morose selfishness was not calculated to draw out her better part.  Hers was not the nature from which the sweetness is to be crushed by treading on; not the spirit to submit to a passive degradation.

He dreamed a bonny blooming Rose to wed:
He woke to find a briar in his bed.

He caught at the flower of which he had obtained legal possession, and he fell among the thorns.  These must have pricked him unmercifully at times with the finger pointings of scorn, the darts of her wild wit, and the sharp thrusts of the very sting of bitterness.

    In a letter written by this poor Lord to Essex, Sept. 11th, 1595, we perceive how uneasily he wriggles on one of his thorns!  He is suspicious of the contents of his wife's letters, which he dares not intercept or open.

"MY LORD,—I acknowledge with all thankfulness, your Lordship's favour, signified by your letters, which I received yesterday by my man; entreating leave also to put you in mind to remember your letters into Staffordshire to your sister, and to the other party.  I met this messenger from thence, but durst not intercept the letters he brings, for fear these troublesome times will bring forth shortly a parliament, and so perhaps a law to make it treason to break open letters written to any my lords of the Council, whereby they are freely privileged to receive writings from other men's wives without any further question, and have full authority to see every man's wife at their pleasure.  A lamentable thing, that this injustice should thus reign in this wicked age.  I only entreat your Lordship, that as you hear anything farther of that matter I wrote to you of, I may have your pleasure and farther directions.  And so, commending your Lordship to the blessed tuition of the Almighty, I remain your Lordship's poor brother to command in all honesty.
                                                                                                         "RO. RICH." [142]

    It is possible that the "other party" of this letter may have been Mountjoy, and "that matter" referred to the beginning of his liaison with Lady Rich.  If so, Essex did not trouble himself much in the matter, he rather winked at the freedom of his sister in trying to exchange the "foul yoke her fair neck bore," for the solace of her lover's arm.  He had his own designs upon Mountjoy.

    He could have cared little for the lady's morals, to have brought home to her close acquaintanceship, and placed on the most familiar footing, the sparkling, clever, vain, and presumptuous Antonio Perez, the Spanish renegade, whose intimacy with her son Francis made good old Lady Bacon hold up her hands in horror.  "Though I pity your brother," she writes in a letter to Anthony Bacon, [143] "yet so long as he pities not himself, but keepeth that bloody Perez, yea, as a coach companion and bed companion; a proud, profane, costly fellow, whose being about him I verily fear the Lord God doth mislike, and doth less bless your brother in credit and otherwise in his health; surely I am utterly discouraged, and make conscience further to undo myself to maintain such wretches as he is, that never loved your brother but for his own credit, living upon him."  Lady Bacon felt more care for her son than Essex did for his sister.

    A pretty fellow was this Perez to fill the situation assigned to him, in the following letter from Mr. Standen to Mr. Bacon, which also serves to show us something of the uncertain temperament and incalculable turns of the Lady Rich.  The letter was written in March or April, 1595.

"RIGHT WORSHIPFUL,—As we were at supper, my Lady Rich, Signor Perez, Sir Nicholas Clyfford, and myself; there came upon a sudden into the chamber, my Lord and Sir Robert Sidney, and there was it resolved that Signor Perez must be, to-morrow morning at eight of the clock, with my Lord in Court; after which my Lord means to dine at Walsingham House, and in the way, to visit Mr. Anthony Bacon; which, my Lady Rich understanding, said she would go also to dine with them at Walsingham's.  And my Lord, asking how she would be conveyed thither, she answered, that she would go in their companies, and in coach with them, and, arrived at Mr. Bacon's house, and there disembarked my Lord; her brother, Sir Robert should bring her to Walsingham's, and return back with the coach for my Lord her brother.  All which I write unto you, Sir, by way of advice, to the end you not taken unarmed.  Women's discretions being uncertain, it may be she will not dismount, and the contrary also will fall out.  Now, it is resolved, that Mr. Perez shall not depart, for that my Lord hath provided him here with the same office those eunuchs have in Turkey, which is to have the custody of the fairest dames; so that he wills me to write, that for the bond he hath with my Lord, he cannot refuse that office."  [144]

    In a postscript to one of her letters to Anthony Bacon, dated May 3rd, 1596, Lady Rich being at the time in a "solitary place where no sound of any news can come;" entreats him to let her know something of the world.  Amongst other things, she would fain hear what has become of his wandering neighbour, Signor Perez.  This flattering knave and charming hypocrite, who had the insinuating grace of the serpent, the subtlety and impudence of Iachimo, was on such familiar terms with Lady Rich as to write the following letter to her, March 26th, 1595—

"Signor Wilson hath given me news of the health of your Ladyships, the three sisters and goddesses, as in particular, that all three have amongst yourselves drunk and caroused unto Nature, in thankfulness of what you owe unto her, in that she gave you not those delicate shapes to keep them idle, but rather that you should push forth unto us here many buds of those divine beauties.  To these gardeners wish all happiness for so good tillage of their grounds.  Sweet ladies mine, many of these carouses!  O what a bower I have full of sweets of the like tillage and trimmage of gardens." [145]

    The clever scamp goes on to say that he has written a book full of such secrets as some persons would not like to have known.  He appears to intimate that on his return to England, these people must pay or he shall publish, so that with the one means or the other he will live by his book.  "My Book," he says, "will serve my turn.  But I will not be so good cheap this second time.  My receipts will cost dearer, wherefore let every one provide!"

