"To Love and Be Wise": the Earl of Essex, Humanist Court Culture, and England's Learned Queen
Linda S. Shenk
Iowa State University
Linda S. Shenk ."' To Love and Be Wise': the Earl of Essex, Humanist Court Culture, and England's Learned Queen". Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 16 (October, 2007) 3.1-27<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/si-16/shenwise.htm>.
Your merits are not the exceptional and notable praises (unmerited by me) that you have given me; nor declarations, narrations, and explications in many kinds of learning; nor orations of many and various kinds eruditely and notably expressed; but another thing which is much more precious and more excellent: namely, a love that has never been heard nor written nor known in the memory of man.Elizabeth used St. Paul's denunciation of earthly wisdom in favour of loving God as the basis for asserting her scripturally-based preference for love over learning. When Essex alludes to Elizabeth's Corinthian echo, he portrays himself as a devotedly clever student of his queen's wisdom. In fact, Elizabeth's learned persona is the structuring principle for the whole device—a good example that supports Alzada Tipton's discussion of Essex's characteristic strategy of using others as a "glasse" to show his own credentials. Essex depicts himself as willing to place his humanist wisdom lovingly under the direction of his philosopher-queen while simultaneously flaunting his and Bacon's own wit as courtiers able to be loving and wise simultaneously.
was mett with an old Hermitt, a Secretary of State, a braue Soldier, and an Esquier. The first presented him with a Booke of Meditations; the second with pollitical Discourses; the third with Oracions of braue fought Battles; the fourth was but his own Follower, to whom thother three imparted much of their Purpose, before his Coming in. As Hammer has noted, this scene not only demonstrates Essex's humanist credentials in intellectual, military, and state affairs but also stages this recognition as a scene of patronage, emphasised yet further by Essex and Bacon's decision to hire university men as the actors. Although this depiction of humanist display on the tiltyard may at first seem out of place, Accession Day festivities traditionally involved highly visible participation by learned men. The universities were well-known for Accession Day bonfires and dramatic entertainments. In addition, university men delivered sermons both on university soil and throughout the country, including a sermon for Elizabeth herself.  Some of these sermons were published, and most interestingly, several celebrate Elizabeth as a learned queen. For instance, John Prime delivered an Accession Day sermon at Oxford titled "A Sermon Briefly Comparing the Estate of King Salomon and his Subiectes togither with the condition of Queene Elizabeth and her people." As the title suggests, Prime makes a connection, at least initially, between Elizabeth and the wise King Solomon, and within this emphasis on wisdom, he devotes the first section of the piece to issues of female education and female rule. He also mentions that, a few years earlier, the University celebrated Accession Day with a disputation on 1 Kings 10:9 (the passage containing the Queen of Sheba's praise of Solomon). Essex and Bacon tap into this tradition of learned celebration by hiring university men as the actors for the entertainment and by having them perform a dumb show highlighting Essex's humanist credentials.
The Starre of Women Sex, Graue Wisedoms store:Two stanzas later, Kyffin juxtaposes Elizabeth's learned self-image with the fact that she is intimidating to the nations: she is "Tutor to Frends and Terror vnto Foes." Essex and Bacon most likely would have been familiar with both The Blessednes of Britaine and Blenerhasset's A Reuelation of the True Minerua. Kyffin dedicated both the 1587 and 1588 editions to Essex (who was newly appointed as Master of the Horse in 1587), and Blenerhasset had served the Earl during the siege at Rouen.
Sententious, speaking Tongs in filed phraze,
Profoundly learnd, and Pefect in eche Lore,
Her Fame, no Rav'ning Time, shall euer Raze.
its care be especially to worship God—not in the manner of the opinion of all nor according to over-curious and too-searching wits, but as the divine law commands and our law teaches. For indeed, you do not have a prince who teaches you anything that ought to be contrary to a true Christian conscience. (328)As a schoolmistress of sorts, Elizabeth tells university men to learn the divinely authorised wisdom she teaches, not to reach their own conclusions. She implicitly justifies her pedagogical role by modelling the whole oration on her knowledge of scripture—a position that tacitly underscores her Protestantism.
