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SIR THOMAS ELYOT
"ONE SOVEREIGN GOVERNOR”
coarcted and longe detained in a narowe roume, at the last brasteth out with intollera
ble violence, and bryngeth al to confusion. [From The Boke of the Governour, 1534] For the power that is practized to the lurte That one soueraigne gouernour ought to be
of many can nat continue. The populare in a publike weale. And what damage
astate, if it any thing do varie from equalitie hath happened where a multitude haih had of substance or estimation, or that the multiequal authorite without any souerayyne.
tude of people haue ouer moche liberte, of
necessite one of these inconueniences muste Lyke as to a castell or fortresse suffisethe happen: either tiranny, where he that is to one owner or souerayne, and where any mo moche in fauour wolde be elevate and suffre be of like power and authoritie seldome none equalite, orels in to the rage of a comcometh the warke to perfection; or beinge munaltie, whiche of all rules is moste to be all redy made, where the one diligently feared. For lyke as the communes, if they ouerseeth and the other neglecteth, in that fele some seueritie, they do humbly serue contention all is subuerted and commeth to and obaye, so where they imbracinge a ruyne. In semblable wyse dothe a publike licence refuse to be brydled, they flynge and weale that hath mo chiefe gouernours than plunge: and if they ones throwe downe one. Example we may take of the grekes, theyr gouernour, they ordre euery thynge amonge whom in diuers cities weare diuers without iustice, only with vengeance and fourmes of publyke weales gouerned by crueltie: and with incomparable difficultie multitudes: wherin one was most tolerable and unneth by any wysedome be pacified and where the gouernance and rule was alway brought agayne in to ordre. Wherfore unpermitted to them whiche excelled in vertue, doubtedly the best and most sure gouerand was in the greke tonge called Aristo- naunce is by one kynge or prince, whiche cratia, in latin Optimorum Potentia, in ruleth onely for the weale of his people to englisshe the rule of men of beste disposi- hym subiecte: and that maner of gouertion, which the Thebanes of longe tyme naunce is beste approued, and hath longest obserued.
continued, and is moste auncient. For who An other publique weale was amonge the can denie but that all thynge in heuen and Atheniensis, where equalitie was of astate erthe is gouerned by one god, by one peramonge the people, and only by theyr holle petuall ordre, by one prouidence? One consent theyr citie and dominions were Sonne ruleth ouer the day, and one Moone gouerned: whiche moughte well be called a ouer the nyghte; and to descende downe to monstre with many heedes: nor neuer it was the erthe, in a litell beest, whiche of all other certeyne nor stable: and often tymes they is moste to be maruayled at, I meane the banyssed or slewe the beste citezins, whiche Bee, is lefte to man by nature, as it semeth, by their vertue and wisedome had moste a perpetuall figure of a iuste gouernaunce or profited to the publike weale. This maner rule: who hath amonge them one principall of gouernaunce was called in greke Demo- Bee for theyr gouernour, who excelleth all cratia, in latin Popularis potentia, in other in greatnes, yet hath he no pricke or englisshe the rule of the comminaltie. Of stinge, but in hym is more knowlege than in these two gouernances none of them may be the residue. For if the day folowyng shall be sufficient. For in the fyrste, whiche con- fayre and drye, and that the bees may issue sisteth of good men, vertue is nat so con- out of theyr stalles without peryll of rayne stant in a multitude, but that some, beinge or vehement wynde, in the mornyng erely he ones in authoritie, be incensed with glorie: calleth them, makyng a noyse as it were the some with ambition: other with coueitise and sowne of a horne or a trumpet; and with desire of treasure or possessions: wherby that all the residue prepare them to labour, they falle in to contention: and finallye, and fleeth abrode, gatheryng nothing but where any achiuethe the superioritie, the that shall be swete and profitable, all though holle gouernance is reduced unto a fewe in they sitte often tymes on herbes and other nombre, whiche fearinge the multitude and thinges that be venomous and stynkinge. their mutabilitie, to the intent to kepe them The capitayne hym selfe laboureth nat in drede to rebelle, ruleth by terrour and for his sustinance, but all the other for hym; crueltie, thinking therby to kepe them selfe he onely seeth that if any drane or other
suertie: nat withstanding, rancour unprofitable bee entreth in to the hyue, and
consumethe the hony, gathered by other, that he be immediately expelled from that company. And when there is an other nombre of bees encreased, they semblably haue also a capitayne, whiche be nat suffered to continue with the other. Wherfore this newe company gathered in to a swarme, hauyng their capitayne among them, and enuironynge hym to perserue hym from harme, they issue forthe sekyng a newe habitation, whiche they fynde in some tree, except with some pleasant noyse they be alured and conuayed unto an other hyue. I suppose who seriously beholdeth this example, and hath any commendable witte, shall therof gather moche matter to the fourmynge of a publike weale.
