Essex took me to Ireland; I had scant time to put on my boots; I followed with good will, and did return with the Lord Lieutenant to meet ill will

via English Mercuries: Soldier Poets in the Age of Shakespeare

John Harington of Kelston had been warned by his friends and family to maintain his distance from the Earl of Essex and cap his wit. He made the mistake of allowing Essex to bestow knighthood upon him on July 30, 1599.

The whole venture was a grand failure. Upon his return, Essex was removed from his position, tried, and placed under house arrest. Having associated himself too closely with Essex, Harington faced the Queen’s anger.

Queen Elizabeth also took an active interest in her godson, “Boye Jack” as she called him. On at least one occasion she sent him a copy of a speech she had delivered before Parliament. Showing an early inclination for literary endeavors, Harington translated Foxe’s Book of Martyrs into Latin.

Although not an exceptionally hardworking student, Harington performed academically well enough to matriculate at King’s College, Cambridge, in 1576, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1577 (or 1578) and master’s degree in 1581. While at Cambridge, Harington maintained the status of filius nobilis, an ancient title assigned to sons of noblemen and bishops. Considering his father’s lack of a noble designation, the entitlement bestowed on Harington gives evidence to the influence of his relationship as the Queen’s godson.

via John Harington Facts.

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