Walter Ralegh: Ocean to Cynthia (2384 words)

  • Victoria Bancroft (Independent Scholar - Europe)

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 twelfth …

Bancroft, Victoria. "Ocean to Cynthia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 January 2013
[, accessed 29 October 2016.]