Anxiety and influence
Derricke’s Image of Irelande and the Mirror for Magistrates tradition
in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
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John Derricke, this chapter argues, employed the influential collection of historical verse tragedies A Mirror for Magistrates (first published 1559) as a model for various parts of his Image of Irelande. In doing so, however, Derricke found himself forced to acknowledge and to seek to overturn the often uncomfortable messages of that source. Thus, in the opening poem of his collection, Derricke uses a selective celebratory presentation of English monarchs to contest the view in the Mirror of English leaders as often undeserving of rule. Similarly, while he adopts the form and meter of the Mirror for his poems in the voice of Irish rebel Rory Oge O’More, Derricke suppresses the complexity of rebellion’s treatment in the Mirror, including the claims that political resistance is sometimes justified and that erring English officers bring rebellion on themselves. The Image thus reveals the anxious inspiration its author derived from A Mirror for Magistrates.

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