Will you compare shadows with bodies, picture with life, variety of many beauties with the peerless excellency of one? the element of water with the element of fire? And such is the comparison between knowledge and love. (67)The squire expresses the Pauline gulf between knowledge and love, but he fails to connect this idea to its Christian source. He, like William Shakespeare's Bottom, echoes 1 Corinthians 2:9 without understanding its implications. In Of Love and Self-Love, circumscribing the squire's wisdom within Plato's pre-Christian view of the world keeps this character's knowledge forever inferior to Elizabeth's divine wisdom. Her Corinthian wisdom surpasses all other knowledge presented in the piece—the connection itself happens only in the unspoken connection between Elizabeth's oration and the echoes in the text.
Therefore Erophilus' resolution is fixed: he renounceth Philautia, and all her enchantments. For her [Elizabeth's] recreation, he will confer with his muse; for her defence and honour, he will sacrifice his life in the wars, hoping to be embalmed in the sweet odours of her remembrance; to her service will he consecrate all his watchful endeavours; and will ever bear in his heart the picture of her beauty, in his actions of her will, and in his fortune of her grace and favour. (68)Whyte was listening carefully but may not have been sufficiently "in the know" to recognise the allusion. He seems to have failed the test in which Elizabeth succeeded. This range of knowledge is precisely what the device was meant to expose. Elizabeth, who deftly reads both the praise and the competition, proves herself worthy of the panegyric that depicts her as philosopher-queen, and Essex emerges as a candidate who can glorify this wisdom but still try to eclipse it—a strategy that will underscore his actions in 1601.
Beginning with the succession crisis following Elizabeth's near fatal illness with smallpox, the queen presented a similar series of learned demonstrations. In 1563, a Latin prayerbook Precationes priuatae. Regiae E. R. was published; in 1564, she delivered a Latin oration at the University of Cambridge (and the text received wide dissemination in the second edition of Holinshed's Chronicles); in 1566, she delivered another Latin oration at the University of Oxford; in 1567, she translated Seneca's Epistle 107 for her godson John Harington; and in 1569, a section of royal prayers in five foreign languages was published by John Day in Christian Prayers and Meditations. In regards to the prayerbooks, we have no proof that Elizabeth composed these pieces; however, these meditations are presented as her work and therefore can be associated with her public image as a learned queen.
 Studies that examine the political strategy inherent in Elizabeth's educated status are Lysbeth Benkert, "Translation as Image-Making: Elizabeth I's Translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy," Early Modern Literary Studies 6.3 (2001): 2.1-20; Mary Thomas Crane, "'Video et Taceo': Elizabeth I and the Rhetoric of Counsel," Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 28.1 (1988): 1-16; Linda Shenk, "Turning Learned Authority into Royal Supremacy: Elizabeth I's Learned Persona and Her University Orations" in Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman, ed. Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney, and Debra Barrett-Graves (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003) 78-96.
 Although the term "humanist" is fraught with some controversy because it, as nineteenth-century coinage, embraces many disparate meanings as well as suggests an homogeneity of philosophy that early modern civic thinkers did not exhibit, I use this term as a shorthand way to refer to the oft-celebrated ties between education, moral virtue, and enlightened government. In some scholarly circles, the term "humanist" has fallen out of use; however, scholars who address Elizabethan notions of mixed polity often use this term to denote the roots that representations of this political model have in the period's renewed study of such classical writers as Plato and Aristotle. In fact, the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge held a conference in July 2007 on "Late Humanism and Political Ideology in Northern Europe, 1580-1620."
 Editors Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose discuss a few of the most important and court-affiliated manuscripts of the Oxford oration in Elizabeth I: Collected Works. (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000) 327, n. 1. For a particularly interesting connection to the Earl of Essex, a copy of the oration is also included in Merton's Register, and Henry Savile, a prominent figure in the Essex Circle, was Head of Merton at that time. Registrum Annalium Collegii Mertonensis 1567-1603. ed. John M. Fletcher (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976).
 See Queen Elizabeth's Englishings of Boethius, Plutarch and Horace, ed. Caroline Pemberton (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1899) viii-xi.
 For a study of the court's response to Elizabeth's Latin quip to the Polish Ambassador, see Janet M. Green, "Queen Elizabeth's Latin Reply to the Polish Ambassador," Sixteenth Century Journal 31 (2000): 987-1008.
