Emilia Bassano

1569 - 1645

Emilia Bassano (Lanier) was the first Englishwoman to assert herself as a professional poet. Her single volume of poems, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Hail God, King of the Jews) was published in 1611. Attempts have been made to identify her with Shakespeare's "Dark Lady".

She was educated in the household of Susan Bertie, Countess of Kent. After her parents' death, Lanier was the mistress of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, first cousin of Elizabeth I. In 1592, she became pregnant by Carey and was subsequently married to court musician Alfonso Lanier, her cousin. She had two children, but only one survived into adulthood.

Emilia Lanier was largely forgotten for centuries, but has resurfaced in recent decades.  She is known as one of England's first feminist writers in any form and has emerged as a 'dark horse' contender in Shakespeare authorship discussions.

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