Thomas Sackville, First Earl of Dorset (1536–1608)


The Complaint of Henry Duke of Buckingham (‘Who trustes to much in honours highest trone’)

The Induction and The Complaint of...Buckingham first published in A Myrrour for Magistrates, 2nd edition (London, 1563).

*SaT 1

A MS, chiefly autograph, partly in the hand of an amanuensis, mainly a fair copy with revisions, partly a first draft, of a 192-stanza poem incorporating The Induction and The Complaint of Henry Duke of Buckingham (published in 1563), plus an unfinished draft of what is possibly an Epilogue to the poem (beginning ‘Be this phaeton whirled within his cart’). c.1557.

Additional passages in the MS first published in Marguerite Hearsey, ‘The MS. of Sackville's Contribution to the Mirror for Magistrates’, RES, 8 (1932), 282-90. The whole MS edited, with facsimiles of three pages, by Marguerite Hearsey (New Haven, 1936). Facsimiles of two pages in Croft, Autograph Poetry, I, 10-11, and in DLB, vol. 132, Sixteenth-Century British Non-Dramatic Writers. First Series, ed. David A. Richardson (Detroit, 1993), pp. 260-1.

St John's College, Cambridge, MS L. 7 (James 364).

The Induction (‘The wrathfull winter proching on apace’)

See SaT 1.

On Sir Philip and Sir Thomas Hobby (‘Two woorthie knightes, and Hobbyes both by name’)

A twenty-line elegy, originally inscribed c.1567 on the Hoby monument in the parish church of All Saints Bisham, in Berkshire. First published in John Payne Collier, ‘On Norton and Sackville, the authors of “Gorboduc”, the earliest blank verse Tragedy in our language’, The Shakespeare Society's Papers, IV (London, 1849), 123-8.

*SaT 1.5

MS, in a cursive secretary hand, possibly autograph, with alterations, subscribed ‘T. B.’, on one page of a pair of conjugate folio leaves. c.1567.

In: A collection of autograph manuscripts, compiled in the 19th century.

Once owned by the Enys family of Cornwall. Bonham's, 28 September 2004 (Enys sale), lot 392.

Later owned by John Wilson Croker (1780-1857), politician and writer, and given by him to Lord Londesborough.

Edited from this MS in Collier. Discussed in Jessica L. Malay, ‘Thomas Sackville's Elegy to Thomas and Philip Hoby: The Discovery of a Draft Manuscript’, N&Q, December 2009, 513-15.

Bodleian, MS Eng. c. 7065, f. 124r.

Sacvyles olde age (‘fraunces that arte the Iewell and renowne’)

A poem of 236 lines, first published in Rivkah Zim and M.B. Parkes, ‘“Sacvyles Olde Age” A Newly Discovered Poem by Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset (c.1536-1608)’, RES, NS 40 (February 1989), 1-25.

SaT 1.8

Copy, in a single hand, with corrections.

In: A MS comprising one poem and two sets of memoranda relating to financial and estate matters in 1653-6 and 1457-1532, written in different hands at different times, 107 leaves, in contemporary blind-tooled leather. Late 16th century.

Phillips, London, 18 September 1986, in lot 305.

Edited from this MS in Zim and Parkes.

McMaster University, MS 93, ff. [7r-11v].

Dramatic works

Gorboduc or Ferrex and Porrex

First published in London, 1565. Edited by Irby B. Cauthen, Jr. (University of Nebraska Press, 1970).

SaT 2

Twenty-four extracts, transcribed from a edited edition.

In: A tall folio miscellany of verse and prose, including a series of ‘Pithie sentences and wise sayinges’, largely in a secretary hand, iv + 120 leaves (including blanks), in contemporary dark brown calf on wooden boards (rebacked), with remains of brass clasps. Compiled principally by William Briton (1564-1637), of Kelston, Somerset. c.1586-1605.

Once owned by members of the Harington family, including John Harington, MP (d.1654). Acquired by Quaritch in 1932 and in their centenary sale catalogue (1947), item 198. Booklabel of Arthur A. Houghton, Jr (1906-90), American businessman and collector. Christie's, 12 June 1980 (Houghton sale), lot 427.

This MS recorded in The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney, ed. William Ringler (Oxford, 1962), p. 541.

British Library, Add. MS 61822, ff. 89v-90v.

SaT 2.5

An anonymous courtier's eyewitness report of the first performance of Gorboduc at the Inner Temple, Christmas 1561/62, in a secretary hand, among a series of memoranda on events between 1548 and 1562. 1562.

In: A folio composite volume of state tracts and papers, some relating to Thomas Norton, in various hands, iv + 390 leaves.

Yelverton MS 26, among the papers of Robert Beale (1541-1601), Clerk of the Privy Council, descending to Sir Henry Yelverton (1566-1629), Justice of the Common Pleas, and his family.

This MS edited and discussed, with a facsimile (location erroneously cited as Add. MS 40823), in Norman Jones and Paul Whitfield White, ‘Gorboduc and Royal Marriage Politics: An Elizabethan Playgoers's Report of the Premiere Performance’, ELR, 26/1 (Winter 1996), 3-16, and see also Henry James and Greg Walker, ‘The Politics of Gorboduc’, EHR, 110 (1995), 109-21.

British Library, Add. MS 48023, f. 359v.

Annotations in Printed Books and Manuscripts

Fabyan, Robert. The Chronicle of Fabyan (London, 1542)

*SaT 3

A folio volume, gilt-edged, in blind-stamped calf over wooden boards, signed on the title-page ‘Thomas Sakevile’, with occasional marginal annotations in Latin (especially pp. 259-301) in more than one hand. It is not clear whether this is the early signature of the future Earl of Dorset or another Thomas Sackville.

Bookplates of Archibald Acheson (1806-64), Earl of Gosford, and of James Toovey (1814-93), bookseller, Burnham Abbey, Buckinghamshire.

Pierpont Morgan Library, 2970 (W. 03. D).



SaT 4

A registered copy of Sackville's last will and testament, made 1607, proved 1609. 1609.

Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, U269 T84/1.