Notes to the Introduction

NOTE 1 The present state of Tucker Brooke’s unfinished edition suggests that he would have followed a straightforward chronological plan.

NOTE 2 C. F. Tucker Brooke, “Some Pre-Armada Propagandistic Poetry in England (1585 - 1586),” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 85 (1941) 71f.

NOTE 3 A True and Plaine Declaration of the Horrible Treasons Practiced by William Parry (London, 1585). The degree to which Gager’s poetry constitutes a highbrow equivalent to propaganda developed for popular consumption can be appreciated by comparing the broadside ballad reproduced by Holinshed in his Chronicles (IV.536f. of the 1807 edition).

NOTE 4 Bradner p. 62. It will become apparent from what I shall write below that I think Bradner’s appraisal of Gager’s private poetry grievously wrong.

NOTE 5 Sir Philip Sidney: A Study of his Life and Works (Cambridge, 1977) 4.

NOTE 6 Although by now a press had been established at Cambridge too, this volume was printed at London, probably to ensure it would be ready and available for distribution by the funeral day. this anthology, Lant’s engravings, Gager’s Oxford volume, and some similar items have been photographically reproduced in a volume introduced by A. J. Colaianne and W. L. Godshalk under the title Elegies for Sir Philip Sidney (1587) (Delmar, New York, 1980).

NOTE 7 This is the only known association of Gager and Camden (who only took up his position as Second Master of the Westminster School the year after Gager went up to Oxford), unless Gager was the “G. Ga.” who contributed a dedicatory epigram prefacing the 1607 edition of Britannia:

Sementem sterili quoties tellure recondit,
Luditur optata fruge colonus iners.
Ventifugae nunquam dominus ditescit arenae,
Pinguis at irriguo flumine terra beat.
Foecundum facunde solum Camdeni
[sic] secasti,
Illud et ingenii nobile flumen aquat.
Atque ut opima solet iacto cum semine gleba
Parturit innumeris granula adaucta modis:
Sic toties cusus tibi qui fuit ante libellus,
Cultior antiquo prodiit ecce liber.
Heu! Nusquam tanto respondent arva colono,
Cuius ab ingenio prominet his genius?
Sume animum. Cum te hinc discedere iusserit aetas
Ut quaeras trita pascua laeta via,
Semper Camdenus simul et
Britannia vivent.
Longaevus nequit hic, dum manet illa, mori.

NOTE 8 For a survey of such trick poetry, see J. W. Binns, Intellectual Culture 47 - 59.

NOTE 9 Most notably Harry Carter, A History of the Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1975, Chapter II.

spacerNOTE 10 Pointed out by Brooke, “Life and Times” 417. Gager alludes to the loss of Mathew functioning in this capacity at CL.124ff. Brooke seems to have understood this to mean that Mathew had written similar honorific and occasional poetry, but as far as I know Mathew wrote no verse. Poem CL more probably alludes to Mathew’s public oratons, such as that delivered before the Queen during her 1566 visit (cf. Charles Plummer, Elizabethan Oxford, Oxford, 1887, 204). Gager filled the vacuum created by Mathew’s departure, but by the exercise of his own quite different talent.

NOTE 11 For his possible Oxford connection cf. the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, The Works in Verse and Prose of Nicholas Breton (London, 1879, repr. New York, 1966) I.xx.

NOTE 12 A position occupied by Gager himself after the death of the current occupant. In some secondary literature this title is given as Vicar-General. I use the title Chancellor because that is how Gager signed himself on his tombstone epitaph for Martin Heton (CXCVII).

NOTE 13 Gonville and Caius College ms. 73, p. 232, quoted by Leicester Bradner, “New Poems by Heorge Hebert: The Cambridge Latin Gratulatory Anthology of 1613,” Renaissance News 13 (1962) 208.. Cf. also John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First (London, 1828) II.607f. From the latter account we learn with interest that one of the comedies produced on this occasion lasted “between seven and eight hours.”

