From Shakespeare's patrons & other essays by Henry Brown.
The name of this earl has so long been closely connected with Shakespeare that, to merely mention
it, is sufficient to recall to the mind, the memory of a patronage that has fixed itself foremost on the
thoughts of all readers as having subsisted between this nobleman and the poet at a very early period
of his life; the poet himself in two dedications, one to his poem of "Venus and Adonis," and the
other to his "Tarquin and Lucrece," has published the news broadcast, and the numerous editions not
only in the poet's lifetime, but since his death, that have appeared have tended to inscribe it indelibly
on the minds of all readers.
The Earl of Southampton when quite a young man became in a very few years after the poet's
first arrival in London his chosen patron, and accepted the poet's dedication of the "Venus and Adonis" in
1593, and in the following year the "Tarquin and Lucrece."
These addresses are as follows; the first is couched
in these words —
"Right Honourable Henry Wriothesly,
"Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield.
"I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the
world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden: Only, if your honour
seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I
have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I
shall be sorry it had so noble a god-father, and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me still
so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your heart's content:
which I wish may always answer your wish, and the world's hopeful expectation.
"Your honour's in all duty,
The dedication to the "Tarquin and Lucrece" evinces a fuller affection, confidence of his patron's
regard for him and his offering —
"Right Honourable Henry Wriothesly,
"Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield.
"The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without
beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not
the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what
I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty
would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still
lengthened with all happiness,
"Your lordship's in all duty,
The poet has herein protested most fully his devotion to his patron, and doubtless he intended to the utmost to fulfill the declarations he has made, but it is somewhat strange that no other non-dramatic work, or dramatic work, was ever after
dedicated by the poet to him; and of course it would be, and is, the non-dramatic efforts of his muse the
produce of "idle hours," when not engaged in writing plays or in acting, the means by which he
obtained his livelihood, catering for the public, no other poem or poems appearing is extraordinary
after his repeated and fervent avowals pointing to new and more important poems in prospect.
However that may be, Southampton's connection with Shakespeare and his influence and bearing
upon his writings need alone reviewing here; his various military adventures, his embroilments,
tiffs, Court troubles, enmities, entanglements in factions, enterprises, etc., and military, naval,
political life, Court affairs, strife and restlessness, need not now be viewed; from this we turn and
chiefly view him as patron and friend of the poet, exhibiting the better side of his nature. His love of
learning and of learned men, his perhaps over-zealous duty for what he thought his own and his
country's honour, the dignities loftily sustained to which he was born, and to those which he was
appointed to fulfill by King James, have all in all lent a lustre and brightness to his name never to be
There is no question but that this lord, then but a young man when the poet first sought his patronage, was a great admirer and greatly favoured Shakespeare; that he assisted the poet with a most extraordinary bounty is, however, a very late tradition, and was first published by Rowe in 1709. A gift from the earl may well be believed, but the
amount stated to have been given the poet is beyond probability. Rowe tells us: "There is one instance so singular in the magnificence of this patron of Shakespeare that, if I had not been assured that the story was handed down by Sir William D'Avenant, who was probably very well acquainted with his affairs, I should not have ventured to have inserted;
that my Lord Southampton at one time gave him a thousand pounds to enable him to go through with
a purchase which he heard he had a mind to." And this is rendered more probable, or at least the gift of
something munificent, as we further learn from other testimony that the poet, besides the advantages
of his wit and worthy qualities, his "honesty" and "uprightness of dealing," was in himself a good-natured man, of great sweetness in his manners, and a most agreeable companion. This the printed records of the time, from his earliest period as also the latest that have been handed down, most expressly affirm; to these qualities as also to his poetical
merit we may doubtless attribute his rapid advancement.
The large sum said to have been given to the poet,
an amount equal at the present value of money to £5,000 [approx $135,000 in 2010], was not reported till long after the event —
probably it was augmented mistakenly from £100 to £1,000, and as the sum of £100 was then equal
to a sum of £500 of present money, that for the young earl to have given must be viewed as a considerable gift. The earl early in life was a recognised patron of poets and learned men, and Gervase
Markham, in a sonnet addressed to the earl in 1595, appears to point especially to his patronage of
"Thou, the laurel of the Muses' hill,
Those eyes doth crown the most victorious pen."
