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Dating William Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde.

The quite prolific Tudor poet William Forrest deserves to be better known. His major works include a biblical epic, The History of the Patriarch Joseph (1547,1569,and IS71), a Speculum Principis in verse modeled on the pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum that he calls The Pleasaunt Poesye of Princelie Practise (1548), paraphrases of forty-nine psalms (1551), a long poem on the divorce of Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon, The Seconde Grisilde, and he also wrote a large collection of Catholic devotional poems, which he compiled during the reign of Elizabeth I but may have composed over a longer period of time. (1) Forrest's shorter compositions include paeans to Queen Mary on her accession--"A New Ballade of the Marigolde," and in all likelihood the text to William Mundy's Vox paths caelestis--as well as English paraphrases of the Pater Noster and Te Deum. (2) What is more, Forrest is already well known among musicologists for having preserved an important collection of early Tudor masses. (3)

On its own this should have proved a varied and substantial enough corpus to draw the attention of literary scholars, but this has not proved the case. Instead Forrest has fallen afoul of the long-standing tendency in literary criticism more or less to abandon the study of the mid-Tudor period to historians and theologians. (4) In the estimation of many, the sixteenth-century literary landscape before 1580 does not extend very far beyond a handful of names, chiefly Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, and Thomas More, scholars of literature still tending today to read what interests them rather than what may have interested people at the time. (5)

We see this most clearly, for example, in the present s near-universal disregard for the sixteenth-century metrical psalm paraphrase, despite the genre's contemporary popularity. (6) Likewise we might look to the modern age's time-honored, wholesale, and largely complacent aversion to four-teeners and poulter's measure, those meters that were the vehicles of much Tudor poetry. (7) Rather than wonder why we can no longer hear the music in these rhythms, scholarship has preferred to assume that all mid-sixteenth-century poets were just possessed of a tin ear and that their verse is therefore not worth reading. That is one possibility, but it is also important to be reminded that a modern aesthetic is not always the most appropriate guide to our literary past, especially when it leads us to sideline what was once mainstream.

The specialist reader's neglect of mid-Tudor literature effects a vicious circle of marginalization, since without exposure there is no demand for it, and if there is no demand for it, then there is no exposure. The truth is that an inaccessible literature will always fail to generate an audience. No doubt Forrest's poetry will long remain an unlikely candidate for a low-cost Penguin Classics or Oxford World Classics edition, but happily at least one of his poems is in the process of being edited for a twentyfirst-century audience: work is underway on a new edition of Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde, or The Historye of Grysilde the seconde, onlye meanynge Queene Catharyne that will be published by the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. (8) Sicparvis magna, there is hope that Forrest's fortunes will experience at least a modest improvement in the coming years.

This essay is written in anticipation of just such an upturn--one for which there is already small evidence in the handful of references that the poet has drawn in recent scholarship. (9) My objective is twofold. First, in the spirit of consciousness-raising I mean to persuade scholars that there are good reasons to read Forrest's poetry and in particular The Seconde Grisilde. This part of my essay does not pretend to be comprehensive, my rather more modest aim being to reflect on Forrest's potential literary and historical significance and to place him in relation to some recent debates about Reformation literature. My objective in the second part of this essay is similarly the laying of foundations for the future discussion of Forrest's work, and so I turn to the more particular question of how we date The Seconde Grisilde. The small number of scholars who have looked at Forrest's poem have all agreed that the work was "fynysched the / 25 daye of Iune / the yeare of owre // lorde / 1558," but I argue that the poet's colophon has been read incorrectly. (10) Instead of 1558, the poet writes 1556, an earlier date that helps to make sense of the poem's own historical framework. If The Seconde Grisilde is eventually to be the gateway to the rest of Forrest's oeuvre, it is important that we try to get such details right.

I. On Reading Forrest

Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde does not wear its history lightly being at heart an early verse chronicle of the life of Catherine of Aragon and the events and consequences of Henry VIII's divorce of her. This the poet hangs upon the well-known story of Patient Grisilde, a tale that was previously told by Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Chaucer, among others. (11) Though details between the various tellings differ, the basic narrative is one of womanly fortitude and spousal tyranny, with Grisilde subject to the cruelest of treatment by her husband, Walter. Forrest makes the tale entirely his own, however, by transforming Grisilde and Walter into Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. (12) About this matter the poet is candid, affirming that by "this sayde Grysilde, playnlye to defyne; | is playnlye ment; the goode Queene Catharyne" and so of course," Walter (her husbonde) [is] kynge Henry the Eight." In his prologue addressed to Queen Mary, Forrest defends the Catherine/Grisilde Henry/Walter analogy he employs, explaining that:
Her, I heere lyken / to Grysilde / the goode,
as, well I so maye / for her great patience;
Consyderinge althingis withe her howe it stoode;
her geauynge that name; theare is none offense,
Your noble ffather / workinge like pretence,
as Walter to Grysilde / by muche vnkyndenes;
by name of Walter / I dooe hym expresse[.] (13)

Even in marginalia Forrest repeats the explicit identification, establishing early on in his poem that "[t]his noble woman Catharyne / for her meeknes /applied to Grysilde" and that" [b]y names of Grysilde and Walter our Queenys [Queen Mary's] ffather and Mother examplyfyed." There is no misdirection here, no vigilant allegory of the sort that often characterizes political literature, a fact to which the poet calls attention. "So clokedlye vndre darke couer-ture | we haue not walked / in this Historye," Forrest writes, his ambition being that "Readers / may vndrestande sure | the meane of oure mentioned memorye | not fygured/ as by Alligorye." (14) If the literature of the Henrician age was a literature under threat, one that was required to tiptoe around the domineering will of the monarch, then The Seconde Grisilde is a poem of cultural disenthrallment, one that "playnlye" tells the "Historye" of Henry VIII's "Great Matter," and this from the queen's perspective, not the king's. (15)

Although dismissive of The Seconde Grisilde's "poetical merit," its nineteenth-century editor, W. D. Macray, was at least alive to the poem's evident historical importance, believing that "it is in the illustrations of contemporary history which it affords that its chief value lies." He explains:
Fresh in personal knowledge of the events of which he writes, and of
scenes of some of which he was an eye-witness, and enabled by official
position as a royal chaplain to relate some things with special
certainty, William Forrest gives us here a record of the Great Divorce,
which is second in date only to the eloquent protest of Cardinal Pole,
contemporary with the narrative of Harpsfield, and earlier than the
histories of Campian and Sanders, among those who espoused the cause,
as well as maintained the faith, of the rejected Queen. (16)

Of course it therefore matters that in many instances Forrest's narrative is that of an eyewitness, or one that at least poses as such. Both the records and The Seconde Grisilde indicate that Forrest was a man of Oxford and of the nearby town of Thame, and his poem capitalizes on those things that he was able to observe personally. (17) The poet is able to describe the "Occasion of the Erection of Christys Churche yn Oxforde" for instance, as well as the progress of Walter (Henry VIII) and Anne Boleyn "thorowe Thame / and other Townys," and the commons' reaction to this. Forrest's ninth chapter concerns the discussion that took place at Oxford University of Henry's case for divorce, about which the poet "somewhat saye can" since he claims to have been there present "attendynge vpon a certayne goode Man." Public responses to these discussions and events are also seen through the eyes of the witness. Forrest tells the tale of a woman who threw "[a] lumpe Of mundys" at Friar Nicholas de Burgo, one of the king's advocates, "whiche myste of his noddle / the more pytie." "I sawe it trulye," Forrest avows, before going on to note that thirty women were imprisoned in "Buckerdo" (Bocardo) prison in retaliation. "I was then present," he likewise maintains, to hear the "weepinges / and lamentation" and "Complaynte" of those that objected to the outcome of the Oxford discussions, the bishop John Longland having secured by deceit an apparently unanimous decision in the king's favor. (18)

