Sir Francis Bryan

(c. 1538—1550) courtier and writer

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Henry VIII (1491—1547) king of England and Ireland


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(d. 1550) Poet and courtier, nephew of Lord Berners. A favourite of Henry VIII's, he held various posts and took part in entertainments at court, and was sent on diplomatic missions. His reputation was for telling the king the truth; distancing himself from his cousin Anne Boleyn, he earned the nickname ‘the vicar of hell’ from Thomas Cromwell. Milton presumably refers to him in Areopagitica when he writes, ‘I name not him for posterities sake, whom Harry the 8. nam'd in merriment his Vicar of hell.’ Bryan, a friend of Thomas Wyatt, who addressed his third satire to him, contributed to Richard Tottel's Miscellany and his poetry was highly valued in his day, but is now, with the exception of a translation of Antonio de Guevara's A Dispraise of the Life of a Courtier (1548), almost entirely undiscoverable.

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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