Elizabethan and Jacobean musings on the nature of human subjectivity are highly unsystematic and inexplicit. There is nothing in this period on the order of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding or Hume's Treatise of Human Nature. What the historian or literary critic encounters instead is a set of truisms repeated under predictable conditions-the sermon, the consolation, the treatise on political theory, the advice to a son, the speech in Parliament or in the courtroom. Taken together, these truisms can seem contradictory in their implications, and their deployment may appear to be more a matter of decorum, of what seems appropriate to a particular situation, than a matter of what seems true to the speaker in some abstract or absolute sense. When we write upon Renaissance subjectivity we must, therefore, rely heavily upon inference, and our conclusions vary wildly depending upon which texts we privilege and how we extrapolate from them.1 This essay shall describe a bit of the available variety, but I have no ambition to offer a "unified field theory" of the Renaissance subject, a project that indeed seems impossible.