Lady Penelope Rich /The Dark Lady / Avisa. (1563-1607) The poem correctly states that She was a married woman.
The poem describes her as being exceptionally beautiful also a woman who was widely known on a national and international level.
Penelope Rich with her golden hair and jet black eyes was known as the most beautiful woman in Elizabethan England.
She was widely known in England as a rather notorious and controversial figure, in addition she was one of only a handful of Elizabethan women who were internationally known.The poem correctly states that she was related to nobility.
Penelope Rich was exceptionally intelligent and was ironically attacked in the libel Willobie His Avisa where she is ironically depicted as being a chaste commoner.Phillip Sidney wrote a full sonnet sequence to her in which he celebrated her as the woman who made black the new form of beauty.
Penelope Rich was the leading lady of The Essex circle a group that included Henry Wriothesley she was the Dark Lady of Shakespeares sonnets.