1. The standard Hollywood representation of Anne Boleyn as an eyelid-batting sexpot is of course all wrong. In actuality she was a bookish convert to a form of Protestantism of more or less the Lutheran varieity. It may not out of the question that when she used her feminine wiles to ensnare Henry VIII and replace Catherine of Aragon as his Queen she was under the impression that she was doing the work of the Lord by placing herself in a position where she could nudge him towards her own doctrinal position. It is generally and no doubt rightly understood that she herself was converted to ths brand of Christianity during her formative youthful years at the royal court of France, where she fell under the influence of French Humanists with Reformist leanings. Later on, once installed as Queen of England, she took under her protection the Protestant French schoolmaster and Neo-Latin poet Nicolas Bourbon, who in a series of epigrams repeatedly described her as his hera, which may be translated as "his Lady" or perhaps more accurately as "his Patroness."
2. The immediate reason why Bourbon calls Anne his hera is easily guessed. The six little poems in question fall into two distinct categories. After Bourbon got in trouble with the law because of some items offensive to Catholics included in his 1533 Nugae, he wrote the first three begging for Anne's helpful intervention while he was still in prison (a few other item included in this volume are explicitly identified as having originally been written for inclusion in letters, and the same may have been true of some or perhaps all of these three), and the rest are expressions of gratitude after he had been rescued thanks to her good offices. The first and third (and probably also the second) pose two obvious questions: why did he appeal to Anne and what help did he imagine she could provide? Surely the answer to the first of these is that Bourbon had been one of those French Protestants whose acquaintance she had made during her years in France. Regarding the second problem, the only way in which she could reasonably be expected to intervene on his behalf had to do with the fact that during her years in France she had served as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude. To be sure, Claude had died in 1524, but Anne presumably knew her two sons, François Duc de Bretagne and the future Henri II, and the result may have been that she undertook to one or both of those brothers that, if released from prison, Bourbon would immediately quit France and remove to England. This he did in 1535 (and there he remained until Anne suffered her downfall in the following year), and upon his arrival she arranged for him to be lodged in the London house of Dr. William Butts, a royal physician and another one of her protegés, and to get jobs as a tutor for her nephew Henry Carey and others, so as to enjoy an income,
spacer 6. These six little poems addressed to Anne (or in one case to Henry and Anne) are contained in Book VII of Bourbon's Nugarum Libri Octo, safely printed at Basel in 1540. They have been the object of a couple of useful studies, NOTE 1 but their Latin texts have never been published. It therefore seems worthwhile to place them on the public record in the Philological Museum.


spacerNOTE 1 Most importantly Eric Ives, “Anne Boleyn and the Entente Évangélique” in Roger Mettaam and Charles Giry-Deloison (edd.), François Ier et Henri VIII. Deux princes de la Renaissance (1515-1547) (Lille, 1995), available online here, and “A Frenchman at the Court of Anne Boleyn”, History Today 48 (1998), available online here. Maria Dowling, “Anne Boleyn and Reform,” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 35 (:2011), pp., 30 -- 46, available online here, is also useful.