Rena Easton and Fair Rosamond





Dear Rena;

Your destiny awaits you! I believe it is your fate to recite Samuel Daniel’s ‘Complaint of Fair Rosamond’ on a British stage. In researching the Rosamond family name I came to gaze upon a original copy of Daniel’s poem at the Knight Library. Another book said there are over 160 poems and stories written about Rosamond. I already had so much to do, then author a book on this historic person. In several blogs I express a desire to use you as a model for my portrait of King Henry’s paramour.

It has come to light that Daniel’s sister, Rosa Daniel was the Muse for the English poet, Edmund Spenser, who may have changed the name Rosa, to, Roselinde. Edmund and Samuel were good friends. The question now, is, was Rosa the Muse for her brother? Daniel and Rosa had a gifted brother who was smitten by a Muse.

Rena, if you read the post on my abusive father, then you understand we had the same father. The world wants to see us both emerge from the darkness we were born into, and turn that darkness into a banner of light others can follow. I suggest we do a collaboration. I can do the stage design and several large portraits. We can apply for a grant.

Samuel also put to prose the history of the War of the Roses. There is a lot of interest in this rosy war at the moment due to the Game of Thrones. To see a woman come on stage and recite this history in old English (if you prefer) would be a work of art, especially when you look at Rosamond’s influence on the Plantagenets. You can literally take command of the Stage of History and revive the work of a contemporary of Shakespeare that most people never heard of.

This offer is the end of my autobiography. I beg you to take up the gauntlet and do what your late husband and your children would want you to do. If you turn me down, then you can give your reason why. I am done with being the Scapegoat to women who are too wounded to face their real abuser and rise from the ashes of despair. You can make the end of my story – a true miracle! You are the author of the last chapter!


Jon Presco

Samuel Daniel, poet and playwright, was almost Shakespeare’s exact contemporary. Born only two years earlier than Shakespeare he survived him by just three.  In 1592 Daniel issued a collection of his sonnets under the title Delia.  This collection included one entitled “The Complaint of Rosamond” echoes of which have been found in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Romeo and Juliet. The year following he wrote a play, The Tragedie of Cleopatra, and Shakespeare’s Cleopatra appears to be more closely modeled on Daniel’s than Plutarch’s. 
By 1595, however, Daniel turned to writing history and published the first four books of Civil Wars, his account of contests between the houses of York and Lancaster, which was surely among Shakespeare’s sources for Henry IV.

I have often heard,
Fair Rosalind of divers foully blam’d,
For being to that swain too cruel hard;
But who can tell what cause had that fair maid
To use him so, that loved her so well?
Or who with blame can justly her upbraid,
For loving not; for who can love compel?
And (sooth to say) it is full handy thing
Rashly to censure creatures so divine;
For demi-gods they be; and first did spring
From heaven, though graft in frailness feminine.

Samuel Daniel (1562-1619)
                          from Delia.
                        Sonnet XLV.
        Care-charmer sleep, son of the Sable night,
    Brother to death, in silent darkness born:
    Relieve my languish, and restore the light,
    With dark forgetting of my cares return.
        And let the day be time enough to mourn,
    The shipwreck of my ill-adventured youth:
    Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
    Without the torment of the night’s untruth.
        Cease dreams, th’imagery of our day desires,
    To model forth the passions of the morrow:
    Never let rising Sun approve you liars,
    To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow.
            Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain;
            And never wake, to feel the day’s disdain.

Edmund Spenser (/ˈspɛnsə/; c. 1552 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and is considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

Daniel was born near Taunton in Somerset, the son of a music-master. He was the brother of lutenist and composer John Danyel. Their sister Rosa was Edmund Spenser’s model for Rosalind in his The Shepherd’s Calendar; she eventually married John Florio. In 1579, Daniel was admitted to Magdalen Hall (now known as Hertford College) at Oxford University, where he remained for about three years and afterwards devoted himself to the study of poetry and philosophy. A “Samuel Daniel” is recorded in 1586 as being the servant of Edward Stafford, the Baron of Stafford and the English ambassador in France. This is probably the same person as the poet.
Samuel Daniel


Though admired as a lyric poet and historian, Samuel Daniel has found few enthusiastic readers for his dramatic works. Sober minded, restrained, reflective, and frequently prosaic, Daniel stands outside the popular-stage tradition, yet as an innovator he is of considerable importance in the history of Renaissance drama. Cleopatra is one of the earliest and best attempts to transplant French Senecan closet drama to the English stage; The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses inaugurated the vogue for the elaborate Jacobean court masque; and The Queen’s Arcadia is the first English imitation of Italian pastoral drama.

