«by JANE ELIZABETH KINGSLEY-SMITH A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY The ...»
The Story of Sir Robert Dudley (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1964).
81 An unattributed account of Dudley's life explains Leicester's fear of the Queen's displeasure as the motive for his secrecy, Amye Robsart and the Earl of Leicester by George Adlard (London: John Russell Smith. 1870),
280. Lee suggests that the Earl still cherished hopes of a marriage with Elizabeth (which he had come close to achieving several times before) and was trying to keep his options open. The Son of Leicester, 2 1.
in the attack on Cadiz harbour in 1596 for which he received a knighthood. He led an expedition to the West Indies and Guiana and navigated the Orinoco river before Raleigh.
Dudley was also a minor player in the Essex rebellion for which he was banished the court.
Nevertheless, it was his departure from England and the court of James I in 1605 that made his name most famous. Towards the end of Elizabeth's reign Dudley had begun legal proceedings to prove his parents' marriage and thus his legitimacy. These proceedings only came to trial under James I when the King's prejudices and Sir Edward Coke's discrediting of the witnesses resulted in Dudley losing his case and his subsequent appeal. On 25th June, the still illegitimate son of Leicester obtained a licence 'to travel beyond the seas for three years next after his departure, with 3 servants, 4 geldings or nags, and £80 hi money: with usual provisions.' He left on 2nd July but caused a scandal by taking with him, disguised as a boy.
Elizabeth Southwell, the 19 year-old Maid of Honour to Queen Anne. From a voluntary traveller, Dudley became a fugitive from the law. To 'abduct' a Maid of Honour was a flagrant contempt of court and an act of felony punishable by death. Moreover, on his marriage to Southwell in 1605 by Papal dispensation, he had broken an English statute recently instigated against remarriage. 82 Dudley left a wife and five daughters behind in England. Finally, he compounded his exile by taking the title of Earl of Warwick abroad and ignoring the King's summons to return to England and answer charges for this offence. As a result, he became a fugitive and his land and property were seized by the Crown under the terms of the Fugitives" Act of 1570.83 82 'An Act to restrain all Persons from Marriage until their former Wives and former Husbands be dead'.
Statutes at Large, 2 Jacobi. I cl 1.
s3 13 Eliz c3. Under this law anyone travelling abroad without a licence or six months after a licence had expired could have their goods, revenues and lands forfeited to the crown.
The elopement with Southwell might have been a protest against the King's intervention in his trial. But it may also be read as the flight of the protagonists in a romantic or pastoral play such as Mucedorus (1590 rev. 1610) or The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593). In Arthur Brooke's poem The Tragical! Historye ofRomeus and Juliet (1562), Juliet begs to be allowed to follow the exiled Romeus in the disguise of a page. 84 Yet Dudley also presented himself as a religious exile. When the King's officials caught up with the couple at Calais, they were unable to force them to return since Dudley had told the French authorities that he was a Roman Catholic seeking refuge there and that Elizabeth was planning to enter a convent.
Furthermore, to be able to marry, Dudley had declared his union with Alice illegal under Roman Catholic canon law. Dudley's sudden piety may not have been fraudulent but the guise of religious exile was crucial to the couple's future.85 The Marian exiles had redefined themselves as Protestant refugees, fleeing religious persecution, in order to find patronage.
Similarly, it was as religious refugees that Dudley presented himself and his wife to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand I.
Under Ferdinand's authorisation, Dudley's past was rewritten. The Grand Duke accepted the Catholicism, the marriage and more importantly, Dudley's claim to his father's estates. Once again, Dudley's life imitates art in the recovery of names and status through exile. Like Rosader in Lodge's Rosalynde or Orlando in As You Like It, Dudley finds his true identity and his inheritance in exile. Ferdinand and his successor, Cosimo, made use of Dudley's 84 See the following chapter on Romeo and Juliet. Lee suggests that there can be little doubt that Elizabeth's motives were love: 'Though she was no heiress, she could have taken her choice of the bachelor nobility of England. And yet, amazingly, she chose to decamp with a bastard knight, already married, a runagate with no foreseeable future, unable to return to his own country except to meet arrest and ignomy', ibid., 119.
