youthfull disposition, how likely he was to come to the possession of the Crown he so much thirsted after.” *

Extreme jealousy was another leading feature in the manners of Elizabeth, which, far from being the result of her exalted rank, was, indeed, most apparent in her domestic life and relations. She could bear no female near her who, in beauty, accomplishments, or dress, was likely either to surpass or rival her; and the death of the unfortunate Mary may be attributed rather to an inextinguishable envy of her personal charms, than to any apprehensions of the establishment of her claim to the throne of England. How anxious she was to be thought more beautiful and accomplished than her sister Queen, is vividly delineated by Sir John Melvill, who, in his numerous interviews with Elizabeth, during his residence in London, describes her as changing her dress for him every day; as dancing before him, and playing on the virginals, merely for the purpose of ascertaining whether he thought she or Mary most excelled in dress, dancing, and music. She even went so far as to enquire, whether he considered her hair or his mistress's to be the fairest and most entitled to admiration, and, at length, asked him which was tallest, and, on his answering, that the Scottish Queen surpassed her in height,-" Then,” saith she, “ she is too high ; for I myself am neither too high, nor too

low t."

Nothing is better known in our history than Elizabeth's personal chastisement of the unhappy Earl of Essex ; and so little, indeed, was she accustomed, on any occasion, to the control of her passions, that her courtiers daily dreaded similar inflictions. • The Queene seemede troubled to daye,” says Harrington; “ Hatton came out from her presence with ill countenance, and pulled me aside by the girdle, and saide, in secret waie, “ If you have any suite to daie, I praye you put it aside, The sunne doth not shine.' 'Tis this accursede Spanishe businesse ; so

The Court and Character of King James, 12mo. 1650. pp. 5, 6. + Vide Melvill's Memoirs.

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151 will not I adventure her Highnesse choller, leste she shoulde collar me also.*

Even in the expression of her dislike on such trivial matters as the cut of a coat, or the depth of a fringe, she spared neither the public exposure of her courtiers, nor the adoption of the most masculine and vindictive contempt. “ The Queene loveth to see me,” says Sir John Harrington, “ in

my laste frize jerkin, and saithe 'tis well enough cutt. I will have another made liken to it. I do remember she spit on Sir Mathew's fringed clothe, and said, the fooles wit was gone to ragges. --Heav'n spare me from suche jibinge." +

If such petulant and rough treatment fell to the lot of her courtiers in public, we may rest assured, that in private, her domestics, and ladies of honour, experienced not a milder fate. Manual correction, indeed, we are told, was a frequent resource with Her Majesty, and even when chiding for a small neglects,” Fenton tells us, in a letter to Sir John Harrington, dated May, 1597, that it was “ in such wise, as to make these fair maids often cry and bewail in piteous sort.” I In short, to adopt the language of Sir Robert Cecil, who had an intimate knowledge both of her public and private character, she “ was more than a man, and (in troth) sometyme less than a woman.” §

Elizabeth, indeed, possessed many qualities of the most exalted rank, and her courage, magnanimity, prudence, and political wisdom, were such as to redeem the foibles which we have enumerated. They were virtues, of which her successor was totally destitute; for the manners of James may be truly painted by the epithets, frivolity, pusillanimity, extravagance, pedantry, and credulity.

Some of the most striking traits in his character have been drawn with great strength and vivacity in Sir John Harrington's description of an interview with this monarch, in January, 1607:-" He enquyrede,” says he, “ muche of lernynge, and showede me his owne in suche

Nugæ Antiquæ, vol. i. pp. 175, 176. † Ibid. p. 235.

+ Ibid. vol. i. p. 167. § Ibid. p. 345.

presse for


sorte, as made me remember my examiner at Cambridge aforetyme. He soughte muche to knowe my advances in philosophie, and utterede profounde sentences of Aristotle, and suche lyke wryters, whiche I had never reade, and which some are bolde enoughe to saye, others do not understand: but this I must passe by. The Prince did nowe presse my readinge to him parte of a canto in Ariosto; praysede my utterance, and said he had been informede of manie, as to my lernynge, in the tyme of the Queene. He asked me what I thoughte pure witte was made of; and whom it did best become? Whether a Kynge shoulde not be the best clerke in his own countrie; and, if this lande did not entertayne goode opinion of his lernynge and good wisdome?' His Majestie did much

my opinion touchinge the power of Satane in matter of witchcraft; and askede

with muche gravitie,— If I did trulie understande, why the devil did worke more with anciente women than others ?'

