Although the literary merits of his writings have been called into question, it has been generally acknowledged that Henry Parker, eighth Baron Morley (c. 1481–1556) was an innovator in his choice of form and of subject matter. He was one of the first English writers in the Renaissance to translate Boccaccio or Petrarch and he also attempted to adapt ‘an Italion ryme called soneto’ to English more or less contemporaneously with Wyatt and Surrey. He presented his translations, given as New Year's gifts, to Henry VIII, to Henry's daughter Mary, and to Thomas Cromwell. Most of his writings were presented in manuscript form, but Morley did venture into print on two occasions: in 1539 his Exposition and Declaration of the Psalme, Deus ultionum Dominus, made by Syr Henry Parker knight, Lord Morley, dedicated to the Kynges Highnes was printed by Thomas Berthelet, and in the early 1550s a printed version of his translation of Petrarch's Triumphs, dedicated to Henry Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers, was published by John Cawood, the Queen's printer.
During the late 1520s and the 1530s Morley seems to have associated himself with three different factions – the Boleyns, Mary and Thomas Cromwell – and his conflicting loyalties led to potentially dangerous situations. Regularly, he used books (or at least the written word) as a means of wooing or placating patrons.
Morley had various links with the Boleyns, with whom his own family had been connected as early as the fifteenth century:
In 1489, for example, Sir William Boleyn had served as one of the executors of the will of Henry Lovel, seventh Lord Morley, a responsibility that has special significance for the Boleyns because some thirty years later Sir Thomas was to contract a marriage for his son with a daughter of that same Lord Morley's nephew, Sir Henry Parker, who acquired his uncle's title in 1523. From his youth, Parker had served in the household of Lady Margaret, countess of Richmond, the mother of Henry VII and the guardian of Buckingham during his minority. The Howards also had a connection with the Parkers, as after Alice Lovel Parker, Henry's mother, was widowed, she married Sir Edward Howard, the Lord Admiral who was killed at Brest in 1513.