Events that Forrest did not observe personally might also be said to derive from firsthand reports. In his poem Forrest stages a tearful goodbye between Catherine of Aragon and her loyal household servants that issues from what "one of her Seruauntes / to mee did tell." Whether or not there really is a historical basis for the ensuing dialogue is a matter that others may well want to pursue, but the principal point is that the poet wants us to trust that there is. (19)

By implication, perhaps, much of the rest of the direct speech in The Seconde Grisilde is therefore also to be taken as authoritative. In Forrest's poem we listen to the mother and daughter lament one another's fates following their forced separation; we hear Catherine of Aragon's deathbed prayers, and we also eavesdrop on Mary's private mourning of her mother. Presumably at least some of the words spoken, perhaps even most of them, are in fact the poet's creation, but if they are, then a distinction is drawn between them and other more obvious fictions. As far as I can remember, it is only when Forrest ventriloquizes the intercessory prayers of the saints in heaven, those that helped return England to Catholicism under Queen Mary, that he admits outright to fiction-making. These, the poet writes, "Imagyne I maye." (20)

It is worth emphasizing also that Forrest expected Mary to approve the words that he put in her mouth and her mother's; The Seconde Grisilde exists today only in a luxurious presentation copy that he dedicated "[t]o the moste excellent and vertuous Prynces, oure moste gratious soueraigne ladye, Marye" (21) In addition, and though there is as yet no evidence to confirm the association, during the reign of Mary's half-sister, Elizabeth, Forrest styled himself "sometyme Chaplayne to the noble Queene Mary." (22) There may in the end be reason to suppose that Forrest's perspective on the divorce of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII was an unusually privileged one, and so historians will want to take note of what he has to say.

It is for reasons other than its possible veracity that literary critics are slowly rediscovering The Seconde Grisilde. A very modest body of scholarship has begun to explore the poem's relation to other sixteenth-century versions of the Patient Griselda story as well as to other Tudor narratives of the Henrician Reformation. (23) Of significance on both fronts is that Forrest's voice in The Seconde Grisilde is pro-Marian and pro-Catholic, and so in the end he proves something of an interesting outlier, given the eventual direction of travel of both literary and religious culture after Mary's death. Of course, the fact that Forrest also dedicated poems to an evangelical sympathizer such as Edward Seymour, the duke of Somerset, who was for a time Lord Protector of England, and that he survived well into Elizabeth's reign, should caution us against too quickly caricaturing him simply as a reactionary or as a flash in the pan. (24) Indeed, it will surely be on account of Forrest's apparently divided associations that he will prove so interesting to future scholars. William Forrest was a poet who was able somehow to negotiate the religious and cultural pressures of the sixteenth century while remaining a bridge between the pre-Reformation and Reformation worlds. More particularly, and as I now go on to outline, his poetry is eloquent testimony to the perpetuation beyond the rupture of Reformation of what we call "medieval literary culture," not to its dwindling, and so he is a figure around whom debates about the periodization of literature may be brought into focus.

One poem in Forrest's last manuscript, for example, one that is usually identified by the line "Rose Marye / moste of vertue vyrgynall," was once ascribed to the much earlier poet William Dunbar. (25) Though the specific attribution is today questioned, Forrest himself identifying only that the poem was penned by "a devoute Scotte" who "longe time sithen: dyd yt edyfye," the lyric may still help shed some light on the oftentimes shadowy subject of early Anglo-Scottish literary exchange. (26) More to the point, whoever its author this was a lyric that inspired a response from Forrest, the later poet writing that "so well as I maye |I shall continue: In this poore quyre, | to saye with the scotte: Salue Maria." The individual case only hints at Forrest's broader debt to an earlier literature.

Like his contemporaries Alexander Barclay, John Heywood, and George Cavendish, Forrest shows a marked preference for the rhyme royal stanza, which he inherited from Chaucer and Lydgate. (28) The poet in fact gestures toward a shared cultural patrimony in his first major work, where he writes respectfully about how his own poem "hathe not the florishinge vayne | of Gowers phrase / adornde in suche sorte | other of Chawcer, that poete soverayne." "[T]o aske their cownselle," the later poet continues, "I cam far to shorte | Lydgate herein / gave me no comforte | as dothe appeare / whoe so shall it reade |I cannot reyse vpp them / so longe a go deade." (29) The deferential pose is, of course, commonplace for those writing subsequent to the great medieval triad of Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate, but Forrest's ties to this earlier native literature also extend beyond the merely superficial. In the preface to the collection of psalms that he dedicated to Edward Seymour, the duke of Somerset, Forrest points out that he modeled his own poetic practice, indeed his search for patronage, on the prior example of John Lydgate. He observes that "the vsage of wryters alweye" was "to father their workes; | as dyd John Lidgate / to noble duke humfreye," and so he follows suit: "so, I," Forrest writes, "to yowe noble Duke / theis psalmes doe present | as vnto whome my harte of love is bent." (30) Though Forrest restricts the terms of his comparison to the earlier poet-patron dynamic alone, the gesture likely carries more charge. Though Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, was a patron of the arts, like Somerset he, too, had once been Lord Protector to an infant king--his nephew--and he also ended his life in political disgrace. (31) Forrest's appeal to Lydgate is thus more than a matter of literary courtesy; with the name of the earlier poet comes associations beyond the merely benign, both pecuniary and political.

At a rather more foundational level we see the continuing influence of medieval literary culture on the forms of poetry that Forrest chose to write, and not this culture's sixteenth-century termination. In at least one case he even sustains a genre of writing that James Simpson argues was "impossible after the 1530s," namely "para-biblical invention." (32) Forrest's History of the Patriarch Joseph is perfectly easygoing about its amplification of the story of Joseph given in Genesis 37 to 50, being "written / collecte / and drawne":
not kepinge ordre secratlye
as the Byble dothe represent
withowte any addytament
but to declare the mateir more
owte of twoe warkes muche meit therfore
the twelve Patryarkes testament
and a Sermon full excellent
made by Effrem / a busshopp in Greece
is take and gathered a great peece
patched togither so well as I can. (33)

As far as Forrest is here concerned--and contrary to the opinion of many Reformation divines--scripture did not adequately speak for itself but instead required fleshing out. Rather than keep "ordre secratlye" in the manner of the Bible, his life of Joseph therefore builds upon the basic narrative in an accretive way pressing into service the words and thoughts of a specifically pre-Reformation interpretative community. It was the thirteenth-century bishop of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste, who first introduced The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs into Christian biblical hermeneutics, and the fact that Forrest's "patched togither" life of Joseph continued to make use of the work is thus significant in placing his affinities, textual, cultural, and religious. (34)

