Further reading

Rees, Joan. Samuel Daniel: A Critical and Biographical Study.

Liverpool, U.K.: Liverpool University Press, 1964. Seronsky, Cecil. Samuel Daniel. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1967.

Josie Panzuto

DARK LADY This title refers to the mistress in Shakespeare's sonnets. She becomes the particular focus of Sonnets 127-154. Scholars have dubbed the mistress the Dark Lady, though William Shakespeare only calls her "dark" once, in Sonnet 147. The poems devoted to her feature highly sexualized language and are the most discordant passions of the sonnets. Some scholars believe that the Dark Lady is married to a man whose name is Will, that she is pursued by Will the poet, and that she is also sought after by a third Will, a friend of the poet. Other scholars have linked her to Mary Fitton, a noted beauty of the Tudor court (see COURT CULTURE).


Shakespeare's Fair Young Man or lovely boy becomes the subject of desire for the Dark Lady, too, and the poet feels increasingly alienated as the Dark Lady "steals" the Fair Young Man from him. In Sonnet 154, the poet speculates about their disappearance. For the poet, the Dark Lady becomes the occasion for fiction making; she becomes the emblem of unchecked desire, passion, and frustration, but also a symbol of mystery.

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