    In the December of this year 1595, we learn by Rowland White's Letters that there was to be a christening at Sir Robert Sidney's, to which Lady Rich and Lord Mountjoy were both invited.  "I went to Holborn," says White, "and found my Lord Mountjoy at his house.  I said my lady sent me unto him, to desire him, both in your name and hers, to christen your son that was newly born, which he very honourably promised to do; and when I told him my Lady Rich was godmother, he was much pleased at it!"

    Lady Rich had willingly agreed to be a godmother.  White told her that both the mother and child had the measles, "to which she suddenly replied, that after eight days there was no danger to be feared, 'and therefore,' she said, 'it shall be no occasion to keep me from doing Sir Robert Sidney and my lady a greater kindness.'  When I saw her so desperate, I humbly besought her ladyship to take a longer time to think upon the danger, which she did till that afternoon, and then coming to her to Essex House, she told me she was resolved."  Her ladyship was not afraid of the measles.  And yet the christening was deferred.  Writing later in the month, White reports Lady Rich to be in Town, but "the christening is put off till Wednesday, New Year's Eve.  She says that my Lord Compton desired her to defer it till then, because of some urgent business he hath in the country, that will keep him away till Tuesday night; but, I do rather think it to be a tetter that suddenly broke out in her fair white forehead which will not be well in five or six days, that keeps your son from being christened.  But my Lady Rich's desires are obeyed as commandments by my Lady." [146]  Evidently the lady wished to look her best, and show no spot on the face of her beauty, in the presence of my Lord Mountjoy.  The interest which these two mutually inspired kept increasing, until at length their illegal intercourse was publicly known; the husband being looked upon as no impediment.  Johnstone intimates that the patience of Lord Rich as a husband was more wondered at than admired; and that his strange conduct in retaining his wife, after being perfectly well aware of her connection with Lord Mountjoy, was thought anything but prudent.  But the morality of the time does not appear to have been greatly outraged.  The Queen showed the first sign of disapproval.  Camden records the fact, that in 1600, Lady Rich "had lost the Queen's favour for abusing her husband's bed."  This he softened, on revision of his work, to "Quæ, mariti thorum violare suspecta."

    There is a letter written by Lord Rich to the Earl of Essex, dated April 16th, 1597, which has been held to be so dark in meaning, so enigmatical in expression, that nothing has hitherto been made of its contents.  Lady Rich had just got out of danger from the small-pox.  In a letter dated three days later, Rowland White says, "My Lady Rich is recovered of her small-pox, without any blemish to her beautiful face."  Lord Rich's letter refers to this illness of his wife, and the consequent danger to her fair face, but it also contained an enclosure touching certain love-matters therein written of, to the perplexity of his Lordship, and relating to a "fair Maid" in whom the Lady Rich was interested, of whose beauty she was so careful as not to send the writing direct for fear of infection: —"My Lord, your Sister, being loth to send you any of her infection, hath made me an instrument to send you this enclosed epistle of Dutch true or false love; wherein, if I be not in the right, I may be judged more infected than fitteth my profession, and to deserve worse than the pox of the smallest size.  If it fall out so, I disburden myself, and am free from such treason, by my disclosing it to a Councillor, who, as your Lordship well knows, cannot be guilty of any such offence.  Your Lordship sees, by this care of a fair maid's beauty, she doth not altogether despair of recovery of her own again; which, if she did, assured by envy of others' fairness, would make her willingly to send infection among them.  This banishment makes me that I cannot attend on you; and this wicked disease will cause your sister this next week to be at more charge to buy a masker's visor to meet you dancing in the fields than she would on [once?] hoped ever to have done.  If you dare meet her, I beseech you preach patience unto her, which is my only theme of exhortation.  Thus, over saucy to trouble your Lordship's weightier affairs, I take my leave, and ever remain your Lordship's poor brother to command, Ro. RICH."  Now, to my thinking, there is no more natural explanation of this mysterious letter than that the "fair Maid" of whose beauty Lady Rich is so thoughtful a guardian, and to whom the "epistle of Dutch true or simulated love" evidently belongs, is Elizabeth Vernon, cousin both to Lady Rich and to the Earl of Essex, and that we here catch a glimpse of some of the Sonnets, as they pass from hand to hand.  The "Epistle" over which Lord Rich tries to shake his wise head jocosely, is not sealed up from him.  He has read it, and finds it only sealed in the sense; it is, as the unlearned say, all Greek to him, or, as he says, it is "Dutch."  The subject, too, is amatory, so much he perceives; but whether, it pertain to real life or to fiction is beyond his reach; he merely hopes the brother, who is a Councillor of State, will discover no treason in it.  If this love-epistle, the purport of which his Lordship failed to fathom, should have consisted of the Sonnets that Elizabeth Vernon speaks to Lady Rich in her jealousy, it would fit the circumstances of the case as nothing else could, and perfectly account for Lord Rich's perplexity.  We may imagine how little he would make of them when their meaning has kept concealed from so many other prying eyes for nearly three centuries.  If my suggestion be right, this letter gives us a most interesting glimpse of the persons concerned, and of the light in which they viewed the Sonnets; here contributing to the private amusement of Lady Rich, her brother Essex, and Elizabeth Vernon, whilst Lord Rich is not in the secret.

