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A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Dorset, Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of, and Lord Buckhurst

Dorset, Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of, and Lord Buckhurst (1536-1608). -- Poet and statesman, was b. at Buckhurst, Sussex, the only s. of Sir Richard S., and ed. at Oxf. and Camb. He studied law at the Inner Temple, and while there wrote, in conjunction with Thomas Norton, Ferren and Porrex or Gerboduc (1561-2), the first regular English tragedy. A little later he planned The Mirror for Magistrates, which was to have been a series of narratives of distinguished Englishmen, somewhat on the model of Boccaccio's Falls of Princes. Finding the plan too large, he handed it over to others -- seven poets in all being engaged upon it -- and himself contributed two poems only, one on Buckingham, the confederate, page 120and afterwards the victim, of Richard III., and an Induction or introduction, which constitute nearly the whole value of the work. In these poems S. becomes the connecting link between Chaucer and Spenser. They are distinguished by strong invention and imaginative power, and a stately and sombre grandeur of style. S. played a prominent part in the history of his time, and held many high offices, including those of Lord Steward and Lord Treasurer, the latter of which he held from 1599 till his death. It fell to him to announce to Mary Queen of Scots the sentence of death.