Tag: Elizabeth I

Now Is the Play of Our Discontent


When one thinks of great Russian literature, one does not associate it with the time period of Stalin. Venezuela probably has great literature in its history, but I doubt much of it is written today by some crony of Maduro. But such is the oddness of the English language and the English people that the greatest flowering of English literature happened during the time of an illegitimate, usurping dynasty that had its thumb squarely upon the people and the arts created, a dynasty that resorted to execution more than any since.

Some say Shakespeare was a genius for his accomplishments. But how much more of a genius was he that he accomplished all that he did in an oppressive atmosphere that saw many locked up or executed for offending the Tudor monarch? A play like Romeo and Juliet might not have been too dangerous. Classical comedies and tragedies were not too dangerous, especially when set in places like Italy. The Taming of the Shrew? Two Gentlemen of Verona? But Shakespeare delved into another realm altogether: the history play. With histories from far off in time, indeed, apocryphal histories, such as King Lear and Macbeth, danger was not so apparent, yet Shakespeare came closer in time, right up to the time of his monarch. And in the writing of these nearer histories, Shakespeare prostituted himself, becoming the propagandist of the Tudor Dynasty, or did he?

Quote of the Day: Noblesse Oblige


Four-hundred sixty years ago today, on January 15, 1559, Elizabeth, the “bastard” (some believed) daughter of Henry VIII was crowned Queen of England.

As did many of her subjects, I admire and even love “Good Queen Bess,” who brought stability and prosperity to her island nation after the 50 years of chaos and upheaval spawned by the reigns of her father and two older siblings (and the enthronement of the 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, unfortunate winner of what may have been the world’s first reality entertainment show, Queen for Nine Days. And Then Off With Her Head).

Only 25 years old herself when she was crowned, and in addition to her father’s death, Elizabeth had already seen her mother and one of Henry’s subsequent wives beheaded, the death of a young and kind stepmother, Henry’s second royal divorce, the death of her young and invalid brother after a short and ineffectual reign, and her sister “Bloody” Mary’s persecution of those abjuring the Catholic faith. She resolved to bring stability and peace to her country, and, largely, she did.

Member Post


In our previous lessons, we learned about everything necessary to enable us to compose what some would call the pinnacle of English-language poetry, the English sonnet. We have learned about measurement systems, rhyme, rhythms, formal lines, and the pivot. Now, we shall put these all together into one package. History and Origin: The English sonnet, […]

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