- Robert Chester (poet)
Robert Chester (flourished 1601) is the mysterious author of the poem "Love's Martyr" which was published in 1601 as the main poem in a collection which also included much shorter poems by
William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, George Chapmanand John Marston, along with the anonymous "Vatum Chorus" and "Ignoto". Despite attempts to identify Chester no information has ever emerged to indicate with any certainty who he was. Currently all that is known of Chester is his name and the long poem he published. It is also not known why Shakespeare and so many other distinguished poets supplemented the publication of such an obscure person with their own works.
Chester's poem was dedicated to Sir John Salusbury of the
Salusbury familyin Wales, and may have been published to celebrate his knighthood in June 1601. [ [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Chester_%28poet%29&action=edit John Finnis and Patrick Martin, "Another turn for the Turtle", "The Times", April 18, 2003] ] "Love's Martyr" and several of the other poems praise the loving relationship between Sir John and his wife. Shakespeare's poem The Phoenix and the Turtleis an unexplained exception.
Chester has been identified with a man of that name from Royston Cambridgeshire, and with another individual from Denbighshire. [G. C. Moore Smith, review of "Poems by Sir John Salusbury and Robert Chester" by Carleton Brown, "The Modern Language Review", Vol. 9, No. 4, Oct., 1914, pp. 533-536] E.A.J. Honigmann argues that Chester was probably Salusbury's chaplin or secretary and that he and his patron shared a taste for "mystical verse" which contained obscure acrostic puzzles. [E. A. J. Honigmann, "Shakespeare: The Lost Years", Manchester University Press, 1998, p.93]
* [http://phoenixandturtle.net/loves_martyr.htm The full text of Chester's "Love's Martyr"]
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