Ostensibly, Forrest's Pleasaunt Poesye of Princelie Practise is another poem that should not have been written when it was. According to Simpson's taxonomy of the medieval and Reformation political imaginations, the earlier literature was characterized by Aristotelian ideals, the latter by Platonic. The difference, in Simpson's reckoning, is pronounced. He writes, " [t] he political imagination of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries negotiates the needs of both the body and the head of the whole body politic, whereas the sixteenth-century models generate their politics wholly from the top down, in repression of the larger body." (35) Given that Forrest's poem is just one of a long line of English adaptations of the Secretum secretorum that include Thomas Hoccleve's The Regiment of Princes and John Lydgate's Secrees of old Philisoffres, it is unsurprising to find that his political voice might upset modern indices of the "medieval" and "Reformation." Forrest's poem does not ignore the needs of the body politic, maintaining instead that " [a] kynge cheeiflye / and aboue althinge | a Commone wealthe / owght too respecte." The relationship between king and subject that Forrest's Pleasaunt Poesye of Princelie Practise idealizes is reciprocal more than it is top-down. In Forrest's poem the good king is made to say to his subjects that "I wische your wealthe / withe all prosperitee | as yee doo myne / witheoute dissemblaunce," and the poet argues that:
a kynge ought to be muche desyrowse too knowe thopynyon of his Commons
towardys hym, by thexploration of some secreat wittie seruaunte whome
heedoithe beste credyte, and thearto accordinge to reforme hym selfe /
that hee and they may bee in looue togithers knytt / as one head &
membres [.] (36)

So often the aim of secret state surveillance and intelligence gathering is the control of the populace, but in Forrest's poem its purpose is instead control of the monarch, who is expected not just to "knowe thopynyon of his Commons towardys hym" but to "reforme hym selfe" accordingly. Of course it matters that Forrest's poem was unfinished, and it will be worth asking if it was for some reason unfinishable, but this does not alter the fact that "the needs of both the body and the head of the whole body politic" were of concern to Forrest, as indeed they were to other post-Henrician poets such as John Heywood and Robert Crowley. (37)

Forrest's miscellany of devotional poems, many in defense of the Virgin Mary, is redolent of an altogether different aspect of pre-Reformation culture, a spirituality that finds its mirror in the numerous medieval lyrics that were once written in her praise. (38) Indeed, it is only the passing of time that differentiates Forrest's approach to his subject from that of his literary predecessors, their different paeans to the Virgin a reflection of their different historical moments. Specifically, Forrest's Marian devotion must take the form of lament rather than celebration, a dominant theme for him being the disgraceful neglect of the Virgin Mary in contemporary devotion. Once again he might communicate this by way of a personal anecdote, such as when he tells of "a pooare woman" who "[o]f late, to my dooare [...] theare came; | to haue Refreschinge / for Charyteis sake." This woman says her prayers, "but," Forrest notes, "withe Aue Marye: she had not to doe," and so he asks her "whie she lefte it owte":
She answearde with woordes: right gentyle & softe,
howe, as she walked / in that maner wise:
she was reproved / sundrye tymes / and ofte:
by suche, as dyd her: for the same despice,
at whiche, my stomake: gan grevouslye rise[.]

Such dereliction of duty, Forrest later suggests, first emerged "ab anno 1532," which is to say during the time of Henry VIII's divorce. "Theis fortye yeares togeathers (excepte a fewe betweene)," he writes, "hathe theis Blaspheamyes bene vsed againste the gloryous vyrgin marye," and Forrest goes on to tell tales of a number of people who were divinely punished on account of their impiety. (39)

Forrest's commitment to pre-Reformation modes of cultural and devotional expression was plainly extensive, discernible even in his collection of forty-nine psalm paraphrases that retain traces of a specifically Cistercian religiosity. (40) In numerous ways, then, he is a poet who poses a challenge to Simpson's hypothesis that Henry VIII's Reformation brought to an end the characteristic features and forms of medieval poetry, indeed "that the institutional simplifications and centralizations of the sixteenth century provoked correlative simplifications and narrowings in literature." (41) On the contrary, Forrest continued to work within the medieval idiom identified by Simpson, his poetry lending support instead to Thomas Betteridge's sense that the Henrician moment was more of an interruption in proceedings than it was a full stop. (42)

This is not to suggest, however, that Forrest was either a cultural throwback or a displaced medievalist. I have already hinted at what was a routine concern for Forrest: the social, religious, and political ramifications in his own present of the Reformation initiated by Henry VIII. His medievalism was, in other words, modern, his voice current, and, to judge by his hoped-for patrons--who in addition to Queen Mary included William Parr, Edward Seymour, King Edward VI, and Thomas Howard--he did not believe himself an irrelevance. (43)

Moreover it is important to note that fleeting references within Forrest's corpus to "my frende [John] Heywood," to the example and wit of "a cer-tayne wryter, Alexander Barkeley," as well as to the earl of Surrey's reputation as a poet and man of letters conjure up the possibility of a compelling and modern literary context within which to assess Forrest's work. (44) There may be strong cause in addition to associate Forrest with the mid-Tudor poet and biographer George Cavendish, who similarly conceived of Catherine of Aragon as "a perfect Grysheld." (4S) Finally, at least two of the poems in Forrest's last manuscript, British Library Harley MS 1703, offer versions of poems also found in Tottel's Miscellany (1557), which may suggest that Forrest was once part of a coterie of poets who exchanged their work. One of these poems Forrest attributes to his friend Heywood (a poem beginning "Geve place, ye Ladyes all be gone"), while the other he gives to Thomas Vaux, second Baron Vaux of Harrowden (beginning "I loathe that I dyd loue"). (46) Evidently Forrest was plugged into a contemporary literary network of some description and was not simply a relic of a former age; though his taste, like his religion, links him to the pre-Reformation world, he is not to be dismissed as hopelessly nostalgic.

Many of the concerns I have here outlined are likely to come together in the study of Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde. The sixteenth-century editing, repackaging, and above all else "protestantization" of medieval literature, particularly of Chaucer, has long held the attention of modern scholars, but Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde, his retelling of this medieval tale, is neither Henrician nor evangelical in its attitude. (47) Rather, Forrest's stance is antiReformation. It is on account of Henry's divorce of Catherine of Aragon, "and other abomynations," the poet writes, that "this noble Brytayne / hathe beene plaged sore | withe sundrye / and manye trybulations; | I thynke, no Royalme in Christendome more." (48) William Forrest's contrary attitude sets The Seconde Grisilde apart from other sixteenth-century appropriations of this earlier literature, his poem representing the stirrings of a new Catholic medievalism. The fact that Forrest's poem lies for the most part unread, however, means that his alternative voice has been excluded from literary critical accounts of mid-Tudor medievalism. Forrest may always prove to have been an outlier, but this is not a reason to eliminate his voice from the critical conversation entirely.

Whether it is also the case, as Mike Rodman Jones states, that The Seconde Grisilde is more particularly "one of the least-read examples of extended sixteenth-century Chaucerianism" remains to be seen. (49) Certainly Chaucer's The Clerk's Tale was the most well-known English version of the tale of Grisilde, but much more work needs to be done to establish the precise relationship between Forrest's and Chaucer's poems. It is difficult to imagine that Forrest was ignorant of Chaucer's version owing to its popularity--it was frequently copied independently of the rest of The Canterbury Tales--but, like Chaucer, Forrest actually cites Petrarch's prior telling. (50) Whether this is an act of ultra-imitation or Petrarch's narrative really was Forrest's primary source will be worth determining.

