In May 1564, his uncle, Arthur Golding dedicated Th’ Abridgement of the Histories of Trogus Pompeius to his 14-year-old nephew, Edward de Vere noting Oxford’s unusually in-depth interest in both ancient history and current political tides.
Arthur Golding publishes a translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in 1567, dedicated to him presumably for his collaboration with the Earl or as a result of his request.
In 1569 his mother dies and Thomas Underdowne dedicated his translation of the Æthiopian History of Heliodorus of Emesa to the Earl of Oxford which would have been a good literary source for the play Othello. On 22nd April 1569 the Earl of Oxford recieved his first nomination as member of the Knight’s Garter. Sometime around 1570 an uncertain Edmund Elviden, a gentleman, dedicated to the Earl of Oxford The most excellent and plesant metaphoricall historie of Pesistratus and Catanea. On the 20th October 1571, Arthur Golding dedicated a second book to the Earl entitled, The Psalms of David and others, with M. John Calvin’s Commentaries.
On 1st of January 1572, the Gentleman Pensioner Thomas Bedingfield dedicated his Cardanus’ Comfort to the Earl of Oxford, this being a translation from the Latin of De Consolatione Libri Tres by the Italian mathematician and physician Girolamo Cardano. On the 3rd January 1572 Oxford wrote a Latin epistle to Bartholomew Clerke’s De Curiali, a translation into Latin of Baldassare Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano, (The Courtier) and in the same year Thomas Twyne dedicated his Breviary of Britain to the Earl of Oxford, noting that ‘your Honour taketh singular delight’ in ‘books of geography, histories and other good learning’.
In 1574 the Earl of Oxford’s surgeon, a certain George Baker, dedicated to him two translations namely, The Composition or Making of . . . Oleum Magistrale, and The Third Book of Galen. Again in 1577 John Brooke dedicated to Oxford a translation entitled The Staff of Christian Faith, the only work by the popular writer Guy de Brès to be printed in English.
Towards the end of this year several of his poems are published in The Paradise of Daintye Devices and in financial straits he is compelled to sell several of his remaining estates. In July 1578 Gabriel Harvey recognises him as a “prolific poet and one whose countenance “shakes spears”.
On the 23rd December 1578 Geoffrey Gates dedicated his book Defense of Military Profession to the Earl of Oxford. In 1579 Anthony Munday dedicated his Mirror of Mutability to the Earl of Oxford. Furthermore, in April 1580, Edward de Vere had taken over the Earl of Warwick‘s playing company:
Nicknamed “The Turk” by Queen Elizabeth he was for a brief period a favourite at court and noted for his love of sporting activity, writing plays and poetry, dancing, fencing and musical composition. He was once complemented on his musical ability and knowledge as being superior to his tutors and contemporaries. Anthony Munday went on to publish “Zelato” with a dedication to the Earl of Oxford.
In 1580 three works were dedicated to Oxford, John Hester‘s “A Short Discourse . . . of Leonardo Fioravanti, Bolognese, upon Surgery”, Munday identifying himself on the title page as ‘Servant to the Right Honourable the Earl of Oxenforde’. In addition, in his A Light Bundle of Lively Discourses Called Churchyard’s Charge, and A Pleasant Labyrinth Called Churchyard’s Chance”. Around the same time John Lyly, a playwright and author of “Euphues and His England” became secretary to the Earl of Oxford and they worked from a small mansion purchased by the Earl (1584) in Bishopsgate known as Fisher’s Folly. This was located opposite an asylum or bedlam as it was termed then and close to the river Thames. John Lyly worked so closely with Edward de Vere that it was often impossible to discern who wrote what or whether they were in constant collaboration in either poetry or plays. Above all the St. Paul’s boy players were sponsored and patronised by the Earl for many years and his own group of players were busy giving performances at court of Lyly’s and other playwright’s plays. The Earl was subsequently satirised by his literary adversary Gabriel Harvey in his “Speculum Tuscanismi”. Harvey was thoroughly trashed for his verse style by Thomas Nashe a decade later in his “Strange News” (1592).
In 1583 Thomas Watson dedicates his work “Hekatompathia” and then the Earl’s brother-in-law, Peregrine Bertie returns from Elsinore, the actual historical site of the Shakespearean play Hamlet. In 1584 Robert Greene published his “Greene’s Card of Fancy” while the Earl takes over Lord Worcester’s Men and acquires the sub-lease of the Blackfriar’s Theatre and transfers it to his Secretary, John Lyly.
In 1586 Angel Day published his book “The English Secretary” with a dedication to the Earl of Oxford, the same year that Mary Queen of Scots was executed. In 1588 his wife Anne dies and the first of the Martin Marprelate tracts are released and while it is presumed he made significant secret ripostes to these with his secretary John Lyly and Anthony Munday who dedicated “Romances of Chivalry” to him. The same year the Spanish Armada threatened English shores (1588) Anthony Munday dedicated his “Palmerin D’Oliva” to Edward de Vere and George Puttenham acknowledges him as “first among noblemen-poets to have written exceedingly well”.
When Edmund Spenser finally published his opus “The Fairie Queene” in honour of Queen Elizabeth (1590) the Earl contributes a laudatory poem and is hailed as “dear to the muses”. After the Earl of Oxford’s second marriage to Elizabeth Trentham (1591), John Farmer dedicated his “Book of Plain Song” to the Earl of Oxford.
By June 1594 Lord Strange’s Men, most notably Burbage and Kempe were incorporated into the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (under Lord Hunsdon but essentially Edward de Vere’s acting company). Willobie his Avisa is published anonymously with euphemisms suggesting Shakespeare (W.S.) is the author of the poem Lucrece dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley (H. W.) and to Bessie Vavasour, the Earl of Oxford’s mistress.
In 1598 when Love’s Labours Lost is published under the pseudonym William Shakespeare, John Marston published Scourge of Villanie referring to the Earl as “most beloved” for his literary talents and esteem among other writers.
In September the same year Francis Meres registers Palladis Tamia in which he is named as “best for comedy”. The following year (1599) the Globe Theatre re-opens with the Earl’s financial assistance and John Farmer publishes his “Set of English Madrigals” with a dedication to the Earl of Oxenforde.
Subsequently the Earl combines Worcester’s Men with his own drama group and is authorised to perform at the Boar’s Head. On the death of Queen Elizabeth (1603), Oxford’s company (Lord Chamberlain’s Men) are renamed The King’s Men when James 1st assumes the throne and pardons the Earl of Southampton (Shakespeare’s patron) who is finally released from detention in the Tower of London.
|The links to my publications “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”, a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry, “Parthenogenesis” are as follows:|