Page images

from these they received, upon all emergencies, advice of his carriage: It faring with him'as it doth ordinarily betide honest and generous natures, that perish oftener through confidence then distrust. Nor could any other meanes have removed this court leviathan (too deeply strook with the harpingirons of malice) from the ocean of favour he lay in, but so ample a commission as might give his ambition full power and room to expatiate in, by which he was most likely to be tug'd a-ground; not wise enough to apprehend many things he found inserted in his patent, as liberty to pardon, or punish the Irish rebells sutable to his owne will, and power to reward with lands or honours all he esteemed worthy, were such flowers of the crown as his enemies (to the disadvantage of whose friends he might imploy them) could not in reason but have found cause to oppose, had they been picked out for any milder designé, then to deck a garland for that head they meant to sacrifice to their malice and re

[ocr errors]

venge. But this being acted (though long before studied) amongst the last scenes of her tragedy, I shall deferre the conclusion till some other time, indeavouring here (according to my weak fancy, prompted only by report) to draw a prospect of her court; where, all her raigne, majesty and thrift did strive for preeminence, without incroaching upon any confine either of basenesse or prodigality. Nor can this be wondered at by such as know the power she derived from law, or custome to be furnished with all provisions at a set price, by which a heavy imposition was cut off, found by experience to load greatnesse, seldome admitted to a cheap market: sellers recompensing their want of honour, by the excise they put on such as owne it. And because this was arbitrary at the will of the Greene Cloth, (a court only intending provision and carriages) the purveyorš, upon whom lay the execution, and so by consequence the envy, were, if guilty, at the

mercy accuser, being not seldome hang’d or put.

of every

in the pillory, upon the discovery sometimes of small abuses : Her government appearing so full of policy, as she was rarely found to interpose the power of the crowne in her owne cause; who, by turning her face towards the sinnes, and countenancing the punishment of such 'harpies, did besides stop the future current of their corruption, through which she became not only better served, but gained an opinion of justice and mercy towards her people : it being the male-administration, more then badnesse of any office, I ever knew during her raigne or her successours, legally erected, that raised murmuring in the people, the il-boding voice of sedition, which, if heard, is not to be neglected, but; like the sea, stopped by the bankes of justice ; for, if once it growes epidemicall, all indeavours do rather inflame then moderate it, as thought to proceed more from necessity then love.

9. And here I think it not 'impertinent to insert a story as it was related by an eye witnesse.

A purveyor having abused the county of Kent, upon her remove to Green- ' wich (whether she often resorted, being, as I have heard, the first ayre she breathed, and therefore most likely to agree with her,) a country man watching the time she went to walk, which was commonly early, and being wise enough to take his time when she stood unbent and quiet from the ordinary occasions she was taken up with, placing himselfe within the reach of her eare, did, after the fashion of his coat, cry aloud, Which is the queen ? whereupon, as her manner was, she turned about towards him, and he continuing still his question, she herselfe answered, I am your queen, what wouldst thou have with me? You, replied the fellow, are one of the rarest women I ever saw, and can eate no more then my daughter Madge,, who is thought the properest lasse in our parish, though short of you; but that Queene Elizabeth I looke for, devours so many of my hennes, ducks, and capons, as I am not able to live. The queene, no lesse auspicious to all sutes

made through the mediation of her comly shape, of which she held a high esteeme after her looking glasses, (long laid by before her death,) might have_confuted her in any good opinion of her face, then malignant to all oppression above her owne, inquired who was purveyer, and, as the story went, suffered him to be hanged, after a speciall order for his triall, according to a statute formerly made to prevent abuses in this kind.

10. This princesse, in imitation of her father Henry the Eighth,? did admit none about her for pensioners, privy-chambermen, squires of the body, carvers, cup-bearers, sewers, &c. (that were not a few in number,) but persons of stature, strength, and birth, refusing to one her consent (demanded before any could be admitted to the meanest place in her house, because he wanted a tooth; yet was never knowne to desert any for age or other infirmity af

[ocr errors]

* It was long said of Henry VIII., by the voice of tradition, that he loved a man.

« PreviousContinue »