Daniel was born in Somersetshire in 1562 or 1563, and little is known of his early life. His father is said to have been John Daniel, a musician. He matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, on 17 November 1581 and left three years later, apparently without taking a degree. During parts of 1585-1590 he traveled on the Continent, likely developing the knowledge of French and Italian literature which was to influence his dramatic work. His first published work, The Worthy Tract of Paulus Jovius (essentially a translation of Paolo Giovio’s Dialogo dell’ imprese militari et amorose), appeared in 1585, revealing an interest in emblems which was to surface later in The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses.

By 1592 Daniel had come under the patronage of Mary, Countess of Pembroke, to whom he dedicated Delia. Containing Certain Sonnets: With the Complaint of Rosamond (1592)—a volume which firmly established his reputation as a poet—and Cleopatra. It was under the influence of the literary circle at Wilton (his “best Schoole,” as he refers to it in Defense of Rhyme ) that Daniel wrote his first two plays.

Reflecting the political interests (in abuses of tyranny and limits of government) and literary ideals (derived from Sidney’s Defense of Poetry) of the Countess of Pembroke’s circle, Daniel sought in Cleopatra and Philotas “to reduce the stage from idlenes to those grave prsentments of antiquitie vsed by the wisest nations.” More specifically, it was in the Wilton group’s interest in the French Senecan drama of Robert Garnier and Etienne Jodelle that Daniel found a model for his early plays.

Encouraged by the Countess to compose a companion piece to her translation of Garnier’s Marc-Antoine and heeding Spenser’s advice to turn his pen to “tragic plaints and passionate mischance,” Daniel wrote The Tragedy of Cleopatra. The play was first published in 1594, but Daniel, as he was to do for so many of his works, revised it: once in 1599 and more extensively in 1607.

In its emphasis on the destruction of the state through unrestrained ambition, on the doctrine of cyclical recurrence, and on the providential course of history, Cleopatra treats themes typical of much of Daniel’s work. Tormented by her sins and aware of the disorder in Egypt brought about by her ambition, Cleopatra is determined to commit suicide, both to preserve her honor and to attest her love of the dead Antony. However, in an attempt to preserve her son Caesario so that he might restore Egypt’s fallen glory, she pretends to submit to Octavius Caesar, who hypocritically promises her mercy. Caesar, however, plans to parade Cleopatra through Rome as his triumphant prize and, by bribing Caesario’s tutor, arranges the murder of the prince. Apprised by Dolabella of Caesar’s plans, Cleopatra has two asps smuggled to her and “Die[s] like a Queene,” requesting to be buried in Antony’s tomb. The play concludes with the Chorus emphasizing that Rome will be destroyed as was Egypt.

In the 1594 and 1599 versions, Cleopatra is closet drama: the lengthy monologues, dialogues on questions of political morality, and reported action render the play unsuitable for the popular stage. Yet, it is effective closet drama. As in Rosamond and Letter from Octavia , Daniel delineates the mind of an afflicted woman who bears herself with dignity and nobility. In her struggle over her divided role as Queen and mother, her awareness of the destruction she has caused in Egypt, the intensity of her love for Antony, and her resolution to die honorably, Cleopatra is an effective psychological portrait. Although all of the action is reported, Daniel handles this technique well, even dramatically (especially in Rodon’s description of Caesario’s betrayal and death, and the Nuntius’s account of Cleopatra’s suicide). Daniel addresses a variety of political issues, but the result is not the diffuseness we find in Philotas. Here Daniel makes effective use of the Chorus as a unifying device, for at the conclusion of each act the Chorus relates individual issues to the overriding emphases on the causes of civil disorder and its cyclical recurrence.

In 1607 Daniel so completely revised Cleopatra that it became in effect a new work. Apparently attempting to make the play more stage-worthy, he rearranged scenes and parts of scenes to break long monologues into dialogue or to turn reported into direct action, added passages to clarify action or theme, and deleted passages to reduce narration. Although the result is a more symmetrical action, Daniel’s revisions—particularly of Cleopatra’s opening monologue and Diomedes’s report of Cleopatra’s death—reduce the meditative, philosophical power of the verse, rendering the characterization of Cleopatra less powerful and the development of theme less full.

Of Daniel’s plays, Cleopatra is the best known and most influential. Shakespeare drew upon the 1599 version in Antony and Cleopatra, which in turn probably influenced Daniel’s 1607 version; Dryden was influenced in All for Love by Daniel’s imagery. Among minor writers, Samuel Brandon, Fulke Greville, William Alexander, and Elizabeth Cary were indebted in various ways to Cleopatra.

As Joan Rees observes, Cleopatra marks an important stage in Daniel’s development: “When he began Cleopatra he was ‘Sweete hony-dropping Daniel’; by the time he finished it, he was Coleridge’s ‘sober-minded Daniel.'”

