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date: 20 November 2019

Samuel Daniel: New and Future Research

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses current research on the Elizabethan poet and historian Samuel Daniel (1562–1619) and looks at future archival and critical directions for work on him. It sets out details of Daniel’s life in Somerset and offers new evidence of his outlook as a man of letters and the income he made from writing. The connections between his work and that of Spenser, Jonson, and Shakespeare are considered, as is his relationship with elite patrons, including Sir Edward Dymoke, Lord Keeper Egerton, Baron Mountjoy, and Lady Anne Clifford. The article examines the considerable reputation Daniel had at court and at Oxford and closes with a discussion of his ideas about civilized life.

Keywords: Samuel Daniel, Spenser, Jonson, Shakespeare, man of letters, publishing, speech, poetry, rhetoric, civility

Readers coming to this article on the poet and historian Samuel Daniel are likely to be in one of two camps: those who know only a little about his writing and why it might be interesting and important, and those who, by contrast, are familiar with his life and work but want to know what new strands of primary research there are and what changes in critical thinking are needed. With this in mind, the discussion begins with an overview titled “What Matters about Daniel’s Writing.” Following this are two micro-historical studies, “Writing and Money” and “Writing and Conversation,” built on very recent archival findings. These studies deal with money, patronage, and the social art and benefits of conversation, but what of the life of the mind and the role of the writer in the world? The article concludes by comparing Daniel with Jonson in terms of their differing notions of civility and audiences.

What Matters about Daniel’s Writing: An Overview

Samuel Daniel speaks to us from that delicate but robust part of late Elizabethan culture that is most hidden from the modern mind. He is a poet of quiet elegance and subtle tonalities and effects, akin to the qualities in the refined and brilliant musical pieces and songs composed by his younger brother, the famous lute and song composer, John Danyel (1564?–1625). He is intellectual and bookish—more like a don than the minor courtier he was obliged to become—and he is reserved. Daniel is not always sure of himself, but when he is uncertain he makes no attempt to conceal his mixed feelings and thoughts with clever writing and grand phrases. He had perhaps the best historical mind of his generation (modern historians praise very highly his histories in prose and verse),1 and most unusual of all, he had deep sympathies with women, or more accurately, with the predicament of women at the top of the social tree. His elite women patrons were generally much smarter and less selfish than their aristocratic husbands, but they were completely dependent on them for status and money, and their men often treated them dreadfully; sometimes the men (earls, barons) were simply duds, and their wives had to put up with them. Daniel framed their situation in several of his later verse letters—consoling and encouraging—and he found ways to create for them in his writing the sensibility of restraint and confinement that was their lot. It is no surprise that one of his most successful portrayals of a woman suffering, in his 1594 closet drama, The Tragedy of Cleopatra, was of Cleopatra after Antony’s death, when she was determined to elude the victor Octavius by committing suicide but was irresolute and kept putting it off, frantic with fear that he would have her children murdered.

Daniel was born in 1562 in the deeply rural county of Somerset, in an area south of Bath. His start in life was not as high as Francis Bacon’s (b. 1561) or as humble as Marlowe’s (the son of a cobbler; b. 1564). He was most likely the son of a music teacher, but he went to Oxford—which gave him the rank of gentleman—at around the time one might have expected Shakespeare, born in 1564, to be there also (though he wasn’t). Daniel’s first patron was a super rich knight, Sir Edward Dymoke, whose home was in Lincolnshire, another provincial, unmetropolitan county, far from the swank and bustle and sophistication of London. We shall see later that this was to be the pattern for the rest of Daniel’s life: his choosing to be a provincial and to live most of the year, other than when he had service to do at court, close to the country, away from the London streets and the big expensive city houses along the Thames owned by the nobility, and away from the “glittering Faire” (i.e., beautiful women, but by “glittering” he meant fake or insincere).2 In this Daniel is remarkably unlike his contemporaries. Most educated upmarket Elizabethans did their utmost to get away from the country whenever they could—to them, it was tedious and full of poor people, village idiots, and dirty lanes—and they found nothing to recommend the solitariness and seclusion that Daniel valued. This aspect of Daniel’s outlook, a poet fleeing the city and court and the centers of power to recover his deeper self, connects him back to the medieval genius, Petrarch, and forward to Wordsworth, the genius of the romantic age (Wordsworth’s debts to Daniel are in fact considerable).3

The Elizabethan genius who most connected himself to Daniel, through books but perhaps in person as well, was of course Shakespeare. One measure of Daniel’s quality and importance as a writer is the assiduousness with which Shakespeare followed and drew freely on his every publication. He responded quickly to Daniel’s 1592 Complaint of Rosamond (a poem about the seduction and murder of Henry II’s mistress) with the narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. In 1595, within weeks of Daniel’s publishing the first installment of his heroic poem The Civil Wars, which deals with Bolingbroke’s usurpation of the crown, Shakespeare had lifted material from it for his tragedy Richard II, particularly the moving encounter of Richard as a captive meeting his queen Isabella (5.1), an incident Daniel had invented. Shakespeare’s debt to Delia, Daniel’s sonnet sequence, is more complex. Daniel introduced English readers to the idea that poetry might immortalize a beloved lady. “Thou maist in after ages liue esteem’d,” he tells Delia (Sonnet 36, Sprague ed., p. 28):

  • Vnburied in these lines reseru’d in purenes;
  • These shall intombe those eyes, that haue redeem’d
  • Mee from the vulgar, thee from all obscurenes.

His writing, Daniel claims, frees her and him from burial and impurity and the common fate and commonness of everyone else. Quite a few contemporary writers tried to say similar things, but most ended up missing the mark because they lacked the sensibility that Daniel had created, the sense that the lines of verse themselves were pure and perfectly paced (“choice” is the praise word that Elizabethans used of Daniel).4 Now and again Daniel can rise even higher, as when he tells Delia, who has wronged him, that he will forgive her (Sonnet 38, Sprague ed., 29):

  • Stretch out the fairest hand a pledge of peace,
  • That hand that dartes so right, and neuer misses:
  • Ile not reuenge olde wrongs, my wrath shall cease;
  • For that which gaue me woundes, Ile giue it kisses.

Only Shakespeare can cap this, but when he does (e.g., in Sonnet 58), it is within the emotional and aesthetic space that Daniel had given good shape to in poetry of this kind:

  • Oh let me suffer (being at your beck)
  • Th’imprison’d absence of your libertie,
  • And patience tame, to sufferance bide each check,
  • Without accusing you of injury.

But it would be deeply unfair to leave Daniel in Shakespeare’s wake. There is no other Elizabethan writer who has quite Daniel’s range: an inventive poet in most of the genres (satire excepted); a top-class historian of medieval England, both in prose and verse; a translator; a literary critic (he wrote the extraordinary essay A Defence of Rhyme); a dramatist who drew on the best continental models (for tragicomedy, the Italians Tasso and Guarini, and for tragedy, the French Senecan neo-Stoics); and a literary artist who made something important out of the lives and outlook of the English Protestant upper-class people he lived among and served. He really did give them what he said he would: a second life, rescued from “obscureness,” alive with some measure of fame within his writing.