NOTE 14 Philip Clarence Dust, Carmen Gratulans Adventu Serenissiim Principis Frederici Comitis Palatini ad Academiam Cantabrigiensem: An Edition with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2 vols, published colletively as Vol. 8 of Salzburg Studies in English Literature: Elizabethan and Renaissance Studies, Salzburg, 1975).

NOTE 15 Brooke (loc. cit.) points out that the extant parish records of St Andrew’s church, Chesterton, do not reach back beyond 1635, so that Gager’s possible association with that parish remains moot. It has been inferred from his last will and testament of 1615 that Gager spent the last years of his life in penury. In my Introduction to the will I argue that this idea is implausible.

NOTE 16 Perhaps he also took pleasure in the company of the Ely clergy. For example, from 1598 until his death in 1617, one of the prebends was Thomas Nuce, a Cambridge man who had published a translation of the pseudo-Senecan Octavia in about 1566 (reprinted in the 1581 Seneca His Tenne Tragedies), who may have been a kindred soul.

NOTE 17 Reprinted with an introduction by J. W. Binns (London - New York, 1972). The following suggestion is found at endnote 3 of his unpaginated introduction.

NOTE 18 Eleanor Rosenberg, Leicester, Patron of Letters (New York, 1955).

NOTE 19 See the annotated edition of The Phoenix nest by Hyder Edward Rollins (Cambridge, Mass., 1931).

NOTE 20 Inner Temple ms. Petyt 538.43, fols. 299f. According to this manuscript the dialogue was spoken before the Queen at Woodstock, presumably in 1592. Both The Phoenix Nest and other sources state that it was spoken before the Queen at the house of Sir Henry Lee. For a discussion of authorship (several candidates have been proposed), cf. Rollins, ib. 134ff. and the work by Horne cited in the next note. (Since Eedes was by now the Queen’s chaplain, we should probably have to assume that this poem was written some time earlier — and of course, since he now occupied this position, he would have a powerful reason for not subscribing his initials.

NOTE 21 Some of Eedes’ poetry is preserved by Bodleian ms. Rawlinson Poet. 148, for which cf. Edward Doughtie, Liber Lilliati (Newark N. J., 1985). I am unaware of any study devoted to Eedes’ literary activity: the nearest approximation is evidently the dicussion by David H. Horne, The Life and Minor Works of George Peele (New Haven, 1952) 169 - 73.

NOTE 22 II - IV also appear in print, but the printed versions were anonymous. XXVI, XVII, and XXXVa appear in print as liminary poems prefacing other mens’ books, but another liminary poem written by Gager, I, is not included in the manuscript. Perhaps he copied these three poems because he did not known copies of the books containing them (by Nicholas Breton and John Case). But, being a law student, he would more likely have owned a copy of the book containing I, a legal textbook by Alberico Gentili.

NOTE 23 The table of contents occupying pp. 103 - 5 appears to be executed in the same hand. A couple of blank, unnumbered pages are interleaved between pp. 28 - 29, on which some slips providing biographical information about Robert Dorset have subsequently been pasted. Presumably at some point the manuscript has been rebound (my description is based only on a microfilm copy).

NOTE 24 Another poem, evidently an epitaph, is heavily crossed out on p. 108, immediately after CXVI. On the basis of a microfilm copy I cannot decipher what was written, beyond the word OBITUM in the title.

NOTE 25 Few poems are explicitly dated, but many are written in reaction to datable events, and what is written here and in individual commentary notes presupposes that poems were composed reasonably soon after the events in question. It is striking that after 1585 the number of poems written annually drops off sharply. the most likely cause for this is that, as Gager climbed the academic ladder, he wa obliged to devote greater time and energy to his studies. Once he had gained his doctorate he was freer, but I suppose he put most of his effort into writing Ulysses Redux and Panniculus.

NOTE 26 Save that Richard Brainche’s name has subsequently been crossed out of some poems, evidently the result of a temporary quarrel. A few changes, to be sure, are introduced into the early long poems as corrections, but these are probably cases where the author could not resist tinkering with them as he copied them out.

