The hospitality here was very great. I shall wave the grandeur of William the first Earle, who married [Anne] sister to Queen Katharine Parre, and was the great favourite of King Henry 8th, and conservator of his will, and come to our grandfather’s memorie, in the times of his sonne Henry Earle of Pembroke, and his Countess Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Sydney, and sister to that renowned knight Sir Philip Sydney, whose fame will never die whilest poetrie lives. His Lordship was the patron to the men of armes, and to the antiquaries and heralds; he took a great delight in the study of herauldry, as appeares by that curious collection of heraldique manuscripts in the library here. It was this earle that did set up all the painted glasse scutchions about the house. Many a brave souldier, no doubt, was here obliged by his Lordship; but time has obliterated their names.
Mr. Robert Barret dedicated the “Theorick and Practick of Moderne Warres”, in folio, London, 1598, to this noble Earle, and William Lord Herbert of Cardiff, his son, then a youth. It seemes to have been a very good discourse as any writt in that time, wherein he shews much learning, besides experience. He had spent most of his time in foreigne warres, as the French, Dutch, Italian, and Spanish; and here delivers his military observations.
John Jones, an eminent physician in his tyme, wrote
a treatise of the bathes at Bath, printed in a black
letter, Anno Domini 1572, which he dedicated to Henry,
Earle of Pembroke. [These dedications were doubtless
acknowledged by pecuniary gifts from the patron to
the authors. — J. B.]
I shall now passe to the illustrious Lady Mary, Countesse of Pembroke, whom her brother hath eternized by his Arcadia; but many or most of the verses in the Arcadia were made by her Honour, and they seem to have been writt by a woman. ’Twas a great pity that Sir Philip had not lived to have put his last hand to it. He spent much, if not most part of his time here, and at Ivychurch, near Salisbury, which did then belong to this family, when he was in England; and I cannot imagine that Mr. Edmund Spenser could be a stranger here. [See, in a subsequent page, Chap. VIII. “The Downes”. — J. B.]
Her Honour’s genius lay as much towards chymistrie as poetrie. The learned Dr. Mouffet, that wrote of Insects and of Meates, had a pension hence. In a catalogue of English playes set forth by Gerard Langbain, is thus, viz.: “Lady Pembrock, Antonius, 4to.” [This was an English translation of “The Tragedie of Antonie. Doone into English by the Countesse of Pembroke. Imprinted at London, for William Ponsonby, 1595.” 12mo. The Countess of Pembroke also translated “A Discourse of Life and Death, written in French, by Phil. Mornay”, 1600, 12mo.- J. B.]
this sable herse
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sydney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother,
Death! ere thou kill’st such another,
Fair, and wise, and learned as she,
Time will throw a dart at thee.”