And Daniel did something else, too. He turned his personal diffidence and unwillingness to be sure about everything into an unusual mode and a highly attractive style of thinking. Eventually this led to his major work, the long and profound colloquy poem Musophilus, published in 1599 (discussed below). He said his aim in this was to find out whether it was possible to “discourse” in a poem, an ambiguous word that included the idea of showing the mind in action, actually discoursing, ruminating, and associating one thought with another, “a speaking picture” or rather a picture of the mind thinking. The chief influence on him in this respect was Montaigne, whom he started reading in the French in the late 1580s but whose Essaies he knew very well from John Florio’s translation of them (ca. 1598–1600); the Anglophile Florio was his friend and tutor at Oxford. This is the area in which Daniel goes beyond even his achievements in history and epideictic poetry. It is still not yet properly accounted for and measured against Montaigne, but one may hope it will be in time.

For readers coming to Daniel anew, there is an unannotated but meticulous selection edited by Sprague (all sources discussed here are listed in the bibliography). This contains a wide range of Daniel’s shorter poems, including Musophilus; the quotations from Daniel in this article are from the Sprague edition unless otherwise noted. A recent and well-annotated selection, though out of print at present, is by Hiller and Grove. The standard book on Daniel is by Joan Rees; in this article, information about Daniel’s life is from Rees unless otherwise noted. John Pitcher is presently writing a literary biography of Daniel and completing the multivolume Oxford edition of his poems and plays. There are short surveys devoted to Daniel in various literary encyclopedias and handbooks; a reliable one is by Bart van Es. More specialized research and critical pieces are referenced in the footnotes.

Two Microstudies

Critics and biographers often talk about modes of writing, influence, and so forth, without saying much about how these translated into the day-to-day life of a writer and those around him. For earlier literary periods, this is often because there is so little archival evidence to help flesh out the bigger ideas. But in the case of Daniel, recent findings in the archive allow us to compare the facts of his life with what he says about being a writer. In the first of these microstudies I examine the money Daniel made from his poetry and history and his outlook as a man of letters. In particular, I look at the new insights Daniel can give us into early modern publishing. In the second microstudy I consider how Daniel’s sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the art of conversation fed into his writing and emerged from it, and what this meant for his own social status and his poetry. These are the first of a number of similar archival studies of Daniel I shall publish, which should help us understand more about what writing and patronage actually meant for writers at this date. This is part of the larger topic that McCabe has surveyed recently (his book has a chapter devoted to Daniel).

Writing and Money

C. S. Lewis said of Daniel that he was the most interesting man of letters that England produced in the sixteenth century.5 He might have added, with justice, that Daniel was in fact the first man of letters in the Tudor century, if by this we mean someone for whom the study of literature and history was the center of his life, and who made his living by writing, some of which was published in books. Spenser wrote the most important poems of the age, but in his day job he was a state official and colonizer in Ireland. Raleigh was an explorer and man of counsel at court, Sidney a soldier and a great man in the making, Donne a personal secretary who tried everything else before he finally entered the church. Others were courtiers, schoolmasters, parsons, lawyers, dons, and sometimes just gentlemen or moneyed hangers-on. For most elite and middling men, writing was a sideline squeezed into their day-to-day lives.

It is rightly said that in early modern England it was impossible to be a full-time “professional” writer; the print runs for books were very small, even for Bibles and religious books, and there weren’t large enough numbers of book buyers. Moreover, what profit there was went to the London stationers (the monopoly of booksellers-publishers) rather than writers, for whom there was no copyright protection until the beginning of the eighteenth century. Writing for the pubic stage might pay off for a few authors, but only if they were impresarios and actors as well (most obviously, Shakespeare). Tudor writers—full-time “writers” in the modern sense of the word—could only make ends meet if they had patrons, who might give them money and bed and board and perhaps pay their book bills and stump up for a trip or two. Daniel enjoyed this sort of patronage himself for several years in the 1580s, when he left Oxford to join Sir Edward Dymoke in Scrivelsby Court, the Dymoke baronial home in east Lincolnshire. (There is more about Dymoke’s support of Daniel below.)

In the 1599 debate poem Musophilus, his masterpiece, Daniel presents himself as many kinds of man: a man of ideas and counsel, a man who understands the recent and distant past (the destructiveness of the Reformation and dissolution, as well as the implausible myths about Stonehenge) and who because of this is able to see into the future (how the English language and nation might be on the brink of new and unexpected greatness in the “vnformed Occident,” i.e., the New World). Above all, though, Daniel shows himself as a man of letters. He writes about the snobbishness there is toward reading translations, why the universities are beleaguered and irresolute, and how the contemplative life and reading lots of books may make someone unfit for public office, or action of any kind. He takes the long view on English literature, with Chaucer at the font, and he is certain there are two geniuses in his own age, Sidney and Spenser—who despite their excellence are not read enough by enough people and are even scorned by some. Poetry, and here the debt to Sidney’s Defence of Poetry is clearest, is what allows readers “communion” with generations of the dead, what they did and who they were.

The poem’s mix of views and arguments is distributed between the two opposing speakers in the colloquy, Musophilus (literally, “lover of the muses”) and Philocosmus (“lover of the world”), but the mind presiding over their debate—a mind that is itself divided and unsettled—is Daniel’s own. What is strange is that in the poem his mind is not just intellectually free, striving to be free of prejudice and vanity, but it also claims to be socially free and not dependent on patrons. This is impossible of course, for the reasons given above (there was no money in writing books at this date), but Daniel persists, implicitly and often directly, with the idea that his unconstrained thinking comes somehow from his not being fettered by the patronage system. He is able to think how he wishes because it is to his conscience and judgment that he has to answer, and he is not tied to any patron’s purse strings. This seems almost delusional, and indeed this is what Philocosmus suggests, along with the other illusions connected to it. How, Philocosmus asks, can there be fame in writing in a language that no one but the English speak, on a small offshore island on the edge of Europe? It is like being a parrot in a cage. (We should recall that this was 1599, more than a hundred years before English became an international language.) And what is the point of being out of step with the world, Philocosmus adds, trying to win the “breath” of praise, if you end up burying yourself in “th’obscure graue of singularitie”? Worst of all, “hauing done the vttermost he can,” a “self-abusing” writer may leave (Sprague ed., p. 70, lines 47–49)

  •          but beggerie to his heir;
  • Al that great purchase of the breath he wan,
  • Feeds not his race, or makes his house more faire.

Daniel’s response, through Musophilus, is that he was born to this life of thought and letters; he must pursue it—this “is my Scene, this part must I fulfill.” Penury may come from it, and perhaps no one will read or listen to him, but he refuses to be what others are, hirelings who “set t’a vulgar ayre their seruile song” (he was chiefly thinking of men writing for the public stage).

There is something particularly brave about Daniel’s illusions and his outlook on writing and money, which appears to have drawn patrons to him rather than put them off. The question this raises, though, is just how difficult Daniel’s financial circumstances were. Was he reasonably well provided for, in comparison with other men of his rank and status? In Musophilus when he talks about poverty—in whatever light he portrays her, he says, “she looks but ill”—is he thinking of his own condition, or that of the rural poor and destitute in Somerset, or that of the underfed underclass in London, in the period of harvest failure, famine, and inflation that the historian Patrick Collinson dubbed “the nasty nineties”?

Recent findings in various archives allow us, for the first time, some insight into Daniel’s financial situation and personal standing. The first solid evidence, noticed by John Bossy, in a letter written in Italian in November 1585 by Daniel’s patron, Sir Edward Dymoke, to Michel de Castelnau, Sieur de la Mauvissière (ca. 1520–1592), French ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I until September 1585. In the letter, which Daniel took to Mauvissière in Paris, Dymoke introduced the bearer as a “servant of mine from my household called Samuel Daniel, who is coming to France to study” (“l’apportator della presente mio domestico seruitore nomato Samuele Daniele, il quale se ne viene in francia per istudiare”).6 Daniel was in Paris for nine months, living in the English embassy, from which in March and May 1586 he wrote a couple of letters to Sir Francis Walsingham on a speculative basis, fishing for a job or some kind of recognition. He arrived back in England in September, carrying letters for Walsingham for which he was paid £13.6s.8d, a standard fee with travel costs.

