Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gotta love those Venetian Ambassadors

They kept detailed records on what was going on at the English court, and they were (naturally) concerned with the character of the heir to the throne.  I spent part of the day in the Michigan State University library, trying to get a better sense of the atmosphere at court in 1609/10, of Daniel's relationship with the Prince and of the major issues. I got a facsimile of the manuscript.  It's part of a small collection that includes two other short pieces from slightly later (after the death of Henry). The first editor of the collection, John Pitcher, thinks that they were intended to work together to suggest Daniel's disillusionment with the Jacobean court after Henry's death (vii). He reads the first epistle as heroic, but I think it already shows a kind of disaffection with the aggressive imperialism that was so popular at the time. I also got a line on a couple of other sources, including a prose text by Cotton that may well be a contemporaneous response to the same issues that Daniel is responding to (though published much later). Time will tell. 

Cotton, Robert. An answer made by command of Prince Henry to certain propositions of warre and peace delivered to His Highnesse by some of his military servants. London : Printed by Roger Daniel ..., MDCLV [1655], 1655.. 

Pitcher, John. Samuel Daniel: The Brotherton Manuscript: A Study in Authorship. Leeds: U of Leeds, 1981. 

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