"To Love and Be Wise": the Earl of Essex, Humanist Court Culture, and England's Learned Queen

Linda S. Shenk
Iowa State University

Linda S. Shenk ."' To Love and Be Wise': the Earl of Essex, Humanist Court Culture, and England's Learned Queen". Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 16 (October, 2007) 3.1-27<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/si-16/shenwise.htm>.


  1. During two particular decades of her reign—the 1560s and the 1590s—Queen Elizabeth I strategically and publicly represented herself as a learned prince. In the 1590s alone, she staged several significant demonstrations of her erudition: she delivered a Latin oration at the University of Oxford (1592) while university officials, prominent nobles, and international dignitaries looked on; in the months after Henri IV converted to Catholicism in 1593, she translated Boethius; in 1597, she trounced the Spanish-allied Polish ambassador with a pert Latin speech; and in 1598, she translated excerpts from Horace Ars poetica and Plutarch's essay De curiositate.[1] Although modern scholars have long praised Elizabeth's impressive education, more attention should be devoted to the political implications of this public, royal self-image and its effect on the queen's highly educated statesmen.[2] Throughout the sixteenth century, civic humanist philosophers drew upon the centuries-old association between good learning and good government to advocate different variations on a similar theme: that an ideal monarchy consisted of a learned ruler surrounded by similarly educated advisors.[3] When Elizabeth represented herself as a philosopher-prince, she portrayed herself as wise, politically potent, and morally upright—characteristics that helped to justify her personal right to rule the nation, even as an unmarried queen.

  2. Because issues of learning were intimately tied to the relationship between monarch and counselor, Elizabeth's displays of learning generated particular interest in her statesmen, as is suggested by the number of manuscript copies and the courtly commentary that proliferated after each royal demonstration. For example, numerous manuscripts of Elizabeth's 1592 oration to Oxford circulated[4]; her subjects carefully followed her progress when she translated Boethius, claiming that she devoted an impossibly short twenty-four to twenty-seven hours to the task[5]; and the day after Elizabeth humiliated the Polish ambassador, many courtiers dispatched descriptions of the event, including Robert Cecil who sent a detailed account to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.[6] Not only was the queen projecting her own version of the humanist relationship between learned monarch and wise counsellors but her image as a philosopher-queen was also directly beneficial to her state officials, particularly those with international ambitions. As I argue elsewhere, Elizabeth and many of her subjects often invoked her educated status to bolster her right to rule and to counteract England's perceived vulnerability from having an unmarried queen on the throne. In periods when England faced heightened threat of foreign attack, Elizabeth's learned persona was often depicted in a pointedly international context and was often juxtaposed with descriptions of England's military strength.[7] In the 1590s, a confluence of instabilities in domestic and international politics made showcasing Elizabeth's learned persona and humanist court culture overall especially appealing. The threat of Spanish invasion loomed once again; Elizabeth's paragon of wise statecraft, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, was ailing, so naming his successor seemed imminent; and the queen's lack of an heir prompted anxiety regarding how the nation would make the transition to a new monarch. For Elizabeth's courtier-counsellors, framing their credentials with appropriate deference to their aging queen's own humanist status would be a key strategy to assert candidacy for leadership in this domestically and internationally sensitive decade.

  3. As a courtier who merged intellectual credentials and involvement in domestic politics with astute, well-informed leadership in national defence, the Earl of Essex was a figure poised to use Elizabeth's learned persona to full advantage. In this essay, I will argue that Essex capitalized on the political utility of praising Elizabeth as a learned queen in Of Love and Self- Love, the 1595 Accession Day device he produced primarily with Francis Bacon. Scholars such as Paul E. J. Hammer, Roy Strong, and Richard McCoy have commented on the highly academic tone of this device and on Essex's contemporary interest in parading his qualifications in military and conciliar leadership.[8] Equally important as showcasing his credentials in 1595 was his need to convince Elizabeth that he—and his wisdom—had become lovingly submissive to her wise judgment. After his appointment to the Privy Council in 1593, Essex had worked tirelessly to demonstrate that he was a serious statesman; however, he had committed (or was at least perceived to have committed) many transgressions that sparked royal ire. In 1591 during the siege of Rouen, Essex outraged Elizabeth when he allowed some of his troops to engage in a skirmish only days before the army's scheduled departure for England. The troops had seen little action since their deployment, and this inaction already predisposed Elizabeth to anger. To make matters worse, Essex had seemed insufficiently focused on military leadership when he travelled to see Henri IV where they feasted and engaged in athletic competitions. Only strong support from Burghley and others back in England kept Elizabeth from recalling the entire army. Although most of the blame for this nearly fruitless mission was placed (rightly) on Henri, Essex continued to support England's alliance with France—a position that he maintained even after Elizabeth's relations with Henri cooled with the king's conversion to Catholicism. In 1594, Essex prompted royal anger again when he pursued the trial and conviction of Roderigo Lopez with a vehemence that suggested a greater interest in political self-advancement than in integrity. On 3 November 1595, only two weeks before the Accession Day performance of Of Love and Self-Love, Elizabeth called a pale and worried Essex before her to explain himself regarding his connection to the treasonous text, A Conference About the Next Succession to the Crowne of Ingland, that was dedicated to him.

