Pictures Pictures Willobie his Avisa This work is of special significance to us it gives us an independent window onto members of the Essex circle. The book is a severe libel on Penelope Rich it also attacks other members of the Essex circle including William Shakespeare. This work allows us to name the protagonists in the sonnets and date the sequence of events. This work is describing the same sequence of Events that are described in Richard Barnfields Affectionate Shepherd which was released less than two months later. I believe both texts to be libels and were both written by Richard Barnfield. They represent the ONLY independent confirmation in all of Elizabethan literature of the events depicted in Shakespeares sonnets. The poetic style of this author and his personal profile match that of Richard Barnfield. The publisher of this libel was John Windet . He was not a disreputable publisher and in 1603 became the official printer to the city of London. 86243839 Do not trust what lies on the surface We cannot read Willobie his Avisa and accept the text at face value . It is a sophisticated libel and its real and treacherous meaning lies only slightly below the surface. 103119132 Titlepage The titlepage of Willobie His Avisa is an accomplished engraving and is the work of the English engraver William Rogers The illustration has multiple references to cuckoldry .Note the two cherubs that are pointing to the Stag Antlers. Stag Antlers were an Elizabethan symbol of cuckoldry. . In addition a crescent moon is seen behind the stags head. This is a double allusion to cuckoldry both stag antlers and the crescent moon are traditional symbols of cuckoldry .This title page also has inappropriate references to classical mythology on the left flank is The goddess Athena ( The Virgin godess of war wisdom and poetry) identified by the owl at her feet and on the right flank Diana identified by the crescent moon on her head.( The virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon) . The "Virgin" Diana appears to be distinctly matronly and heavily pregnant this is an indication that cuckoldry / female immorality are central themes of Willobie his Avisa. Philip Sidney linked a non virginal depiction of Diana to Penelope Rich. The Poet Henry Constable knew of this linkage and named his book Diana. Constables work of Diana contains a short sonnet sequence written for Penelope Rich. The fact that supposedly chaste goddesses are being depicted as being immoral means we need to be very suspicious of anyone else in this book who claims to be chaste notably Avisa herself. William Rogers was the leading English engraver of the Elizabethan era, and made personal portraits of the queen. The fact that a top publisher and illustrator have been employed is clear evidence that Willobie His Avisa is not a harmless university student prank or a low quality phamphlet .The lower oval portion shows a woman bathing and a man with stag antlers this is a scene from Artemis and Actaeon. The opposition of a chaste Pallas Athena with an immoral Venus is a direct reference to the text of the book. Avisa was made up of a group of chaste and unchaste Goddesses. The most revealing feature of the title page is the Biblical quote that appears on it it states " A virtous woman is the crown of her husband but she who makes him ashamed is as corruption in his bones " - the rest of this quotation reads "He that is plagued with a bad wife is as miserable as if he were on a dunghill ". This is a remarkable quotation considering that Willobie His Avisa claims to be a celebration of a chaste wife. It is of vital importance that nowhere on the title page does the name Henry Willobie appear as being the formal author of this work. This immediately casts severe doubts on Henry Willobie being the real author of this work. 101251767 Artemis and Actaeon Inside the oval portion of the title page there is a scene that depicts a hunter with a stags head and a woman bathing this is a reference to the Greek myth of Artemis and Actaeon. The hunter Actaeon stumbled across Artemis and a train of her nymphs when she was bathing. Enraged Artemis turned Actaeon into a stag. His own dogs not recognising their owner tore him to pieces. We notice the theme of danger being associated with a woman this is a theme that occurs throughout Willobie His Avisa. " To grow horns like Actaeon was an Elizabethan allusion to cuckoldry. 101247487 Stag antlers the emblem of cuckoldry Stag antlers as seen on the center piece of the title page of Willobie his Avisa are historical allusions to cuckoldry. 101357481 Home of the Dark Lady Leez Priory Avisa's (Penelope's) house. The author of Willobie his Avisa appears to know both geographical and historical information concerning this residence. 85716168 The perfect plain The plain that Leez Priory is set on. The poem Willobie His Avisa states that Avisa's house was vey beautiful . Willobie His Avisa describes it as having a perfect plain on which nymphs and satyrs play. 85718076 The Crystal Well The Crystal Well close to Leez Priory. Crystal well refers to a body of water. 