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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Edward de Vere's Memorial For His Son, Who Died at Birth May 1583. (p. 2)

Cecil was not the most powerful commoner, at the time, in England, for nothing.  In the wake of the dispute, Anne’s name occasionally shows up in the Court accounts instructing the staff to provide accommodations for her during summer progresses and festivities at Court.  The accommodations do not mention shared quarters with her husband.

After many adventures, the brilliant and unstable Earl of Oxford separated from his wife, spent lavishly until he was effectively bankrupt and impregnated a Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen.  The Queen punished her courtiers ferociously if they were discovered to have deflowered one of her Ladies.  His final punishment was exile from Court until he would return to his wife and exile from the favor of the Queen for the rest of her life.

Soon after husband and wife finally established a family home, we learn more about Anne’s life.  In May of 1583, she gave birth to a son and heir to the Earldom of Oxford.  All during her pregnancy she surely felt that things were turning very much in favor of her happiness.  Perhaps the child (their second) would be male.  A male heir could only endear her to her husband.  The child was indeed a boy and all indications would seem to be that both parents were thrilled.  It is believed that the child probably died the same day but certainly lived no more than a few days.

Even the children of nobility died young in large numbers in those days.  But not every parent was inured to the fact.  Anne wrote poems about her mourning that show she was devastated at the death.  While the poems were not emotionally raw in any contemporary sense, they were in terms of the time.  I give one here and attach the others at the end of this essay:

Had with morning the Gods left their wills undone,
They had not so soon 'herited such a soul:
Or if the mouth, time, did not glutton up all,
Nor I, nor the world, were deprived of my son,
Doth wash with golden tears, inveying the skies,
And when the water of the Goddess's eyes,
Makes almost alive, the Marble, of my Child:
One bids her leave still, her dolor so extreme,
Telling her it is not her young son Papheme,
To which she makes answer with a voice inflamed,
(Feeling therewith her venom, to be more bitter)
"As I was of Cupid, even so of it mother:
And a woman's last child, is the most beloved.

Although the poems are also not particularly good, they do show an educated mind, trained — in the Medieval fashion just being shed in England at the time of her youth — to take examples from classical mythology.

The brief Viscount Bulbeck being the son of the renowned poet and playwright Edward de Vere, we might have hoped to have the text of the father’s own memorial poem.  As far as traditional literary history is concerned, no such poem has yet been discovered.

In Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609), published shortly after De Vere’s death, however, there is a sonnet that centuries of commentators have declared is about the “Fair Youth” of the sonnets and simultaneously exhibits a son/sun imagery.  It is generally said to be the first of a short series of 

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