Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke: Wikis


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Edmund Lodge: Portrait of Sir Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke (1554-1628). English poet and courtier.

Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer and 5th Baron Willoughby de Broke (3 October 1554 – 30 September 1628), known before 1621 as Sir Fulke Greville, was an Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman.



Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Lord Brooke (1554-1628) was a capable administrator who served the English Crown under Elizabeth I and James I as, successively, treasurer of the navy, chancellor of the exchequer, and commissioner of the Treasury, and who for his services was in 1621 made Baron Brooke, peer of the realm and granted Warwick Castle, which he substantially improved. Greville is however best known today as the biographer of Sir Philip Sidney, and for his remarkably sober poetry, which presents dark, thoughtful, and distinctly Calvinist views on art, literature, beauty, and other philosophical matters.

Named for his father, Sir Fulke Greville, Greville was born at Beauchamp Court, near Alcester, Warwickshire. He was sent in 1564, on the same day as his life-long friend, Philip Sidney, to Shrewsbury School. He enrolled at Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1568.[1] Sir Henry Sidney, Philip's father, and president of the Council of Wales and the Marches, gave him in 1576 a post connected with the court of the Welsh Marches, but Greville resigned it in 1577 to go to attend court of Queen Elizabeth along with Philip Sidney. There, young Greville became a great favourite with the Queen, who valued his sober character and administrative skills, making him secretary to the principality of Wales in 1583; however he was more than once disgraced for leaving the country against her wishes.

Philip Sidney, Sir Edward Dyer and Greville were members of the "Areopagus", the literary clique which, under the leadership of Gabriel Harvey, supported the introduction of classical metres into English verse. Sidney and Greville arranged to sail with Sir Francis Drake in 1585 in his expedition against the Spanish West Indies, but Elizabeth forbade Drake to take them with him, and also refused Greville's request to be allowed to join Robert Dudley's army in the Netherlands. Philip Sidney, who took part in the campaign, was killed on 17 October 1586. Greville memorialized his beloved friend in his Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney.

About 1591 Greville served for a short time in Normandy under Henry of Navarre in the French Wars of Religion. This was his last experience of war. Greville represented Warwickshire in parliament in 1592-1593, 1597, 1601 and 1620. In 1598 he was made treasurer of the navy, and he retained the office through the early years of the reign of James I. In 1614 he became chancellor and under-treasurer of the exchequer, and throughout the reign he was a valued supporter of James I, although in 1615 he advocated the summoning of a parliament. In 1618 he became commissioner of the treasury, and in 1621 he was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Brooke, a title which had belonged to the family of his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Willoughby. He received from James I the grant of Warwick Castle, in the restoration of which he is said to have spent £20,000.

Greville left no natural heirs, and his primary (Brooke) barony passed to his cousin and adopted son, Robert Greville (1608-1643), who took the side of Parliament part in the English Civil War, and defeated the Royalists in a skirmish at Kineton in August 1642. Robert was killed during the siege of Lichfield on 2 March 1643, having survived the elder Greville by only twelve years. His other barony (Willoughby de Broke) was inherited by his sister Margaret who married Sir Richard Verney.

Fulke Greville himself died in consequence of a knife wound inflicted by a servant who felt he had been cheated in his master's will on 30 September 1628. After stabbing Greville, the murderer, Ralph Heywood, turned the knife on himself. Brooke was buried in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, and on his tomb was inscribed the epitaph he had composed for himself: "Folk Grevill Servant to Queene Elizabeth Conceller to King James Frend to Sir Philip Sidney. Trophaeum Peccati."


It is by his biography of Sidney that Fulke Greville is best known. The full title expresses the scope of the work. It runs: The Life of the Renowned Sr. Philip Sidney. With the true Interest of England as it then stood in relation to all Forrain Princes: And particularly for suppressing the power of Spain Stated by Him: His principall Actions, Counsels, Designes, and Death. Together with a short account of the Maximes and Policies used by Queen Elizabeth in her Government. He includes some autobiographical matter in what amounts to a treatise on government.