Dymoke must have paid for Daniel’s ten months in Paris, at least in part. He had evidently taken him on straight from Oxford in 1584 as a protégé, a gifted linguist and companion, rather than, say, an ordinary secretary or tutor—Dymoke had no children in the 1580s, when Daniel was with him—and he covered the trip and expenses in France (perhaps Daniel boarded free in the embassy). The story may be a bit more complicated, though, because less than two years later, in May 1588, not long before the Armada crisis, Dymoke together with Daniel borrowed £200 from a London moneylender, Christopher Corey.7 Dymoke was cash poor, but immensely rich in land and assets, so he often borrowed from money brokers at high rates (he was notorious for not paying back on time and not without a fight in the law courts). Daniel, who acted as surety for the loan, was described in the recognizance as “Generosus,” that is, a gentleman. The moneylender Corey believed Daniel was of sufficient standing for his reputation to be damaged if he had to be pursued through the courts, should Dymoke default on a collateral loan of £100; otherwise there was no point in the surety. This also reminds us of what Anthony Wood said of Daniel, that he was from a wealthy family in Somerset—unproven so far, but not impossible.8

There is no sign in the archive of what the £200 loan was for, but we can guess. It is the sort of amount Dymoke and Daniel would need if they were financing a trip together to the Continent, not just to Paris this time but across the Alps and into northern Italy. The two of them were certainly together in Padua in 1590 or 1591, where they met the poet Guarini, and there may have been visits at other times. In the early summer of 1591, for instance, Daniel crossed the Alps, probably coming north out of Italy through Augusta (Ausberg in Bavaria), when he was traveling not with Dymoke but with a Swiss nobleman and a group of young Englishmen.9 The picture that emerges is of Daniel visiting Italy on several occasions and staying there for different lengths of time, with Dymoke or by himself. We must conclude that Dymoke paid much of the cost of these trips.

Daniel’s public life as a writer began in 1592 and lasted until his death in 1619. The archive hasn’t yielded much about the earlier period, up to the accession in 1603. We do know that around 1602 Sir Thomas Egerton helped Daniel in some undefined way—either with money or somewhere to live—enabling him to be with his brother, John Danyel. In the letter of thanks he wrote to Egerton, he said he was constrained to live with children (he means teach them) when what he wanted was to devote himself to writing.10 One child he had to teach was the famous Lady Anne Clifford, daughter of his patron, Margaret, Countess of Cumberland. Lady Cumberland was very short of money herself at this time, because of an unpleasant separation from her husband,11 and it sounds as though Daniel didn’t get much pay for a job that he didn’t really want in the first place—most likely because the patron who might have helped him out, Lord Mountjoy, was away in charge of the English army fighting in Ireland. But again the story is more complicated than it looks at first. To date there is no direct evidence of what Daniel’s income was in the four or five years immediately before the accession, but we now have, thanks to recent discoveries by the social historian John Gaisford, a clearer picture of where Daniel lived and what it cost him to live there, and from this an overall sense of his financial and social standing.

What Gaisford has found are two lists of men, gentry and middling sort, who were living in the parish of Beckington in Somerset in the late 1590s, some of them in the small hamlet of Rudge, where Daniel lived subsequently. The men were assessed in 1598 and 1599 for their tax liability under the first two of three subsidies granted to the Crown by the House of Commons in 1597, to be raised in successive years. (A third list, for 1600, has survived but is so damaged as to be unreadable.) The last entry in the 1598 list of eighteen residents was “Samuel Danyell generosus” (i.e., a gentleman), who was assessed as being worth “in bonis,” or goods, £3 per year, and required to pay 8s in tax. This was a modest sum. The two wealthiest men in Beckington, Robert Webb and Thomas Long, at the head of the list, were assessed at £10 a year “in terra” or lands and charged £2 tax, while seven lesser men were assessed at £1 in lands and charged just 4s each.

In 1599 an assessment was compiled for the second subsidy, and Daniel once again was charged 8s in tax. But in this list there was a notable change. Whereas in 1598 his name had appeared last, in 1599 his name appears in third place. Once more he is recorded as “generosus,” but this time he is assessed differently, as worth £2 “in terra,” that is, in lands or the property he lived on. He replaced another man on this list—who was assessed at £2 in 1598 but who does not appear in the 1599 assessment—so Daniel may have moved house within Rudge, or from Beckington to Rudge. It is equally likely, however, that in 1598 he had only recently settled in the place (and was thus last on the list), but in 1599, as a man of importance, he was accorded due precedence in the parish and ranked behind only the wealthiest inhabitants, Webb and Long.12

Another possibility is that Daniel lived in Rudge for the final twenty years or more of his life, in these modest circumstances, always in the same house, “my pore home” as he described it in 1605. He certainly died in Rudge in 1619 and was buried in the local church in Beckington. Undoubtedly he spent extended intervals with patrons such as Mountjoy and the Countess of Cumberland, and in later life he is said to have regularly spent intervals in London, very likely in the “garden house” of his publisher and lifelong friend, Simon Waterson, perhaps while technically at court in the service of Queen Anne. But Rudge, small and quiet (perhaps fewer than twenty households), may well have been home for him in all his successes and defeats. If so, Daniel chose to live his life in the “humble shadows of obscurity,”13 not because he didn’t have enough income to live any higher, but because he actually wanted to spend most of his life in the country among the middling sort and a few of their betters, living a slowly changing provincial life not unlike that of the people in, say, Jane Austen’s fictional places in Pride and Prejudice, with the Bennet gentlefolk in Longbourn in Hertfordshire or the small-town sort in Lambton in Derbyshire, where Mrs Gardiner was brought up.

After the accession of King James, payments to Daniel are noted more frequently, largely because most of them were paid out of the royal exchequer. We do have a few one-off payments from outside the court. In September 1603, for instance, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, paid £4 to Daniel and his brother John for a small entertainment they presented to the king and queen at one of the Seymour country homes, Tottenham Park in Savernake Forest in Wiltshire.14 And Daniel must certainly have received other monies, some of them substantial, even where there is no record of the payment. A recent discovery among papers at Christ Church Oxford shows that the Canons (the college’s governing body) accorded Daniel a special honor in 1605, soon after his tragicomedy Arcadia Reformed had been acted in the College Hall for Queen Anne and her son, Prince Henry (the nature of the honor, which turned into something official a few years later, is considered below). The play was acted twice in Christ Church before the royal performance in the Hall—a rehearsal and a town and gown performance—and Daniel stayed in Oxford for several weeks, managing the production and putting the final touches to it. What Christ Church or the University (or both) paid Daniel for writing it is not known, but it cannot have been much less than the £40 he received for writing and managing aspects of the court masque The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, played at Hampton Court in January 1604. Queen Anne commissioned the masque, so we know what it cost because the disbursements, including Daniel’s pay, went through her official accounts.15

