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Encyclopedia > Mary Sidney
Portrait of Mary Herbert, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1590
Portrait of Mary Herbert, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1590

Mary Sidney Herbert (27 October 15611621), Countess of Pembroke, was one of the first English women to achieve a major reputation for her literary works, translations and literary patronage. Image File history File links Mary_Sydney_Herbert. ... Image File history File links Mary_Sydney_Herbert. ... Self-portrait, 1577. ... October 27 is the 300th day of the year (301st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 65 days remaining. ... // Events The Edict of Orleans suspends the persecution of the Huguenots. ... Events February 9 - Gregory XV is elected pope. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2005 est. ... Literature is literally an acquaintance with letters as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning an individual written character (letter)). The term has, however, generally come to identify a collection of texts. ... Look up translate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Born at Tickenhall (now Ticknell) in 1561, she was one of the three daughters of Sir Henry Sidney and Lady Mary Dudley. Her mother came from the highest nobility, being the daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland High Protector of England under Edward VI and was the eldest sister of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, favourite of Elizabeth I. Mary Dudley is known to have written poetry. A year after her daughter Mary's birth, Mary Sidney (nee Dudley) nursed Queen Elizabeth Ist through smallpox and she was severely disfigured. Though her husband, Sir Henry Sidney never repudiated her, she often lived separately from her family. Sir Henry Sidney (1529 - May 5, 1586), lord deputy of Ireland, was the eldest son of Sir William Sidney, a prominent politician and courtier in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, from both of whom he received extensive grants of land, including the manor of Penshurst in Kent... John Dudley (1501-1553) was a Tudor nobleman and politician, executed for high treason by Queen Mary I of England. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2005 est. ... Edward VI King of England and Ireland Edward VI (12 October 1537–6 July 1553) was King of England and King of Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. ... Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603 ) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. ... Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603 ) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. ... Sir Henry Sidney (1529 - May 5, 1586), lord deputy of Ireland, was the eldest son of Sir William Sidney, a prominent politician and courtier in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, from both of whom he received extensive grants of land, including the manor of Penshurst in Kent...


After the death of her sister, Ambrosia, at Ludlow Castle in 1576, fifteen year old Mary Sidney, as the only surviving Sidney daughter, was summoned to London by the Queen to be one of her noble attendants. In 1577, the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley arranged his niece's marriage to close ally, Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, then in his mid forties. At seventeen, Mary became the mistress of Wilton House near Salisbury and Baynards Castle in London. Mary had four children, the first of whom, William Herbert (1580-1630), is probably the young man described in Shakespeare's Sonnets. The other surviving child, Philip, became the 4th Earl of Pembroke, on his brother's death in 1630. Mary Sidney's sons are the "Incomparable Pair", to whom Shakespeare's "First Folio" is dedicated. At different times, both were patrons of "The Kings Men", William Shakespeare's acting troop. Ludlow Castles gatehouse Ludlow Castle is a large, now ruined castle which dominates the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England. ... The Earl of Leicester was created in the 12th century as a title in the Peerage of England (title now extinct), and is currently a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, created in 1837. ... Jones and de Causs South Front and the Palladian Bridge (1736/7), in a view of circa 1820 Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. ... Salisbury (pronounced Solsbree or Sauls-bree) is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England. ... London (pronounced ) is the capital city of the United Kingdom and the largest city of England (strangely, England has no constitutional existence within the United Kingdom, and therefore cannot be said to have a capital). ... There have been several notable people named William Herbert, including: William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1506-1570) William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630) William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis (c. ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ... Philip Herbert may refer to several people, including: Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke (1584-1649) Philip Herbert, 5th Earl of Pembroke (1621-1669) Philip Herbert, 7th Earl of Pembroke (1652-1683) Category: ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ...


