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“All Hayle to Hatfeild”: A New Series of Country House Poems from Leeds University Library, Brotherton Collection, MS Lt q 44 [with text]



Presented here in semi-diplomatic transcription of a newly discovered poem from Leeds University Library, Brotherton Collection MS Lt q 44, “All Hayle to Hatfield” is composed of a sequence of eight unattributed poems (one in two parts), addresses the family of William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury (1591–1668), and describes in detail one of their residences, Hatfield House. Probably composed between July 1625 and April 1627, the sequence of poems appears never to have been printed and may, since it is not listed in the first-line indexes of the Beinecke, Bodleian, Folger and Huntington libraries, be unique to this manuscript. This essay briefly introduces the sequence of poems in relation to their local, political, and literary contexts. Chief among such contexts are Hatfield House, its gardens and its chapel; the essay argues that the relationship of the poems to questions of religion, ceremony, and the Duke of Buckingham allows them to be read in the context of mid-1620s political debate. Consolidating this reading, it is argued that the sequence's frequent allusions to Ben Jonson's poem “To Penshurst” and his masque, The Gypsies Metamorphosed, potentially align its literary sources with its political contexts.