Lanyer, Aemilia

   English poet, the daughter of an Italian musician employed at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and his English wife. She was left alone at age 18 when her mother died. She became pregnant by a cousin of the queen, Lord Hunsdon, and in 1592 was married off to a court musician, Alfonso Lanyer, who acted as father to her son. Early in the new century, she lived for a time in the household of Margaret Clifford, dowager countess of Cumberland, and produced a much-admired book of poems, Salve deus rex Judaeorum/Hail God, King of the Jews (1611). It contains several dedications, all addressed to women. The title-poem deals with the passion of Christ from the viewpoint of the women who followed him, and it contrasts their loyalty and piety with the wickeness of men in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life. For a time Lanyer supported herself by teaching school.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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