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were overwhelmed by a host of foibles, among which, none were more remarkable than her extreme vanity and coquetry, and at a period too, when she had reason to expect, from her infirmities, and the common law of nature, that death was not far distant. To be thought beautiful, young, and agile, and an object of amorous affection, to the last moment of her existence, seems to have been her chief ambition as a woman; nor could any language on these topics, when addressed to her, be too complimentary, amatory, or glowing. When sixty years of age, Raleigh thus speaks of her, in a letter intended for her perusal ::-" I that was wont to see her riding like Alexander, hunting like Diana, walking like Venus, the gentle wind blowing her fair hair about her pure cheeks, like a nymph, sometimes sitting in the shade, like a goddess, sometimes singing like an angel, sometimes playing like Orpheus; behold the sorrow of this world! once amiss hath bereaved me of all *;" and when sixty-eight, Lord Mountjoy, Lord Deputy of Ireland, thus addresses her "When I

have done all that I can, the uttermost effects of my labours doe appeare so little to my owne zeale to doe more, that I am often ashamed to present them unto your faire and royall eyes. I beseeche your Majestie to thinke, that in a matter of so great importance, my affection will not suffer me to commit so grosse a fault against your service, as to doe any thing, for the which I am not able to give you a very good account, the which above all things, I desire to do at your owne royall feete, and that your service here, may give me leave to fill my eyes with their onely deere and desired object." It was at the same advanced period of life, too, when the sister of Lord Essex, interceding for her brother's life, tells Her Majesty, Early did I hope this morning, to have had mine eyes blessed with your majesty's beauty. That her brother's life, his love, his service to her beauties, did not deserve so hard a punishment. That he would be disabled

* Vide Chalmers's Apology, p. 45., from Murden, p. 657.
+ Moryson's Itinerary, p. 233.


from ever serving again his sacred goddess! whose excellent beauties and perfections ought to feel more compassion."

Her affectation of youth, in order to render language such as this somewhat appropriate, was carried to the most ridiculous excess ; "there is almost none," remarks Harrington, "that wayted in Queene Elizabeth's court, and observed any thing, but can tell that it pleased her much to seeme and to be thought, and to be told, that she looked younge ;" and he then relates, in illustration of his assertion, that when Bishop Rudd preached before the Queen, in Lent, 1596, after giving an arithmetical description, with a manifest allusion to Her Majesty, of the grand climacterical year, he put a prayer into the mouth of the Queen, in which she is represented as quoting, with reference to herself, the following passage from Ecclesiastes: When the grinders shall be few in number, and they wax darke that looke out of the windowes, &c., and the daughters of singing shall be abased; but, the sermon being concluded, "the Queene (as the manner was) opened the window, (of her closet) but she was so far from giving him thanks, or good countenance, that she said plainly, he should have kept his arithmetick for himselfe; but I see (said she) the greatest clerks are not the wisest men ;' and so went away for the time discontented." Three days afterwards, however, she declared before Harrington and her courtiers, that "the good bishop was deceaved in supposing she was so decayed in her limbs and senses, as himselfe, perhaps, and other of that age are wont to be; she thankt God that neither her stomache nor strength, nor her voyce for singing, nor fingering for instruments, nor lastly, her sight was any whit decayed." +

Her strength and agility, she endeavoured to prove, were not diminished, by dancing, or attempting to dance, to nearly the end of her reign. Being present at Lord Herbert's marriage, in 1600, after supper, dancing commenced by ladies and gentlemen in masques ;

* Walpole's Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors apud Park, vol. ii. p. 89. Nugæ Antiquæ, vol. ii. pp. 216-218.

and Mrs. Fetton, one of the masquers, "went to the Queen, and woed her to dawnce. Her Majesty asked what she was? Affection, she said. Affection, said the Queen, is false. Yet her Majestie rose and dawnced!" She was now in her sixty-ninth year!