  4. In November 1595, therefore, Essex had particular interest in asserting unflagging loyalty as well as willing submission to Elizabeth's wise judgment.[9] Within this context, it is particularly appropriate that Essex and Bacon filter Essex's self-representation through Elizabeth's status as a philosopher-queen. At the centre of their strategy is the Latin oration that Elizabeth delivered at the University of Oxford in 1592—an event that Essex attended. Essex and Bacon pointedly echo Elizabeth's university oration in the climactic moments of the Accession Day device. In the final section of the entertainment, which was performed for the queen after supper, a hermit, a soldier, and a statesman try to persuade a squire that his master, Erophilus (a lover-figure representing Essex), should cease serving his mistress in devoted adoration. They urge Erophilus to adopt one of their professions and serve Philautia, the goddess of self-love. When the squire proclaims that his master denounces these servants of self-love and will remain lovingly faithful to his sovereign-mistress, the squire first acknowledges Elizabeth's skill in foreign languages and then echoes 1 Corinthians 2:9, the same biblical passage that Elizabeth used as the structuring principle for her 1592 oration at Oxford. The squire first asks, "Or what language wherein the Muses have used to speak is unknown to her?" and then states, "Therefore the hearing of her, the observing of her, the receiving instructions from her, may be to Erophilus a lecture exceeding all dead monuments of the Muses."[10] With the squire's allusion to 1 Corinthians in the device, Essex's self-image as a lover, stressed pointedly throughout the piece, becomes clear as a distinctly humanist strategy: this pose of loving adoration is precisely what Elizabeth demanded from her intellectual subjects in the oration Essex had heard her deliver at Oxford.

  5. In that speech, Elizabeth modified 1 Corinthians 2:9 to express a startling revision of the humanist model. She told her intellectual audience that she no longer wanted educated service but rather love. After watching days of academic demonstrations, she explained that
    Your merits are not the exceptional and notable praises (unmerited by me) that you have given me; nor declarations, narrations, and explications in many kinds of learning; nor orations of many and various kinds eruditely and notably expressed; but another thing which is much more precious and more excellent: namely, a love that has never been heard nor written nor known in the memory of man.[11]
    Elizabeth used St. Paul's denunciation of earthly wisdom in favour of loving God as the basis for asserting her scripturally-based preference for love over learning. When Essex alludes to Elizabeth's Corinthian echo, he portrays himself as a devotedly clever student of his queen's wisdom.[12] In fact, Elizabeth's learned persona is the structuring principle for the whole device—a good example that supports Alzada Tipton's discussion of Essex's characteristic strategy of using others as a "glasse" to show his own credentials.[13] Essex depicts himself as willing to place his humanist wisdom lovingly under the direction of his philosopher-queen while simultaneously flaunting his and Bacon's own wit as courtiers able to be loving and wise simultaneously.[14]

  6. By examining how Essex and Bacon structure the entire device around Elizabeth's wisdom, place Essex's learned credentials beneath the queen's, and test the courtly audience's recognition of this connection, I will use their Accession Day device as an indicative example of how Elizabeth's learned persona created an awkward situation for her statesmen. They needed to appear deferential to her superior wisdom while conveying their own humanist qualifications for leadership. Acknowledging this delicate balancing act reveals how some unlikely guises, such as Essex's role as a passionate playboy, are actually underwritten by humanist politics. Essex's self-images as wise statesman, internationally ambitious politician, and chivalric knight are actually integrated with, not separate from, his seemingly anti-intellectual role as a lover.[15] Elizabeth's representation as a learned queen affected the humanist climate at court overall—an effect that was particularly pronounced in the highly charged, highly competitive intellectual climate at court in the mid-1590s. 