The earl's love of learning and learned men is well known; it was, however, chiefly confined to his
early years, and strange to say there does not appear to have been a dozen books dedicated to him comprising the two early poems of Shakespeare. Of the Earl of Southampton's regard for literature, poetry, and the drama, and help to learned men there is full and direct testimony, therefore a munificent gift of considerable importance to Shakespeare may be
looked upon as conclusive, being perhaps like others at that time as much attracted by the poet's
modesty and gentleness as by his merit; and his kind regard probably extended for several years.
There is, however, no direct proof of close intercourse between the earl as years advanced; in fact, it would
appear that there was a coldness, if not disunion, grew up between them.
Probably as time went on the earl may have been twitted for the amorous nature of the Greekish
fable of the "Venus and Adonis" poem, or of the erotic titianesque presentment of the picture of
the fair queen of love; if so, the poet would deeply feel the charge against the poem, a charge as we know that was long alleged against it, both during and long after the poet's life, and out of this may have grown the severance or at least silence we have spoken of in reference to further dedicated poems by the poet to the earl. And the mysterious "Willobie Arisa" poem of 1594, a year after the publication of the Venus poem, may secretly and
satirically point to Shakespeare and the earl. During the poet's middle period the earl's military
duties would however alone occasion long periods
of separation. The earl at that time had been much
absent from the metropolis and became involved
through a long-growing fiery temper in many factions,
State difficulties, and other matters to which we have
alluded, and was finally mixed up with the rebellion
of the Earl of Essex; and though with Essex doomed
to death, Southampton obtained a remission of
the sentence, but was condemned to imprisonment
in the Tower, We are, however, now somewhat
anticipating events. The loyal poet may in some
way have offended the too-impetuous earl; of this,
as will be seen, there appears several indications.
After 1597 the earl in almost every transaction
in which he engaged invariably incurred either the
displeasure of the Queen or the Court, whether in
military affairs, Court life, politics, or private affairs.
His courtship and final marriage with one of the
Queen's maids, for a long period was the source of
much unhappiness; this offence still more excited
against him the enmity of Elizabeth, as will be
seen not without some cause.1
After Southampton's too-ardent courtship with the Queen's maid of honour, fair Mistress Vernon,
whom he, we may presume truly loved, on March 17, 1598, he passed over to France and offered
his military services to Henry IV; but the campaign ending by the peace of Vervius, the chivalric
earl, after a stay at Paris for a few months, upon
his return, married privately Mistress Vernon,
whose condition compelled her to retire from the
Court to the house of the Earl of Essex at Wanstead,
to which Essex had retired from the favour of the
Queen. Some of the wits of the day poked fun at
the fair lady's obvious condition, though she was
in great sorrow — weeping her fair eyes out of her
head, she yet asserted full belief that Lord Southampton would "justify it." This marriage greatly
displeased the Queen, and she threatened to send all
parties concerned in it to the Tower; the countess
was committed to the best lodgings of the Fleet, and
the earl was for a brief time cast into prison.
Southampton with all his faults, his fiery temper,
continued impetuosity, and dominant self-will, was
a nobleman of high courage, great honour, and
integrity. His joining the Essex faction in 1601, as
we have above remarked, finally doomed him to the Tower till the close of Elizabeth's reign; the prospect
before the countess must have been one of deep grief and desolation, and the event doubtless also
caused much sadness of heart to Shakespeare.
Southampton and the Drama
There is evidence, in a letter by Rowland Whyte written in 1599 to Sir R. Sydney, that the Earl of
Southampton was a lover of plays, and at that time was a constant visitor to the theatres. He says: "My Lord of Southampton and Lord Rutland come not to the Court. The one doth very seldom. They pass away the time in London merely in going to plays every day." And a year or two later the earl,
who unfortunately joined Essex in his rebellion against Elizabeth, appears with some of the other
conspirators to have sought to influence the people to join them by having exhibited at the Globe
Theatre, and also at various other places in London, a play on the subject of Richard II, representing
the deposition and murder of that king, and was played at the Globe on the day previous to the outbreak, February 8, 1601. Great interest is attached to this event, as to whether it was Shakespeare's
Richard II, or an old play on the same subject. It has long been supposed to have been our poet's
drama; it is a subject of considerable importance and worthy of further investigation, and it will be seen
that in all probability it was not Shakespeare's play for the following reasons.
