Paul Hentzner.

Travels in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Fragmenta regalia; or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favourites online

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He was a very goodly person, tall, and singularly well-featured, and
all his youth well-favoured, of a sweet aspect, but high-foreheaded,
which (as I should take it) was of no discommendation; but towards
his latter, and which with old men was but a middle age, he grew
high-coloured, so that the Queen had much of her father, for,
expecting some of her kindred, and some few that had handsome wits
in crooked bodies, she always took personage in the way of election,
for the people hath it to this day, KING HENRY LOVED A MAN.

Being thus in her grace, she called to mind the sufferings of HIS
ancestors, both in her father's and sister's reigns, and restored
his and his brother's blood, creating Ambrose, the elder, Earl of
Warwick, and himself Earl of Leicester; and, as he was EX PRIMITIS,
or, OF HER FIRST CHOICE, so he rested not there, but long enjoyed
her favour, and therewith what he listed, till time and emulation,
the companions of greatness, resolved of his period, and to colour
him at his setting in a cloud (at Conebury) not by so violent a
death, or by the fatal sentence of a judicature, as that of his
father and grandfather was, but, as is supposed, by that poison
which he had prepared for others, wherein they report him a rare
artist. I am not bound to give credit to all vulgar relations, or
the libels of his time, which are commonly forced and falsified
suitable to the words and honours {45} of men in passion and
discontent; but what blinds me to think him no good man, amongst
other things of known truth, is that of my Lord of Essex's {46}
death in Ireland and the marriage of his lady, which I forbear to
press in regard he is long since dead, and others are living whom it
may concern.

To take him in the observation of his letters and writings, which
should best set him off, for such as have fallen into my hands, I
never yet saw a style or phrase more seemingly religious and fuller
of the strains of devotion; and, were they not sincere, I doubt much
of his well-being, {47} and, I fear, he was too well seen in the
aphorisms and principles of Nicholas the Florentine, and in the
reaches {48} of Cesare Borgia.

And hereto I have only touched him in his courtships. I conclude
him in his lance; {49} he was sent Governor by the Queen to the
revolted States of Holland, where we read not of his wonders, for
they say he had more of Mercury than he had of Mars, and that his
device might have been, without prejudice to the great Caesar, VENI,

RADCLIFFE, Earl of Sussex.

His {50} co-rival was Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, who in his
constellation was his direct opposite, for indeed he was one of the
Queen's martialists, and did her very good service in Ireland, at
her first accession, till she recalled him to the Court, whom she
made Lord Chamberlain; but he played not his game with that cunning
and dexterity as the Earl of Leicester did, who was much the fairer
courtier, though Sussex was thought much the honester man, and far
the better soldier, but he lay too open on his guard; he was a godly
gentleman, and of a brave and noble nature, true and constant to his
friends and servants; he was also of a very ancient and noble
lineage, honoured through many descents, through the title of
Fitzwalters. Moreover, there was such an antipathy in his nature to
that of Leicester, that, being together in Court, and both in high
employments, they grew to a direct frowardness, and were in
continual opposition, the one setting the watch, the other the
guard, each on the other's actions and motions; for my Lord of
Sussex was of so great spirit, which, backed with the Queen's
special favour and support, {51} by a great and ancient inheritance,
could not brook the other's empire, insomuch as the Queen upon
sundry occasions had somewhat to do to appease and atone them, until
death parted the competition, and left the place to Leicester, who
was not long alone without his rival in grace and command; and, to
conclude this favourite, it is confidently affirmed that, lying in
his last sickness, he gave this CAVEAT to his friends:-

"I am now passing into another world, and I must leave you to your
fortunes and the Queen's grace and goodness; but beware of gipsy"
(meaning Leicester), "for he will be too hard for you all; you know
not the beast so well as I do."


I come now to the next, which was Secretary William Cecil, for on
the death of the old Marquis of Winchester he came up in his room:
a person of a most subtle and active spirit.

He stood not by the way of constellation, but was wholly attentive
to the service of his mistress, and his dexterity, experience, and
merit therein challenged a room in the Queen's favour which eclipsed
the other's over-seeming greatness, and made it appear that there
were others steered and stood at the helm besides himself, and more
stars in the firmament of grace than Ursa Major.