On this reckoning, Daniel earned at least £40 in 1604 and the same again in 1605. In 1606 or 1607 he was made a groom of the Queen’s Privy Chamber, a position he held until the Queen died in 1619. In this he was following his friend and mentor, John Florio, who was appointed as groom in 1604. Daniel’s stipend was set at £60 per annum, as Florio’s was, though Florio was probably more at the beck and call of the Queen because he lived in London all the year round. A regular salary of £60, with the circumstances and costs Daniel had in Rudge, would have made for a comfortable quiet life—except that he, like Florio, never received his full pay. At the Queen’s death they both asked for the salary they were due, unpaid in Daniel’s case for at least eight of the previous twelve years. Against this one must add in the (untraced) payments he would receive in 1610 for writing Prince Henry’s investiture court masque, Tethys’ Festival, and in 1614 another tragicomedy, Hymen’s Triumph, played at the queen’s new palace, Denmark House.16 We might compare the £60 with the smaller one-off rewards of £40—the sum he was given in 1618, as we shall see, for his pains and costs in writing and publishing his folio Collection of the History of England. Perhaps it was arranged from the start that his duties as groom were chiefly as a writer (revealingly, in 1615 his salary as groom was paid, along with expenses—that is, in the year immediately following the 1614 performance of Hymen’s Triumph).17

There were other unscheduled, smaller payments and additional reimbursement of expenses—such as £10 from Prince Henry in 1609 and £10 (or possibly £20) from the queen in 1606—which were most likely rewards for extra duties or ex gratia amounts to tide him over.18

Daniel had other sources of income outside the court, but the amounts and how long he had them are not always clear to us (e.g., he had a legal fight over one amount in 1609, the final outcome of which is unknown). Taken as a whole, however, his financial position was as sound as, and indeed probably much healthier than, any other professional writer’s at that date, with the exception perhaps of Shakespeare. Yet it seems Daniel was constantly in need of money. There is not space here to do any more than suggest the chief reason for this: that throughout his forties and fifties he was supporting his brother John, and conceivably other members of his family who lived in the areas around Rudge and Beckington. (Daniel had no children and was widowed shortly before his own death. He left bequests of £10 to each of his sisters and nephews and nieces, putting the rest of his estate in his brother’s hands.)

This notion of Daniel’s helping his family bears on the one part of his writing that we know did make him money, later in life: that is, his 1612 and 1618 prose histories of medieval English kings. He started writing the history in 1608, with the first section being a history of the Norman Conquest. He continued into the reigns of William II, Henry I, and Stephen, circulating manuscripts of the expanded history to the likes of Camden and Cotton. In 1611 he gave a manuscript of it, with further revisions, to the stationer-printer Nicholas Okes, with the idea—and this is astonishing—of publishing the printed book himself. Later on he claimed he had had the book printed privately for just a few of his friends, but the print run was more than two hundred copies. The move would have been a commercial and legal innovation, if he had got away with it, and audacious because the London Stationers had the cherished monopoly on the publication of books. In effect Daniel was asserting a right, against the Stationers, to own and profit from the sales of what he had written.

The printer Okes saw an opportunity in this and entered the book in the Stationers’ Register as his (the normal and correct procedure to register ownership). At this point Daniel’s publisher and friend Simon Waterson intervened, and the Okes entry was canceled. The book was re-entered to Waterson, with a slightly different title, and published in 1612. Behind the scenes a deal was struck whereby the Stationers’ Company bought the two hundred copies from Daniel for £20 (i.e., they paid him two shillings per book wholesale) and with that his agreement that the company had the rights over any future version of the book as he continued to add to it.19

And add to it he did. By 1617 the history was three times larger than in 1612, and it took in the reigns up to and including Edward III. There had been a further change in Daniel’s thinking about original sources too, and his new plan—yet another innovation—was to publish the history in two volumes, the first The Collection of the History (i.e., his narrative) and the second An Appendix, texts printed from the manuscripts and primary materials (e.g., charters) that he had consulted. Points in the narrative, marked in the margins, were to be keyed to the sources in the Appendix. The two volumes would be matching folios, so the outlay in paper and printing would be substantial.

The 1612 agreement with the Stationers should have meant that it was the company that would publish the two volumes (presumably as part of the English Stock), but Daniel found a way around this. In March 1618 the King, at the request of Queen Anne, granted Daniel a Royal Privilege for the two volumes for a period of ten years, with hefty penalties for any infringement.20 This was an exceptional grant, almost without precedent, but the Queen helped Daniel even more with a large one-off payment. In May 1618 he received £40 from her “towards his chardgs of the printinge of his History of England,” noted in the same royal account as his annual stipend as groom, which he did receive for that year.21 Not surprisingly, Daniel dedicated the history to her.

The second volume, An Appendix, was never printed, though a manuscript of it has survived.22 Daniel was probably too ill to complete the original plan, so only The Collection, the narrative volume, appeared. Manufacture and materials, if we assume a large print run of 750 copies, cost around £40, the amount the Queen gave him. But what was the income from the sale of the single-volume Collection? Surviving copies suggest that the book sold for more than 3 shillings, which, if the print run was indeed 750, would have generated a gross sum of around £112 (excluding sums for binding, distribution, and selling charges to booksellers). The 1618 edition was reprinted in 1621 and again in 1626, so there may have been more than two thousand copies printed before the Privilege expired in 1628—which may have brought in a total of £300 or more, perhaps selling up to 250 copies in a single year. (Waterson took over the book as his, probably after John Danyel’s death in 1625; he certainly sold the 1626 reprint as his, and at his death in 1634 it was among the stock and books he had rights in, which passed to his son John.)

These sales figures may not be exactly right, but they are surely of the right magnitude. Daniel himself never got much of this money—he died less than eighteen months after the book was published—but that may well be what he intended. His financial success as a man of letters, which came to him so late, was meant for his family above all.

Writing and Conversation

“Mr Wordsworth strikingly resembles Samuel Daniel”; this is the key phrase in the paragraph Coleridge wrote about Daniel in 1818 in chapter 22 of the Biographia Literaria:

Mr. Wordsworth strikingly resembles Samuel Daniel, one of the golden writers of our golden Elizabethan age, now most causelessly neglected: Samuel Daniel, whose diction bears no mark of time, no distinction of age which has been, and as long as our language shall last, will be so far the language of the to-day and for ever, as that it is more intelligible to us, than the transitory fashions of our own particular age. A similar praise is due to his sentiments. No frequency of perusal can deprive them of their freshness. For though they are brought into the full day-light of every reader’s comprehension; yet are they drawn up from depths which few in any age are privileged to visit, into which few in any age have courage or inclination to descend.

This is the highest praise Daniel has ever received, though Wordsworth himself saw the deep connections he had with Daniel and thought a great deal of him, as recent criticism has shown.23 Nonetheless, despite this heavyweight support, Daniel remains, at least in terms of diction and language, “causelessly neglected.” A few current poet-critics have emphasized just how tough-minded yet subtle a writer he was,24 but his distinctive way of writing, and what underpins it, has still not been given full critical attention.

However, certain modern scholars have filled out the picture about Daniel’s being (in the phrase a contemporary used of him) “well-languaged” in respect of his style and technique, and in an important essay on the general subject Anthony LaBranche has advanced an innovative way of reading Daniel’s rhetoric. His writing does not proceed in the usual way, LaBranche argues. Daniel does not put forward an argument and then try to persuade readers to agree with him, where the emphasis is all on persuasion; rather he represents to them his mental processes (through imagery, additive wordplay, relative clauses, and loose-jointed syntax): his actual thinking about the argument, switching from one thought to another, going over the distinctions between his thoughts, backing up, amplifying, qualifying, taking exceptions on board as they come to mind, extending the thinking into areas that didn’t seem germane initially but that become connected through association, conjunction, and juxtaposition.25

Modern critics have not capitalized on LaBranche’s insights or responded to his suggestion that in Daniel’s writing the “speaker appears so consistently concerned” with “thinking as a valid mode of action” that we have “the illusion of a close intellectual companionship with him, a familiarity with his ‘thinking’ presence.” In Daniel the thinking is dramatized, according to LaBranche, or at least semi-realized, taking shape before us as we read. We witness him actually drawing from depths within himself, to put it in Coleridge’s terms.

