Sir Francis Hubert



The Poems of Sir Francis Hubert, ed. Bernard Mellor (Hong Kong & London, 1961)


Sir Francis Hubert is known as an author for his lengthy verse narrative of the history of Edward II, a moralistic and politically charged work, originally written c.1597-1600. Initially suppressed because of its dangerous subject matter, namely a monarch's relationship with his unpopular favourite (Gaveston), which could be seen as a parallel to Charles I's relationship with the unpopular Duke of Buckingam, as well as its treatment of a monarch's deposition and murder, the poem was not published until 1628. This unauthorised edition prompted Hubert to arrange for the publication of an authentic version a year later just before his death. By this time the poem had been considerably revised and expanded. In the meantime it had enjoyed a wide, notionally clandestine, manuscript circulation, perhaps largely commercial, which came to encompass both a 576-stanza version and a 664-stanza version (subject to slight variations in stanza numbers). At present 24 contemporary manuscript copies are known to survive (HuF 1-24).

Of Hubert's ‘diverse other Workes’ (in the words of his publisher L. Chapman), a religious poem, Noli peccare, survives perhaps because of its attachment to Edward II (*HuF 25), and another lengthy poem by Hubert, on a biblical subject, was posthumously published as Egypts Favorite: The Historie of Joseph (London, 1631; Mellor, pp. 173-277).

Only one example of Hubert's handwriting is currently recorded: namely his signature on a bill of sale in 1608 (*HuF 25).

Peter Beal