THE GARDEN OF THE COMMONWEALTH
SIR THOMAS ELYOT [From The Boke of the Governour, 1534]
For who commendeth those gardiners that wyll put all their diligence in trymmyng or kepynge delicately one knotte or bedde of herbes, suffryng all the remenaunt of their gardeyne to be subuerted with a great nombre of molles, and do attende at no tyme for the takynge and destroyinge of them, until the herbis, wherin they haue employed all their labours, be also tourned uppe and perisshed, and the molles increased in so infinite nombres that no industry or labour may suffice to consume them, whereby the labour is frustrate and all the gardeine made unprofitable and also unpleasaunt? In this similitude to the gardeyne may be resembled the publike weale, to the gardiners the gouernours and counsailours, to the knottes or beddes sondrye degrees of personages, to the molles vices and sondry enormities. Wherfore the consultation is but of a small effecte wherin the uniuersall astate of the publike weale do nat occupie the more parte of the tyme, and in that generaltie euery particuler astate be nat diligently ordered. For as Tulli sayeth, they that consulte for parte of the people and neglecte the residue, they brynge in to the citie or countraye a thynge mooste perniciouse, that is to say, sedition and discorde, whereof it hapnethe that some wyll seeme to fauoure the multitude, other be inclined to leene to the beste sorte, fewe do studie for all uniuersallye. Whiche hath bene the cause that nat onely Athenes, (whiche Tulli dothe name), but
also the citie and empyre of Rome, with diuers other cities and realmes, haue decayed and ben finally brought in extreme desolation. Also Plato, in his booke of fortytude, sayeth in the persone of Socrates, Whan so euer a man seketh a thinge for cause of an other thynge, the consultation aught to be alway of that thyng for whose cause the other thing is sought for, and nat of that which is sought for because of the other thynge. And surely wise men do consider that damage often tymes hapneth by abusinge the due fourme of consultation: men like euyll Phisitions sekynge for medicynes or they perfectly knowe the sicknesses; and as euyll marchauntes do utter firste the wares and commodities of straungers, whiles straungers be robbynge of their owne cofers.
Therfore these thinges that I haue rehersed concernyng consultation ought to be of all men in authoritie substancially pondered, and moost vigilauntly obserued, if they intende to be to their publike weale profitable, for the whiche purpose onely they be called to be gouernours. And this conclude I to write any more of consultation, whiche is the last part of morall Sapience, and the begynnyng of sapience politike.
Nowe all ye reders that desire to haue your children to be gouernours, or in any other authoritie in the publike weale of your countrey, if ye bringe them up and instructe them in suche fourme as in this boke is declared, they shall than seme to all men worthye to be in authoritie, honour, and noblesse, and all that is under their gouernaunce shall prospere and come to perfection. And as a precious stone in a ryche ouche1 they shall be beholden and wondred at, and after the dethe of their body their soules for their endeuour shall be incomprehensibly rewarded of the gyuer of wisedome, to whome onely be gyuen eternall glorie. Amen.
