The Armada was provided with 2500 cannons, and a vast store of provisions; it had on board 8000 seamen and more than 20,000 soldiers; and if a court-favourite, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, had been placed at its head, he was supported by the ablest staff of naval officers which Spain possessed.

Must he not himself think, if ever he reflects at all, that so glorious a Master will disdain and disown a servant who is the dutiful tool of a court-favourite, and employed either as the pimp of his pleasure, or sometimes, perhaps, made a dirty channel to assist in the conveyance of that corruption which is clogging up and destroying the very vitals of his country?

Must he not himself think, if ever he reflects at all, that so glorious a Master will disdain and disown a servant who is the dutiful tool of a court-favourite, and employed either as the pimp of his pleasure, or sometimes, perhaps, made a dirty channel to assist in the conveyance of that corruption which is clogging up and destroying the very vitals of his country?

In the course of the same year he is supposed to have begun his great poem. A popular court-favourite, in the prime of life, marrying and commencing a great poem nearly at one and the same time, presents an image of prosperity singularly delightful. By this lady Boiardo had two sons and four daughters.

Loyal to what he had been taught, he struggled hard to reduce his rebellious will to what he supposed to be the will of God. It was all in vain. Ever a voice within him surely the voice of that God who he thought was not hearing told him that what he wanted was the love belonging to his human nature, his human needs not the preference of a court-favourite.