Edited by Danielle Clarke
Social convention may have prevented Renaissance women writers from openly taking part in the political and religious debates of their day, but they found varied and innovative ways to intervene. Collecting the work of three great poets-Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, and Aemilia Lanyer-this volume repositions women writers of the Renaissance by presenting their poems in the context of their history and culture. Whitney's poems offer the only glimpse into her life, express a concern for women's lack of social and economic power, and powerfully evoke sixteenth-century London. Sidney produced potent translations of Petrarch's works and the Psalms, as well as original verse. Lanyer wrote poems that advocate and praise female virtue and Christian piety, but reflect a desire for an idealized, classless world. The strong and original voices of these three women-each from different social, cultural, and historical strata-demonstrate the emergence of a new female identity during the Renaissance and broaden the common notions of English Literature's golden age.
Table of Dates
A Note on the Texts
from A SWEET NOSGAY
To the worshipfull and right vertuous yong Gentylman, George Mainwaring Esquier...
The Auctor to the Reader
Certain familier Epistles and friendly Letters by the Auctor: with Replies
To her Brother. G.W.
To her Brother. B. W.
A modest meane for Maides... to two of her yonger Sisters servinge in London
To her Sister Misteris. A.B.
To her Cosen
A carefull complaynt by the unfortunate Auctor
IS. W. to C.B. in bewalylynge her mishappes
To my Friend Master T.L. whose good nature I see abusde
IS W. beyng wery of wrtyng, sendeth this for Answere
The Auchtour (though loth to leave the Citie) upon her Friendes procurement, is constrained to departe...and maketh her Wyll and Testament...
A comunication which the Auctor had to London, before she made her Wyll
The maner of her Wyll, and what she left to London: and all those in it: at her departing
THE COPY OF A LETTER, lately written in meeter, by a yonge Gentilwoman: to her unconstant Lover...
I.W. To her unconstant Lover
The admonition by the Auctor, to all yong Gentilwomen: And to al other Maids being in Love
The lamentation of a Gentilwoman upon the death of her late deceased frend William Gruffith Gent.
Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke
THE SIDNEY PSALTER
"Even now that Care"
To the Angell spirit of the most excellent Sir Phillip Sidney
The Psalmes of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke
A Dialogue betweene two shepheards, Thenot, and Piers, in praise of Astrea...
THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH TRANSLATED OUT OF ITALIAN BY THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROOKE
The first chapter
The second chapter
SALVE DEUS REX JUDAEORUM
To the Queenes most Excellent Majestie
To all vertuous Ladies in generall
The Authors Dreame to the Ladie Marie, the Countesse Dowager of Pembrooke
To the Ladie Lucie, Countesse of Bedford
To the Ladie Margaret, Countesse Dowager of Cumberland
To the Ladie Anne, Countesse of Dorcet
To the Vertuous Reader
Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
The Description of Cooke-ham
Abbreviations and Short Titles Used in the Notes and Textual Apparatus