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that hath lived to an extreme and impotent old age, but he hath suffered some detriment in his territories, and gone less in his reputation. Of which thing there is a most eminent example in Philip the Second, King of Spain, a most puissant prince, and an excellent governor, who in the last years of his life, and impotent old age, was sensible of this whereof we speak; and therefore with great circumspection submitted himself to nature's law, voluntarily surrendered the territories he had gotten in France, established a firm peace in that kingdom, attempted the like in other places, that so he might transmit his kingdoms peaceable and entire to his next heir. Contrariwise, Queen Elizabeth's fortune was so constant and deeply rooted, that no disaster in any of her dominions accompanied her indeed declining, but still able years: nay further, for an undeniable token of her felicity, she died not before the rebellion in Ireland was fortunately decided, and quashed by a battle there, lest otherwise it might have defalcated from the total sum of her glory. Now the condition also of the people over whom she reigned, I take to be a matter worthy our observation; for if her lot had fallen amongst the desolate Palmyrenes, or in Asia, a soft and effeminate race of men, a woman-prince might have been sufficient for a womanish people; but for the English, a nation stout and warlike, to be ruled by the check of a woman, and to yield so humble obedience to her, is a thing deserving the highest admiration.

Neither was this disposition of her people (hungry

of war, and unwillingly bowing to peace) any impediment to her, but that she enjoyed and maintained peace all her days: and this desire in her of peace, together with her fortunate accomplishment thereof, I reckon to be one of her chiefest praises. For this was happy for her times, comely for her sex, and comfortable to her conscience. Indeed, about the tenth year of her reign, there was an offer of a commotion in the northern parts, but it was soon laid asleep and extinguished; but all her reign beside was free from the least breath or air of civil broils. Now I judge the peace maintained by her to be the more eminent for two causes, which indeed make nothing for the merit of that peace, but much for the honour the one, that it was set off, and made more conspicuous by the broils and dissentions of neighbouring nations, as it were by so many lights and torches the other, that amidst the benefits of peace she lost not the honour of arms; insomuch, that the reputation of the English arms was not only preserved, but also advanced by her upon many glorious occasions. For the succours sent into the Netherlands, France, and Scotland, the expeditions by sea into both the Indies, whereof some circled the whole globe of the earth; the fleets sent into Portugal, and to annoy the coasts of Spain: and lastly, the often suppressions and overthrows of the rebels in Ireland, did both shew the warlike prowess of our nation to be no whit diminished, and did much increase the renown of the queen.

There was another thing that did greatly ad

vance her glory; that both by her timely succours, her neighbour kings were settled in their rightful thrones, and the suppliant people, who by the ill advisedness of their kings were abandoned and given over to the cruelty of their ministers, and to the fury of the multitude, and to all manner of butchery and desolation, were relieved by her; by reason whereof they subsist unto this day. Neither was she a princess less benign and fortunate in the influence of her counsels, than of her succours; as being one that had oftentimes interceded to the King of Spain, to mitigate his wrath against his subjects in the Netherlands, and to reduce them to his obedience upon some tolerable conditions; and further, as being one that did perpetually and upon all occasions, represent to the French kings the observation of their own edicts, so often declaring and promising peace to their subjects. I cannot deny but that these good counsels of hers wanted the effect: in the former I verily believe for the universal good of Europe, lest happily the ambition of Spain, being unloosed from its fetters, should have poured itself (as things then stood) upon the other kingdoms and states of Christendom and for the latter the blood of so many innocents with their wives and children slain within their own harbours and nests by the scum of the people, (who like so many mastiffs were let loose, and heartened, and even set upon them by the state,) would not suffer it; which did continually cry unto God for vengeance, that so blood-sucking a kingdom might have her fill thereof, in the intestine slaugh

ters and consumption of a civil war. Howsoever she persisted to perform the part of a wise and loving confederate.

There is another cause also for which we may justly admire this peace so constantly pursued and maintained by the queen. And that is, that it did not proceed from any bent or inclination of those times; but from the prudency of her government and discreet carriage of things. For whereas she herself was not without manifest danger from an ill affected party at home for the cause of religion, and that the strength and forces of this kingdom were in the place of a bulwark to all Europe against the then dreadful and overflowing ambition and power of the King of Spain, she might have apprehended just cause of a war; but as she was still ready with her counsel, so she was not behind hand with her forces. And this we are taught by an event the most memorable of any in our time, if we look upon the felicity thereof. For when as the Spanish navy (set forth with such wonderful preparations in all kinds, the terror and amazement of all Europe, carried on with almost assurance of victory) came braving upon our seas; it took not so much as one poor cock-boat of ours, nor fired any one village, nor landed one man upon English ground; but was utterly defeated, and after a shameful flight and many shipwrecks quite dispersed, so as the peace of this kingdom was never more firm and solid. Neither was her felicity less in escaping treacherous attempts at home, than in subduing and defeating

foreign invasions. For not a few treasons plotted against her life, were most fortunately discovered and disappointed. And this was no cause to make her lead a more fearful or diffident life than before. No new increase of her guard, no immuring herself within her own walls, or forbearing to be seen abroad; but as one assured and confident, and that was more mindful of her escape from danger, than of the danger itself, she was constant to her former customs and fashions.

Furthermore, it is worth our labour to consider the nature of the times in which she reigned. For there are some times so barbarous and ignorant that it is no greater matter to govern people, than to govern a flock of sheep. But this queen, fell upon times of singular learning and sufficiency; in which it was not possible to be eminent, without admirable endowments of wit, and a rare temper of virtue. Again, the reigns of women are for the most part obscured by their husbands; upon whom all their praises and worthy acts do reflect: as for those that continue unmarried, it is they that impropriate the whole glory, and merit to themselves. And this was the peculiar glory of this princess, that she had no props or supports of her government, but those that were of her own making. She had no brother, the son of her mother; no uncle, none other of the royal blood and lineage that might be partner in her cares, and an upholder of the regal dignity. And as for those, whom she raised to honour, she carried such a discreet hand over them, and so interchanged her

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