Until 1600, by which time he probably had begun Philotas, Daniel’s attention was to his nondramatic poetry. Some time during 1594 he came under the patronage of Lord Mountjoy, to whom The First Four Books of the Civil Wars (1595) and The Poetical Essays (1599) are dedicated. By 1600 he had possibly come under Elizabeth’s favor, but the tradition that she appointed him poet laureate after the death of Spenser has no factual basis.

Daniel had written the first three acts of Philotas by 1600, intending the play to be acted by some gentlemen’s sons as a Christmas entertainment. Revision of The Civil Wars interrupted work on the play, but, needing money, he completed the final two acts in 1604. The play was probably first performed on 3 January 1605 by the Children of the Queen’s Revels. In 1607 Daniel extensively revised the work, principally to improve grammar, meter, or rhyme.

In Philotas, as he had in Cleopatra, Daniel treats themes common to much of his work: how unchecked ambition leads to civil disorder, how tyranny, through the unscrupulous use of the law, results in oppression, and how “To admire high hills, but liue within the plain” is the best course of life. Philotas, a proud and ambitious soldier whom Alexander has raised above his rank, has entered into a conspiracy with his father to overthrow Alexander, whom they perceive as a vain and tyrannical ruler. Cloaking his ambition under protestations of honor, concern for the state, and a refusal to conform to the times by flattering the king, Philotas is esteemed by the people (represented by a Chorus). Partly motivated by self-interest and jealousy, Craterus (one of Alexander’s “faithfull’st Counsellers”) discerns Philotas’s ambition and sets about to entrap him. Using Philotas’s revelation of his ambition to his mistress Antigona and his failure to report a different plot by several nobles to murder Alexander—as well as masterful character assassination—Craterus, through rather Machiavellian maneuvering which subverts justice but providentially preserves the state, convinces the king of Philotas’s guilt. At his trial Philotas is allowed to speak only after Alexander, presiding as judge, has pronounced him guilty and left. In protesting his innocence Philotas effectively underlines the trial’s mockery of justice. Craterus, realizing the need for a confession to quell rumor and discontent, convinces Alexander to have Philotas tortured. At first Philotas, attempting to preserve his honor, resists, but eventually he reveals the conspiracy, even implicating an innocent bystander. As a result, Philotas loses all his supporters’ respect, and the play concludes with the affirmation that the state has been spared from civil insurrection.

Philotas is justifiably acclaimed for elegance of diction and regularity of meter, qualities generally typical of Daniel’s verse. However, his tendency to perceive an issue from more than one perspective—a trait which lends depth to many of his poems—works to disadvantage here. The examination of political morality and abuses of government at times is contradictory and structurally deficient. Although it is clear from the dedication to Prince Henry and the concluding apology that Daniel meant Philotas generally to condemn unchecked ambition which leads to civil disorder and to affirm the providential course of history, the equivocal nature of many of the issues and characters results in diffuseness and ambiguity rather than the complexity which Daniel sought.

Because of its political emphasis, many of Daniel’s contemporaries read Philotas as a comment on the trial and execution of the Earl of Essex. Although Daniel was sympathetic to Essex and although the play, particularly in the trial scene, bears several parallels to the Earl’s trial, Daniel steadfastly denied before the Privy Council any connection between his play and the celebrated case. Whatever the relation to the Essex affair, Daniel turned away from history for subject matter in his later plays.

Although A Panegyric Congratulatory to the King’s Majesty (1603) failed to gain the favor of the new king, James I, in 1604 Daniel came under the patronage of Queen Anne, for whom he wrote his last four dramatic works. The first of these was The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, a masque performed by the Queen and her ladies at Hampton Court on 8 January 1604 and published later the same year. This was the first of several lavish and expensive masques which were so popular at the Jacobean court and included many of the finest specimens of this form of dramatic art.

As in his earlier plays, Daniel emphasizes order in the state: his intent is “to present the figure of those blessings, with the wish of their encrease and continuance, which this mightie Kingdome now enioyes by the benefite of his most gracious Maiestie; by whom we haue this glory of peace, with the accession of so great state and power.” To realize his theme, Daniel relies principally on an emblematic procession of the twelve goddesses, who represent “those blessings and beauties that preserue and adorne” the peaceful state. (For example, Pallas stands for “Wisedome and Defence”; Proserpina, riches; and Tethys, “power by Sea.”) The goddesses, richly and symbolically dressed, descend from a hill at one end of the hall and march to the Temple of Peace, where they offer their respective gifts. For example, Pallas, played by the Queen, “was attyred in a blew mantle, with a siluer imbrodery of all weapons and engines of war, with a helmet-dressing on her head, and present[ed] a Launce and Target.”