85718367 The shady grove Leez Priory As the poem Willobie his Avisa states a shady grove exists around the crystal well. This is where Avisa meets D.H. ( Charles Blount) we should recognise that in Edmund Spensers romance of The Red Crosse Knight an allusion was made to a shady grove and its alternative name was the wood of error.This was a place of sin and debauchery 87062291 Rich Family Coat of Arms The Rich family crest. The poem states that the badge of England's saint hangs from the house of Avisa . The Rich family crest certainly has allusions to England's saint , note the St George Crosses and the dragon on the Knight's helmet clear references to England's saint. (St George) The motto translates to "Keep the faith".The Rich Family has a very famous member - Shakespeare's Dark Lady Penelope Rich. 85718785 Robert Rich This contemporary artwork depicts the insignia that were associated with 3rd Baron Robert Rich of Leez the picture is of poor quality but if we look closely at the upper left hand we again see the dragon of the Rich Family crest. What this is telling us is that the Rich family were using family crests that had allusions to St George(England's saint ) at the time the poem Willobie His Avisa was written. 86139059 On the western side of Albion's isle ? The poem states that Avisa's house is found on the Western side of Albion's isle near where St Augustine pitched his monkly tent. Historically speaking this is nonsensical . Historians know that St Augustine entered England from the South East and never even visited the West . By including an historically inaccurate detail like this the author is indicating to us that he is using irony. This means that although the author is stating West he is actually implying the East. And is really stating that Avisa's house is in the South- East of England near to where St Augustine made his first landing . This is correct for Penelope Rich's house Leez Priory which is close to the coast and approx 20 miles from St Augustines first landing. 105115626 Leez Priory Ariel view of Leez Priory . The priory is the central L shaped building To its west lies the crystal well. To its East a Plain and the Remnants of the Augustinian Priory (The castle built by ancient shepherds the monks were the Shepherds of souls ) Some of the original structures of Leez Priory including the great gateway are still remaining and are very ancient circa 1220. To the right of the castle like tower is where the ruins of a large Monastic Castle used to stand. This castle was entirely removed in 1735 . It is very clear that this is exactly the same layout as Avisa's house that is described in the poem Willobie His Avisa. Even the geographical directions of landmarks exactly correspond to those described in the poem. The poem states Avisa's house is situated with a well to its West and an ancient castle to its East . 86122663 Leez Priory Farm The poem Willobie His Avisa states that a farm is attatched to Avisa's house . This is Leez Priory farm, this also indicates that Avisa's house was in a rural and not urban setting. Leez Priory is in a rural setting. 87038443 The rural setting of Leez Priory The poem assures us that Avisa's house is set in the countryside and that the suitors had to pass through farm land to reach it this is still the case today. In Canto 28 the suitor D.B. visits Avisa and she tells him " You seem as though you lately came from London from some bawdy sell where you have met some wanton dame". This is clear evidence that Avisa's house is NOT in London. 87172428 The Gate House Richard Rich built Leez priory on the site of an ancient Augustine priory . The castle-like gate house which lies on its easterly aspect is part of the original priory. 87173646 The badge of Englands Saint "Seeth yonder howse there hangs the badge of Englands saint "...( Notice the flag of St George) There doth chaste Avisa dwell. 86745686 Penelope Rich 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. 85997576 Penelope Rich Exceptional in life but always controversial. Penelope Rich was the dark lady of Shakespeares sonnets and hated by The Rival Poet Richard Barnfield. She was the muse of the poets Sir Phillip Sidney and Henry Constable.In the latter part of her life she lost favor with King James and was pubically disgraced.She was burried in an unmarked tomb. Penelope's problem was that she was trapped in a loveless marriage and also that her lover Charles Blount was not making a formal commitment to her. In 1594 Penelope and Charle's relationship was at crisis point and Penelope had actually called the relationship off . In December 1593 Blount was transferred to Portsmouth and was off the scene until December 1594. Blount did not want to marry Penelope because he knew that such a course of action could easily ruin him. Penelopes gap year was 1594 - this was the year she had a relationship with both William Shakespeare and Henry Wriothesley , it is unlikely that she was serious with either of them and more