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William Shakespeare, Richard Barnfield, and the Sixth Earl of Derby By Leo Daugher ...

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William  Shakespeare, Richard Barnfield, and the Sixth Earl of Derby

Introduction

The argument I will attempt here had its origin in some little puzzlements about Renaissance pastoral texts. The attempt to figure them out over the years has led me to conclusions of some enormity. I began with the young Elizabethan poet Richard Barnfield, and was at first only curious to see if the historical referents behind his The Affectionate Shepheard Concerning the Complaint of Ganymede might be retrievable (for there has been scant research on these since the 1930s), and specifically if the identity of that book's Ganymede could be found. I was also puzzled by what I took to be a previously unnoticed connection between Shakespeare's Sonnet 86 and Sonnet V of Greenes Funeralls by one R. B., demonstrated by Barnfield's twentieth- and twenty-first century editors and other scholars to be his.1