Francis Bacon.

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I may term it, natural estimation of metals, and again
of the uncertainty and wavering values of coins, a very
labyrinth of cousenages and abuse, yet such as great
princes have made their profit of towards their own

26 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

people. Pass on from the mint to the revenue and
receipts : there shall you find no raising of rents, not-
withstanding the alteration of prices and the usage of
the times ; but the over value, besides a reasonable
fine left for the relief of tenants and reward of ser-
vants; no raising of customs, notwithstanding her
continual charges of setting to the sea ; no extremity
taken of forfeiture and penal laws, means used by
some kings for the gathering of great treasures. A
few forfeitures, indeed, not taken to her own purse,
but set over to some others for the trial only, whether
gain could bring those laws to be well executed,
which the ministers of justice did neglect. But after
it was found, that only compassions were used, and
the law never the nearer the execution, the course
was straight suppressed and discontinued. Yea, there
have been made laws more than one in her time for
the restraint of the vexation of informers and pro-
moters : nay, a course taken by her own direction for
the repealing of all heavy and snared laws, if it had
not been crossed by those to whom the benefit should
have redounded. There shall you find no new taxes,
impositions, nor devices; but the benevolence of the
subject freely offered by assent of parliament, accord-
ing to the ancient rates, and with great moderation
in assessment ; and not so only, but some new forms
of contribution offered likewise by the subject in par-
liament ; and the demonstration of their devotion only
accepted, but the thing never put in use. There shall
you find loans, but honourably answered and paid, as
it were the contract of a private man. To conclude,
there shall you find moneys levied upon failts of lands,
alienation, though not of the ancient patrimony, yet
of the rich and commodious purchases and perquisites
of the crown only, because she will not be grievous
and burdensome to the people. This treasure, so in-
nocently levied, so honourably gathered and raised,
with such tenderness to the subject, without any base-
ness or dryness at all ; how hath it been expended
and employed ? Where be the wasteful buildings,
and the exorbitant and prodigal donatives, the sump-

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth. 27

tuous dissipations in pleasures, and vain ostentations
which we find have exhausted the coffers of so many
kings ? It is the honour of her house, the royal remu-
nerating of her servants, the preservation of her peo-
ple and state, the protection of her suppliants and
allies, the encounter, breaking, and defeating the ene-
mies of her realm, that hath been the only pores and
pipes whereby the treasures hath issued. Hath it been
the sinews of a blessed and prosperous peace ? Hath
she bought her peace ? Hath she lent the king of
Spain money upon some cavillation not to be re-
peated, and so bought his favour? And hath she
given large pensions to corrupt his council ? No, but
she hath used the most honourable diversion of trou-
bles that can be in the world. She hath kept the fire
from her own walls by seeking to quench it in her
neighbours. That poor brand of the state of Bur-
gundy, and that other of the crown of France that
remaineth , had been in ashes but for the ready foun-
tain of her continual benignity. For the honour of
her house it is well known, that almost the universal
manners of the times doth incline to a certain parsi-
mony and dryness in that kind of expence ; yet that
she retaineth the ancient magnificence, the allowance
as full, the charge greater than in time of her father,
or any king before ; the books appear, the computa-
tion will not flatter. And for the remunerating and
rewarding of her servants, and the attendance of the
court, let a man cast and sum up all the books of
gifts, fee-farms, leases and custodies that have passed
her bountiful hands. Let him consider again what a
number of commodious and gainful offices heretofore
bestowed upon men of other education and profession,
have been withdrawn and conferred upon her court.
Let him remember what a number of other gifts dis-
guised by other names, but in effect as good as money
given out of her coffers, have been granted by her ;
and he will conclude, that her royal mind is far above
her means. The other benefits of her politic, clement,
and gracious government towards the subjects are,
without number 5 the state of justice good, not with-

28 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

standing the great subtilty and humourous affections
of these times ; the security of peace greater than can
be described by that verse ;

Tutus bos etenim rura perambulat :
Nutrit rura Ceres, almaque Faujiitas.
Or that other,