likely than not by flirting with Shakespeare and Wriothesley she was looking to gain leverage and force Blount to marry her. The author of Willobie His Avisa is appalled that HW is in a relationship with Avisa and Richard Barnfield in his Affectionate Shepherd warns Ganymede that Guendolen ( Penelope Rich) is not serious with him and is actually in love with another man. Shakespeare also thinks the Dark Lady ( Penelope Rich) is simply playing a game with the Fair Youth. It is most interesting that the suitor DH ( The suitor I identify as being Charles Blount) seems to have a significant problem in committing himself to Avisa. Avisa certainly appears to like this particular suitor but on parting with him she she does not refuse his ring or his suit but challenges him to live up to his words. Shakespeare tells us that The Dark Lady was acting solely to satisfy her libido , I disagree and posit that the Dark Lady's actions were actually about Charles Blount. - Penelope loved Blount and did see him as the man who could rescue her but he needed some motivation. Penelopes relationships with WS and HW need to be seen as her method of exerting her own power in her relationship with Charles Blount. 88188256 Chaste Penelope ? There are two versions of the Arcadian myth of Penelope the best known version states Penelope was a chaste woman the second version describes Penelope as being an unchaste woman who entertained her suitors and eventually married one of them called Antinous. The author of Willobie His Avisa seems to know of this second myth and pretends to compare Chaste Avisa to Unchaste Penelope. But as we read the book we realise that Avisa is not chaste at all and that Avisa actually IS unchaste Penelope. 91813332 A' visa the bird not seen. The naming of Avisa is very subtle. In the epistle to the reader the author introduces us to four chaste women Lucreece Penelope Susanah and Avisa , the author remarks that something is wrong with one of these women then conjoins two phrases to show that Avisa is a composite name being made by the conjoining of Lucres-Avis and Avi -Susan. This is the device that shows us how the name Avisa has been formed and we can see that 3 of the 4 birds have been accounted for in this device namely Avis Susan, Lucres-Avis and Avisa. The bird NOT seen in this device is Penelope . What this is telling us is that the author is singling out Penelope as being an unchaste woman. A' visa is latin for not seen Avis Latin for bird - The name Avisa is a constant reminder of the bird / woman not seen in the device who we know is Penelope. It is Penelope who this libel is really about. Avisa is referred to as a hawk or an Eagle these are both predatory birds not normally associated with chastity . 102114029 Robert Rich ( The Nobleman) Robert Rich ( 3rd Baron Rich) 1559-1618 Penelope Riches husband . He appears in Willobie His Avisa as the first suitor ( The Nobleman). The Poem correctly describes him as being extremly wealthy with rather puritanical beliefs. History records him as being "Rough and uncourtly in manners and conversation, dull and uneducated proper in nothing but his wealth". All of this entirely fits with the description of the Nobleman. Rich was very wealthy even by aristocratic standards . This suitor plays TWO roles in this libel first he is shown as the obnoxious Lord Rich then he becomes the passive and not seen husband of Avisa who is being cuckolded. Penelope despised Robert Rich and intellectually was his superior. Rich was a close Friend of the Cecils but was afraid of his brother in law Robert Devereux. This meant that Penelope had almost unparralleled freedom ( for an Elizabethan woman ) to do exactly what she wanted - which was exactly what she did. ( to the expense of her reputation). 86008127 Robert Devereux ( The Cavaliero) Robert Devereux The Earl of Essex. Brother of Peneleope Rich (1565-1601) He is the second suitor of Willobie His Avisa (The Cavaliero).The poem correctly describes him as being a military man. The poem describes him as having a wannie face and shaggy locks.The poem also insinuates that this man is the brother of Avisa. The poem suggests that this suitor is only recently known to Avisa but we must remember the poem is written in Ironia this implies the opposite and indicates that this suitor is very well known to Avisa. 