Mary Sidney was highly educated. Like her learned aunt Jane Grey, she was educated in the Reformed humanist tradition. In the 16th century, noblewomen needed a good understanding of theological issues and were taught to read original texts. Mary was schooled by private tutors at home in poetry, music, French and Italian language and literature, the Classics, possibly in Hebrew and rhetoric, in needlework and practical medicine. She was taught Italian literature by a female Italian tutor. She later translated Petrarch's "Triumph of Death" and many other European works. She had a keen interest in chemistry and set up a chemistry laboratory at Wilton House, run by Walter Raleigh's half-brother. She turned Wilton into a "paradise for poets", known as "The Wilton Circle" which included Edmund Spenser,Michael Drayton, Sir John Davies and Samuel Daniel, a salon-type literary group sustained by the Countess's hospitality. Her aim was to banish barbarism (an aim she shared with John Florio), by strengthening and classicising the English language and also by practising "true religion", which, in her view, combined Calvinism, devotion to Christ and acts of charity. She was herself a Calvinist theologian. Her public persona (at least) was pious, virtuous and learned. She was celebrated for her singing of the psalms, her warmth, charm and beauty. In private, she was witty and, some reported, flirtatious. She ran safe houses for French reformed refugees. Lady Jane Grey (October 12, 1537 – February 12, 1554), a great-granddaughter of Henry VII of England, was proclaimed Queen regnant of the Kingdom of England for nine days in 1553. ... The word Hebrew most likely means to cross over, referring to the Semitic people crossing over the Euphrates River. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is the art or technique of persuasion, usually through the use of language. ... Jones and de Causs South Front and the Palladian Bridge (1736/7), in a view of circa 1820 Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. ... Portrait of Walter Raleigh, near age 32, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. ... Edmund Spenser Edmund Spenser (c. ... Michael Drayton (1563- December 23, 1631) was an English poet who came to prominence in the Elizabethan era. ... Sir John Davies (April,1569 - 8 December 1626) was an English poet and lawyer. ... Samuel Daniel (1562 – October 14, 1619) was an English poet and historian. ... Giovanni Florio (1553 – ?1625), English writer, was born in London about 1553. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... In an unadorned church, the 17th century congregation stands to hear the sermon. ... Psalms (Hebrew: Tehilim, תהילים) is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh. ...


Mary Sidney was younger sister and disciple to the poet, courtier and soldier Sir Philip Sidney who was for some time, the heir of both Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, brothers to Guildford Dudley, husband of the Lady Jane Grey, who were regarded as Reformed martyrs, not just by the Dudley family, but by the reformed Protestant party. Philip Sidney was being prepared to be leader of the Protestant party at Court and supported the founding of a Protestant 'empire' to counterbalance the threat of Catholic and Spanish domination. Mary Sidney financially supported the explorations of Frobisher. Her son William Herbert was a funder and supporter of New World explorations: there is a river in America named after the Pembrokes. Philip Sidney Sir Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554 – October 17, 1586) became one of the Elizabethan Ages most prominent figures. ... Arms of Ambrose Dudley Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick (died February 21, 1589), was the son of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and a brother of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. ... At least two Robert Dudleys were prominent in history: Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and Robert Dudley, styled Earl of Warwick, his illegitimate son. ... Guilford Dudley (1536 - 12 February 1554) was a son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and Jane Guilford; and the younger brother of Robert Dudley, the future earl of Leicester. ... Lady Jane Grey (October 12, 1537 – February 12, 1554), a great-granddaughter of Henry VII of England, was proclaimed Queen regnant of the Kingdom of England for nine days in 1553. ... Philip Sidney Sir Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554 – October 17, 1586) became one of the Elizabethan Ages most prominent figures. ... Frobisher in his penguin form. ... There have been several notable people named William Herbert, including: William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1506-1570) William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630) William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis (c. ...


After the death of her sister Ambrosia, the Countess appears to have been devoted to her brother Sir Philip Sidney. Mary was a catalyst or touchstone: she had a gift of inspiring creativity in all those around her, including her circle, relatives and servants. Philip wrote much of his "Arcadia" in her presence. Philip Sidney was engaged in preparing a new English version of the Book of Psalms (because the translations under Edward VI were deficient). He had completed 43 of the 150 Psalms at the time of his death during a military campaign against the Spanish in the Netherlands in 1586. Philip Sidney Sir Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554 - October 17, 1586) became one of the Elizabethan Ages most prominent figures. ... Philip Sidney Sir Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554 – October 17, 1586) became one of the Elizabethan Ages most prominent figures. ... Psalms (Hebrew: Tehilim, תהילים) is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh. ... Edward VI King of England and Ireland Edward VI (12 October 1537–6 July 1553) was King of England and King of Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. ...


