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"Fast ti'd unto them in a golden Chaine": Typology, Apocalypse, and Woman's Genealogy in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum.

Aemilia Lanyer uses the genealogical model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure implied by biblical typology and the vindication of the godly implied in scriptural apocalypse to accomplish several related aims: to represent her dedicatees as biblical types; to fashion Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, as the apotheosized Christian woman; to write women's literary history. Her fluid metaphors and biblical allusions, which require reading equally for their material and spiritual significance, acknowledge Margaret and her daughter's desire for the spiritual inheritance of the Kingdom and the worldly aristocratic inheritance willed away from their female line in favor of a male heir.

In her magisterial study of seventeenth-century women's writing, Barbara Lewalski comments that "the title of [Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum] ... promises, somewhat misleadingly, a collection of religious poetry." Her subsequent focus on the volume's secular import as a "defense and celebration of the enduring community of good women that reaches from Eve to contemporary Jacobean patronesses" has had a profound influence on Lanyer criticism over the last ten years. It is only very recently that critics such as Achsah Guibbory, Kari Boyd McBride, and Lisa Schnell have begun a re-evaluation of Lanyer's relationship to scripture and spirituality. [1] The illuminating work of these critics still suggests, however, the difficulties of interpreting the religious content of Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, since it is tempting to view the poem either as a radical appropriation of scripture to re-envision woman's relationship with God, Christian institutions and texts, or as a fatally-compromised, and ultimatel y cynical use of scripture to further this particular poet's patronage goals. In Guibbory's view, "Lanyer is a biblical interpreter who claims the status of a true apostle of Christ and even assumes a quasi-priestly role" (192), as she "invokes divine inspiration, hence insisting on divine authority for what she will speak" (195). For Guibbory, Lanyer's use of scripture does not simply signal a principled rejection of the Pauline injunction to womanly silence, but also a principled distancing and subordination of her patronage goals: "For all the seeming worldliness of Lanyer's concern for patronage, she recaptures something of the revolutionary spirit of Christianity in her interpretation of the Passion as calling for a radical reordering of society even in her own time" (201). Guibbory's reference to Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum's taint of "worldliness" suggests the problems which twentieth-century readers and critics have with the poem's wedding of patronage plea and spiritual concerns. McBride's "Sacred Celeb ration: The Patronage Poems" responds differently to the same issue, arguing that "Lanyer constructs the patronage relationship [by] combining traditional social and generic forms with a radical theology to claim authority and poetic identity" (61). In short, Lanyer makes "the mise-en-sc[grave{e}]ne of courtier politics" (63) subordinate to the poem's Christian sensibilities. As a result, McBride argues, "the secular sphere is not merely paralleled but is superseded in Lanyer's poems by the religious order," and thus Lanyer makes her "station ... equal -- or perhaps even superior -- to that of the patrons she celebrates" (64). It is not simply, as Catherine Keohane has noted, that critics tend to underestimate the centrality of scripture and spirituality in Lanyer's work (359). More troubling has been the tendency to construct a rigid opposition between the poem's spiritual and material concerns, between the values of the world and the ethics of Christianity.

Broadly, this article contributes to the critical conversation about Aemilia Lanyer's treatment of the spiritual and the worldly, as well as her radical re-visioning of women's roles in biblical history and early modern patronage systems. Lanyer's Salve Deus has significant spiritual as well as material aims; as simultaneously a patronage poem and a religious poem, Lanyer faces the challenge of representing the relationship between Christian devotion and worldly ambition. Obviously these spheres, as Lisa Schnell's work in particular suggests, are generally perceived as not simply incommensurate but even diametrically opposed. [2] Anyone who has ever taught Salve Deus will have encountered students who see in Lanyer either a feminist heroine, striving to rewrite the largely misogynist, interpretive heritage of the Bible, or a groveling hypocrite, willing to employ appeals to the spiritual excellence of her dedicatees in order to gain material and social advantages. For Lanyer, however, the relationship betwee n the spheres of the spiritual and the material, paradise and the world, Christian sensibility and courtier desire is, of course, far more complicated than either reading suggests. Lanyer cannot and indeed does not wish to suggest simply that the spiritual transcends the material, that the promise of Christian salvation in the next world renders insignificant the material concerns of herself or especially her dedicatees in this world. In Salve Deus, Lanyer sets herself the far more difficult task of presenting as equally and demandingly urgent the spiritual as well as material desires of herself, her dedicatees and her readers; these desires, she goes on to imply, are equally and demandingly deserving of serious and respectful representation. Lanyer's wish to treat these apparently opposing spheres with equal respect and seriousness, however, is further complicated by her other aim: to produce a radical rewriting of woman's spiritual value and worldly literary tradition.

In order to balance the demands of the spiritual and the material in her representation of herself, her dedicatees and the biblical as well historical women who people her poem, Lanyer focuses on the peculiar opportunities afforded by a particular method of biblical exegesis -- typology -- and a particular set of biblical images -- found in the apocalyptic and eschatological passages of Revelation, Psalms, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. In short, typology allows Lanyer to envision a genealogy of woman, where the poem's Old Testament women become the prefiguring types for its New Testament and Jacobean women, whereby her dedicatees become the heirs to the spiritual excellence of Sheba, Deborah, Judith, and a host of others. The poem's simultaneous emphasis on apocalypse and eschatology allows Lanyer to imagine the final destiny of the line of women she constructs throughout the poem; in a mystical and apocalyptic union with Christ at the end of the world, the female sex will be justified in its faith and placed at the foot of Christ's "everlasting throne." In essence, then, Lanyer aims at producing a typological and even apocalyptic genealogy for women: typological in the sense that the poem's Old Testament women become types for its New Testament and contemporary women; apocalyptic in the sense that the poem depicts woman's history as a teleological progression from the times of the Old Testament to those of the New Testament and finally beyond time itself into her glorious future union with Christ.

Lanyer, then, employs typology as well as assumptions about time and human history embedded in eschatological and apocalyptic exegesis in the service of writing woman's past and future. That is, Lanyer urges her readers to perceive woman's history and literary tradition in terms of the structural model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure which underlies typology and in turn her poem itself. In other words, Lanyer finds in the exegetical tradition of typology a useful if "simple paradigm of promise and fulfillment," a paradigm which allows Lanyer to imagine a set of parallels not simply between Old and New Testament figures, but between living women and their biblical forebearers. [3] However, like many Reformation and post-Reformation writers, Lanyer is also the heir to a concerted revision of typology: "As it became increasingly recognized as the fundamental symbolic mode of the Bible, the reformers began to use biblical typology in a more complex way than simply matching Old Testament types with New T estament antitypes." Lanyer, in fact, takes advantage of a growing body of typological interpretations which went beyond early patristic and medieval conceptions, which saw the Old and New Testaments linked through a series of events, persons, objects, and ceremonies which were prefigured in the former and perfectly fulfilled in the latter, with the person of Christ functioning as the locus of meaning in this interpretive system. For Protestant exegetes this structure of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure "[links] the history and drama of Christ's life (as foreshadowed and then fulfilled in the two testaments) with the salvation drama of each believer and with the whole span of sacred history." [4] Protestant Reformation and post-Reformation writers transformed typology into an exegetical tool which permitted the "probing and exploring [of] the personal spiritual life with profundity and complexity" and "the assimilation of the events and circumstances of contemporary history -- and even the lives and expe riences of individual Christians -- to the providential scheme of typological recapitulations and fulfillments throughout history."[5]

Lanyer evinces intense interest in typology, then, as a method of imag-ining a line of women, each of whom prefigures and is fulfilled in the increasing spiritual perfection of the ones who follow her. In its Reformation revisions, typology also gives Lanyer the necessary precedents to expand on the larger significance of individual women's spiritual lives and worldly en-deavours. That Lanyer is also fascinated by Scripture's apocalyptic and eschatological books and passages is thus hardly surprising, since in them she finds the poetic and theological scope to imagine the final apotheosis of the female sex, the final spiritual perfection of woman in terms of those scriptural texts wherein the destiny of all human souls is written: Revelation, as well as the apocalyptic and eschatological passages of Psalms, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. Lanyer also draws on a specifically English apocalyptic tradition (as developed by Wycliffe, Bale, Foxe, and others). She uses this tradition's fascination with the connection between apocalypse and history, the "belief in the interdependence between Scripture and chronicle," [6] to bolster her patronage claims, without invalidating her spiritual claims for the apocalyptic destiny of the female sex. Like Foxe, Lanyer is "interested in pursuing the application of prophecy to the organization and presentation of history." [7] Unlike Foxe, she presents apocalypse as that which illuminates not the history of England as one of the sites of the persecuted Church of Christ, not the oppression of the true Church by the stubborn and powerful remnants of episcopalianism and not the promise of the Church's final victory over the Antichrist, but the personal histories of her dedicatees: Mary Sidney's career as writer and translator; Catherine Willoughby and her daughter Susan Bertie's involvement in the Reformation; and Margaret Clifford, Countess of Cumberland and her daughter Anne's personal, political, and legal battle for control of their family estates. [8]

Lanyer does not simply focus on typology because it allows her to enrich the spiritual inheritance of her dedicatees and project them (as well as women in general) into the transcendence of God's holy kingdom. Clearly, to imagine women as progressing from type to antitype with each woman in this "golden Chaine" embodying increasing perfection is to dignify the sex's spiritual capacity; to imagine their transcendence in their apocalyptic justification at the end of time is to refute some early modern misogynist assumptions about women's comparative moral and spiritual weakness. Lanyer also finds typology attractive, however, because it contains an implied metaphor of genealogy, which the poet finds particularly useful in her desire to treat the material and spiritual as equally important. That is, Lanyer produces in her poem what is more aptly called a genealogy of woman rather than a history precisely because the typological structure of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure employs a pattern of spiritual in heritance and lineage, which simultaneously resounds to a similar pattern of material inheritance and lineage through which so many of Lanyer's dedicatees define themselves, in particular her two principle dedicatees, Margaret Clifford, Countess of Cumberland, and her daughter Anne, Countess of Dorset. As Lewalski has argued, the poem's dedications present us with an imaginative rewriting of primogeniture and patronage, where daughters are presented as the heirs of their mothers's virtues. [11] Typological genealogy, however, allows an even more radical revision of these systems, since it permits Lanyer to represent simultaneously both spiritual and worldly inheritance, as well as meditate on the connections between the two. [12] For Lanyer, typology offers a model for spiritual inheritance that allows her to represent the lives of individual women and the "line" of which such women are an integral part, from Eve to Sheba to the Countess of Cumberland. It also offers her a way of exploring the meaning of worl dly genealogy and inheritance particularly for the Countess and her daughter.

Nevertheless, there are many difficulties with Lanyer's chosen method of representing the claims of the spiritual and the material, especially in maintaining the balance between the two spheres. In addition, she has problems controlling the way typology's logic of promise, fulfillment, and (in particular) supersedure applies to her dedicatees, especially the most most prominent ones: Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke; as well as the Countess of Cumberland, and her daughter Anne. As Lanyer's principle dedicatee, as the woman whose apocalyptic spiritual future frames the central portion of Salve Deus, which contains the passion of Christ and "Eve's Apologie," the Countess cannot be subject to the supersedure which is part of the genealogical pattern of typology. In addition, the Countess and Anne's intense concern with the material, legal, and personal meanings of their own genealogy makes any attempt to metaphorize inheritance and descent a highly sensitive endeavour. To use the imagery of inheritance and gen ealogy to represent the spiritual joys awaiting the Countess, and by implication all her noble Christian dedicatees, is to offer a better inheritance than land and wealth; yet, to do so is also to risk devaluing the struggle that the Countess and Anne were involved in -- to contest the will of Anne's father, George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, and gain control of the estates which George, passing over his daughter in favour of a male heir, had left to his brother, Francis. In acknowledging the structural and thematic significance of typology and apocalypse, we can begin to understand Lanyer's poem as an exploration of the relationship between the worldly and the spiritual, rather than as a record of one woman either succumbing to or completely rejecting the pressures and necessities of the patronage market. Lanyer's representation of the relationship between spiritual and worldly inheritance shows her desire to avoid simply dismissing the worldly concerns of her dedicatees, and indeed of herself, as insignificant compared with the true treasures of Christian devotion. Instead, Lanyer maintains a lively awareness of and respect for her dedicatees and their material concerns, at the same time that she imagines their apocalyptic transformations.


