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John Harington

(1560—1612) courtier and author


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Elizabeth I (1533—1603) queen of England and Ireland

Ludovico Ariosto (1474—1533) Italian poet

Orlando furioso

ottava rima

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(1560–1612),

godson of Queen Elizabeth I. Supposedly at the command of the queen, he translated Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1591), retaining the ottava rima of the original and providing A Preface or rather Briefe Apologie of Poetrie, closely modelled on Sidney's Defence of Poetry. Harington's next work, A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax (1596) (a proposal for the introduction of water closets), was an ill‐judged bid for royal favour; together with other satires and epigrams it led to a period of exile from court. In 1599 Harington accompanied Essex to Ireland, and was deputed by him to appease the queen's anger on his return, without success. His letters and miscellaneous writings were collected in Henry Harington's Nugae Antiquae (1769–75). The lasting interest of Harington's writings lies in his lively personality and ability to record detailed impressions of his world.

Subjects: Literature.


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