either Somerset or Wiltshire, Samuel Daniel entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford University, on November 17, 1581, leaving three years later without taking a degree. In 1585, he published The Worthy Tract of Paulus Jovius, a translation of Paolo Giovo's book of impresas (a combination of enigmatic pictures and accompanying mottos), Dialogo dell'imprese militari et amorose (1555). Daniel's translation marks the first exposure England had to French and Italian emblem books. Delia, a sonnet sequence, was clandestinely published alongside
Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella and then republished with the Sidney family's consent. Daniel then came under the patronage of Mary Sidney Herbert, countess of Pembroke, publishing Cleopatra (1594), a Senecan closet drama, as a companion piece to the countess's translation of Robert Garnier's Marc-Antoine.
By 1593, Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, had befriended Daniel, and he became the poet's new patron. Daniel appropriately dedicated his works to Mountjoy, such as The Poetical Essays (1599), which include "Musophilus, or a Defence of All Learning"; and "A Letter from Octavia." He continued writing, and by 1604, he was working under the patronage of Queen Anne, wife of James VI/I. Daniel primarily wrote plays and masques for the queen, including The Queen's Arcadia (1605), the first pastoral drama in English. He spent the last few years of his life on a prose history of England, of which he published the First Part of the History of England (1612) and later the Collection of the History of England (1618). For many years, he was remembered as a historian rather than as a poet. Daniel was buried on October 14, 1619, at Beckington in Somerset.
See also ekphrasis.
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