    Humanist Culture on the Tiltyard

  7. In what Hammer has aptly called "an embarrassment of riches,"[16] the textual situation of Of Love and Self-Love is maddening; the device—or possible fragments related to it—exists in ten different manuscripts, six of which are dated during Essex's lifetime. Its complicated textual status, though, suggests a humanist circle in action. As Alan Stewart has emphasised in Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England, the concerns of English humanist culture radiated far beyond the solitary scholar to embrace a set of social relations cultivated through intellectual exchange.[17] The manuscript situation surrounding Of Love and Self-Love provides an interesting, though speculative, sense of collaborative communication between Essex and members of his secretariat as well as a sense of revision in crafting the right image for the Earl. For example, Bacon's rough draft containing two speeches and his initial notes are extant.[18] Judging by Bacon's revisions (evident in a polished version written in his fair hand), Bacon changed his mind about one of the characters and ended up giving most of a speech to an entirely different figure.[19] His revision emphasizes the importance of achieving the right image, and this idea surfaces again in the marginalia that Bacon wrote to Essex on this draft.[20] In these comments, Bacon discusses the conditions of the performance as well as how Essex can use this device to his advantage. This sense of exchange and collaboration occurs again with the existence of another contemporary fragment related to the device. This fragment contains speeches by the squire and an attendant-figure who speaks on behalf of a blind Indian boy (a figure representing Cupid). Although these speeches may have been performed at another occasion (a date was added only when this manuscript was included with the state papers), these speeches similarly praise Elizabeth's wisdom and similarly use a Latin maxim (Amare et sapere) that also occurs in one of the speeches written in Bacon's fair hand. These speeches, significantly, are written in the hand of another member of Essex's secretariat, Edward Reynolds, thus suggesting that Reynolds may also have been involved in crafting a part of the entertainment and/or writing a companion entertainment for performance at another time.[21] Finally, a manuscript (c. 1630) attributes the entertainment to Henry Cuffe, another one of Essex's secretaries.[22] Although the seventeenth-century date for this device may discount including Cuffe as an additional author, the possibility lingers. Essex and Bacon remain at the centre of the process involved in producing Of Love and Self-Love (and thus I will refer to them as the authors); however, the manuscript situation suggests care and collaboration by several members of Essex's circle in crafting the Earl's image as well as interest in preserving this device after it was performed.

  8. Because of the complicated textual situation, I will limit my analysis to the entertainment as found and described in the two most authoritative sources for Of Love and Self-Love—Bacon's autograph copy of five speeches performed for the queen after supper and Roland Whyte's contemporary description in a letter he sent to Robert Sidney five days after the event (on 22 November). Based on these two documents, the device was produced in at least three parts. With each successive section, Essex and Bacon more shrewdly manipulate existing royal, humanist, and chivalric traditions associated with Accession Day itself until the final vignette (the speeches performed after supper) fuses all the traditions within praise for Elizabeth's learned persona.

  9. The first section of the device involves the most famous element of the Accession Day festivities—the jousts. In 1595, Elizabeth honoured Essex as her personal champion by giving her glove to the squire after this figure's opening speech. Then, wearing this token of royal favour, Essex makes his grand entrance onto the tiltyard where, in the second section, he is greeted by four figures played by university men. As Whyte describes in his account to Robert Sidney, Essex
    was mett with an old Hermitt, a Secretary of State, a braue Soldier, and an Esquier. The first presented him with a Booke of Meditations; the second with pollitical Discourses; the third with Oracions of braue fought Battles; the fourth was but his own Follower, to whom thother three imparted much of their Purpose, before his Coming in. [23]
    As Hammer has noted, this scene not only demonstrates Essex's humanist credentials in intellectual, military, and state affairs but also stages this recognition as a scene of patronage, emphasised yet further by Essex and Bacon's decision to hire university men as the actors.[24] Although this depiction of humanist display on the tiltyard may at first seem out of place, Accession Day festivities traditionally involved highly visible participation by learned men. The universities were well-known for Accession Day bonfires and dramatic entertainments. In addition, university men delivered sermons both on university soil and throughout the country, including a sermon for Elizabeth herself. [25] Some of these sermons were published, and most interestingly, several celebrate Elizabeth as a learned queen. For instance, John Prime delivered an Accession Day sermon at Oxford titled "A Sermon Briefly Comparing the Estate of King Salomon and his Subiectes togither with the condition of Queene Elizabeth and her people." As the title suggests, Prime makes a connection, at least initially, between Elizabeth and the wise King Solomon, and within this emphasis on wisdom, he devotes the first section of the piece to issues of female education and female rule. He also mentions that, a few years earlier, the University celebrated Accession Day with a disputation on 1 Kings 10:9 (the passage containing the Queen of Sheba's praise of Solomon).[26]  Essex and Bacon tap into this tradition of learned celebration by hiring university men as the actors for the entertainment and by having them perform a dumb show highlighting Essex's humanist credentials.

