Documents Related to Elizabeth I EUH 2021 Paper Two DOCUMENT ONE Queen Elizabeth’s Prayer at Bristol Elizabeth I http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizaprayer.htm (Spelling and language modernized by T. Bender for EUH 2021) Text Source: Caroline S. Whitmarsh, ed. Prayers of the Ages. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1868. 322. STRETCH forth, O Lord most mighty, Thy right hand over me, and defend me from my enemies, that they never prevail against me. Give me, O Lord, the assistance of Thy Spirit, and comfort of Thy grace, truly to know Thee, entirely to love Thee, and assuredly to trust in Thee. And that as I do acknowledge to have received the government of this Church and Kingdom at Thy hand, and to hold the same of Thee, so grant me grace, O Lord, that in the end I may render up and present the same again unto Thee, a peaceable, quiet, and well-ordered State and Kingdom, as also a perfect reformed church, to the furtherance of Thy glory. And to my subjects, O Lord God, grant, I beseech Thee, faithful and obedient hearts, willingly to submit themselves to the obedience of Thy word and commandments, that we altogether being thankful unto Thee for Thy benefits received, may praise and magnify Thy Holy Name without end. Grant this, O merciful Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen. DOCUMENT TWO Speech to the Troops at Tilbury Elizabeth I http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/tilbury.htm Text Source: The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Vol 1. M. H. Abrams, Ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. 999. Delivered by Elizabeth to the land forces assembled at Tilbury (Essex) to repel the anticipated invasion of the Spanish Armada, 1588. My loving people, We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good- will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or
Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people. DOCUMENT THREE “Golden Speech” 1601 Elizabeth I The Farewell Speech, 1601 On the afternoon of 30 November, 140 Members of the Commons, 141 with the Speaker, crowded into the Presence Chamber and fell on their knees as their sovereign entered the room. She was sixty-eight and in excellent health, but perhaps some guessed that this would be her last Parliament. She had come to deliver what should have been a rasping harangue on finance, but she turned it into 'golden words', which were to be reprinted time and time again up to the eighteenth century, whenever England was in danger, as the Golden Speech of Queen Elizabeth. Mr Speaker, We have heard your declaration and perceive your care of our estate. I do assure you there is no prince that loves his subjects better, or whose love can countervail our love. There is no jewel, be it of never so rich a price, which I set before this jewel: I mean your love. For I do esteem it more than any treasure or riches; for that we know how to prize, but love and thanks I count invaluable. And, though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves. This makes me that I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people. Therefore I have cause to wish nothing more than to content the subject and that is a duty which I owe. Neither do I desire to live longer days than I may see your prosperity and that is my only desire. And as I am that person still yet, under God, hath delivered you and so I trust by the almighty power of God that I shall be his instrument to preserve you from every peril, dishonour, shame, tyranny and oppression, partly by means of your intended helps which we take very acceptably because it manifesteth the largeness of your good loves and loyalties unto your sovereign. Of myself I must say this: I never was any greedy, scraping grasper, nor a strait fast-holding Prince, nor yet a waster. My heart was never set on any worldly goods. What you bestow on me, I will not hoard it up, but receive it to bestow on you again. Therefore render unto them I beseech you Mr Speaker, such thanks as you imagine my heart yieldeth, but my tongue cannot express. Mr Speaker, I would wish you and the rest to stand up for I shall yet trouble you with longer speech. Mr Speaker, you give me thanks but I doubt me I have greater cause to give you thanks, than you me, and I charge you to thank them of the Lower House from me. For had I not received a knowledge from you, I might have fallen into the lapse of an error, only for lack of true information.
Since I was Queen, yet did I never put my pen to any grant, but that upon pretext and semblance made unto me, it was both good and beneficial to the subject in general though a private profit to some of my ancient servants, who had deserved well at my hands. But the contrary being found by experience, I am exceedingly beholden to such subjects as would move the same at first. And I am not so simple to suppose but that there be some of the Lower House whom these grievances never touched. I think they spake out of zeal to their countries and not out of spleen or malevolent affection as being parties grieved. That my grants should be grievous to my people and oppressions to be privileged under colour of our patents, our kingly dignity shall not suffer it. Yea, when I heard it, I could give no rest unto my thoughts until I had reformed it. Shall they, think you, escape unpunished that have oppressed you, and have been respectless of their duty and regardless our honour? No, I assure you, Mr Speaker, were it not more for conscience' sake than for any glory or increase of love that I desire, these errors, troubles, vexations and oppressions done by these varlets and lewd persons not worthy of the name of subjects should not escape without condign punishment. But I perceive they dealt with me like physicians who, ministering a drug, make it more acceptable by giving it a good aromatical savour, or when they give pills do gild them all over. I have ever used to set the Last Judgment Day before mine eyes and so to rule as I shall be judged to answer before a higher judge, and now if my kingly bounties have been abused and my grants turned to the hurt of my people contrary to my will and meaning, and if any in authority under me have neglected or perverted what I have committed to them, I hope God will not lay their culps and offenses in my charge. I know the title of a King is a glorious title, but assure yourself that the shining glory of princely authority hath not so dazzled the eyes of our understanding, but that we well know and remember that we also are to yield an account of our actions before the great judge. To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it. For myself I was never so much enticed with the glorious name of a King or royal authority of a Queen as delighted that God hath made me his instrument to maintain his truth and glory and to defend his kingdom as I said from peril, dishonour, tyranny and oppression. There will never Queen sit in my seat with more zeal to my country, care to my subjects and that will sooner with willingness venture her life for your good and safety than myself. For it is my desire to live nor reign no longer than my life and reign shall be for your good. And though you have had, and may have, many princes more mighty and wise sitting in this seat, yet you never had nor shall have, any that will be more careful and loving. 'For I, oh Lord, what am I, whom practices and perils past should not fear? Or what can I do? That I should speak for any glory, God forbid.' And turning to the Speaker and her councilors she said, 'And I pray to you Mr Comptroller, Mr Secretary and you of my Council, that before these gentlemen go into their countries, you bring them all to kiss my hand.' This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and
personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook. © Paul Halsall, July 1998 [email protected] DOCUMENT FOUR Final Speech Before Parliament, Dec. 19 1601 Elizabeth I Marcus Elizabeth, Janel M Mueller, and Rose, Elizabeth I: Collected Works (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 346-351. [Page 346] Before your going down at the end of the Parliament, I thought good to deliver unto you certain notes for your observation that serve aptly for the present time, to be imparted afterward where you shall come abroad, [Page 347] to this end: that you by me, and others by you, may understand to what prince, and how affected to the good of this estate, you have declared yourselves so loving subjects and so fully and effectually devoted your unchangeable affection. For by looking into the course which I have ever holden [held] since I began to reign, in governing both concerning civil and foreign causes, you may more easily correspond with your inclination to obey, and my caution with your merit.
