Gabriel Harvey and Immerito (1569–78)
in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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A principal contribution of this revisionary biography is that Gabriel Harvey’s relationship with Edmund Spenser is fully contextualized. This is the first close reading of Gabriel Harvey’s Gratulationes Valdinenses (1578), a work he intended to serve as his Shepheardes Calender. Harvey reprinted a number of poems by members of the Leicester circle, but nothing written by Edmund Spenser, suggesting that Spenser and Harvey were not especially close friends in 1578. In the tributes to Elizabeth and Leicester, he rejoices at the queen’s letting him kiss her hand and to the suggestion that he will be sent to Italy. He gloats about the queen’s comment that he already looks Italian (vultu Itali). In Book Four, he addresses a series of eulogies to Sir Christopher Hatton, the Earl of Oxford, and Sir Philip Sidney. In the eulogy to Philip Sidney, Harvey proclaims, ‘Sum iecur’ [I am all liver], a proclamation that suggests that he is consumed with lust for Sidney. The phrase ‘cogit amare iecur’ [the liver knows how to love] becomes a refrain in later satiric treatments of Harvey beginning with Pedantius (1581). Harvey’s own Gratulationes Valdinenses is the source for those taunts.

The early Spenser, 1554–80

‘Minde on honour fixed’


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