Condit quisque diem collibus in suis.
The opulency of the peace such, as if you have re-
spect, to take one sign for many, to the number of
fair houses that have been built during her reign, as
Augustus said, " that he had received the city of
brick, and left it of marble ;" so she may say, she re-
ceived it a realm of cottages, and hath made it a
realm of palaces : the state of traffic great and rich :
the customs, notwithstanding these wars and inter-
ruptions, not fallen : many profitable trades, many
honourable discoveries : and lastly, to make an end
where no end is, the shipping of this realm so ad-
vanced and made so mighty and potent, as this island
is become, as the natural site thereof deserved, the
lady of the sea ; a point of so high consequence, as it
may be truly said, that the commandment of the sea
is an abridgement or quintessence of an universal mo-

This and much more hath she merited of her sub-
jects : now to set forth the merit of her neighbours and
the states about her. It seemeth the things have
made themselves purveyors of continual, new, and
noble occasions for her to shew them benignity, and
that the fires of troubles abroad have been ordained to
be as lights and tapers to make her virtue and magna-
nimity more apparent. For when that one, stranger
born, the family of Guise, being as a hasty weed
sprung up in a night, had spread itself to a greatness,
not civil but seditious ; a greatness, not of encounter
of the ancient nobility, not of preeminency in the
favour of kings, and not remiss of affairs from kings;
but a greatness of innovation in state, of usurpations
of authority, of affecting of crowns ; and that accord-
ingly, under colour of consanguinity and religion, they
had brought French forces into Scotland, in the

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth. 29

abfence of their king and queen being within their
ufurped tutele; and that the ancient nobility of this
realm, seeing the imminent danger of reducing that
kingdom under the tyranny of foreigners and their fac-
tion, had, according to the good intelligence betwixt
the two crowns, prayed her neighbourly fuccours : ihe
undertook the action, expelled the strangers, and re-
stored the nobility to their degree. And lest any man
should think her intent was to unnestle ill neighbours,
and not to aid good neighbours, or that she was readier
to restore what was invaded by others than to render
what was in her own hands ; see if the time provided
not a new occasion afterwards, when through their
own divisions, without the intermise of strangers, her
forces were again sought and required ; she forsook
them not, prevailed so far as to be possessed of the
castle of Edinburgh, the principal strength of that
kingdom, with peace, incontinently, without cuncta-
tions or cavillations, the preambles of a wavering faith,
she rendered with all honour and security ; and his
person to safe and -faithful hands; and so ever after
during his minority continued his principal guardian
and protector. In the time and between the two oc-
casions of Scotland, when the same faction of Guise,
covered still with pretence of religion, and strengthened
by the desire of retaining government in the queen
mother of France, had raised and moved civil wars in
that kingdom, only to extirpate the ancient nobility,
by shocking them one against another, and to waste
that realm as a candle which is lighted at both ends:
and that those of the religion, being near of the blood-
royal, and otherwise of the greatest house in France,
and great officers of the crown opposed themselves
only against their insolency, and to their supports
called in her aid, giving unto them Newhaven for a
place of security : see with what alacrity, in tender
regard towards the fortune of that young king, whose
name was used to the suppliants of his strength, she
embraced the enterprise ; and by their support and
reputation the same party suddenly made great pro-
ceedings, and in conclusion made their peace as they