    Let us now glance for a moment at the Lady Rich in another of the many-coloured lights in which she was seen by her contemporaries.  In November, 1598, Bartholomew Young, a poet of the time,—he who is the largest contributor to England's Helicon,—inscribed to her his Translation of the Diana of George of Montemayor, with the following dedication,—


    "To the Right Honourable and my very good lady, the Lady Rich.


    "Right Honourable, such are the apparent defects of art and judgment in this new portrayed Diana, that their discovery must needs make me blush, and abase the work, unless with undeserved favour erected upon the high and shining pillar of your honourable protection, they may seem to the beholder less or none at all.  The glory whereof as with reason it can no ways be thought worthy, but by boldly adventuring upon the apparent demonstration of your magnificent mind, wherein all virtues have their proper seat, and on that singular desire, knowledge, and delight, wherewith your Ladyship entertaineth, embraceth, and affecteth honest endeavours, learned languages, and this particular subject of Diana, [147] warranted by all virtue and modesty, as Collin, in his French dedicatory to the illustrious Prince Louis of Lorraine, at large setteth down and commandeth; now presenting it to so sovereign a light, and relying on a gracious acceptance, what can be added more to the full content, desire, and perfection of Diana, and of her unworthy interpreter (that hath in English here exposed her to the view of strangers), than for their comfort and defence to be armed with the honourable titles and countenance of so high and excellent a Patroness.  But as, certain years past, my honourable good Lady, in a public show at the Middle Temple, where your honourable presence, with many noble Lords and fair Ladies, graced and beautified those sports, it befell to my lot, in that worthy assembly, unworthily to perform the part of a French orator, by a dedicated speech in the same tongue; and that amongst so many good conceits, and such general skill in tongues, all the while I was rehearsing it, there was not any whose nature, judgment, and censure in that language I feared and suspected more than your Ladyship's, whose attentive ear and eye daunted my imagination with the apprehension of my disabilities, and your Ladyship's perfect knowledge in the same.  Now, once again, in this Translation out of Spanish (which language also with the present matter being so well known to your Ladyship), whose reprehension and severe sentence of all others may I more justly fear, than that which, Honourable Madame, at election you may herein duly give or with favour take away?  I have no other means, than the humble insinuation of it to your most Honourable name and clemency, most humbly beseeching the same pardon to all those faults, which to your learned and judicious views shall occur. Since then, for pledge of the dutiful and zealous desire I have to serve your Ladyship, the great disproportion of your most noble estate to the quality of my poor condition, can afford nothing else but this small present, my prayer shall always importune the heavens for the happy increase of your high and worthy degree, and for the full accomplishment of your most honourable desires.

                                            "Your Honour's
                                                              "Most humbly devoted,
                                                                                   "B
ARTHOL. YOUNG."

    Such was the language of literature addressing Lady Rich, in the year 1598.

    Troubled times were now coming for the house of Essex; the clouds were gathering fast in which the star of Lady Rich was to suffer temporary eclipse.

    We may be satisfied that both Essex and his ambitious sister were continually haunted with the thought of his relationship to Elizabeth being as near as that of Queen Mary Stuart's son, and that their blood would be running too red and high with this royal reminder, which begat the most tantalizing hopes; sang with insidious suggestion in his ear, and secretly undermined his whole life, and that Lady Rich fanned this fire in her brother's blood, and fed the foolish aspirations of his perturbed spirit.  Possibly the early intrigue of Essex and his sister with James in 1589, [148] in which the "Weary Knight" expressed himself as so tired of the "thrall he now lives in," so desirous of a change, and offered himself, his sister, and all their friends in anything he (James) had to "do against the Queen," arose in great part from their thinking that a change, if brought about turbulently, would give Essex a chance of taking the throne.  Quite as unlikely things had occurred in the national History.  Stowe remarks on the tendency of the Kentish Men to be swayed lightly at the change of Princes.

