Great polarity of opinion existed toward religious and secular authorities among English Catholics in the later sixteenth century. Anthony Copley presents a well- documented, yet hitherto understudied example of how Catholic loyalties could operate. Importantly, Copley’s loyalty, influenced by the Wars of Religion, proved cosmopolitan rather than insular. This article examines how in his life, poetry, and polemical writing during the Archpriest Controversy of the 1590s, Copley promoted a brand of loyalist politics informed by continental affairs and ideas. He attempted to convince Catholics of the urgent need to follow a sincere form of religion, rejecting religious extremism. As his role in the failed 1604 Bye Plot against James I demonstrated, Copley also argued for Catholic participation in the state. Copley provides an example of a lay Catholic devoted to both his religion and nation, but who promoted a loyalty that advocated action for Catholics within the state, not retirement and docility.
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