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Tudor Minute June 13: Richard Barnfield Baptized


Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for June 13.

Today we celebrate the baptism of Richard Barnfield, a poet, in 1574 in Shropshire. He is interesting to scholars because  he had a very close - and yet very obscure - relationship with Shakespeare. He is even considered to be the rival poet mentioned in Shakespeare’s sonnets. He published poems throughout the 1590’s with his first work, The Affectionate Shepherd, dedicated to Lady Rich. It was popular, but it was censored because of homosexual content. At least one of his sonnets - If Music and sweet Poetrie agree, and the ode beginning As it fell upon a day, which were once attributed to Shakespeare himself. Let’s listen to it:

If music and sweet poetry agree,  
As they must needs, the sister and the brother,  
Then must the love be great ’twixt thee and me,  
Because thou lov’st the one and I the other.  
Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch       
Upon the lute doth ravish human sense;  
Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such,  
As passing all conceit, needs no defence.  
Thou lov’st to hear the sweet melodious sound  
That Phœbus’ lute, the queen of music, makes;       
And I in deep delight am chiefly drowned  
Whenas himself to singing he betakes:  
One god is god of both, as poets feign,  
One knight loves both, and both in thee remain.  

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.