So there is scope for future research that will broaden our understanding of both mid-Tudor literature and the relationship between pre-Reformation and Reformation literary culture, between what we tend to refer to as the medieval and the early modern. However, when faced with Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde, readers are at present liable to be led astray, since the work has been misdated by two years. Rather than 1558, it seems to me more plausible that Forrest's poem was "fynysched" in 1556.

II. On Dating The Seconde Grisilde

William Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde exists in a single autograph manuscript now held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford, with the shelfmark Bodleian MS Wood Empt. 2. According to its later owner Anthony Wood, the manuscript was owned in the seventeenth century by the Catholic antiquary, Ralph Sheldon, presumably after whose death in 1684 the manuscript passed into the hands of Wood and thence to Oxford University in 1692. (51) The work's earlier provenance is less clear, but it has been assumed that the surviving manuscript is the one once presented to Queen Mary. (52)

This relatively large manuscript (approx. 13 1/2x9 3/4 inches) on vellum is decorated throughout with illuminated capitals and rubrication, and it is today bound in black velvet. This is a comparatively modern covering, as the manuscript was rebound in 1897, according to a note on the inside front cover. W. D. Macray, whose 1875 edition of The Seconde Grisilde predates this rebinding, offers a sense of the manuscript's earlier condition. He describes it as "having been originally 'bound in laced satin'" but explains, "Nearly all the lace has now disappeared, and the satin is tattered and faded. It has clasps, and brass bosses with the words 'Ave Maria, gracia plea' at each corner, as well as a centre boss." (53) These bosses and one of the clasps have survived, and they still adorn the manuscript today.

Care and attention was obviously lavished on the book, which bears both a dedication to Queen Mary and a closing "Oration Consolatorye, | to Marye / oure Queene / moste worthy of fame." The dedication, which is followed by an eighteen-stanza "Prologe to the Queenis maiestee," is appropriately full and contains clues as to when Forrest was working on his manuscript:
To the moste excellente and vertuous Prynces, oure moste gratious
soueraigne ladye, Marye (by the grace of God) Queene of Englande,
France, Naples, Hierusalem, and Irelande, Defendresse of the faith,
Pryncesse of Spayne, and Cicilie, Archeduchesse of Austria, Duchesse of
Millayne / Burgundye / and Brabande, Countesse of Haspurge, fflaundres,
& Tyrale, Youre maiesties moste faithefull, louynge, & obedyent
Subiecte, William fforreste, wischeth all grace and fauour from God
aboue, longe life (yn good healthe) and prosperous reigne: withe (after
this life) aeternall felicitee [.] (54)

Though Forrest does not mention Mary's husband, Philip, the forms of address he employs clearly postdate the royal wedding in July 1554, since Mary became queen of Naples and of Jerusalem only by marriage. (55) The titles Forrest gives to Mary also predate January 1556, since this is when Philip became king of Spain and Mary his queen. It is conceivable that Forrest continued in error to style Mary "Pryncess of Spayne" for a time after January 1556, though it is perhaps less plausible that he would have persisted in doing so as late as 1558.

If the terms of Forrest's royal address are anything to go on then the poet must have written the dedication to the presentation copy of The Seconde Grisilde after July 1554 and likely before January 1556. He was, in other words, working on his manuscript during this period.

Over the question of precisely when Forrest finished his manuscript--or rather, when he finished the central portion of it at least, his final "Oration Consolatorye" beginning a new gathering that comes after his colophon--it is possible to say slightly more since he tells us, and this is commonly thought to have been on June 25, 1558. Anthony Wood in the late seventeenth century, Thomas Warton in the late eighteenth century, W. D. Macray in the late nineteenth century, and all those scholars who have benefited from the use of Macray's edition of The Seconde Grisilde--including Frederick G. Lee, Louise I. Guiney, Richard S. Sylvester, Joseph Keena, Edward Mehok, John Milsom, Peter Holmes, Ursula Potter, Mike Rodman Jones, Valerie Schutte, Helen Cooper and I confess, I myself, along with, no doubt, a number of others--have all repeated the claim. The consensus is absolute, the key--indeed, the only--piece of supporting evidence being Forrest's colophon to The Seconde Grisilde, which Macray transcribes thus: "Heere endethe the Historye of Grysilde the seconde, onlye meanynge Queene Catharyne, Mother to oure moste dread soueraigne ladye Queene Marye, fynysched the 25 daye of June the yeare of owre Lorde 1558 by the symple and vnlearned Syr Wyllyam Forrest, Preeiste, propria manu." (57) Yet it is far from clear that Forrest wrote "1558" at all, as unexpected as that will surely now seem.

As is apparent from Figure 1, what Macray and others before him have read as the number eight is at best only a very odd sort of eight. On inspection (Fig. 2) we see that this number is not actually formed from two joined bowls, an upper and a lower one, but is formed instead of a lower bowl and upper loop, the left hand ascender being particularly straight where one might expect it to pinch inward if it were an eight. Admittedly this left ascender also curls around more than would perhaps be usual for a number six, but what join there is with the lower bowl on the right has the appearance of a slip, the ink stroke there being particularly light.

Identification is clinched through comparison with some of the other numbers in Forrest's manuscript, those that can be confidently fixed as either a six or an eight because they come in sequence (5, 6, 7, 8). There is a clear difference, for example, in the way that Forrest forms the 6 and the 8 of the headings "Caput 6" and "Caput 8" (Figs. 3 and 4), over which there can be no quibble. (58) Forrest's 8 (Fig. 4) is entirely standard, being made up of lower and upper bowls that join in a pinched middle. His 6 (Fig. 3) is utterly distinct, formed from a lower bowl and upper loop that ascends in a straight line on the left. On the right this ascender curls around to join the lower bowl, but they do not quite meet. When the specific digit under consideration in The Seconde Grisilde's given date is set side by side with the numerals in Forrest's "Caput 6" and "Caput 8," only one verdict presents itself: contrary to what has been said for over three hundred years, Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde was "fynysched the / 25 daye of lune / the yeare of owre // lorde / 1556."

Owing to the sheer weight of critical comment that has stated otherwise, it is to be expected that the redating of this work will be received with some skepticism, repetition of the error having created the effect of veracity. It is worth pointing out, then, that in Forrest's other manuscripts his 8s and 6s are similarly distinguished and just as certainly. The 8 in The Pleasaunt Poesye of Princelie Practises given date of "1548" (Fig. 5), though more oblique than one might perhaps expect, is unlikely to be confused with the 6 in The History of the Patriarch Joseph's given date of "1569" (Fig. 6). The former cannot mean anything other than "1548"--it is not to be read as "1546," for example--since the poet addresses his poem to "Prynce Edwarde the Sexthe, Kynge of Engelande," Edward having assumed the throne in 1547. Also Forrest refers in his prologue to "laste yeare / the firste of his [Edward's] reigne," meaning 1547, which number the poet has helpfully written alongside this line. (59) Likewise the latter can only be read as "1569"--it certainly does not read "1589"--since Forrest's poem is dedicated to "the (/rsht/) highe and myghtye prynce, Thomas, Duke of Northefolke," who was executed in 1572. (60) In these cases Forrest's dates are secure, and the difference between his 8s and 6s once more manifest, which provides yet another context in which to decipher the date given to The Seconde Grisilde. And once again, the customary year of 1558 is found wanting, with that final numeral resembling Forrest's other 6s and not his 8s (Fig. 7).

