This page has both memorial and research purposes. It is my tribute to a historical figure, Henry Prince of Wales (d.1612), and my resource for those who research him -- particularly the literary aftermath of his death.
This page includes, in order of importance:
A word of explanation
His identity will be mysterious to many visitors to this site -- as it was to me, before I discovered Prince Henry's story a few years ago while researching Thomas Heywood.
Heywood's was one of nearly forty memorial volumes printed in the months after Henry's death, including John Hawkins' Life and Death of ovr Late most Incomparable and Heroique Prince, from which this engraving is taken.
Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612) was the son and heir to James VI of Scotland (James I of England). His unexpected death at eighteen led his brother to become Charles I in 1625.
Before Henry died, there were widespread expectations for his future reign. Roy Strong has argued that his reputation for temperance and for chivalry, and his patronage of artists, architects, and men of letters, promised a coming renaissance under Henry IX. It was to be a renaissance of chivalry and Protestant militarism in Europe, for those frustrated with King James' peace-mongering and with his religious toleration. Henry's reign would also witness a rebirth of the arts, of architecture, music, and particularly of poetry. The professional and court poets suffered with Henry's death the loss of both heroic material and material support for their art.
Henry's death on 6 November 1612 provoked widespread outpourings of grief, both public and private: from the prince's family and from his household, from the subjects who lined London's streets for his funeral, and from the English and Scottish poets who marked the occasion in verse.
Its implications extend well beyond this occasion and its aftermath, motivating elegists and other respondents to reflect on human vulnerability, public and private identities, social continuity, and collective responses to and responsibilities for this traumatic death. When Henry's chaplain Daniel Price lamented in a memorial sermon that his master “would haue been subiect for all pens, and obiect for all eies,” he was half right: Henry immediately became a subject for all pens, as memorial poems were composed, printed, and circulated as early as his funeral procession [see bibliography, below]. Of these, eight were Latin and English anthologies, with multiple authors; thirty were individual poems or (more often) collections of poems; eight were anonymous, including five ballads; at least four were sermons and 'state prayers'; and two were madrigals or 'songs of mourning.' The release of a nation's hopes and expectations for its future king required most available outlets of expression.
“The inborn vigour natural to a prince, and his lion-like spirit, if I may so express it, increased by ample resources, stimulated by success in great enterprises, fired perhaps by anger and ambition or other such desires and sharpened by bloodthirsty counsellors - all this sometimes sweeps them off their course and carries princes themselves and the whole mass of their dominions to the edge of the abyss.”
-- Erasmus, Adagia
A comprehensive list of poetry and sermons on the death of Prince Henry, 1612-1760.
Click here for the PDF file. For the time being (February 2007) I am posting it in this format. More formatting is required to make it html-ready.
This is the first bibliography to answer G. W. Pigman's appeal in 1985 for a comprehensive list of the elegies and other poetry written for Prince Henry (Grief and English Renaissance Elegy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 143 n. 2).
"Posthumous testimonials to the talents and virtues of that very promising Prince, Henry Frederick...were so numerous, that a mere enumeration of them would run on to considerable extent" (Egerton Brydges, Restituta: or, Titles, Extracts, and Characters of Old Books in English Literature, Revived. 4 vols (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1814-16), vol. 3, p. 477).
For incomplete lists, see Brydges, Restituta, vol. 4, p. 172; John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First, his royal consort, family, and court. 1828. 4 vols (New York: AMS Press, 1966), vol. 2, pp. 504-12; and John Philip Edmond, 'Elegies and other tracts issued on the death of Henry, Prince of Wales, 1612.' Publications of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society 6 (1901-04): pp. 141-58; 146-58. Edmond claims to add fifteen works not on Nichols' list; the above list adds considerably more. Titles of ballads and of some Latin texts not available in STC microfilms (or EEBO) are taken from these bibliographies, as noted.
I've posted this online to avoid fixing my oversights and errors in print. New and corrected entries are always appreciated. I'm indebted to John Buchtel and Tim Wilks for same.