30 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

would themselves : and although they joined them-
selves against her, and performed the parts rather of
good patriots than of good confederates, and that after
great demonstration of valour in her subjects. For as
the French will to this day report, especially by the
great mortality by the hand of God, and the rather
because it is known she did never much affect the
holding of that town to her own use ; it was left, and
her forces withdrawn, yet did that nothing diminish
her merit of the crown, and namely of that party who
recovered by it such strength, as by that and no other
thing they subsisted long after : and lest that any should
sinisterly and maliciously interpret that she did nourish
those divisions ; who knoweth not what faithful advice,
continual and earnest solicitation she used by her am-
bassadors and ministers to the French kings succes-
sively, and to their mother, to move them to keep
their edi&s of pacification, to retain their own autho-
rity and greatness by the union of her subjects ? Which
counsel, if it had been as happily followed, as it was
prudently and sincerely given ; France at this day had
been a most flourishing kingdom, which now is a
theatre of misery. And now at last, when the said
house of Guise, being one of the whips of God,
whereof themselves are but the cords, and Spain the
stock, had by their infinite aspiring practises wrought
the miracles of states, to make a king in possession
long established to play again for his crown, without
any title of a competitor, without any invasion of a
foreign enemy, yea, without any combination in sub-
stance of a blood-royal or nobility ; but only by furring
in audacious persons into sundry governments, and
by making the populace of towns drunk with seditious
preachers : and that king Henry the Third, awaked
by those pressing dangers, was compelled to execute
the duke of Guise without ceremony ; and yet never-
theless found the despair of so many persons embarked
and engaged in that conspiracy, so violent, as the
flame thereby was little assuaged ; so that he was in-
forced to implore her aids and succours. Consider
how benign care and good correspondence she gave

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth. 31

,to the distressed requests of that king; and he soon
after being, by the sacrilegious hand of a wretched
Jacobin lifted up against the sacred person of his na-
tural sovereign, taken away, not wherein the crimi-
nous blood of Guise, but the innocent blood which he
hath often spilled by instigation of him and his house
was revenged, and that this worthy gentleman who
reigneth come to the crown ; it will not be forgotten
by so grateful a king, nor by so observing an age, how
ready, how opportune and reasonable, how royal and
sufficient her succours were, whereby she enlarged
him at that time, and preferred him to his better for-
tune : and ever since in those tedious wars, wherein
he hath to do with a Hydra, or a monster with many
heads, she hath supported him with treasure, with
forces, and with employment of one that she favoureth
most. What shall I speak of the offering of Don An-
thony to his fortune ; a devoted catholic, only com-
mended unto her by his oppressed state ? What shall
I say of the great storm of a mighty invasion, not of
preparation, but in act, by the Turk upon the king of
Poland, lately dissipated only by the beams of her re-
putation : which with the Grand Signer is greater than
that of all the states of Europe put together? But let
me rest upon the honourable and continual aid and
relief she hath gotten to the distressed and desolate
people of the Low Countries ; a people recommended
unto her by ancient confederacy and daily intercourse,
by their cause so innocent, and their fortune so la-
mentable. And yet notwithstanding, to keep the
conformity of her own proceeding never stained with
the least note of ambition or malice, she refused the
sovereignty of divers of those goodly provinces offered
unto her with great instance, to have been accepted
with great contentment both of her own people and
others, and justly to be derived either in respect of the
hostility of Spain, or in respect of the conditions, li-
berties and privileges of those subjects, and without
charge, danger, and offence to the king of Spain and
his partisans. She hath taken upon her their defence
and protection without any further avail or profit unto

32 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

herself, than the honour and merit of her benignity to
the people that hath been pursued by their natural
king only upon passion and wrath, in such sort that
he doth consume his means upon revenge. And,
having to verify that which I said, that her merits
have extended to her greatest enemies -, let it be re-
membered what hath passed in that matter between
the king of Spain and her : how in the beginning of
the troubles there, she gave and imparted to him faith-
ful and friendly advice touching the course that was
to be taken for quieting and appeasing of them.
Then she interposed herself to most just and reasona-
ble capitulations, wherein always should have been pre-
served unto him as ample interest, jurisdiction, and su-
periority in those countries as he in right could claim,
or a prince well-minded would seek to have : and,
which is the greatest point, she did by her advice,
credit and policy, and all good means, interrupt
and appeach, that the same people by despair should
not utterly alien and distract themselves from the obe-
dience of the king of Spain, and cast themselves into
the arms of a stranger: insomuch, that it is most true,
that she did ever persuade the duke of Anjou from
that action, notwithstanding the affection she bare to
that duke, and the obstinacy which she saw daily
growing in the king of Spain. Lastly, to touch the
mighty general merit of this queen, bear in mind,
that her benignity and beneficence hath been as large
as the oppression and ambition of Spain. For to begin
with the church of Rome, that pretended apostolic see
is become but a donative cell of the king of Spain; the
vicar of Christ is become the king of Spain's chaplain ;
he parteth the coming in of the new pope, for the
treasure of the old : he was wont to exclude but some
two or three cardinals, and to leave the election of
the rest ; but now he doth include, and present di-
rectly some small number, all incapable and incom-
patible with the conclave, put in only for colour, ex-
cept one or two. The states of Italy, they be like
little quillets of freehold being intermixt in the midst
of a great honour or lordship ; France is turned upside

