We continue with our National Poetry Month look at Elizabethan poets and
their England, with a stop in 1594.
It was a relatively quiet year for exploration. One of England's greatest
rovers was dead. Martin Frobisher, like Sir Philip Sydney before him, had
died of wounds suffered in battle. He'd been brought back to Plymouth from
the siege of Crozon, in France, and the old sea dog set off on his ultimate
voyage on December 1st.
Other than Crozon, there wasn't a lot of action on the military front either.
In Ireland, Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone began fomenting rebellion,
stirring up local Catholics in an uprising in Ulster, seeking help from
the Spanish. O'Neill would remain a thorn in Elizabeth's side on into the
next century. The Queen removed another perceived thorn when she had her
Jewish physician Roderigo Lopez executed for plotting against her life.
In London, Trinity House, probably having originated with a Medieval guild,
was granted the right of beaconage, meaning the monopoly on the building
of lighthouses along the English and Welsh coasts. The city's theaters,
closed for several years because of the plague, reopened. Mining engineer
Bevis Bulmer attempted to upgrade the city's delivery of water, setting
up an experimental pumping station, in Blackfriars, using the first horse-powered
Literature flourished. Thomas Nash published the earliest English adventure
novel, The Unfortunate Traveller. Poet George Chapman turned out
The Shadow of Night.
Shakespeare was as busy as ever. Apart from working on Richard III
and The Taming of the Shrew. about this time, he also oversaw productions
of his own Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors . His
poem The Rape of Lucrece is also was entered into the Stationer's
Register, a required listing for new literary works.
And in Kilcolman, Ireland, English poet Edmund Spenser, in residence since
1588, took time out from raising sheep and scribbling verse to mary Elizabeth
Boyle. (They would remain in Kilcolman until 1598, when Hugh O'Neill began
getting too close for English comfort. But back in 1595 Spenser celebrated
his wedding of the previous year by writing a nuptial song, or Epithalamion,
drawing towards his conclusion with, "So let us rest, sweet love, in
hope of this, And cease till then our tymely joyes to sing: The woods no
more us answer, nor our eccho ring.
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.
© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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