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A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning Historical Context

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King James I of England

James I ruled England from 1603 to 1625. His mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate the throne of Scotland in 1567, and James, born just a year earlier in 1566, was named king in her place. Too young to rule, he didn't formally act as king until 1581. At the time, there was much strife between the Catholics and the Protestants in Scotland, and, in fact, James was kidnapped in 1582 by a group of Protestant nobles and gained his freedom a year later by escaping.

He went on to form an alliance with his cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England, and upon her death, he inherited the English throne, thus uniting the crowns of England and Scotland. During his reign, relations with the Roman Catholics in England were strained at best, leading to the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, which was a plot on behalf of Roman...

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