in Literature and politics in the English Reformation
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In 1583 William Cecil's The Execution of Justice in England and Sir Thomas Smith's De Republica Anglorum were published. These works can be read as exemplary representations of the Elizabethan regime as a via media between Henrician tyranny and Edwardian anarchy. The Shepheardes Calender has been seen as an inaugural text creating a specifically Elizabethan poetic idiom. The July eclogue of The Shepheardes Calender is an argument for a moderate English Protestantism to unite members of the Elizabethan polity, from the magistrates to the churchwardens, against the forces of disorder. The main argument of Cecil's tract is that the Elizabethan regime had turned its back on Reformation politics and poetics. The Execution of Justice in England consistently avoids using the language of religious controversy. Smith's work depicts an English commonwealth in which politics is the bulwark against tyranny and popular anarchy.


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