Nor was she less artful than vain; cunning and finesse might be often necessary in her political capacity, but she carried the same wiliness and duplicity into all the relations of private life. Sir John Harrington has admirably drawn her disposition in these respects, and has painted her blandishments, her mutability of temper, and her deceptive conduct, with a masterly pencil. "Hir mynde," he observes, "was oftime like the gentle aire that comethe from the westerly pointe in a summer's morn; 'twas sweete and refreshinge to all arounde her :—again, she coulde pute forthe suche alteracions,—as lefte no doubtynges whose daughter she was.-By art and nature together so blended, it was difficulte to fynde hir right humour at any tyme;—for few knew how to aim their shaft against her cunning.I have seen her smile," he adds, "soothe with great semblance of good likinge to all arounde, and cause everie one to open his moste inwarde thought to her; when, on a sudden, she would ponder in pryvate on what had passed, write down all their opinions, draw them out as occasion required, and sometyme disprove to their faces what had been delivered a month before. Hence she knew Hence she knew every one's parte, and by thus fishinge, as Hatton sayed, she caught many poor fish, who little knew what snare was laid for them." j

Of her boundless inclination to circumvent and deceive, a most ludicrous instance is related by Sir Arthur Wheldon, who tells us, that when Sir Roger Aston was sent with letters from James to the Queen (which was often the case), he did never come to deliver any but he was placed in the Lobby; the hangings being turned him, (lifted up) where he might see the Queene dancing to a little fiddle, which was to no other end, than he should tell his master by her

* Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, vol. ii.
+ Nuga Antiquæ, vol. i. pp. 355. 357-359.

youthfull disposition, how likely he was to come to the possession of the Crown he so much thirsted after." *

Extreme jealousy was another leading feature in the manners of Elizabeth, which, far from being the result of her exalted rank, was, indeed, most apparent in her domestic life and relations. She could bear no female near her who, in beauty, accomplishments, or dress, was likely either to surpass or rival her; and the death of the unfortunate Mary may be attributed rather to an inextinguishable envy of her personal charms, than to any apprehensions of the establishment of her claim to the throne of England. How anxious she was to be thought more beautiful and accomplished than her sister Queen, is vividly delineated by Sir John Melvill, who, in his numerous interviews with Elizabeth, during his residence in London, describes her as changing her dress for him every day; as dancing before him, and playing on the virginals, merely for the purpose of ascertaining whether he thought she or Mary most excelled in dress, dancing, and music. She even went so far as to enquire, whether he considered her hair or his mistress's to be the fairest and most entitled to admiration, and, at length, asked him which was tallest, and, on his answering, that the Scottish Queen surpassed her in height,-" Then,” saith she," she is too high; for I myself am neither too high, nor too low †."

Nothing is better known in our history than Elizabeth's personal chastisement of the unhappy Earl of Essex; and so little, indeed, was she accustomed, on any occasion, to the control of her passions, that her courtiers daily dreaded similar inflictions. "The Queene seemede troubled to daye," says Harrington; "Hatton came out from her presence with ill countenance, and pulled me aside by the girdle, and saide, in secret waie, If you have any suite to daie, I praye you put it aside, The sunne doth not shine.' 'Tis this accursede Spanishe businesse; so

* The Court and Character of King James, 12mo. 1650. pp. 5, 6.

+ Vide Melvill's Memoirs.

will not I adventure her Highnesse choller, leste she shoulde collar me also." *

Even in the expression of her dislike on such trivial matters as the cut of a coat, or the depth of a fringe, she spared neither the public exposure of her courtiers, nor the adoption of the most masculine and vindictive contempt. "The Queene loveth to see me," says Sir John Harrington, " in my laste frize jerkin, and saithe 'tis well enough cutt. I will have another made liken to it. I do remember she spit on Sir Mathew's fringed clothe, and said, the fooles wit was gone to ragges. ·Heav'n spare me from suche jibinge." †

If such petulant and rough treatment fell to the lot of her courtiers in public, we may rest assured, that in private, her domestics, and ladies of honour, experienced not a milder fate. Manual correction, indeed, we are told, was a frequent resource with Her Majesty, and even when chiding for "small neglects," Fenton tells us, in a letter to Sir John Harrington, dated May, 1597, that it was "in such wise, as to make these fair maids often cry and bewail in piteous sort."‡ In short, to adopt the language of Sir Robert Cecil, who had an intimate knowledge both of her public and private character, she "was more than a man, and (in troth) sometyme less than a woman." §

Elizabeth, indeed, possessed many qualities of the most exalted rank, and her courage, magnanimity, prudence, and political wisdom, were such as to redeem the foibles which we have enumerated. They were virtues, of which her successor was totally destitute; for the manners of James may be truly painted by the epithets, frivolity, pusillanimity, extravagance, pedantry, and credulity.

Some of the most striking traits in his character have been drawn with great strength and vivacity in Sir John Harrington's description of an interview with this monarch, in January, 1607:-"He enquyrede," says he, "muche of lernynge, and showede me his owne in suche


Nugæ Antiquæ, vol. i. pp. 175, 176.
Ibid. p. 235.

+ Ibid. vol. i. p. 167.

§ Ibid. p. 345.

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