one of the players of the company of the Globe, appears to have been delegated on this occasion
to treat with some of the leading party of the Essex faction, and was induced by them upon the
payment of an extra allowance to perform a play of the deposing and killing of King Richard II, as he stated in his examination before the judges; but he, as is quite clear, only came to terms with the
conspirators, by undertaking to play an old play long out of use, apparently stale, unattractive, and
unprofitable, hence a larger fee was given. Any such description would hardly apply to Shakespeare's
play of 1595 of that name; his plays always filled the theatre, even though they were not new.
Phillipps, who appears to have had the sole transaction in his hands, was sent to represent the company. This accounts for the withdrawal of Shakespeare and the leading members from any complicity
in the transaction, and the company of the Globe
were fully excused; but it has not perhaps been clearly seen why, but for this reason alone — for not
using their own play of Richard II, written by Shakespeare, but an old, long-disused play upon the
same subject, a play that had been long since thrust
into the background as far as the Globe company
was concerned, and a play upon which no censorship
had been passed, a play that had been revived at
the instigation of the conspirators and had recently
been played by their influence in theatres and
elsewhere in London, and the same play was performed at the Globe at their entreaty; being the
most important theatre, the service of that company was most valued.
Shakespeare's play of Richard II had been printed in 1597, with the suppression of 154 lines
containing the trial and deposing of the king. Elizabeth appears greatly to have feared this
deposing exhibition would stir up the people against her, on account of her religious principles. Sir John
Hayward in 1599, in a history of the first part of Henry IV,'s reign, included an account of Richard II,
and dedicated the work in words of high eulogy to the Earl of Essex, and at once received severe
censure in the Star Chamber, was committed to prison, and the Queen threatened the author with
the rack to force him to a full confession. We cannot well suppose Shakespeare and his colleagues
to have been so unwise as to allow his play, with the scene of the deposition of Richard II, to be played
by the company and that, the Lord Chamberlain's company of players for the purpose of inciting a
spirit of insurrection. Though he had regard for the Earl of Essex and special admiration for the Earl
of Southampton, we cannot believe the loyal poet would connive in such a league against his sovereign,
who, in an especial manner, had honoured him
and his company. The poet was doubtless fully
aware a Richard II had been played quite recently
a large number of times at various places in London,
and, as we have noticed, probably bribed to perform
it by some partisans of the Essex faction, and he
was also aware that those who sought to publish
his own Richard II. had been compelled to withdraw the deposition scene by the censorship in 1597.
Would he, in the face of all this or his colleagues, with Sir John Hayward's fate before them, be
foolishly bold to crown all this by allowing his play to be performed by the Queen's players with that
scene at the Globe theatre? but would stand the risk, we may well suppose, of offending his rash
patron rather than join in the endeavour to subvert the state, and we believe that his refusal offended
Southampton. And the Richard II played at the Globe was an old play, and is spoken of as such
at the time and as out of date, and as it would not pay to play it, few would come to witness it, therefore
an extra bribe was given to ensure its performance.
This, from what we can gather, exculpated the Globe company, no blame was imputed to them, and the
Queen continued to extend her favour to them, and just before the death of Essex, witnessed a performance by them at Richmond Palace on Tuesday, February 24, 1601,
Thorpe the antiquary has recorded in reference to the old play of King Richard II which had been
played in various places in the metropolis "in open streets and houses," and we are further told the
Queen, in a conversation with Lambarde the Keeper
of the Records in the Tower, her Majesty speaking
to him of the reign of King Richard II, said in reference to the Essex plot: "I am Richard II, know ye not that?"