 For example, the precarious year after Mary Queen of Scots was taken into English custody saw the publication of Christian Prayers and Meditations that represented Elizabeth as a Queen Solomon—wise, devoted to God, and supported by an unified nation of Protestant believers. See "Queen Solomon: An International Elizabeth I in 1569," Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England, ed. Robert Bucholz and Carole Levin (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, forthcoming). I explore many more examples of this association between national defence and Elizabeth's learning as well as the effect of this persona on her internationally ambitious courtier-poets in my book project, currently titled Elizabeth I, Learned Queen: Sovereignty, Court Poetry, and International Politics.
 Hammer, "Upstaging the Queen: the Earl of Essex, Francis Bacon and the Accession Day Celebrations of 1595," The Politics of the Stuart Court Masque, ed. David Bevington and Peter Holbrook (New York: Cambridge UP, 1998) 41-66; for Hammer's sustained work on Essex as an intellectual, The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 1585-1597 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1999); Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry, 1977 (London: Pimlico, 1999) 139; McCoy (who focuses mostly on Bacon's credentials), The Rites of Knighthood: The Literature and Politics of Elizabethan Chivalry (Berkeley: U of California P, 1989) 85-86. In particular, I am indebted to Hammer's crucial work on Essex.
 Despite Essex's need to claim fidelity and submission, both he and Bacon would have found asserting these poses particularly galling at some point during the preparations for the production. Elizabeth had passed over Bacon—once again—for appointment. On November 6th, she officially commissioned Thomas Fleming as her new Solicitor General.
 Citations of Of Love and Self-Love are from Francis Bacon: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, ed. Brian Vickers (New York: Oxford UP, 1996) 68. Subsequent citations are provided in-text.
 Elizabeth I: Collected Works, 327. Subsequent citations are provided in-text. In the original Latin, this passage reads: Non sunt laudes eximiae et insignes, sed immeritae meae, Non doctrinarum in multis generibus indicationes, narrationes et explicationes, Non orationes multis et varijs modis eruditè et insignitèr expressae, sed aliud quiddam est multo pretiosius atque praestantius, Amor scilicet, qui nec vnquam auditus nec scriptus nec memoriaa hominum notus fuit. Citations of the original Latin are from Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions and Foreign Language Originals, ed. Janel Mueller and Leah S. Marcus (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003) 164. I initially noted Elizabeth's echo of 1 Corinthians 2:9 in "Turning Learned Authority into Royal Supremacy: Elizabeth I's Learned Persona and Her University Orations."
 Using 1 Corinthians 2:9 to showcase Elizabeth's divine, learned supremacy extends beyond Elizabeth's oration; John Lyly had modulated Pauline notions in his play Endymion (performed for the queen in 1588 or 1589), and this Corinthian tradition will continue after the performance of Of Love and Self-Love. Most notably, William Shakespeare has Bottom garble 2:9 in A Midsummer Night's Dream—a reference that is designed, I believe, to acknowledge both Elizabeth's learned persona and Of Love and Self-Love. For another study that examines Shakespeare's interest in Essex's device, see Chris Fitter, "Historicising Shakespeare's Richard II: Current Events, Dating, and the Sabotage of Essex," Early Modern Literary Studies 11.2 (Sept 2005): 1.1-47.
 "The Transformation of the Earl of Essex: Post-Execution Ballads and 'The Phoenix and the Turtle,'" Studies in Philology 99.1 (2002): 57.
