Tom would have seen de Vere at court from 1562;
for a young 12-year-old that scene would be new.
In 1566 Tom, Edward and Cecil had an Oxford MA.
By ’67 Tom and Edward’s studies at Gray’s Inn were under way.
In ’69 a revolt within the Butler family,
which was precipitated by Philip Sidney.
The Queen allowed Tom to leave, reluctantly;
but agreed when he refused to be Spain’s ally.
Elizabeth had missed his presence at the palace,
and he proved Sidney provoked the Butlers with malice.
He was dealing with enemies in both countries
and also trying harder the Queen to please.
He worked on rebellions in the southern districts
and the Queen rewarded him for those conflicts.
In ‘78 he was made governor of Munster,
still working on his mansion at Carrick- on-Suir.
Spenser said that Tom’s “brave mansione” there
was an oasis of both learning and culture.
He gave him the citation
“of literature a patron.”
The mansion had stucco decoration of good quality,
he used insignias T O and E R for all to see.
Plaster portrait medallions of the Queen
that she was supposed to have seen.
Within the mansion there
a motto—PLUS PENSE QUE DIRE—
more thought than speech.
Who was he trying to reach?
He made his Ormond castle fit for a queen.
The decoration was both poignant and keen.
Elizabeth never set foot in Ireland.
She was content to see Thomas in England.
England gave him money, men and ammunition
to capture rebel Desmond for the Queen.
Although he wasn’t taken until 1583
it was said, the Queen demanded his head to see.
Lady Ormond died in ’82; they were estranged.
Their marriage should never have been arranged.
He married Elizabeth Sheffield promptly,
“in indecent haste”, critics said nastily.
In ‘59 Tom married Elizabeth Berkeley,
she was from an English family.
She was blatantly unfaithful to him.
He said, “no bed or board”, for her sin.
With letters of evidence for the crime
they separated and divorced by ‘69.
A tainted marriage that wasn’t sacrosanct,
there are some advantages to being Protestant.
She appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury,
who whitewashed the evidence thoroughly.
He didn’t find her guilty as he ought
and even made Tom pay support.
So for more than 20 years Tom was trapped alive.
He could not remarry while she did survive.
He had to cope by seeking out ladies,
and had many illegitimate babies.
Thomas was constantly criticised.
English officials would have pushed him aside.
Irish leaders saw his absence as a wish,
too Irish for the English – too English for the Irish.
Tom still had enemies all over the place
always aiming to make him lose face.
He had to defend against many of their lies
and called them all “such Machiavellis.”
By 1588 he worked to help England survive
an attack by Spain that was aggressive.
When the Queen addressed the troops before the Armada,
the Earl of Ormond carried the Sword of State before her.
After the Armada, the Queen made a decision
to have a display called a victory procession.
Within this parade, I have heard
that Edward de Vere carried the State Sword.
Tom’s contribution to the victory was recognised after
when the Queen made him a Knight of the Garter.
She also made him Lord Admiral of Ireland,
and then Earl Marshal of England.
These honours given ‘88, ‘89 and ‘90,
were the highest ranks of gallantry
given to an Irish peer on behalf of the realm,
but he was concerned one kept him from home.
He requested to surrender the Earl Marshal post,
as that would keep him from Ireland the most.
In March 1590 his son and heir had died,
he had wanted to be there at his bedside.
Elizabeth agreed to a surrender of title by 1592,
she said he should be proud of his career review.
A grateful Queen and a grateful nation;
she held him, “in great and extraordinary estimation.”