  10. Interrupting this scene of giving books to Essex, "thordinary Post Boy of London" suddenly enters "all bemired, vpon a poore leane Jade, gallaping and blowing for Liff." Representing the menacing political world that threatens to disrupt the festivities, this postboy reminds the audience of Accession Day's association with national defence when he comes bearing urgent political documents that will be given to Essex. The boy "deliuered the Secretary a Packet of Lettres, which he presently offred my Lord of Essex" (362). Receiving political correspondence on the symbolic battlefield pointedly highlights Essex's current political centrality in national security. While completing preparations for Of Love and Self-Love, Essex was also orchestrating England's wartime preparations. Substantial foreign intelligence had indicated that Spain would attack England in the summer of 1596, and this time with greater force than in 1588. Essex, the Lord Admiral, and Lord Burghley had spent the late summer and fall of 1595 bolstering England's defences—issuing orders to muster troops, taking stock of the conditions at key ports, and sending ordnance to strategic locations. Even Francis Drake and John Hawkins were forbidden to embark on their mission to Panama unless they promised to return before May: England needed all its naval force and leadership at home before Spanish ships moved into English waters. Essex, at the forefront of the military preparations and the intelligence work that had uncovered these plans, was poised for international glory in a campaign against Spain—an accomplishment that had long been his signature focus. In addition, Essex was currently answering all foreign correspondence as a sign of Elizabeth's continued favour despite his recent association with the scandalous text on the succession. In November 1595, therefore, Essex occupied an awkward position—his strong, recent accomplishments in political leadership nicely positioned him to ascend higher in rank, and yet his brush with the most dreaded topic of the succession aligned him too nearly with looking beyond his aging queen.

  11. In light of these conflicting contexts, Essex needed to emphasize the humanist credentials necessary to assert leadership while ensuring that this self-promotion was clearly packaged within devotion to Elizabeth. To acknowledge the political expediency of loving wisdom, Essex and Bacon begin to insert this focus in the second section of the device. They claim that Elizabeth is Essex's sole priority in these busy times of national threat. The squire asks Elizabeth to grant Essex a brief reprieve from his political duties (that everyone has just witnessed with the delivery of the letters) so that "he may be as free as the rest, and at least whilst he is here, troubled with nothing but with care how to please and honour you" (61). With the notion of being "free as the rest," the squire implies that Essex is the only one still "on duty" that day, and that, true to the Accession Day's main focus on celebrating Elizabeth, all Essex truly wants is simply to please and adore his queen. This profession of devotion as Essex's true care is part of the repeated emphasis on Essex as the lover that will lead, in the third section of the entertainment, to the Corinthian echo and acknowledgement of Elizabeth's learned persona. 

  12. Over the course of the entertainment, each successive section layers in another facet of Accession Day tradition: chivalric display, then humanist culture, then national defence, and finally adoration of Elizabeth. This day, celebrated with sermons lauding Elizabeth's godly status and with jousts foregrounding aristocratic military prowess, was designed to demonstrate England's ability to keep threats to the crown at bay. Essex and Bacon's infusion of Elizabeth's learned persona into this mix, at first, does not seem to be traditional, yet an attention to literary descriptions of Elizabeth's Accession Day reveals otherwise. Notions of national defence, Elizabeth's royal image as a learned queen, and chivalric/military display had been repeatedly juxtaposed in literary texts for over a decade. For example, in 1582, Thomas Blenerhasset portrays Elizabeth as the world's new Minerva, the goddess of (Blenerhasset specifies) sacred wisdom whose "learned tongue doth tell/ The way to heauen."[27] Significantly in this text, Elizabeth is not crowned while she is at prayer but rather while she watches a tilt where her male courtiers demonstrate their martial prowess before a massive crowd including a substantial international constituency. Elizabeth watches the tilt "With all her traine, and manie straingers more/ For then there were Ambassadors great store" (E3r). The speaker similarly stresses the superiority of this courtly scene over anything he has seen abroad "In Fraunce, in Spayne, nor curious Italie" (E3r). This sense of superiority comes after the speaker has explained that Alecto has stirred up all the nations against Elizabeth (a reference meant to invoke the situation with Mary Queen of Scots), thus setting the demonstrations of Elizabeth's glorious court within a hostile international context (C3r-4r). In a related fashion, Maurice Kyffin celebrates Elizabeth's learning alongside England's military preparedness by publishing a poetic tribute in 1587 to honour Elizabeth's Accession Day. In this text, The Blessednes of Britaine, he extols the queen for the "Vertues of her Minde" and then describes her as
                The Starre of Women Sex, Graue Wisedoms store:
                Sententious, speaking Tongs in filed phraze,
                Profoundly learnd, and Pefect in eche Lore,
                Her Fame, no Rav'ning Time, shall euer Raze.[28]
    Two stanzas later, Kyffin juxtaposes Elizabeth's learned self-image with the fact that she is intimidating to the nations: she is "Tutor to Frends and Terror vnto Foes."[29] Essex and Bacon most likely would have been familiar with both The Blessednes of Britaine and Blenerhasset's A Reuelation of the True Minerua. Kyffin dedicated both the 1587 and 1588 editions to Essex (who was newly appointed as Master of the Horse in 1587), and Blenerhasset had served the Earl during the siege at Rouen.