85 Lee cites Dudleys autobiography written in the third person: 'On the point of religion, he was different many vears before leaving England, and did not change his opinion as is imputed since his departure1, ibid.. 118.
knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation and gave him a position at court. Finally, an appeal was made to the Emperor of Germany and of the Holy Roman Empire on Dudley's behalf with the result that his legitimacy was finally confirmed, though it was not until 1642 that England recognised his title and preparations were made for some financial compensation.
What is finally remarkable about Dudley's exile is the interpretation of it recorded by Jacopo Lucini. In August 1645, Dudley published his magnum opus, Arcano del Mare, which appeared in three volumes to great acclaim across Europe. In six books it explored the subjects of navigation, shipbuilding, and maritime and military organisation. Also included was an atlas of original maps and charts. Lucini published a second edition of this book in Florence twelve years after Dudley's death. In the preface dedicated to the Doge and Lords of
the Venetian Republic, Lucini celebrates Dudley's achievement:
In this worthy emprise, O my Serene Lords, if one man is more signally eminent than others, it is the Duke of Northumberland, who, in order to make himself master of marine science, tore himself away from a great House, in
-which he had princely birth, and sacrificed full forty years of his life in unveiling, for the good of humanity at large, the mighty secrets of the sea.*6 (italics mine) Dudley, the fugitive from English law, has become the man who chooses exile that he may reveal the secrets of the sea. Only in exile could he create his art.
Shakespeare's creativity has also been seen to depend upon exile from Stratford-upon-Avon.
Nicholas Rowe prefaced his edition of the complete works in 1709 with a famous 86 Ibid., 228.
biographical essay. He related the story that Shakespeare had once fallen in with a gang who
poached deer from the park of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote:
For this he was prosecuted by that gentleman, as he thought, somewhat too severely; and in order to revenge that ill usage, he made a ballad upon him.
And tho' this, probably the first essay of his Poetry, be lost, yet it is said to have been so very bitter, that it redoubled the prosecution against him to that degree, that he was oblig'd to leave his business and family in Warwickshire, for some time, and shelter himself in London.
Rowe characterises this exile as providential:
tho' it seem'd at first to be a blemish upon his good manners, and a misfortune to him, yet it afterwards happily prov'd the occasion of exerting one of the greatest Genius's that ever was known in dramatick Poetry. 87 Shakespeare's exile becomes a fortunate fall that is required by his creative genius. This assumption that exile might be responsible for the Shakespearean oeuvre is also made in the recent work, The Story that the Sonnets Tel!, by A. D. Wraight. Here, a re-examination of the sonnets as autobiography 'reveals' Christopher Marlowe to be the author of Shakespeare. Part of the proof Wraight offers that Marlowe faked his own death and went abroad, from whence
he wrote and published under Shakespeare's name, is the so-called 'sonnets of exile':
When we apply ourselves to a detailed and unprejudiced analysis of the major themes of the Sonnets, we are struck by the inescapable fact that by far the largest group of all deals with the theme of a journey that was undertaken in great heaviness of heart, and that represented a period of cruel separation from his former life and friends, a journey into what can only be likened to a state of exile. It is amazing, but there is no other way to describe this major event in the Poet's life. 88 87 Nicholas Rowe, 'Some Account of the Life, etc., of Mr William Shakespear' (1709) repr. in Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare ed. by D. Nichol Smith (Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1903), 1-23, 3.
88 The Story that the Sonnets Tell (London: Adam Hart Ltd., 1994), 11. Particular emphasis is placed on sonnet 29 with its reference to the poet's 'outcast state', 11-2. Other sonnets located in this group are identified on pp 184-98.