First, civilly: yourselves can witness that I never entered into the examination of any cause without advisement, carrying ever a single eye to justice and truth. For though I were content to hear matters argued and debated pro and contra [heard both sides of the argument], as all princes must that will understand what is right, yet I look ever (as it were) upon a plain table wherein is written neither partiality nor prejudice. My care was ever by proceeding justly and uprightly to conserve my people’s love, which I account a gift of God not to be marshaled in the lowest part of my mind, but written in the deepest of my heart, because without that above all, other favors were of little price with me, thought they were infinite. Besides your dutiful supplies for defense of the public—which, as the philosophers affirm of rivers coming from the ocean, return to the ocean again—I have diminished my own revenue that I might add to your security, and been content to be a taper of true virgin wax, to waste myself and spend my life that I might give light and comfort to those that live under me. The strange devices, practices, and stratagems [plots] (never heard nor written of before) that have been attempted not only against my own person in which so many as acknowledge themselves beholding to my care and happy in my government have an interest, but by invasion of the state itself by those that did not only threaten to come, but came at the last in very deed with their whole fleet, have been in number many and by preparation dangerous. Though it hath pleased God, to whose honor it is spoken without arrogation of any praise or merit to myself, by many hard escapes and hazards both of divers and strange natures, to [Page 348] make me an instrument of His holy will in delivering the state from danger and myself from dishonor, all that I challenge to myself is that I have been studious and industrious, in confidence of His grade and
goodness, as a careful hear to defend the body, which I would have you receive from my own mouth for the better acknowledging and recognizing of so great a benefit. Now touching foreign courses, which do chiefly consist in the maintenance of war, I take God to witness that I never gave just cause of war to any prince (which the subjects of other states can testify) nor had any greater ambition than to maintain my own sate in security and peace without being guilty to myself of offering or intending injury to any man, though no prince have been more unthankfully requited whose intention has been so harmless and whose actions so moderate. For to let you know what is not perhaps understood by any other than such as are conversant in state matters and keep true records of dealings past, even that potent prince the king of Spain (whose soul I trust be now in heaven) that hath [has in] so many ways assailed [assaulted] both my realm and me, had as many provocations of kindness by my just proceedings as by hard measure he hath such returned effects of ingratitude. It is neither my manner nor my nature to speak ill of those that are dead, but that in this case it is not possible without some touch to the author to tax the injury. For when the color of dissention began first to kindle between his subjects of the Netherlands and him […] about the bringing in of the Inquisition (a burden untolerable), increase of impositions [taxes], planting foreigners in the cheifest offices and places of government [putting Spaniards in charge of the Dutch areas controlled by Spain], then I gave them counsel to contain their passions and rather by humble petition than by violence or arms to seek ease of their aggrievances nay (which is more) I disbursed great sums of money out of my own purse1 to stay them from revolt till a softer hand might reduce these discords to harmony. […] [Page 351] At this time it will be sufficient to let you know the grounds and motives of the war to which you contribute, the merit of the princess for whose sake you contribute: that my care is neither to continue war nor conclude a peace but for your good, and that you may perceive how free your queen is from giving any cause of these attempts that have been made on her, unless to save her people or defend her state […]. This testimony I would have you carry hence for the world to know: That your sovereign is more careful of your conservation than of herself, and will daily crave of God that they that wish you best may never wish in vain.
1 Elizabeth had sent the Dutch a loan of 20 000 pounds […] which formalized the resolve of the United Provinces [The Netherlands] to work together to expel the occuplying Spanish armies. In Sept 1577 she had sent a further loan of 100 000 pounds and a military force to assist the Dutch.
Peake, Robert the Elder. “Elizabeth’s Procession to Blackfriars.” Oil on Canvas, c. 1600. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizface3.htm
Gheeraerts, Marcus the Elder. “The Welbeck Portrait” or “The Peace Portrait” Oil on Canvas, c. 1585 (Private Collection). http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizapeace.jpg