COMMENTARY NOTES

2 Responsio His mother, Brigit Winthrop, was an aunt to John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachussets.
3 Responsio I. e. he read the Quatuor Libri Sententiarum of Peter Lombard (1100 - ca. 1160) , the so-called Magister Sententiarum.
3 Responsio Cardinal Robert Bellarmine
[1542 - 1621]. His most important work was Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei Adversus Huius Temporis Haereticos (1586-1593).
3 Responsio The Spanish theologian Francisco Suárez
[1548 - 1617]. Alabaster had read his Commentaria ac disputationes in Primam Partem Divi Thomae (Salamanca, 1595) .
3 Responsio The Anglo-Catholic theologian Thomas Stapleton
[1535 - 1598]. Alabaster no doubt read his Principiorum Fidei Doctrinalium Demonstratio (1578). It is perhaps interesting that these works by Bellarmine and Stapleton were available for reading at Cambridge.
4 Responsio In Alabaster’s Conversion there is no mention of the fact that the Anglican authorities regarded Alabster as mentally unstable. Interestingly, later in his life King James held the same opinion about him: see Mark Eccles, Brief Lives: Tudor and Stuart Authors (Studies in Philology Texts and Studies 79, 1892) p. 4.
5 Responsio In early 1596 was angling for the Rectorship of Brettenham, Sussex. A letter from him to Lord Ellesmere on the subject is perserved in the Huntington Library Ellesmere Collection (ms. EL 428). When this attempt failed, or perhaps when a decision the matter was temporarily postponed, he went to Cadiz with Essex (see the next note). It is not wholly clear whether this is the “prebendary” to which he refers here, or whether he launched a similar campaign for a profitable ecclesiastical position after his return from Cadiz
5 Responsio Even in this short and straightforward document Alabaster cannot resist a literary flourish (any more than he can resist indulging in plenty of rhetorical display). Here he alludes (with a word-play on Calvin’s name) to Catullus xivA.2f.:

iucundissime Calve, munere isto
odissem te odio Vatiniano.

5 Responsio From Alabaster’s Conversion 4.4 we know that the book in question was William Rainold’s defense of the Rheims translation of the New Testament, A refutation of sundry reprehensions (Paris, 1583).
5 Responsio Alabaster also recalls breaking off his betrothal at Alabaster’s Conversion 5.3. Both here and there, the reader might think that his lack of contrition about committing a serious beach of promise is a sign of callous indifference. This might not be the case, if the girl in question was herself of a Catholic family and Alabaster’s reason was a decision to enter the priesthood (although he never names her, I suspect she may have been a sister or some other kinsman of his best friend, the Anglo-Catholic poet Hugh Holland).