Lanyer's rewriting of the Fall as a challenge to traditional interpretations of scripture which emphasize woman's responsibility for sin has been seized on and frequently anthologized as a poetic variation on the prose defenses of women circulating at the time. The emphasis on this section of the Salve Deus Rex Judaeo rum as polemic, as part of the querelle des femmes, [13] has tended to leave critics unprepared for Lanyer's later apparent devaluing of Old Testament women such as Esther, Susanna, and Judith, in favor of the sterling virtues of the Countess of Cumberland. Explorations of the poems use of typology, in fact, have largely been confined to its most explicitly feminist sections. Louise Schleiner notes that Lanyer's creation of a "fill-scale celebration of the women's reading circle and especially of a loving relationship of a waiting woman to her lady within it" enables her "revision of Christian typology, where she casts Adam's guilt as primary and Eve as the truer forerunner of Christ" (23). Freq uently, the unease with typology's structure of promise, fulfillment and supersedure leads critics to describe Lanyer's relationship to biblical exegesis in far less precise terms -- as allegory and exemplum. Thus, Elaine Beilin argues in terms of Lanyer's presentation of Mary Sidney that "like many of her predecessors, she found particular value in the feminine allegories of Scripture," where various parables and scriptural books "provided images central to Lanyer's attempts to place women at the heart of Christianity" (179). In the same way, Tina Krontiris uses the much less contentious term of "comparison" in analysing the poet's use of biblical and secular female figures such as "Cleopatra, Sheba, Deborah, Judith, and Joachim's wife" to present the Countess of Cumberland as "superior to them in faithfulness, devotion, chastity, moral purity, and spiritual strength" (106). Even in Wendy Wall's sophisticated account of Lanyer's "foreground[ing] [of] gender" as a response "to the poetics of corporeal display built into the gender ideology of sixteenth-century authorship," the treatment of Lanyer's relationship to practices of biblical exegesis and interpretation remains unspecified: "she boldly offers a polemical counternarrative to biased accounts of women and biblical history." [4]

Instead of seeing Lanyer's feminist voice and spirit as compromised by her "devaluing" of these Old Testament women and her consequent "surrender" to the logic of male patronage language and stances, we can see this "devaluing" as Lanyer's final movement in her appropriation of biblical typology. Typology becomes a strategy for constructing a powerful and apocalyptic version of women's past and future, a version which makes use of the genealogical model offered by this exegetical method. As Tina Krontiris and Susanne Woods have pointed out, just as Christ is prefigured by Moses, David, and Daniel, so the Countess of Cumberland as the apotheosized Christian woman is prefigured by Esther, Susanna, and Sheba, among others; just as Christ fulfills and supersedes the incomplete promise of Old Testament men, so the Countess fulfills and supersedes the incomplete promise of Old Testament women. In comparison to Judith's destruction of "Proud Holifernes," for example, the Countess conducts a successful spiritual and "farre greater warre ... against that many headed monster Sinne." [15] Likewise, for Deborah's "one worthy deed," the Countess of Cumberland "hast performed many in [her] time" (1497, 1498); for the one head of Holifernes which Judith justly cut off, the Countess "tak'st from Sinne a hundred heads a day" (1504). Even Susanna's willingness to die rather than sacrifice her chastity to the lustful Elders becomes a figure for the Countess's even greater chastity of mind and spirit:

Yet was she not to be compar'd to thee,

Whose many virtues doe increase thy fame:

For shee oppos'd against old doting Lust,

Who with lifes danger she did feare to trust.

But your chaste breast, guarded with strength of mind,

Hates the imbracements of unchaste desires.


By fashioning woman's genealogy in these typological terms, she suggests its spiritual dignity, as well as its prophetic and didactic value.

Lanyer's famous plea for gender equality at the end of "Eve's Apologie" ("Then let us have our Libertie againe, / And challendge to your selves no Sov'raigntie" [825-26]) completes a highly compromised (though still startlingly radical) call for woman's dignity and equality. [16] The conclusion of Salve Deus proper, however, moves this writing of woman into the symbolic complexities of Revelation, into an interpretive tradition which is comparatively less prescriptive, since it does not have the status of a story of origins. As that book which predicts the ultimate end of the world and the beginning of the new kingdom of Christ, Revelation depicts and predicts the ultimate fulfillment of God's word in Holy Scripture. Lanyer joins her rewriting of women's history in terms of typological genealogy to Revelation's status as that book of the Bible, then, which also fulfills and, in a very qualified sense, supersedes the preceding books of Scripture. As such, this book proved to be, in the writings of Renaissance preachers, theologians, and poets, a particularly fruitful one for an array of exegetical practices, but particularly typology, since "the special attributes of its expression -- the emblematic, hieroglyphic character of the book together with its darkness and obscurity -- are but devices for directing attention away from its nominal to its real subject, from its literal to its figurative sense." [17]

With this context in mind, Lanyer's bracketing of her use of Revelation with a lengthy description of Sheba's encounter with Solomon, a description which constitutes the poem's most explicit use of typology, is significant. This meeting prefigures the Countess of Cumberland's apocalyptic spiritual encounter with Christ, emphasizing Lanyer's use of typology as a means of writing not just the individual woman's history of salvation, but the history and prophetic future of the female sex in general:

Yet this faire map of majestie and might,

Was but a figure of thy deerest Love,

Borne t'expresse that true and heavenly light,

That doth all other joyes imperfect prove;

If this faire Earthly starre did shine so bright,

What doth that glorious Sonne that is above?

Who weares th'imperiall crowne of heaven and earth,

And made all Christians blessed in his berth.


Solomon's interpretive value as a "figure" or type of Christ is emphasized through the metaphor of the map; he, whose "wisdome tend[ed] but to worldly things" (1620), is simply a guide to the fulfillment of Christ's divine wisdom and the Countess's spiritual salvation. Lanyer then proceeds to place this typological movement in the context of those mystical scenes from Revelation where Christ first appears on the throne from which he will later judge the world, condemning the ungodly and rewarding the righteous. Lanyer selects for paraphrase and interpretation scenes from Revelation 4-6, concentrating on the image of Christ glorified, sitting on his "everlasting throne," undoing the seven seals and opening the book. In keeping with her projection of woman, and in particular the Countess as apotheosized Christian woman, into the place beyond time which Revelation ultimately attempts to depict, Lanyer then returns to the figure of Sheba. The Persian Queen becomes a type of the Countess both of whom will be prese nt among the elect at the end of time, thus bringing together her dignifying of woman's past in time with her glorification of woman's future beyond time. Sheba has been promised a place at the Judgement throne simply by honouring Solomon, "the shadow of [Christ's] Love" (1682); as a result, the Countess's salvation is that much more assured: "Then how much more art thou to be commended, / That seek'st thy love in lowly shepheards weed" (1713-14)?

At the same time, Lanyer rewrites the image of the elect, the "four and twenty elders" in Revelation 5, to include women, suggesting that her typological model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure does nor lead to the eradication of the shadowy types of the apotheosized Countess. In an image which, as Esther Gilman Richey points our, draws on Christ's assertion in Matthew 12:42 that the Queen of Sheba "will act as a judge in the Apocalypse," Sheba is imagined as sitting with the Countess at the Judgement seat, justified in the womanly faith of which the Countess is the fulfillment. [18] Tina Krontiris sees Lanyer's radicalism, specifically her "feminist voice," vanishing at the end of the poem into the demands of conventional patronage praise, "the feminist spirit [of the poem] becom[ing] somewhat offset by the Countess's portrait" (119). In this larger context, however, Lanyer's concentration on the Countess and the women who precede her constitutes an intensification of her feminist voice, as she puts it at the service of writing woman's typological and apocalyptic genealogy. As Beilin points out, Salve Deus concludes "with a beatific vision, an apotheosis of the beloved countess" (201). However, Beilin does not draw the connection between this conclusion and the allusion to Revelation she herself notes earlier, when she suggests that in stanza 7 of the poem proper, Lanyer presents the Countess as the "woman clothed with the Sun": "That when darke daies of terror shall appeare, / Thou as the Sunne shalt shine; or much more cleare" (55-56).


Lanyer not only uses the typological model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure to structure her representation of women's spiritual genealogy but also to examine the spiritual and material aspects of the relationship between the woman writer and a specifically female literary tradition. Judith Scherer Herz has argued that "Lanyer really has not and possibly cannot be written into [literary] history," since she has not "participated in" formulating the "norms and conventions" by which such history has been and continues to be written. Nevertheless, Lanyer's treatment of women's literary production in "The Authors Dreame to the Ladie Marie the Countesse Dowager of Pembrooke" shows an uncanny sympathy with Herz's definition of literary history as "a (relatively) conscious practice of anachronism, of reading backwards" (122-23). The longest and most generically unusual of the many dedications which begin Salve Deus, "The Authors Dreame" uses the ancient genre of the dream vision to write women's literary tra dition as part of the great apocalyptic movement of the world, of women and of Lanyer's book. In the dream vision, itself, we are presented with Mary Sidney as the Christian fulfillment and supersedure of the earlier wisdom figures of pagan mythology: specifically, the nine Virgins or Muses, "who represented and bestowed skill in arts and learning;" [19] Bellona, the goddess of war and wisdom; Dictina, or Diana, goddess of virginity and the hunt as well as the emblem of the recently deceased Virgin Queen; Aurora, goddess of the morning; Flora, goddess of spring and reproduction; and Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. All of these goddesses submit themselves willingly to Mary Sidney's greater wisdom and virtue. Yet, while Lanyer clearly uses these classical references to suggest that the goddesses are shadowy types of Mary Sidney, the great female Christian poet, Sidney and the pagan wisdom deities also come together as a group to judge the ancient quarrel between "Art and Nature" (81). The easy, collaborative re solution of this long-standing literary argument suggests that while Sidney dominates, fulfills, and supersedes the female literary and intellectual tradition which the pagan goddesses represent, she is also shaped and enriched by this history. However, the journey of women's literary tradition into the age of salvation is made very clear by the goddesses's own actions; sitting by a river, they are "invit[ed] ... to sit and to devise / On holy hymnes" (115-16). They finally remember "[t]hose rare sweet songs which Israels King did frame / Unto the Father of Eternitie; / Before his holy wisedome tooke the name / Of great Messias, Lord of unitie" (117-20). The goddesses sing the psalms which Mary Sidney became famous for translating and which constitute (later in the dedication) her contribution to a specifically female literary tradition. [20]

The anachronism of pagan goddesses singing Christian psalms, while hardly novel, is also significant in terms of the interpretive strategies Lanyer is rewriting. Given the poem's references to apocalyptic time, this anachronism underlines Lanyer's feminist appropriation of typoiogy's model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure in order to structure women's literary history. However, a few lines later, woman's identity as a writer is superseded by her identity as a member of the patriarchal family. Lanyer initially defines Mary Sidney's subjectivity in terms of patrilinearity. Thus, the poet reminds her readers of how frequently this ideology obscures or qualifies the woman writer's literary achievements, and helps eradicate women's literary tradition from history. When the pagan goddesses begin to sing the psalms, the poet-dreamer is driven to ask Morpheus the lady's name and his response she notes, perhaps with some irony, is "more than [she] desired" (136). Morpheus offers a patriarchal genealogy of Mar y Sidney, initially emphasizing Mary's definition through her more famous brother. While certainly explainable in terms of Lanyer's patronage bid, such a description also jars with the world of women's history being constructed, where Mary Sidney's subjectivity is firmly embedded in the mythological origins of women's literary tradition. [21] Interestingly enough, however, Morpheus concludes his conventional, patriarchal definition of Mary Sidney with an encomium which establishes her subjectivity entirely in terms of her effectiveness as a writer and translator of spiritual songs: "And farre before him [i.e., Philip Sidney] is to be esteemd / For virtue, wisedome, learning, dignity" (15 1-52). Her works not only urge the reader to "contemplation of Gods powrefull might," but are also immensely affecting in emotional and spiritual terms:

Directing all by her immortal1 light,

In this huge sea of sorrowes, griefes, and feares;

With contemplation of Gods powrefull might, Shee fils the eies, the hearts, the tongues, the eares

Of after-comming ages, which shall reade

Her love, her zeale, her faith, and pietie;

The faire impression of whose worthy deed,

Seales her pure soule unto the Deitie.


The verse itself models the emotional effect of Sidney's psalms on future readers, as the poet-dreamer's own emotional and spiritual "overflowing" causes the last line of the first quoted stanza to spill over into the next. Moreover, Lanyer represents Mary Sidney's translation of the psalms and our reading of them as involving a conflation between writer and text; in reading the psalms, Lanyer implies, one is also in a sense reading Mary Sidney; "her love, her zeale, her faith, and pietie." The definition of the woman writer through her work and the work through the writer fashions for the reader a radical image of women's literary tradition, which not only has an honorable past, a sterling present, and a bright future, but is also a tradition wherein woman's subjectivity is explicitly defined in terms of her literary production, not in terms of her family connections. In this dream vision, Mary Sidney's representation as a writer does not just spring from the demands of patronage verse, but from the desire to enact Sidney's canonization by fame into an honored place in the female literary tradition and her repeated memorializing by the writers and readers who will follow her. That her name remains a secret until quite late in the poem stands as Lanyer's proof of her faith in her prophetic dream: generations of women, indeed generations of readers, it is implied, will know Sidney's name by her description. The rejection of men's and the embracement of women's pre-eminence in family genealogy and literary history anticipate Lanyer's later treatment of Margaret and Anne's struggle against the patrilineal customs which shaped inheritance laws in early modern England. For Lanyer, Mary Sidney's contribution to the genealogy of women's literary tradition displaces the conventional terms in which Morpheus initially values her, as the sister of that perfect Christian knight, Sir Philip Sidney.

