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anticipated by himself and his counsellors. Lamentable, indeed, was the contrast demonstrated by his successor the bigotted, relentless, tyrannical, Mary
Camden gives the following character of Queen Elizabeth in his “ Annals." « Whatever opinion papists had of her, she, notwith standing, was truly religious, - who every day, as soon as she rose, commended herself unto God; afterwards, some set hours, she would spend in her private closet. Every Sunday, and every holiday, she would go unto the chapel ; in which kind of places never prince shewed more devotion. The sermons made in Lent she would hear very attentively, in black attire, according as the custom had been of old ; and yet would she oftentimes have in her mouth a saying of Henry the Third, her predecessor, namely, “that she, for her part, had rather devoutly speak with God herself, by way of prayer, than hear others speaking of him, though never so eloquently.”
Sir James Melvil has presented us many little anecdotes which explain the disposition and manners of Queen Elizabeth. When she created lord Robert Dudley earl of Leicester, at Westminster, in the presence of the above gentleman and the French ambassador, the new earl kneeled before her with great gravity, while she assisted, “but she could not refrain from putting her hand in his
neck, smilingly tickling him:" at the same time asking Melvil, “ How he liked him ?”
“ Yet," says she, “ you like better of yonder long lad;" pointing toward my lord Darnley, who, as nearest prince of the blood, did bear the sword of honour that day before her.
During his residence in London Melvil was often with the queen, who frequently enquired concerning the manners of the people he had seen in his continental employments, and particularly “ what country weed I thought best becoming gentlewomen. The queen said she had cloaths of every sort; which every day thereafter, so long as I was there, she changed. One day she had the English weed, another the French, and another the Italian, and so forth. . She asked me, which of them became her best? I answered, in my judgment, the Italian dress : which answer I found pleased her well; for she delighted to show her golden coloured hair, wearing a caul and bonnet as they do in Italy. Her hair was more reddish than yellow, curled in appearance naturally.” True to the vanity of her character, she enquired what coloured hair was most admired; and whether that of the
queen of Scotland or her own was fairest. Melvil, equally true to that of the courtier (whose province it was to flatter two queens), evaded the question, and left it undecided. He was, however, less scru
pulous in declaring his mistress tallest.“ Then,” saith she, “ she is too high; for I myself am neither too high nor too low.”
“ That same day, after dinner, my lord of Hunsdon drew me up to a quiet gallery, that I might hear some musick (but he said that he durst not avow it); where I inight hear the queen play upon the virginals. A piece of tapestry closed the door: this Melvil gently removed; and, observing that her back was towards him, he ventured into the chamber, and listened to some very pleasing strains. The instant the queen discovered the intruder, she advanced, and made a motion with her hand, as if about to strike him, observing she never played before men; and only, when alone, to shun melancholy. The courtier soon allayed the little resentment he had excited, by answering her enquiry how he came there in terms highly flattering to her performance, and by declaring similar intrusions were common in France. Elizabeth, quite softened by Melvil's humility, seated herself on a cushion, and insisted he should kneel on one she placed for him. Lady Strafford was then called ; and the queen proceeded to examine him, whether his queen or herself excelled in music: to which she received an answer highly acceptable.
She praised Melvil's manner of speaking the French language; asked if he could speak in
Italian, and conversed with facility in that language, but was deficient in Dutch. Her next demand related to Melvil's taste in reading. “ Here (says our author) I took occasion to press earnestly my dispatch. She said I was weary sooner with her
company than she was of mine." This he denied, declaring he knew the affairs of his mistress required his presence; yet she contrived to prevent his departure for two days, that he might see her dance; which having done, he again flattered her by saying she excelled queen Mary. The inference drawn by this embassador, from his observations on the conduct of Elizabeth, was far from favourable; as he imagined he perceived great dissimulation, emulation, and fear of Mary.
Queen Elizabeth, who had done more than any of her predecessors towards making a total change in the customs of the clergy, had some difficulty in reconciling herself to that of the marriage of her bishops. Parker, who held the see of Canterbury, was in high estimation with his sovereign (as he had been her mother's chaplain); and she often visited him, though she could not bear to see his wife. On one particular occasion, the queen had been treated with uncommon hospitality and kindness, which she gratefully and cheerfully acknowledged to the prelate; but turning to his lady,
his lady, -“ And you, Madam, I may not call you, and
Mistress, I am ashamed to call you, - you so as I know not what to call you but yet I. do thank you."
Amongst the customs of this reign, we must by no means omit that of preaching at the Queen. Two instances of this description are to be found in Sir John Harrington's State of the Church. Nb Anthony Rudd, bishop of St. David's, appears to have been ignorant of that which was visible to every individual in the court — the unconquerable desire of her majesty to appear, to be thought, and to be told she looked young. “ The majesty and gravity of a sceptre borne forty-four years,” says Sir John,
« could not alter that nature of a woman in her.”. Rudd happened to be appointed to preach before the queen, in the Lent of 1596, at Richmond; when (perhaps observing strong marks of decay in her person) he felt impelled to convince her of the propriety of thinking of the termination of life. His text was well adapted for this purpose: “O teach us to number our days, that we may incline our heart unto wisdom !” And he treated the subject with so much good sense, piety, and perspicuity, and at the same time with so much delicacy, that Sir John observes, any person who did not know the queen as well as himself might have supposed it could not offend if it did not please her.