Although Daniel regarded The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses as entertainment and not one of his “grauer actions,” he does unify text and spectacle, including dancing, singing, elaborate scenery, and emblematic costumes, to underscore his emphasis on the ordered state. From the opening speech of Night, who wields his white wand to “effect … significant dreames,” to the closing speech of Iris, who justifies the representation of the goddesses in the forms of the Queen and her ladies, Daniel effectively manipulates levels of reality. Ultimately, however, The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses is not an accomplished example of the masque, a form with which Daniel was clearly uncomfortable.

In 1604 Daniel became Licenser to the Children of the Queen’s Revels, a post he held until 28 April 1605. The appointment was not a fortunate one, for it involved Daniel in a lawsuit and monetary difficulties (which may have led him to complete Philotas for presentation by the company). And Daniel was not circumspect in his licensing of plays, for the Queen withdrew her patronage from the Children after Philotas, John Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan, and George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and Marston’s Eastward Ho! offended James I. Daniel did not, however, lose the favor of the Queen, and in 1607 he was appointed one of the Grooms of her Privy Chamber.

Daniel’s next dramatic work, The Queen’s Arcadia, is of considerable importance in the history of the drama, for it is the first attempt in English to imitate the Italian pastoral drama. Performed before the Queen at Christ Church, Oxford, on 30 August 1605, the play reflects Daniel’s interest in Italian literature and attempt to appeal to the court’s taste for extravagant dramatic entertainment. Although heavily indebted to Guarini and Tasso, The Queen’s Arcadia is distinctly English in its concerns. Like Daniel’s earlier plays, it emphasizes order in the state, and like much of his poetry, it glorifies the simple life.

Colax, “a corrupted traueller,” and his accomplice Techne, “a subtle wench [that is, whore] of Corinth,” are corrupting the natural harmony of Arcadia by introducing its virtuous lovers to lust, vanity, suspicion, in inconstancy. Three other foreigners also attempt to corrupt the Arcadians: Lincus, a pronotary’s boy, passes himself off as a great lawyer and encourages needless litigation; Alcon, formerly a physician’s servant, gains a reputation by distributing placebos and encouraging hypochondria; and Pistophoenax, a religious disputer who hides his ugly face behind a mask, works to subvert the natural religion of the country. The attempts of these outsiders to undermine “Rites, … Custome, Nature, Honesty”—”the maine pillors of … [the] state”—are frustrated by the revelations of Ergastus and Melibaeus, two elderly Arcadians who conveniently overhear all that takes place during the play.

Although commended by a member of the original audience as “being indeed very excellent, and some parts exactly acted,” the play has not been well received by modern readers. Daniel’s treatment of the outsiders offers some effective comic satire on the hypocrisy and greediness of lawyers, on the quackery of physicians, and, generally, on a preference for foreign ideas and things. Most effective is a lengthy diatribe against tobacco, inserted perhaps because of King James’s aversion to it. Yet, the satire is frequently blunted by Daniel’s moralizing tendency and does not mesh with the conventional romantic treatment of pastoral love. The denouement is mechanical, and overall the play is rather dull.

During 1605-1610 Daniel published revisions of many of his earlier works (including Cleopatra and Philotas), completed the final version of The Civil Wars, and began his prose history, The Collection of the History of England (1618), which was to occupy him the remainder of his life.

Tethys’ Festival, Daniel’s second masque, was presented 5 June 1610 at Whitehall as part of the celebration of the creation of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales. This production, as befitted the occasion and Daniel’s conception of masques as “Complements of State,” was an elaborate, costly one (the charge for the costumes alone was nearly £1,000). In creating the entertainment, Daniel collaborated with Inigo Jones, the foremost stage architect of the period. As in The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses , the Queen (as Tethys) and her ladies (as the nymphs representing the rivers) assumed major roles.

Tethys’ Festival consists of three scenes. The first represents “a Port or Hauen, with Bulworkes at the entrance, and the figure of a Castle commanding a fortified towne: within this Port were many Ships, small and great, seeming to be at Anchor, some neerer, and some further off, according to prospectiue: beyond all appeared the Horison, or termination of the Sea; which seemed to mooue with a gentle gale, and many Sayles, lying some to come into the Port, and others passing out.” Zephyrus, accompanied by nyads and tritons, presents Tethys’ gifts: a trident to the King and “a rich sword and skarfe,” symbolizing respectively justice and “Loue and Amitie,” to the Prince. The second scene is an elaborate architectural set compartmented into five niches, the middle one being Tethys’ throne, the others representing the caverns of the river nymphs; from these the women issue forth to present “seuerall flowers in golden vrnes” at the Tree of Victory. In the final scene, the Queen and her ladies are revealed “in their owne forme” in an artificial grove.

