In the preparation of this paper, I have received feedback from a number of colleagues, to whom I am immensely grateful: Dr Orietta Da Rold; Professors Colin Burrow, Anne Coldiron, Patrick Conner, Thomas Keymer, Elizabeth Spiller and Greg Walker. Dr Sarah Knight assisted me in uncovering the correct Elizabeth Dacre and made useful suggestions in the transcribing of the poem; Dr Jane Marie Pinzino improved my initial translation of the poem; and Drs Phillip Lindley and John Blatchly kindly answered my queries about the tomb and brasses in Kenninghall Church. Many thanks to the anonymous readers for their useful suggestions.
Tristis Amor: an unpublished verse love letter from Lady Elizabeth Dacre Howard to Sir Anthony Cooke
Article first published online: 5 AUG 2011
© 2011 The Author. Renaissance Studies © 2011 The Society for Renaissance Studies, Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 26, Issue 5, pages 673–690, November 2012
How to Cite
TREHARNE, E. (2012), Tristis Amor: an unpublished verse love letter from Lady Elizabeth Dacre Howard to Sir Anthony Cooke. Renaissance Studies, 26: 673–690. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-4658.2011.00765.x
- Issue published online: 4 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 5 AUG 2011
- Anthony Cooke;
- Elizabeth Dacre;
- newly discovered female-authored Latin love poem
This article brings to light a previously unknown Latin epistolary love poem, written by Lady Elizabeth Dacre-Howard, third wife of the fourth Duke of Norfolk, and addressed to Sir Anthony Cooke, tutor to Edward VI, and father of the Cooke sisters. Its physical context contained within Elizabeth Dacre's 1561 Thynne edition of Chaucer demonstrates a Catholic woman's ownership of Chaucer's works, but also indicates the private nature of the verse. The poem references Ovid's Heroides, Valerius Maximus, and contains an explicit Martial epigram, highlighting Dacre's classical education; it is thus no surprise that she writes in Latin, even though contemporary women seem rarely to do so. The rhetorical skill and tenderness of tone suggest a woman lamenting an absent lover, here, unusually, named as Anthony Cooke. Whether this poem represents a real love affair or an exercise in composition, it heralds a new author in the history of English women's literature – a female author who knew her own mind and was herself the mother of remarkable Catholic noblewomen and thence a major aristocratic dynasty.