Mirrors for Rebels: A Study of Polemical Literature Relating to the Northern Rebellion, 1569

By James K. Lowers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSION

EDMUND SPENSER and Samuel Daniel are only two of the writers, important ones to be sure, whose works illustrate how belletristic writers shared with the polemists the arguments against civil disobedience. One does not have to look far for others who made use of the same ideas even when their primary interest was literary rather than political. As a conclusion to this study, therefore, I propose to notice briefly certain authors of varied literary genre.

In their additions to the Mirror for Magistrates, John Higgins and Thomas Blenerhasset, self-appointed successors to William Baldwin and the "dyuers learned men" who produced the original Mirror, found occasion to teach the orthodox political lessons. Higgins published his First Part of the Mirour for Magistrates in 1574, five years after the Northern Rebellion. In the dedication to the sixteen stories comprising his work, he recommended to the nobility and "all other in office" the four cardinal virtues, especially prudence and temperance.1 Yet in his introduction he explained that the Mirour contains "Examples . . . for all estates"2 and later told the reader that among the lessons to be learned from his collection of tragedies are the "fall of ambition" and the "horrible ende of traytours."3 He set forth the ideal of civil obedience in the very first tragedy, that of Albanact, in which he described Brutus' happy rule:

No labours great his subiects then refusde,
Nor trauailes that might like his regall minde,
But eche of them such exercise well vsde,
Wherein was praise or glorye greate to finde:
And to their leidge bare faithful harts so kinde,
That what he wild they all obeyde his heste,
Not else was current, but the kings request.4

-107-

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Mirrors for Rebels: A Study of Polemical Literature Relating to the Northern Rebellion, 1569
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter II - The Northern Rebellion of 1569 11
  • Chapter III - Pamphlets, Tracts, and Ballads, 1569-1574 35
  • Chapter IV - Pamphlets and Prose Tracts, 1581-1601 50
  • Chapter V - The Doctrine of Absolute Obedience 66
  • Chaptier VI - The Doctrine in Nonpolemical Literature 80
  • Chapter VII - Conclusion 107
  • Notes 113
  • Index 125
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