85998045 Dr Roderigo Lopez Dr Roderigo Lopez ( on right) . A portugese Jew who was the personal physician to Queen Elizabeth also physician to Robert Devereux. The circumstances of his death remain complex. Lopez unwisely revealed to friends that he had treated Devereux for "secret diseases" widely rumoured to be syphilis. Devereux agressively persecuted Lopez for conspiring to poison the queen a charge that Elizabeth was not convinced was true. Lopez was part of the Cecils spy network and his execution in 1594 ( the same year as the publication of Willobie his Avisa) put Devereux seriously out of favour with the Cecil faction. The Caveliero in Willobie his Avisa is depicted as an agressive syphilitic military man. 100841503 The Seige of Rouen The Cavaleiro is shown to be a failed military man. In the dialogue between Avisa and the Cavaleiro frequent mentions are made by both parties about an unsucessful and costly siege .Avisa remarks that the Cavaleiro has failed to scale walls and the Caveliero makes a comment that " it kills a martial manly heart then depart before the town has yielded" . I believe the passage is directly referring to the failed seige of the walled city of Rouen in france. This seige was lead in 1591 by Robert Devereux and was a complete debarcle . Due to unnecessary bravado Robert Devereux's only brother Walter was killed. The siege was very costly in terms of both human life and financial resources. Robert Devereux proved himself to be a reckless and headstrong leader who would not follow orders. in 1592 he was ordered back to England and faced severe criticism from both Elizabeth and the Cecil faction. 101722481 Sidney's Arcadia Philip Sidney wrote extensively about both Arcadia and his thwarted love for Penelope Rich. In his books Penelope Rich was described as the ideal woman but also as the object of his lust. Avisa complains to the suitor D.B. that he has lust and not love for her and also complains that his books depict her in a negative light. Interestingly the artist for the title page is again William Rogers the same artist of the Willobie His Avisa title page. Arcadia was published in 1590 and 1593 Astrophil and Stella 1591 . and 1598. These were best selling texts. 101739604 The marriage in arcadia. Shakespeare's final two sonnets transport us to an arcadian setting where he lets go of his beloved Dark Lady but states that he will always love her . The sonnet sequence now switches to the long poem A Lovers Complaint. The arcadian setting is continued and it is here where Shakespeare pays Sidney the ultimate compliment and gives the Dark Lady back to Sidney with this magnamous gesture Shakespeare is effectively writing the final chapter to Sidney's Astrophil and Stella. The two will be married by the reverend figure who also appears in this poem . The marriage that should have occurred in real life between Philip Sidney and Penelope Rich will now occur in arcadia. In this poem both Sidney and Rich are given non idealised personas Philip Sidney is given a composite of his own personality and that of his alterego Pamphilus from his Arcadia texts and Penelope Rich is a composite of her own personality and an older and disillusioned Stella. Who will eventually choose Sidney as her lover. The choice of using an alterego that has come from a writers own work to describe him was common practice. In his funeral elergies many writers referred to sidney as either Astrophil or Philisides both were alteregos from Sidney's own work. Shakespeare is simply continuing this tradition. A Lover's complaint is Shakespeare's most emotional poem and with this poem Shakespeare gives a happy ending to the Astrophil and Stella sequence. By keeping both Sidney and Penelope rich in pastoral disguise Shakespeare is continuing the poetic shadowing that is seen in the sonnets. 101597802 Theatre masks Shakespeare the poet / playwright is shadowing the protagonists of the sonnets behind theatre masks but Shakespeare is dropping lots of clues as to their identity . Penelope Rich is given black hair but Shakespeare is punning on her surname and telling us she has black eyes. He also links her eyes to stars this is an allusion to Stella . Phillip Sidney is given his alter ego of Pamphilus and many direct quotes are taken from his Astrophil and Stella sequence. Henry Wriothesley is the fair youth who has his initials reversed. 103253421 Charles Blount ( D.H.) Charles Blount 8th Baron Mountjoy. (1563-1606) Penelope's long term lover and eventual husband He is the Fourth Suitor of Willobie His Avisa (Dydimus Harco) The poem correctly states that Avisa has known him for exactly ten summers ( the summer of 1594 was the tenth). The poem correctly predicts that Avisa will chose this suitor over all others. This suitor specifically calls Avisa Penelope. The poem states that this suitor was constantly travelling and he pays Avisa a quick visit then departs again. This was correct Charles was constantly travelling for most of his life. He returned to England in the winter of 1593 then almost immediately in December 1593 was posted to Portsmouth. Charles Blount's relationship with Penelope Rich started to become public knowledge as early as 1590 when Penelope wore his colours on accession day jousting tournament. 85998290 William Shakespeare ( W.S.) " The Old Player" (1564-1616) He is the fifth suitor of Willobie His Avisa Shakespeare made an unsucessful attempt to court Penelope Rich in the spring/summer of 1594.The poem Correctly associates this person with Tragedies and Comedies, It correctly identifies him as both an actor and a poet. And a personal friend of Henry Wriothesley. 