NOTE 27 These Queen’s Scholarships were newly instituted by the Queen, and greeted with opposition at Christ Church, which was not inclined to accept the Scholars. Therefore early appointments tended to be contentious, and Gager had good reason for feeling gratitude towards Dorset. For the general problem, cf. Henry L. Thompson, Christ Church (London, 1900) 25f., and for Gager’s individual case, cf. Tucker Brooke, “Life and Times” 406 and also the documents quoted by John Strype, Annals of the Reformation and Establishment of Religion and Various Other Occurrences in the Church of England during Queen Elizabeth’s Happy Reign (Oxford, 1824, repr. New York, n. d.) II.i.533 - 6. Christ Church was fortunate to lose this battle, for it centered around the admission of one boy in 1574 (Gager), and two in 1575, one of whom was Thomas Ravis, a future Dean. In the listing of Christ Church students for 1574 Gager stands next in rank to George Peele (Bodleian ms. Wood c. 8, p. 85), and it is pleasant to imagine these two future dramatists being presented together at the Matriculation ceremony.

NOTE 28 The Rev. A. Clark, Register of the University of Oxford (Oxford 1885 - 1887) II.ii.21 - 3 (B. A.) and II.ii.80 - 85 and 169 - 217 (M. A.).

NOTE 29 In a footnote to “The Notion Club Papers,” a fantasy work written in the 1940’s but not published in his lifetime, J. R. R. Tolkein made an academic of the twenty-first century write:

The extraordinary system of holding the principal examinations of the year in the summer, which must have been responsible for an incalculable amount of misery, was still in force. During the period of ‘reforms’ of the forties there was talk of altering this arrangement, but it was never carried out, though it was one of the few thoroughly desirable minor reforms proposed at the time.

Cf. Sauron Defeated (ed. Christopher Tolkein, London, 1990) 253.

NOTE 30 Cf. CXVI (addressed to Richard Eedes) with the note ad loc. And, as we have seen, in later life Gager claims to have enjoyed a very close relationship with Sir Walter Devereux, the younger brother of the Earl of Essex, although this attachment yielded no surviving poetry.

NOTE 31 It is likely that such celibacy could be circumvented by the enterprising. In Robert Burton’s comedy Philosophaster (acted at Christ Church in 1607) a Spanish Duke establishes a new university and, rather in the spirit of Brecht’s Mahagonny, various disreputable types immediately show up to take advantage of this predators’ Eldorado: quack academics and the sort of grasping “townies” who perennially make their living off a University. As in Brecht, among the early arrivals are a bawd and her girls, and Burton would probaby not have thought to add this element had not similar amenities existed at Oxford. But surely the undeniably priggish Gager regarded this option as unthinkably deplorable.
This is of course Gager’s personal estimation of Platonic homosexual relationships. Obviously, this viewpoint is related to the high valuaion of heterosexual chastity he enunciates in his plays and in Susanna, although it is noticeable that he shows no evidence of similarly ambivalent attitude towards homosexual chastity. It is of course uncertain to what extent he is giving voice to personal feelings on this subject, and to what degree he is expressing an attitude generally prevalent in his academic environment. Although he has a certain amount to say on the subject, one wishes that Bruce R. Smith had paid more detailed attention to the specialized masculine subculture of schools and Universities in his Homosexual Desires in Shakespeare’s England: A Cultural Poetics (Chicago, 1991). Viewing this subculture through the lens of modern political ideologies on the subject of homosexuality, summed up in that deplorable phrase “Queer Studies,“ a modern scholar may tend to discount, or even doubt the reality of, such Platonic attachments, or miss the point of their fashionably stylized and gamelike quality.

NOTE 32 Tucker Brooke, “Life and Times” p. 412, quotes a letter from the Lord Chancellor of England and Leicester, dated June 12, 1581, urging an end to such quarreling, with the comment, “This letter is so remarkably like one written to the Christ Church students by Queen Mary’s Chancellor, Bishop Gardiner, in 1554, as almost to suggest that a copy was kept perpetually on file.”