    It is certain that Essex's sister was with him in his schemes, although she personally escaped the consequences.  The Sonnets of Shakspeare hint as much.  And on the morning of the fatal Sunday, when Essex and his armed followers rushed through the streets on their mad mission, she was moving about like the very bird of the storm: her spirit hovers visibly above the coming wave of commotion.  Both Lady Rich and her cousin the Countess of Southampton were at Essex House that morning in the midst of the armed men.  The Earl of Bedford (Edward the 3rd Earl), in his letter of exculpation to the Lords of the Council, [149] relates how Lady Rich came to his house in the midst of the sermon, and told him that the Earl of Essex desired to speak with him.  When he got to Essex House, he found out how he was caught, and he declares that when the sally was made, he secretly escaped down a cross street, and made his way home again.  There can be no doubt that her ladyship was a clever, determined whip for the Essex cause.  The Earl of Nottingham, writing to Lord Mountjoy on the behaviour of Essex after the trial, tells how he spared none in "letting us know how continually they laboured him about it."  "And now," said Essex, "I must accuse one who is most nearest to me, my sister who did continually urge me on with telling me how all my friends and followers thought me a coward, and that I had lost my valour." [150]  Truly his sister had loved him not wisely, but too well.  "It is well known," she said, "that I have been more like a slave than a sister; which proceeded out of my exceeding love, rather than his authority."  [151]  This occurs in her letter of defence, written to the Earl of Nottingham, in the postscript of which there is a natural touch. "Your Lordship's noble disposition forceth me to deliver my grief unto you, hearing a report that some of these malicious tongues have sought to wrong a worthy friend of yours.  I know the most of them did hate him for his zealous following the service of her Majesty, and beseech you to pardon my presuming thus much, though I hope his enemies have no power to harm him."  This worthy friend of the Earl's, about whom the lady is so anxious, was Lord Mountjoy.

    On the accession of James to the English throne, the star of Lady Rich shone once more in the Court horizon.  We find pompous John Florio among the first to hail its re-arising.  She was one of the five noble ladies to whom he erected his five altars, and burnt incense, when he inscribed to them his Translation of Montaigne's Essays, in 1603; her ladyship being one of those from whom he had received countenance and favour; "one of those whose magnanimity and magnificent frank nature have so kindly bedewed my earth when it was sunburnt; so gently thawed it when frost-bound, that I were even more senseless than earth, if I returned not some fruit in good measure."

    The new reign opened with a general restoration of Essex's friends.  Lady Rich was one of the six noble personages chosen to proceed to the Scottish border for the purpose of meeting and conducting the new Queen to the English Capital.  Lady Anne Clifford, in a note to her narrative, says the Queen showed no favour to the elderly ladies, when the meeting took place, but to my Lady Rich and such like company.  Here is the testimony of an eye-witness that the lady of forty kept her place in appearance with the younger ones of the Court, with whom she is classed.  The new Queen was in some respects a kindred spirit, and made a favourite companion of Lady Rich.  She was, says the French Ambassador Rosni, afterwards Duke de Sully, of a bold and enterprising nature; loved pomp and splendour, tumult and intrigue.  With such a Queen, and in such a Court, Lady Rich was again in her glory.  Her status in the new Court was defined by special license.  On the occasion of the Royal procession from the Tower to Whitehall, March 15th, 1604, her place was appointed at the head of fourteen Countesses, who all bore most noble names.

    The King granted to Lady Rich "the place and rank of the ancientest Earl of Essex, called Bouchier, whose heir her father was, she having by her marriage, according to the customs of the laws of honour, ranked herself according to her husband's barony.  By this gracious grant, she took rank of all the Baronesses of the kingdom, and of all Earls' daughters, except Arundel, Oxford, Northumberland, and Shrewsbury."  The Earl of Worcester, writing to the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1603, [152] says, in reporting news of the Court, "This day the King dined abroad with the Florentine Ambassador, who taketh now his leave very shortly.  He was with the King at the Play at night, and supped with my Lady Ritchie in her chamber. . . . . We have ladies of divers degrees of favour; some for the private chamber, some for the bed-chamber, and some for neither certain.  The plotting and malice among them is such, that I think Envy hath tied an invisible snake about most of their necks, to sting one another to death."

