• The earliest known English tragedy and the first to be written inblank verse; the result of a collaboration by Thomas Norton (1532 - 84)and Thomas Sackville, later first Earl of Dorset (1536 - 1608),it was first performed on Twelfth Night in 1561. The play, which hasthe alternative title The Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex, warnsof the dangers to a nation of an unclear succession. It was seen bythe childless Elizabeth I, although what she thought of it is notrecorded. The title character, a legendary King of Britain, provided the basisfor the figure of Gorbogud in Spenser's The Fairie Queene. Shakespearealso mentions King Gorboduc in Twelfth Night.

    Among his other official duties, Sackville was a commissioner at statetrials - in which capacity he conveyed the death sentence to Mary,Queen of Scots in 1567.