4 reasons why Avisa in ‘Willobie’s His Avisa’ is Queen Elizabeth I

This is Part 2 in a two-part series!

This blog post assumes you’ve read the first part in this series, 6 reasons why the author of ‘Willobies’s His Avisa’ was Edward de Vere

Penelope is for fools

There are Oxfordians who believe that that Avisa was based on a woman of the times and a love of Edward de Vere, named Penelope Rich. They think this, among other reasons, because the name Penelope appears in the text.

But to me that claim holds no water, because there are other names mentioned in the poem, including but not limited to:

Mars, Cupid, Pheobus, Diana, Juno, Ulysses, Cressid(a), Aeneas, and many others names found in the Christian Holy Bible.

Do you see a theme? The names listed are all from greco-roman mythology. Penelope is just another name on the list.

I should briefly mention that Cressida is featured in one of Shakespeare’s most important plays.

The suitors, again

One thing to notice is the suitors, not individually as already mentioned, but as a group within the story, as well as in context of Avisa’s personal situation.

Avisa was a maid (unmarried) with the first suitor, but for the rest of them, she was married (readers knew she was married, but never to whom).

Enter Queen Elizabeth I.

The entire situation, as well as the story of the poem, is an allegory. Queen Elizabeth married her people, which was a huge symbol of devotion. But before she became queen, she had suitors, specifically one suitor. After Elizabeth married her people, she had several suitors, all of them she declined marriage to. It’s interesting to note they all came from foreign lands, except the one she was in love with. He was English, and was her Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere.


I was talking to my dad, who is also an Oxfordian, though not familiar with this poem, and he commented that he had never heard the name Avisa before, that it seems unique. I told him that’s because Avisa isn’t a name so much as an acronym that means something.

AVISA image

If you don’t understand the font in this image, it reads:

A.V.I.S.A. — Amans. Vxor. inviolata. semper. amanda

That is in effect. A loving wife, that never violated her faith, is always to be beloved.

The words are Latin. To me, it is a statement that describes none other than Queen Elizabeth.

Always the Same

The final cantos of the poem is in Avisa’s voice. And she ends her cantos by signing her name thus:

Always the same, Avisa.

Curious, isn’t it? What’s Queen Elizabeth’s motto? Semper eadem, which is Latin. It translates as Always the same.

Joshua Gray

Washington DC native poet that now lives in Kentucky.

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