I did not refraine from a scurvey jeste, and even saide (notwithstandinge to whom it was said) that, we were taught hereof in scripture, where it is tolde, that the devil walketh in dry places. — His Highnesse tolde me the Queene his mothers deathe was visible in Scotlande before it did really happen, being, as he saide, “spoken of in secrete by those whose power

of sight presentede to them a bloodie heade dancinge in the aire.' He then did remarke muche on this gifte, and saide he had soughte out of certaine bookes a sure waie to attaine knowledge of future chances. Hereat, he namede many bookes, which I did not knowe, nor by whom written ; but advisede me not to consult some authors which woulde leade me to evill consultations —at lengthe he saide: Now, Sir, you have seené my wisdome in some sorte, and I have pried into yours. I praye you; do. me justice in your reporte, and in good season, I will not fail to add to your understandinge, in suche pointes as I maye find you lacke amendment.” *

This is an extract which lays open the heart of James, and speaks volumes on the subject.

• Ibid. vol. i. pp. 367-370.

The manners of the reigning monarch imperceptibly give a colouring to those of every class of society, stronger in proportion to its approximation to the source; a remark which is fully exemplified in the females of the reign of Elizabeth, those especially who constituted, or were near, the court, copying, according to their ability, the virtues, accomplishments, and foibles of the Queen. They were learned, skilled in needle-work, and wrote a beautiful hand, in emulation of the Queen's, which, in the earlier period of her life, was peculiarly elegant; but they were, also, vain, capricious, and in their habits and language often masculine and coarse. It was customary for ladies of the first rank to give manual correction to their servants of both sexes; a practice of which Shakspeare has given us an instance in his Twelfth-Night, where Maria, alluding to Malvolio's whimsical

appearance, says, “ I know my lady will strike him.” * Nor were often their daily occupations, or their language, when provoked, in the least degree more feminine; we are told that Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, “ was a builder, a buyer and seller of estates, a money lender, a farmer, and a merchant of lead, coals and timber;" and her laughter Mary, who married Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury,

ent the following message to Sir Thomas Stanhope, with whom she had quarrelled, by one George Williamson, which message was “ delivered by the said Williamson, February 15, 1592, in the presence of certain persons whose names were subscribed -- My Lady hath commanded me to say thus much to you. That though you be more wretched, vile, and miserable, than any creature living; and, for your wickedness, become more ugly in shape than the vilest toad in the world ; and one to whom none of reputation would vouchsafe to send any message ; yet she hath thought good to send thus much to you that she be contented you should live, (and doth nowaies wish your death) but to this end: that all the plagues and miseries that may befall any man may light upon such a caitiff as you are;


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and that you should live to have all your friends forsake you ; and, without your great repentance, which she looketh not for because your hath been so bad, you will be damned perpetually in hell fire.' With

many other opprobrious and hatefull words, which could not be remembered, because the bearer would deliver it but once, as he said he was commanded; but said if he had failed in any thing, it was in speaking it more mildly, and not in terms of such disdain as he was commanded.” *

Of the male population of this period, the manners seem to have been compounded from the characters of the two sovereigns. Like Elizabeth, they were brave, magnanimous, and prudent; and sometimes, like James, credulous, curious, and dissipated. On the virtues, happily from their notoriety, there is little occasion to comment; foreigners, as well as natives, bearing testimony to their existence : thus Hentzner tells us,—“ The English are serious, like the Germans; - they are powerful in the field, successful against their enemies, impatient of any thing like slavery.". But of the foibles and vices, as more evanescent and mutable, it may be interesting to state a few particulars.

Of the credulity and superstition which abounded during this era, and which had been fostered by the weakness of James, a sufficient detail has already been given in a former part of this work; and we shall here merely add, that Alchemistry was one of the foolish pursuits of the day. Scot, who has devoted the fourteenth book of his treatise on the “ Discoverie of Witchcraft,” to this subject, tells us that the admirable description given by Chaucer of this folly, in his Chanones Yemannes prologue and tale, still strictly applied to its cultivators in 1584, who continued to

" looke ill-favouredlie, And were alwaies tired beggarlie,

* Lodge's Illustrations of British History, vol. i. Introduction, pp. xviïi. xix. from a MS. in the possession of the Rev. Sir Richard Kaye, Dean of Lincoln.

+ Hentzner's Travels, pp. 63, 61.

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