Another date in Forrest's manuscript that requires brief discussion in the light of these observations is one that appears in the body of the poem itself, alongside a stanza that describes events relating to Thomas Wolsey's 1527 diplomatic mission to France. In Macray's edition of The Seconde Grisilde, this date is transcribed as 1528, though on the basis of Forrest's penmanship it should instead be read as 1526, the poet being a year out in either case (Figs, 8 and 9). (61) This date appears in the fifth chapter of Forrest's poem alongside a story about "Cardynall Wolsaye, whoe, counselinge withe Astronomy-ers / founde; a woman to be his vndoinge, whiche (moste wronfullye) he ymputed to goode Grisilde, whearfore, he went into ffraunce / and labored for the kyngis Sister theare / to matche withe Walter our kinge." It is Anne Boleyn, not Catherine of Aragon, who, Forrest later shows, was to prove Wolsey's undoing, but to this the cardinal was blind. Consequently Wolsey is the "wycked man" of Forrest s narrative, the " Vearye Belyall, | puffed withe Pryde" who, in an effort to protect himself, set about to secure for Walter/Henry his divorce from Grisilde/Catherine. Forrest writes:
Hee [Wolsey] Counseled (men saide) withe
(or what other secte, I cannot well saye)
weare they Sothesayers / or weare they lyers.) (62)
whyther he shoulde fall / or florysche alwaye,
whois Answeare was; he shoulde come to decaye,
by meanys (they fownde) of a certayne woman;

But, what shee sholde bee; they coulde not saye

Vpon whiche fonde Enygmatization,
vnto goode Grysilde / ympute it dyd hee;
whearefore, in his Imagynation;
he wrought to haue her deposed to bee,
But hee theare mystooke; it was not sure shee,
that shoulde hym brynge / to his fynall myschaunce;
goode Grysilde; neauer wrought anyes

Year, one theare was / that brought hym to his
and not goode Grysilde / as he dyd it take;
Whois Pryncely honour / nowe for to prophane;
to ffraunce he can a costelye Iournaye make, .1526.
wheare; he for the kyngis Syster thear spake,
whiche mateir concluded, to his entent;
whome he repayred; as wise as he went[.] (63)

The imputation here, one repeated by George Cavendish in his Life of Cardinal Wolsey, by the Italian historiographer Francesco Guicciardini, and by the French Cardinal and diplomat Jean du Bellay, was that Wolsey was angling for a marriage between Henry VIII and Renee of France, daughter of Louis XII and sister-in-law of King Francis I. If these negotiations happened at all--and Peter Gwyn doubts their historicity--they are meant to have taken place at the same time that Wolsey was brokering another marriage union with the French at Amiens, one between Princess Mary and Henry, duke of Orleans. (65) In Cavendish's words, Wolsey was:
in ffraunce [...] to conclude too manages / theon bytwen the kyng our
souerayn lord And madame Reygne [...] And an other bytwen the prynces
than of England (Nowe beyng quene of this reallme my lady marye / the
kynges doughter/) And the frenche kynges second Sonne the duke of
Orlyaunce [...]. (66)

The latter marriage treaty was confirmed on August 18, 1527; had this taken place a year later, there would perhaps have been reason to stick with Macray s suggestion that Forrest dated these events to 1528 and, as a consequence, to reject the distinction drawn above between Forrest's 6s and 8s. As it is, we can instead assume the consistency of the poet's hand and read the marginal date as 1526, noting in addition that the proposed union of Mary and the French Henry was in fact first mooted in this year. (67)

Reconsideration of William Forrest's numerals in the manner pursued in this essay leads to the conclusion that the poet claimed to have completed the surviving manuscript of The Seconde Grisilde on June 25, 1556, and not two years later. Significantly, this earlier date of completion also makes sense in relation to the poem's own historical limits, since the poet seems never to refer to any event that took place after the summer of 1556. For example, in the "Oration Consolatorye" addressed "to Marye / oure Queene / moste worthy of fame" with which Forrest ends his manuscript, and which comes after his colophon, the poet glances at recent history. Therein he praises God for having appointed Mary "to set free / his Churche owte of bondage," before going on to celebrate his queen for having brought to an end the "moste odyous Schysmys / this Royalme dyd late perturbe," those that had infected lowborn and highborn alike--"aswell of Nobles / as the rustycall Scrubbe"--for "aboue [...] twentye yearys full." However Forrest's praise also gives way to complaint, the poet observing that there were some in recent years who had defied and disobeyed the new order and their divinely appointed queen:
What goode gote Duddeley / defrawdynge thy
withe all that to hym / weare associat?
what helped Wyat / that madde Beddelem
to foarse his powre (by pryde) vnto Ludgate,
Oather (of late) the Sorte Insanyat,
as Henry Peckham / with Danyell his ffeeare;
By false conspiracye / agaynste thee to steeare? (68)

Here Forrest refers in the past tense--and in chronological order--to the plot against Mary's succession by John Dudley, the duke of Northumberland, in 1553, to the younger Sir Thomas Wyatt's 1554 rebellion against his queen, and to a more recent and still pressing conspiracy to depose Mary in early 1556, which was led from abroad by another Dudley, Sir Henry Dudley. (69) Henry Peckham and John Danyell were coconspirators in the latter Dudley's abortive uprising, and it is noteworthy that they are written about not just in terms of the past but of the recent past, their crimes explicitly "of late."

Peckham, who had formerly opposed Northumberland's attempted coup and defended Ludgate against Wyatt's rebels, and whose father and brothers were loyal supporters of Mary was a particular disappointment to Forrest. (70) The poet asks "O Henry Peckham / howe happened thee; | the Dyuyll / withe suche blyndenes / thee to delude," before going on to draw attention to the rebel's divergence from the good example of his "ffather so worthye / and godlye a Man" and his "Bretherne also / bothe Catholike / and goode." (71) Peckham was arrested for his part in the Dudley conspiracy on March 18, 1556, indicted on April 29, and tried alongside Danyell on May 7. Both men's executions followed in early July 1556.

If we assume that it was not just used to fill a line, Forrest's temporal indicator--the parenthetical "of late"--insinuates that he was writing while Peckham's case was still a live issue, rather than two years later, and in contrast to the older rebellions of Dudley and Wyatt. Forrest notes that the principal consequence of Peckham's actions, which extended also to lechery, "some saithe," was that he "hathe shortened thy life," and this may suggest that at least this portion of Forrest's manuscript--the "Oration Consolatorye"--was written after Peckham's execution in July 1556. However this is not guaranteed. Forrest also writes, for example, that Peckham's father's "fame shall florische" even though his child "bee exiled," which may instead indicate that he was writing after Peckham had been disgraced but prior to his execution--that is to say in the wake of his arrest and trial. When Forrest asks Peckham, "why weare thowe peruerse / why weare thowe so wilde," he may still be remonstrating with a live man, not yet a dead one. (72)

There are three subsequent comments in Forrest's "Oration Consolatorye" that likewise make more sense if written in 1556, not 1558. Toward the end of his address to Mary, Forrest wishes his queen "yearys, longe / and manye / so to continue"; he hopes that she and Philip will by "Is-suynge betweene yowe / suche worthye Issue, | this Royalme to keepe / from desolation"; and he also hopes that Philip "oure Kynge [will] bee / nomore as straunge Geste" to England. (73) It is true that Philip was more often absent from England than he was present, and the notion of his being a regrettably "straunge Geste" applied equally in mid-1556 and mid-1558. And self-evidently, an absentee king greatly limited what opportunities there were for the "Issuynge" of "Issue." What matters, however, is whether there would have been much hope for Mary's health and for the continuation of her line at the end of June 1558. By this time, Mary had suffered her second false pregnancy, news of which few had taken seriously anyway, and her health was again in decline. (74) It is always possible that Forrest was just an eternal optimist, but his aspirations for Mary's future would certainly have been more justified if written in 1556.

