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CHAP. of the Rolls by getting into parliament, and slavishly XLVIII. outbidding the whole profession of the law for the Queen's favour. There being a strong opposition to the subsidy demanded by the Court, thus spoke the legal aspirant, now a the House representative of the people:-" Mr. Speaker, I marvel much that the House will stand upon granting of a subsidy when all we have is her Majesty's, and she may lawfully, at her pleasure, take it from us: yea, she hath as much right to all our lands and goods as to any revenue of her Crown.”* But, to the honour of the House, he was speedily coughed down†, and he confined himself to usury for the rest of his days.


He is coughed down.

Oct. 27. 1601.

Opening of Elizabeth's last

This scene took place in Queen Elizabeth's last parliament. The opening of it was rather inauspicious. The Queen, though she still allowed herself to be flattered for her beauty, parliament. was conscious of increasing infirmities, and had taken unusual pains to conceal them from the public gaze; but, after being seated on the throne, her enfeebled frame was unable to support the weight of the royal robes, and she was sinking to the ground, when the nobleman bearing the sword of state caught faints away, her in his arms, and supported her. The Commons were then approaching; but, in the confusion, the door by which they were to enter was shut, and they were all excluded.


and Com

mons ex


Lord Keeper's speech to

the two Houses.

The Lord Keeper however, that Elizabeth might as soon as possible get back into the open air, proceeded with his oration, explaining the causes of the summons. He inveighed bitterly against the Pope and the King of Spain whom he denounced as enemies to God, the Queen, and the peace of this kingdom, and engaged in a conspiracy to overthrow religion, and to

* 1 Parl. Hist. 921.

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It distinctly appears that this wholesome parliamentary usage was then established. D'Ewes, after giving an account of the Serjeant's speech, thus describes the scene which followed: "At which all the House hemmed, and laughed and talked. Well,' quoth Serj. Hele, all your hemming shall not put me out of countenance.' So Mr. Speaker stood up and said, It is a great disorder that this should be used, for it is the ancient use of every man to be silent when any one speaketh; and he that is speaking should be suffered to deliver his mind without interruption.' So the Serjeant proceeded, and when he had spoken a little while, saying he could prove his former position by precedent in the times of Hen III., King John, and King Stephen, the House hemmed againe, and so he sat down.” - 1 Parl. Hist. p. 922. King James seems to have taken his law from the Serjeant in his famous conversation with the Bishops.

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reduce us to a tyrannical servitude. He charged them with attempts to poison the Queen. "I have seen her Majesty," said he, "wear at her girdle the price of her blood: I mean jewels which have been given to her physicians to have that done unto her which I hope God will ever keep from her." He advised that no new laws should be made; but he exhorted them to make provision for our own defence and safety, seeing the King of Spain means to make England miserable, by beginning with Ireland and the territory of the Queen herself. He showed that treasure must be our means as treasure is the sinews of war.*



terrupts the

Three days after, the Queen again appeared in the House Queen of Lords, and the Commons presented as their Speaker, piously inCrook, Recorder of London†, who, when his disqualification Lord had been overruled by the Lord Keeper, delivered a florid Keeper. harangue on on the peace and prosperous state of the kingdom, which he said had been defended by the mighty arm of our dread and sacred Queen, when she interrupted him piously and gracefully with these impressive words, "No, Mr. SPEAKER, BUT BY THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD!"


abuse of

When he prayed for freedom of speech, the Lord Keeper Admosaid, "Her Majesty willingly consenteth thereto with this nition to caution, that the time be not spent in idle and vain matter, against with froth and volubility of words, whereby the Speakers freedom of may seem to gain some reputed credit by emboldening them- speech. selves to contradiction, and by troubling the House of purpose with long and vain orations to hinder the proceeding in matters of greater and more weighty importance."


The first act of the Commons after the choice of a Speaker Commons was to complain bitterly of breach of privilege, in being of breach of shut out from the House of Lords the first day of the Ses- privilege. sion, saying they were yet in ignorance of the causes of calling the parliament. Mr. Secretary Cecil having excused the Lord Keeper, -repeated to them the heads of his speech, and they were appeased.

Notwithstanding the exhortation against any new legislation, there was passed in this Session the famous Poor Law of


CHAP. forty-third Elizabeth, with several other important Statutes still in force, and a liberal subsidy being granted in return for the abolition of monopolies, the Queen being seated on the throne in the House of Lords, the Lord Keeper "with what brevity he might not to be tedious to his most gracious Sovereign," returned thanks in her name, and said, "We all know she never was a greedy grasper, nor straight-handed keeper, and therefore she commanded me to tell you that you have done (and so she taketh it) dutifully, plentifully, and Parliament thankfully.' ."* He then dissolved the parliament, and Elizabeth was never again seen by the public with the Crown on her head.