He was born, as they say, in Lincolnshire, but, as some aver upon
knowledge, of a younger brother of the Cecils of Hertfordshire, a
family of my own knowledge, though now private, yet of no mean
antiquity, who, being exposed, and sent to the City, as poor
gentlemen used to do their sons, became to be a rich man on London
Bridge, and purchased {52} in Lincolnshire, where this man was born.

He was sent to Cambridge, and then to the Inns of Court, and so came
to serve the Duke of Somerset in the time of his Protectorship as
Secretary, and having a pregnancy to high inclinations, he came by
degrees to a higher conversation with the chiefest affairs of State
and Councils; but, on the fall of the duke, he stood some years in
umbrage and without employment, till the State found they needed his
abilities; and although we find not that he was taken into any place
during Mary's reign, unless (as some say) towards the last, yet the
Council several times made use of him, and in the Queen's {53}
entrance he was admitted Secretary of State; afterwards he was made
Master of the Court of Wards, then Lord Treasurer, for he was a
person of most excellent abilities; and, indeed, the Queen began to
need and seek out men of both guards, and so I conclude to rank this
{54} great instrument amongst the TOGATI, for he had not to do with
the sword, more than as the great paymaster and contriver of the war
which shortly followed, wherein he accomplished much, through his
theoretical knowledge at home and his intelligence abroad, by
unlocking of the counsels of the Queen's enemies.

We must now take it, and that of truth, into observation that, until
the tenth of her reign, the times were calm and serene, though
sometimes overcast, as the most glorious sun-rising is subject to
shadowings and droppings, for the clouds of Spain, and the vapours
of the Holy League, began to disperse and threaten her felicity.
Moreover, she was then to provide for some intestine strangers,
which began to gather in the heart of her kingdom, all which had
relation and correspondency, each one to the other, to dethrone her
and to disturb the public tranquillity, and therewithal, as a
principal mark, the Established religion, for the name of Recusant
then began first to be known to the world; until then the Catholics
were no more than Church-Papists, {55} but now, commanded by the
Pope's express Catholic Church, their mother, they separate
themselves; so it seems the Pope had then his aims to take a true
number of his children; but the Queen had the greater advantage, for
she likewise took tale of her opposite subjects, their strength and
how many they were, that had given their names to Baal, who {56}
then by the hands of some of his proselytes fixed his bulls on the
gates of St. Paul's, which discharged her subjects of all fidelity
and received faith, and so, under the veil of the next successor, to
replant the Catholic religion. So that the Queen had then a new
task and work in hand that might well awake her best providence, and
required a muster of new arms, as well as courtships and counsels,
for the time then began to grow quick and active, fitter for
stronger motions than them of the carpet and measure; and it will be
a true note of her magnanimity that she loved a soldier, and had a
propensity in her nature to regard and always to grace them, which
the Court, taking it into their consideration, took it as an
inviting to win honour, together with Her Majesty's favour, by
exposing themselves to the wars, especially when the Queen and the
affairs of the kingdom stood in some necessity of the soldiers, for
we have many instances of the sallies of the nobility and gentry;
yea, and of the Court and her privy favourites, that had any touch
or tincture of Mars in their inclinations, to steal away without
licence and the Queen's privity, which had like to cost some of them
dear, so predominant were their thoughts and hopes of honour grown
in them, as we may truly observe in the exposition of Sir Philip
Sidney, my Lord of Essex and Mountjoy, and divers others, whose
absence, and the manner of their eruptions, was very distasteful
unto her, whereof I can hereunto add a true and no impertinent
story, and that of the last: Mountjoy, who, having twice or thrice
stole away into Brittany, where, under Sit John Norris, he had then
a company, without the Queen's leave and privity, she sent a message
unto him with a strict charge to the general to see him sent home.

