'Hers will I be, and onely with this thought
Content my selfe, although my chaunce be nought'
Songs and Sonnets (1557), the first printed anthology of English poetry, was immensely influential in Tudor England, and inspired major Elizabethan writers including Shakespeare. Collected by pioneering publisher Richard Tottel, it brought poems of the aristocracy - verses of friendship, war, politics, death and above all of love - into wide common readership for the first time. The major poets of Henry VIII's court, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, were first printed in the volume. Wyatt's intimate poem about lost love which begins 'They flee from me, that sometime did me seke', and Surrey's passionate sonnet 'Complaint of a lover rebuked' are joined in the miscellany by a large collection of diverse, intriguingly anonymous poems both moral and erotic, intimate and universal.
Amanda Holton and Tom MacFaul's introduction considers the tumultuous political backdrop to these works and the fascinating and often dangerous lives of their authors. An extensive notes section detailing the poems' sources in Classical and Petrarchan writin