From Tuscan Came my Lady's Worthy Race

Original Text: 
Nott, George Fred., ed. The Works of Henry Howard earl of Surrey and of Sir Thomas Wyatt the elder. London: Longman, 1815-16. 2 vols. PR 2370 A1 1815 ROBA.
2Fair Florence was sometime her ancient seat.
3The western isle whose pleasant shore doth face
5Foster'd she was with milk of Irish breast;
7From tender years in Britain she doth rest
9Hunsdon did first present her to mine eyen;
12And Windsor, alas, doth chase me from her sight.
14Happy is he that may obtain her love.


1] Tottel's title: "Description and praise of his loue Geraldine." Probably composed in 1537, while Surrey was briefly imprisoned at Windsor for striking a courtier within the royal grounds. Geraldine was Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a daughter of the Earl of Kildare. Born in Ireland ca. 1528, she was brought by her father to England in 1533. She married an old widower in 1543. Surrey's sonnet in her praise led to the fantastic legend that he was her lover. Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller, 1594, and Drayton's England's Heroical Epistles, 1598, spread and further expanded this legend until the lovers almost became an "English equivalent of Dante and Beatrice or of Petrarch and Laura" (H. E. Rollins ed., Songes and Sonettes, i.e., Tottel's Miscellany). This legend survived into the nineteenth century but has been definitely disproven by modern scholars.
Tuscan: Tuscany in Italy, the home of the Geraldi. Back to Line
4] Camber: Cambria, Wales, whose cliffs are east of Ireland. Back to Line
6] her dame of princes' blood. Geraldine's mother was the granddaughter of Edward IV's queen. Back to Line
8] king's child: Princess Mary, later Mary Tudor, who lived at Hunsdon.
ghostly: spiritual. Back to Line
10] hight: is named. Back to Line
11] Hampton: Hampton Court, Henry VIII's residence. Back to Line
13] Beauty her mate: so the MS.; Tottel: ''Her beauty of kind'' (kind=nature). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.14.