Greville, Fulke (DNB00)

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GREVILLE, Sir FULKE, first Lord Brooke (1554–1628), poet, only son of Sir Fulke Greville, by Ann, daughter of Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland, was born at the family seat, Beauchamp Court, Warwickshire, in 1554. The father, who is eulogised by Camden (Britannia, i. 607) 'for the sweetness of his temper,' was a great Warwickshire landowner, 'much given to hospitality,' who was knighted in 1565, was elected M.P. for his county in 1580 and 1588, and died in 1606. To Lord Brooke's grandfather, also Sir Fulke Greville, the family owed its high position in Warwickshire. This Sir Fulke—younger son of Sir Edward Greville of Milcote—was a notable soldier in the reign of Henry VIII, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Willoughby, and grand-daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Willoughby, lord Brooke. By this marriage the great mansion of Beauchamp Court came, with much other property, into Sir Fulke's possession. In 1541 Henry VIII gave him the site of Alcester monastery with many neighbouring estates, and he thus became one of the largest proprietors in the county. He was sheriff of Warwickshire in 1543 and 1548, and M.P. in 1547 and 1554. He died 10 Nov. 1559, and was buried in Alcester Church. His widow died in 1560 and was buried by his side.

Young Fulke Greville, the first Sir Fulke's grandson, was sent on 17 Oct. 1564, when ten years old, to the newly founded Shrewsbury School. Philip Sidney, who was of the same age, entered the school on the same day, and the intimacy which sprang up between the boys developed into a lifelong attachment. Greville proceeded to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he matriculated as a fellow-commoner 20 May 1568. The statement that he was a member of Trinity College is erroneous. The suggestive letter of advice about Cambridge studies sent by Robert, earl of Essex, to one 'Sir Foulke Greville' on his going to the university must have been addressed to a cousin, Fulke, father of Robert Greville, second lord Brooke [q. v.] It cannot be dated earlier than 1595, and is doubtless from the pen of Bacon (Spedding, Bacon, ii. 21). Although Sidney went to Oxford, Greville maintained a close connection with him in his university days, and came to know his father, Sir Henry Sidney, president of Wales. Sir Henry was sufficiently impressed with his abilities to give him a small office connected with the court of marches as early as 1576, but Greville resigned the post in 1577 and came with Philip Sidney to court. Greville at once attracted the queen's favour, and `had the longest lease and the smoothest time without rub of any of her favourites' (Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia, ed. Arber, p. 50). Bacon writes that he used his influence with the queen honourably, 'and did many men good.' But disagreements between her and Greville were at times inevitable. Elizabeth appreciated his society so highly that she refused him permission to gratify his desire for foreign travel. He nevertheless ventured abroad at times despite her orders, and suffered accordingly from her displeasure. In February 1577 he accompanied Sidney to Heidelberg, where his friend went to present the queen's condolences and assurances of goodwill to Princes Lewis and John Casimir, who had just lost their father, the elector palatine. In 1578 he went to Dover to embark for the Low Countries to witness the war proceeding there, but Sir Edward Dyer was sent with `a princely mandate' to 'stay' him. He managed, however, to accompany Secretary Walsingham on a diplomatic mission to Flanders a month or so later, but on his return 'was forbidden the queen's presence for many months.' In 1579 he accompanied Sidney's friend and tutor Languet on his return to Germany, and when coming home had an interesting interview with William the Silent, prince of Orange, of which he gives an account in his 'Life of Sidney' (1652, pp. 22 et seq.) On Whit-Monday, 15 May 1581, Greville, with Sidney, the Earl of Arundel, and Lord Windsor, arranged an elaborate pageant and tournament at Whitehall for the entertainment of the queen and the envoys from France who had come to discuss her marriage with the Duke of Anjou. On the departure of Anjou from London in February of the next year, Greville was one of the courtiers directed by the queen to attend the duke to Antwerp.