   
The Lady Rich would be able to hold her own, and feel perfectly at home in the Court of James and Oriana, where the morals were loose, and the manners free, and her singular beauty shone nightly unparagoned as Stella Veneris.  "The Court," Wilson says, "being a continued Maskerado, where she, the Queen, and her ladies, like so many sea-nymphs or Nereides, appeared often in various dresses, to the ravishment of the beholders; the King himself being not a little delighted with such fluent elegancies as made the night more glorious than the day."  "Their apparel was rich," says Carleton, speaking of the ladies in one of these masques, "but too light and courtesan-like for such great ones."  At the masque which followed the marriage of Sir Philip Herbert, we learn by Winwood's Memorials, [153] that "there was no small loss that night of chains and jewels, and many great ladies were made shorter by the skirts, and were very well served that they could keep cut no better."  Also, Carleton, in his letter to Mr. Winwood, giving an account of the marriage, supplies us with a curious picture of the Court and King, and the manners of both.  He says, "The Bride and Bridegroom were lodged in the Council Chamber, where the King, in his shirt and night-gown, gave them a réveille-matin, before they were up, and spent a good time in or upon the bed, choose which you will believe."

    And all went merrily for the Lady Rich.  So long as she only lived in adultery with Mountjoy, her honoured position in Court and society was unquestioned.  But Mountjoy was conscientious enough to wish to make her his wife, and obtain the Church's blessing on the bond which had held them together so long, if so loosely.  He desired to make his wife an honest woman, and his children legitimate.  By an agreement among the several parties a judgment was obtained from the Ecclesiastical Court.  Lady Rich was divorced from her husband, and the Earl of Devonshire immediately married her.  But the divorce proved to be only a legal separation; not a sufficient warrant for a subsequent marriage.  The motives of Mountjoy were of the purest and most manly, but an oversight had assuredly been made in interpreting the law.  This attempt to make the Lady Rich his own lawful wife, drew down on the head of Mountjoy a bursting thundercloud.  The Court world, which had looked on so complacently whilst the supposed law of God was broken full in its sight, was horrified at this violation of the law of man, even though it were done unwittingly.  The King was moved to such anger that he told Mountjoy he had "purchased a fair woman with a black soul!" others chimed in, most indignantly rejecting the lady's right to become private property.  Yet, this "fair woman with a black soul" had, whilst merely living in open criminal intercourse, been accepted as the light and glory of the Court.  Mountjoy pleaded with manly tenderness and charity for his wife, and tried to justify his act, but in vain.  He told the King that "the laws of moral honesty, which, in things not prohibited by God, I have ever held inviolable, do only move me now to prefer my own conscience before the opinion of the world."  In spite of which noble sentiment, his heart broke, trying to bear the sad lot that had befallen him.  "Grief of unsuccessful love," says his secretary Moryson, "brought him to his last end."  He died within four months of his marriage, April 3, 1606.

    Sir Dudley Carleton, writing to Mr. J. Chamberlain, at Ware Park, on Good Friday, April 17, 1606, says :—

    "My L. of Devonshire's funeral will be performed in Westminster, about three weeks hence.  There is much dispute among the heralds, whether his lady's arms should be impaled with his, which brings in question the lawfulness of the marriage, and that is said to depend on the manner of the divorce.  Her estate is much threatened with the King's account, but it is thought she will find good friends, for she is visited daily by the greatest, who profess much love to her for her Earl's sake; meantime, amongst the meaner sort you may guess in what credit she is, when Mrs. Bluenson complains that she had made her cousin of Devonshire shame her and her whole kindred.

    "2nd May.—It is determined that his arms shall be set up single, without his wife's." [154]

    The first publication of the dramatic poet, John Ford, was a poem on the death of the Earl of Devonshire, printed in 1606, entitled Fame's Memorial, and dedicated "To the rightly Right Honourable Lady, the Lady Penelope, Countess of Devonshire."  Some of the lines are interesting:—

"Linked in the graceful bonds of dearest life,
 Unjustly termed disgraceful, he enjoyed
 Content's abundance; happiness was rife,
 Pleasure secure; no troubled thought annoyed
 His comforts sweet; toil was in toil destroyed;
 Maugre the throat of malice, spite of spite,
 He lived united to his heart's delight:

"His heart's delight, who was the beauteous Star
 Which beautified the value of our land;
 The lights of whose perfections brighter are
 Than all the lamps which in the lustre stand
 Of heaven's forehead by Discretion scanned;
 Wit's ornament!  Earth's love!  Love's paradise!
 A saint divine, a beauty fairly wise:

"A beauty fairly wise, wisely discreet
 In winking mildly at the tongue of rumour;
 A saint merely divine, divinely sweet
 In banishing the pride of idle humour:
 Not relishing the vanity of tumour,
 More than to a female of so high a race;
 With meekness bearing sorrow's sad disgrace."

It is difficult to resist smiling at the idea of making the Lady Rich a sort of winking saint.  The Poet is nearer the mark when he likens her, in another stanza, as a wit among women, to a nightingale amidst a quire of common song-birds.