However, while Mary Sidney's allegorical literary sisters are in some senses superseded by and fulfilled in the Christian translator of the psalms, Mary Sidney's own status in this typological model of women's literary tradition is complicated by Lanyer's patronage position. Clearly, Lanyer is very careful to assure the reader that, in terms of the model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure which she is building into every level of her poem, Mary Sidney's literary achievements have won her "noble Fame" (99) and future generations of committed and grateful readers. At the same time, Lanyer also uses the dedication to Mary Sidney as a means of suggesting, however tentatively, that this great translator of the psalms and patron of letters has herself become part of Salve Deus's typological genealogy of woman in general and the woman writer in particular. At the end of the dedication to Mary Sidney, Lanyer's offering of her book to this great Christian poet becomes both a patronage gesture and the next step in writing the female literary tradition; namely, Lanyer begins the difficult and complex process of writing herself and her book into this highly glorified tradition. As Lewalski has noted, Lanyer's request that the Countess of Pembroke appreciate the poet's "unlearned lines," even though those which the Countess writes are "more rare," is also a request for this learned lady "to recognize Lanyer as her successor in a female poetic line." Clearly, "Lanyer points to the Countess as her model by the length, art, and extended personal reference of the dream-vision poem." [22] Here, the writer begins to balance her modest estimation of her writing, noted by many critics, with a more subtle and less conventional representation of her book and her poetic powers as successors to those of Sidney and others. As McBride has recently suggested, Lanyer also employs both here and in "The Description of Cooke-ham" the powerful cultural association between the pastoral mode and the "birth" of the poet: "Lanyer invokes the conventions of the initiatory pastoral poem, drawing on that long generic history to figure herself as poet." [23] The humility of Lanyer's description of her own book as the "fruits of idle houres" (194) and her assertion that Sidney has read and written far better books than Lanyer's Salve Deus are balanced, then, against other, less self-depreciating evaluations. The poet asserts, for example, the similitude between Christ's impoverished clothing, his lowly "Shepheards weed" (218), and the impoverished appearance of her book; as a good Christian, Lanyer says, Sidney will approve of Salve Deus's humble appearance. As an educated writer of pastoral verse, Sidney will recognize Lanyer's own claim to the status of poet through her employment of "initiatory pastoral."

Critics often find it difficult to credit the sophisticated balance between the spiritual and material resonances of Lanyer's patronage bid. Lisa Schnell has recently argued that Lanyer's dedications in general and "The Authors Dreame" in particular "show-case the act of giving" wherein "Lanyer... disrupts the economy of the gift-exchange entirely by being seen to give a gift that can under no earthly set of circumstances be reciprocated," the gift being Christ himself, represented in Salve Deus as the feast of the book offered to the reader. However, to say that "there is the vague taste of extortion in the food Lanyer is offering at her feast, the kind of extortion that goes by the name of 'courtship' in early modern England" is to reveal more about the rigid oppositions we construct between the spiritual and the material than about the nature of the poet's patronage stances. Schnell, by lifting the dedications out of their larger religious context, concludes that "The Authors Dreame" is full of images whi ch suggest Lanyer's frustrated and ambivalent response "toward the act of courtship... she is performing," since the "utopian vision of patronage - equanimity and generosity being its defining characteristics -- is a fugitive one." Angry over the abuse of her dependent position as client, Lanyer proceeds to transform this dedication into another form of blackmail or extortion: in the last 3 stanzas of "The Authors Dreame," Lanyer manipulates the religious and secular meanings of the word "grace" in order to pressure the Countess of Pembroke into offering Lanyer patronage: "Lanyer sets the earthly institution of patronage beside its heavenly prototype constructing a situation in which the countess is obliged, if she is indeed the latter-day David that Lanyer has depicted her as, to form a relationship with the poet." In calling on the Countess to "Receive him (i.e., Christ) by my unworthy hand," Lanyer's "conventionally humble declaration of unworthiness becomes, paradoxically, a claim to spiritual and epistem ological superiority over the woman she would have as her patron." [24]

However, in the context of Salve Deus's larger apocalyptic and genealogical concerns, many of these assertions need qualification. Lanyer's anger and frustration with available patronage models are clearly part of her poem. Yet in terms of her construction of woman's typological and apocalyptic genealogy, Lanyer produces a more balanced rewriting of patronage stances than Schnell allows, by emphasizing the spiritual and material rewards which accompany writing, reading and passing down Salve Deus, rewards which accrue not just to Lanyer but to all the poem's readers. Lanyer offers here the gift of her verse not just to Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, but to women heirs yet unnamed and unborn, heirs not just of Mary Sidney, not just of the poem's female pagan and Christian wisdom figures, but of the woman-poet, Lanyer, herself. The gift that Lanyer offers Mary Sidney is both Salve Deus and the opportunity to see herself as the inheritor of the Muses and the progenitor of the verses she is now reading. As s he concludes in her prose dedication to her most important patron, the Countess of Cumberland, Lanyer's verse, like that of Mary Sidney, will also find generations of future readers, immortalizing both the writer and her subjects: "[Salve Deus is] the mirrour of your most worthy minde, which may remaine in the world many yeares longer than your Honour, or my selfe can live, to be a light unto those that come after, desiring to tread in the narrow path of virtue, that leads the way to heaven" (30-34). Thus, by offering her book to Sidney, Lanyer remakes genealogy as both spiritual and material. By extension, as women writers and readers engage in the material practices of writing, reading, dedicating, and bequeathing Salve Deus's divine things, they participate in the construction of a spiritual as well as material genealogy.

Moreover, the repeated trope of the book as an embodiment of Christ and thus an invaluable gift which can never be reciprocated can only be seen as an extortionist patronage strategy when the dedications are interpreted again in isolation from the rest of the work. As figures in Lanyer's typological and apocalyptic genealogy, the women of her dedications are urged again and again to take up the gift of Christ in the text, but also and more mystically the gift of the text as Christ. [25] The radical conflation between Christ and the woman's book, between the Bible and Lanyer's text, is admittedly everywhere in the volume. For example, "To the Ladie Katherine Countesse of Suffolke" presents Salve Deus as that which Suffolke's daughters should read in the same vein that they read Scripture: "Writing the Covenant with his pretious blood, / That your faire soule might bathe her in that flood. / And let your noble daughters likewise reade / This little Booke that I present to you" (47-50). In the context of Lanyer 's offering of her book to the Suffolke women, the poet's description of Christ as a feast of "heavenly food" (51), a "jewell from Jehova sent" (57) as well as a "spotlesse Lamb... [a] perfit patient Dove" (58) inevitably applies to Lanyer's book as well, especially given the way she uses some of the same metaphors later to describe Salve Deus, in particular the book as a "feast." This occasional conflation of the book and Christ as offerings to the Christian soul leads the reader to perceive the subsequent descriptions of Christ as also applicable to Lanyer's book; like Christ whom it embodies, Salve Deus becomes the "most pretious pearle of all perfection," a "rich diamond of devotion," a "perfect gold growing in the veines of that excellent earth of the most blessed Paradice, wherein our second Adam had his restlesse habitation" (10-14). In "To the Ladie Margaret, Countesse Dowager of Cumberland," she speaks of the book in terms of offering to Margaret "even our Lord Jesus himself" (7).

While Schnell sees this emphasis as further evidence of Lanyer's attempt to place her patrons "in a perpetual, even urgent, state of indebtedness to her," these repeated images do not simply place Lanyer in the position of powerful "host" and her dedicatees in the position of humble supplicants at a Eucharistic-like feast (1997, 85). Indeed, Lanyer ameliorates any sense that her book is an onerous weight rather than a spiritual delight by imagining women's reading in apocalyptic terms as the province of an interpretive elect. According to Ardolino, "[i]n their attack on Catholic Babylon, the Protestant apologists interpret the Book of Revelation as the prophecies contained in Daniel. This complementary relationship is expressed primarily by the unsealing of the prophetic book closed at the end of Daniel when the angel ordered the prophet 'to shut up the wordes, and seale the booke til the end of the time...' (Dan. 12:4, 364v)." [26] As he goes on to note, the angel's instruction to John "seale not the wordes of the prophecie of this boke: for the time is at hand" (Rev. 22:10) is often interpreted as a fulfillment of Daniel and a challenge to the faithful: "David Pareus emphasizes the obscurity of the Apocalypse which keeps the secrets hidden from the profane and forces the godly to search diligently for understanding: 'the mysteries of the Visions, although he [God] revealed them to his servants and Prophets, yet hee kept them secret from...prophane men...(B]ut the godly even by the obscurity thereof be the more stirred up to the searching out of divine mysteries"' (43). In short, according to Calvin, the Book of Daniel and by implication Revelation as well speak only to God's elect. For "God's enemies," Daniel "remains a ' a straunge...toung'." [27] Lanyer repeatedly enjoins her female dedicatees to open her mystical book, and in understanding its contents to show themselves part of a similar interpretive elect. As she says in her prose dedication to Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, Christ will with "the Sunne retaine his owne brightnesse and most glorious lustre, though never so many blind eyes looke upon him." She begs her patron, "Therefore good Madam, to the most perfect eyes of your understanding, I deliver the inestimable treasure of all elected soules, to bee perused at convenient times" (26-30). [28] Lanyer thus suggests that Salve Deus is not just an inestimably valuable and therefore guilt-inducing gift, but a gift which offers itself to an audience already spiritually prepared to discern its value and encounter its mysteries.

In constructing her dedicatees as preternaturally acute and sympathetic readers, Lanyer obviously flatters them. However, she also suggests that they are fully capable of appreciating the gift of Christ in the book, as well as the poet who offers him in it. She emphasizes that Salve Deus is the appropriate gift for her dedicatees through the metaphor of the mirror. That Salve Deus is likewise "a mirrour of your most worthy minde" stresses the Countess's status as one of the chief among the interpretive elect of the book. [29] In presenting the minds of her dedicatees as mirrors of the divinely-inspired book, Lanyer again defuses the sense that her gift is a weighty obligation rather than a spiritual delight; Salve Deus becomes an embodiment not simply of Christ, but a mirror in which the dedicatees may see reflected their own virtues and Christian faith. In "To the Ladie Lucie, Countesse of Bedford," Lanyer compares her book both to Christ and to that other preeminent site of biblical wisdom -- the Ark of th e Covenant; thus, Bedford joins the Countess as a member of Salve Deus's interpretive elect. Moreover, Bedford's understanding qualifies her to become one with the book and with Christ, in a sensual union of body and spirit: "About this blessed Arke bright Angels hover: / Where your faire soule may sure and safely rest, / When he is sweetly seated in your brest" (19-21). Thus, the book is not simply conflated with Christ and the Scriptures but with the inner mental, spiritual and sensual lives of its dedicatees. [30] Salve Deus offers them, in a sense, what they already possess.

It is difficult, in the context of Lanyer's apocalyptic genealogy, to see these descriptions as simply a patronage ploy aimed at making her dedicatees feel the heavy obligation that accompanies a gift that can never be adequately rewarded. Clearly, Lanyer's creation of her book as a "belated ... Gospel of Christ" claims for Salve Deus and for herself as its author a special spiritual authority. [31] However, Lanyer's representation of the poem as "the Gospel according to woman" (to use Karen Armstrong's phrase), as embodying Christ himself, is also mediated through the very mutual dependency which characterizes the relationship between reader and writer, poet and patron, Christian supplicant and minister. Lanyer constantly emphasizes the mutual dependency of writer and reader in her repeated urging of her readers to read her little book, implying the obvious uselessness of prophetic utterance without an appropriate audience. Lanyer also reinforces our sense that she is as much dependent on her dedicatees as they are upon her through her insistence on Salve Deus as a feast, perhaps the most dominant image of the book in the entire poem. [32] Far from presenting herself as the sole host of this feast, offering her excellent spiritual food to her desiring and dependent dedicatees, Lanyer also presents other figures in this ministerial role. In her initial dedication "To the Queenes most Excellent Majestie," for example, Lanyer presents not herself, but Eve, as the one who "must entertaine [the Queen] to this Feast, / To which your Highnesse is the welcom'st guest" (83-84). In "To all vertuous Ladies in generall," it is Christ "The Bridegroome [who] stayes to entertaine you all" (9), as is the case in "To the Ladie Anne, Countesse of Dorcet," where Lanyer urges Anne and all readers to be "ready when he doth call / To enter with the Bridegroome to the feast" (14-15). Moreover, the numerous invitations which Lanyer herself offers to the feast of the book are at least partly circumscribed by the profoundly communal asp ects of the Eucharist in seventeenth-century England, and by Lanyer's own desire to model for her readers the role of "poet-priest" as she "urg[es] her female readers to participate with her in her priestly function." [33] If Lanyer as host invites women to the feast of her poem, she equally encourages them to take on the role of Eucharistic celebrant: "bring your palmes of vict'ry in your hands," Lanyer writes in "To all vertuous Ladies in generall" (37), "Sweet odours, mirrhe, gum, aloes, frankincense, / Present that King who di'd for our offence" (41-42). [34] The feast is an image of that sacrament which reflects, in short, the mutual dependency of celebrant and people, poet and readers. [35]

More striking, perhaps, is the way these various images resound to an apocalyptic set of images. The images in the dedications, especially those which represent the relationship between poet and dedicatee, between the book and the reader, are those most often connected with what Dennis Costa has termed "irenic apocalypse." In her reiterated presentation of her book to her dedicatees, Lanyer employs "peaceful images, whose ultimate source is the biblical Apocalypse," images "which serve to qualify the violent, seemingly closed-ended, horrific content of the biblical book: images of dreaming, reading, keeping vigil, endurance (patientia), repose, eating, superabundance, learning" (2-3). Images of each of these types can be found throughout Lanyer's dedications, and indeed throughout Salve Deus proper; as we have seen images of eating and reading abound in the dedications. Keohane has commented, in addition, on how "Lanyer's speaker is for the most part free from self-doubt or penitence" and indeed the dominan t tone of the dedications derives from the irenic representation of their hoping and waiting Christian women (367). Images of expectation join with images of superabundant fulfillment, as Lanyer imagines her various dedicatees in terms of one of the central paradoxes of the believers' experience in apocalypse, as both eagerly expectant for the presence of Christ and already-abundantly full of this very presence.

