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A Mirror for Magistrates


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John Lydgate (c. 1370—1449) poet and prior of Hatfield Regis

William Shakespeare (1564—1616) playwright and poet

Boccaccio (1313—1375) Italian writer, poet, and humanist

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

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A work planned by George Ferrers, Master of the King's Pastimes in the reign of Henry VIII, and William Baldwin of Oxford. In it various famous men and women, most of them characters in English history, recount their downfall in verse. The book was originally begun as a continuation of Lydgate's The Fall of Princes, itself based on Boccaccio's De Casibus. After a suppressed edition of ?1554 it first appeared in 1559, containing 20 tragedies by various authors. In the enlarged edition of 1563 T. Sackville contributed the ‘Induction’ and the ‘Complaint of Buckingham’.

The Mirror was one of the major achievements of what C. S. Lewis called the ‘Drab Age’, and provided source material for many major writers, including Spenser, Shakespeare, Daniel, and Drayton.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.


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