Thomas Carew: Coelum Britannicum

(556 words)
  • Glyn Pursglove (University of Wales, Swansea)

Carew's solitary masque was presented at court in February 1634. When published in the same year it carried on its title page two lines from Ausonius:

Non habeo ingenium; Caesar sed jussit: habebo.
Cur me posse negem, posse quod ille putat?

(“I lack the genius, but since Caesar has given his command, I shall have it; Why should I deny possession of that which he believes me to possess?”). Though this may be mostly a matter of rhetorical strategy, we may perhaps take this choice of epigraph as an indication that Coelum Britannicum (“The British Heaven”) had been written with the direct encouragement of Charles I. Certainly Suckling's masque seems to have been in some sense a response …

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Pursglove, Glyn. "Coelum Britannicum". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]