When he came into the Queen's presence, she fell into a kind
railing, demanding of him how he durst go over without her leave.
"Serve me so," quoth she, "once more, and I will lay you fast enough
for running; you will never leave till you are knocked on the head,
as that inconsiderate fellow Sidney was; you shall go when I send.
In the meantime, see that you lodge in the Court" (which was then at
Whitehall), "where you may follow your book, read, and discourse of
the wars." But to our purpose. It fell out happily to those, and,
as I may say, to these times, that the Queen during the calm time of
her reign was not idle, nor rocked asleep with security, for she had
been very provident in the reparation and augmentation of her
shipping and ammunition, and I know not whether by a foresight of
policy, or any instinct, it came about, or whether it was an act of
her compassion, but it is most certain she sent no small troops to
the revolted States of Holland, before she had received any affront
from the King of Spain, that might deserve to tend to a breach of
hostility, which the Papists maintain to this day was the
provocation to the after-wars; but, omitting what might be said to
this point, these Netherland wars were the Queen's seminaries or
nursery of very many brave soldiers, and so likewise were the civil
wars of France, whither she sent five several armies.

They were the French scholars that inured the youth and gentry of
the kingdom, and it was a militia, where they were daily in
acquaintance with the discipline of the Spaniards, who were then
turned the Queen's inveterate enemies.

And thus have I taken in observation her DIES HALCYONII - I.E., these
years of hers which were more serene and quiet than those that
followed, which, though they were not less propitious, as being
touched more with the points of honour and victory, yet were they
troubled and loaded ever, both with domestic and foreign
machinations; and, as it is already quoted, they were such as
awakened her spirits and made her cast about her to defend rather by
offending, and by way of provision to prevent all invasions, than to
expect them, which was a piece of the cunning of the times; and with
this I have noted the causes and PRINCIPIUM {57} of the wars
following, and likewise points to the seed-plots from whence she
took up these brave men and plants of honour who acted on the
theatre of Mars, and on whom she dispersed the rays of her grace;
who were persons, in their kinds of care, virtuous, and such as
might, out of their merit, pretend interest to her favours, of which
rank the number will equal, if not exceed, that of her gown-men, in
recount of whom I will proceed with Sir Philip Sidney.


He was the son of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and
President of Wales, a person of great parts, and of no mean grace
with the Queen; his mother was sister to my Lord of Leicester, from
whence we may conjecture how the father stood up in the sphere of
honour and employments, so that his descent was apparently noble on
both sides; and for his education, it was such as travel and the
University could afford none better, and his tutors infuse; for,
after an incredible proficiency in all the spheres of learning, he
left the academical for that of the Court, whither he came by his
uncle's invitation, famed after by noble reports of his
accomplishments, which, together with the state of his person,
framed by a natural propensity to arms, soon attracted the good
opinions of all men, and was so highly praised in the esteem of the
Queen, that she thought the Court deficient without him; and
whereas, through the fame of his desert, he was in election for the
kingdom of Pole, {58} she refused to further his preferment, it was
not out of emulation of advancement, but out of fear to lose the
jewel of her time. He married the daughter and sole heir of Sir
Frances Walsingham, the Secretary of State, a lady destined to the
bed of honour, who, after his deplorable death at Zutphen, in the
Low Countries, where he was at the time of his uncle Leicester's
being there, was remarried to the Lord of Essex, and, since his
death, to my Lord of St. Albans, all persons of the sword, and
otherwise of great honour and virtue.

They have a very quaint conceit of him, that Mars and Mercury fell
at variance whose servant he should be; and there is an
epigrammatist that saith that Art and Nature had spent their
excellences in his fashioning, and, fearing they could not end what
they had begun, they bestowed him up for time, and Nature stood mute
and amazed to behold her own mark; but these are the particulars of

Certain it is he was a noble and matchless gentleman, and it may be
said justly of him, without these hyperboles of faction, as it was
of Cato Uticensis, that he seemed to be born only to that which he
went about, VIR SATILIS INGENII, as Plutarch saith it; but to speak
more of him were to make them less.


Sir Francis Walsingham, as we have said, had the honour to be Sir
Philip Sidney's father-in-law; he was a gentleman at first, of a
good house, and of a better education, and from the University
travelled for the rest of his learning. Doubtless he was the only
linguist of his times, how to use his own tongue, whereby he came to
be employed in the chiefest affairs of State.