    The Tudor Tutor: Elizabeth and Her 1592 Oration at Oxford

  13. When Blenerhasset and Kyffin praise their philosopher-queen, she is not merely an educated figure among many. Rather, she possesses superlative wisdom. She is a Minerva; she is a tutor to others. Just as King James I will intimate to Elizabeth's godson Sir John Harington less than a decade later, the monarch should be "the beste clerke in his owne countrie." In his account of this royal interview, Harington explains that he took the hint: in response to James's subsequent questions, he "did covertlie answer; as not willinge a subjecte shoude be wiser than his Prince, nor even appeare so."[30] Jason Scott-Warren reveals the irony in (and ultimate failure of) Harington's claims to downplay his intellectual credentials,[31] thus revealing the artificiality of placing the learned monarch atop a hierarchy of learning. In similar fashion, embuing Elizabeth with learned supremacy over her wise subjects is also a topos. For instance, Elizabeth's tutor Roger Ascham chides the young men of England that "one mayd should go beyond you all, in excellencie of learning, and knowledge of diuers tonges."[32] John Lyly lauds Elizabeth as an educator, describing her as  "fitter to teach others, than learne of anye" in his "Euphues' Glasse for Europe"—a text, appropriately enough, that depicts Elizabeth as a model to the international community.[33] Essex and Bacon also make Elizabeth's wisdom the highest knowledge articulated in Of Love and Self-Love, and they do it in a format that merges the conventional praise of her superlative learning with an image similar to the one Elizabeth employed in her 1592 Oxford oration.

  14. In this speech to the university, the queen had created her learned supremacy and represented herself as the educator for her intellectual subjects. She elevated her knowledge above that of her subjects using the language of divinity—a strategy particularly evident in how she manipulates 1 Corinthians 2:9. In the original biblical passage, Paul writes: "But as it is written: the eye hath not seene, and the eare hath not heard, neither haue entred into the heart of man, the thynges which God hath prepared for them that loue hym."[34] Elizabeth, however, substantially alters Paul's message when she makes herself—not God—the object of adoration. Such substitution is reminiscent of the language of divine right. Indeed later in the oration, Elizabeth conflates her policies with divine law and then portrays herself and her laws as teachers. She stresses that the university "may long be enduring" by making
    its care be especially to worship God—not in the manner of the opinion of all nor according to over-curious and too-searching wits, but as the divine law commands and our law teaches. For indeed, you do not have a prince who teaches you anything that ought to be contrary to a true Christian conscience. (328)[35]
    As a schoolmistress of sorts, Elizabeth tells university men to learn the divinely authorised wisdom she teaches, not to reach their own conclusions. She implicitly justifies her pedagogical role by modelling the whole oration on her knowledge of scripture—a position that tacitly underscores her Protestantism.

  15. Elizabeth elides her Protestant wisdom with the notion of loving unity (a notion also found in 1 Corinthians), and such religious and political harmony implies that the virtue of her leadership surpasses that of her fellow monarchs. Acknowledging an international context and the political climate in 1592, Elizabeth reminds the audience that, under her leadership, her country enjoys peace. "From the beginning of my reign, my greatest and special concern, care, and watchfulness has been that the realm be kept free as much from external enemies as from internal tumults, that it, long flourishing for many ages, might not be enfeebled under my hand" (327).[36] Her reference to her nation's serenity sends an implied message both to the Continentally-focused courtiers she has in the audience and specifically to another figure in attendance—the ambassador representing Henri IV. Unlike Elizabeth who claims to enjoy the unifying love of her people, Henri had a tenuous hold on his crown. As a Huguenot, he had encountered such difficulty asserting his right to rule France that, late in 1591, he had turned to England for aid in combating his Spanish-allied Catholic subjects. Begrudgingly, Elizabeth had sent troops to France (significantly, under Essex's leadership with Sir Henry Unton and other military leaders) to assist at the siege of Rouen. This protracted military campaign eventually reached resolution in April 1592, five months before Elizabeth delivered her speech. Elizabeth's affirmation of her ability to instill peace juxtaposed with her recent demonstration of Protestant biblical wisdom may also have addressed England's current awareness that Henri was contemplating conversion to Catholicism to end France's civil strife.[37] (His conversion in July 1593, in fact, will prompt Elizabeth to translate Boethius and finish this translation, appropriately enough, twelve days before her Accession Day.) In her 1592 oration, Elizabeth conflates her Protestant wisdom with stable leadership to emphasize a pre-eminence that reminds the French ambassador and the more war-ready courtiers like Essex that her wisdom has kept England out of dire straits. [38] Her learned supremacy mirrors her political supremacy above other political leaders—a group that includes monarchs as well as her own counsellors.

     A Supremely Wise Queen and Her Learned Court

  16. In the third section of Of Love and Self-Love, Essex and Bacon uphold Elizabeth's superlative wisdom by acknowledging Essex's intellectual obedience to her "teachings." Although the direct echo of Elizabeth's oration comes in the final moments of the entertainment, Essex and Bacon prepare for this overt connection by inserting hints all along. The Corinthian echo of Elizabeth's speech serves as the keystone in a carefully constructed arch.

  17. From the beginning, Essex and Bacon have repeatedly emphasised that, first and foremost, Erophilus/Essex is a selfless lover of his sovereign-mistress. As the squire's concluding speech nears, the references to love become increasingly associated with wisdom, particularly in the statesman-character's speech delivered directly before the squire's final pronouncement.[39] Full of advice for crafting a persuasive political image, the preening statesman makes a blatant reference to Elizabeth's speech when he lists "lectures" that Erophilus should attend: "let the orations of wise princes or experimented counsellors in council or parliament, and the final sentences of grave and learned judges in weighty and doubtful causes, be the lectures he frequents" (64). The overt mention of a prince's oration prepares the audience to listen for another prince's speech, and this connection is further strengthened when, in the Corinthian echo itself, the squire describes serving the queen as "a lecture exceeding all dead monuments of the Muses." Even the choice of these events as "lectures" carries the pedagogical connotation that depicts Elizabeth as an educator. This notion surfaces later in the statesman's speech when he catalogues personae that an aspiring politician should work to cultivate: "[W]hen his mistress shall perceive that his endeavours are [to] become a true supporter of her, a discharge of her care, a watchman of her person, a scholar of her wisdom, an instrument of her operation, and a conduit of her virtue, this with his diligences, accesses, humility, and patience, may move her to give him further degrees and approaches to her favour" (65; emphasis added). The idea of a statesman appearing as scholar of the mistress's wisdom underscores the hierarchy of learning that must outwardly exist between a learned monarch and a learned subject—a hierarchy that Harington claimed he preserved in his evasive responses to James I. When Essex and Bacon place these hints about serving as students to a queen's wisdom, they encourage the audience to observe how Essex has dutifully learned his own queen's lessons.

  18. Intelligent, promising students would be able to synthesise and apply a good educator's teaching, but Essex and Bacon subtly make all the entertainment's figures incapable of replicating Elizabeth's intellectual skill. Unlike Elizabeth who knowingly articulated Christian wisdom, Essex and Bacon limit all their speakers to voicing distinctly secular, and therefore inferior, knowledge. Even the squire, the character who makes the Corinthian allusion to Elizabeth's speech, remains unaware of the Christian implications of fusing love and wisdom. The closest the squire can come is to draw upon Plato's notion of the difference between shadows and reality. He uses this platonic notion to denounce Philautia's representatives in favour of his devoted master:
    Will you compare shadows with bodies, picture with life, variety of many beauties with the peerless excellency of one? the element of water with the element of fire? And such is the comparison between knowledge and love. (67)
    The squire expresses the Pauline gulf between knowledge and love, but he fails to connect this idea to its Christian source. He, like William Shakespeare's Bottom, echoes 1 Corinthians 2:9 without understanding its implications.[40] In Of Love and Self-Love, circumscribing the squire's wisdom within Plato's pre-Christian view of the world keeps this character's knowledge forever inferior to Elizabeth's divine wisdom. Her Corinthian wisdom surpasses all other knowledge presented in the piece—the connection itself happens only in the unspoken connection between Elizabeth's oration and the echoes in the text.

