A Mirror for Magistrates and Public Political Discourse in Elizabethan England

A Mirror for Magistrates and Public Political Discourse in Elizabethan England by OLLABORATIVELY composed by William Baldwin and a group of seven other writers in the early 1550s, the Mirror for Magistrates (1559) is a collection of didactic poetry about the downfall of English kings, lords, and pretenders to power between the reigns of Richard II and Edward IV.1 The stated purpose of the volume is to teach the monarch and other nobles wisdom and virtue by showing them the results of a variety of vices, including tyranny, ambition, and pride. As Baldwin writes in his prefatory letter to the nobility, the Mirror provides a series of tragic stories in which noble readers might see themselves. ``For here,'' he explains, ``as in a loking glas, you shall see (if any vice be in you) howe the like hath bene punished in other heretofore, whereby admonished, I trust it will be a good occasion to move you to the soner amendment.'' Such admonition to virtue ``is the chiefest ende, whye it is set furth,'' about which he hopes, ``God graunt it may attayne'' (65­66). While the ``chiefest ende'' of the Mirror is to advise nobles to act virtuously, it is not clear how all of the parts of the work http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

A Mirror for Magistrates and Public Political Discourse in Elizabethan England

Studies in Philology, Volume 101 (4)

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1543-0383
Publisher site
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Abstract

by OLLABORATIVELY composed by William Baldwin and a group of seven other writers in the early 1550s, the Mirror for Magistrates (1559) is a collection of didactic poetry about the downfall of English kings, lords, and pretenders to power between the reigns of Richard II and Edward IV.1 The stated purpose of the volume is to teach the monarch and other nobles wisdom and virtue by showing them the results of a variety of vices, including tyranny, ambition, and pride. As Baldwin writes in his prefatory letter to the nobility, the Mirror provides a series of tragic stories in which noble readers might see themselves. ``For here,'' he explains, ``as in a loking glas, you shall see (if any vice be in you) howe the like hath bene punished in other heretofore, whereby admonished, I trust it will be a good occasion to move you to the soner amendment.'' Such admonition to virtue ``is the chiefest ende, whye it is set furth,'' about which he hopes, ``God graunt it may attayne'' (65­66). While the ``chiefest ende'' of the Mirror is to advise nobles to act virtuously, it is not clear how all of the parts of the work

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

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