More to the point, Forrest links Philip's return to England and all that would follow from this--chiefly children--to his "wische" that "Chrystyan Obedyence / in dwe sorte" will "reigne" in the realm. This is to say that he associates these happy outcomes with the resolution of the civil unrest to which he has already referred. "Then shall Goddys glorye; florische (as it ought)," he writes:
then shall thy harte / bee in quyet / and reste;
then shall weale publike / in right trade bee brought;
then shalbe althynges / as wee can wische beste.
Then shall oure Kynge bee / nomore as straunge
but, as behoauethe / withe thee tassociat;
after our longinge / Issue to procreat[.] (75)

Forrest's repeated adverb, "then," insists that his hoped-for future is conditional upon the satisfactory settlement of recent disturbances. The strong suggestion is that his "Oration Consolatorye" was written from the perspective of one looking forward from 1556, not one looking backward from 1558.

In summary, then, we can say that if the terms of his address to Queen Mary mean anything at all then William Forrest was at work on the surviving manuscript of The Seconde Grisilde between July 1554 and January 1556. It is to this time that his dedication seems to date. According to his own testimony he "fynysched" his manuscript on June 25, 1556, not two years later as is commonly thought, though it is also possible that his "Oration Consolatorye" was added at a slightly later date (though apparently not very long after if at all).

The implications of this redating are still to be worked out in full, but certain assumptions about Forrest's poem can already be corrected. Ursula Potter, for example, suggests that Forrest's criticism of Anne Boleyn in The Seconde Grisilde--what she terms his "slanderous comments"--would have been "politically risky" in June 1558, "given that Mary's health was poor and that her half sister, Elizabeth, was next in succession to the throne." (76) Such a hypothesis is now difficult to sustain, and a more intriguing possibility presents itself instead, one that will require further substantiation down the line. Though there is a potential question mark over the appointment, it is more likely than not that on July 1, 1556, William Forrest was made vicar of Bledlow in Buckinghamshire, which is just over the county border from Forrest's usual stomping ground of Thame in Oxfordshire. (7) According to the records, the poet's lay patron on this occasion was Anthony Lambesonne (Lamperson, Lampson or Lamson), but given that Forrest was presented to the living at Bledlow so close in time to the production of The Seconde Grisilde, one might wonder whether the two are related. Might the vicarage be some reward for his endeavor? As far as we can tell, Forrest remained at Bledlow until 1576, so the appointment was certainly significant for his later church career. (78)

Greater awareness of Forrest s historical background and his movements will be necessary to establish the point, as indeed it will be to determine the shape of his literary vocation more generally, in which the search for patronage, the presentation of manuscripts, and an apparent commitment to counsel loomed large, no matter what the character of the political center. (79) But as I outlined in the first part of this article, study of Forrest's poetry will inevitably lead us also to rethink the trajectory of literature and literary history during the Marian age, however brief the period. Dating as it does to the middle years of Mary's reign and not to the last months, Forrest's The Seconde Grisilde must be read afresh as a literary expression of confidence in and hope for the Catholic settlement, not as an expression of regret over missed opportunities. At the very least, and though there is much work still to do to place his poem, The Seconde Grisilde surely gives the lie to the assumption that under Queen Mary, "[l]iterary creativity dried up." (80)

Independent Scholar


I am grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and to the British Library Board for permission to reproduce images from MS Wood Empt. 2, MS Eng. poet. d. 9, and MS Royal 17 D iii. I am also grateful to the editors and anonymous readers of the Journal of the Early Book Society for their helpful comments in the preparation of this work.


(1.) There are eight known manuscripts of Forrest's work. The History of the Patriarch Joseph exists in three versions in four manuscripts: British Library Add. MS 34791 (1547); Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. d. 9 (1569); University College MS 88 (1571, part one); and British Library Royal MS 18 C xiii (1571, part two). For Forrest's Speculum Principis, see British Library MS Royal 17 D iii; for his Psalms, see British Library Royal MS 17 A xxi; for The Seconde Grisilde, see Bodleian Library MS Wood Empt. 2; and for his later devotional verse, see British Library Harley MS 1703. Modern editions of Forrest's poems are mostly difficult to access but include Edward Eugene Mehok, 'An Edition of William Forrest's History of Joseph" (PhD thesis, Case Western Reserve University, 1971), which edits only the poem's first part; M. A. Manzalaoui, ed., Secretum Secretorum: Nine English Versions, vol. 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 390-534; William Forrest, The History of Grisild the Second:

A Narrative in Verse, of the Divorce of Queen Katharine of Aragon, ed. W. D. Macray (London: Whittingham and Wilkins, 1875); and Joseph Patrick Keena, "An Edition of the Marian Poems of the Recusant Writer, William Forrest, from MS Harleian 1703" (PhD thesis, University of Notre Dame, 1960), which edits the majority of the manuscript but not all of it. A portion of Forrest's Speculum Principis was also edited in S.J. Herrtage, ed., England in the Reign of King Henry the Eighth (London: Trubner for the Early English Text Society, 1878); and one of Forrest's later Catholic poems was edited in Franz Ludorff, "William Forest's Theophiluslegende," Anglia7 (1884): 60-115.

(2.) William Forrest, "A New Ballade of the Marigolde" (1553?), repr. in Thomas Park, ed., The Harleian Miscellany, vol. 10 (London: John White, 1813), 253-254; John Milsom, "William Mundy's 'Vox Patris Caelestis' and the Accession of Mary Tudor," Music [?] Letters 91 (2010): 1-38; John Foxe, The Unabridged Acts and Monuments Online (TAMO) (1563 edition), 5:1203-1205 (Sheffield, UK: HRI Online Publications, 2011), http// [accessed: 02.02.16].

(3.) John Milsom, intro., Oxford, Bodleian Library, MSS. Mus. Sch. E. 376-81, Renaissance Music in Facsimile 15 (New York: Garland, 1986). Also see John D. Bergsagel, "The Date and Provenance of the Forrest-Heyther Collection ofTudorMasses," Music [?]Letters44 (1963): 240-248.

(4.) Such an argument is outlined in the introduction to a collection of essays that resists the status quo, in Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank, "Prologue: The Travails of Tudor Literature," in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature, 1485-1603, ed. Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 1-17.

(5.) Others have argued similarly, e.g., T. A. Birrell, The Panizzi Lectures, 1986: English Monarchs and Their Books: From Henry VII to Charles II (London: British Library, 1987), 64.