For LaBranche, Daniel the writer is noticeably a speaker. The analogy between writing and speaking is part of an ancient commonplace—painting is mute poetry, poetry a speaking picture—which Daniel invokes in many places in his writing. The words, the written poetry, that “thou scornest now,” Musophilus tells Philocosmus,

  • May liue, the speaking picture of the mind,
  • The extract of the soule that laboured how
  • To leaue the image of her selfe behind.

Elsewhere Musophilus says that poetry is the “speech of heauen” and poets “with more then humane skils conuerse.”26 Consequently LaBranche is concerned, as a literary critic, with the “voice” in Daniel’s poems, and in his account he appears to treat Daniel’s speaking as simultaneous or even identical with his writing.

Perhaps Daniel did sometimes think that speech, conversation, eloquence, and written literary language were, on a theoretical level, one and the same—all part of the continuous flow of “discourse” that in Musophilus he implies ought to happen among a courtly and intellectual community. But in practical terms, Daniel knew that conversation was a distinct and separable art that a courtier and man of letters must cultivate. Indeed, there is clear evidence, recently added to, that Daniel had a high reputation for conversation, overlooked for a long time because of his reputation for diffidence, reserve, and a lack of trust in himself. His Restoration biographers knew better. Thomas Fuller, who had spoken to some of Daniel’s surviving acquaintances, wrote in 1662 that the poet “would lye hid at his Garden-house in Oldstreet, nigh London, for some Months together (the more retiredly to enjoy the Company of the Muses), and then would appear in publick, to converse with his Friends, whereof Dr. Cowel, and Mr. Camden were principal.” Anthony Wood in 1692 went further up the social scale. Queen Anne, he said, was the “favourer and encourager” of Daniel’s poetry, and she also “many times delighted with his conversation, not only in private, but in publick.”27

In Daniel’s lifetime even a gentry nobody like John Ramsey, trying to do whatever was fashionable, listed the poet Daniel in his notebook as one of the London “Personages” he should converse with.28 There are instances too from Daniel’s life, such as the daylong meeting—he calls it a “conference”—he had with Lady Anne Clifford and her mother, Lady Cumberland, in their London home in May 1608, when he was trying to persuade them to accept one of the Seymour heirs as a suitable husband for Lady Anne. He didn’t succeed, but they were evidently pleased with what he had to say and how he said it.29 And we can even get some idea of what Daniel thought the model for elite male conversation should be from his account in the Funeral Poem of how his patron and friend, Lord Mountjoy, conducted himself. Mountjoy was a doer rather than a talker, yet when “moved in priuate talk to speake,” he proved he knew “what euer wit could say”—demonstrating, as the Italian books on elite conduct insisted, that courtiers of all ranks must prepare for conversation by lifelong reading and maintain their readiness to speak.30

Even more compelling is the testimony of the dons at Christ Church in Oxford. When the King visited the University in late August 1605 with the Queen and Prince Henry, the Hall in Christ Church was fitted with a new theater (designed by Inigo Jones) so that several new Latin plays could be performed for him, acted by undergraduates. There were three evenings of Latin tragedies and comedies, followed on the fourth and final day (August 30) by a midday performance of Daniel’s new tragicomedy, Arcadia Reformed, played in the Hall specifically for the queen and prince and their entourage, while the K ing visited the new University Library, founded by Sir Thomas Bodley. (Daniel’s play was published in 1606 in a quarto edition as The Queen’s Arcadia.)

The King was bored and irritated by some of the Latin plays, but Arcadia Reformed was a great success with the Queen and the court audience, so much so that Isaac Wake, the University’s public orator, wrote of it that it “is difficult to say which was the greater glory: that of the action or that of the verse. It is not difficult to judge, however, how much it captivated the ears of all” (“Arduum dicere, Actionis major gloria, an Poeseos. Quantum autem omnium aures fascinaverit, non arduum iudicare”).31 Arcadia Reformed was closely associated with Christ Church—there were two performances of it prior to the one in the Hall before the Queen—so it is no surprise that the college showed its gratitude to Daniel. The surprise is in what exactly he was thanked for and the honor it bestowed on him.

The archive at Christ Church tells us what this was. On August 27, 1611, six years after the performances, it was decreed by the dean and chapter that

Samuell Danyell should be established in a benefite of taking his dyet at the Canons table graunted vnto him sixe yeares sithens, & that he should have it vnder the Seale of the Chapiter.32

It is evident from this that in 1605 the Christ Church governing body, the Canons, had granted Daniel the right to dine with them, an informal arrangement that the 1611 decree made formal, for the duration of Daniel’s life, under the college’s seal and set out in a patent. In the register of the dean and chapter, in boilerplate Latin wording of the kind in use since the late Middle Ages, the patent declared that the

Dean and Chapter, in consideration of certain good and liberal service done us by our beloved in Christ, Samuel Daniel gentleman—the excellence of which we cannot forget was of great use and honour not only to our Church but to all the great Academy—not having any honorary reward with which we could think we might repay a man deserving so much from us, and wishing in our hearts that this gentleman be entwined as much with us, as a familiar friend and fellow on account of the charm of his wit by which we are much delighted, with our unanimous assent and consent, we have given, granted, and by this our present writing on behalf of ourselves and our successors confirmed to the same Samuel Daniel, whenever he comes to the aforementioned Cathedral Church and stays there, the right of eating and drinking together with the canons or prebendaries of the aforementioned Church in the hall of the aforementioned Cathedral Church and that gratis and at no cost, to the end and for the term of the natural life of Samuel Daniel.33

In sum, this granted Daniel the highest honor that Christ Church could confer on an outsider at this date: the equivalent of a modern honorary fellowship.

The patent describes Daniel as “a familiar friend and fellow on account of the charm of his wit by which we are much delighted.” When the Christ Church canon and antiquarian scholar Thomas Tanner read this a century later, he took it to mean that the Canons by “grant under their Common Seal and of regard for the learning wit and good conversation of Sam. Daniel Gent. gave him leave to eat and drink at the Canons Table whenever he thought fit to come.”34 The Oxford dons wanted to see Daniel at High Table because of his “learning wit and good conversation,” the attributes that Camden, Queen Anne, and others among the elite valued in his company.

We may wonder what Daniel’s conversation was really like. His poetry was praised by contemporaries for its pithiness and exactness and his prose for its clarity and brevity, so he would not have wasted words. He was probably very dry, and it would be easy to miss the subtlety of what he was saying unless one paid full attention. The laconic dryness often surfaces in the writing, in odd places sometimes. In his 1604 Hampton Court masque The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, the character Somnus agrees to make the dreams that his mother Night has asked for and to provide a conscious dream as well (i.e., The Vision or the masque itself). Somnus promises that her waking dreams

  • t’interpret Dreames will make,
  • As waking curiositie is woont,
  • Though better dreame a sleep then dreame awake.35

That last phrase—better dreame a sleep [than] dreame awake—is characteristic of Daniel’s understated irony. In his prose writings also we find many instances of the same pointed, serious, and astute manner. In his 1618 Collection of the History of England, of the Saxons’ lack of interest in building Daniel writes that they “seemed to care for no other monuments but of earth, and as borne in the field would build their fortunes onely there” (Collection, 8; emphasis added). And again, of Alphonsus, the king of Spain’s, ambitions to rule England, the king, “studious in the Mathematikes,” was “drawing Lines, when he should haue drawne out his purse” (Collection, 147; emphasis added).