    Poor Lady Rich! Her fate was as full of contrast as the moral mixture of her nature, or the outward show of her twilight beauty.  The most striking opposites met in her complexion, her character, and her life; as though the parental elements in her were not well or kindly mixed.  Like Beatrice, she seems to have been born in "a merry hour when a star danced" over her father's house; born to be clothed in the purple of choicest speech a poet's love can lavish; to sit as a proud queen in the hearts of some who were among the kingliest of men, and be crowned with such a wreath of amaranth as descends upon the brow of but few among women.  One of the bright particular stars of two Courts; the beloved idol of two heroes; one of the proudest, wittiest, most fascinating women of her time; the Beauty, in singing of whom, the poets vied like rival lovers, as they strung their harps with "Stella's" golden hair, and strove together in praise of the starry midnight of those eyes that were so darkly lustrous with their rich eastern look.  And her day of stormy splendour appears to have ended in the saddest way imaginable; closing in impenetrable night: all the pride of life suddenly laid low in the dust of death, and so dense a darkness about her grave, that we cannot make out her name.

    Her mother, the "little Western Flower," lively-blooded Lettice Knollys, "She that did supply the wars with thunder and the Court with stars," lived on in her lustihood to a green and gray old age, walking erectly, to appearance, after all the crookednesses of her career; her sunset going down with a mellow and tranquil shine, and dying at last amidst her mourners in the very odour of sanctity.  But the daughter vanishes from view in a moment, while yet the star of her life rode high, it goes out suddenly, and we are left in the darkness all the blinder for the late dazzle of her splendour.  She who had been the cynosure of all eyes, passes out of sight almost unnoticed, and one who was among the first in fame becomes suddenly unknown.  Of all who were so well known in their lifetime, she surely must have been the least remembered in her death.  It looks as though the disappearance had been intentional; as though she had taken the black death-veil, and drawn the dark curtains about her, and that by a tacit agreement betwixt her and the world, her name and reputation should be buried with her body, as one of those, of whom the Poet sings, who were

                                                  "Merely born to bloom and drop;
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and fully were the crop:
What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?
'Dust and ashes' so you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
Dear, dead women, with such hair, too—what's become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms?  I feel chilly and grown old." [155]

So completely did Lady Rich pass out of sight that not a portrait of her remains.  Yet she was often painted, and there must have been various pictures of her extant at the time of her death.  One of Burghley's secret agents, who writes to the English Minister from the Scottish Court, informs him on the 20th of October, 1589, that Rialta (Lady Rich) has sent the King her portrait.  There is also a portrait of her mentioned, among the goods and chattels at Wanstead, in the inventory taken of Leicester's property after his death.  But I have failed to trace either painting or engraving of Lady Rich at present in existence.  There is a portrait by Vandyke of her son Henry, first Earl of Holland, whose curious complexion had such attractions for James!  He had light hair, possibly golden, and the black eyes of his mother.  It is also most difficult to find any record of her out of poetry and the Sydney Memoirs.  I know of but one mention of her death: it was disinterred by Professor Craik only a few years ago from the Latin History of Robert Johnstone Historia Rerum Britannicarum), published at Amsterdam in 1655.  At page 420, the writer relates that Devonshire, stung by the reproaches of the King, who told him he had purchased a fair woman with a black soul, broke down altogether and breathed his last in the arms of Lady Rich, passing away in the midst of her adorations, tears, and kisses.  And he adds that the lady, worn out with grief and lamentation, did not long survive him, but, laden with the robes and decorations of mourning, lay night and day stretched on the floor in a corner of her bed-chamber, refusing to be comforted, except by death.  "Happy pair," he says, "had but a legal union sanctified their glowing and constant love."  This is the only ray of light that pierces the gloom; the only word that breaks the silence.

   The liaison with Lord Mountjoy attracted the public attention at the time.  But it may be remembered that although Lady Rich was more closely attached to Lord Mountjoy in the years 1599 and 1600, for instance, than to her husband, who, according to Mountjoy, had kept her from his bed for the space of twelve years before they finally and absolutely parted; yet there was no bond that bound her to Mountjoy with inviolable ties when he was away, for example, with his army in Ireland.  Mountjoy, we may be sure, was not the only "noble ruin of her magic."  At the most he could but claim a share in her until he had made her his own, after her divorce from Lord Rich.  This, indeed, he acknowledges by his diffidence on the score of paternity, for, out of the five children assigned to him by Lady Rich, he only recognized and provided for three of them as his own.  These five children were all born after the Lord Rich (on Mountjoy's own showing) had withdrawn himself from his lady's bed, and at least four of the five were born before the re-marriage of her Ladyship with Mountjoy.  Sidney has painted the Lady Rich as an Angel of Light.  The allusions to her and to the shady side of her reputation in Shakspeare's Latter Sonnets tend to make her look more like an Angel of Darkness.  But there was a living woman in whom these two alternated, and out of which her nature was compounded—the woman who, with her tropical temperament and bleak lot in marriage, could yet remain the conqueror of Sidney and herself in such circumstances of peril as he has depicted in his confessions—the woman who would fight for her husband through thick and thin, and hurry back to him if she heard he was ill, wait upon him and watch over him day and night from a sense of duty rather than a necessity of affection—the woman who was passionately fond of her children, and so devoted to her brother Robert that she would have bartered body and soul for him, and gone through hell-fire for his sake—who was always ready to help a friend when her influence was of value at Court—this woman has never been portrayed for us, unless some approach to her picture under other names has been made by the one great master, solely capable, in his dramatic works.