It is clear from Daniel’s description of the sets and costumes and from Jones’s extant drawings that the verse occupies a distinctly subordinate role in the entertainment. This is consistent with Daniel’s conception of the masque as outlined in the preface to Tethys’ Festival: “in these things … the onely life consists in shew; the arte and inuention of the Architect giues the greatest grace, and is of most importance: ours [the verse], the least part and of least note in the time of the performance thereof.” Nevertheless, Tethys’ Festival does display Daniel’s fine lyric gift, particularly in the song beginning “Are they shadowes that we see?” Overall, as Rees points out, the work is a “feeble effort at a date when the masque form was in its full flower.”

There is evidence of rivalry, even hostility, between Jonson and Daniel during the latter years of his life. This rivalry may have begun as early as 1604, when Daniel was chosen to write the first Queen’s masque. William Drummond of Hawthornden records Jonson’s assertion that “Daniel was at jealousies with him,” and many references in the prefatory matter to Daniel’s last four dramatic works seem directed at Jonson. Given their widely differing conceptions of the masque and pastoral drama, some kind of feud is not unlikely.

During the last years of his life, Daniel gave his attention to his prose history of England. His last major poetic work was also his final dramatic work, for which he again turned to pastoral drama. Hymen’s Triumph was presented in February 1614 as part of the Queen’s entertainment for the marriage of the Earl of Roxborough to Jean Drummond. A manuscript copy, with a dedicatory poem to Jean Drummond, is in Edinburgh University Library. The play was first published in 1615.

Appropriate to the occasion for which it was written, the play celebrates constancy in love. The theme is set in the prologue, an allegorical encounter of Hymen, who dons a pastoral disguise to effect a marriage between two of the most constant lovers, with Avarice, Envy, and Jealousy, “the disturbers of quiet marriage.”

Thirsis, a young shepherd, remains constant in his love for Silvia, who, two years before, had been abducted by pirates and is apparently dead. Silvia, however, has escaped and returned to Arcadia, disguising herself as a boy and hiring out as a servant to Cloris. She maintains her disguise until after the marriage of Alexis, to whom her father, out of avarice, had betrothed her. Before she can reveal herself to Thirsis, Silvia is stabbed by the jealous Montanus, who believes his beloved is in love with Silvia. Thirsis, having identified Silvia by a mole, vows to die with her, but they are miraculously saved and reunited.

Although Hymen’s Triumph is less derivative than The Queen’s Arcadia,, Daniel’s use of the conventional plot elements of pastoral drama—the female disguised as a male, the mistakes in love which ensue from the disguise, thwarted love, abduction by pirates, and an oracle—results in “sentimentality and bathos,” as Cecil C. Seronsy points out. Although marred by some lengthy, incompletely assimilated passages on avarice and inconstancy, the masque has a “variety of mood and a rich lyricism,” and many passages bear a striking resemblance to Shakespeare’s romantic comedies, particularly Twelfth Night and As You Like It.

Five years after completing his final dramatic work, Daniel died. He was buried on 14 October 1619 at Beckington, Somersetshire, where in the church the Countess Dowager of Pembroke—who as Lady Anne Clifford had been his pupil—erected a monument to “that excellent poet and historian.”

Although important for their innovations, Daniel’s plays are little read and largely unappreciated today, especially by readers nurtured on the popular drama of this period. Daniel’s seriousness, quietness, restraint, dignity, reflectiveness, sober-mindedness, preference for the abstract and general—qualities admirable in much of his nondramatic poetry—are not traits which serve him effectively in a dramatic medium. His fine lyric gift, which rightly earned him the epithet “well-languaged Daniel,” surfaces too rarely in his plays. His pastoral dramas and masques—among the few works he did not revise—are serviceable occasional pieces, but it is the two tragedies on which Daniel would have wanted his reputation as a dramatist to rest.

Rev. N. J. Halpin read a paper on certain passages in the
life of Edmund Spenser.

In bringing this subject before the Academy, Mr. Halpin
lamented the slovenly biography which had hitherto left un-
examined and undetected, — though given with sufficient cer-
tainty in his own works,r— the name and family of the lady to
whom Edmund Spenser was married ; and not only her, but,
perhaps, the most celebrated name in English amatory poetry,
that of the fair and false Rosalinde, for whom, in his youth,
he entertained a deep but ill-requited passion. The names of
both were recorded in his own works, after a method at that
time much practised by the poets, and of which the learned
Camden, in his Remaines, has laid down the laws, viz., by
the Anagram ; and though both the names thus lay close be-
neath the surface of his poems, they have both remained there
to the present day undiscovered, but prepared to reward the
pains of the more caretaking inquirer.