Greville fully shared Sidney's literary tastes. Sir Edward Dyer [q. v.] was a friend of both, and the three formed an important centre of literary influence at court. 'Two pastoralls made by Sir P. Sidney upon his meeting with his two worthy friends and fellow-poets, Sir Edward Dier and Maister Fulke Greuill,' open Davison's 'Poetical Rapsody,' 1602; the first poem appeared originally in 'England's Helicon' (1600). Sidney expresses the deepest affection for both Dyer and Greville. The three friends were members of the literary society formed by Gabriel Harvey, and called by him the 'Areopagus,' whose chief object was to acclimatise classical rules in English literature. In 1583 Giordano Bruno came to England, and Greville received him with enthusiasm. In Greville's house in London Bruno held several of those disputations which he records in his 'La Cena delle Ceneri' (Frith, (Life of G. Bruno, 1887, pp. 227 et seq.) In the summer of 1585 Greville and Sidney arranged with Drake to accompany the expedition preparing for attack upon the Spanish West Indies. Elizabeth would not sanction the arrangement, but the young men went secretly to Plymouth with a view to immediate embarkation. Imperious messages from court led Drake to sail without them (14 Sept.) Elizabeth flatly refused Greville's request, preferred on his return to London, to join Leicester's army, then starting for the Low Countries. Sidney, however, was allowed to take part in the expedition, in which he met his death (17 Oct. 1586). By his will Sidney left his books to Greville and Dyer, and Greville was one of the pallbearers when Sidney was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, 16 Feb. 1586-7. Greville lamented Sidney's death in verse, and penned a prose biography.

Greville was in Normandy for a short time with the English forces serving under Henry of Navarre about 1591. In 1597 Essex suggested that he should take part in the Islands expedition by convoying provisions to the Azores, but the queen refused her permission, and thenceforth Greville apparently contented himself with civil employment. On 20 April 1583 he had been constituted secretary for the principality of Wales, and on 24 July 1603 he was confirmed in the office for life. But the duties do not appear to have been onerous or to have necessitated continuous residence in Wales. He sat in parliament as member for Warwickshire in 1592-3, 1597, 1601, and 1620, and took some part in the debates. He interested himself in Francis Bacon, and interceded with the queen in his behalf in 1594, when Bacon was seeking to become solicitor-general. The letters that passed between them at the time indicate close personal intimacy. Michael (afterwards Sir Michael) Hicks [q.v.] was another friend, and was useful in helping Greville out of temporary pecuniary difficulties (cf. Letters in Lansd. MSS. 89, 90, printed by Grosart). In March 1597-8 he became 'treasurer of the wars,' and in September 1598 'treasurer of the navy.' When in August 1599 the second Spanish Armada was anticipated, it was proposed to nominate Greville rear-admiral (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1598-1601, p. 282). Greville took part in the arrest of the Earl of Essex on Sunday, 8 Feb. 1600-1.

On James I's accession Greville was created knight of the Bath. For the first years of the new reign he retained his office of treasurer of the navy, and worked vigorously. Higher preferment is said to have been denied him owing to the hostility of Robert Cecil,lord Salisbury. Salisbury died in 1612, and in October 1614 Greville succeeded Sir Julius Caesar in the office of chancellor and under-treasurer of the exchequer, 'in spite of his age,' writes Chamberlain (ib. 1611-18, pp. 256-7). In the various discussions in which he took part in the council he supported the king's prerogative. On 18 Jan. 1614-15 he was one of the privy-councillors who signed the warrant for the torture of Edmund Peacham, a clergyman charged with writing a sermon derogatory to the royal authority (Spedding, Life of Bacon, v. 92). But when, in September 1615, the council discussed the policy of summoning a parliament, Greville said that 'it was a pleasing thing and popular to ask a multitude's advice; besides it argued trust and begat trust' (ib. p. 201). In 1616 he was a member of the committee of the council appointed to inquire into Coke's conduct in the præmunire case. In the House of Commons Greville was a useful supporter of the government. In 1618 he became commissioner of the treasury, and in January 1620-1 he resigned the chancellorship of the exchequer. A patent issued 29 Jan. conferred on him (with remainder to his favourite kinsman, Robert Greville) the title of Baron Brooke, which had been borne by his ancestors, the Willoughbys. His services were, however, still needed in the opening session of the new parliament, and he sat in the commons through the early months of the year. On 15 Nov. 1621 he first took his seat in the House of Lords (cf. Notes and Queries, 4th ser. viii. 22, 88, 217, 234). Brooke was henceforth less active in politics. He was prevented by serious illness from attending the council when the Spanish marriage treaty was formally adopted (July 1623). But his political knowledge secured for him a seat on the council of war (21 April 1624), and on the committee of the council to advise on foreign affairs (9 April 1625). According to Bacon, Brooke was an elegant speaker in debate.