He was sent Ambassador to France, and stayed there LEGAR long in the
heat of the civil wars, and at the same time that Monsieur was here
a suitor to the Queen; and, if I be not mistaken, he played the very
same part there as since Gondomar did here. {59} At his return he
was taken principal Secretary, and for one of the great engines of
State, and of the times, high in his mistress's (the Queen's)
favour, and a watchful servant over the safety of his mistress.

They note him to have certain courtesies and secret ways of
intelligence above the rest; but I must confess I am to seek
wherefore he suffered Parry {60} to play so long as he did, hang on
the hook, before he hoisted him up; and I have been a little curious
in the search thereof, though I have not to do with the ARCANA
REGALIA IMPERII, for to know it is sometimes a burden; and I
remember it was Ovid's criminant error that he saw too much, but I
hope these are collaterals, and of no danger.

But that Parry, having an intent to kill the Queen, made the way of
his access by betraying of others, and in impeaching of the priests
of his own correspondency, and thereby had access to confer with the
Queen, as oftentimes private and familiar discourse with Walsingham,
will not be the query of the mystery, for the Secretary might have
had an end of a further discovery and maturity of the treason; but
that, after the Queen knew Parry's intent, why she would then admit
him to private discourse, and Walsingham to suffer him, considering
the conditions of all the designs, and to permit him to go where and
whither he listed, and only under the secrecy of a dark sentinel set
over him, was a piece of reach and hazard beyond my apprehension. I
must again profess that I have read many of his letters, for they
are commonly sent to my Lord of Leicester and of Burleigh out of
France, containing many fine passages and secrets, yet, if I might
have been beholding to his cyphers, they would have told pretty
tales of the times; but I must now close him up, and rank him
amongst the TOGATI, yet chief of those that laid the foundations of
the French and Dutch wars, which was another piece of his fineness
of the times, with one observation more, that he was one of the
greatest always of the Austrian embracements, for both himself and
Stafford that preceded him might well have been compared to him in
the Gospel that sowed his tares in the night; so did they their
seeds in division in the dark; and as it is a likely report that
they father on him at his return, the Queen speaking to him with
some sensibility of the Spanish designs on France: "Madam," he
answered, "I beseech you be content, and fear not; the Spaniard hath
a great appetite and an excellent digestion, but I have fitted him
with a bone for these twenty years that your Majesty should have no
cause to doubt him, provided that, if the fire chance to slake which
I have kindled, you will be ruled by me, and cast in some of your
fuel, which will revive the flame."


My Lord Willoughby was one of the Queen's first swordsmen; he was of
the ancient extract of the Bartewes, but more ennobled by his
mother, who was Duchess of Suffolk. He was a great master of the
art MILITARY, and was sent general into France, and commanded the
second army of five the Queen had sent thither, in aid of the
French. I have heard it spoken that, had he not slighted the Court,
but applied himself to the Queen, he might have enjoyed a plentiful
portion of her grace; and it was his saying, and it did him no good,
that he was none of the REPTILIA, intimating that he could not creep
on the ground, and that the Court was not his element; for, indeed,
as he was a great soldier, so he was of a suitable magnanimity, and
could not brook the obsequiousness and assiduity of the Court; and
as he was then somewhat descending from youth, happily he had an
ANIMAM REVERTENDI, or a desire to make a safe retreat.


And now I come to another of the TOGATI, Sir Nicholas Bacon, an
arch-piece of wit and of wisdom. He was a gentleman, and a man of
law, and of a great knowledge therein, whereby, together with his
after-part of learning and dexterity, he was promoted to be Keeper
of the Great Seal, and being of kin to the Treasurer Burleigh, and
{61} also the help of his hand to bring him to the Queen's great
favour, for he was abundantly facetious, which took much with the
Queen, when it suited with the season, as he was well able to judge
of the times; he had a very quaint saying, and he used it often to
good purpose, "that he loved the jest well, but not the loss of his
friend;" and that, though he knew that "VERUS QUISQUE SUAE FORTUNAE
FABER," was a true and good principle, yet the most in number were
those that numbered themselves, but I will never forgive that man
that loseth himself to be rid of his jests.