SOME ELIZABETHAN POLITICAL IDEAS IN
1. Our Sea-Jalled Garden [From Richard II, Act III, scene iv] Langley. The DUKE OF YORK's garden
Enter the QUEEN and two Ladies Queen. What sport shall we devise here
in this garden, To drive away the heavy thought of care? 1 Setting
Lady. Madam, we'll play at bowls.
full of rubs, And that my fortune runs against the bias.
Lady. Madam, we'll dance.
delight, When my poor heart no measure keeps in
grief: Therefore, no dancing, girl; some other
Of either, madam.
Lady. Madam, I'll sing.
Queen. 'Tis well that thou hast cause; But thou shouldst please me better, wouldst
Lady. I could weep, madam, would it
do you good. Queen. And I could sing, would weeping
do me good, And never borrow any tear of thee.
Enter a Gardener, and two Servants But stay, here come the gardeners: Let's step into the shadow of these trees. My wretchedness unto a row of pins, They'll talk of state; for every one doth so Against a change; woe is forerun with woe.
[Queen and Ladies retire Gard. Go, bind thou up yon dangling
apricocks, Which, like unruly children, make their sire Stoop with oppression of their prodigal
weight: Give some supportance to the bending twigs. Go thou, and like an executioner, Cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays, That look too lofty in our commonwealth: All must be even in our government. You thus employ’d, I will go root away The noisome weeds, which without profit suck The soil's fertility from wholesome flowers. Serv. Why should we in the compass of
a pale Keep law and form and due proportion, Showing, as in a model, our firm estate, When our sea-walled garden, the whole land, Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers
Her fruit-trees all unpruned, her hedges
ruin'd, Her knots disorder'd, and her wholesome
herbs Swarming with caterpillars? Gard.
Hold thy peace: He that hath suffer'd this disordered spring Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf: The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves
did shelter, That seem'd in eating him to hold him up, Are pluck'd up root and all by Bolingbroke, I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green. Serv. What are they dead ? Gard.
They are; and Bolingbroke Hath seized the wasteful king. O, what pity
is it That he had not so trimm'd and dress'd his
land As we this garden! We at time of year Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit
trees, Lest, being over-proud in sap and blood, With too much riches it confound itself: Had he done so to great and growing men, They might have lived to bear and he to
taste Their fruits of duty: superfluous branches We lop away, that bearing boughs may live: Had he done so, himself had borne the crown Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown
down. Serv. What, think you then the king
shall be deposed ! Gard. Depress'd he is already, and de
posed 'Tis doubt he will be: letters came last night To a dear friend of the good Duke of
York's, That tell black tidings. Queen. O, I am press'd to death through
want of speaking! [Coming forward Thou, old Adam's likeness, set to dress this
garden, How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this
unpleasing news? What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested
thee To make a second fall of cursed man? Why dost thou say King Richard is de
posed ? Darest thou, thou little better thing than
earth, Divine his downfall? Say, where, when,
and how, Camest thou by this ill tidings? Speak,
Gard. Pardon me, madam: little joy
have I To breathe this news; yet what I say is true. King Richard, he is in the mighty hold Of Bolingbroke: their fortunes both are
weigh'd : In your lord's scale is nothing but himself, And some few vanities that make him light; But in the balance of great Bolingbroke, Besides himself, are all the English peers, And with that odds he weighs King Richard
down. Post you to London, and you will find it so; I speak no more than every one doth know. Queen. Nimble mischance, that art so
light of foot, Doth not thy embassage belong to me, And am I last that knows it? O, thou
think'st To serve me last, that I may longest keep Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go, To meet at London London's king in woe. What, was I born to this, that my sad look Should grace the triumph of great Boling
broke? Gardener, for telling me these news of woe, Pray God the plants thou graft'st may never
grow! [Exeunt Queen and Ladies Gard. Poor queen! so that thy state
might be no worse, I would my skill were subject to thy curse. Here did she fall a tear; here in this place I'll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace: Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen In the remembrance of a weeping queen.