James I proved in Brooke's case a liberal patron, and to him Brooke owed a vast extension of the landed property which he inherited in 1606 on the death of his father. Elizabeth had made him master of Wedgnock Park in 1597, and in 1605 James bestowed on him the ruined castle of Warwick. Dugdale writes `that Brooke bestowed much cost, at least 20,000l., in the repairs thereof, beautifying it with the most pleasant gardens, plantations, and walks, and adorning it with rich furniture.' Brooke also obtained a grant of the manor and park of Knowle. His position in Warwickshire was very powerful, and among the smaller offices he is said to have held there was that of recorder of Stratford-on-Avon. His name frequently appears in the town records.

Brooke met a violent death. On 18 Feb. 1627-8 he made a will, leaving all his property to his cousin Robert Greville. Among those who witnessed the will was an old servant named Ralph Haywood. A few months later Brooke added a codicil granting annuities to many dependents, but he omitted to make any provision for Haywood. The neglect rankled in Haywood's mind, and on 1 Sept. following, while waiting on his master as he lay in bed at his London house in Holborn, Haywood charged him with injustice. Brooke severely rebuked Haywood's freedom of speech, whereupon Haywood stabbed him with a sword. Haywood straightway withdrew to another room and killed himself. Brooke was seventy-four years old and did not long survive his wound. He died 30 Sept. 1628, after adding one more codicil to his will bequeathing handsome legacies to his surgeons and attendants in his illness. On 27 Oct. 1628 his body was carried to Warwick and buried in St. Mary's Church. The epitaph which he had himself composed was engraved on the monument which had been erected under his directions (Bigland, Parish Registers). It ran: 'Fulke Greville, servant to Queen Elizabeth, councillor to King James, and friend to Sir Philip Sidney. Trophæum Peccati.' A sympathetic 'Mourning Song' appeared in Martin Peerson's 'Mottuets or Grave Chamber Musique' (1630).

In Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 4839, art. 27, is a tractate called 'The Patron' (quoted in Biog. Brit.), in which Brooke's murderer is defended on the ground that Haywood's grievance was real and just. A rhyming elegy, printed in Huth's `Inedited Poetical Miscellanies,' 1870, similar in tone, charges Greville with the most contemptible parsimony. But whatever maybe the facts as to his neglect of Haywood, his relations with the literary men of the day do not confirm the accusation of penuriousness. Speed, the annalist, attributed to him his release 'from the daily employments of a manual trade,' so that he might devote himself to literature. Camden acknowledged 'extraordinary favours' from him, and left him by will a piece of plate. Greville's exertions obtained for Camden the post of Clarenceux king-of-arms in 1597. Similarly, Dr. John Overall owed the deanery of St. Paul's to his influence with together with ' The Tragedy of Mustapha ' the queen, and he obtained the secretaryship (London, for N. Butter, 1609), to complete of the navy for Sir John Coke [q. v.] To the the list of works which were printed while poets he was a generous patron. Samuel he lived, and none of these appear to have Daniel writes that Greville

Did first draw forth from close obscuritie
My unpresuming verse into the light,
And grac'd the same, and made me known thereby
                  (Certaine Small Workes, 1607).