(6.) On the neglect of mid-Tudor Psalms, see, among others, Beth Quitslund, The Reformation in Rhyme: Sternhold, Hopkins and the English Metrical Psalter, 1547-1603 (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008). It should be noted that Quitslund herself fights shy of a full aesthetic defence of these; ibid., 2-5.

(7.) Pincombe and Shrank, "Prologue," 3.

(8.) William Forrest, The Seconde Grisilde (1558), Bodleian Library MS Wood Empt. 2, titles given on fols. 11 and 69v. Hereafter this manuscript is referred to in notes as Seconde Grisilde. A. S. G. Edwards and Oliver Wort are editing the new edition of this poem.

(9.) There are passing mentions of Forrest in a number of the essays in Mike Shrank and Cathy Pincombe, eds., Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature 1485-1603 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); see ibid., 16,266, 419, 764. Scholars are, then, at least increasingly aware of the poet, if only dimly. Forrest receives slightly more extensive discussion in a handful of articles that I refer to later in the course of this essay and also in Valerie Schutte, Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications: Royal Women, Power, and Persuasion (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 90-93.

(10.) Seconde Grisilde, fol. 69v. The virgule (/) is Forrest's mark of punctuation and does not indicate a line break. Throughout this essay line breaks are indicated instead by use of a single vertical line (|).

(11.) See Boccaccio, Decameron; Petrarch, Epistolae seniles; and Chaucer, The Clerk's Tale.

(12.) Mike Rodman Jones, "The Tragical History of the Reformation: Edwardian, Marian, Shakespearian," Review of English Studies, 63 (2011), 743-763, at 751; Forrest, History of Grisild, xx; and Schutte, Mary I, 91-92, all note that Mary's tutor, Juan Louis Vives, had recommended that his student read the tale of Grisilde. Jones, "Tragical History," 751, also points out that at least one manuscript copy of Chaucer's The Clerk's Tale can be associated with the Marian household.

(13.) Seconde Grisilde, fols 61-6lv, 3.

(14.) Seconde Grisilde, fols. 11v, 3, 61. As can be seen in Fig. 8, Forrest regularly uses the punctus elevatus, which I replace with a semicolon throughout this essay.

(15.) Tom Betteridge, Literature and Politics in the English Reformation (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2012; first published 2004), 67-77; Brian Cummings, The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007; first published 2002), 223-232; Greg Walker, Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1-4. For a study of contemporary divorce literature, see J. Christopher Warner, Henry VIII's Divorce: Literature and the Politics of the Printing Press (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 1998).

(16.) Forrest, History of Grisild, xi-xii. As I mention below, there is actually no firm evidence that Forrest was a royal chaplain, as noted in Milsom, "William Mundy's 'Vox,'" 5.

(17.) Though they disagree in certain particulars, for details of Forrest's life, see Louise I. Guiney, Recusant Poets: With a Selection from Their Work. I: Saint Thomas More to Ben Jonson (London: Sheed & Ward, 1938), 137-145; Peter Holmes, "Forrest, William (fl. 1530-1576)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online [accessed 2 Feb 2016] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Frederick G. Lee, The History, Description, and Antiquities of the Prebendal Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Thame (London: Mitchell and Hughes, 1883), 400-409; Forrest, History of Grisild, xi-xvii; and Milsom, "William Mundy's 'Vox,'" 2-9.

(18.) Seconde Grisilde, fols. 29,32v, 35,36,36v. Forrest comments on his status as eye-witness on fol. 62v.

(19.) Ibid., fol. 45.

(20.) Ibid., fols. 40-41,48v-50,50v-53,59-60v, 65v.

(21.) Ibid., fol. 1.1 describe Forrest's manuscript in more detail below.

(22.) See Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. d. 9, fol. 5; and University College MS 88, fol. 2. The point is raised in Milsom, "William Mundy's 'Vox,'" 5.

(23.) See Ursula Potter, "Tales of Patient Griselda and Henry VIII," Early Theatre 5 (2002): 11-28; and Jones, "Tragical History," 750-754. Forrest spoem merits only a single footnote in Lee Bliss, "The Renaissance Griselda: A Woman for All Seasons," Viator 23 (1992): 301-343.

(24.) Oliver Wort, "A Cuckoo in the Nest? William Forrest, the Duke of Somerset, and the Certaigne Psalmes of Dauyd," Reformation 21 (2016): 25-46.

(25.) British Library Harley MS 1703, fols. 79-80. For brief discussions of this poem, see Keena, "Edition," xl, lxii-lxiii; and Henry Noble MacCracken, "New Stanzas by Dunbar," Modern Language Notes 24 (1909): 110-111.

(26.) See A. A. MacDonald, "Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations: Problems and Possibilities," Studies in Scottish Literature 26 (1991): 172-184, at 176.

(27.) British Library Harley MS 1703, fols. 80v-82.

(28.) I mention these three poets in particular because there may be reason to connect them to Forrest, as I note below. For their use of rhyme royal see, among other works, Alexander Barclay, The Ship of Fooles, The castell of lahoure, and The Life of St George; John Heywood, The Spider and the Flie; George Cavendish, Metrical Visions; William Forrest, The History of the Patriarch Joseph, The Pleasaunt Poesye of Princelie Practise, and The Seconde Grisilde; Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde and The Clerks Tale; and John Lydgate, The Temple of Glas and The Lives of Ss. Edmund and Fremund. See also Martin Stevens, "The Royal Stanza in Early English Literature," PMLA 94 (1979): 62-76.

(29.) British Library Add. MS 34791, fol. lv.

(30.) British Library Royal MS 17 Axxi, fol. 2v.

(31.) For other mid-Tudor comparisons between Somerset and Gloucester, see Scott C. Lucas, A Mirror for Magistrates and the Politics of the English Reformation (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009), 90-94.

(32.) James Simpson, Reform and Cultural Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; first published 2002), 559, but see also his broader argument at 458-463, where he writes instead in terms of competing orthodox and evangelical biblicisms, both of which are said to span the medieval and Reformation periods. Presumably Forrest would be classified as orthodox.

(33.) British Library Add. MS 34791, fols. 3v-4.

(34.) R. H. Charles, ed. and trans., The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1908), xv-xviii. For a brief discussion of Forrest's sources, see Mehok, "Edition," ii, 453-466.

(35.) Simpson, Reform, 191.

(36.) British Library Royal MS 17 D iii, fols. 44,44v, 72v-73.

(37.) See, e.g., Betteridge, Literature and Politics, 104-113; and James Holstun, "The Spider, the Fly, and the Commonwealth: Merrie John Heywood and Agrarian Class Struggle," English Literary History 71 (2004): 53-88.

(38.) British Library Harley MS 1703, about which see Keena, "Edition," xliv-lxviii.

(39.) British Library Harley MS 1703, fols. 9v-10,27.

(40.) Wort, "Cuckoo," 39-40.

(41.) Simpson, Reform, 1.

(42.) Thomas Betteridge, "The Henrician Reformation and Mid-Tudor Culture," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 35 (2005): 91-109.

(43.) Forrest dedicated British Library Add. MS 34791 to William Parr; British Library MS Royal 17 D iii and British Library Royal MS 17 A xxi to Edward Seymour (the first of these two also bearing a second dedication to King Edward VI); Bodleian Library MS Wood Empt. 2 to Queen Mary; and Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. d. 9, University College MS 88, and British Library Royal MS 18 C xiii to Thomas Howard. British Library Harley MS 1703 does not bear a dedication.