In the series of sonnets called the Amoretti, the name and
circumstances of his wife are expressly celebrated; those of
his earlier flame, the fickle Rosalinde, in his Shepherd’s Ca-
lender, each expressly written for its peculiar purpose. But of
both his passions we have occasional notices throughout his
Faerie Queen, his Colin Clout’s Come Home Again, and his
Epithalamion, in all of which the allusions to those ladies re-
spectively are unmistakeably transparent. But inasmuch as
the clue to the real secret is given by the ostensible editor
(whoever he may have been, whether Spenser himself j or
his friend, Gabriel Harvey, the Hobinal of the poem ; or a
genuine, though, anonymous E. K.) of the Shepherd’s Ca-
lender, it will be most convenient to take it first in order, and
to ascertain, by its methods, who the lady was that figures
under the title of


We are told expressly by the editorial E. K. that ” Rosa-
* So spelled in the original editions.


linde also is a feigned name, which, being well-ordered, will
bewray the very name of his (Spenser’s) love and mistress.”
The editors and biographers (Malone amongst the rest) have
accordingly conjectured this to be the anagrammatic name
either of “Rose Linde” or ” Eliza Horden,” families of people
with those surnames having been found resident in Kent in
the reign of Henry VI. But besides the remoteness of the
period assigned, — some five or six reigns before the birth of
our rustic beauty, — the conjectures are of no value, because
the authors of them are unable to show between the principal
parties any connexion or acquaintance, any courtship, or con-
tiguity of residence, which might have brought them within
the ordinary sphere of attraction. The notion, then, so far
from being probable, contains nothing beyond the crude ele-
ments of a barren possibility.

But Spenser, at this time, had an intimate and beloved
friend and brother poet, Samuel Daniel (see enumeration of
English poets in Colin Clout’s Come Home Again), and this
Samuel Daniel had a sister named Rose, — Rose Daniel ; and
Hose Daniel reads anagrammatically, and in perfect accordance
with Camden’s rules, into Rosalindb. She was, probably
about the date of the Shepherd’s Calender, married to a friend
of her brother’s ; not, indeed, to Spenser, but to a scholar of
much celebrity in his time, but, withal, so eccentric as to
have left behind him, in his scanty biography, traces so dura-
ble as to enable us to interpret with reference to him passages
in the works of Spenser, which were otherwise unintelligible
at this distance of time.

The reading of Rosalinde into Rose Daniel gives an
easy and probable solution to the whole tale of Spenser’s dis-
appointed passion, as recorded by himself. It exactly rounds
the anagram. The intimacy between her brother and Spenser
accounts for her first acquaintance with the poet ; her marriage
with a rival defines the species of infidelity of which her lover
complains; and her subsequent fortunes, arising from her mar-
riage with a very wayward man, correspond, with surprising


exactness, with the allegorical descriptions, with which the un-
generous author of the Faerie Queen loves to persecute her
and her husband, and prosecute his own unmanly revenge.
The principal of those invidious attacks on her will be found
in the episode of Mirabella, with whom Rosalinde is identified
in the Faerie Queen, book vi. c. 6, st. 16, 17 ; and book vii.
c. 6, st. 27, &c, down to stanza the thirty-first of the eighth
canto; and again, with especial reference to her husband, in the
Faerie Queen, book i. c. 7, throughout which the character of
Orgoglio (” sib,” or relative to the Carl Disdain of the seventh
canto of the sixth book), is given with much, though deserved,

The person to whom Rose Daniel, or Rosalinde, was ac-
tually married, was the celebrated John Florio, the author of
several works of considerable merit, such as the New (or
Queen Anne’s) World of Words, an Anglo-Italian Dictionary;
his First and Second Fruits, a translation into English of
Montaigne’s Essays, &c, &c. He was, in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, highly respected by the nobility, as a teacher of
languages ; and in the subsequent reign of James I. he was
appointed one of the tutors of Prince Henry, and Gentleman
of the Privy Chamber, reader of Italian, &c, to Anne of
Denmark, the royal consort. But he was a man of the
most capricious and irritable temper, ever at war with his
literary contemporaries, and the perpetual butt of their raillery
and ridicule, — particularly of the dramatic poets, to whom he
appears to have given the first offence, and by whom he was
mercilessly ” staged” for his pedantry, affectation, and ug-

It would be impossible here to state at length the several
proofs and details of those curious circumstances which Mr.
Halpin has brought forward from the remains of the contem-
porary literature and the discoveries of modern critics ; suffice
it to say, that John Florio, the ” Resolute” (the constant
prefix to his name, as subscribed by himself to all his prefaces,


preludes, and addresses), appears to have been not only the
Menalcas* of the Spenser’s Shepherd’s Calendar, who had
” under-fonged” the faithless Rosalinde, but also the Holo-
fernks, and Don Adriano de Armado of Shakespeare’s
more laughable satire, in his Love’s Labour Lost.