86001817 Dedication Shakespeares first dedication to Henry Wriothesley dated 1593 Shakespeare will write a second and warmer dedication to Wriothesley in 1594 three months before Willobie His Avisa was published. This indicates that a friendship existed between the two and that it was in the correct timeframe for the friendship between HW and WS that is described in the poem Willobie his Avisa . 86243837 Henry Wriothesley ( H.W). Henry Wriothesley The Earl Of Southampton (1573-1624) Mr W.H. The Fair Youth of the Sonnets/ Mr H.W. the sixth suitor of Willobie His Avisa. The poem correctly identifies his nickname as being Harry, and correctly states that he has visited Flanders and France , The poem correctly states that he is fluent in Itallian. The poem describes him as having a sharp nose and a pointed chin. In the poem H.W 's final despairing words to Avisa are ... the Italian and Latin quote " Grande amore grande dolore . Inopem me copia fecit " . There are two translations 1 : Great love great sadness, My abundance has made me poor 2 : My riches have made me poor ". / my riches have beggared me . The poet is alluding to the second translation and is clearly punning on Penelope Riches surname. Also it is a quote from both Ovid and Spencer both of which refers to Narcissus who made the same quote when staring at his own reflection. Effectively what this quote is doing is linking H.W to Henry Wriothesley. Wriothesley was poetically named Narcissus by George Clapham who dedicated his poem Narcissus to him. 86000988 Mr W.H. Mr W.H was the person to whom Shakespeare dedicated his sonnets. In the dedication Shakespeare wished him all happiness and promised him imortality. Shakespeare released his sonnets in 1609 at this Stage Henry Wriothesley was a married man with three children and actively involved in buisness ventures. The release of the suggestive sonnets specifically adressed to Wriothesley would have been damaging to his reputation . Shakespeare knew this and was discrete , he used poetic shadowing in the dedication and reversed Wriothesley's initials and did not adress him directly as an earl. Shakespeare promised Southampton imortality and with the sonnets he delivered. The fact that Henry Wriothesleys initials have been reversed is an allusion to a mirror reversal of letters . Shakespeare by his own admission loved to hold a mirror up to nature. In this instance he is holding the mirror up to the Fair Youth. The sonnets represent the immortal reflection of the Fair Youth . Wriothesley would grow old and eventually die but he would remain ever young and immortal within the sonnets .This is exactly what Shakespeare promises. The fact that a mirror image is suggested in combination with the Fair Youth is an allusion to Narcissus. Narcissus was a character that Henry Wriothesley was openly compared to during his lifetime. 102116975 Henry Willobie ( H.W). No known likeness is available.(1575-159-???) He was an Oxford Scholar who I believe was personally known by Richard Barnfield . The author of Willobie his Avisa states that he knows him well.. It can be demonstrated that Henry Willobie and Richard Barnfield were at Oxford university at the same time. Henry Willobie is forwarded as the author of Willobie his Avisa . But I don't believe this . . The "editor" of Willobie His Avisa - Hadrian Dorrell openly admits that he has attributed authorship of the libel to Henry Willobie's , Without Willobies knowledge or consent. I think Henry Willobie had nothing to do with this libel and would not have been able to shed any light on the libel in real life. Henry Willobie was used simply because he had the same set on initials as Henry Wriothesley. If the libeler was ever caught he could simply argue that he was making up an imaginary story about a university friend rather than libeling high powered aristocrats. 86117743 Richard Barnfield The Rival Poet Richard Barnfield ( no known likeness exists) (1574-1620) ,A minor poet who libelled Penelope Rich in his work The Affectionate Shepherd I strongly suspect him to be the main author of Willobie His Avisa.I believe this writer had a serious infatuation with Henry Wriothesley and wanted Wriothesley to end his patronage of Shakespeare and and to end his relationship with Penelope Rich. Barnfield wanted to be both the lover and personal poet to Henry Wriothesley. This is what motivated him to write the Ganymede tetralogy . The Ganymede tetralogy comprises of the following books , Greenes Funeralls Feb 1594 , Willobie His Avisa Sep 1594 The Affectionate Shepherd Nov 1594 and concluding with Cynthia Feb 1595 . All of these works are running a parallel narrative and all are expressing his love for a young aristocrat and his hatred and distrust of a Rival Poet ( who was William Shakespeare) Greenes Funeralls insults Shakespeare by reiterating Greenes famous insult of Shakespeare. The poem Willobie his Avisa openly libels the Old Player WS and bemoans the fact that he is the friend of the young and naive young Aristocrat H.W.. The Affectionate Shepherd libels a disgusting Old Suitor who Guendolen cannot " Shake " and who is in love uPto his EAREs - who crowns Guendolen with Garlands of Bays ( This means he is writing love poetry for her) This is an allusion to William Shakespeare , ( refer to The Garland of Bays) In Cynthia Barnfield reveals that he has been in poetic rivalry with an older honey flowing poet for the affections of Ganymede and that this rivalry had occurred in 1594 , This older poet was Shakespeare. Richard Barnfield Was The Rival Poet. of Shakespeare's sonnets. 