In the midst of the stirring affairs consequent upon the rebellion of Essex, Shakespeare must have
been much grieved and perplexed as to his future line of action. What was the poet to do? He now
stood in a very peculiar position; he loved his patron without doubt, but a new claimant had
for about two years sought very zealously and it would appear persistently, to obtain the regard
of the poet and had obtained it. This would also point to a division in some way having occurred
between the poet and his first patron at an earlier
period, and this may have been viewed as still widened by the Essex conspiracy — not perhaps
that the poet did not still love and admire his early
patron, but events seem to prove that it could not
stand up firm and lasting, but must sooner or later
fall. This perhaps the new patron — we now refer
to the young Lord Herbert — clearly saw, and we learn
that the poet did not have to seek his patronage
and favour; he sought the regard of the poet and
heaped favours upon him. This can all be shown from
the records of the time and from the Sonnets. And the poet upon his part thought well to take into his
regard the young lord, whom for his qualities, gifts, handsomeness, and position, and as the future
head of a most noble house, he viewed the alliance with a most cordial and happy spirit.
Upon the Earl of Southampton being cast into the gloomy dungeon of the tower —
"To Julius Caesar's ill-erected tower."
— Richard II, Act V., Sc. i.
Shakespeare doubtless found himself in a curious position; he could not pen a poem on the treasonable outbreak or defend Southampton as he may to some extent have wished to. The poet was,
however, equal to the occasion; he clearly, we find,
desired to express his regard for him, and he has done so, not by writing a poem, but by penning
a drama after the earl's doom of imprisonment in the Tower, a period destined to be at least as long
as Elizabeth's reign lasted.
The drama he has selected for his purpose is the noble play of Julius Caesar, written probably late in
1601, in which the opening scenes largely reflect the Essex plot and the closing years of Elizabeth. To
effect this, Caesar is not made the leading character, except in the title of the play. Brutus and Cassius
are the foremost figures, and it is somewhat remarkable that it has not hitherto been observed that
Brutus is Southampton, and Cassius the Earl of Essex. The poet had to adhere to Roman history,
but as far as possible has made it subservient to the rebellion of Essex, in character, incident, and
detail, as far as regards the Earls of Essex and Southampton; the latter nobleman, his dear friend, stands
most prominent. The play of Julius Caesar is therefore of political significance; he has glanced
at the rebellion against the Queen, and at the two leading personages of the plot, but has mainly, and
in his position wisely and judiciously, adhered closely to the story of the conspiracy against
Caesar as narrated by Plutarch and as translated by Sir Thomas North.
The poet's regard for the personal qualities of Essex and Southampton is reflected in the effulgent
brightness with which he has invested the portrayal of Brutus and Cassius. To add to their greater
brightness he has dimmed the glory, greatness, and majesty of Caesar with the gathering clouds that
finally enveloped the lurid sunset of his closing days; for this decadence of Caesar, Plutarch gives
charter; it also points more significantly to the decadence of Elizabeth's last years. Despite, however, of his eulogy of Southampton and Essex, the drama, like our poet's Richard II, is adverse to
State plots and conspiracy against the Crown.2
Southampton's short-sightedness and unpractical political ideas fully appear in Brutus, he is impulsive
and wholly regardless of the course of events; so was Southampton, The willfulness of Brutus as a general and a man ended in his disgrace and brought ruin upon him; this was Southampton's error right through his career. Whatever dignity was in the conspiracy against Caesar, was conferred on it by the presence of Brutus, and it was Southampton's
chivalric spirit that lent a certain amount of importance to the plot of Essex. Cassius is bitter of
speech, unscrupulous, and merciless, he persuaded Brutus to join in the conspiracy; and Essex besought
the aid of Southampton. Cassius was well reputed as a military commander; Essex had a like high repute.
Essex's bitterness of tongue is well known; among other fatal expressions he uttered is that "The Queen grew old and cankered; and that her mind was become as crooked as her carcass." The conspirators meet at the orchard of Brutus, and they pledge themselves by oath to carry out their plot; Essex and the conspirators meet at Southampton's
house for a like purpose. Brutus exhibits a zealous love of liberty for the common welfare; Southampton
showed the same regard. Brutus was brother-in-law to Cassius; Southampton married Elizabeth
Vernon, the cousin of the Earl of Essex. There have been differences between them, but this love for
his relative brought that to an end. Elizabeth Vernon, who became Southampton's honoured wife;
the poet pictures as Portia, wife to Brutus, and the devotedness of husband and wife and of her tender
and most ardent regard towards him is finely shown in the scene between them. Brutus, after a
midnight meeting with the conspirators, addressing Cassius ere they disperse on the approach of early
morning, says —
"Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;
Let not our looks put on our purposes;
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untir'd spirits and formal constancy;
And so good-morrow to you every one."
