Oxford the Deadbeat Dad

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The fact that Oxford abandoned his three daughters by Anne Cecil to be brought up by William Cecil lord Burghley has long been known. That he had a public reputation as a deadbeat dad is less well known, but is revealed in a poem which I believe has had no circulation among Oxfordians.

Susan Vere, third surviving daughter of Edward de Vere and his wife Anne (Cecil), was born on 26 May 1587; Anne survived her daughter about one year. Susan did not marry during her father's lifetime; in 1605, after Oxford's death in 1604, she married Philip Herbert earl of Montgomery, in consequence of which she became the subject of a poem by Nathaniel Baxter. The following poem which alludes to Susan's want of an adequate dowry was recorded by John Manningham of the Middle Temple during the year 1602-3, when she was about 15 and Oxford was still alive:


Nothing's your lott, that's more then can be told
For nothing is more precious then gold.

From The Diary of John Manningham of the Middle Temple 1602-1603, ed. Robert Parker Sorlien (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1976), p. 182.

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