He was father to that refined wit which since hath acted a
disastrous part on the public stage, and of late sat in his father's
room as Lord Chancellor; those that lived in his age, and from
whence I have taken this little model of him, give him a lively
character, and they decipher him to be another Solon, and the Simon
of those times, such a one as OEdipus was in dissolving of riddles;
doubtless he was an able instrument, as it was his commendation that
his head was the mallet, for it was a very great one, and therein
kept a wedge, that entered all knotty pieces that come to the table.

And now again I must fall back to smooth and plane a way to the rest
that is behind, but not from my purpose. There have been, about
this time, two rivals in the Queen's favour, old Sir Francis
Knowles, Comptroller of the House, and Sir Henry Norris, whom she
had called up at Parliament to sit with the Peers in the higher
House, as, Henry Norris of Rycot, who had married the daughter and
heir of the old Henry Williams of Tayne, a noble person, and to
whom, in her adversity, the Queen had been committed to his safe
custody, and from him had received more than ordinary observances;
now, such was the goodness of the Queen's nature, that she neither
forgot the good turns received from the Lord Williams, neither was
she unmindful of this Lord Norris, whose father, in her father's
time, and in the business of her brother, died in a noble cause, and
in the justification of her innocency.


My Lord Norris had, by this lady, an apt issue, which the Queen
highly respected, for he had six sons, and all martial and brave
men: the first was William, the eldest, and father to the late Earl
of Berkshire, Sir John (vulgarly called General Norris), Sir Edward,
Sir Thomas, Sir Henry, and Maximilian, men of haughty courage, and
of great experience in the conduct of military affairs; and, to
speak in the character of their merit, they were persons of such
renown and worth as future times must, of duty, owe them the debt of
an honourable memory.


Sir Francis Knowles was somewhat near in the Queen's affinity, and
had likewise no incompetent issue; for he had also William, his
eldest son, and since Earl of Banbury, Sir Thomas, Sir Robert, and
Sir Francis, if I be not a little mistaken in their names and
marshalling; and there was also the Lady Lettice, a sister of those,
who was first Countess of Essex, and after of Leicester; and those
were also brave men in their times and places, but they were of the
Court and carpet, and not by the genius of the camp.

Between these two families there was, as it falleth out amongst
great ones and competitors of favour, no great correspondency; and
there were some seeds, either of emulation or distrust, cast between
them; which, had they not been disjoined in the residence of their
persons, as that was the fortune of their employments, the one side
attending the Court, and the other the Pavilion, surely they would
have broken out into some kind of hostility, or, at least, they
would entwine and wrestle one in the other, like trees circled with
ivy; for there was a time when, both these fraternities being met at
Court, there passed a challenge between them at certain exercises,
the Queen and the old men being spectators, which ended in a flat
quarrel amongst them all. For I am persuaded, though I ought not to
judge, that there were some relics of this feigned that were long
after the causes of the one family's almost utter extirpation, and
the other's improsperity; for it was a known truth that so long as
my Lord of Leicester lived, who was the main pillar on the one side,
for having married the sister, the other side took no deep root in
the Court, though otherwise they made their ways to honour by their
swords. And that which is of more note, considering my Lord of
Leicester's use of men of war, being shortly after sent Governor to
the revolted States, and no soldier himself, is that he made no more
account of Sir John Norris, a soldier, then deservedly famous, and
trained from a page under the discipline of the greatest captain in
Christendom, the Admiral Castilliau, and of command in the French
and Dutch Wars almost twenty years. And it is of further
observation that my Lord of Essex, after Leicester's decease, though
addicted to arms and honoured by the general in the Portugal
expedition, whether out of instigation, as it hath been thought, or
out of ambition and jealousy, eclipsed by the fame and splendour of
this great commander, never loved him in sincerity.

Moreover, and certain it is, he not only crushed, and upon all
occasions quelled the youth of this great man and his famous
brethren, but therewith drew on his own fatal end, by undertaking
the Irish action in a time when he left the Court empty of friends,
and full-fraught with his professed enemies. But I forbear to
extend myself in any further relation upon this subject, as having

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Online LibraryPaul HentznerTravels in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Fragmenta regalia; or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favourites → online text (page 6 of 9)