Veritas filia Temporis: Apocalyptic Polemics in the Drama of the English Reformation


Dawn Massey


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

"Time tries the truth"; "Time brings the truth to light"; "Truth is Time's Daughter."1 The idea framed by the last of these proverbial expressions is integral to the allegorical structure of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (c.1609-10). The Latin form of the motto, Veritas filia Temporis, appeared on the title page of Robert Greene's Pandosto: The Triumph of Time (c.1588), the narrative prose work which served as the principal source for Shakespeare's play.2 These prominent uses of the motto suggest its substantial cultural currency in sixteenth-century England. As Fritz Saxl's pioneering study suggests, Veritas filia Temporis held a prominent place in an intense religious-political dispute by virtue of the distinct providential implications which gradually came to be associated with the motto's use.3

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