A proper historical study of Daniel’s conversation needs discourse analysis of his writing and letters of the kind undertaken by Magnusson on Shakespeare and Elizabethan correspondence, and it must be set within the historical framework of English courtliness giving way to civility described by Bryson. Moreover, the value Daniel himself placed on conversation needs to be seen in the wider context of early modern ideas about conversation and personal conduct, as explained by Burke.36

This is technical work to be done by specialists and historians. From the angle of Daniel the writer and the action of “thinking,” LaBranche’s idea discussed above, there are two possibilities for further study. The first, the simpler, is the “social” one, that Daniel’s conversations—real ones, in private and in public, in someone’s London home or in a room at court—began or were carried over into or culminated in the verse letters he addressed to various members of Jacobean society, at different social layers (thus the poem to John Florio, prefacing Florio’s translation of Montaigne, as well as the verse epistles to Lucy, Countess of Bedford and to James Montague, Bishop of Winchester).

The second possibility is that conversation, or Daniel’s notion of what ideal conversation should be, influenced the form of his writing, his poems as much as his letters. Approaching the subject this way would extend the range of LaBranche’s argument, from thinking in the head to thinking on one’s feet and to thought processes as speech. The topics to consider include naturalness of effect; creating space for others and for other positions within what is said or disputed (i.e., an imagined dialogue); and emphasis on precision, quality, and uniformity of diction as a model for readers for how to think and speak in polite company. Relevant here is that comment by Coleridge that Daniel’s “diction bears no mark of time, no distinction of age which has been, and as long as our language shall last … the language of the to-day and for ever.”

What one might think about straightaway in this connection is the feature of Daniel’s writing that was remarked on by his contemporaries: his skill in delivering a great closing line or couplet. This is what his contemporary John Hoskyns meant by the term “acclamation,” which he describes as “a sententious clause of a discourse or report, such as Daniell in his poems concludes with perpetually” (emphasis added).37 Daniel’s writing, early and late, abounds with this device, which two examples must suffice to illustrate. The first is from the closing lines of The Tragedie of Cleopatra of 1594 (STC 6243.4, sig. [N8]r), spoken by the chorus of Egyptians:

  • Is greatnes of this sort,
  • That greatnes greatnes marres,
  • And wracks it selfe, selfe driuen
  • On Rocks of her owne might?
  • Doth Order order so
  • Disorders ouer-thro?

The second is from the end of his private letter to Robert, Earl of Somerset, after the earl’s fall and disgrace in 1616 following the Overbury murder. “Though you lost,” Daniel tells him, “it was but your way, not your self,”

and this preservation of your dignitie shewes your innocencie, for Nemo dignitati perditae parcit dilligentius viuit cui aliquid integri super est.38 Some men play an after game better then the first—it may be your fortune so to doe: howsoever, if a man fall greate, he lies greate, and all worthie spirits honor him (as the Religious doe ruinated Temples) as if he weare still standing.39

It is difficult to believe that the person who could write in this pointed, judicious way didn’t have just as much ease and resourcefulness of speech: knowing how to conclude a conversation with authority or sum up what needed to be said; being succinct, sculpted, and complete. Perhaps it was this in particular that the Christ Church dons had in mind when they referred to the charm of Daniel’s wit, by which they were so much delighted.

Daniel and Civilised Life

The neglect of Daniel that Coleridge remarked on has persisted to the present day. The microstudies in this article show that we know a great deal about him from different angles, much more now than was known fifty years ago when Joan Rees wrote the first modern biography. However, the chief difficulty is not one of information, but the questions to be asked. Daniel chose to write poetry and history for readers (of the elite and middling sort) who wanted to be informed rather than for spectators who wanted pleasurable shocks and entertainment. We will find nothing in Daniel of the speech manners and coarse vigor of the public stage: no innuendo, no jokes about sex, no rough and tumble and messed up genres, and none of the exciting street talk of Jonson’s plays, or for that matter of Donne’s verse satires, invigorated as they are by the language of the theater and its mixed audiences of upper and lower ranks.

Away from the theater, Daniel kept apart from Spenser, too. He was sure Spenser was a genius, but he had reservations about how Spenser had used Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, and he attempted his own more intellectual and less concupiscent versions of Tasso40 in part, one might argue, to comment on The Faerie Queene. It is not too much to say that Daniel speaks for the other side of Elizabethan civilized life, the more reflective, studious, and uncombative life, which stressed continuity and custom, and in which elite women might find a space that was not merely sexual. The twentieth century fell in love with that side of Elizabethan life that expressed itself in competition, literary swagger, and intelligence and in the worship and mythologizing of power (Marlowe, Donne, and Jonson). Daniel deserves a proper hearing, not just because of his own merits, but because he shows how deeply sensitive the Elizabethans could be to literary forms that weren’t aggressive or lubricious and to humane manners, including civil conversation.

The contrast between these two versions of life became clear to Daniel himself at the end of the 1590s, after Spenser’s death. Many literary people at that point thought of Daniel as England’s leading living poet, who had a deep and incisive historical mind. For what it is worth, it seems that Shakespeare carried on reading and drawing on Daniel—so much so that when he saw Arcadia Reformed at Oxford in1605 (or read it in the 1606 edition), he looked up Daniel’s key sources for the play, passages in Montaigne’s Essays, and stored the very same ones in his mind for later use, in The Tempest as it turned out.41 It is difficult to be sure what exactly Shakespeare would have made of Daniel, but there can be no doubt at all what Ben Jonson thought. Jonson was still a newcomer—his first big hit, Every Man in His Humour, was performed in late summer 1598, with Shakespeare in the cast—but he very quickly pushed his way into court and literary circles, by networking, inventiveness, and more than a touch of cheek.

Daniel and Jonson were bound to collide. Jonson wanted Daniel’s patrons—in particular Lucy, Countess of Bedford—and he began to sneer at him at every opportunity. (Daniel was a “verser” not a poet, he said, and he claimed to have written an answer to Daniel’s Defence of Rhyme.) The last straw for Jonson was in 1603 when Lady Bedford asked Daniel rather than him to write the first big masque for the new court. Most modern literary histories explain what followed as a defeat for Daniel, outpaced by Jonson’s new super masques. Daniel’s attempt at the form, The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, was a failure, so the argument runs, and he wasn’t asked to write the masque for the 1604–1605 Christmas season, or for four or five years thereafter. It is true Daniel was taken aback at the grand claims Jonson made for masques—he himself remained skeptical about whether illusion and spectacle taught princes anything other than pride and extravagance—but the evidence above, of Arcadia Reformed at Oxford, contradicts the idea that his writing was somehow thought inadequate. Quite the opposite: in August 1605 Daniel’s standing as a writer at the court and university was at its zenith. He had mastered and put into English the most significant dramatic form of the day, Italian tragicomedy, and the Christ Church production was a triumph. (Daniel’s earlier work was also recognized too; a gift copy of his Works folio was presented to the Bodleian when the King visited the library on the morning when the Queen saw Arcadia Reformed in Christ Church Hall.)42

The dispute between Daniel and Jonson, which turned into a quarrel, lasted until Daniel’s death and beyond. (Jonson made his way into Oxford and Christ Church as Daniel was fading in 1619.) Some of their debate was personal—one of them was understated, quietly learned, and well behaved, the other highly original, flamboyant, gutsy, and mentally hyperactive—but what they were disagreeing about was the way the life of the mind should be lived, what its resources should be, and who should be able to live it (women? the middling sort? a select few?). It is arguable that Shakespeare too was caught up in their conflicting accounts of how sophisticated literary art might lead to a complete moral and civilized life. In this contested area, as in so many others, Daniel’s life, writing, and thought were of the first importance, and they deserve much renewed study and reflection.