Having thus identified Rose Daniel with Rosalinde, and
Rosalinde with Mirabella, by means of their respective union
with the same person identified as John Florio (or the Reso-
lute), Menalcas in the Shepherd’s Calender, and the Carl
Disdain in the Faerie Queen, Mr. Halpin proceeds to sum up
the results of Spenser’s first disappointed passion in the fol-
lowing words :

” Whatever happiness poor Rose Daniel may have enjoyed
in the domestic virtues and real talents of such a husband as
Florio, it is certain that, if she were a sensible and sensitive
woman, she must have experienced great pain and annoyance
from the ridicule and hostility to which his pride, petulance,
and ill-temper constantly exposed him in public. In this re-
spect her sufferings seem to have fed the vengeance of her dis-
carded, but unforgiving and ungenerous suitor. But she may
have had her consolations, too. Florio was highly esteemed
by the nobility of Elizabeth’s days, and was favoured in the
Court of James I. That he was an attached and affectionate
husband, his last will and testament gives ample and touching
evidence {see ” New Rlustrations of Shakespeare, by the Rev.
Joseph Hunter, vol. ii. p. 280).”

* This name is, from its Greek derivation, homonymous with ” the Reso-
lute.” It need hardly be observed that it is derived from pevog and aX/07,
both signifying modifications of force, mental or bodily. They are repeatedly
used together as equivalents, thus, ptvioe A’aXcijc ti \a9uiftai. II. z. 265.
In Liddel and Scott’s edition of Passow’s Greek-English Lexicon, fttvog in
composition is said to ” bear always a collateral notion of resolve and firm-
ness :” and here we have the very notion expressed by the very word we want.
Menalcas is, therefore, the appropriate and expressive nom de guerre of the


In the second branch of his essay, Mr. Halpin treats of
the name and family of

spenser’s wife,

or the Irish lady to whom, as appears from the most beautiful
and spirited of all hymeneal songs, the Epithalamion, he was
ultimately married. Further than that her Christian name (as
revealed by the poet) was Elizabeth, the biographers are at a
stand still. Without an exception, they all coincide in the
obvious error that she was ” a person of inferior rank, — a
country lass;” but, in Mr. Halpin’s opinion, she was no more
” a country lass,” in the ordinary sense of the terms, than Spen-
ser himself, — late Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, and even
then, Clerk of the Council of Munster, — was ” a shepherd’s
boy.” Had the biographers even slightly consulted that por-
tion of the poet’s works expressly written to record his pas-
sion, the Amoretti, they would have found she was ” a lady”
whose rank was rather ” disparaged” than exalted by her
” sorting” with him ; that she was a person of good birth and
station, well educated, accomplished in the arts of design and
embroidery (accomplishments not usually found in an Irish
peasant’s daughter), enjoying the respect, the elegancies, if
not the luxuries, of her condition, and resident in the poet’s
own neighbourhood ; in whose house (or her father’s) the poet
himself was no unfrequent visitor. (See Sonnets, passim).
In fact, her family mansion must evidently have lain on the
banks of the Mulla Water, Spenser’s favourite stream, a tribu-
tary of the Black Water, somewhere between Kilcolman Castle
and the prosperous sea-port of Youghal, but considerably
nearer to the former. This brings our inquiries within narrow
limits, namely, the range bordering on the Mulla. But Spen-
ser had expressly promised the lady, in three several sonnets
(see Son. 73, 75, and 82) to eternize her name, and we have
no right to doubt but that he fulfilled his engagement. If,
then, we assume him to have proceeded, as in the case of his


former mistress^ recording his passion, but concealing its ob-
ject, by means of the anagram ; and if we can fix upon any dis-
tinctive epithet, common to the several poems celebrating her
person, and solvable into the name of a person whose residence
and circumstances correspond with those ascribed to her by
her worshipper, we obtain a distinct clue to the long-lost

In the Amoretti, the Epithalamion, and the Colin Clout’s
Come Home Again, we find the object of the poet’s most pas-
sionate cares distinctively and energetically, with all the em-
phasis of Italic letters and Capital initials (in all the original
editions at least), addressed or spoken of as ” an Angel,” as
of one

Divinely wrought,
And of the brood of Angels heavenly born,
And with the crew of blessed saints up brought,

in no less than thirteen or fourteen remarkable passages.

But the perpetual recurrence to the same epithet would be
too trite and common-place for the invention, or the rich vo-
cabulary, of such a poet as Spenser, if ” no more were meant
than meets the eye ;” and probably the reader anticipates, by
this time, that the true name concealed under this anagram is
Nagle, or (as in a subsequent sonnet — lxxiv. — we are in-
formed of her christian name) Elizabeth Nagle.