Expectation is often connected in the dedications with a willingness to take up Lanyer's book and thus encounter Christ, but also with the parable of the bridegroom and the wise and foolish virgins, a parable which has the unique distinction of being used four times in the dedicatory pieces. Keeping vigil is an important aspect of irenic apocalypse which Lanyer chooses to convey through the biblical parable most often associated with vigil, and frequently interpreted as foreshadowing Christ's apocalyptic second coming. In the dedications, her women are likened implicitly or explicitly to the wise virgins who took extra oil with them for their lamps while waiting for the bridegroom. When he comes unexpectedly in the middle of the night, the wise virgins have extra oil to fill their lamps and thus enter with him into the wedding feast. The foolish virgins who have no extra oil are excluded (Matt 25:1-13). In Apocalisse e Insecuritas, Maurilio Adriani draws an intimate connection between the type of vigil which the wise virgins undertake and the kind of vigil imagined in apocalypse: "The preparation of the wise virgins in the Gospel story. . . centres on a present which actually expects the totally new. Their symbolic/ritualistic waiting ... [is] really adequate to the unpredictable nature of the bridegroom's coming. [As a result] they can lead him into the wedding hall, into the experience for which it is impassible to prepare" [36] In representing "all vertuous Ladies in general1," as well as Lady Susan, Lady Anne, and Lady Margaret herself (near the beginning of Salve Deus proper, 77-80) as ready for the bridegroom, Lanyer suggests that these women are on the threshold of that ultimate, apocalyptic union with Christ. Sensual images of bowers, beds, and soft womanly breasts intensify the complete repose which Lanyer depicts these women anticipating in many of the dedicatory verses, images which attempt to represent that experience of ultimate union for which these Christian women wait. In "To the Ladie Lucie, Cou ntesse of Bedford," Lanyer begs Bedford to "give true attendance on this lovely guest," situating "him" (both Christ and Salve Deus) "in your brest," which is described as "that blessed bowre" (23, 24). [37] Christ is both "all that Ladies can desire" and the lover "who all forsooke, / That in his dying armes he might imbrace / Your beauteous Soule, and fill it with his grace." [38]

In the cumulative way in which Lanyer's imagery functions, we begin to hear the subtle apocalyptic resonances which attach to seemingly discrete, though repeated, elements: her urging of her readers to taste simultaneously Christ in her book and her book as an embodiment of Christ; her representation of her dedication to Mary Sidney as an inspired dream; her attribution of Salve Deus itself to a divinely-inspired dream in her final prose address "To the doubtfull Reader"; her judicious selection of biblical texts, such as Matthew 25:1-13, and sacramental doctrines, such as those surrounding the Eucharist, which resound to some of the main themes of apocalypse. Lanyer perhaps even tentatively reminds the reader, in terms of the imagery surrounding the book and reading, of that most striking image in Revelation, when John is called upon to eat the book of his own divinely-inspired dream: "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter" (Rev. 10:10). [39] Yet, as we shall consider in a moment, this kind of subtle identification has its limitations when considered solely in the context of the dedications, since in these poems Lanyer offers us only the honied sweetness of her book, while the bitterness and emphasis on justice and divine retribution which must always be part of irenic apocalypse are reserved largely for Salve Deus itself. Through Lanyer's repeated conflation of her book, Scripture and Christ, Salve Deus finally becomes the shadowy type of the mystical book of eschatological knowledge presented in Revelation, "the Booke I Of our charg'd soules" (1657-58) which only Christ can open. [40] Yet along with her celebration of woman's spirituality, wisdom and learning, Lanyer also acknowledges in the work's central patronage plea the terrifying aspects of apocalypse, harnessing them to explicate the Countess of Cumberland's material struggle against her own personal enemies and to represent the des truction Christ will wreak upon them.



John Bale's emphasis on the mutually enlightening relationship between Revelation and history is, as Katharine Firth points out, his original and lasting contribution to English apocalypticism. Bale's "understanding of history ... as a belief in the interdependence of Scripture and chronicle" is a conviction which led him to the publication of The Image of Bothe Churches (1548), and to other treatises which emphasize his absorption of several interpretive traditions concerning Revelation (56). Bale accepted the Continental Reformist belief that the Apocalypse and its presentation of the "two Churches, of Christ and Antichrist" should be understood in "spiritual and moral" terms; he also, however, came to the conclusion that "the history of both these churches was hidden in the mysteries of the Apocalypse and could be discovered by comparison of prophecy with the history recorded in the chronicles, and that history proceeded under the figures of the seven seals" (58). Both Bale and later Foxe dignify history a nd chronicle as those texts through which "the prophecies of Daniel and of S. Johans revelacion [are to be] more easely of their readers understanded" [41] However, both also face the difficulty of maintaining Revelation as the primary source of prophecy and interpretation in their accounts, with Foxe substituting a relationship which is more mutually constitutive than Bale was willing to risk. [42] According to Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Revelation is that "book [which], as it containeth a prophetical history of the church, so like wise it requireth by histories to be opened." [43] For Bale and Foxe, "the corruption of histories was one of the chief activities of the antichristian Church, whereby Antichrist had increased error and superstition over the ages, so that in the sixteenth century they found 'for true histories most frivolouse fables and lies, that we might the sonner by the devils suggestion fall into moste deepe errours, and so be lost for not belevinge the truth'." [44] Lanyer's poem functions o n the patronage level, and resolves some of the problems which the model of promise, fulfillment and supersedure implies for a patronage plea, by appropriating the general thrust of sixteenth-century English apocalypticism. She relies on the English apocalyptic tradition's peculiar emphasis on the relationship between Revelation or the apocalyptic in general and the writing of national (as well as international) history. Just as she radically rewrites Genesis as a biblical text with significant oppressive power over early modern women, so she radically rewrites as well the kinds of history which can be illuminated by apocalypse. Lanyer widens the scope of significant historical events beyond large political or religious movements to include the spiritual life and material struggles of individual women and their families.

In this context, Lanyer undertakes a veiled writing of the Countess of Cumberland's struggle to regain for her daughter and descendants as yet unborn those estates willed away from the Cliffords's female line. Such a representation involves a rethinking of what kinds of history can legitimately illuminate as well as be illuminated by Scripture's apocalyptic and escharological texts. The most personal dedications aimed at the poem's primary patrons, the mother-daughter pairs of Catherine Willoughby (Duchess of Suffolk) and Susan Bertie (Countess Dowager of Kent), as well as Margaret (Countess of Cumberland) and Anne (Countess of Dorset), suggest the difficulties and opportunities presented by the embedding of these women's private histories and genealogies within the poet's larger apocalyptic genealogy of women, at the same time that she is making a bid for patronage. In the case of the first of these mother-daughter pairs, Lanyer easily makes figures of inheritance and matrilinearity a part of her larger pro ject of rewriting woman's history within an apocalyptic telos, particularly given the popular English interpretation of the Reformation as a fulfillment of Revelation prophecy. The case of Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, and her daughter Anne, Countess of Dorset, is more complex, given the way their private histories and concern with worldly genealogy resist translation into the register of spiritual inheritance. While the Protestant heroine Catherine and her heroic daughter Susan, for example, become easily and flatteringly absorbed into Lanyer's apocalyptic genealogy of women, Margaret and Anne are virtually defined by their joint concern with earthly lineage, estates, inheritance and their duty to their descendants. In their case, in particular, Lanyer must balance imaginatively the material and social exigencies of patronage against the poem's typological genealogy and its movement towards a place beyond the social status and lineage for which the Countess and later Anne fought throughout their lives.

"To the Ladie Susan, Countesse Dowager of Kent, and Daughter to the Duchesse of Suffolke" relies for its effectiveness on the traditional English view of the Reformation as a fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy, and thus to a certain extent on the mutually constitutive relationship between history and apocalypse. Focusing on the presentation of Lady Susan's virtues as a treasure inherited from her famous mother, Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, Lewaiski rightly points to this dedication as part of the poem's larger presentation of "a contemporary community of good women who are spiritual heirs to the biblical and historical good women her title poem celebrates." [45] However, this idealized community of matrilineal virtue is also embedded in an historical and political view of the Reformation, conventionally interpreted through Revelation and the glosses popularized by the Geneva Bible. [46] Susan Bertie's virtue derives from her mother's resistance to Queen Mary's attempt to return England to Roman Catholicism and the tyranny of the Pope. Catherine is "[t]hat noble Dutchesse, who liv'd unsubjected," who fled "[f]rom Romes ridiculous prier and tyranny, / That mighty Monarchs kept in awfull feare" (24, 25-26). This principled refusal to accommodate herself to Mary's Roman Catholic rule meant an exile of poverty: "Leaving here her lands, her state, dignitie; / Nay more, vouchsaft disguised weedes to weare: / When with Christ Jesus she did meane to goe, / From sweet delights to taste part of his woe" (27-30). In turn, Susan Bertie is credited, even as an infant, with a conscious part in the drama of the Reformation: "Whose Faith did undertake in Infancie, / All dang'rous travells by devouring Seas / To flie to Christ from vain Idolatry (19-21). [47] The description of recent history and woman's part in it is highly conventional, with its presentation of the Pope as an embodiment of Antichrist's idolatry, tyranny, and intimidation of "mighty Monarchs," and its presentation of Catherine and Susan as exiles f or Christ and the true faith. While the poem contains no direct allusions to Revelation, the connection between the persecution of the godly by Antichrist and the persecution of the English Church by Rome is a commonplace in the period. It is precisely through the conventionality of these terms that Lanyer suggests the connection between personal and political history, between Susan Bertie's personal inheritance of her mother's Protestant virtue and the period's traditional interpretation of the Reformation as a fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy.

That said, Salve Deus is at its most complex and contradictory when attempting to incorporate the poem's apocalyptic thrust, the exigencies of patronage and Margaret, Countess of Cumberland's, as well as her daughter Anne's, preoccupation with family genealogy. In the case of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, Lanyer can produce a gracious compliment to this noblewoman's poetic skill within the poem's structure of promise, fulfillment and supersedure, given that Sidney will live forever as the translator of the Psalms, those divinely-inspired words which will never pass away; they and Mary Sidney become the apogee of poetic skill and spiritual excellence. The Countess of Suffolk as Reformation heroine suggests women's role in the battle between Christ and Antichrist. In the last two stanzas of Salve Deus proper (1825-40), Lanyer clearly appeals to the Countess of Cumberland as patron, and thus also appeals to her in terms of the matrilineal and feminist rewriting of the patronage system which Lewalski and ot hers have discussed at length; she commends the Countess's "excellence" (1833) as the inspiration for her "weake Muse" (1831), praises her "rarest Virtues" as those which have "delight[ed]" the poet's "soule" (1835), and indicates explicitly that she relies on the Countess for the spiritual as well as social and material rewards of patronage: "On your Deserts my Muses doe attend: / You are the Articke Starre that guides my hand, / All what I am, I rest at your command" (1838-40). Here imitatio fashions Lanyer's relationship to the Countess within women's history, since Lanyer does not want to imply that the Countess herself is subject to the same typological movement which embraces women generally in Salve Deus. The Countess becomes here the female spiritual perfection which can be imitated by Lanyer, just as Christ is represented as the spiritual perfection imitated by the Countess. Lanyer uses her typological model of promise, fulfillment and supersedure to suggest that the Countess is the apotheosized Chri stian woman and bride of Christ of which all the Old Testament women she describes are types. However, the demands of patronage make it impossible for her to depict the Countess as wholly subject to this typological genealogy, as a woman who in turn will be superseded and fulfilled in yet another more perfect Christian woman. Hence, Lanyer's use of apocalypse in her depiction of the Countess's place in this typological genealogy -- the Countess, who is earlier described in terms of the Song of Solomon as Christ's bride, becomes implicitly at the end of the poem "the woman clothed with the sun," the final representation of woman in Revelation, the fulfillment of woman's past, the image of woman's salvation.

