When at the age of twenty-three Barnabe Googe allowed the publication of his Ecologues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets, he became the first English author to publish personal poetry during his lifetime. His ecologues are, with Barclay's, the first examples of the form in English, anticipating in several respects Spenser's Shepheardes Calendar. He was the first writer to introduce into English literature Montemayor's pastoral romance Diana, later an important source for Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare. His short lyrics, many of them occasional, provides an image of the society of the time, and have been admired by modern critics as representative of the native plain style.
The small volume of 1563 was last edited by Edward Arber in 1871. In this new edition Judith Kennedy offers a modernized text, with introduction, commentary, and textual apparatus. The volume has been designed for students with little knowledge of the period, offering them a readable text and inviting investigation into other aspects of the period and the ways in which it relates to later Elizabethan literature. For scholars, the textual appendix provides the necessary assurances of the reliability of the text; the network of literary and personal associations explored in the introduction and notes will also be of considerable interest.