Modern Editions of Daniel’s Works

“The Civil Wars” by Samuel Daniel. Edited by Laurence Michel. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1958.Find this resource:

“Hymen’s Triumph” by Samuel Daniel. Edited by John Pitcher. Oxford: Malone Society, Oxford University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Pitcher, John. Samuel Daniel: The Brotherton Manuscript. Leeds: University of Leeds, 1981.Find this resource:

Samuel Daniel: Poems and “A Defence of Ryme”. Edited by A. C. Sprague. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930.Find this resource:

Samuel Daniel: Selected Poetry and “A Defense of Rhyme”. Edited by Geoffrey G. Hiller and Peter Grove. Asheville, NC: Pegasus Press, 1998.Find this resource:

Svensson, Lars-Hakan. Silent Art Rhetorical and Thematic Patterns in Samuel Daniel’s “Delia”. Lund: CWK Gleerup, 1980.Find this resource:

Three Renaissance Pastorals: “Tasso”, “Guarini”, “Daniel”. Edited by Elizabeth Story Donno. Binghamton, NY, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1993.Find this resource:

“The Tragedy of Philotas” by Samuel Daniel. Edited by Laurence Michel. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1949.Find this resource:


Pitcher, John. “Samuel Daniel.” In New Oxford Dictionary of Biography 2004.Find this resource:

Rees, Joan. Samuel Daniel: A Critical Biography. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1964.Find this resource:

Articles on Daniel

Cadman, Daniel. “‘Th’Accession of These Mighty States’: Daniel’s Philotas and the Union of Crowns.” Renaissance Studies 26 (2012): 365–384.Find this resource:

Gazzard, Hugh, “‘Those Graue Presentments of Antiquitie’: Samuel Daniel’s Philotas and the Earl of Essex.” Review of English Studies 51 (2000): 423–450.Find this resource:

Gill, Stephen. “‘Meditative Morality’: Wordsworth and Samuel Daniel.” Review of English Studies 55 (2004): 565–582.Find this resource:

Godshalk, W. L. “Recent Studies in Samuel Daniel (1975–1990).” English Literary Renaissance 24 (1994): 489–502.Find this resource:

LaBranche, Anthony. “Samuel Daniel: A Voice of Thoughtfulness.” In The Rhetoric of Renaissance Poetry from Wyatt to Milton, edited by T. O. Sloan and R. B. Waddington, 123–139. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.Find this resource:

Lawrence, Jason. “Samuel Daniel’s The Complaint of Rosamond and the Arrival of Tasso’s Armida in England.” Renaissance Studies 25 (2011): 648–665.Find this resource:

Pitcher, John. “Negotiating a Marriage for Lady Anne Clifford: Samuel Daniel’s Advice.” Review of English Studies 64 (2013): 770–794.Find this resource:

Pitcher, John. “Samuel Daniel, the Hertfords, and a Question of Love.” Review of English Studies 35 (1984): 449–462.Find this resource:

Pitcher, John. “Samuel Daniel’s Letter to Sir Thomas Egerton.” Huntington Library Quarterly 47 (1984): 55–61.Find this resource:

Pitcher, John. “Samuel Daniel’s Masque The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses: Texts and Payments.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 26 (2013): 17–42.Find this resource:

Schlueter, June. “Samuel Daniel in Italy: New Documentary Evidence.” Huntington Library Quarterly 75 (2012): 283–290.Find this resource:

Stoll, Jessica. “Petrarch’s De Vita Solitaria: Samuel Daniel’s Translation c. 1610.” Modern Language Review 109 (2014): 313–332.Find this resource:

Van Es, Bart. “Samuel Daniel.” In The Oxford Encyclopaedia of British Literature, edited by David Scott Kastan, 1:106–109. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Woolf, D. R. “Community, Law and State: Samuel Daniel’s Historical Thought Revisited.” Journal of the History of Ideas 49 (1988): 61–83.Find this resource:

Wright, Gillian. “Samuel Daniel’s Use of Sources in The Civil Wars.” Studies in Philology 101 (2004): 59–87.Find this resource:

General Works

Bryson, Anna. From Courtesy to Civility. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Burke, Peter. The Art of Conversation. Ithaca NY, Cornell University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Lewalski, Barbara Kiefer. Writing Women in Jacobean England. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Lewis, C. S. English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954.Find this resource:

Magnusson, Lynne. Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.Find this resource:

McCabe, Richard A. “Ungainefull Arte”: Poetry, Patronage, and Print in the Early Modern Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:


(1) See, for example, D. R. Woolf, “Community, Law and State: Samuel Daniel’s Historical Thought Revisited,” Journal of the History of Ideas 49 (1988): 61–83.

(2) The Complaint of Rosamond. 1592 version (Sprague ed., 56, l. 520).

(3) See Jessica Stoll, “Petrarch’s De Vita Solitaria: Samuel Daniel’s Translation c. 1610,” Modern Language Review 109 (2014): 313–332; and Stephen Gill, “‘Meditative Morality’: Wordsworth and Samuel Daniel,” Review of English Studies 55 (2004): 565–582.

(4) Thomas Lodge, for example, in Wits miserie and the worlds madnesse, 1596 (STC 16677), I1r.

(5) C. S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, excluding Drama (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1954), 531: “Daniel can doubt and wrestle. It is no necessary quality in a poet, and Daniel’s thinking is not always poetical. But its result is that though Daniel is not one of our greatest poets, he is the most interesting man of letters whom that century produced in England.”

(6) Bibliothèque nationale de France, Cinq Cents Colbert 472, 175; noted in John Bossy, Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair (New Haven, CT: Yale Univerity Press 1991), 132.

(7) TNA (PRO) C54/1303, entry on the Close Roll (membrane not numbered) dated May 27, 1588, recording (1) a recognizance between Sir Edward Dymock and Daniel on the one part and the London scrivener and money-broker Christopher Corey (d. 1597) on the other, who lends £200, to be repaid by August 24, 1588; and (2) a “Condycyon” of the recognizance by which Dymoke and Corey bind themselves on May 25 to Thomas Pierson “of Westminster,” for £100, Pierson to be paid £51.13s.8d by September 29, 1588.

(8) Anthony Wood, Athenæ Oxoniensis and Fasti Oxoniensis, 2 vols. in 1 (Oxford, 1691–1692), ii.379–380.

(9) See June Schlueter, “Samuel Daniel in Italy: New Documentary Evidence,” Huntington Library Quarterly 75 (2012): 283–290.

(10) John Pitcher, “Samuel Daniel’s Letter to Sir Thomas Egerton,” Huntington Library Quarterly 47 (1984): 56.

(11) See John Pitcher, “Negotiating a Marriage for Lady Anne Clifford: Samuel Daniel’s Advice,” Review of English Studies, 64 (2013): 771–772.

(12) The Beckington subsidy lists are in TNA (PRO), E179/171/316 and E179/171/319. In a forthcoming article on Daniel in Somerset and Wiltshire, John Gaisford and John Pitcher consider the lists more fully.

(13) The phrase is from Daniel’s 1603 verse epistle to Lucy, Countess of Bedford (Sprague ed., 116, l.2).

