Imatges de pàgina

“I have heard, however, Madam," said the Dean of St Asaph's, an eminent Puritan, “ that these players are wont, in their plays, not only to introduce profane and lewd expressions, tendo ing to foster sin and harlotry, but even to bellow out such reflections on government, its origin and its object, as tend to render the subject discontented, and shake the solid foundations of civil society. And it seems to be, under your Grace's favour, far less than safe to permit these naughty foul-mouthed knaves to ridicule the godly for their decent gravity, and in blaspheming heaven, and slandering its earthly rulers, to set at defiance the laws both of God and man.” .

36 If we could think this were true, my lord," said Elizabeth, “ we should give sharp correction for such offences. But it is ill arguing against the use of any thing from its abuse. And touching this Shakespeare, we think there is that in his plays that is worth twenty Bear-gardens ; and that this new undertaking of his Chronicles, as he calls them, may entertain, with honest mirth, mingled with useful instruction, not only our subjects, but even the generation which may succeed to us."

.." Your Majesty's reign will need no such feeble aid to make it remembered to the latest posterity," said Leicester. ". And yet, in his way, Shake speare hath so touched some incidents of your Ma jesty's happy government, asmay countervail what has been spoken by his reverence the Dean of St Asaph's. There are some lines, for example-I would my nephew, Philip Sidney, were here, they are scarce ever out of his mouth--they are spoken in a mad tale of fairies, love-charms, and I wot not what besides ; but beautiful they are, however short they may and must fall of the subject to which they bear a bold relation--and Philip murmurs them, I think, even in his dreams." ?? 16 You tantalize us, my lord,” said the Queen

Master Philip Sidney is, we know, a minion of the Muses, and we are pleased it should be so. Valour never shines to more advantage than when united with the true taste and love of letters. But surely there are some others among our young courtiers who can recollect what your lordship has forgotten amid weightier affairs.--Master Tressilian; you are described to me as a worshipper of Minerva remember you aught of these lines ??? -Tressilian's heart was too heavy, his prospects in life too fatally blighted, to profit by the opportunity which the Queen thus offered to him of attracting her attention, but he determined to transfer the advantage to his more ambitious young friend; and, excusing himself on the score of want of recollection, he added, that he believed the beautiful verses, of which my Lord of Leicester had spoken, were in the remembrance of Master Walter Raleigh.

At the command of the Queen, that cavalier repeated, with accent and manner which even added to their exquisite delicacy of tact and beauty of description, the celebrated vision of Oberon.

« That very time I saw, (but thou could'st not,)*
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid, all arm’d: a certain aim he took is
At a fair vestal, throned by the west ;
And loos’d his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon;
And the imperial vot’ress passed on, "
In maiden meditation, fancy free.”


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The voice of Raleigh, as he repeated the last lines, became a little tremulous, as if diffident how the Sovereign to whom the homage was addressed might receive it, exquisite as it was, If this diffidence was affected, it was good policy; but if real, there was little occasion for it. The verses were not probably new to the Queen, for when was ever such elegant flattery long in reaching the royal ear to which it was addressed? But it was not the less welcome when repeated by such a speaker as Raleigh. Alike delighted with the matter, the manner, and the graceful form and animated countenance of the gallant young reciter, Elizabeth kept time to every cadence, with. look and with finger. When the speaker had ceased, she murmured over the last lines as if scarce conscious that she was overheard, and as she uttered the words, i pie songs fubftris. fe figur)

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at she was

pwode In maiden meditation, faney free,"ol bal

sambon bussi od: Bulun u t llauna Ii A. she dropt into the Thames the supplication of Orson Pinnit, keeper of the royal bears, to find

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morefavourable acceptance at Sheerness, or whereever the tide might waft it.

Leicester was spurred to emulation by the success of the young courtier's exhibition, as the veteran racer is roused when a high-mettled colt passes him on the way. He turned the discourse on shows, banquets, pageants, and on the characz ter of those by whom these gay scenes were then frequented. He mixed acute observation with light satire, in that just proportion which was free alike from malignant slander and insipid praise. He mimicked with ready accent the manners of the affected or the clownish, and made his own graceful tone and manner seem doubly such when he resumed it. Foreign countries--their customstheir manners—the rules of their courts -the fashions, and even the dress of their ladies, were equally his theme; and seldom did he conclude without conveying some compliment, always couched in delicacy, and expressed with propriety, to the Virgin Queen, her court and her government. Thus passed the conversation during this pleasure voyage, seconded by the rest of the at

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