Queen Eli



Keeper at

In the following year, however, she paid the Lord Keeper visit to the a visit of three days at Harefield, his country house, in Middlesex, near Uxbridge. This delightful place, with the river Colne running through the grounds, was first made by a great lawyer, Lord Chief Justice Anderson, from whom it was purchased by the Lord Keeper, and it afterwards gained higher celebrity than could be conferred upon it by a royal visit. Horton, the country house of Milton's father, where the great poet wrote some of his most exquisite pieces, was in the neighbourhood, a little lower down the streamt,-and hence the connection between him and the Egerton family, which led to the composition of the ARCADES and of COMUS. The former masque, in which the widow of the Lord Keeper is so much complimented ‡, was written to be performed here.

OTHELLO acted before her.

At this visit of Queen Elizabeth to Harefield Milton was yet unborn, and no great poet wrote a piece for the occasion; but the Lord Keeper did his utmost in all respects for the entertainment of his royal guest, although the weather was most unpropitious, and the hunting and falconry which had been projected were impracticable. A constant succession

* 1 Parl. Hist. 908.

† Milton describes this scenery in the Epitaph. Damon.

"Imus? et arguta paulum recubamus in umbra,
Aut ad aquas Colni," &c.

"Here you shall have greater grace

To serve the Lady of this place;

Such a rural Queen,

All Arcadia hath not seen.

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of in-door amusements made the three days pass off agreeably. Shakspeare had lately brought out his immortal tragedy of OTHELLO, and the Queen had not seen it played. Accordingly, Burbridge's company were sent for, and a theatre being fitted up in the hall, for which little scenery was then required, the piece was admirably performed by the original actors, whose rehearsal of their parts had been superintended by the author. Succeeding so much better as a writer than as an actor, he himself had now almost entirely withdrawn from the stage, and if he was present it was probably only to assist Burbridge in the management of the entertainments.*


The less intellectual shows of dancing and vaulting were like- A lottery. wise exhibited for her Majesty's amusement, and a LOTTERY was drawn,—with quaint devices, perhaps composed by Ben Jonson, who was the great deviser of amusements for the Court in this and the following reign. I give a sample of the Prizes and Blanks.


"Want you a maske? Here, fortune gives you one;
Yet nature gives the Rose and Lilly none.'

Some critics have supposed that Othello was not produced till 1604, and Dr. Warburton postpones it to 1611; but there can be no doubt that it came out in 1602, and that it was acted before Elizabeth at Harefield. In the Egerton papers, published by the Camden Society, are to be found the accounts of the Lord Keeper's disbursements for this visit, containing the following items:

"Rewardes to the vaulters, players, and dauncers. Of this, x'. to BURBRIDGE'S Aug. 1602. players for OTHELLO, lxiij'. xviij3. xa. Rewarde to Mr. Lillye's man, which

brought the lotterye boxe to Harefield, x1."

These accounts are exceedingly interesting, and give great insight into the manners of the times. In the same collection, there is an equally curious account of the presents of "oxen, muttons, bucks, swans, capons, fish, game, cheeses, fruit, and sweetmeats," which the Lord Keeper received on this occasion from the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Mayor of London, and near a hundred other friends. Among the contributions is a buck from Sir Thomas Lucy, son of the Sir Thomas who had prosecuted Shakspeare for deer-stealing. Sir George Moor sends,"stagge, 1; lobsters, 17; prawns, 200; trouts, 19; breames, 5; pheasantes, 12; partridges, 14; quailes, 2 dozen; swannes, 4; Salsie cockles, 8ewt.; puettas, 2 dozen; gulles, 6; pullets, 2 dozen; pygeons, 2 dozen;" the whole valued only at 203. The Lord Mayor was very liberal with his "sacke, sturgeon, herons, gulls, peralles, parterages, semondes, and phesantes." Lord Norres, besides bucks, sends 2 oxen. The quantity of "preserved apricox, preserved siterons, marmallet, sugirloves, and Bambury cakes," is quite enor


Valedictory ad.

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At her Majesty's departure there was a somewhat clumsy dress to her pageant, which I think must have been the invention of the Majesty by Lord Keeper himself. HAREFIELD was personified, and, atpersonified. tired as a disconsolate widow in sables, thus bade the Queen farewell,


"Sweete Majestie!

"Be pleased to looke upon a poore widdowe, mourning before Your Grace. I am this place which at Your coming was full of joye, but nowe at your departure am as full of sorrowe as I was then, for my comforte accompanyed with the present cheerful Tyme, but nowe he must depart with You, and blessed as he is must ever flye before You. But alasse! I have no wings as Tyme hath, my heaviness is suche as I must staye, still amazed to see so greate happiness to some, berefte me. O that I could remove with You as other circumstances can! Tyme can goe with You; Persons can goe with You: they can move like Heaven; but I like dull Earthe, as I am indeed, must staye immoveable. I could wishe my selfe like the inchanted castle of love, to hould you here for ever, but Your vertues would dissolve all my enchantments. Then what remedie? as it is against the nature of an angell to be circumscribed in place, so it is against the nature of place to have the motion of an angell. I must staye forsaken and desolate; You may goe, with Majestic joye and glorie. My onely suite before you go is that You will pardon the close imprisonment which You have suffered

• Nicholson's Progresses, vol. iii.

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