Wyatt and Surrey.—Read two characteristic love sonnets by Wyatt and Surrey, P. & S., 313-319; Ward, I., 251, 257; Bronson, II., 1-4. A specimen of the first English blank verse employed by Surrey in translating Vergil’s, AEneid is given in Bronson, II., 4, 5; in P. & S., 322, 323; and Chambers, I., 162.
Why are Wyatt and Surrey called amourists? What contributions did they make to the form of English verse? What foreign influences did they help to usher in?
[Footnote 1: Knightes Tale.]
[Footnote 2: Testament of Cresseid.]
[Footnote 3: The Cloud.]
[Footnotes 4-6: The Golden Targe.]
[Footnote 7: Prologue to AEneid, Book XII.]
[Footnote 8: The Winter’s Tale, IV., 4.]
[Footnote 9: Wright’s Songs and Carols of the Fifteenth Century, p. 30.]
[Footnote 10: For full titles, see p. 50.]
[Footnote 11: For full titles, see p. 6.]
The Reign of Elizabeth.—Queen Elizabeth, who ranks among the greatest of the world’s rulers, was the daughter of Henry VIII. and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth reigned as queen of England from 1558 until her death in 1603. The remarkable allowances which she made for difference of opinion showed that she felt the spirit of the Renaissance. She loved England, and her most important acts were guided, not by selfish personal motives, but by a strong desire to make England a great nation.
She had a law passed restoring the supremacy of the monarch, “as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things as temporal.” The prayer book of Edward VI. was again introduced and the mass was forbidden. She was broad enough not to inquire too closely into the private religious opinions of her subjects, so long as they went to the established church. For each absence they were fined a shilling. Next to churchgoing and her country, she loved and encouraged plays.
[Illustration: FACSIMILE OF ELIZABETH’S SIGNATURE TO A LICENSE FOR THE EARL OF LEICESTER’S COMPANY OF PLAYERS, 1574.]
For more than twenty years she was worried by fear that either France or Spain would put her Catholic cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, on the English throne. With masterly diplomacy, Elizabeth for a long time managed to retain the active friendship of at least one of these great powers, in order to restrain the other from interfering. She had kept Mary a prisoner for nineteen years, fearing to liberate her. At last an active conspiracy was discovered to assassinate Elizabeth and put Mary on the throne. Elizabeth accordingly had her cousin beheaded in 1587. Spain thereupon prepared her fleet, the Invincible Armada, to attack England. When this became known, the outburst of patriotic feeling was so intense among all classes in England that the queen did not hesitate to put Lord Howard, a Catholic, in command of the English fleet. The Armada was utterly defeated, and England was free to enter on her glorious period of influencing the thought and action of the world.