At the same time, Lanyer's early address to the Countess in stanzas 5-19 (33-144) of Salve Deus proper employs the far less serene aspects of apocalypse which Costa emphasizes are inseparable from its irenic ones -- violence, destruction, and divine retribution -- to reinforce the Countess's spiritual, apocalyptic destiny as well as her material investment in her particular genealogical concerns. Lanyer is chary about invoking these aspects of irenic apocalypse both in her dedications and elsewhere in Salve Deus proper. We might see the description of Susan Bertie's journey across the devouring seas as the violent, mirror-image of those positive images of feasting and communion which dominate the dedications in general. This subtle hint simply does not compare to the poet's explicit drawing on Revelation as well as eschatological passages from Psalms, Isaiah, and Ezekiel in order to offer the Countess a vision of Christ's apocalyptic destruction of her personal enemies. [48] In focusing specifically on those psalms which promise the justification of the righteous and the wholesale destruction of their wicked persecutors, Lanyer clearly aims not simply at comforting the Countess for Satan's "infinite annoyes," a reference (as Susanne Woods has noted) to her wearying battle for her daughter Anne's inheritance, [49] but at placing this battle within the scope of those personal histories illuminated by apocalypse.

Lanyer imagines the Countess's enemies in very particular terms, seizing on the condemnation of slander and hypocrisy which features so strongly in many apocalyptic and eschatological passages in Psalms, where the psalmist imagines the justice of God visited on his foes. In stanzas which are loosely based on Psalms 15, 64, and 68, Lanyer describes the Countess's enemies as "double-hearted" individuals, "who with their tongues the righteous Soules do slay" (105, 106): "As venemous as Serpents is their breath, / With poysned lies to hurt in what they may / The Innocent" (117-19). The only people who "shall within his Tabernacle dwell," Lanyer goes on to assert, are those "Who no untrueths of Innocents doth tell, / Nor wrongs his neighbour, nor in deed, nor word, / Nor in his pride with malice seems to swell, / Nor whets his tongue more sharper than a sword, / To wound the reputation of the Just; / Nor seekes to lay their glorie in the Dust" (129-36). [50] Given that the Countess of Cumberland's struggle took p lace in the context of court depositions and legal wrangling, the decision to depict her enemies as abusers of language and murderers of reputation allows Lanyer to place the Countess trials in a spiritual and escharological context. [51]

Lanyer also figures the Countess's vindication at the end of time as a vindication of her claims to that land for which she fought so many legal and familial battles. Her enemies' lies purchase them an apocalyptic destruction, as Lanyer draws on Psalms 97 and 104 as well as Ezechial 38:22 to cast the Countess's opposition as "the wicked monsters" (139) on which "great Jehova King of heav'n and earth, / Will raine downe fire and brimstone from above" (137-38). Christ is the agent of justice, Lanyer assures the Countess, who "will surely do thee right" (70), since "thy patience, faith, long suffring, and thy love, / He will reward with comforts from above" (71-72). Christ delivers divine retribution: "... cloudes of darkenesse compasse him about, / Consuming fire shall goe before in streames / And burne up all his en'mies round about" (98-99). [52] However, the ultimate punishment that the Lord will visit upon the Countess's foes is their destruction in the moment of "their berth." [53] In terms of the poem's interest in genealogies both typological and actual, it is telling that Lanyer also chooses to paraphrase the description of the ungodly in Psalm 58, when she asserts, "Froward are the ungodly from their berth, / No sooner borne but they doe goe astray" (113-14) [54] She hints at an argument she will make explicit later: the Countess's enemies lack legitimacy not only before the eyes of God, but also those of man, in their attempts to keep from her the lands which were her daughter Anne's by right. Their punishment is a fitting occasion for an apocalyptic poetic justice, as their patrilineal claims to being the legitimate possessors of the disputed estates dictate their terrible destruction at birth, the circumstance on which (ironically) they have based these very claims. Unlike her foes, who will all burn in the fires that never die, the Countess's troubles will end with the justification of the righteous in the end times. While her enemies are destroyed in the moment of their coming into being, the Countes s lives to witness her own apotheosis and the eternal memorialization of her worldly sufferings: "He through afflictions, still thy Minde prepares, / And all thy glorious Trialls will enroule: / That when darke daies of terror shall appeare, / Thou as the Sunne shalt shine; or much more cleare" (53-56).

The book wherein Christ will "enroule" the Countess's "glorious Trialls" and the rolled-up "skrowle" which figures the end of the world ("The Heav'ns shall perish as a garment olde, / Or as a vesture by the maker chang'd, / And shall depart, as when a skrowle is rolde; / Yet thou from him shalt never be estranged" [57-60] [55]) both comment on the Countess's worldly experience with textual truth, and show Lanyer's use of apocalyptic images to represent simultaneously her patron's spiritual excellence and worldly struggles. [56] The Countess's dedication to her daughter's cause involved her in the historical research necessary to press a legal claim for the disputed estates; while she had professional assistance, much of this research she undertook on her own. The Countess also clearly placed a great deal of faith in the compilation of the family papers, genealogies, and legal documents which comprised the basis of her claims. [57] In a sense, the Countess has "enroule[d]" her own genealogical trials in these voluminous papers, many of which were specifically prepared as public testimonies to the justice of her claims on Anne's behalf. [58] Lanyer's interest in connecting revelation, justice, and women's material struggles is thus made very explicit at the outset of her account of Christ's passion. In a powerful stanza where Lanyer presents Christ as the angry Almighty who "searcheth out the secrets of all mindes" (85) and is "exceeding glorious to behold, / Antient of Times" (87-88), she also draws on an earlier psalm to insert the statement: "All those that feare him, shall possesse the Land" (86). [59] Land is precisely what is at stake in the Countess's lawsuits. By representing the Countess's personal and material struggles through the lens of apocalypse and eschatology, Lanyer suggests that these material struggles are spiritually significant, enabling her to construct a spiritual distinction between the worldly concerns of the Countess and those of her enemies; while the Countess's foes are "worldlings" (1 01), she herself, for all her investment in material issues, can be described as one to whom "worldly pleasures seemes ... as toyes" (35).

In this context, Lanyer's conclusion to Salve Deus proper seems more explicable. We have already seen how this section of Salve Deus, which comprises the conclusion to the frame epideictic for the Countess of Cumberland, functions to build Lanyer's typological and apocalyptic genealogy of woman. However, one aspect of Salve Deus's conclusion has always troubled critics, particularly those who interpret it as a wholeheartedly feminist and predominantly secular text. In lines 1745-1832, Lanyer describes a host of exclusively male martyrs as patterns of virtue in whose steps the Countess desires to follow. The extensive references to Stephen, Lawrence, Andrew, Peter, and John the Baptist have been interpreted in numerous ways -- as a calculated strategy to avoid offending possible male readers, [60] an indication that Lanyer's struggle against the patriarchal dominance of matters spiritual, religious and creative is finally in vain, [61] and evidence of doubts concerning the effectiveness of her "feminist voice ." [62] Readers are clearly uncomfortable with Lanyer's apparent discarding of the category of gender altogether in her representation of the Countess as one among these male martyrs, one of Christ's "deere adopted Heires" (1786).

This gesture may spring from Lanyer's attempt to imagine a post-apocalyptic world where the following biblical text has been realized: "[with God] there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." [63] In placing the Countess among these holy men, Lanyer may be trying to write a world where female subordination and the gender assumptions which justify it have been eradicated. Perhaps Lanyer wants to take further her poems imitation of apocalyptic images and themes, and thus attempts to push Salve Deus's own imaginative framework beyond time itself. Perhaps Lanyer tries to envision a world where a woman's virtue may take its place without comment among that of the apostles, male martyrs, and fathers of the Church. By representing the Countess, a living noblewoman, as a member of Christ's apocalyptic elect, Lanyer seems to suggest here that the Countess's sufferings in the world are transcended and thus rendered insignificant, just as the martyrs' terrible tortures and deaths are transcended by their tasting the love of Christ. Here, Lanyer seems to produce a conflicted image which suggests, on the one hand, that the Countess has transcended the material categories of gender as the apotheosized Christian woman. On the other hand, Lanyer implies that gender assumptions can never be transcended. After all, these male martyrs function in Salve Deus specifically as the celebrated models of Christian self-sacrifice and faith, models which the Countess cannot do better than imitate.

Yet, a whole-hearted transcendence of early modern woman's gender struggles would be an odd "about-face" for Lanyer at this point in her volume, and would constitute a deliberate choice of the spiritual over the material concerns of Salve Deus itself. I think, however, that we need to be careful about jumping to the conclusion that Lanyer is actually advocating the transcendence of gender difference in a post-apocalyptic world as her final response to the material struggles of early modern women. We should not be so quick to assume that this gesture is simply another example of the ideological bind in which early modern feminist writers found themselves: "Caught up in opposition to misogyny, the feminists of the querelle remained bound by the terms of that dialectic. What they had to say to women and society was largely reactive to what misogynists said about women." [64] When we view the end of Salve Deus in the light of its beginning, we see the truly provocative connections which Lanyer constructs, and th e deeply subversive meanings which attach to this catalogue of male figures. The description of the Countess and the male martyrs as "deere adopted Heires" of Christ resounds precisely to the issues of worldly as well as spiritual inheritance which Lanyer focuses on in stanzas 5-19 and in her other addresses to the Countess. This image suggests that her principle dedicatee should be counted among the heirs of Christ, and yet implies that her gender has often made this claim unacceptable in early modern culture. This image also directs our attention back to the thorough representation of the Countess's struggle to have Anne's claims to her father's titles and lands honoured. If the Countess's gender should not invalidate her position as one among these male "Heires" of Christ, then equally Anne's gender should not invalidate her position as the rightful heir to her father's titles and estates. It is telling, however, that Lanyer's final account in her celebration of famous male martyrs focuses on John the Baptist and his revelation of Herod's incest. Since incest was a crime often represented in the early modern period not simply as a sin against God and nature, but a sin against one's lineage, [65] Lanyer may even be hinting at the extent to which absolute patriarchal power in the family and state could corrupt genealogy. In shor t, the Countess's praise in Salve Deus proper concludes not so much with the transcendence of gender and the rejection of the material, but with Lanyer's sophisticated balancing of the poem's apocalyptic, eschatological and ultimately transcendent vision, against the persistent material realities of gender and genealogy.

The dedication to the Countess of Cumberland's daughter, Anne, is equally sophisticated in its balancing of the spiritual and material significance of genealogy. It figures this relationship somewhat differently than is the case with the Countess of Cumberland. "To the Ladie Anne, Countesse of Dorcet" focuses more broadly on the spiritual and material definition of the legitimate heir, rather than on the apocalyptic vindication which figures the Countess's trials and victory both in this world and the next. Salve Deus's apocalyptic imaginings enable the Countess's escape from the aspects of typological genealogy which (as we have seen earlier) threaten to compromise Lanyer's patronage bid and her desire to treat seriously the material struggles of her dedicatees. By placing Margaret so firmly in the context of apocalyptic fulfillment and the concrete realities of genealogy, Lanyer is largely successful in creating images which move easily between considerations of worldly and spiritual inheritance. Lanyer ha s greater difficulty knowing how to characterize Anne's relationship to her mother and woman's typological and apocalyptic genealogy in general, probably because the apocalyptic apotheosis of Anne is a representational impossibility. More than one embodiment of perfect Christian womanhood would be less than subtle, and would also tend to undermine the useful aspects of typological genealogy. The dedication to Anne still bears the signs of Lanyer's careful construction of the relationship between spiritual and material genealogy. If in the Countess's apocalyptic justification, we are invited to read Lanyer's scripturally-allusive verse both in terms of its obvious spiritual meanings and its less obvious material ones, in "To the Ladie Anne," we are invited to read Lanyer's more secularly-oriented verse both in terms of its obvious material meanings and its comparatively less obvious spiritual ones. That is, while Lanyer foregrounds the spiritual in the former, she foregrounds the material in the latter, offeri ng these sections of the volume as complementary means of approaching the same set of issues.

Susanne Woods has described "To the Ladie Anne"'s celebration of "virtue [as] true nobility" over the nobility implied by blood and aristocratic descent as simply a "a pious clich[acute{e}]," which attempts to "comfort... Anne in her frustrating effort to inherit some of her father's noble titles and estates (42). For Anne, whose mother had spent much of her life engaged in a battle over inheritance rights, and who was to spend much of her own life engaged in the same battle, such an emphasis would surely be considerably more irksome than simply piously cliched. Clearly, the production of a world wherein class and lineage have passed away would constitute a very qualified comfort for a woman whose identity was so caught up in these very institutions. In fact, any attempt to write women's apocalyptic genealogy unmodulated by attention to the material realities of inheritance would be distinctly disturbing to Anne Clifford, who "as a landed aristocrat...had an obligation to her ancestors and to her posterity t o pass down her land, or her claim to her land, to her descendants." [66]

Instead, Lanyer's professed interest in natural nobility, in a transcendent world of virtue, receives precisely this modulation, as it segues very cunningly into an indictment of the patrilineal law and custom which was blocking Anne's claims. She assures Anne that "[g]reatnesse is no sure frame to build upon," that "God makes both even, the Cottage with the Throne," and that "[t]itles of honour which the world bestowes, / To none but to the virtuous doth belong." She thus emphasizes the equality before God's eyes that each soul shall possess at the last Judgement (17, 19, 25-26). However, Lanyer is not interested in ridding her dedication of class and the material reality of descent; after all, she goes on to qualify this notion of "virtue [as] true nobility," by suggesting that class divisions arose to reflect distinctions between men on the basis of virtue. All individuals who claim gentry status as their birthright are themselves indebted to some ancestor who "did honour win" (40):

Whose successors, although they beare his name,

Possessing not the riches of his minde,

How doe we know they spring out of the same

True stocke of honour, beeing not of that kind?

