Mary Sidney’s manuscript poems, introducing the Sidney/ Pembroke Psalms, were prepared for presentation to Elizabeth I at Wilton in 1599. The visit did not, in the event, take place. ‘Even now that Care’ in particular aims to take advantage of the opportunity publicly to associate the Queen, the Protestant hero Sidney and hoped-for interventionist deeds in Europe in these ‘active times’ (words with established Protestant, pro-war connotations). Margaret P. Hannay points out that the poem ‘continues the tradition of admonitory dedications of vernacular Scriptures to the sovereign, following the example provided by the Great Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and the Psalters of Miles Coverdale, Richard Tavener, and Robert Crowley (Margaret P. Hannay, Philip’s Phoenix: Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, Oxford, 1990, p. 85).
‘To the Angell spirit’ is a more intimate piece, important for an understanding of the author’s posthumous relationship with her brother and his work. (On this, and for a fuller discussion of the two poems more generally, see Introduction, pp. 40-2). The poem also perhaps, as Hannay says (p. 90), seeks to remind the Queen ‘that she had not favoured “the wonder of men, sole borne perfection’s kinde” as she ought, and, by implication, that she was not fulfilling her godly duties by defending the faith as Sidney had done’.