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth . S3

down, the subject against the king, cut and mangled
infinitely, a country of Rodamonts and Roytelets, far-
mers of the ways: Portugal usurped by no' other title
than strength and vicinity : the Low Countries warred
upon, because he seeketh, not to possess them, for
they were possessed by him before, but to plant there
an absolute and martial government, and to suppress
their liberties : the like at this day attempted upon
Arragon : the poor Indies, whereas the Christian reli-
gion generally brought infranchisement of slaves in all
places where it came, in a contrary course are brought
from freemen to be slaves, and slaves of most miserable
condition : sundry trains and practises of this king's
ambition in Germany, Denmark, Scotland, the east
towns, are not unknown. Then it is her government,
and her government alone, that had been the sconce
and fort of all Europe, which hath lett this proud na-
tion from over-running all. If any state be yet free
from his factions erected in the bowels thereof; if
there be any state wherein this faction is erected, that
is not yet fired with civil troubles ; if there be any state
under his protection upon whom he usurpeth not ; if
there be any subject to him that enjoyeth moderate
liberty, upon whom he tyrannizeth not : Jet them all
know, it is by the mercy of this renowned queen, that
standeth between them and their misfortunes. These
be some of the beams of noble and radiant magnani-
mity, in contempt of peril which so manifestly, in con-
tempt of profit w hich so many admire, and in merit of the
world which so many include in themselves ; set forth
in my simplicity of speech with much loss of lustre,
but with near approach of truth ; as the sun is seen in
the water.

Now to pass to the excellencies of her person : the A persona,
view of them wholly and not severally, do make so
sweet a wonder, as I fear to divide them. Again,
nobility extracted out of the royal and victorious line
of the kings of England ; yea, both roses, white and
red, do as well nourish in her nobility as in her beauty,
as health, such as was like she should have that was
brought forth by two of the most goodly princes in the

VOL. Ill, D

34 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

world, in the strength of their years, in the heat of
their love ; that hath been injured neither with an
over-liberal nor over-curious diet, that hath not been
sustained by an umbratile life still under the roof, but
strengthened by the use of the pure and open air, that
still retaineth flower and vigour of youth. For the
beauty and many graces of her presence, what colours
are fine enough for such a portraiture ? let no light
poet be used for such a description, but the chastest
and the royalest :

Of her gait ; Et vera incessu patuit Dea.

Of her voice; Nee vox hominem sonat.

Of her eye ; Et laetos oculis afflavit honores.

Of her colour; Indum sanguineo velutiviolaverit oslro
Si quis ebur.

Of her neck ; Et rosea cervice refulsit.

Of her breast; Veste sinus collectajluentes.

Of her hair; Ambrosiaeque comae dimnum vertice


If this be presumption, let him bear the blame that
owneth the verses. What shall I speak of her rare
qualities of compliment ; which as they be excellent
in the things themselves, so they have always beside
somewhat of a queen; and as queens use shadows
and veils with their rich apparel; methinks in all her
qualities there is somewhat that flieth from ostentation,
and yet iriviteth the mind to contemplate her more ?
A sermone. What should I speak of her excellent gift of speech,
being a character of the greatness of her conceit, the
height of her degree, and the sweetness of her nature?
What life, what edge is there in those words and
glances wherewith at pleasure she can give a man
long to think ; be it that she mean to daunt him, to
encourage him, or to amaze him ! How admirable is
her discourse, w ? hether it be in learning, state, or love !
what variety of knowledge ; what rareness of conceit ;
what choice of words ; what grace of utterance ! Doth
it not appear, that though her wit be as the adamant
of excellencies, w ? hich draweth out of any book an-
cient or new, out of any writing or speech, the best ;