    It is difficult, as Fuller has said, to draw those to the life who never sit still.  The Lady Rich is one of these subjects, all sparkle and splendour, and the radiance as of rain which continual motion keeps a-twinkle, so various in their humours and sudden in their change.  In her the most perplexing opposites intermixed with a subtle play and endless shiftings of light and shade, many coloured and evanescent as the breeze-tinted ripples of a summer sea.  No two portraits of her could possibly be alike.  Her letters, some of which have been recovered by Mr. Grosart since last I wrote, show her to have had the kindly heart that was always ready to succour the distressed.  For example, in March 1596, she writes to Essex:—

"Worthy Brother, I was so loth to importune you for this poor gentlewoman, as I took this petition from her the last time I was at the Court, and yesterday I sent her word by her man that I would not trouble you with it, but wished her to make some other friends.  Upon which message, her husband, that hath been subject to franticness through his troubles, grew in such despair as his wife's infinite sorrow makes me satisfy her again, who thinks that none will pity her misery and her children if you do not; since, if he cannot have pardon, he must fly, and leave them in very poor estate.  Dear brother, let me know your pleasure; and believe that I endlessly remain your most faithful sister, PENELOPE RICH."

Again, she writes to

"MR. RENALLS,—My old woman Harny hath a suit to my brother, which I would not have her trouble him with; but that it is only his letter to my lord Mayor for a mean place that is fallen in his gift, which she desires for her son White.  Let me entreat you to draw a letter, and that somebody may go if you have no leisure yourself, that will be earnest with the Mayor, since it is like he will excuse it if he can for some creature of his own; and so in haste I rest,
                                                           Your very assured friend,
                                                                                               "P
ENELOPE RICH.

To my friend Mr. Renalles." (1604.)


                                  TO THE EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON.

"N
OBLE SIR,—I hope my first letter will excuse some part of my fault, and I assure you nothing shall make me neglect to yield you all the earnest assurances I can of my affection and desires to be held dear in your favour, whose worthy kindness I will strive to merit by the faithfullest endeavours my love can perform towards you, who shall ever find me unresumably,
                                 "Your lordship's faithful cousin and true friend,
                                                                                                            "P
ENELOPE RICH,
Your lordship's daughter is exceeding fair and well, and I hope by your son to win my wager.
"Chartly, this 10th of May."

It is endorsed "The Lady Rich to the Earl of Southampton," and has a note, "This alludes to the expectation the Earl had of a son at this time.  See Lodge."  The seal is a "deer," very much resembling that used by Andrew Marvell. [Grosart.]

                                  TO THE EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON.
"The exceeding kindness I receive from your lordship in hearing often from you doth give me infinite contentment, both in referring assurance of your health, and that I remain in your constant favour, which I well endeavour to merit by my affection unto your lordship.  My Lord Rich doth so importune me daily to return to my own house as I cannot stay here longer than Bartelmentide, which I do against his will, and the cause of his earnest desire to have me come up is his being so persecuted for his land, as he is in fear to lose the greatest part he hath and his next term, who would have me a solicitor to bear part of his troubles, and is much discontented with my staying so long: wherefore I beseech your lordship to speak with my brother, since I am loth to leave my lady here alone, and if you resolve she shall go with me into Essex, which I very much desire, then you were best to write to me that you would have her go with me, which will make my Lord Rich the more willing, though I know he will be well contented, to whom I have written that I will come as soon as I know what my brother and yourself determine for my Lord.  I am sorry for Sir Harry Bower's hurt, though I hope it is so little as it will not mar his good face; and so in haste I wish your lordship all the honour and happiness you desire.
                                       "Your lordship's most affectionate cousin,
                                                                                                  "P
ENELOPE RICH.
"Chartly, this 9th of July.
"To the most honourable the Earl of Southampton."

                                      TO THE EARL OF SALISBURY.
"N
OBLE LORD,—This gentlewoman hath entreated me to recommend her suit unto you, of whose good success I should be very glad, because she is one I have been long acquainted with, and is of the best disposition that ever I found any of her nation.  I beseech your Lordship to favour her, that if it be possible she may attain some satisfaction if her desires be not unreasonable; and so wishing your Lordship all happiness and contentment, I remain
                   "Your Lordship's most affectionate friend to do you service,

                                                                                                      "PENELOPE RICH.
"Ennile (?) this last of May (Indorsed 1605).
"To the right honourable My Lord, the Earl of Salisbury."

