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Selected Poems

Henry Howard Earl of Surrey

Edited by Dennis Keene

Cover Picture of Selected Poems
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Categories: 17th Century
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (104 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2003)
£9.99 £8.99
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  • I call to mind the navy great
    That the Greeks brought to Troia town,
    And how the boisterous winds did beat
    Their ships, and rent their sails adown,
    Till Agamemnon's daughter's blood
    Appeased the gods that them withstood

    Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517?-1547) was known to his contemporaries as 'the most accomplished gentleman of his age', noble learned and elegant. A man of his time, at the centre of the dangerous power games of the court of Henry VIII, Surrey was beheaded for his role in a conspiracy over succession. His poetry reflects that world, in its idealistaion of the aristocratic virtues of chivalry and honour, its rich language and formal sophistication.

    Immensely influential in literary history for his development of blank verse and the Petrarchian sonnet form in English, and as the first modern translator of Virgil, Surrey is revealed in this selection as a subtle and graceful poet, and a translator whose vigorous and faithful versions of the Aeneid continue to enrich the literary tradition.
    Table of Contents


    Textual and bibliographical note

    Virgil's Aeneid

    Book II, lines 1-73

    Book II, lines 295-462

    Book II, lines 966-1068

    Book IV, lines 1-108

    Book IV, lines 359-518

    Book IV, lines 780-884

    From the Italian

    The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings

    Set me where as the sun doth parch the green

    Love that doth reign and live within my thought

    In Cyprus springs, where as dame Venus dwelt

    I never saw you, madam, lay apart

    Alas, so all things do hold their peace

    The golden gift that nature did thee give

    The sun hath twice brought forth the tender green

    Such wayward ways hath love that most part in discord


    Give place, ye lovers, here before

    When Windsor walls sustained my wearied arm

    So cruel a prison how betide, alas

    From Tuscan came my lady's worthy race

    Though I regarded not

    Wrapped in my careless cloak, as I walk to and fro

    Girt in my guiltless gown, as I sit here and sew

    Each beast can choose his fere according to his mind

    Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest

    Diverse thy death do diversely bemoan

    The great Macedon that out of Persia chased

    Th'Assyrians' king, in peace with foul desire

    London, hast thou accused me

    Laid in my quiet bed, in study as I were

    Martial, the things for to attain

    Since fortune's wrath envieth the wealth

    When raging love with extreme pain

    Good ladies, you that have your pleasure in exile

    O happy dames, that may embrace

    The fancy which that I have served long

    Norfolk sprang thee, Lambeth holds thee dead


    Ecclesiastes, Chapter Two

    Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three

    When reckless youth in quiet breast

    Psalm Eighty Eight

    The sudden storms that heave me to and fro

    Psalm Seventy Three

    Psalm Fifty Five

    The storms are past, these clouds are overblown


    Henry Howard Earl of Surrey
    Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was born into one of the great noble families of England in 1517, the eldest son of Thomas Howard, who became the third Duke of Norfolk in 1524. In 1530, at the age of thirteen, Surrey was sent to be educated with the Duke ... read more
    Dennis Keene
    Dennis Keene was born in London in 1934 and lived for many years in Tokyo,where he was Professor of English Literature. He has published translations of modern Japanese literature and two volumes of poetry, Surviving (1980) and Universe (1984). He now lives in Oxford. ... read more
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