“The Lie,” by Sir Walter Raleigh, was likely composed in the 1590s, after falling out with his beloved Queen Elizabeth. Raleigh secretly married one of Elizabeth’s Maids-of-Honor on November 19, 1591, so angering the queen that she had him confined in the Tower of London.
In this excerpt from the preface to The History of the World, Sir Walter Raleigh explains his inspiration for the book. Published in 1614, The History of the World was intended, in part, as a teaching tool for King James I‘s son Henry. Raleigh tutored the young man even while being confined in the Tower of London, and James, who found the book “too saucy in the censuring of princes,” later revoked the publishing rights. When Henry died unexpectedly in 1612, Raleigh declined to complete the ambitious project.
This sonnet, “A Vision Upon this Concept of the Faery Queene,” was written by Sir Walter Raleigh and published as a commendatory verse at the beginning of Edmund Spenser’s epic The Faerie Queen (1590). Raleigh and Spenser met in Ireland, and Spenser modeled after Raleigh his character Timias, a squire who woos the “heavenly born” Belphoebe, modeled after Queen Elizabeth. Some spelling has been modernized.
This poem by Sir Walter Raleigh, “The Conclusion,” is thought to be a revision of an earlier verse by him. The changes, believed to have been made shortly before his execution on October 29, 1618, are reflected in a version discovered tucked inside his Bible.
This poem by Sir Walter Raleigh was his first to be published. It was included as a commendatory verse at the beginning of the satire The Steele Glas (1576) by the influential English poet, soldier, and critic George Gascoigne. Some spelling has been modernized.