Though rebels wound thee with their horses'
hoofs: As a long-parted mother with her child Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in
meeting, So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth, And do thee favors with my royal hands. Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle
earth, Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous
sense; But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom, And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way, Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet Which with usurping steps do trample thee: Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies; And when they from thy bosom pluck a
flower, Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder Whose double tongue may with a mortal
touch Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies. Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords: This earth shall have a feeling and these
stones Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king Shall falter under foul rebellion's arms. Car. Fear not, my lord: that Power that
made you king Hath power to keep you king in spite of all. The means that heaven yields must be em
braced, And not neglected; else, if heaven would, And we will not, heaven's offer we refuse, The proffer'd means of succor and redress. Aum. He means, my lord, that we are
too remiss; Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security, Grows strong and great in substance and in
power. K. Rich. Discomfortable cousin ! know'st
thou not That when the searching eye of heaven is hid Behind the globe, that lights the lower
world, Then thieves and robbers range abroad un
2. Of Divine Right (From Richard II, Act III, scene ii. The
King returns to his realm, having learned of Bolingbroke's rebellion]
The coast of Wales. A castle in view
Drums: flourish and colors. Enter KING
RICHARD, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, AUMERLE, and Soldiers
K. Rich. Barkloughly castle call they this at hand? Aum. Yea, my lord. How brooks your
grace the air, After your late tossing on the breaking seas? K. Rich. Needs must I like it well: I
weep for joy To stand upon my kingdom once again. Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
In murders and in outrage, boldly here:
hole, Then murders, treasons, and detested sins, The cloak of night being pluck'd from off
their backs, Stand bare and naked, trembling at them
So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke, I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks, Who all this while hath revel'd in the night Stirr'd up by God, thus boldly for his king. Whilst we
were wandering with the an- My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call tipodes,
king, Shall see us rising in our throne, the east, Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king: His treasons will sit blushing in his face, And if you crown him, let me prophesy: Not able to endure the sight of day,
The blood of English shall manure the But self-affrighted tremble at his sin.
ground, Not all the water in the rough rude sea And future ages groan for this foul act; Can wash the balm off from an anointed Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels, king;
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars The breath of worldly men cannot depose Shall kin with kin and kind with kind conThe deputy elected by the Lord :
found; For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny To lift shrewd steel against our golden Shall here inhabit, and this land be call'd crown,
The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls. God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay 0, if you raise this house against this house, A glorious angel: then, if angels fight,
It will the woefullest division prove Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards That ever fell upon this cursed earth. the right.
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
“Woe!" [From Act IV, scene i. The King is
Northumberland. Well have you argued, deposed]
sir; and, for your pains, York. Great Duke of Lancaster, I come Of capital treason we arrest you here. to thee
My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge From plume-pluck'd Richard; who with will- To keep him safely till his day of trial. ing soul
May it please you, lords, to grant the comAdopts thee heir, and his high scepter yields
mons' suit. To the possession of thy royal hand:
Boling. Fetch hither Richard, that in Ascend his throne, descending now from common view him;
He may surrender; so we shall proceed And long live Henry, fourth of that name!
Without suspicion. Bolingbroke. In God's name, I'll ascend York. I will be his conduct. [Erit the regal throne.
Boling. Lords, you that here are under Carlisle. Marry, God forbid !
our arrest, Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
Procure your sureties for your days of Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth. Would God that any in this noble presence
Little are we beholding to your love, Were enough noble to be upright judge And little look'd for at your helping hands. Of noble Richard! then true noblesse would Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
Re-enter YORK, with RICHARD, and Officers What subject can give sentence on his king?
bearing the regalia. And who sits here that is not Richard's subject?
K. Rich. Alack, why am I sent for to a Thieves are not judged but they are by to king, hear,
Before I have shook off the regal thoughts Although apparent guilt be seen in them; Wherewith I reign'd? I hardly yet have And shall the figure of God's majesty,
learn'd His captain, steward, deputy-elect,
To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
limbs. Be judged by subject and inferior breath, Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me And he himself not present? O, forfend it, To this submission. Yet I well remember God,
The favors of these men: were they not That in a Christian climate souls refined
mine? Should show so heinous, black, obscene a Did they not sometime cry, "all hail!” to deed!