Portia seeks him, and gives in addressing Brutus a fine portrayal of Southampton to the life, to
which we refer the reader — Act II., Sc. i. — and gently chides him for his rebukes and impatience
of late to her, and being his wife therefore entreats upon her knees to know his secret sorrow and weight
of care and his cause of midnight meeting with men —
"Who did hide their faces
Even from darkness."
She doubts to call herself his wife and not to know his secrets, which she vows though he divulge them
she will not reveal; and in the fullness of his soul he says —
"You are my true and honourable wife,
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart."
And this may well apply to the marriage of the earl and his lady and the Court tattle upon the
event. The noble play ends with a fine eulogium directed towards his dear friend Southampton,
whom to all the world was as dead, immured in that gloomy fortress; and the poet well might in the words
of Antony in his tribute of praise over the dead Brutus, say —
"This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only in a general honest thought.
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, This was a man!'"
It may be a strained compliment, but pardonable as the outcome of a devoted friendship, and doubtless Southampton's early years were gentle and most loving till soured by Court factions and real
or imagined grievances or errors. Nat Lee tells us, in the dedication of his "Lucius Junius Brutus" to
the Earl of Dorset, that "Shakespeare's Brutus with much ado beat himself into the heads of a blockish
age, so knotty were the oaks he had to deal with."
But did not this arise from the play appearing in
Elizabeth's last years? Her loyal subjects may well have thought the eulogy of Brutus too excessive.
The poet could not of course be too open in his representations of Essex and Southampton; this
might have brought the enmity of the Queen upon him. The poet steered clear of offending, yet found
a way to express his love and pity for his noble patron and friend. This drama may not have
been written to draw his patron nearer to him, assuming there had been somewhat of a coldness
or division between them, but to evince his regard for him at the time of his overthrow. It is certainly remarkable that through all this time there seems to have been no alliance or connection that can be traced between them, no poem of condolence openly addressed to him pitying his misfortunes and sad state, which in Shakespeare's case perhaps
would have been unwise, and was fully excused by the earl. The bounteous gift given by the earl
to the poet may very likely have been given after the earl's release from the Tower in the next reign,
and arose from the kind tribute offered to him and to the Earl of Essex in Julius Caesar, and he might
readily forget former differences, if any, as he did in the case of Essex, and became his most zealous
friend. No poem, however, is certainly known to have been written by Shakespeare on the earl's
release from the Tower.
The poets Daniel and Davies were jubilant on this occasion. Shakespeare's may
not have appeared in print.
There is one event that places Southampton in touch with one of Shakespeare's plays, though not
apparently with the poet himself. It appears that the comedy of Love's Labour's Lost, upon the visit of
the Queen of James I to the Earl of Southampton in January, 1605, was selected by Burbage, the principal
player of the company to which Shakespeare belonged, to be performed before her. Burbage
extolled the wit and mirth of the play and said that it would please her exceedingly; it was played
either at Southampton House, Bloomsbury, or at the earl's house in the Strand; the original letter
is preserved at Hatfield.3 We should perhaps remark that the British Museum stands on a portion of the
immediately surrounding ground then belonging to the old mansion, and the poet we may well
suppose frequently trod the very ground on which our national museum stands in the company of
his early patron; the Earls of Southampton were lords of the manor of Bloomsbury. The mansion,
which was large and stately, stood upon the north side of Bloomsbury Square; in the reign of Elizabeth
the old manor house stood in the open country, the adjacent fields then formed part of the court of the
It need not be supposed that Southampton stood
aloof from Shakespeare any time of the poet's life,
but circumstances occurred later in the earl's life
that appear to have turned his attention to a great
extent from his early love of literature and the society
of learned men and poets, and though he continued
to foster literary men at intervals, his life led him
widely away to a large extent from London life and
associations. Therefore though there might appear
a disunion, it may have arisen from different duties, both on the earl's part and the part of the poet, that
largely occupied their attention. We need not therefore suppose that after Herbert appears before
the poet and desires to favour him with his special patronage, that Southampton must needs retire to
the background as far as Shakespeare is concerned. The poet, however, seems to have been very exclusive
in his seeking or accepting patronage; during his life he sought public patronage and won it by his
dramas and his acting; for his poems he sought the higher patronage of the nobility, and for their
acceptance he had many admirers and "private friends."