It is faire virtue gets immortal fame,

Tis that doth all love and duty bind:

If he that much enjoyes, doth little good,

We may suppose he comes not of that blood.

Nor is he fit for honour, or command,

If base affections over-rules his mind;

Or that self-will doth carry such a hand,

As worldly pleasures have the powre to blind

So as he cannot see, nor understand

How to discharge that place to him assign'd:

Gods Stewards must for all the poore provide,

If in God's house they purpose to abide.


In a poem which has used the female pronoun up to this point to represent all kinds of genealogical relationships, [67] the use of the masculine pronoun here to depict the founder of a noble family has some peculiar effects. Since the only important "he" prior to this point in the poem is Christ, there is a subtle splitting open of the universal assumption that subjectivity and agency, not to mention concern over family inheritance and lineage, are exclusively masculine affairs. Here, the male founder of a noble house produces male heirs who fall away from his standard of virtue and from the standards of virtue which women have been previously shown to embody. Lanyer's point is that virtue is not necessarily inheritable, that a noble name, while originally won by a man's good deeds, needs always to be claimed and reclaimed by his descendants' similar virtuous acts: "It is faire virtue gets immortall fame" (45). She also suggests, however, that a nobleman who lacks virtue surrenders not just his reputation and honor, but also his claim to blood descent. If a nobleman "that much enjoyes, doth little good, / We may suppose he comes not of that blood" (47-48). Lanyer suggests that noble descent should be testified to by good deeds and virtuous actions; the lack of such active virtue testifies in turn to a nobleman's bastardy, in more than metaphoric terms. Lanyer thus wrests control of descent's definition away from men and restores it to Anne and her mother.

Anne obviously demonstrates her true nobility through her cultivation of the virtues she has inherited from her mother: "To you, as to Gods Steward I doe write, / In whom the seeds of virtue have bin sowne, / By your most worthy mother, in whose right, / All her faire parts you challenge as your owne" (57-60). Clearly, the dedication does not consistently devalue the inheritance of rank in favour of the inheritance of virtue, since Anne's inheritance of the latter proves her worthy of inheriting the former. This distinction between the unworthy male heir and the worthy female heir, between the false steward of God and the true one, becomes increasingly politically and personally charged. It is not simply that the male heir lacks true virtue and nobility, while Anne possesses them, but that the logical outcome of Lanyer's metaphor is that Anne should not only inherit the "Diadem" (63) of Salve Deus as holy book, but the lands and titles which the male heir has squandered. Indeed, Lanyer describes Anne and her lineage as an ideal marriage of true virtue and nobility by birth:

You are the Heire apparant of this Crowne

Of goodnesse, bountie, grace, love, pietie,

By birth its yours, then keepe it as your owne,

Defend it from all base indignitie;

The right your Mother hath to it, is knowne

Best unto you, who reapt such fruit thereby:

This Monument of her faire worth retaine

In your pure mind, and keepe it from all staine.

And as your Ancestors at first possest

Their honours, for their honourable deeds,

Let their faire virtues never be transgrest,

Bind up the broken, stop the wounds that bleeds,

Succour the poore, comfort the comfortlesse,

Cherish faire plants, suppresse unwholsom weeds;

Although base pelfe do chance to come in place,

Yet let true worth receive your greatest grace.


Because the dedication insists on the link between a person's virtue and his or her status as legitimate heir to an aristocratic name, Anne's inheritance of her mother's spiritual virtues implies the legitimacy of her worldly claims: Anne is the rightful inheritor of the material goods, honours, estates, and titles that accompany her status as her mother's virtuous daughter. In addition, Lanyer's injunctions to Anne to use her power to protect the poor, reward followers on the basis of merit and virtue, as well as bind up the wounds of the helpless, are those which any Christian should obey. They also describe, however, some of the duties undertaken by gentlewomen on their manor estates; in addition, they imagine Anne as a wealthy and powerful woman, capable of dispensing patronage. Thus, Lanyer creates a description of genealogy, inheritance and duty which resounds both to the material exigencies of her patron's quest for her father's titles and estates and to the spiritual aspirations of any Christian woman .


"The Description of Cooke-ham" is seen alternately as "Lanyer's most promising bid for patronage, [since] she refrains from what might then be considered bold statements in favour of women" [68] as a "nostalgic view of her childhood home [which] portrays an Edenic environment in which girls frolic in harmony with nature," [69] and as "a female conception of an idealized social order, which respond[s] to contemporary ideology and which [is] epitomized in the life of a specific country house." [70] In terms of Lanyer's balancing of the spiritual and material concerns of her principle dedicatees's lives, "The Description of Cooke-ham" also offers a vision of woman's fulfillment of her typological promise and an acknowledgment of the actual genealogical politics which governed Margaret and Anne's lives. In other words, as Lewalski suggests, Salve Deus's concluding poem "gives mythic dimension to Lanyer's dominant concerns throughout the volume" at the same time that it "displays the real superimposed upon the ide al." [71] Cooke-ham becomes, as a result, a decidedly literary and biblical garden and its inhabitants types of Christ and his apostles. However, Cooke-ham is also and ineluctably an actual estate, from which the Countess and Anne are exiled not just as humanity was exiled from the garden of Eden, but as particular women barred from the enjoyment of their own estates by the law and custom of patrilineal inheritance. [72] As in her dedication to Anne, Lanyer modulates her inscription of her patrons into an apocalyptic genealogy, recognizing their concern with actual estates and not just metaphorical gardens, with worldly genealogy as well as spiritual inheritance. She accomplishes this delicate balancing act again through a series of fluid metaphors, which offer simultaneously to be read in terms of material and spiritual genealogy. More strikingly, her explicit description of this poem as a patronage piece and indeed a "command" performance at the behest of the Countess of Cumberland, herself, helps create th is balance between land, genealogy, and inheritance as metaphors for spiritual relationships and as those materials objects and aristocratic practices which Margaret and Anne staunchly supported. In emphasizing her role as poet-client, Lanyer also emphasizes Margaret and Anne's roles as patrons, as dispensers of the largesse which accompanies title, land, and name.

"The Description of Cooke-ham" begins with this complex interrelationship between the spiritually-idealized images of Cooke-ham, the apocalyptic figuring of genealogy, and Lanyer's description of the poem as a patronage piece. Lanyer begins by portraying Cooke-ham and its lady as both of the world and beyond its material exigencies. She urges the Countess, "from whose desires did spring this worke of Grace" (12), to think of the time which she, Lanyer, and Anne once spent at this Berkshire estate as a type of the pleasure to be experienced fully in heaven: "Vouchsafe to thinke upon those pleasures past, / As fleeting worldly Joyes that could not last: / Or, as dimme shadowes of celestiall pleasures, / Which are desir'd above all earthly treasures" (13-16). In depicting the pleasurable time at Cooke-ham as a type of the joys awaiting the faithful in Paradise, Lanyer writes the estate, Margaret, Anne, and the community of women into her poem's typological and apocalyptic narrative of female salvation. She also suggests the value of actual worldly estates since their delights become the "shadow" of the delights of heaven, just as Solomon earlier was a "shadow" or type of Christ's love. At the same time, of course, Lanyer suggests that "The Description of Cooke-ham" and she herself as its poet are bound up in relationships of patronage which themselves imply the material needs and desires of Lanyer as client, on the one hand, and the less tangible needs and desires of Margaret and Anne as patrons, on the other.

The rest of "The Description of Cooke-ham" develops this use of patronage gestures as a means of negotiating the relative importance of worldly genealogy, land and inheritance and their spiritual counterparts. Lanyer extols and idealizes the estate in terms of extensive prosopopoeia, where "[t]he Walkes put on their summer Liveries, / And all things else did hold like similies: / The Trees with leaves, with fruits, with flowers clad, / Embrac'd each other, seeming to be glad" (21-24); Lanyer exclaims, "Oh how me thought each plant, each floure, each tree / Set forth their beauties then to welcome thee: / The very Hills right humbly did descend, / When you to tread upon them did intend" (33-36). Apart from presenting the estate as bowing to the Countess's spiritual virtues, prosopopoeia also suggests the estate's rightful subordination to the Countess as its sole heir and lord. Nature is, after all, dressed in the formal garb, the "Liveries," which proclaims its allegiance to and ownership by the Countess. Lan yer also uses the prosopopoeic description of Cooke-ham to idealize the Countess's estate as the context within which her soul is figured as part of that long line of important Christological types, stretching from Moses to Joseph, to David, to the apostles. She describes the Countess's study of Christ's "holy Writ" (83) and her spiritual epiphanies in terms of the activities of the Saviour's important types -- Moses and David: "With Moyses you did mount his holy Hill, / To know his pleasure, and performe his Will. / With lovely David you did often sing, / His holy Hymnes to Heavens Eternall King" (85-88). In this way, both the Countess's worldly and spiritual authority are given equal weight: through her use of typology, Lanyer creates the Countess's estate as an idealized garden at the end of all things, which recognizes her spiritual authority as the last in a long line of Christ's biblical types; equally, she creates the Countess's estate as a place which testifies to her authority as aristocratic patron, just as Lanyer the poet-client does as well.

Likewise, the beauty and prospects of Cooke-ham offer a canny modulation of the estate as a "locus amoenus" in the "tradition [of] praising a happy rural retirement from city business or courtly corruption;" [73] it is equally an actual estate, a place of worldly wealth and power, a symbol of the aristocratic name and inheritance of Margaret's family. The details of the landscape have scriptural and material resonances. The central oak which Lanyer describes is certainly (at least) a tree native to England, whether or not Cooke-ham contains such a massive one; yet she goes on to compare the oak to certain eastern trees, specifically the cedar and the palm, both of which are redolent with Scriptural associations. The "Palme" (61) reminds the reader of the fronds laid in Jesus's way when he entered Jerusalem at the beginning of his Passion; as such, the "Palme" is an emblem of Christ's passion. The "Cedar" (57), of course, reminds the reader of the cedars of Lebanon out of which the Temple in Jerusalem was lar gely constructed; it is also a figure for Christ as the male beloved in the Song of Solomon, whose "countenance" the female lover (the Church) describes "as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars" (5:15). Reinforcing this allusion to Christ, the Countess's oak also behaves like the "Palme," in "spread[ing] his armes abroad, / Desirous that [she] there should make abode" (61-62). This description reminds the reader of the Christ's arms "spread ... abroad" on the tree of the Cross, offering the shelter of his sacrifice to all believers. By drawing as well on Psalm 92 not to mention typical "patristic commentary [which] interpreted both trees as the Church and the disciples of Christ," Lanyer offers us an image of the Countess as one of the "righteous," as she "is welcomed into the 'coole fresh ayre' of the Christian spirit" under her sacred oak. [74]

Lanyer once again controls very carefully the transformation of the es-tate's landscape into a spiritual and metaphorical garden in the section which follows, where the Countess's seat under her spiritually and biblically evocative oak becomes one from which she can contemplate both spiritual and physical prospects:

Where beeing seated, you might plainely see,

Hills, vales, and woods, as if on bended knee

They had appeard, your honour to salute,

Or to preferre some strange unlook'd for sute:

All interlac'd with brookes and christall springs,

A Prospect fit to please the eyes of Kings:

And thirteene shires appear'd all in your sight,

Europe could not affoard much more delight.

What was there then but gave you all content,

While you the time in meditation spent,

Of their Creators powre, which there you saw,

In all his Creatures held a perfit Law;

And in their beauties did you plaine descrie,

His beauty, wisdome, grace, love, majestic.


Lewalski notes that the view of "thirteene shires" is "not actually possible but here [is] a substitute for Adam and Eve's view of all the world from their par-adise." [75] However, this prospect's significance is not only spiritual, but physical as well. To say that in comparison to this view "Europe could not affoard much more delight" is to imply a very different kind of delight from that which Lanyer expands on later, a delight not only in the spiritual med-itations this view provokes but the worldly satisfaction with its physical expansiveness and richness. The description of the landscape suddenly appearing "as if on bended knee" her "honour to salute ... Or to preferre some strange unlook'd for sute" obviously extends Lanyer's own patronage gestures to the estate itself, the land testifying not just to the Countess's virtue but to the worldly lineage of which this virtue has earlier been made an intrinsic part. Even the description of the Countess's meditations and her association with many of Christ's most important types, Moses and David, concludes with a figure who reinforces this double focus on the spiritual and worldly significance of land and tides. Lanyer concludes by comparing the Countess's Christian charity to that of "blessed Joseph"; like him she "did often feed / [Her] pined brethren, when they stood in need" (91-92). This comparison to the Joseph of the Old Testament is doubly effective in emphasizing the Countess's worldly as well as spiritual status. Like the "pined brethren," Lanyer stands in need both materially and spiritually as the poet-client. Like Joseph, Lanyer implies, the Countess is beset by kinsmen who seek to deprive her of her inheritance and that of her daughter, kinsmen who will in the end be vanquished and forced to sue to the Countess for the barest necessities of life.