86004111 The Garland of Bays In The affectionate Shepherd Richard Barnfield describes a seductress who is agressively courting a young man. She also has an older and infatuated suitor . This is a parrallel narrative to Willobie his Avisa and that the older infatuated suitor is none other than "The Old Player " Mr W.S. Richard Barnfield clearly doesn't like the older suitor who he describes as a boorish old man. In addition Barnfield tells us that the older suitor crowns the object of his love with garlands made of Bays. This is an indication that the older suitor was a poet. Garlands of Bays were awarded to poets and playwrights at the Pythian games of ancient Greece . Garland making is a metaphor for poetry writing. The fact that the older suitor is crowing the object of his love with Garlands of Bays means that he has been writing love poetry about her. . For a poet to be crowning the object of his love with a garland of Bays means that he is claiming her as his personal muse . We can see that Barnfield was trying to discredit this poet in the eyes of Ganymede . Daphnis wants to reveal the divided loyalty of the old suitor and forward himself as being the poet who will devote himself solely to Ganymede. The Affectionate Shepherd is really a book that is 1 Stating Barnfields love of young and aristocratic Ganymede 2 Warning Ganymede about an unchaste woman who doesn't actually love him 3 warning Ganymede about his personal poet whose real affections lie with the unchaste lady aristocrat Queen Guendolin and not with Ganymede. WHAT BARNFIELD WAS TRYING TO DO was REPLACE BOTH GUENDOLEN AS GANYMEDES LOVER AND THE OLD MAN AS GANYMEDES PERSONAL POET - And who was the poet who Daphnis hates ??? We need to read the passage about the Old Suitor and we recognise a Robert Greene style pun the arrow of love wafted at WILL who is a poet who guendolen cannot SHAKE and is inlove uPto the EAREs The poet who Daphnis HATES is WILL SHAKESPEARE. This full passage needs to be seen as a new and previously unrecognized allusion to William Shakespeare. (I explore this finding in depth in my paper The Old Suitor ? A new allusion to William Shakespeare) . Ultimately The Affectionate Shepherd needs to be seen as a private conversation that Barnfield is having with 1 Penelope Rich 2 William Shakespeare and 3 Henry Wriothesley. These are the SAME people who he is also having a private conversation with in the libel Willobie His Avisa. 103022508 The stigma of printing. In Elizabethan times the printer shouldered the expense of printing a book it could take upto five years for the printer to recoup his expenditure. In this setting it is remarkable that an established printer like John Windett would take on the expense of printing a book like Willobie His Avisa and employ the leading Elizabethan engraver William Rogers as an artist. Especially when we consider that the "author " Hadrian Dorell was a complete unknown. Windett would have also been aware of the potential risk involved in printing such a work . ( A number of printers were executed in the Elizabethan age for printing objectionable material ). These factors make me suspect that the author has had help in getting this work accepted for publication and also that the printer was being protected from potential repercussions I suspect that this help has come from high places I strongly suspect a leading member of the Cecil faction. 102258958 Father Robert Southwell Father Robert Southwell the spiritual advisor to Henry Wriothesley and also was a gifted poet whose work influenced Shakespeare-there is even some evidence that Southwell and Shakespeare knew each other. Southwell was arrested , cruelly tortured and ultimately executed by Elizabeth's orders. The fact that a jesuit was an influence on Shakespeare's writing is an indication that Shakespeare himself may have had Catholic leanings. His execution would not have endeared Wriothesley to Elizabeth. It remains unclear who betrayed Southwell to the authorities but I suspect that it was the scholar John Florio . John Florio was a tutor for Wriothesley put in place by William Cecil. Florio had very strong anti-Catholic sentiments and later in his life he boasted that his actions had help to capture a number of Jesuits. Florio was closely linked to Wriothesley so it may well have come to his attention that Southwell was offering Wriothesley spiritual guidance. Southwell's execution was not popular and occurred on 21 feb 1595 . Charles Blount was present and attempted to stop the execution. It is likely that he was being influenced by Penelope who had strong Catholic sympathies. Penelope Rich had strong leanings towards Catholicism and was almost converted by Father John Gerrard. Both Penelope and Robert Devereux also had good reason to dislike Queen Elizabeth because their family was forced by royal decree to finance Elizabeth's war in Ireland - this effectively bankrupted the Devereux family. Also Elizabeth had used The Devereux's family seat Chartley castle and converted it into a prison for Queen Mary of Scots where she was held until her execution. I think that despite outward appearances the full Essex circle were not royalists and that their anti royalist sentiments ultimately manifested themselves in the Essex rebellion. 