Beyond this circle there were but three
noblemen that we know were his patrons: the Earl of Southampton stands first, and with him later in
time were the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, the two brothers to whom the first folio is dedicated;
and the elder brother William Herbert has long been identified with the "W. H." of the Sonnets.
Ben Jonson, on the other hand, sought and obtained many patrons, amongst them were many noble and
distinguished men and women, but he could not obtain the patronage of the public for the acceptance
of his plays, therefore was always miserably poor and became very morose. Shakespeare exalted
patronage up to ardent, constant, and most loving friendship; he appears to have thought it his greatest
joy and esteemed it as his highest honour. That
the favour of the two "incomparable brothers,"
Earl William and his brother Philip Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, was enjoyed and viewed as
the poet's highest honour, not only has the poet's
testimony as to Earl William, but the player editors,
as we have noticed in their dedication of the first
folio to these lords, couple them together as the
poet's most eminent dramatic patrons, and speak
of the great favours granted by them to the
then deceased poet. And of Pembroke's especial
patronage of the poet we shall have to notice other
Some have sought to show, but without any proof whatever, that the Sonnets were written for and
dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, but the view is most difficult to accept. Finally, we may truly
say that Southampton was a brilliant and a most noble and heroic peer, a chivalric Elizabethan lord,
but somewhat of a quixotic disposition — restless, ever ready to trample down a real or supposed
grievance, or to participate in some adventure of knight-errantry or military quest, whether directly
in or not in connection with his own affairs, his personal, country's, or his sovereign's interest, and
this spirit remained in him to the last. Finally, it may justly be said that Shakespeare's Sonnets present
not the faintest reflection of the personal character or life of Southampton. The earl had the effusions,
during his early period, of the almost insane, if not grossly wild and inebriated strains of sonnets and
occasional poems, excessive and wantonly laudatory verses by Tom Nash, Barnaby Barnes, and Gervase
Markham. Southampton's ear was receptive of the most vile and outrageous praise; he verily exceeded
Queen Elizabeth in accepting the grossest and most
We learn from a letter of Mr. Edward Bruce, a correspondent of King James during the last years
of Elizabeth, to Lord Henry Howard, written just before the death of Elizabeth, in which it is said the
Queen" . . . very near approaches to her everlasting rest. The Earl of Southampton has written to
King James an earnest letter for a warrant of his liberty immediately upon the Queen's death." This
was one of the first acts granted by the new King. Elizabeth died March 24, 1603. The imprisoned earl
was at once liberated upon the entry of James to his new kingdom. But, strangely enough, he seldom
could make friends or be long at peace in the King's Court from the very first, and he seems to have been
in real amity with few great persons at the new Court, but there are evidences of friendship having
subsisted right through between Southampton and Pembroke. In 1603, on several occasions between
August and December, both the earls were at Wilton, and Shakespeare's company of players were
entertaining the new King and his distinguished company with plays at the mansion of Pembroke.
1: His ardent love was fixed on Elizabeth Vernon, the cousin
of the celebrated Earl of Essex. Dr. Drake exactly puts it when
he says "between whom and Southampton differences had arisen,
which this passion for his fair relative dissipated forever."
2: The poet has been much blamed for his representation of
Caesar, and many have imputed it to the poet's ignorance. Our
view shows clearly why great Caesar is cast into the shade, though
the central character, and why Brutus has the effulgent rays of
Shakespeare's genius cast upon him.
3: Halliwell-Phillipps, "Outlines," seventh edition, 1887, vol. ii.
pp. 83. 84.
How to cite this article:
Brown, Henry. Shakespeare's patrons & other essays. London: J. M. Dent & sons, 1912. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/patronsouthampton.html >.
Sonnet Notes ... Sonnet 55 is one of Shakespeare's most famous works and a noticeable deviation from other sonnets in which he appears insecure about his relationships and his own self-worth. Here we find an impassioned burst of confidence as the poet claims to have the power to keep his friend's memory alive evermore. Some critics argue that Shakespeare's sudden swell of pride in his poetry was strictly artificial - a blatant attempt to mimic the style of the classical poets. Read on...