Wraight's rhetoric of certainty only undercuts her interpretation of the sonnets. One obvious objection to the argument above and to the classification, 'sonnets of exile1, would be the multiplicity of images of banishment and separation throughout the English Renaissance and particularly in the Petrarchan tradition. It is absurd to suggest that there is no other way of accounting for these poems. Nevertheless. I find Wraight's argument fascinating, not for any light the circumstances of exile might shed upon the poems, but for the critic's own desire to read the poet as an exile. We see here not only the rewriting of exile as a fortuitous calamity for the artist but the unconscious assumption that great art requires alienation. Wraight implies that Shakespeare could not have written these works because he was too comfortably provincial, too concerned with amassing wealth and power at Stratford. 89 Certainly, the profession of player and playwright in Elizabethan and Jacobean London was far from secure.90 If ballad-making in Stratford had resulted in Shakespeare's banishment, play-making in London could incur the same punishment. Yet once again it is difficult to assess whether that banishment is literal and enforced or whether, as a metaphor, it merely served the rhetorical intentions of its author. When The Isle of Dogs was condemned for sedition in 1597, Ben Jonson and a number of players were imprisoned for their part in it.
Thomas Nashe. Jonson's collaborator, escaped to Great Yarmouth where he lived temporarily
in exile from the authorities. Francis Meres writes in Palladis Tamia (1598):
As Actaeon was wooried of his owne hounds: so is Tom Nash of his Isle of Dogs. Dogges were the death of Euripedes; but bee not disconsolate, gallant young Juvenall, Linus, the sonne of Apollo, died the same death. Yet God forbid that so brave a witte should so basely perish! Thine are but paper dogges, neither is thy banishment like Ovid's, eternally to converse with the ^ Ibid., 12.
90 See Leeds Barroll, Politics, Plague and Shakespeare's Theater (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991), 8-22.
barbarous Getae. Therefore comfort thyselfe, sweete Tom, with Cicero's glorious return to Rome, and with the counsel Aeneas gives to his seabeaten soldiers, Lib. \,Aeneid... 9I Though there is no suggestion that Nashe's work will benefit from his fate, he is exhorted to reflect upon one great writer whose poetry incurred banishment. Ovid is perhaps the most influential exile in English Renaissance literature. In Ben Jonson's Poetaster (1601) the poet is castigated for betraying his poetic vocation (essentially a moral and therefore civic one) and his banishment is performed. In the contemporary debate over the moral and civic implications of playing, Ovid is a central figure, invoked by the theatre's enemies and its apologists. But it was not Augustus who was most frequently associated with the banishment of the poet. Plato does not appear on the Renaissance stage but he is the principal authority behind much anti-theatrical literature. In every cry for the poet or the player to be banished his influence may be heard.92 Ficino's Latin translation of Plato's works in 1484 made the philosopher accessible to European philosophers and poets and the Opera Omnia became a best seller, with approximately 1025 copies sold in six years. 93 Through this translation. Plato became known in poetry and drama for a number of essential ideas. Perhaps chief among them was the concept of a hierarchy of love and of man's freedom to transcend his humanity in the 91 Palladis Tamia in Elizabethan Critical Essays ed. by G. Gregory Smith (London: Oxford University Press, 1904), 2 vols., vol. 2, 308-24, 324.
92 Other texts which were cited to authorise the banishment of playing in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries included St Augustine's Ex Civitate Dei (which explicitly acknowledges its debt to Plato), Tertullian's De Spectaculis and works by the first century Christians Lactantius and Chrysostome. The emperors Augustus, Marcus Aurelius and Nero are also frequently referred to for their banishment of players or poets. See for example William Prynne's Histriomastix: The Players Scourge, or Actors Tragaedie (pub. 1633) (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1974), 134.
93 The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy ed. by Charles B. Schmitt and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970). 786.
Symposium. The Republic defined Plato as the politician and statesman, but also as the enemy
of the poet: