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Fairfax, Edward


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Unquestionably, the literary legacy of Edward Fairfax (?1568–?1632/35) is his Godfrey of Bulloigne, or the recoverie of Jerusalem. Done into English heroicall verse (1600), a translation of Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata (1580). In his time Fairfax was regarded as an important English poet, evidenced by the fact that Robert Alott frequently quotes lines from Godfrey in his miscellany, Englands Parnassus, or the choysest flowers of our moderne poets (published just months after Godfrey ). Little is known about Fairfax's life; much of what is known about him and his lost works comes from biographical sketches written by his nephew, Brian Fairfax. Edward was the illegitimate son of Sir Thomas Fairfax. He was born in Leeds sometime between 1560 and 1575, and he died in Yorkshire in 1635. From Brian Fairfax we know that Edward authored a long verse work entitled History of Edward the black prince , which is now lost, and a pastoral poem of 12 eclogues, of which only two of the remaining four are complete. The primary concerns of the eclogues are religious and anti-Catholic: for example, in the fourth eclogue the shepherd Eglon laments that his favourite lamb has been seduced and bound in chains by a fox (the Catholic Church), and in an unnumbered eclogue the shepherds Hermes and Lycaon enact a debate between True Church and False Church. Additionally, two short poems ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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