What seems to confirm this conjecture almost into a cer-
tainty is, that in the immediate neighbourhood of Kilcol-
man there resided a family whose name and circumstances
correspond precisely with those which have now been elicited
from the poems written by Spenser on the occasion of his
courtship and marriage. The Nagles or Nangles were a very
ancient sept in the counties of Cork and Waterford. There
were two races of them, distinguished by the colour of their
hairintothei2edandthei?/ac£. Of theformer, the chief or head
resided at Moneannymy, an ancient preceptory of the Knights


of St. John, beautifully seated on the banks of the Mulla, and at
a convenient distance for frequent visits from Kilcolman ; and
of this family Elizabeth was most probably a member, the
colour of her hair corresponding with their’s, and resembling
” a golden mantle.” (See Son. lxxxi. and Epithal. st. 9). The
family name is assumed by Heralds to be derived ab Angulo,
as Hugo ab Angulo, an ancestor of the Nagles or Nangles ;
but Spenser seems to have drawn it (according to a precedent
of his own in the Faerie Queen, see book Hi. canto iii. stan.
54, 55), more poetically de Angelis, when he describes Eliza-
beth as “of the brood of Angels heavenly born.”

It is no objection to this view that Spenser’s eldest son,
Sylvanus, was subsequently married to a Miss Ellen Nagle of
the same family ; for the intermarriage of first cousins is no
unusual occurrence ; and Miss Ellen Nagle was the daughter
of David Nagle, who was, in all probability, the brother of the
Elizabeth Nagle whom we suppose to have been married to
Edmund Spenser. The circumstances of the country, too, at
the time of Sylvanus Spenser’s marriage, were likely to cir-
cumscribe the choice ofa young man, in the selection of a wife,
within very narrow limits.

It only remains to be here remarked, that, after Edmund
Spenser’s death, his widow was married again to a person
named Roger Seckerstone, or Seggerston. (See Appendix to
Ckaik’s Spenser mKnight’s Weekly Volumes, vol. iii. p. 243).
The author of this essay, however, has been unable to trace
her out. He is informed that a family of that name still resides
in one of the southern counties, either Cork or Kerry. It is
not improbable that these pages may meet the eye of some
one able to trace out the history of the lady in question, and
thus either to confirm or to dissipate the conjecture in which
Mr. Halpin has indulged. The point is well worthy the anti-
quarian’s research.

Extracts from The History of the Civil War: The Death of Talbot
By Samuel Daniel (1562–1619)

[From Bk. vi.]

SO much true resolution wrought in those
Who had made covenant with death before,
That their small number (scorning so great foes)
Made France most happy, that there were no more,
And Fortune doubt to whom she might dispose 5
That weary day; or unto whom restore
The glory of a conquest dearly bought,
Which scarce the conqueror could think well got.

For as with equal rage, and equal might,
Two adverse winds combat, with billows proud, 10
And neither yield (seas, skies maintain like fight,
Wave against wave oppos’d, and cloud to cloud);
So war both sides with obstinate despite,
With like revenge; and neither party bow’d:
Fronting each other with confounding blows, 15
No wound one sword unto the other owes.

Whilst Talbot (whose fresh ardour having got
A marvellous advantage of his years)
Carries his unfelt age as if forgot,
Whirling about where any need appears. 20
His hand, his eye, his wits all present wrought
The function of the glorious part he bears:
Now urging here, now cheering there, he flies;
Unlocks the thickest troops where most force lies.

In midst of wrath, of wounds, of blood, and death 25
There is he most, where as he may do best;
And there the closest ranks he severeth,
Drives back the stoutest powers that forward press’d,
There makes his sword his way. There laboureth
The infatigable hand that never ceas’d; 30
Scorning unto his mortal wounds to yield,
Till Death became best master of the field.

Then like a sturdy oak, that having long
Against the wars of fiercest winds made head,
When (with some forc’d tempestuous rage more strong 35
His down-borne top comes overmastered)
All the near bord’ring trees he stood among
Crushed with his weighty fall lie ruined:
So lay his spoils, all round about him slain,
T’ adorn his death, that could not die in vain. 40

On th’ other part, his most all-daring son
(Although the inexperience of his years
Made him less skill’d in what was to be done;
And yet did carry him beyond all fears),
Flying into the main battalion 45
Near to the king, amidst the chiefest peers,
With thousand wounds became at length oppress’d,
As if he scorned to die but with the best.

Who thus both having gained a glorious end,
Soon ended that great day; that set so red, 50
As all the purple plains that wide extend
A sad tempestuous season witnessed.
So much ado had toiling France to rend
From us the right so long inherited;
And so hard went we from what we possessed, 55
As with it went the blood we loved best.

Which blood not lost, but fast laid up with heed
In everlasting fame, is there held dear
To seal the memory of this day’s deed;
Th’ eternal evidence of what we were: 60
To which our fathers, we, and who succeed,
Do owe a sigh, for that it touched us near;
Nor must we sin so much as to neglect
The holy thought of such a dear respect.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Rena Easton and Fair Rosamond

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    I posted this two months before I met Belle, my muse. Muses are not people. They are inspirations.

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