‘Heaven smiles, earth rejoices; all is milk and honey and nectar,’ wrote William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, to Erasmus upon King Henry VIII’s accession. Though affairs did not turn out as hoped, the accession was seen as bringing opportunities for a younger humanist generation that had been excluded from royal benefaction in the later part of the reign of Henry's father, King Henry VII.
Erasmus’s close friend Sir Thomas More was one of those who welcomed the accession. More composed a ‘coronation suite’ of Latin poems for presentation to the new king in the form of this manuscript presentation copy. The decoration incorporates the Tudor rose, the pomegranate of Granada, the fleur-de-lis and the Beaufort portcullis badge. The poems were later republished in print, as an addendum to the 1518 Froben edition of Utopia.
- Full title:
- Thomas More, Poems on the coronation of King Henry VIII of England (1509–1547) and Queen Katherine of Aragon (d. 1536)
- Illuminated manuscript
- Thomas More
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Cotton MS Titus D IV, ff. 12v-13
- Article by:
- Andrew Dickson
- Ethnicity and identity, Power, politics and religion
‘The Book of Sir Thomas More’ is the only surviving literary manuscript in Shakespeare’s hand. Here Andrew Dickson describes how the scene Shakespeare wrote for the play contains a moving plea for the plight of immigrants.