To Greville Daniel dedicated his 'Musophilus.' John Davies of Hereford wrote a high-flown sonnet in praise of 'Mustapha' 'as it is written not printed' (cf. Scourge of Folly, 1610). Bishop Corbet, in his `Iter Boreale,' describes a visit to Warwick Castle, and the genial welcome proffered him by 'the renowned chancellor.' Brooke also befriended William D'Avenant, and took him into his service as his page. With Bacon Brooke maintained friendly relations to the last. In Easter term 1618, when Sir Henry Yelverton,the attorney-general, submitted to the privy council an information against one Maynham for libellously defaming Bacon, Greville boldly defended his friend's character. The anecdote is often told, on the authority of Arthur Wilson, that when Bacon was in disgrace and was living in seclusion in Gray's Inn, he sent to Brooke for a bottle of beer, 'seeing that he could not relish that which was provided' in the Inn, and that Brooke told his butler to refuse the request. But this gossip may be safely rejected. In 1621 James I sent Brooke Bacon's manuscript history of Henry VII, and enjoined him to read it 'before it was sent to press.' This Brooke did, and returned it to the king with high commendations (Spedding, vii. 325-6). Brooke, by a codicil to his will, charged his lands in Toft Grange, Foss-dike, and Algakirk, in co. Lincoln, with an annuity of 100l. for the maintenance of a history lectureship at Cambridge, which he directed to be first bestowed on Isaac Dorislaus [q. v.], at one time his 'domestic' (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1627-8 p. 470, 1628-9 p. 438). Baker, writing early in the eighteenth century, mentions that the lectureship 'has been lost by the iniquity of the times,' Nothing seems now known of it at Cambridge.

Brooke, who as a youth was the friend of Spenser and Sidney, and as an old man was the patron of D'Avenant, was a student of literature throughout his life, but his literary work was mainly done in his early years, and little of that was published in his lifetime. An elegy on Sidney in the miscellany called the `Phœnix Nest' (1593), a poem in Bodenham's 'Belvedere' (1600), and two poems assigned to him in the first edition of England's Helicon' (1600), seem, together with `The Tragedy of Mustapha' (London, for N. Butter, 1609), to complete the list of works which were printed while he lived, and none of these appear to have been issued under his direction. 'Mustapha' was certainly brought out in an imperfect form and without his knowledge. Five years after his death appeared his chief volume, a thin folio, entitled 'Certaine Learned and Elegant Workes of the Right Honorable Fulke, Lord Brooke, written in his Youth and familiar exercise with Sir Philip Sidney,' London, 1633. Here are included long tracts in verse entitled 'A Treatie of Humane Learning,' 'An Inquisition upon Fame and Honour,' and 'A Treatie of Warres.' There follow 'The Tragedie of Alaham,' 'The Tragedie of Mustapha,' and 'Cœlica, containing CIX Sonnets.' The text of 'Mustapha' differs considerably from the imprint of 1609, usually for, the better. The last pages are filled with letters in prose, one 'to an Honorable Lady' offering advice in domestic difficulties with her husband, and the other 'A Letter of Trauell … to his Cousin Greuill Varney, residing in France,' dated by the writer 'From Hackney,' 20 Nov. 1609. In 1652 first appeared 'The Life of the renowned Sir Philip Sidney,' in prose, and eighteen years later was published 'The Remains of Sir Fulk Grevill, Lord Brooke: being Poems of Monarchy and Religion. Never before printed,' London, 1670. The publisher of the last volume, Henry Herringman, states that Greville, 'when he was old, revised the poems and treatises he had writ long before 'with a view to collective publication. He entrusted the task to an aged friend, Michael Malet, but the project was not carried out.

