Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

In 1594, for the third edition of Delia—which bore the title Delia and Rosamond augmented—Samuel Daniel included a play, Cleopatra, which was written in the “Senecan mode.” Actually, the author entered the piece in the Stationers’ Register as early as October 19, 1593, and dedicated it to his patron, Mary Herbert, countess of Pembroke, the sister of Sir Philip Sidney. He stated that he wrote it at her request and as a companion to her own translation of the French playwright Robert Gainier’s Tragedy of Antonie (1592). Six years later, Daniel began another play, three acts of a tragedy based on the story of Philotas, taken from Quintus Curtius, Justin, and Plutarch’s Life of Alexander. Originally, he had intended the play to be acted at Bath during the Christmas season by certain gentlemen’s sons; however, his printers urged him to complete other projects, and The Tragedy of Philotas was not completed and published until 1605. Daniel dedicated the work to Prince Henry, complaining that the public favor extended to him during the reign of Elizabeth had not been carried over to that of James I.

The Tragedy of Philotas caused Daniel some problems at Court, principally because suspicion arose that Philotas was actually a representation of the late earl of Essex. Such a conclusion meant that the author was trying to apologize for or to defend Essex’s rebellion of 1601. Thus, the nobles summoned Daniel before them requesting him to explain his meaning; upon doing so, he was nevertheless reprimanded. In 1607, Daniel published a “corrected” edition of The Tragedy of Philotas, with an “apology” denying that his play warranted the aspersions that had been cast upon it. Finally, the poet published, in 1618, The Collection of the Historie of England, from the beginnings of English history to the end of Edward III’s reign (1377).