In the spring of 1606, less than two years before becoming a Barbary Coast pirate and converting to Islam, Sir Francis Verney wrote a lengthy panegyric poem that he dedicated to Secretary of State Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury. Written entirely in heroic couplets, the poem celebrates Roman republican heroes, praises Cecil, and expounds upon the subjects of masculinity, law, politics, court culture, and war. As a cultural artifact, Verney’s poem provides a new dimension to our understanding of one of early modern England’s most infamous “renegade” aristocrats. This essay accompanies an uncorrected transcription of the sole extant manuscript of the poem—the fair copy Verney likely presented to Cecil and residing today in the Cecil Papers at Hatfield House. This reproduction of the poem is accompanied by an introduction dating and describing the manuscript along with notes explaining corrections in the copy and glossing references and allusions.


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pp. 3-49
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