Brooke writes in his discursive memoir of Sidney with reference to his tragedies: `For my own part I found my creeping genius more fixed upon the images of life than the images of wit.' This is a just criticism of all Brooke's literary work. To 'elegancy of style' or 'smoothness of verse' he rarely aspires. He is essentially a philosopher, cultivating 'a close, mysterious, and sententious way of writing,' which is commonly more suitable to prose than poetry. His subjects are for the most part incapable of imaginative treatment. In his collection of love poems, which, though written in varied metres, he entitles sonnets, he seeks to express passionate love, and often with good lyrical effect ; but the understanding seems as a rule to tyrannise over emotion, and all is `frozen and made rigid with intellect.' Sidney's influence is very perceptible, and some of Brooke's stanzas harshly echo passages from 'Astrophel' and 'Stella.' His two tragedies, 'Alaham' and 'Mustapha,' very strictly fashioned on classical models, are, as Lamb says, political treatises rather than plays. 'Passion, character, and interest of the highest order' are 'subservient to the expression of state dogmas and mysteries.' 'Mustapha' found an ardent champion in Edmund Bolton, who wrote of it as the 'matchless Mustapha' in his 'Hyper-critica' (1622). In his 'Life of Sidney' Brooke expounds at length his object in writing tragedies, and explains that they were not intended for the stage. But, despite its subtlety of expression, Greville's poetry fascinates the thoughtful student of literature. His views of politics are original and interesting, and there is something at once formidable and inviting in the attempt to unravel his tangled skeins of argument. His biography of Sidney is mainly a general disquisition on politics with biographical and autobiographical interludes. It was reprinted with much care by Sir S. E. Brydges at the Lee Priory Press in 1816.

Brooke has been wrongly credited with 'a Mourning Song,' contributed to 'The Paradise of Dainty Devices;' with a tragedy entitled 'Marcus Tullius Cicero,' London, 1651, 4to (Phillipps); and with an historical piece, 'Five Years of King James,' London, 1643, 4to. The last work, written by a puritan partisan of Essex, forms the basis of Arthur Wilson's 'Life and History of King James,' and perhaps came from Wilson's pen (cf. Notes and Queries, 4th ser. ii. 489). That Brooke wrote more than has reached us is possible. He states that he burned, for no very intelligible reason, a third tragedy on the subject of Antony and Cleopatra at the time of Queen Elizabeth's death (Life of Sidney, p. 172). He undoubtedly contemplated expanding his notice of Elizabeth's reign in his 'Life of Sidney' into an elaborate historical treatise, beginning with the marriage of Henry VII, but mainly dealing with Elizabeth's life. He discussed the plan with Sir Robert Cecil, but Cecil objected to giving him free access to state papers, and made it plain that the work could not be published without much editing on the part of James and his ministers. Brooke consequently relinquished his plan. An interesting letter from Brooke to Villiers, duke of Buckingham (10 April 1623) is printed from 'Harl. MS.' 1581 in Walpole's 'Royal and Noble Authors,' ed. 1806, ii. 236-7.

Dr. Grosart has reprinted all Brooke's extant works in his 'Fuller Worthies Library' (4 vols. 1870). A fine engraved portrait is inserted in the Grenville Library copy of Brydges's reprint of Greville's 'Life of Sidney.'

[Biog. Brit. ; Dugdale's Baronage and Warwickshire; Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum in Brit. Mus. MS. Addit. 24492, ff. 107 sq.; Nichols's Progresses of James I; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1595-1628 ; Fox Bourne's Life of Sir Philip Sidney; Greville's Life of Sir P. Sidney; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, 1806, ii. 220; Dr. Grosart's Memorial Introduction to his edition of Greville's Works; Lamb's Dramatic Poets (extracts from Mustapha and Alaham); Langbaine's Dramatic Poets; Phillips's Theatrum Poet.; Hazlitt's Table Talk.]

S. L. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.142
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
159 i 10 Greville, Sir Fulke, 1st Lord Brooke: after who insert was knighted in 1565
11-12  omit was knighted in 1605
12  for the following year read 1606
160 i 1  for de le read delle
162 ii l.l.  after 1595-1628 ; insert Lord Cowper's MSS. in Hist. Comm. 12th Rep. pts. i.-iii;