85996914 Father Robert Persons Father Robert Persons The Jesuit leader in exile . He severely libelled both Robert and William Cecil . His libels employed heavy sarcasm and purported to take the side of the person being libelled. Persons called Robert Cecil An Inn Keepers Son ( this was a gross insult for an aristocrat) we need to compare this to Avisa who is sarcastically referred to as an Inn Keepers Daughter. I think the author of Willobie his Avisa was entirely familiar with the libels of Robert Persons. 86002365 Queen Elizabeth the first Queen Elizabeth the first . She went by the name of Astraea and also Eliza, she was famed for her chastity and had many multinational suitors . It is only natural that all Elizabethan readers would have immediately thought Avisa was referring to Queen Elizabeth . But it was not . The libel Willobie His Avisa was a private libel that was specifically engineered to invoke the wrath of the Queen against members of the Essex circle. Avisa was Penelope Rich and definitely not Queen Elizabeth. 86003448 The Passionate Pilgrim This work published in 1599 is a libel against William Shakespeare . I believe that Richard Barnfield engineered this libel. In this work a poem that has come from Willobie His Avisa appears side by side with poems that have been authored by Richard Barnfield. 86243838 Pictures 86426706 ? Henry Wriothesley Scholars believe this painting to be Shakespeare's patron Henry Wriothesley . Wriothesley was bisexual maybe a transvestite also . This may well explain the term " master-mistress" of Shakespeare's sonnets. Cross dressing is also a recurrent theme in Shakespeare's plays . 87452551 Penelope's complaint I believe Penelope's complaint was written by the same authors as Willobie his Avisa and is a second attack on Penelope Rich. In this text Penelope's side of the story is supposedly given and Avisa is accused of being the whore and Penelope the chaste woman but the text is actually another attack on Penelope. The text reveals that Penelope has black eyes. The text specifically mentions Penelope's dream of the Geese and the Eagles we can link Penelope to Avisa through this allusion. It is remembered that Avisa is constantly called an eagle throughout the text of Willobie his Avisa 88163271 Inn Keepers daughter The poem Willobies Avisa seems to link Avisa's house with an inn The poem Penelope's complaint states Avisa's husband is an Inn keeper. Leez Priory is historically associated with an Inn.Tunnels exist between Leez Priory and the cellars of St Annes Castle the oldest Inn in England. But I do not believe that Avisa was really an Inn keepers wife rather I suspect that the author is using the term Inn Keepers wife and country maid as an insult to the aristocratic Penelope Rich. 88710751 Walter Devereux The poem Willobie His Avisa States that Avisa's father was "The mayor of the town" .and that the family had fallen on hard times. The father of Penelope Rich was the aristocrat Walter Devereux he was the first Earl of Essex. Essex was the county that Penelope Lived in. The Devereux family had effectively been bankrupted because Queen Elizabeth had forced them to finance her campaign in Ireland. 91135944 The Barnfield Manor Richard Barnfield grew up in Norbury Staffordshire ( The same district that Penelope Rich grew up in ) to a respectable family . They lived in a moated manor house. Barnfield was disinherited from his fathers will. 92391668 Masque of Blackness Fate and Irony were toying with Shakespeare...As well as a poetic metamorphosis into The Dark Lady Penelope Rich also underwent a physical metamorphosis into a black woman when she performed as an African woman in Ben Jonson's Masque of Blackness. (1605). In this performance Penelope was painted black, wore a black wig and had naturally black eyes - to all observers she would have appeared to be a completely black figure. Ben Jonson was a personal friend of Shakespeare and Masque of Blackness is a performance that Shakespeare would likely have seen. The sonnets were not published until 1609 but I strongly suspect that they were written 1592-1594 , however this does not preclude the possibility that Shakespeare may have revised them a number of times prior to publication. It is noticed that Masque of Blackness predates The publication of The sonnets therefore it is not impossible that it may have had some influence on Shakespeare very specifically in sonnet 140 where the Dark Lady ( Penelope Rich) is described as an entirely black woman. 