Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
 
Queen Elizabeth
By John Hayward (1564?–1627)
 
From Annals of Elizabeth

AND for that the presence of the prince is of greatest moment to establish affairs, the queen, the next day after her title was proclaimed, removed from Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, where she then lay, towards London; and was upon the way encountered and entertained in all places with such a concourse of people, with so lively representations of love, joy, and hope, that it far exceeded her expectation. The people of all sorts (even such whose fortunes were unlike either to be amended or impaired by change) went many miles out the city to see her, some upon particular affection to her person, some upon opinion of good to the State, some upon an ordinary levity and delight in change, and not a few because they would do as others did; all with like fervency contending who should most nearly approach unto her, who should most cheerfully bestow upon her all honourable titles and happy wishes.
  1
  Now, if ever any person had either the gift or the style to win the hearts of people, it was this queen; and if ever she did express the same, it was at that present, in coupling mildness with majesty as she did, and in stately stooping to the meanest sort. All her faculties were in motion, and every motion seemed a well guided action; her eye was set upon one, her ear listened to another, her judgment ran upon a third, to a fourth she addressed her speech; her spirit seemed to be everywhere, and yet so entire in herself, as it seemed to be nowhere else. Some she pitied, some she commended, some she thanked, at others she pleasantly and wittily jested, contemning no person, neglecting no office; and distributing her smiles, looks, and graces, so artificially, that thereupon the people again redoubled the testimonies of their joys; and afterwards, raising everything to the highest strain, filled the ears of all men with immoderate extolling their prince.  2
  She was a lady, upon whom nature had bestowed, and well placed, many of her fairest favours; of stature mean, slender, straight, and amiably composed; of such state in her carriage as every motion of her seemed to bear majesty: her hair was inclined to pale yellow, her forehead large and fair, a seeming seat for princely grace; her eyes lively and sweet, but short-sighted; her nose somewhat rising in the midst; the whole compass of her countenance somewhat long, but yet of admirable beauty, not so much in that which is termed the flower of youth, as in a most delightful composition of majesty and modesty in equal mixture. But without good qualities of mind the gifts of nature are like painted flowers, without either virtue or sap; yea, sometimes they grow horrid and loathsome. Now her virtues were such as might suffice to make an Ethiopian beautiful, which, the more a man knows and understands, the more he shall admire and love. In life, she was most innocent; in desires, moderate; in purpose, just; in spirit, above credit and almost capacity of her sex; of divine wit, as well for depth of judgment, as for quick conceit and speedy expedition; of eloquence, as sweet in the utterance, so ready and easy to come to the utterance; of wonderful knowledge both in learning and affairs; skilful not only in the Latin and Greek, but also in divers other foreign languages: none knew better the hardest art of all others, that is, of commanding men, nor could more use themselves to those cares without which the royal dignity could not be supported. She was religious, magnanimous, merciful, and just; respective of the honour of others, and exceeding tender in the touch of her own. She was lovely and loving, the two principal bands of duty and obedience. She was very ripe and measured in counsel and experience, as well not to let go occasions, as not to take them when they were green. She maintained justice at home, and arms abroad, with great wisdom and authority in either place. Her majesty seemed to all to shine through courtesy: but as she was not easy to receive any to especial grace, so was she most constant to those whom she received; and of great judgment to know to what point of greatness men were fit to be advanced. She was rather liberal than magnificent, making good choice of the receivers; and by this cause was thought weak by some against the desire of money. But it is certain that beside the want of treasure which she found, her continual affairs in Scotland, France, the Low Countries, and in Ireland, did occasion great provision of money, which could not be better supplied than by cutting off either excessive or unnecessary expense at home. Excellent queen! what do my words but wrong thy worth? what do I but gild gold? what but show the sun with a candle, in attempting to praise thee, whose honour doth fly over the whole world upon the two wings of magnanimity and justice, whose perfection shall much dim the lustre of all other that shall be of thy sex? I will no longer stay upon general descriptions, but proceed to such particular acts as shall justify much more than I have said.  3
  When she came to London, she was lodged the first night in the Charter-house, where many great persons, either for birth, or worthiness (or place in the state) resorted unto her; and now rising from dejected fears to ambitious hopes, contended who should catch the first hold of her favour. The Queen did bear herself moderately and respectively to all, desiring them, if they would not be deceived in her, that they would not be the first to deceive themselves: that they would not prejudice her in their opinions, as not by uncourteous suspicions and doubts, so not by immoderate expectations and hopes, promising unto themselves out of a sudden liking more than is fit, or peradventure possible, to be performed: the failure whereof would either change or abate their loves: that they would lay aside all fore-taken conceits, which, like painted glass, doth colour all things which are seen through it. Lastly, that they would not too rashly judge of her actions, as being privy neither to the occasions of them, nor to their ends.  4
  So, after she had passed the offices of court done to her by the nobility and others, the day following, in the afternoon, she rode from thence to the Tower. At the Charter-house gate the mayor of the city met her, and the recorder with a short speech saluted her in the name of the whole city. She rode in great state through Barbican, the mayor riding with Garter King-at-Arms, and carrying a sceptre before her; she entered at Cripplegate, and so passed by the wall to Bishopsgate. This gate was richly hanged, and thereupon the waits of the city sounded loud music. At the head of the street a scholar of Paul’s School made to her a short speech in Latin verses; next unto him stood the Company of Mercers within their rails, and after them all the other companies, extending to the farthest end of Mark Lane. When she entered Mark Lane a peal of ordnance began at the Tower, which continued half an hour or thereabouts. The presence of the queen gave perfection and life to all these solemnities. She answered such speeches as were made to her; she graced every person either of dignity or employment; she so cheerfully both observed and accepted everything, that in the judgment of all men, all these honours were esteemed too mean for her worth. When she was entered into the Tower, she thus spoke to those about her; “Some have fallen from being princes of this land, to be prisoners in this place; I am raised from being prisoner in this place, to be prince of this land. That dejection was a work of God’s justice; this advancement is a work of His mercy; as they were to yield patience for the one, so I must bear myself towards God thankful, and to men merciful and beneficial for the other.”  5
 
 
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