Mary Sidney took on the task of amplifying and editing his "Arcadia" which was published as The Countesse of Pembroke's Arcadia, one of the most widely read books for the next 300 years. She also finished Philip's work of the Psalms, composing Psalms 44-150 on her own poetry, using the 1560 Geneva Bible and commentaries by John Calvin and Theodore Beza. As a competent theologian, she was unafraid to disagree with Calvin on minor points. A copy of the completed book was presented to Elizabeth I of England in 1599. This work is usually referred to as "The Sidney Psalms" or "The Sidneian Psalms" and is regarded as an important influence on the development of English poetry in the late 16th and early 17th century. John Donne wrote a poem in celebration of them. The Psalms were drawn from previous English translations rather than original Hebrew texts and are therefore properly called "metaphrases" rather than translations. Like Philip's, Mary Sidney's versions use a wide variety of poetic forms and display a vivid imagination and vigorous phrasing. The Geneva Bible was a Protestant translation of the Bible into English. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism or Reformed theology. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603 ) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. ... John Donne (pronounced Dun; 1572 – March 31, 1631) was a Jacobean poet and preacher, representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. ...


Mary's husband, Henry 2nd Earl of Pembroke, died in 1600. Thereafter she played a large part in managing Wilton and the other Pembroke estates, on behalf of her son, William, who entirely took over her role of literary patronage. After James I visited her at Wilton in 1603 and was entertained by Shakespare's company "The King's Men", Mary moved out of Wilton and rented a house in London. Thought it is certain that the King's Men attended Wilton, whether William Shakespeare was with them is uncertain. However, it is reported that there was at Wilton at one time, a letter in which the Mary Sidney urges her son to attend Wilton, as "we have the man Shakespeare with us". From 1609-15 she lived at Crosby Hall, now a private residence relocated to Chelsea, London, but then located in the City of London. She may have secretly married her doctor, Sir Matthew Lister and she famously travelled to Spa on the Continent, where she relaxed by shooting pistols and played cards. She employed Italian architects to build a country home with fine vistas, Houghton (now in ruins, near Milton Keynes), which John Bunyan refers to in his works as the "House Beautiful". She died of smallpox at her house in Aldersgate Street, London on 25 September 1621, shortly after King James I visited her at Houghton. After a grand funeral which celebrated her widely recognised literary achievements in St Paul's Cathedral, London, her body was buried next to that of the Earl, under the steps leading to the choirstalls in Salisbury Cathedral. Wilton is the name of several places in England: Wilton, a place in the county of Cumbria. ... See James VI of Scotland and I of England James I of Scotland James I of Aragon James I of Sicily James I of Cyprus This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Chelsea can refer to: Locations in the United Kingdom Chelsea, London, a neighbourhood in London Chelsea porcelain factory, a now defunct, but still famous, porcelain factory Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea, a former borough in London, now part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Chelsea Bridge, a bridge in... Milton Keynes is a large town in northern Buckinghamshire, in South East England, about 45 miles/75 km north-west of London, and roughly halfway between London and Birmingham. ... John Bunyan. ... Smallpox (also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera) was a highly contagious viral disease unique to humans. ... See James VI of Scotland and I of England James I of Scotland James I of Aragon James I of Sicily James I of Cyprus This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... St Pauls Cathedral from the south St Pauls Cathedral is a cathedral on Ludgate Hill, in the City of London, England and the seat of the Bishop of London. ... Salisbury Cathedral in the early morning light. ...


Mary Sidney's imaginative, lively and warm style is filled with "Sidneian fire", transparency and holy ardour, both in matters of the heart e.g. in the death scenes in her closet drama "Mark Antonie", translated from Garnier, which is used as source material by William Shakespeare in his "Antony and Cleopatra" and in her poetic masterpiece, "The Psalms of David" which describe the pain of an earthly existence, in the light of the divine comfort of "grace". Her Psalms, which she considered her memorial, lack the weighty dignity of the Psalms of the Authorised Version which was the crown of thirty years effort to forge English into a vehicle, fit for theology, but her versions have delightful and felicitous poetic forms and expressions. Her influence, through literary patronage, through her brother's works, through her own her poetry, drama, translations and theology (e.g. she translated Philippe De Mornay's "Discourse of Life and Death" to strengthen the international reformed community) cannot be easily quantified, but she clearly had a strong influence on some of the finest literary fruits of the English Renaissance. William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ... Antony is an English language variant of Anthony. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... This page is about the version of the Bible; for the Harvey Danger album, see King James Version (album). ... This article is about the cultural movement known as the English Renaissance. ...