(44.) British Library Add. MS 34791, fol. 3; British Library Royal MS 18 C xiii, fols. 2-2v, and Harley MS 1703, fols. 85v-86v; British Library Royal MS 18 C xiii, fol. 2v. Some of these associations are also noted in Keena, "Edition," xx, lxv, lxxx; and A. S. G. Edwards, "Manuscripts of the Verse of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey," Huntington Library Quarterly 67 (2004): 283-293, at 283.

(45.) Richard S. Sylvester, ed., The Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey by George Cavendish (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959), 35, but also see ibid., 259-262, for a discussion of the Forrest-Cavendish connection. See also A. S. G. Edwards, ed., Metrical Visions, by George Cavendish (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1980), 12,90.

(46.) British Library Harley MS 1703, fols. 108-109, 100-100v. These are briefly discussed in Keena, "Edition," xxviii, xxxix-xl. For Tottel's versions, see Amanda Holton and Tom MacFaul, eds., Tottel's Miscellany: Songs and Sonnets of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Others (London: Penguin, 2011), poems 168 and 182.

(47.) On the construction of "Protestant" and "Catholic" Chaucers in the sixteenth century, see, among numerous others, Helen Cooper, "Poetic Fame," in Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance in Literary History, ed. Brian Cummings and James Simpson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 361-378; Linda Georgianna, "The Protestant Chaucer," in Chaucer's Religious Tales, ed. C. David Benson and Elizabeth Ann Robertson (Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 1990), 55-69; Alexandra Gillespie, Print Culture and the Medieval Author: Chaucer, Lydgate, and Their Books, 1473-1SS7 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006); Theresa M. Krier, ed., Refguring Chaucer in the Renaissance (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1998); Mike Rodman Jones, "Chaucer the Puritan," in Chaucer and Fame: Reputation and Reception, ed. Isabel Davis and Catherine Nail (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), 165-184; and Thomas A. Prendergast, Chaucer's Dead Body: From Corpse to Corpus (London: Routledge, 2004), 40-51.

(48.) Seconde Grisilde, fol. 44.

(49.) Jones, "Tragical History," 750 (emphasis added).

(50.) Helen Cooper, The Canterbury Tales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996; first published 1989), 186; Seconde Grisilde, fol. 62; Geoffrey Chaucer, The Clerk's Prologue, in The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988; first published 1987), 1.31.

(51.) Andrew Clark, ed., The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, Antiquary of Oxford, 1632-1695 Described by Himself (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), 2:486; Edward Bernard, Catalogi Librorum Manuscriptorum Angliae etHiberniae in unum collecti (Oxford, 1697), 368, no. 8563.101, 371, no. 8590.2. For brief details of Ralph Sheldon's life, see Jan Broadway, "Sheldon, Ralph (1623-1684)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online [accessed 9 Feb 2016] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

(52.) See, e.g., Forrest, History of Grisild, xx.

(53.) Ibid., xxi.

(54.) Seconde Grisilde, fols. 71, 1.

(55.) Robert Tittler and Judith Richards, The Reign of Mary I (London: Routledge, 2013; first published 1983), 103-104.

(56.) Clark, Life and Times, 486; David Fairer, ed., Thomas Warton's History of English Poetry (London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press, 1998), 312; Forrest, History of Grisild, xv, 148; Lee, History, 404; Guiney, Recusant Poets, 142; Sylvester, Life and Death, 259; Keena, "Edition," xxiii; Mehok, "Edition,"xxxix; Milsom, "William Mundy's 'Vox,'" 3; Holmes, "Forrest, William"; Potter, "Tales of Patient Griselda," 11; Jones, "Tragical History," 750; Schutte, Mary 1,91; Cooper, "Poetic Fame," 374; Wort, "Cuckoo," 27.

(57.) Forrest, History of Grisild, 148.

(58.) Precisely the same distinction is manifest in British Library MS Royal 17 D iii, on fols. 4v ("Caput .6." and "Caput .8."), 5v ("Caput .16." and "Caput .18"), 6v ("Caput .26." and "Caput .28."), and so on.

(59.) Ibid., fols. 8,3.

(60.) Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. d. 9, fols. 157,4.

(61.) Forrest, History of Grisild, 53.

(62.) Both closing brackets are Forrest's.

(63.) Seconde Grisilde, fols. 5,24v-25.

(64.) Sylvester, Life and Death, 62, 220; J. S. Brewer, ed., Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII (London: Longman & Co., 1872), 4(part 2):2020, no. 4649; Peter Gwyn, The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey (London: Pimlico, 2002; first published 1990), 507-508.

(65.) Gwyn, King's Cardinal, 507-508. Compare Gwyn's comments with the earlier statements in, e.g., J. D. Mackie, The Earlier Tudors: 1485-1558 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952), 324; and J. J. Scarisbrick, Henrv VIII (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997; first published 1968), 162.

(66.) Sylvester, Life and Death, 62.

(67.) Brewer, Letters andPapers, 4(part 2):1519-1520, no. 3356; David Loades, Mary Tudor: A Life (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 47-49.

(68.) Seconde Grisilde, fols. 71,72v, 72,74.

(69.) For details of these plots against Mary, see, among others, John Guy, Tudor England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990; first published 1988), 231-232,247,226; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1965); and Penry Williams, TheLater Tudors: England 1547-1603 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998; first published 1995), 93-97, 107-108, 82-85. In a marginal note alongside this stanza, Forrest wrote "the Duke Duddelaye," so it is clear that in the first case it is to John Dudley that he refers by name, not Henry Dudley; Seconde Grisilde, fol. 74.

(70.) William B. Robison, "Peckham, Henry (b. in or before 1526, d. 1556)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online [accessed 13 Apr 2016] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

(71.) Seconde Grisilde, fol. 74v.

(72.) Ibid., fol. 74v.

(73.) Ibid., fols. 77,76v.

(74.) For details of Mary's pregnancies, I consulted Elizabeth Lane Furdell, The Royal Doctors, 1485-1714: Medical Personnel at the Tudor and Stuart Courts (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2001), 55-61. Also see Loades, Mary Tudor, 302,305-306.

(75.) Seconde Grisilde, fol. 76v.

(76.) Potter, "Tales of Patient Griselda," 16.

(77.) In one place the appointee is apparently named William Fortescue, not Forrest, though this is not presently recorded under "Bledlow (CCEd Location ID: 7088)," in The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1S40-183S [CCEd], [accessed 13 Apr 2016]. For comments, see Guiney, Recusant Poets, 140; Lee, History, 401; Forrest, History of Grisild, xiv-xv; and Milsom, "William Mundy's 'Vox,'" 5. About this double entry, Macray notes that he was unable to clear up the discrepancy because he did not have access to the episcopal registers for the diocese of Lincoln; see Forrest, History of Grisild, xiv-xv. The compilers of the CCEd did have access to these registers, and so presumably we are safe in giving the appointment to Forrest.

(78.) "Forrest, William (CCEd Record ID: 324343)," CCEd [accessed 13 Apr 2016].

(79.) Wort, "Cuckoo," 29-33.

(80.) John N. King, English Reformation Literature: The Tudor Origins of the Protestant Tradition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982), 413.


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Date:Jan 1, 2016
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