Oxford was nephew to the late Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547), who (with Sir Thomas Wyatt) wrote the first English sonnets in the form to become known as the "Shakespearean" form.
Acting and the Stage: "As an imperfect actor on the stage" - Sonnet 23
Alchemy: "Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy" - Sonnet 33
Oxford patronized two acting companies, performed in "enterludes" at Court and was well known for his "comedies" or stage plays.
Oxford studied with astrologer Dr. John Dee, who experimented with alchemy, and both men invested in the Frobisher voyages.
Astronomy: "And yet methinks I have astronomy" - Sonnet 14
Oxford was well acquainted with the "astronomy" or astrology of Dr. Dee and was praised for his knowledge of the subject.
Bible: "No, I am that I am..." - Sonnet 121
Oxford wrote to Burghley using the same words in the same tone (the words of God to Moses in the Bible) to protest his spying on him.
Cup: "And to his palate doth prepare the cup" - Sonnet 114
Oxford's ceremonial role as Lord Great Chamberlain included bringing the "tasting cup" to the monarch.
Fancy Clothing: "Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill" - Sonnet 91
Oxford was the "Italianate Englishman" known (and mocked) for wearing new-fangled clothing from the Continent.
Five Hundred Years: "O that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the Sunne" - Sonnet 59
Oxford's earldom extended back five hundred years to the time of William the Conqueror.
Flowers: "Of different flowers in odor and in hue" - Sonnet 98
Oxford was raised amid the great gardens of William Cecil, whose well-known gardner imported flowers that had never been seen in England -- accounting for Shakespeare's vast knowledge of flowers.
Forty Winters: "When forty shall beseige thy brow" - Sonnet 2
Hawks: "Of more delight than hawks or horses be" - Sonnet 91
Oxford was forty years old in 1590, when most commentators feel the opening sonnets were written.
Oxford was a falconry expert who wrote youthful poetry comparing women to hawks "that fly from man to man."
High Birth: "Thy love is better than high birth to me" - Sonnet 91
Oxford was hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain, highest-ranking earl of England by birth.
Horsemanship: "Then can no horse with my desire keep pace" - Sonnet 51
Oxford was an expert horseback rider and two-time champion of her Majesty's tiltyard.
Hounds: "Some in their hawks and hounds" - Sonnet 91
Oxford was steeped from childhood in this favorite pastime of the nobility.
Jewelry: "As on the finger of a a throned Queen, /
The basest Jewel will be well esteemed" - Sonnet 96
Lameness: "Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt" - Sonnet 89
Oxford gave the Queen "a fair jewel of gold" with diamonds in 1580.
Oxford was lamed during a street fight with swords in 1582.
Legal Knowledge: "To guard the lawful reasons on thy part" - Sonnet 49
Oxford studied law at Gray's Inn and served as a judge at the treason trials of Norfolk, Mary Stuart and Essex. His personal letters are filled with evidence of his intimate knowledge of the law.
Lute: "Mark how one string, sweet husband to another" - Sonnet 8
Oxford was an accomplished musician and wrote music for the lute.
Medicine: "Potions of Eisel 'gainst my strong infection" - Sonnet 111
Oxford's surgeon was Dr. George Baker, who dedicated three books to either the earl or his wife Anne Cecil.
Monument: "And thou in this shalt find thy monument" - Sonnet 107
Oxford wrote to Thomas Bedingfield in 1573 that "I shall erect you such a monument..."
Music: "Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly" - Sonnet 8
Oxford was patron of John Farmer, the musical composer, who dedicated two songbooks to him, praising his musical knowledge.
Name: "My name be buried where my body is" - Sonnet 72
Oxford wrote in his early poetry that "the only loss of my good name is of these griefs the ground."
Old Age: "But when my glass shows me myself indeed, /
Beated and chopped with tanned antiquity" - Sonnet 62
Oxford was past age fifty in 1601, when Sonnet 62 was written (according to the new paradigm presented in THE MONUMENT by Hank Whittemore).
Physical Skill: "Some glory in their birth, some in their skill" - Sonnet 91
Oxford challenged all comers in Palermo, Italy to combat with horses and weapons of any kind, but there were no takers.
Virginals: "Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds" - Sonnet 128
Oxford was an intimate favorite of the Queen, who frequently played on the virginals.
Water: "Myself bring water for my stain" - Sonnet 109
Oxford was "water-bearer to the monarch" at the Coronation of King James on July 25, 1603, in his capacity as Lord Great Chamberlain.
Wealth: "Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, /
Some in their wealth..."
Oxford had inherited great wealth in the form of many estates, but he lost most of this wealth during his lifetime.