From this perspective, Lanyer's most interesting and critically contentious patronage gesture seems much more calculated to please and less a straightforward part of the poem's "remarkable feminist conceptual frame...with its egalitarian challenge to sexual and class hierarchy." [76] Lanyer, lamenting that Anne's marriage to the Earl of Dorset has carried her old playmate far beyond her humble social sphere, complains:

And yet it grieves me that I cannot be

Neere unto her, whose virtues did agree

With those faire ornaments of outward beauty,

Which did enforce from all both love and dutie.

Unconstant Fortune, thou art most too blame,

Who casts us downe into so lowe a frame:

Where our great friends we cannot dayly see,

So great a diffrence is there in degree.

Many are placed in those Orbes of state,

Parters in honour, so ordain'd by Fate;

Neerer in show, yet farther off in love,

In which, the lowest alwayes are above.

But whither am I carried in conceit?

My Wit too weake to conster of the great.

Why not? although we are but borne of earth,

We may behold the Heavens, despising death;

And loving heaven that is so farre above,

May in the end vouchsafe us entire love.


The "transparent bid for further attention from Anne" is still, as Lewalski suggests, "thematically appropriate" in its emphasis on the way custom and class disrupt the "natural associations dictated solely by virtue and pleasure." [77] However, this bid for patronage also couches itself in terms which would appeal to Margaret's and Anne's sense of genealogical pride. Lanyer begins her praise of Anne and her subsequent complaint at being separated from her by addressing her patron in terms of the names through which Anne consistently defined herself: "And that sweet Lady sprung from Cliffords race, / Of noble Bedfords blood, faire steame of Grace" (93-94). [78] The complaint itself stems from the recognition of the vast social gap between these noble families and Lanyer's own humble origins, so that the complaint functions both to undermine the value of class (by suggesting again that virtue is the only true nobility) and to shore it up (by constructing the distinctions as eradicable only in the next world). Lanyer's complaint in other words may be as much aimed at enacting her acceptance of the legitimacy of class distinctions, as at suggesting her radical opposition to them. Although she concludes with the hope that in loving that which is far above one (heaven or one's great friends) one may in turn be "vouchsafe[d] . . . entire love," she maintains her sense that love between low and high born is never equal: "Therefore sweet Memorie doe thou retaine / Those pleasures past, which will not turne againe" (117-18). The gentle acceptance of her role as memorializer of Cooke-ham and its inhabitants reinforces her acceptance of the ineradicable nature of class and nobility; she resumes her position as client and servant. We note, as well, that the destruction of this idealized community results implicitly from the Countess's new status as widow and Anne's imminent transformation from Clifford-Bedford daughter to Dorset-wife, from a disruption of the genealogy through which Margaret and Anne defined themselves. [79]

As Lewalski points out, Lanyer's generic models for "The Description of Cooke-ham" also include "poems built upon the controlling topos of the valediction to a place, the best-known example of which was Virgil's First Eclogue." [80] Cooke-ham is also explicitly a garden "at the end of things": a garden at the end of Lanyer's happy young life, at the end of her intimate relationship with Margaret and Anne, at the end of her sojourn at Cooke-ham, at the end of the summer, at the end of her book, and finally perhaps even at the end of time itself. Other critics have experienced the unease of this aspect of the poem, so different from the celebratory tone of Jonson's "To Penshurst" and indeed the rest of Salve Deus. Lewalski notes that the effect of the Countess's departure on this "paradise" of women is couched in terms of the ending of the summer and the coming of the "dead" time of autumn and winter: "Each arbour, banke, each seate, each stately tree, / Lookes bare and desolate now for want of thee; / Turning greene tresses into frostie gray" (191-93). Lewalski also, however, depicts this seasonal change as qualified by the poem's "valedictory mode," which "suggests a permanent rather than a seasonal departure, probably related to the Countess's permanent departure to her dower estates in Westmoreland after she was widowed in 16O5." [81] Beilin takes an even bleaker view of the poem's conclusion, stating that "The Description of Cooke-ham" finally undermines the poet's previous artistic and spiritual vision: "In her final lines, Lanyer does not offer much hope that her exultant vision of woman's Christian virtue will hold sway in the fallen world" (206).

Yet, with the knowledge of Lanyer's book as constructing a typological and apocalyptic genealogy of women, we can recognize the appropriateness of "The Description of Cooke-ham"'s sense of endings, as providing appropriate closure for Salve Deus's radical rewriting of woman's place in biblical history, the apocalyptic future, and literary tradition. Indeed, Lanyer's last lines suggest that her book itself is the evidence of her successful rewriting of woman's spiritual genealogy and literary tradition, since she offers here the conventional assertion of the immortality of her verse and thus of the woman it memorializes: "When I am dead thy name in this may live, / Wherein I have perform'd her noble hest, / Whose virtues lodge in my unworthy breast, / And ever shall, so long as life remaines, / Tying my heart to her by those rich chaines" (206-10). Far from being, then, solely a vision of a specifically feminist Eden, the first garden, "The Description of Cooke-ham" imagines as well a peculiarly feminist gard en at the "end of all things." In this way, "The Description of Cooke-ham" becomes (like the Book of Revelation) a narrative of endings which contains beginnings and beginnings which contain endings: the Creation of humanity and its fall into sin, the Salvation of humanity and its redemption through Christ. By viewing this country-house poem through the lens of apocalypse as well as Genesis, we can begin to understand more thoroughly its elegiac tone, which many commentators have suggested sits rather oddly with the "exalted mood at the end of Salve Deus when [Lanyer] celebrate[s] the countess's virtue from a celestial perspective." [82]

Once again, however, the syncretic nature of Salve Deus qualifies our sense that Lanyer has produced or indeed even can produce a sense of definitive endings. Some may object that surely the poem should end with the explosive imagining of the new heavens and the new earth of Revelation. Of course, such an addition would entail the poetic creation of a world where Margaret and Anne's genealogical struggles are made moot, something Lanyer has avoided throughout the volume. Moreover, many early modern poets, even those who rely more thoroughly on Revelation as an aspect of their vision than Lanyer, defer the representation of the New Jerusalem. As Joseph Wittreich has suggested, this sense of deferral is typical of the apocalyptic poem, in which "until history is complete the poem cannot be complete." [83] For all "The Description of Cooke-ham"'s sense of ultimate endings, then, Lanyer's volume concludes by looking backwards, to its divine origins, rather than towards that unimaginable moment when time will cea se to be. The final piece is the prose address, "To the doubtfull Reader," where Lanyer justifies the title she has given her work. She explains that after she finished writing "the Passion of Christ," she remembered that this title "was delivered unto [her] in sleepe many yeares before [she] had any intent to write in this manner" (2-3). She takes this dream as "a significant token, that [she] was appointed to performe this Worke" (7-8). Echoing back through the work, Lanyer's dream of Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum reminds us of the poem's other significant dreams: the dream vision of Mary Sidney; the dream of John the Divine which Lanyer evokes in the Countess of Cumberland's apocalyptic apotheosis; and the dream of Pilate's wife, which she perceives as a divinely-inspired warning against her husband's contemplated crucifixion of Christ. Lanyer concludes, then, with a gesture which like her fluid metaphors for genealogy and inheritance can be read both spiritually and materially, with the poet representing Salve Deus as originating in a divinely-inspired dream and simultaneously in a long tradition of literary dream-visions, from the secular to the sacred.

(1.) Lewalski, 1993, 218 and 213.

(2.) Schnell focuses on the dedications' secular and sacred language, and argues that the poem's "sacred-secular mingling...assumes a role entirely consistent not with Lanyer's piety, but rather with the ways in which the symbolic vocabulary of Christianity works to further the strategies of courtly obligation." Schnell thus suggests that Lanyer's spiritual concerns are negligible (1997, 84). Indeed, these concerns are only ever important in terms of how Lanyer can use, for example, the gift of Christ in her book as a way of ensuring that she offers to her potential patrons that which can never be adequately reciprocated. For Schnell, in other words, Lanyer uses spiritual tropes and biblical language solely in a calculated attempt to elicit patronage and express her dissatisfaction with the class differences between herself and her dedicatees (Ibid., 77-101).

(3.) Dickson, 253. Typology has a long history as a method of biblical exegesis, beginning with Christ's assertions that he is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (as in Matt 2:14-15, 5:17; Luke 11:30-31, 17:26-30, and John 3:14-15, for example) and Paul's expansion on Christ's words (as in Hebrews 9:8-12 and Romans 5:14, for example). Linking scriptural figures and events with those of contemporary culture was also a popular application of typology to the interpretation of secular history in early modern England. However, not every text that parallels Old Testament, New Testament, and contemporary figures can be termed typological. Citing the virtues of Old and New Testament women as evidence of the female sex's capacity for spiritual excellence is, of course, a widespread technique in Western defenses of women, with the texts in the querelle des femmes offering numerous examples. For these parallels and precedents to become part of a typological system, they must be employed in some of the ways dis cussed above. For discussions of strategies of defense in the querelle des femmes, see Henderson and McManus, 7-8, 35-39, 49; Hull, chap. 4. For discussions of the history of typological exegesis, see Korshin, chap. 2; Lewalski, 1979, chap.4; Charity, parts 1 and 2.

(4.) Dickson, 254.

(5.) Lewalski, 1979, 111 and 129. As Korshin points our, this exegetical practice became in the hands of sixteenth-century Protestant reformers a method of interpreting contemporary events and individuals as well as the recent past and the future. For example, "Israel's de liverance from captivity in Egypt or in Babylon, from the Red Sea's threat or deluge, or from wanderings in the wilderness became ... living prefiguration of their own struggles" (31).

(6.) Firth, 56.

(7.) Ibid., 87.

(8.) For some accounts of the most popular political and ideological interpretations of apocalypse prior to 1640, see Levy, chap. 3; Capp, 93-124; Sandler, 148-74; Wittreich, 1984, 175-206; Christianson; and Richey, 1998, chap. 1 and 2. For a more general discussion of the politics of biblical interpretation prior to 1640, see Hill, 47-78.

(9.) Firth, 68.

(10.) The vast criticism on the Book of Revelation and on apocalyptic texts in general would require a far lengthier discussion than is possible here. Indeed, even a definition of what constitutes an apocalyptic text or the genre of apocalypse is contested. While all scholars agree on the essential meaning of "apocalypse" as "revelation" or "unveiling," there is far less agreement on what constitutes "apocalyptic form and apocalyptic content" (McGinn, 4). Many agree that for a text to be described as an apocalypse it must have at least some of the following characteristics: first, "the disclosure of a secret through the action of an intermediary, usually an angel;" second, "the disclosure takes place either through a heavenly vision or dream, or through an actual journey to heaven on the part of a seer (frequently portrayed as deeply disturbed or perplexed by his experience);" third, this message is part of a scribal not oral tradition and is usually presented in highly symbolic language; fourth, an apocalyp se is usually published under a pseudonym (5); fifth, it often involves a prophecy about the end of the world, and focuses on "the coming vindication of [the faithful] within history as the chief message of apocalyptic eschatology" (7). McGinn's own definition of the genre of apocalypse emphasizes "the unity and structure of history ... as a divinely predetermined totality," "pessimism about the present and conviction of its imminent crisis" and finally the "belief in the proximate judgement of evil and triumph of the good, the element of vindication" (10). For general discussions of the most important stylistic, thematic, and structural components of apocalypse, see Frye; Kermode; Levy; and Bauckham, chap. 1 and 6.

I am not arguing that Lanyer's Salve Deus is an apocalypse either in terms of form or content. However, Lanyer's poem clearly uses references to and poetically-recapitulated scenes from Revelation and other apocalyptic and eschatological biblical books in ways that are more complex than can be accounted for by simple allusion. In describing, Salve Deus's genealogy of woman as apocalyptic, I hope to direct the reader's attention to the way Lanyer, like many of her contemporaries, read Revelation and apocalypse both "eschatologically, as dealing explicitly with the End of the world" and "historically, i.e., as reflecting contemporary events through the literary device of vaticinium ex eventu [history disguised as prophecy]" (Wickenhauser qtd. in McGinn, 13). James I's conviction that "of all the scriptures, the buik of the Revelatioun is maist meit for this our last age" expressed a common feeling that the end was nigh. According to Carol V. Kaske, "Though Luther, Calvin, and the lectionary of the Book of Comm on Prayer did not stress Revelation among the books of the Bible, later Protestants did, and saw the Whore of Babylon (Rev. 17-18) as the Roman Catholic Church ... This Protestant politico-religious reading was stressed by many commentaries on Revelation, of which an exceptional number existed in England.. .." (88). Lanyer uses Revelation and other apocalyptic/esehatological scriptures to create the spiritual destiny to which her typological genealogy of woman is aimed: that place beyond space and time where women will be vindicated as members of Christ's elect. Historically, her women's lives become part of the sacred history which can be illuminated by Revelation.

(11.) Lewalski, 1993, 221.

