We continue with our National Poetry Month look at Elizabethan poets and their England, with a stop in 1594.

It was a relatively quiet year for exploration. One of England's greatest rovers was dead. Martin Frobisher, like Sir Philip Sydney before him, had died of wounds suffered in battle. He'd been brought back to Plymouth from the siege of Crozon, in France, and the old sea dog set off on his ultimate voyage on December 1st.

Other than Crozon, there wasn't a lot of action on the military front either. In Ireland, Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone began fomenting rebellion, stirring up local Catholics in an uprising in Ulster, seeking help from the Spanish. O'Neill would remain a thorn in Elizabeth's side on into the next century. The Queen removed another perceived thorn when she had her Jewish physician Roderigo Lopez executed for plotting against her life.

In London, Trinity House, probably having originated with a Medieval guild, was granted the right of beaconage, meaning the monopoly on the building of lighthouses along the English and Welsh coasts. The city's theaters, closed for several years because of the plague, reopened. Mining engineer Bevis Bulmer attempted to upgrade the city's delivery of water, setting up an experimental pumping station, in Blackfriars, using the first horse-powered water wheel.

Literature flourished. Thomas Nash published the earliest English adventure novel, The Unfortunate Traveller. Poet George Chapman turned out The Shadow of Night.

Shakespeare was as busy as ever. Apart from working on Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew. about this time, he also oversaw productions of his own Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors . His poem The Rape of Lucrece is also was entered into the Stationer's Register, a required listing for new literary works.

And in Kilcolman, Ireland, English poet Edmund Spenser, in residence since 1588, took time out from raising sheep and scribbling verse to mary Elizabeth Boyle. (They would remain in Kilcolman until 1598, when Hugh O'Neill began getting too close for English comfort. But back in 1595 Spenser celebrated his wedding of the previous year by writing a nuptial song, or Epithalamion, drawing towards his conclusion with, "So let us rest, sweet love, in hope of this, And cease till then our tymely joyes to sing: The woods no more us answer, nor our eccho ring.

OUTRO
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.



© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte

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