 The fusion of love with wisdom in Of Love and Self-Love is far more clever than either Essex's use of love or Bacon's reference to Elizabeth's wisdom in their individual texts for the queen in 1592. In Essex's letter to Elizabeth that October, he utilizes the notion of unparalleled love, claiming that "while your Majestie geues me leaue to say I loue you, my fortune is as my affection, unmatchable. Yf euer you deny me thatt liberty, you may end my lyfe, butt neue[r] shake my constancy, for where the sweetnes of your nature turned into the greatest bitternes thattt cold be, yt is nott in your power, (as greatt a Q[ueen] as you are) to make me loue you less" (fol. 33; qtd. in Grace Ioppolo, "'Your Majesties Most Humble Faythfullest and Most Affectionate Seruant': The Earl of Essex Constructs Himself and His Queen in the Hulton Letters," Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing, ed. Peter Beal and Grace Ioppolo [London: British Library, 2007] 62). Likewise, Bacon, in his Of Tribute; Or, Giving That Which is Due (thought to have been written about 1592), praises Elizabeth's discourse as admirable "whether it be in learning or in love"; however, his compliments on her wisdom follow convention. Bacon celebrates her skill in foreign languages, her subsequent ability to talk directly to ambassadors, and her skill in appointing wise advisors (Vickers 47-48). Appropriately enough, both Of Tribute and Of Love and Self-Love are included in a manuscript containing documents related to the Elizabethan court. See Peter Beal, comp. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. vol. 1 (New York: R. R. Bowker Co, 1980) 18.
 Because the entertainment seeks to represent Essex rather than Bacon, I will focus on Essex's strategies of self-promotion. McCoy addresses Bacon's career in relation to this device.
 "Upstaging the Queen," 46. For a list of the extant texts as well as more discussion on the textual situation, see Beal, 51-52. Other commentary regarding the textual situation occurs in Hammer, "Upstaging the Queen," 46; James Spedding, ed, The Works of Francis Bacon, vol. 7 (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862) 374-92; Vickers 535-37. To date, no collation of the various manuscripts has been published.
 Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997, xxvii.
 Although it is rare to have a major author's rough notes for poetic works in this period, H. R. Woudhuysen comments that we have many of Bacon's working drafts for his philosophical and scientific writings. Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts, 1558-1640 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996) 95.
 In his rough draft (Lambeth Palace, MS 936, No. 274; BcF 309 in Beal, p. 51), Bacon writes a speech for the hermit but then, in the polished draft (Lambeth Palace, MS 933, No. 118; BcF 308 in Beal, p. 51) ends up giving most of this speech to the statesman.
 These comments are printed in the notes in Spedding, 376-77.
 Public Record Office, SP, 12/254/67-68; BcF 317 in Beal, p. 52.
 Pierpont Morgan Library, MA 1201, ff. 12-21v; BcF 314 in Beal p. 51.
 Citations of Whyte's letter are from Arthur Collins, ed, Letters and Memorials of State, 1746, vol. 1 (New York: AMS, 1973) 362. Subsequent citations are provided in-text. Significantly, Whyte also identifies the university men who played in the device. He explains that, "Thold Man was he, that in Cambridg plaied Giraldy, Morley plaied the Secretary, and he that plaied Pedantiq, was the Soldior, and Toby Matthew acted the Squires Part" (362). Matthew would have been particularly attuned to entertaining Elizabeth within the context of her position as a learned queen. Matthew might have performed in one of the plays prepared for her visit to Oxford because, according to university records, he was performing in plays there in 1592. Even if Matthew did not act before the queen, he would still have been acutely aware of the implications of entertaining her. His father (of the same name) was at Cambridge when the queen visited in 1564, and he was probably the person who adapted the story of Marcus Geminus into a play to be performed for her on the first evening of her visit.
 "Upstaging the Queen," 51.
 For more on the role of university men on Accession Day, see Strong's chapter on Accession Day sermons, 117-28.
 (London, 1585) A3v.
 A Reuelation of the True Minerua (London, 1582) B4v. Subsequent citations are provided in-text.
 (London, 1587) A3r.
A3v. In this latter phrase, Kyffin may be echoing John Prime's 1585 sermon that describes Elizabeth as "the terror of her foes, the comfort of her friends" (A5r in the text, though this page should be B5r: the last two pages have been mislettered with signature A). Kyffn's decision to make Elizabeth an educator rather than a comfort matches his more overt praise of Elizabeth's learned status—a contrast with Prime's more guarded comments which greater emphasize the limitations of Elizabeth's gender and, in turn, her need to be surrounded by wise, male advisors.
 Nugae Antiquae, ed. Thomas Park (London, 1804) 368-69. For an insightful discussion of the effect of James's learning on period writers, see Curtis Perry, The Making of Jacobean Culture: James I and the Renegotiation of Elizabethan Literary Practice, especially pages 25-49.
 Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001) 184-85.
 The Scholemaster (London, 1570) 21.
 The Complete Works of John Lyly, vol 2, ed. R. Warwick Bond (Oxford: Clarendon, 1902) 213, ll. 6-7.
 Matthew Parker, The holie Bible (London, 1568) 98v.
 Vt diuturna sit haec Academia, habeatur inprimis cura vt Deus colatur non more omnium opinionum, non secundum ingenia nimis inquisita et exquisita, sed vt lex diuina iubet et nostra praecipit. Non enim talem principem habetis quae vobis quicquam precepit quod contra conscientiam verè Christianam esse deberet (Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions, 164).
 Ab initio Regni mei gubernationis summa et praecipua mea sollicitudo cura et vigilia fuit, vt tam ab externis inimicis quam internis tumultibus seruaretur (Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions, 164).
 Unton notes that "The Cardinall of Bourbon, the Chancellor and the three Bishopes that came to Noyon to the Kinge, wherof your Lordship was before advertised, are come to the campe, expreslie to perswade the Kinge to be instructed in their Catholicke faithe, as also to conclude a peace with his subjectes, wherof they seeme to assure the Kinge. Hee putteth them in hope that he wilbe become a Catholicke, as him selfe confesseth to me; and did were two daies together a cloacke of the order of St. Espritt,--wherat the common sorte doe greately rejoice; also he offereth them to conclude a peace with reasonable conditions, which I beleeve to be impossible." Correspondence of Sir Henry Unton, knt., ambassador from Queen Elizabeth to Henry IV, king of France, in the years 1591 and 1592, ed. Joseph Stevenson (London, W. Nichol, 1847) 171.
 Elizabeth's nod to England's serenity is not the only comment directed to the French ambassador. The university staged a disputation that considered whether or not it was lawful, in a Christian republic, to dissemble in religion [An licet in Christiana Republica dissimulare in Causa Religionis?]. John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, vol. 3 (London: Printed by and for J. Nichols and Son, 1823) 159.
 I find it interesting that the statesman's oration can be found as an individual speech in one manuscript (Folger, MS V. b. 214, f. 200; BcF 316 in Beal 51). Also, one of the manuscripts of the overall entertainment is located in Queen's College, Oxford—an appropriate location considering the device's use of Elizabeth's oration at Oxford (The Queen's College, Oxford, MS 121, pp. 405-07; BcF 315 in Beal p. 51). Also, Tobie Matthew, Jr., who acted the role of the squire in the device, was an Oxford man, although he was from Christ Church.
 See footnote 12 for my comment regarding Shakespeare's use of 1 Corinthians.
 I am indebted to Vickers who draws attention to Bacon's repeated use of this maxim, p. 538. In addition, this same Latin phrase occurs in the manuscript found in Reynolds's hand (in the ambassador's speech regarding the Indian boy). This common sententia provides another instance to suggest that different members of Essex's secretariat might have been collaborating on (or at least discussing) aspects of the Accession Day entertainment.
 "Upstaging the Queen," 54-55.
 Elizabeth was often entertained at Theobalds, but these two visits were especially geared for allowing Cecil to express his readiness to assume his father's duties (many of which he was already performing unofficially).
 Materializing Space at an Early Modern Prodigy House: the Cecils at Theobalds, 1564-1607 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004) 126.
 I do find it interesting, however, that Robert Cecil chooses to express his unflagging loyalty to Elizabeth in poetry at moments when his involvement in (or capacity for) international participation comes to the fore. In 1594 during his competition with Essex, he wrote the hermit's oration for the Theobalds entertainment. In 1602, not long after he becomes James I's primary contact in England, Cecil composes a few loyal verses as well. I am indebted to Joshua Eckhardt's essay, "'From a Seruant of Diana' To the Libellers of Robert Cecil: The Transmission of Songs Written for Queen Elizabeth I," for drawing my attention to these verses. Eckhardt's essay appears in Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing, ed. Peter Beal and Grace Ioppolo (London: British Library, 2007) 115-31.
 This international focus within the language of love resonates with Roland Greene's discussion of love as housing "geopolitical ambitions" in his discussion of Astrophil and Stella. "'This Phrasis is Continuous': Love and Empire in 1590," JHP 16 (1992): 237-52.