NOTE 33 Cf. Penry Williams, “State, Church and University 1558 - 1603,” in James McConica (ed.), The Collegiate University (Vol. III of The History of the University of Oxford, Oxford, 1986) 429f., who does not mention Christ Church among his list of Colleges affected. Nor does Thomason allude to any such scandal in Christ Church. But Gager’s indignant passages tend to suggest otherwise.

NOTE 34 Brit. Lib. ms. Harl 4240, fol. 87, quoted by Williams.

NOTE 35 Tucker Brooke supplies many facts about Gager’s family at “Life and Times” 401. Other sources from which this informationis compiled include a.) the parish register of Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, for the Gagers; b.) J. J. Howard (ed.), The Visitation of Suffolk Made by William Hervey, Clarencieux King of Arms, 1561, with Additions from Family Documents, Original Wills, Jermyn, Davy, and Other Mss. (Lowestoft, 1866) I.245 - 68 with a family tree on pp. 267f., for the Cordells; c.) Frederick Arthur Crisp (ed.), Visitation of England and Wales, vol. 7 (London, 1907), 14ff., for the Alingtons.

NOTE 36 The parish records attest the burial of men named John Gager in both these years; one was William Gager’s grandfather, the other his paternal uncle. It is likelier, but of course not necessarily the case, that the older of the two died first.

NOTE 37 On the basis of their shared Christian name, Tucker Brooke suggested that Sir William Cordell was Gager’s godfather. If so, he would presumably have been the oldest brother.

NOTE 38 The preserved church document is probably not the actual parish register but rather a so-called Bishop’s transcript, in which each year’s harvest of baptisms, weddings, and burials are listed in summary form. As such, it provides no interesting circumstantial information about professions, etc., and does not permit the full disentanglement of the children of Gilbert Gager from those of his brother John, who also lived out his life at Long Melford. Therefore what I have written here is perforce a bit tentative and conjectural. For example, the register records the burial of one Thomas Gager in June, 1586, and another man of the same name in May of the following year, so I assume that both Gilbert and John Gager had sons named Thomas.

NOTE 39 For the Clopton will cited here, see Howard p. 47. Both heraldic documents are quoted by Howard, ib. 265. It is likely that they both were issued at the same time, and that the real object of the father’s grant was the further enhancement of the son’s dignity (not unlike the situation in the Shakespeare family).

NOTE 40 The order is guaranteed by the report of the 1561 visitation (cf. Howard p. 266).

NOTE 41 Howard presents further evidence for the Cordells down into the eighteenth century. Sir William’s position as Speaker of the House of Commons precluded his ennoblement, for much the same reasons that Sir Winston Churchill was never ennobled. Gager would doubtless have been cheered if he had known that Sir Robert Cordell M. P. was destined to be created the first Baronet Melford in 1660 (Howard does not state from which of John Cordell’s issue he was descended). Sir John Cordell, the third Baronet, was killed in a fall from a horse in 1704, and this extinguished the male line; the title passed by marriage into the Firebrace family. Thence it was transferred by special remainder to the Parkers, where it remains.

NOTE 42 Standen is mentioned in a letter by Sir William of January 1581, who calls his father “my cousin”: cf. Brooke, “Life and Times” pp. 410f.

NOTE 43 Even in Sir William’s will of 1580, a minor bequest to help support Gager’s education is the final item in a lengthy document, clearly tacked on as an afterthought.

NOTE 44 For Sir William’s surviving poetry cf. Carlo M. Bajetta, Sir Walter Ralegh, Poeta di Corte Elisabettiano (Milan, 1998) 121 with references cited in n. 35.