    And Rowland White gives us a pleasant glimpse of her ladyship in the aspect of a beggar for others.

    In March 1597, he had occasion to seek her aid for the purpose of getting presented to the Queen a very earnest petition of Sir Robert Sidney's.  He says, "I took this opportunity to beseech her to do you one favour, which was to deliver this letter (and showed it to her) to the Queen; she kissed it and took it, and told me that you had never a friend in Court who would be more ready than herself to do you any pleasure; I besought her, in the love I found she bore you, to take some time this night to do it; and, without asking anything at all of the contents of it, she put it in her bosom and assured me that this night, or to-morrow morning, it would be read, and bid me attend her."  Which makes us feel a waft of cordial warmth breathed from a kindly-affectioned heart, as the letter disappears in its temporary resting-place.

    Let me conclude with the words of Anne Bradstreet, the American Poetess who wrote the first volume of verse that was published in New England.  She composed an Elegy on Sidney forty-eight years after his death, in which she said of Lady Rich—

"Illustrious Stella! then didst shine full well,
 If thine Aspect was mild to Astrophel!"



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Footnotes.

[117.](page 330)  Moryson's History of Ireland, Book I. chap. ii. p. 173.

[118.](page 331)  Examination of Southampton after his arraignment.

[119.](page 331)  "And as, with age, his body uglier grows,
                                 So his wind cankers."—Tempest, IV. i.

[120.](page 331)  Camden's Elizabeth, p. 622.

[121.](page 333)  Nicholls's Progresses of James I.

[122.](page 333)  Birch's Elizabeth, vol. ii. p. 500.

[123.](page 334)  History of England, vol. ii. p, 663.

[124.](page 335) 
 Vol. i. p. 98.

[125.](page 335)  Sydney Memoirs.

[126.](page 335)  Vol. iii. p. 154.

[127.](page  337)  Winwood Memorials, vol. iii. p. 475.

[128.](page 338)  Life and Reign of King James I., p. 736.

[129.](page 338)  Court and Times of James, vol. ii. p. 263.

[130.](page 339)  Harleian Miscellany vol. ii. pp. 72-7.

[131.](page 339)   It is strange that Wilson should notice the statements of Eglisham with regard to the poisoning of the King, and also of the Marquis of Hamilton, and have no word of reply respecting the alleged poisoning of Southampton, he having been the Earl's secretary, and present when he died!

[132.](page 339)  Vide Ayscough's catalogue of MS.

[133.](page 341)  Peachum, in his Graphice, or the most Ancient and Excellent Art of Drawing and Limning, says, the Earls of Southampton and Pembroke were amongst the chief patrons of painting in England.
    N.B.—In the footnote p. 220 of Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting in England, Mr. Dallaway speaks wrongly of this work as being first published in 1634.  The first edition, a copy of which is in the British Museum, was published in 1612.

[134.](page 344)  Sydney Memoirs, i. 147.

[135.](page 344)  Correspondence of Sidney and Languet, translated by S. A. Pears, 1895, p. 144.

[136.](page 349)  The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia is not exactly "a Poem," but Mr. Grosart reprints 177 pages of verse from it.

[137.](page 351)  Lansd. MSS., 31, f. 40.

[138.](page 351)  "O, Hell! to choose love by another's eyes!" says Hermia, when Lysander speaks of love depending on the "choice of friends."

[139.](page 353)  Of the Muses.

[140.](page 353)  "Thestylis," says the Countess of Pembroke in her Doleful Lay of Clarinda, written on Sidney's death, was

                                                            "A swain
Of gentle wit, and dainty-sweet device,
Whom Astrophel full dear did entertain,
Whilst here he lived, and held in passing price."


[141.](page 354)  Vide Fulke Greville's Letter printed with his Poems in 1633.

[142.](page 355)  Among Anthony Bacon's Papers.

[143.](page 355)  Birch, i. 143.

[144.](page 356)  Birch, vol. i, p. 229.

[145.] (page 356)  Sloane MSS., 4115.

[146.](page 356)  Sydney Memoirs, vol. i. p. 385.

[147.](page 358)  From which Sidney had made some translations.

[148.](page 359)  In a communication to Burghley, made by Mr. Thomas Fowler from Edinburgh, October 7th, 1589, he says of Lady Rich, "She is very pleasant in her letters, and writes the most part thereof in her brother's behalf.  'He,' the King, 'commended much the fineness of her wit, the invention, and well-writing.'"—Murdin, 640.

[149.](page 359)   Birch Add. MSS., 4160.

[150.](page 359)   Brewer, p. 17.

[151.](page 359)   Ibid., p. 20.

[152.](page 360)  Lodge's Illustrations vol. iii.

[153.](page 361)  Vol. ii, p. 43.

[154.](page 361)  S. P. O.

[155.](page 363) 
"A Toccato of Galuppi's,"  Robert Browning.

 

 



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