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his hopeful abilities, as for a reason insinuated by lord Herbert, and at which those who know Henry's history and character will not be surprised, because he equally and strongly resembled both his father and mother.
A friendship of the closest kind' commencing between these two illustrious youths, about the year 1530, they were both removed to cardinal Wolsey's college at Oxford, then universally frequented, as well for the excellence as the novelty of its institution ; for it was one of the first seminaries of an English university, that professed to explode the pedantries of the old barbarous philosophy, and to cultivate the graces of polite literature. Two years afterwards, for the purpose of acquiring every accomplishment of an elegant education, the earl accompanied his noble friend and fellow-pupil into France, where they received king Henry, on his arrival at Calais to visit Francis the the first, with a most magnificent retinue. The friendship of these young
noblemen was soon strengthened by a new tie ; for Richmond married the lady Mary Howard, Surrey's sister. Richmond, however, appears to have died in the year 1536, about the
age of seventeen, having never cohabited with his wife. It was long, before Surrey forgot the untimely loss of this amiable youth, the friend and associate of his childhood, and who nearly resembled himself in genius, refinement of manners, and liberal acquisitions.
The FAIR GERALDINE, the general object of lord Surrey's passionate sonnets, is commonly said to have lived at Florence, and to have been of the family of the Geraldi of that city. This is a mistake, yet not en:irely without grounds, propagated by an easy misapprehension of an expression in one of our poet's odes, and a passage in Drayton's heroic epistles. She was undoubtedly one of the daughters of Gerald Fitzgerald, earl of Kildare. But it will be necessary to transcribe what our author himself has said of this celebrated lady. The history of one
b Wood, ATH. Oxon. i. 68.
who caused so memorable and so poetical a passion naturally ex-
From Tuskane came my ladies worthy race ;
And Windsor alas ! doth chase me from her sight d.
Her poetical appellation is almost her real name. Gerald Fitzgerald, abovementioned, earl of Kildare in the reign of Henry the eighth, married a second wife, Margaret daughter of Thomas Gray, marquis of Dorset : by whom he had three daughters, Margaret, Elisabeth, and Cicely. Margaret was born deaf and dumb; and a lady who could neither hear nor answer her lover, and who wanted the means of contributing to the most endearing reciprocations, can hardly be supposed to have
been the cause of any vehement effusions of amorous panegyric. We
may therefore safely pronounce Elisabeth or Cicely to have been Surrey's favorite. It was probably Elisabeth, as the seems always to have lived in England.
Every circumstance of the sonnet evidently coincides with this state of the case. But, to begin with the first line, it will naturally be asked, what was lady Elisabeth Gerald's connection with Tuscany? The beginnings of noble families, like those of nations, often owe somewhat to fictitious embellishment: and our genealogists uniformly affert, that the family of Fitzgerald derives its origin from Otho, a descendant of the dukes of Tuscany: that they migrated into England under the reign of king Alfred, whose annals are luckily too scanty to contradict such an account, and were from England speedily transplanted into Ireland. Her father was an Irish earl, resident at his earldom of Kildare; and she was consequently born and nursed in Ireland. Her mother, adds the sonnet, was of princely parentage. Here is a nò less exact correspondence with the line of the lady's pedigree: for Thomas, marquis of Dorset, was son of queen Elisabeth Gray, daughter of the duchess of Bedford, defcended from the royal house of Luxemburgh. The poet acquaints us, that he first saw her at Hunsdon. This notice, which seems of an indifferent nature and quite extraneous to the question, abundantly corroborates our conjecture. Hundsdon-house in Hertfordshire was a new palace built by Henry the eighth, and chiefly for the purpose of educating his children. The lady Elisabeth Fitzgerald was second cousin to Henry's daughters the princesses Mary and Elisabeth, who were both educated at Hunfdon'. At this royal nursery she therefore tasted of costly foode with kinges childe, that is, lived while a girl with the young princesses her relations, as a companion in their education. At the same time, and on the same plan, our earl of Surrey resided at Windsor-castle, as I have already remarked, with the young
Strype, ECCL. Mem. vol, i. APPEND. Numb. 71.
duke of Richmond. It is natural to suppose, that he sometimes visited the princesses at Hunsdon, in company with the young duke their brother, where he must have also seen the fair Geraldine : yet by the nature of his situation at Windsor, which implied a degree of confinement, he was hindered from visiting her at Hunsdon so often as he wished. He therefore pathetically laments,
Windsor, alas, doth chase me from her sight!
But although the earl first beheld this lady at the palace of Hunfdon, yet, as we further learn from the sonnet, he was first struck with her incomparable beauty, and his passion commenced, at Hampton-court.
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine!
That is, and perhaps on occasion of some splendid masque or caroufal, when the lady Elisabeth Fitzgerald, with the princesses Mary and Elisabeth, and their brother Richmond, with the young lord Surrey, were invited by the king to Hampton-court.
In the mean time we must remember, that the lord Leonard Gray, uncle to lord Gerald Fitzgerald, was deputy of Ireland for the young duke of Richmond : a connection, exclusive of all that has been said, which would alone account for Surrey's acquaintance at least with this lady. It is also a reason, to say no more, why the earl should have regarded her from the first with a particular attention, which afterwards grew into the most passionate attachment.' She is supposed to have been Maid of honour to queen Catharine. But there are three of Henry's queens of that name. For obyious reasons, however, we may venture to say, that queen Catharine Howard was Geraldine's queen.
It is not precisely known at what period the earl of Surrey began his travels. They have the air of a romance. He made the tour of Europe in the true spirit of chivalry, and with the
ideas of an Amadis ; proclaiming the unparalleled charms of his mistress, and prepared to defend the cause of her beauty with the weapons of knight-errantry. Nor was this adventurous journey performed without the intervention of an enchanter. The first city in Italy which he proposed to visit was Florence, the capital of Tuscany, and the original seat of the ancestors of his Geraldine. In his way thither, he passed a few days at the emperor's court; where he became acquainted with Cornelius Agrippa, a celebrated adept in natural magic. This visionary philosopher shewed our hero, in a mirror of glass, a living image of Geraldine, reclining on a couch, sick, and reading one of his most tender sonnets by a waxen tapers. His imagination, which wanted not the flattering representations and artificial incentives of illusion, was heated anew by this interesting and affecting spectacle. Inflamed with every enthusiasm of the most romantic passion, he hastened to Florence : and, on his arrival, immediately published a defiance against any person who could handle a lance and was in love, whether Christian, Jew, Turk, Saracen, or Canibal, who should presume to dispute the superiority of Geraldine's beauty. As the lady was pretended to be of Tuscan extraction, the pride of the Florentines was flattered on this occasion : and the grand duke of Tuscany permitted a general and unmolested ingress into his dominions of the combatants of all countries, till this important trial should be decided. The challenge was accepted, and the earl victorious". The Thield which he presented to the duke before the tournament began, is exhibited in Vertue's valuable plate of the Arundel family, and was actually in the possession of the late duke of Norfolk
These heroic vanities did not, however, fo totally engross the time which Surrey spent in Italy, as to alienate his mind from letters: he studied with the greatest success a critical knowledge
8 Drayton, Her. Epist.-Howard to GERALDINE, V. 57:
A Wood, ubi fupr.
Walpole, An&Co. Paint. i. 76.