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Richard Barn(e)field
(June 13, 1574 - February 6, 1620) U.K.

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Poet

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Richard Barnfield was a gay poet, born in Norbury, Shropshire and dead in Stone, Staffordshire, He took a degree at Oxford in 1591. Barnfield wrote The affectionate shepherd, Cynthya with certain sonnets, The encomion of Lady Pecunia, The passionate pilgrim. This last was thought for a long time a Shakespeare's sonnet.

One of the Elizabethan singers, he wrote a long poem, dedicated to "The Ladie Penelope Rich" and entitled The Affectionate Shepheard, which he describes as an imitation of Virgil in the 2nd Eclogue, of Alexis. Barnfield's Affectionate Shepherd (written in 1594, when he was only 20) "scandalized Renaissance England by describing in florid detail the love of Daphnis and Ganymede, just a couple of guys fooling around." Ganymede is, allegorically, likely the handsome courtier Charles Blount.

Here are first two Stanzas:

Scarce had the morning Starre hid from the light
Heauen's crimson Canoipie with stars bespangled,
But I began to rue th' unhappy sight
Of that faire Boy that had my hart intangled;
    Cursing the Time, the Place, the sense, the sin;
    I came, I saw, I viewd, I slipped in.

If it be sinne to loue a sweet-fac'd Boy,
(Whose amber locks trust up in golden tramels
Dangle adowne his louely cheekes with joye
When pearle and flowers his faire haire enamels)
    If it be sin to loue a louely Lad:
    Oh then sinne I
, for whom my soule is sad.

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See also four of his sonnets in our "Famous Homoerotic Poems" book, at his page.

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