Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lady Elizabeth Dacre's Erotic Poem

A crude love poem written almost 450 years ago by a Roman Catholic woman and sent to a Protestant scholar who served Edward VI has been discovered in the back of a book by a British academic.

When Professor Treharne took her class of undergraduates on a tour of medieval literature in the library of West Virginia University, she thought she was introducing another year of eager literature students to the familiar wonders of Chaucer.

Instead, tucked into a 1561 edition of the poet’s work, she was about to discover what she now believes to be the only known Latin love poem written by an Englishwoman until the 18th century.

After translating the poem Treharne discovered that the poem was penned by Lady Elizabeth Dacre, a married Catholic woman, and addressed to Sir Anthony Cooke, a Protestant and tutor to King Edward VI. During this time it was common for lustful Tudor men to pen verses to woo the objects of their affection but extremely unusual for a lady to do the same.

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