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Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
1595

STC 1483, title page

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STC 1483, title page
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Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Richard Barnfield
Title: Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Date: At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1483, title page & sigs. D5v-D7r & E5v-E7r
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Item Creator
Richard Barnfield
Item Title
Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Item Date
At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 1483, title page

STC 1483, signature D5 verso and D6 recto

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STC 1483, signature D5 verso and D6 recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Richard Barnfield
Title: Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Date: At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1483, title page & sigs. D5v-D7r & E5v-E7r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
Richard Barnfield
Item Title
Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Item Date
At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 1483, sigs. D5v-D6r

STC 1483, signature D6 verso and D7 recto

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STC 1483, signature D6 verso and D7 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Richard Barnfield
Title: Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Date: At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1483, title page & sigs. D5v-D7r & E5v-E7r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
Richard Barnfield
Item Title
Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Item Date
At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 1483, sigs. D6v-D7r

STC 1483, signatures E5 verso and E6 recto

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STC 1483, signatures E5 verso and E6 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Richard Barnfield
Title: Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Date: At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1483, title page & sigs. D5v-D7r & E5v-E7r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
Richard Barnfield
Item Title
Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Item Date
At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 1483, sigs. E5v-E6r

STC 1483, signatures E6 verso and E7 recto

View Image Assets
STC 1483, signatures E6 verso and E7 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Richard Barnfield
Title: Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Date: At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1483, title page & sigs. D5v-D7r & E5v-E7r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
Richard Barnfield
Item Title
Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Item Date
At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 1483, sigs. E6v-E7r

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Richard Barnfield
Title: Cynthia. With certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Date: At London : Printed for Humfrey Lownes, and are to bee sold at the west doore of Paules, 1595.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1483, title page & sigs. D5v-D7r & E5v-E7r
View online bibliographic record

Like Shakespeare’s Sonnets, first printed in 1609, Richard Barnfield’s sonnet sequence Cynthia (1595) was accompanied by a narrative complaint. Barnfield’s complaint, called “The Legend of Cassandra,” recounts five episodes in the life of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra.

In “Cassandra,” Barnfield seems to draw from both Venus and Adonis and Lucrece. As Charles Crawford pointed out, there are verbal echoes between “Cassandra” and Venus and Adonis (including yoked arms and raining tears), while Barnfield’s description of Tarquin watching the sleeping Cassandra strongly evokes Lucrece. Barnfield engaged with Shakespeare’s writing throughout his brief career, borrowing from and alluding to Shakespeare’s works, as in The Affectionate Shepherd (1594), and referring to him explicitly, as in “A Remembrance of Some English Poets,” published in The Encomion of Lady Pecunia: or the Praise of Money (1598).

This is not to say that Barnfield’s poem was not innovative in its own right; Cassandra is presented as a clever, if not exactly praiseworthy, woman, and manages to outwit the men around her several times before she commits suicide after being abducted and raped by Agamemnon.

The first edition, shown here, is known to survive in two copies: one at the Folger Shakespeare Library and another at the Huntington Library. The book must have been fairly popular, as another edition of Cynthia was printed the same year.

 

Written by Erin A. McCarthy

Sources
Charles Crawford, “Richard Barnfield, Marlowe, and Shakespeare.” Notes and Queries, series 9, 8.197 (1901): 277–79.

George Klawitter, ed.,  Richard Barnfield: The Complete Poems (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1990).

Sasha Roberts, Reading Shakespeare’s Poems in Early Modern England. (New York: Palgrave, 2003).

F.J. Furnivall, C.M. Ingleby, and L. Toulmin Smith, comps, The Shakspere Allusion-Book: a collection of allusions to Shakspere from 1591 to 1700, ed. John Munro (London: Oxford University Press, 1932): 1:19-20.

Last updated May 26, 2017