Internet Shakespeare Editions


More about the patron

Southampton in his armour.

Nine years younger than Shakespeare, the Earl of Southampton was Cambridge-educated and a patron of literature. He was also a favourite of the Queen, until he impregnated and then married Essex's cousin, Elizabeth Vernon.

A story that Southampton once gave Shakespeare a gift of 1000 pounds, an enormous amount at the time, has fostered speculation that Southampton was the "Mr. W. H." of the Sonnets.