(12.) Genealogy both as a source of imagery and as an ideological reality is a preoccupation for other women writers of the period, who often use it just as imaginatively as Lanyer. Gaudio, for example, argues that Martha Moulsworth's autobiographical poem uses "social, religious, and intellectual lineages [to support] her final preference for the life of celibacy and intellectual pursuit which marked her youth" (39). Much of the criticism on Lady Anne Clifford's life-writing focuses on the relationship between self-fashioning and genealogy; see Lamb, 347-68, and Acheson, 27-51. Mary Sidney Herbert's "To the Angell Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney" speaks to a personal and political investment in genealogy, particularly in the strategies which this elegy employs to justify female authorship; see Wall, 1993b, 51-71.

(13.) See, for example, Gilbert and Gubar, eds. 40-44, which anthologizes "To the Vertuous Reader," "Eve's Apologie," and "The Description of Cooke-ham;" Aughterson, ed., 268-69, where "To the Vertuous Reader" is included in a section entitled "Proro-Feminisms;" Mardn, ed., 368-97, which anthologizes "To the Verruous Reader, "Eve's Apologie," and "The Description of Cookham." For an analysis of Lanyer's relationship to the on-going re-evaluation of the canon, see Grossman, 128-42 and Herz, 121-35. For critical discussion of the Salve Deus's place in the querelle des femmes and its feminist re-writing of the Fall and the Crucifixion, see Beilin, 179, 191-201; Richey, 1997, 106-28; Lewalski, 1993, 225-34; Lewalski, 1991, 59-78; Lewalski, 1985, 212-20.

(14.) Wall, 1993a, 320.

(15.) Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum in The Poems of Aemilia Lanyer: Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, lines 1486, 1489-1490. Subsequent references to this poem are cited in the article parenthetically by line number.

(16.) Critics are by no means unanimous in their evaluations of "Eve's Apologie" as proto-feminist appeal. Mueller offers a thoroughly nuanced critique of the strengths and limitations of applying a late twentieth-century understanding of feminism to Lanyer's poem while at the same time arguing that Lanyer "proves every bit our contemporary in her resolve to locate and articulate transformative possibilities in gender relations" (101). Schnell points out our critical tendency to downplay Lanyer's anger at her class subordination in favour of her pronouncements on female community and solidarity (1996, 23-35).

(17.) Wittreich, 1984, 176.

(18.) Richey 1997, 111. Richey makes a strong argument for interpreting this passage in Salve Deus as part of Christ's validation of feminine speech and prophetic vision (125-28). For an opposing view of the significance of Salve Deu's biblical women, see McBride who argues that Lanyer chooses them for their independence and refusal to define themselves in traditionally feminine terms; as a result, they far outshine her dedicatees, and in fact ironically point up her noble dedicatees's powerlessness, dependent as they are on men and childbearing to gain any "power" at all in early modern society (1998b, 66-69).

(19.) Woods, 22.

(20.) For varying discussions of the relationship between Mary Sidney and the pagan goddesses in Lanyer's dream-vision dedication, see Beilin, 188-90; Lewalski, 1993, 222-23; Lewalski, 1985, 209-10; Wall, 1993a, 323-25 and 329-30; Keohane, 369; and McBride, 1998a, 94-97.

(21.) This poem's explicit writing of Mary Sidney into an ancient female creative tradition may also have implications for what seems initially the conventional use of classical figures in Salve Deus's first dedication, "To the Queenes most Excellent Majestie." The language of Lanyer's dedication to Queen Anne is far less accommodating, suggesting that the typological model of promise, fulfillment, and supersedure is difficult to manage within a patronage system. Here, Lanyer describes Queen Anne as "hav[ing] rifled Nature of her store / And all the Goddesses... dispossest / Of those rich gifts which they enjoy'd before." Even so, the stanza mildly qualifies Anne's complete domination of these ancient figures, by emphasizing that they live on in her: "But now great Queene, in you they all doe rest" (7-10).

(22.) Lewalski, 1993, 223.

(23.) McBride, 1998a, 88.

(24.) Schnell, 1997, 85-92.

(25.) For an analysis of the trope of text as Christ, see Wall, 1993b, 63.

(26.) Ardolino, 41.

(27.) Cited in Ardolino, 35.

(28.) For other examples, seen. 29 and n. 31.

(29.) The metaphor of the mirror rivals that of the feast in importance and frequency. For other examples of the book described as a mirror of a particular dedicatee's mind, see "To the Queenes most Excellent Majestie," 37-42; "To the Ladie Susan," 78; "To the Ladie Anne," 7-8. For a psychoanalytic analysis of the mirror, see McGrath, 1991, 106-10.

(30.) Likewise, many of the dedications enjoin their readers to "behold," or "look" or "cast [their] eyes upon" the book where they will "see [Christ] in a flood of teares." Lanyer thus reinforces our sense that Salve Deus offers an exclusive, precious, and intimate encounter with the Saviour, one which only those possessing "the most perfect eyes of ... understanding" can comprehend; other sensual images further the impression that the Salve Deus embodies her dedicatees as well as Christ and the Scriptures: see n. 37.

(31.) For a fascinating discussion of Lanyer's book as "rais[ing] the possibility that a woman could be chosen to be a true witness of God, a belated 'author' of the Gospel of Christ," see Guibbory, 196.

(32.) For a thorough explication of the metaphor of the feast in Lanyer's Salve Deus, see Beilin, 186-87; Hutson, 154-75; and McGrath, 1991, 101-13. On Lanyer's use of Eucharistic imagery to construct poetic authority, see McBride, 1998b, 63-66.

(33.) McGrath, 1991, 104.

(34.) Keohane argues that "Lanyer is positioning herself not just as 'poet- priest,' but as God-like" in her use of the imagery and theology of incarnation and the Eucharist (362).

(35.) While the Eucharist was obviously a theologically-fraught sacrament in this period, its communal aspects were not in dispute. The Book of Common Prayer (1559) states that only individuals who are in true communion with their neighbours and in grace with God are qualified to receive the sacrament. John Jewel asserts that the Eucharist is "an evident token of the body and blood of Christ" and that participants in this sacrament are "joined, united and ... incorporate unto Christ" (cited in Cressy and Ferrell, 45). Roman Catholic priests are forbidden from saying the Mass alone, in obedience to Christ's assertion which is taken to describe the essentially communal nature of the Mass and its central sacrament: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).

(36.) Cited in Costa, 28-29. Bauckham also discusses the parable as part of "John's use of apocalyptic traditions common to Jewish and Christian apocalypticism" (xiv). See chap. 3.

(37.) For further examples of the imagery of repose, see "To all vertuous Ladies in generall," 61-70, and "To the Ladie Arbella," 8-14. In "To the Ladie Susan," 40-42, Lanyer asks her dedicatee to "take this faire Bridegroom in your soules pure bed;" see also "To the Ladie Katherine," 97-108. For an analysis of the erotic aspects of Lanyer's imagery of repose, see Wall, 1993b, 59-68; Schoenfeldt, 217-21; McGrath, 1991, 104-06 and McGrath, 1992, 342-45. On homosocial bonds in Salve Deus, see Holmes, 167-90.

(38.) "To the Ladie Katherine," 85; "To the Ladie Arbella," 11-14.

(39.) Richey makes a provocative link between this passage and Lanyer's description of the love of Christ as "this hony dropping dew of holy love" (1737), arguing that "Lanyer concludes her New Testament, much as the New Testament itself concludes, with John's visionary and apocalyptic marriage; Christ returns for the Church who is his Bride, prefigured in the loving union of the Canticles and described again in Revelation." In Lanyer's rewriting, however, women as well as men, the bride as well as the bridegroom, "disclose the 'honey' of prophecy," as the lips of both "drop" with the dew of "truth" (1997, 124).

(40.) Richey argues that this image from Revelation encapsulates Lanyer's radical rewriting of Scripture, since "it is finally the 'Son' within Margaret Clifford who comes to liberate women by unraveling all patriarchal ways of speaking and writing, a willingness perfectly summed up in Christ's willingness to 'undoe the Booke'." Christ's opening of the book represents for Lanyer's readers the possibility of a "new way of reading," one which validates "the prophetic and visionary utterances of women" (1997, 126).

(41.) Bale, 1549, [Cv.sup.r].

(42.) Firth, 87-91.

(43.) Cited in Firth, 91.

(44.) Bale, 1549, [Diii.sup.r], cited in Firth, 60.

(45.) Lewalski, 1993,220.

(46.) On the Geneva Bible's historical glosses to Revelation, see Berry, 1-28; Firth, 122-24.

(47.) On Lanyer's relationship with Lady Susan, see Barroll, 29-48.

(48.) I am grateful to the anonymous reviewer who pointed out the importance of these biblical books. Woods's annotations also note the influence of the Psalms in stanzas 5-19 of Salve Deus proper.

(49.) The legal issues surrounding this long drawn-out suit are notoriously difficult. Clifford, 1-18; Acheson, 1-14; and Lewalski, 1991, 59-69, offer brief accounts of the legal and familial conflicts involved when Anne's father, George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, preferred his brother, Francis, as heir to his estates over his only child, Anne. Lewalski attributes the Earl's actions to "patriarchal motives," since (according to Anne's Life), she was dispossessed because of "the love he bore his brother, and the advancement of the heirs male of his house"(qtd. in Lewalski, 1991, 90). For a view which tempers the Earl's patrilineal motives with the ethical desire to free his daughter from the responsibility for his heavily indebted lands, see Spence's lucid analysis in his recent biography of Anne Clifford, esp. chap. 2 and 3.

(50.) See Psalm 15; Psalm 64:3.

(51.) With its call "for the divine judgement on the present wicked powers of the world and their overthrow by the heavenly armies that will install on earth the true City of God," Revelation became "an appropriate rallying cry for the oppressed in the world order" (Sandler, 158).

(52.) Psalm 97:2-3. See also Psalm 18:8-9; Rev. 20:9 and 21:8.

(53.) Although Woods annotates "in their berth" as "where they reside," it is equally plausible to interpret this phrase as meaning "at the moment of their coming into being." 'Berth' for 'birth' occurs at 113 in this section of Salve Deus, as well as in the dedication to Queen Anne, at 46, and Salve Deus proper at 1616.

(54.) Psalm 58:3.

(55.) See Psalms 102:26 and Isaiah 34:4.

(56.) The Countess's "enroule[ment]" in the book of life (Rev. 20:15) is purchased by Christ's willingness to open and read the book of death, "that blacke infernall booke" which "loathsome death" presents to the crucified Saviour. ("To the Ladie Katherine Countesse of Suffolke," 65, 66). The Countess's justification through inscription can happen here only because Christ was willing to read the book "wherein the sinnes of all the world were writ, / In deepe Characters of due punishment" (67-68).

(57.) For a list of the manuscripts relating to this complicated suit, see Lewalski, 1991, 61; and Spence, chap. 9.

(58.) Spence, 164.

(59.) While most of this stanza is based on Psalm 104, this line is from Psalm 37:9.

(60.) See Lewalski, 1985, 220.

(61.) See Krontiris, 102-03.

(62.) Ibid., 119.

(63.) For examples of the feminist use of this text from Galatians 3:28, see Thickstun, 154-155, and Otten, 353-61.

(64.) Ke1ly, 14-15.

(65.) See Boehrer on the importance of early modern literary and political representations of incest.

(66.) Lamb, 351.

(67.) For the poem's one remarkable exception, see "To the Ladle Katherine Countesse of Suffolke" ; Lanyer presents Katherine's happiness as springing from her "beautie, wisedome, children, high estate" (23), but "chiefly [from] [her] honorable Lord" (25).

(68.) Krontiris, 119.

(69.) Wall, 1993a, 321.

(70.) Lewalski, 1993, 235.

(71.) Ibid., 237.

(72.) As Lewalski notes, Cooke-ham was a crown estate, but Margaret's difficulties in claiming her Westmoreland jointure lands after the death of her husband led her to take up temporary residence there. Her brother, William Russell of Thornhaugh, had the lease on the property. Cooke-ham becomes a symbol of the displacement and dispossession which women often faced when they attempted to assert rights over land in the early modern period (1993, 216). For a discussion of the complex legal and cultural issues involved in women's claims to inherit their fathers' or husbands' estates, see Erickson, chap. 4 and 6.

(73.) Lewalski, 1993, 235.

(74.) Beilin, 204.

(75.) Lewalski, 1993, 238.

(76.) Ibid., 241.

(77.) Ibid., 239.

(78.) See the reproduction of the frontispiece to Anne's First Great Book of Record, 1648, in Spence, 161. Anne names herself "Lady Ann Clifford, Countes of Dorsett, Pembrooke, & Montgomery," but expands only on her parental descent and her claims to her father's estates, not on the titles (above) that she gained from her marriages. Interestingly, she notes at the top of the page that "Through the mercies of the Holy Trinity ... Doth proceed all blessings, both temporall & eternall" (Spence, 161).

(79.) McBride notes that Lanyer produces in "'Cookeham' ... an anti-epithalamium" where "marriage does not represent a contrast to the pain of death, but is rather the cause of the loss, a kind of death itself, and inextricably linked to elegiac grief" (1998a, 97).

(80.) Ibid., 235.

(81.) Ibid., 398, n.55.

(82.) Beilin, 202.

(83.) Wittreich, 1990, 48.


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Date:Mar 22, 2000
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