Herbert, Mary Sidney, Countess Of Pembroke

(1561-1621)
   She was born at Ticknall Place, Bewdley, Worcestershire, the sister of the poets Sir Philip and Sir Robert Sidney (see entries). Her education in French, Italian, Latin, Greek, and music was mainly at Ludlow Castle, Shropshire. Queen Elizabeth invited her to court in 1575, and in the autumn of 1575, with her mother and brother Philip, she accompanied Elizabeth on a progress through Staffordshire and Worcestershire. In 1577 she married Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, of Wilton House, near Salisbury, Wiltshire. Her home became a haven for such poets, musicians, and artists as Edmund Spenser, Michael Drayton, Sir John Davies, and Samuel Daniel (see entries). When Philip died in 1586, she devoted her life to completing his poetic works, particularly Arcadia (?1590), and the verse translation for the Psalms. She died in London and was buried beside her husband in Salisbury Cathedral. She was the first English woman to achieve a significant literary reputation. Some of her poems: "Dialogue between two shepherds," "To the Angell Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney," "To the Thrice-Sacred Queen Elizabeth," "Triumph of Death" (Translation from Petrarch, 1304-74).
   Sources: A Sacrifice of Praise: An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century. James H. Trott, ed. Cumberland House Publishing, 1999. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Life and Works of Mary Sidney Herbert (http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/mary.htm). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The Collected Works of Mary Sidney Herbert: Volume 1. Margaret Hannay, Noel Kinnamon, and Michael Brennan, eds. Clarendon Press, 1998. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse 1509-1659. David Norbrook, ed. Penguin Books, 1992.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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