  19. Despite Essex and Bacon's strategies to elevate Elizabeth's wisdom, not all references to it are pure deference. In her 1592 oration, Elizabeth demanded love in place of learning, and the squire similarly disassociates wisdom and devotion. Essex and Bacon, however, include one other secular example of wisdom that trumps Elizabeth's (and the squire's) binary view. They show that, with a careful manipulation of Elizabeth's oration, they can offer both love and learning simultaneously. In the concluding moments of the statesman's speech, this politician boasts that his strategies allow a counselor to do what is traditionally considered to be nearly impossible: to love and be wise: "So that I conclude I have traced him the way to that which hath been granted to some few, 'amare et sapere', to love and be wise'" (65, sic).  The statesman takes this maxim from Publilius Syrus's famous sententia: Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur [To love and to be wise is hardly granted to the gods]. This saying not only was made famous (hence readily recognizable) by such noted humanists as Desiderius Erasmus but also was used elsewhere by Bacon himself.  In the piece Bacon wrote for the queen (Of Tribute: Or, Giving That Which is Due, c. 1592), Bacon used this sententia, and he uses it again in the essay "On Love" when he writes, "therefore it was well said, that 'it is impossible to love and to be wise'" (358).[41] By using this classical, secular maxim, Essex and Bacon continue to privilege Elizabeth's sacred wisdom; however, they also use this reference to highlight that they can merge incompatible pursuits. They draw attention to their own wit—a nice moment of intellectual self-advertisement.

  20. Here, Essex and Bacon implicitly upstage Elizabeth even as they praise her superiority. By acknowledging that they recognised Elizabeth's Corinthian strategy at Oxford, they portray Essex as a savvy reader of political events, worthy, in part, to replace the ailing Burghley, paragon of serious, wise statecraft. But Essex is doing something more precise than simply promoting himself as a new Burghley. By paying attention to how he manipulates the international contexts of invoking Elizabeth's learned persona on Accession Day, Essex promotes himself as a certain type of wise statesman. He uses Of Love and Self-Love to claim that his distinct skills in international politics and self-defence are precisely what Elizabeth most needs as England faces potential political upheaval. Just what kind of statesman was actually needed, however, was under debate, and this situation sparked strong competition at court for who could articulate humanist credentials that best fit the most persuasive agenda.

  21. Whyte acknowledges how the performance of the device stirred up comments at court that demonstrate this tense, competitive situation. "The World makes many vntrue Constructions of these Speaches, comparing the Hermitt and the Secretary, to two of the Lords, and the Soldier to Sir Roger Williams" (362). Such speculative interpretation by some audience members, as Hammer has observed, may have linked Burghley with the hermit and Cecil with the secretary, and certainly, the device's hermit-character may be designed to conjure the hermit in the entertainments that the Cecils had staged for Elizabeth at Theobalds.[42] Like Hammer, who suggests that these interpretations may reveal the gap between authorial intent and audience perception, I also am not fully persuaded that Essex and Bacon were staging such a blatant allegory. In fact, Whyte acknowledges these interpretations as "vntrue," and I agree that Essex probably did not try to equate the Secretary with Cecil even though Cecil was Essex's rival for the position of Principal Secretary. Despite this ongoing rivalry, relations between Essex and the Cecil family were civil. Essex was currently working with Burghley on strengthening England's defences, and both Burghley and Cecil joined with Essex in supporting Bacon's candidacy for Solicitor General. At root, Essex and Bacon use the statesman-character to demonstrate how Essex's humanist credentials are present but purified and yoked to fidelity of love and the martial strength of chivalric prowess. The statesman's limitations and self-serving attitude bring into relief how Essex's brand of humanism transcends mere savvy intellectualism and gives, at least outwardly, the semblance of Elizabeth-honouring, internationally strong statecraft that Elizabeth most pressingly needs.

  22. Essex and Cecil create a rivalry that is conducted through the difference in the way these men chose the venue and space for their self-promotion. Twice already in the 1590s, the Cecil family had hosted Elizabeth at Theobalds to showcase Robert's readiness to assume his father's mantle.[43] Choosing the family estate as well as the character of a hermit (who, as a solitary figure, prays fervently and successfully for the queen's success) reveals Cecil's interest in grounding his bid for leadership not only in the tradition of his father's devotion at Elizabeth's side but also in his father's more domestically-rooted approach to policy. (Burghley had not left England since his trip to Scotland in 1559-60.) Essex, however, builds his campaigns through a public display of his professional and intellectual connections to a whole collective of supporters on the symbolic battlefield. As James M. Sutton indicates, Cecil's and Essex's choices of space contrast sharply:[44] they pit Cecil's dynastic, domestic focus against Essex's martial, international agenda.[45] 

