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A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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BOGNOR                                 93
could not have written such an invective against old virginity in the reign of Elizabeth, who prided herself on being the queen of Old Maids. But, reflection has led me into a conjecture, which, fanciful as it may seem to others, to me appears to confirm the date assigned by Mr. Malone to this comedy ; and to give also additional spirit to the passage, as directly pointed against the queen her­self, from an honest indignation of the poet in behalf of his great friend and patron the liberal earl of Southampton. Mr. Malone, in speaking of this nobleman, has observed, * that he attended lord Essex on the expedition to Cadiz, in 1597, as a volunteer, and afterwards to Ireland as general of the horse, from which employment he was dis­missed by the peremptory orders of Queen Eliza beth, who was offended with him for having presumed to marry Miss Elizabeth Vernon [in 1596] without her majesty's consent.'
" Now it appears to me highly probable, that when his patron was thus injuriously treated by the antiquated maiden queen, merely for marrying a lovely young woman, it appears, I say, highly probable, that Shakespeare might at this juncture point all his wit, with a generous acrimony, against that old virginity, which, equivocal as it was, his tyrannical sovereign considered as the highest of her titles."
Hayley's Life of Cowper, like many other eighteenth-century productions, is portentously long, over sixteen hundred pages, in four volumes. It gives some insight into the life of England at that time—this in so ample a space it could hardly avoid—life particularly as lived in the quiet little county town of Huntingdon by the family of Mr. Unwin (with whom Cowper boarded), the day
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