100472028 The old player In both his libels Willobie his Avisa and The affectionate Shepherd Barnfield consistently refers to Shakespeare as being old and immoral. This was the way Barnfield insulted Shakespeare. Shakespeare was about thirty in 1594 but may have already been losing his hair at this stage . Barnfield we must remember was much younger both physically and emotionally . Barnfield had many reasons not to like and be jealous of Shakespeare. 1 He was university educated and Shakespeare was not. 2 Shakespeare was in good favour with Henry Wriothesley a person who Barnfield was in love with. 3 Shakespeare was already a best selling author in 1594. 4 Shakespeare was the superior writer . In calling Shakespeare old and age enfeebled Barnfield may also have been employing a technique used by poets whereby which a rejected suitor became prematurely aged and deformed due to the pain of rejection. Willobie His Avisa tells us W.S. was rejected many times by Avisa. Premature aging was a technique personally used by Barnfield . In the Affectionate Shepherd he describes himself as becoming old and feeble after being rejected by Ganymede. 103114667 I have immortal longings in me 20th May 1609 Shakespeare's sonnets were published . Shakespeare thought that he could emulate the great Sir Philip Sidney and become immortal through a sonnet sequence. Unfortunately by 1609 sonnets were out of vogue and also Shakespeare's guarded and shadowed work was less accessable to the general reading public than Sidney's sequence. The reaction to the sonnets was underwhelming. The sonnets give us a real insight into the mind of Shakespeare, we see him on two levels on the subconscious level he appears to instinctively know that he will become immortal but on the conscious level he reveals himself as a very human writer who frequently suffered writers block and was a person who consistently doubted his own ability. If the publication of the sonnets was Shakespeare's own decision then he was taking a distinct gamble because the publication of such literature could potentially harm his social standing . Shakespeare's sonnets did indeed immortalise Shakespeare but his sonnets were not celebrated as works of genius in his own lifetime. 103408996 The "impossible" task. The sonnets need to be seen as a masquerade because all their protagonists are in disguise . Shakespeare had used the theme of masquerade before in his play 'Loves Labor Lost" But with the sonnets Shakespeare is attempting something that is almost impossible, to confer immortality onto people without revealing who they are , This meant the sonnets would have to achieve immortality on their poetic merit alone. This proved to be too ambitious a task and the sonnets were not best sellers. Shakespeare died not knowing that in the long term he would actually achieve this "impossible " task. The fact that Shakespeare is so tight lipped about revealing any names is a certain indicator that the protagonists of the sonnets were powerful people. 103907105 Similar textual layouts Some researchers believe that hidden messages and symbols are encoded in the layout of the dedication's text but I disagree and think the answer is more prosaic. When we examine a large number of Elizabethan and Jacobian titlepages we see that this "fountain" type of textual layout was very commonly used and I suspect that the textual lay out of the sonnets is simply a variation on a standard theme. 103563820 Another example Another example of the "fountain" textual layout , this example is very similar to the sonnets layout. This is not an example of arcane symbolism or hidden meaning rather a variation on a commonly used theme. 103565751 George Gascoigne The libel Willobie his Avisa is clearly imitating a specific work by the poet George Gascoigne called Hundreth Sundry Flowers . Direct quotes are taken from this book This work was a scandalous Roman a clef that was revealing courtly scandal. Willobie His Avisa has been written in quite an archaic fashion and Hadrian Dorrell tries to make us believe that it dates to the lifetime of George Gascoigne who died in 1577. I don't believe any of this . First of all Richard Barnfield was a great admirer of George Gascoigne and described him as being an immortal poet. Barnfield also imitated a number of Gascoignes poems. I think The author of Willobie His Avisa deliberately imitated George Gascoignes work in a bid to escape detection . ( Few people would suspect that a very young writer would use an archaic writing style). I think George Gascoigne had nothing to do with Willobie His Avisa and I definitely dont think the work was written in the 1570's . Willobie His Avisa contains direct quotes from Robert Greene ( Whose earliest works date to 1583) and also from much more recent books. Despite Hadrian Dorrells attempts at confabulation I firmly date the libel to 1594 and think that it is referring to events that occured during that year. 175423256