1895 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Henry Goodere

Oliver Elton, in Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 6-7.



The head of the household [at Polesworth], when Drayton was a child, was Sir Henry Goodere the elder. His younger daughter, Frances, married her first cousin, Sir Henry Goodere the younger, Donne's intimate correspondent; the elder daughter was ANNE. Of all these we hear afterwards through Drayton. By 1597 the elder Sir Henry was dead: and in that year, dedicating one of the Heroicall Epistles (Isabel to Richard) to the Earl of Bedford, the poet paid his thanks to the memory of his patron, "that learn'd and accomplished gentleman Sir Henry Goodere, not long since deceased, whose I was whilst he was, whose patience pleased to bear with the imperfections of my heedless and unstayed youth. That excellent and matchless gentleman was the first cherisher of my muse, which had been by his death left a poor orphan to the world, had he not before bequeathed it to that lady" (the Countess of Bedford). In the same volume is a dedication (of the Epistle of Lady Jane Grey) to Lady Frances Goodere; "the love and duty I bare unto your father whilst he lived, now after his decease is to you hereditary." He adds that he has witnessed the education of this lady "ever from your cradle." Lastly, the Epistle of Mary to Suffolk is dedicated to Sir Henry the younger: and another tribute is paid "to the happy and generous family of the Gooderes, to which I confess myself beholding to for the best part of my education." It may be judged from all this that Drayton was taken quite young by the Gooderes to be civilised. He never forgot them and to one of them he came to bear something more than gratitude. The only inmate of PoIesworth Hall whom he never names in his dedications is Anne Goodere, the eldest daughter, of less than his own age. The evidence of her identity with the "Idea" whom he celebrated may be deferred till we touch on his sonnets, since no details of the early acquaintance are known, and since Drayton, if his word is to be taken, did not "lose his wit" on her account till 1591 or 1593; perhaps because they had been brought up together.