NOTE 45 Possession of the manor of Melford Hall was confirmed for Sir William by a grant deed from King Philip and Queen Mary, dated November 1554 (cf. Sir William Parker, Bart., The History of Long Melford, London 1873, p. 319), and extant letter from Sir William to the Bishop of Norwich belonging to 1556 is written from Melford Hall. The National Trust brochure dedicated to the Hall observes “that is no proof that Sir William was already installed in the existing house,” but it is not suggested what other structure might have received this designation. The Hall is a standard Tudor phallic proclamation of power of the Hampton Court variety, bristling with turrets and crocketed chimneys.
Incidentally, although this is never acknowledged in either Jonathan Gash’s Lovejoy mystery novels or the television series based on them (starring Ian McShane), Long Melford (now a center for the antiques trade) was clearly meant to be their setting, and in the last installment of the television series, when she and her husband are selling their house, Lady Jane Felton (delightly played by Phyllis Logan) remarks that it was built by Sir William Cordell, even if the structure shown on the show is distinctly Georgian.

NOTE 46 Dust I.xviii (who was writing specifically about contributors to academic anthologies). It is likely that what has been written about Oxford in the next generation was already true, “Jacobean Oxford was not only the seminary of the Church…it was also — like the Jacobean court to which it was an annexe or waiting-room — a literary and particularly a dramatic centre, and a market, or at least a shopping-queue, for clerical office” (J. A. W. Bennett and H. R. Trevor-Roper, The Poems of Richard Corbett, Oxford, 1955, xii). The importance of writing poetry for self-advertisement must have been all the more important because under Elizabeth there was in place a very forward-looking system, in the form of such things as scholarships and reduced tuition fees for members of the lower classes, designed to draw talented young men into the educational system, to satisfy the national need for governmental officials, clergymen, lawyers, and so forth. It has recently been argued that the system worked too well, so there was an actual overproduction of educated men: cf. Colin Burrow’s remarks in Charles Martindale and A. B. Taylor (edd.), Shakespeare and the Classics (Cambridge, 2004) p.17. So competition for place must have been considerable.

NOTE 47 Or rather, perhaps, the ability to advertise the friendship of the great. We have seen that Gager makes some unverifiable claims about friendship with Sir Walter Devereux and that what he says about his relationship with Sir Philip Sidney appears self-contradictory.

NOTE 48 A heritage that, as we have just seen, he exaggerated, since he was a party to the apparent fiction of the Cordell’s armigerous origins. The reader may wonder why Gager did not also form a similar psychological identification with the even more securely genteel Cloptons. The answer may be that there was bad blood between the two families on his maternal side: Sir William’s building projects sugest that, despite the marriage alliance he had formed, some kind of rivalry existed betwen them.h

NOTE 49 Lawrence Stone, An Elizabethan: Sir Horatio Palavicino (Oxford, 1956) 37.

NOTE 50 Cf. Edward Doughtie, Liber Lilliati (Newark N. J., 1985).

NOTE 51 The fact that Dominus could be used both to describe a man with a B. A. and a man entitled to place “Sir” before his name raises the question of whether the former enjoyed the something of the same prestige (and perhaps the same standing in the eyes of the law) as the latter, or at least of an armigerous person. The respectful way Christopher Marlow was treated by the authorities after his arrest in connection with the killing of William Bradley during an affray in Hog Lane, in September 1589, might appear to suggest something of the kind: see Mark Eccles, Marlowe in London (Cambridge, Mass., 1934).
At least one document written in Engish distinguishes recipients of the B. A. with the title “Sir”: see the cast-list for the 1617 performance of Richard Burton’s Philosophaster preserved by Harverd Theatre Collection ms. Thr. 10.1 (fols. 48 - 56), author’s holograph, and Folger Library ms. V. a.315, a copy mss. (reproduced in John R. Elliott Jr. et al., Records of Early English Drama: Oxford (Toronto, 2004) II.843ff.

NOTE 52 A modern edition of this work has been published by Andrew Clark and Llewelyn Powys (London, 1932).

NOTE 53 An even more industrious historian (or, more probably, team of historians) could assemble a superior product by collating collegiate against University records, since for a variety of reasons an indivual could belong to College and attend lectures without matriculating or taking any degree. Thus, for example, since Subscription (sworn assent to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England) was part of the matriculation process, Catholics and recusants avoided matriculation and so tend not to show up in University records. A second reason for this phenomenon was simple fee-dodging.