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth. 35

yet she refineth it, she enricheth it far above the valu e
wherein it is received ? And is her speech only that
language which the child learneth with pleasure, and
not those which the studious learn with industry ? Hath
she not attained, beside her rare eloquence in her own
language, infinitely polished since her happy times,
changes of her languages both learned and modern ?
so that she is able to negotiate with divers ambassadors
in their own languages ; and that with no disadvan-
tage unto them, who I think cannot but have a great
part of their wits distracted from their matters in hand
to the contemplation and admiration of such perfec-
tions. What should I wander on to speak of the ex-
cellencies of her nature, which cannot endure to be
looked on with a discontented eye : of the constancy
of her favours, which maketh service as a journey by
Jand, whereas the service of other princes is like an
embarking by sea. For her royal wisdom and policy
of government, he that shall note and observe the pru-
dent temper she useth in admitting access ; of the one
side maintaining the majesty of her degree, and on
the other side not prejudicing herself by looking to her
estate through too few windows : her exquisite judg-
ment in choosing and finding good servants, a point
beyond the former, her profound discretion in assign-
ing and appropriating every of them to their, aptest
employment : her penetrating sight in discovering
every man's ends and drifts; her wonderful art in
keeping servants in satisfaction, and yet in appetite :
her inventing wit in contriving plots and overturns :
her exact caution in censuring the propositions of
others for her service : her foreseeing events : her usage
of occasions : he that shall consider of these, and
other things that may not well be touched, as he shall
never cease to wonder at such a queen, so he shall
wonder the less, that in so dangerous times, when
wits are so cunning, humours extravagant, passions
so violent, the corruptions so great, the dissimulations
so deep, factions <so many ; she hath notwithstand-r
ing done such great things, and reigned in felicity,

D 2

36 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

Afortuna. To speak of her fortune, that which I did reserve
for a garland of her honour ; and that is, that she
liveth a virgin, and hath no children : so it is that
which maketh all her other virtues and acts more sa-
cred, more august, more divine. Let them leave
children that leave no other memory in their times :
Brutorum aetcrnitas, soboles. Revolve in histories the
memories of happy men, and you shall not find any of
rare felicity but either he died childless, or his line spent
soon after his death ; or else was unfortunate in his
children. Should a man have them to be slain by his
vassals, as the posthumus of Alexander the great was ?
or to call them his imposthumes, as Augustus Caesar
called his ? Peruse the catalogue : Cornelius Sylla, Ju-
lius Caesar, Flavius Vespasianus, Severus, Constan-
tinus the great, and many more. Generare et liber i,
liumana : creare et operari, dlvina. And therefore,
this objection removed, let us proceed to take a view
of her felicity.

Afclidtate. A mate of fortune she never took: only some ad*
versity she passed at the first, to give her a quicker
sense of the prosperity that should follow, and to make
her more reposed in the divine providence. Well, she
cometh to the crown : It was no small fortune to find
at her entrance some such servants and counsellors as
she then found. The French king, who at this time,
by reason of the peace concluded with Spain, and of
the interest he had in Scotland, might have proved a
dangerous neighbour : by how strange an accident
was he taken away? The king of Spain, who, if he
would have inclined to reduce the Low Countries by
lenity, considering the goodly revenues which he
drew from those countries, the great commodity to
annoy her state from thence, might have made mighty
and perilous matches against her repose ; putteth on a
resolution not only to use the means of those countries,
but to spend and consume all his other means, the
treasure of his Indies, and the forces of his ill-com-
pacted dominions there and upon them. The Carles
that rebelled in the North, before the Duke of Ncr-

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth. 37

folk's plot, which, indeed, was the strength and feal
of that commotion, was fully ripe, broke forth, and
prevented their time. The king Sebastian of Portugal,
whom the king of Spain would fain have persuaded
that it was a devouter enterprise to purge Christendom,
than to enlarge it, though I know some think that he

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) → online text (page 3 of 45)