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1. ANNE VERE, THE WIFE OF EDWARD VERE EARL OF OXFORD, DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM BURGHLEY LORD HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND, A WOMAN WHO, THANKS TO HER PIETY, PRUDENCE, PATIENCE, PUDICITY, AND SINGULAR LOVE FOR HER HUSBAND, HAD ENDEARED HERSELF TO HER SOVEREIGN, HER PARENTS, BROTHERS, AND THE ENTIRE ROYAL COURT, DIED AT THE ROYAL PALACE AT GREENWICH, LEAVING BEHIND THREE DAUGHTERS AS HER SURVIVORS
While Anna the sister, the dearest sister of her Elisa, fled from her brother’s hostile power across the sea [the main], thanks to a lucky shipwreck she touched the shore of Italy, both a goddess and an exile. There she found a name, a temple and altars: thus did Phoenician threats harm her / driven by Phoenician threats.. This was the lot of Phoenician Anna, but it is said that there was another Anna worshipped in the suburbs of Rome. For while the plebeians were on the Sacred Mount, unsure whether to ask victuals from the tribunes, she provided it. There piety or generosity made them both divine, turning both into goddesses. But it was not enough for them to be goddesses: Reputation also craved to add Perenna to their names, so that the number of their days could not contradict their titles. If a third Anne is not yet acknowledged in our age of the world, begging the poets’ pardon, I shall sing of her. She is not supplied to me by the dreams of bards, she is veritable (for that which is a verity is likewise perennial). Whether it is her love for the other scions of the same stock, or her bounteous hand which makes her divine, why not offer up incense to the divine Vere? For her love of her brothers is well enough known, as is her bounty to the poor. Anne, to be sure, was a goddess, but not yet a Perenna: her life was unable to grant this, although her honorable death did. Like the Phoenician girl, she is an exile from her homeland, but at the same time in her exile she found genuine joys.
She was a Vere. This is enough, it is not right to add anything more: whatever you add to verity is falsehood. Nevertheless, noble splendor is contained in the name of Vere, and a faithfulness more than Penelope-like. For her very position was able to render Penelope chaste: her dread and her love of her absent husband. Terror of the Thracian Horse kept her chaste, and Hector, bringing back hands dripping enemy blood, the remembered perils of the Lastrygonian land, and wanton Scylla, restraining her rabid dogs, and the maw of the Cyclops, belching with human gore, and his feet (half like clods of earth) and clods (half like feet), Circe, and the many other images she imagined which maintained the bride’s careful fidelity. And justly so, but she who delights in the presence of a married man, enjoying the sight of his face although not destined to enjoy his bed, if she remains chaste, devoted to pure aspirations, she contains within herself all this world’s Penelopes.
3. ...THE WIFE OF EDWARD VERE EARL OF OXFORD...
The Earl shares with you title belonging to our Athens, but you add the Attic riches of your intellect.
4. ..DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM BURGHLEY LORD HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND...
You to whom God entrusted this land, the treasure of the world, and to whom this land likewise entrusted its treasures, how come (right prudent sir) you have lost this jewel? Because she belonged to God and not only to you. God gave her, God took her away, and dealt justly with both things, since you have cause for giving thanks and He is enjoying His right.
5. ...A WOMAN WHO, THANKS TO HER PIETY...
Which made her worthy of heaven and removed her from where you are — it is painful to say any more about her piety.
The Fates granted you the heart of a Sibyl, but (alas) not a Sibyl’s number of days.
7. ...PATIENCE, PUDICITY, AND SINGULAR LOVE FOR HER HUSBAND...
If I may say so, Vere, you were faithful to your husband, and I omit to say more since this is well known and approved. Your posterity is destined to say so, since it will estimate that your reputation implies no blame to itself.
8. ... ENDEARED HERSELF TO HER SOVEREIGN, HER PARENTS, BROTHERS, AND THE ENTIRE ROYAL COURT...
She who never knowingly harmed her friends and was accustomed to having no enemy, knowingly and willfully did damage to all her friends, for knowingly and willfully she departed.
9. ... DIED AT THE ROYAL PALACE AT GREENWICH .
Vere died in the same place the queen had been born, it is famous enough without my mentioning its name.
10a. ...LEAVING BEHIND THREE DAUGHTERS AS HER SURVIVORS.
You’d think that these three daughters of Vere and his wife were the like number of Graces born of Jove and Eunomia. Thus is why no gratitude towards poets remains, Thus it is why its due thanks is refused to poetry: these Graces are plunged in gloom since their Eunomia is perished.
You say that there is no Muse in these unequal verses, but you are mistaken. It is a Muse herself whose abduction I mourn.
Muse, allow these words to be confined within a pair of lines, for with them I lament that a Muse has perished.
You who are wont to scan the sky’s convexities with learned eyes, learn now why this seventh Pleiad has gone into hiding. Inded, this “why” likewise escaped an earlier age. She is the daughter of Atlas, but an Atlas who is British. Previously heaven neither possessed nor concealed her, but she acted in such a way that the land of Britain did not begrudge heaven its Pleiads. For she recently departed to the regions above bearing news of the Spanish disaster. Oh how I fear lest Jove is displeased and angrily begrudge her return, keeping her in heaven! This daughter of Atlas is indeed worthy of heaven, and so is Atlas. On his sturdy shoulders he has carried the great burden of this realm, and my hope is that long may he bear it, and that Jupiter may add to the father the days on this earth he has denied the daughter.
You accuse the man who constructed this altar made out of words of obscurity? I suppose he should have spoken with stones.
This is no altar, and yet these poems fancy it to be such. For you see how they gather here higglety-pigglety.
My verses beheld this altar, imagined that sacred rites were being performed, and came a-flocking in any old order.
Don’t read this, for if you do you will weep. You doubt it? I predict you will weep, and cannot behold these things dry-eyed. For if my subject-matter does not make you cry, my poems will. I have created poems lamentable for their faults.
JOHN HOSKYNS DEDICATED THIS PARCHMENT TO YOUR SHADE