His poetry consist of closet tragedies, sonnets, and poems on political and moral subjects, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky has asserted that this work is comparable in force of imagination to John Donne.[2] His style is grave and sententious. A rhyming elegy on Brooke, published in Huth's Inedited Poetical Miscellanies, brings charges of miserliness against him, but of his generous treatment of contemporary writers there is abundant testimony. Of Brooke Lamb says, "He is nine parts Machiavel and Tacitus, for one of Sophocles and Seneca.... Whether we look into his plays or his most passionate love-poems, we shall find all frozen and made rigid with intellect." He goes on to speak of the obscurity of expression that runs through all Brooke's poetry, an obscurity which is, however, due more to the intensity and subtlety of the thought than to any lack of mere verbal lucidity.

Greville's works include:

The Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney (1625)

Closet drama: Alaham, Mustapha

Verse Poems: Caelica in CX Sonnets Of Monarchy, A Treatise of Religion, A Treatie of Humane Learning, An Inquisition upon Fame and Honour, A Treatie of Warres

Miscellaneous Prose: a letter to an "Honourable Lady," a letter to Grevill Varney in France, a short speech delivered on behalf of Francis Bacon

Later, his works were collected and reprinted by Dr Grosart, in 1870, in four volumes. Poetry and Drama of Fulke Greville, edited by Geoffery Bullough, was published in 1938. The Prose Works of Fulke Greville, edited by John Gouwn, were published in 1986. "The Selected Poems of Fulke Greville," edited by Thom Gunn, with an afterword by Bradin Cormack, was published in 2009 (University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226308463.)

Some believe that Greville is the true author of several plays attributed to William Shakespeare.[3]

See also



The story of Fulke Greville's murder is now used in the show Warwick Ghosts Alive which is performed in the 'ghost tower' at Warwick Castle.

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Leicester
Custos Rotulorum of Warwickshire
bef. 1594 – aft. 1596
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Leigh
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Leigh
Custos Rotulorum of Warwickshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Denbigh
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Hawkins
Treasurer of the Navy
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Mansell
Preceded by
Sir Julius Caesar
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Weston
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Fulke Greville
Baron Latimer
Baron Willoughby de Broke
(de jure)
Succeeded by
Margaret Verney
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Brooke
Succeeded by
Robert Greville


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Three things there be in man's opinion dear,
Fame, many friends, and fortune's dignities:
False visions all, which in our sense appear,
To sanctify desire's idolatry.

Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer and 5th Baron Willoughby de Broke (3 October 155430 September 1628), known before 1621 as Sir Fulke Greville, was a minor Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman.



  • Hard-hearted minds relent and rigor's tears abound,
    And envy strangely rues his end, in whom no fault was found.
    Knowledge her light hath lost, valor hath slain her knight,
    Sidney is dead, dead is my friend, dead is the world's delight.
  • Now rime, the son of rage, which art no kin to skill,
    And endless grief, which deads my life, yet knows not how to kill,
    Go seek that hapless tomb, which if ye hap to find,
    Salute the stones that keep the bones that held so good a mind.
    • "Elegy on Sir Philip Sidney" (1593)

Mustapha (1609)

  • If Nature did not take delight in blood,
    She would have made more easy ways to good.
    We that are bound by vows and by promotion,
    With pomp of holy sacrifice and rites,
    To teach belief in good and still devotion,
    To preach of heaven's wonders and delights —
    Yet, when each of us in his own heart looks,
    He finds the God there far unlike his books.
    • Chorus of Priests.
  • Oh wearisome condition of Humanity!
    Born under one law, to another bound,
    Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity,
    Created sick, commanded to be sound:
    What meaneth Nature by these diverse laws?
    Passion and reason self-division cause.
    Is it the mask or majesty of Power
    To make offences that it may forgive?
    • Act V, Sc. 4

Caelica (1633)

  • Love is no true-made looking-glass
    Which perfect yields the shape we bring;
    It ugly shows us all that was,
    And flatters every future thing.
    • LXI
  • Who worships Cupid doth adore a boy;
    Boys' earnest are at first in their delight,
    But for a new soon leave their dearest toy,
    And out of mind as soon as out of sight;
Their joys be dallyings and their wealth is play,
They cry to have and cry to cast away.
  • LXI
  • In night when colours all to black are cast,
    Distinction lost, or gone down with the light;
    The eye — a watch to inward senses placed,
    Not seeing, yet still having power of sight —
    Gives vain alarums to the inward sense.
    • CI
  • Three things there be in man's opinion dear,
    Fame, many friends, and fortune's dignities:
    False visions all, which in our sense appear,
    To sanctify desire's idolatry.
    • CVI

External links


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