Her poetic epitaph, which is ascribed to Ben Johnson, but which is more likely to have been written, in an earlier form, by poets William Browne and William Herbert, Mary's son, sums up how she was regarded in her own day: An epitaph ( literally: on the gravestone in ancient Greek) is text honoring the deceased, most commonly inscribed on a tombstone or plaque. ... There have been several people called Ben Johnson or Jonson: Ben Jonson (1572-1637; Elizabethan dramatist, poet & actor) Ben Johnson (c. ... William Browne (1590?‑1645?) was an English poet, born at Tavistock, educated at Oxford, after which he entered the Inner Temple. ... There have been several notable people named William Herbert, including: William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1506-1570) William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630) William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis (c. ...


"Underneath this sable hearse, Lies the subject of all verse, Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother. Death, ere thou hast slain another Fair and learned and good as she, Time shall throw a dart at thee."


A theory has been proposed by American author Robin Williams(female scholar), that Mary Sidney was in fact William Shakespeare. According to Williams, Mary Sidney had the motive, means and opportunity to write the plays. But this is just one among many 'alternative theories' of Shakespearean authorship. A close examination of her written style clearly demonstrates that they are two different writers. Mary Sidney is predominently a religious writer, interested in human and divine learning and spirituality in all its aspects, while William Shakespeare's focus is on the human personality, deception, love, passion and on "the surface of the earth". Shakespeare's main inspiration was Ovid, but both authors share a deep love for the Bible, for poetry, beauty and the Classics. William Shakespeare draws on both Philip and Mary's literary work in his own writing. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... William Shakespeare (National Portrait Gallery), in the famous Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ... Engraved frontispiece of George Sandyss 1632 London edition of Publius Ovidius Naso (Sulmona, March 20, 43 BC â€“ Tomis, now Constanta AD 17) Roman poet known to the English-speaking world as Ovid, wrote on topics of love, abandoned women, and mythological transformations. ... The word Bible refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. ... Classics, particularly within the Western University tradition, when used as a singular noun, means the study of the language, literature, history, art, and other aspects of Greek and Roman culture during the time frame known as classical antiquity. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Mary, Countess of Pembroke was the most gifted woman writer of the English Renaissance, much praised, on her death, by poetess Aemilia Lanier. She was the aunt of poetess Lady Mary Wroth, the daughter of her brother, Henry Sidney, Earl of Leicester. She influenced the religious writing of the divine and poet George Herbert, her sons' first cousin. Emilia Lanier, also spelled Aemilia Lanyer, (1569-1645) was the first Englishwoman to assert herself as a professional poet through her single volume of poems, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611). ... Lady Mary Wroth (1586–1652) was an English poet of the Renaissance. ... George Herbert (April 3, 1593 – March 1, 1633) was an English poet, orator and a priest. ...


References

Introduction to The Collected Works of Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Vols 1 & 2, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998

  • Mary Sidney and Sir Philip Sidney, The Sidney Psalms. Edited by R. E. Pritchard. Carcanet, Manchester, 1992.
  • Underwood, Anne, "Was the Bard a woman?". Newsweek, 2005.
  • You may ask me Baileyannis 14:24, 4 December 2006 (UTC) further information on this subject.

External links

  • Mary Sidney website Documentation on Mary Sidney and the Shakespeare authorship question
  • [1] - for some of the original texts and Psalms

 


  Results from FactBites:
 
Philip Sidney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3283 words)
Mary Sidney was important as a translator and as a patron of poetry; Sidney dedicated his longest work, the Arcadia, to her.
Sidney wrote an early version during a stay at Mary Herbert's house; this version is narrated in a straightforward, sequential manner.
In an era of an antipathy to poetry, and puritanical belief in the corruption of literature, Sidney’s defense was a significant contribution to the genre of literary criticism.
Mary Sidney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1322 words)
Mary Sidney Herbert (27 October 1561–1621), Countess of Pembroke, was one of the first English women to achieve a major reputation for her literary works, translations and patronage.
Her mother came from the higest nobility, being the daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland High Protector of England under Edward VI and was the eldest sister of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
Mary Sidney's imaginative, lively and passionate prose and poetic style in the Psalms and in her translations is full of "Sidneian fire", fluency and "holy" ardour, both in matters of the heart e.g.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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