(14) See John Pitcher, “Samuel Daniel, the Hertfords, and a Question of Love,” Review of English Studies 35 (1984): 459–460.

(15) John Pitcher, “Samuel Daniel’s Masque The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses: Texts and Payments,” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 26 (2013): 17–42.

(16) Hymen’s Triumph” by Samuel Daniel, ed. John Pitcher (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), v–xi.

(17) Payment noted in TNA (PRO) SC 6/JasI/1650.

(18) The 1609 payment from Prince Henry is noted in the accounts of Sir David Murray, Master of the Robes to the Prince, TNA (PRO) E 101/433/8, fol. 8v. Queen Anne’s gift in 1606 is recorded in the account kept by her vice chamberlain, Sir George Carew. British Library MS Add. 27404, fols. 31–41 (00).

(19) In 1613 the Stationers also published a reprint of the 1612 edition, STC 6247, and sold it as the Company’s.

(20) The text of the privilege, printed facing the title page of the Collection of the Historie of England, STC 6248, contains the warning: “Straightly forbidding any other to imprint or cause to be imprinted, to import, vtter or sell, or cause to be imported, vttered, or solde, the sayd Booke or Bookes, or any part thereof, within any of his Maiesties Dominions, vpon paine of his Maiesties high displeasure, and to forfeit Fiue pounds lawfull English Monie for euery such Booke or Bookes, or any part thereof, printed, imported, vttered, or solde, contrary to the meaning of this Priuiledge, besides the forfeiture of the sayd Booke, Books, &c. as more at large appeareth by his Maiesties sayd Letters Patents.”

(21) The payment to Daniel of £40 on May 9, 1618, is in the account book of her vice chamberlain, Sir George Carew, TNA (PRO) SC6/JasI/1655, fol. 29 (original unfoliated).

(22) See John Pitcher, Samuel Daniel: The Brotherton Manuscript (Leeds: University of Leeds, 1981), 178–188.

(23) See the Giil article referenced in n. 3.

(24) See, for example, Clive James’s remarks about Daniel in “The Necessary Minimum,” in Poetry Notebook 2006–2014 (London: Picador, 2014), 66–79.

(25) Anthony LaBranche, “Samuel Daniel: A Voice of Thoughtfulness,” in The Rhetoric of Renaissance Poetry from Wyatt to Milton, ed. T. O. Sloan and R. B. Waddington (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), 123–139.

(26) Musophilus, 1599 version, quoted from the Sprague ed., (74, lines 178–180, and 97, lines 976–978).

(27) Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England, 1662, 3rd part, 28–29; Wood, Athenæ Oxoniensis, ii.379.

(28) In a list of “Familiares” in his notebook, compiled 1599–1605, John Ramsey specifies the poets “Mr Drayton. Mr Danyell” under the heading “Personages to converse with” (Bodleian Library, MS Douce 280, fol. 91v).

(30) Funeral Poem, 1606 edition (STC 6256), sig. A2v:

  • Though thou hadst made a generall Suruiew
  • Of all the best of mens best knowledges,
  • And knew as much as euer learning knew,
  • Yet did it make thee trust thy selfe the lesse,
  • And lesse presume; and yet when being mou’d
  • In priuate talke to speake, thou didst bewray
  • How fully fraught thou wert within

(31) Isaac Wake, Rex Platonicus (Oxford, 1607), K10r.

(32) Entry in the Second Chapter Book, Christ Church manuscript, D&C i.b.2, fols. 201–203, headed, on fol. 201, “Anno. Dom. 1611. In domo Capitulari die Augusti 27. Decretum est vt sequitur.” The decree relating to Daniel is on fol. 202.

(33) Translation of extract from “Registrum Decani et Capituli,” Christ Church manuscript, xx.c.3, first of two items on page 233: “in Consideracione cuiusdam boni et liberalis Officij nobis per dilectum nobis in Christo Samuelem Daniell generosum praestiti Cuius obliuisci non possumus eo quod non Ecclesie tantum nostrae sed et toti Academiae magno et vsui et honori fuit Non habentes honorarium aliquod praemium de quo cogitare possumus quod reponamus homini tanto bene de nobis merrito et ex animo cupientes quantum fieri potest herem illum implacitum [probably for “herum illum implicitum”] familiaritate et consuetudine nostrae propter ingenij et tuorum [meaning unclear; possibly scribal slip] suauitatem quibus multum delectemur ex unanimi assensu et consensu nostris dedisse concessisse et hoc praesenti scripto nostro pro nobis et successoribus nostris confirmasse eidem Samueli Daniell quandocumque ad placitum venienti ad Ecclesiam Cathedralem praedictam et ibidem commoranti esculenta et potulenta vna cum Canonicis siue Prebendarijs Ecclesie praedicti in aula Ecclesie Cathedralis praedicti idque gratis nullo soluto precio ad terminum et pro termino uite naturalis ipsius Samuelis Daniell.”

(34) Thomas Tanner (1674–1735), who became a canon of Christ Church in 1724, produced a third volume of Anthony Wood’s Athenæ Oxonienses and Fasti Oxonienses, in two parts, in 1721. In his personal copy of 1721 (bequeathed to the Bodleian by Richard Rawlinson; shelfmark originally Rawl. J. fol. 45, now MS. Top. Oxon. b. 8,9), Tanner added many notes by hand. The one relating to Daniel and Christ Church is in the left margin beside the life of Daniel (i.447).

(35) The vision of the 12. goddesses, STC 6265, sig. B2v.

(36) See Lynne Magnusson, Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters (Cambridge:, 1999); Anna Bryson, From Courtesy to Civility (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997); and Peter Burke, The Art of Conversation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993).

(37) The term in Latin, epiphonema, from ancient Greek ἐπιφώνημα (epiphōnēma, from ἐπιφωνεῖν, epiphōnein, “call to”), is what Hoskyns means by “acclamation.” Erasmus describes it in De Copia as a final triumphant remark to a narrative or to the conclusion of an argument, cleverly thrown in at the end. In his Directions for Speech and Style, ca. 1599, Hoskyns writes: “Acclamacōn is a sententious clause of a discourse or report such as Daniell in his poems concludes wth ppetually. It is a generall instruccōn for euery man comonly for his paines in reading any historie of other men lookes for some private vse…. It serues for Amplificacōn, when (after a great < * > … or desert, exclaymed vppon or extolled,) it gives a morall note worth creditt & observatiōn.” Louise Brown Osborn, The Life, Letters and Writings of John Hoskyns, 1566–1638 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1937), 148.

(38) “No one is sparing of (literally, ‘labours to preserve’) a ruined reputation; he lives more guardedly who has something left to lose”; adapted from Seneca, De Clementia, I.xxii.1.

(39) Quoted from Pitcher, Samuel Daniel: The Brotherton Manuscript, 150; for a fuller context, see 66–71.

(40) See Jason Lawrence, “Samuel Daniel’s The Complaint of Rosamond and the Arrival of Tasso’s Armida in England,” Renaissance Studies 25 (2011): 648–665.

(41) This was pointed out by Professor Warren Boutcher of Queen Mary University of London in a paper presented in September 2015 at the London conference “Samuel Daniel, Poet and Historian,” held in the Royal College of Music.

(42) The Bodleian gift copy of 1601, with an inserted dedicatory leaf, is Arch G. d. 47. In a forthcoming article John Pitcher shows that Thomas James, Bodley’s first librarian, recorded receipt of this copy in his notebook, almost certainly in 1605.