Walter Ralegh: Ocean to Cynthia

(2637 words)
  • Victoria Bancroft

The Ocean to Cynthia is a love poem to Elizabeth I, written by the explorer and courtier Sir Walter Ralegh. It is a work surrounded by uncertainty; discovered in manuscript form at Hatfield House by C.J. Stewart in the mid nineteenth-century, it was never formally published by Ralegh, and only a fragment of the manuscript exists; the twenty-first book, and a fragment of the twenty-second. It is not clear whether the previous twenty books were ever written, or whether they merely existed in outline form as part of a hugely ambitious project on Ralegh’s part. Indeed some scholars suggest that the numbering of books is incorrect; Agnes Latham, followed by Walter Oakeshott, argues that they are in fact the eleventh and …

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Bancroft, Victoria. "Ocean to Cynthia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 January 2013
[, accessed 07 October 2015.]