    Making Essex Superior to His Peers: Of Love and Self-Love as a Test

  23. In much the same way that Essex and Bacon choose an approach that foregrounds a community of supporters so, too, do they demonstrate Essex's superiority as a faithful, intellectual statesman by tapping into the competitive, humanist atmosphere at court. They structure Of Love and Self-Love essentially as a test. Only those figures devoted to Elizabeth specifically as a learned queen will be familiar with her displays of learning and, therefore, will be the only ones able to recognise the subtext in the device. This recognition not only proves that these audience members are the true followers of Elizabeth's own brand of humanism but it also establishes a context that showcases Essex as the paragon of this wise devotion. Even Cecil, who surely would have made the connection, becomes a lesser figure because he has promoted himself using family connections rather than adoration to the queen. Essex and Bacon, therefore, flaunt Essex's superior version of humanist statecraft, and the wit of their strategy is that they delay providing the echo of Elizabeth's oration until the final moments. This delayed resolution rewards only those spectators who have exercised loving wisdom and have been shrewd in observing the hints pointing to this speech included along the way. The device stratifies the courtly audience, separating out the carefully listening courtiers, of which Essex and Bacon occupy the highest and most devoted position, from other courtiers who did not attend her oration, did not listen to it shrewdly, or did not read it in one of the circulating manuscripts. The device, therefore, reaches its climax of strategy in the reactions that follow the performance; it is here that courtiers will reveal, perhaps unknowingly, where they fall on the spectrum of loving wisdom.

  24. Based on Whyte's description of Elizabeth's reaction, the queen lived up to her praise as the philosopher-queen. I believe she recognised both the allusions to her oration and the competitive narcissism that Essex presented. Aware that Essex was trying to curry favour, she refused to give him the compliment that would confirm his triumph. Whyte states that, after the end, "the Queen said, that if she had thought their had bene so moch said of her, she wold not haue bene their that Night, and soe went to Bed" (362). By expressing disapproval about how much they centred the work around her, Elizabeth encourages her audience to read the piece the same way. As Hammer has noted, Essex upstages the queen by including so many reminders of his own humanist credentials that—visually and philosophically—he becomes the centre of attention. When Elizabeth reacts by complaining that all was about her, she reestablishes herself as the focal point. In fact, her snub serves as a reminder that, even though Essex and Bacon structure the entire entertainment on her wisdom, they ignore her central command in the 1592 oration. She wanted love not learning. Elizabeth may be the true learned prince in recognizing Essex and Bacon's allusions to her wisdom; however, she has changed the conventional humanist model. No longer wanting learning from her advisors, she refuses to grant favour even to this disguised representation of courtly intellectualism.

  25. Interestingly enough, although Whyte's description of Elizabeth's response suggests to me that Elizabeth understood the competitive allusions, I do not have the sense that Whyte himself did. He recounts the squire's final speech by listing the squire's reaction to each character but indicates no awareness that all the ideas fuse in a reference to Elizabeth's Oxford oration. Whyte relates: "but the Esquier answered them all; and concluded with an excellent, but to plaine English, that this Knight wold neuer forsake his Mistresses Love, whose Vertue made all his Thoughts Deuine, whose Wisdom tought him all true Policy, whose Beauty and Worth, were at all Times able to make him fitt to comand Armies" (362). Whyte's description does suggest that he accurately records events because his account bears adequate resemblance to the squire's final claim:
    Therefore Erophilus' resolution is fixed: he renounceth Philautia, and all her enchantments. For her [Elizabeth's] recreation, he will confer with his muse; for her defence and honour, he will sacrifice his life in the wars, hoping to be embalmed in the sweet odours of her remembrance; to her service will he consecrate all his watchful endeavours; and will ever bear in his heart the picture of her beauty, in his actions of her will, and in his fortune of her grace and favour. (68)
    Whyte was listening carefully but may not have been sufficiently "in the know" to recognise the allusion. He seems to have failed the test in which Elizabeth succeeded. This range of knowledge is precisely what the device was meant to expose. Elizabeth, who deftly reads both the praise and the competition, proves herself worthy of the panegyric that depicts her as philosopher-queen, and Essex emerges as a candidate who can glorify this wisdom but still try to eclipse it—a strategy that will underscore his actions in 1601.

  26. In part, Essex's perennial interest in showcasing himself makes Of Love and Self-Love the failure that scholars have long described it to be—a conclusion that certainly matches Elizabeth's dismissive snub in response to the device. Ultimately, the device does fail in its main goal of securing Essex's position as the next Principal Secretary. Elizabeth will choose the decades of prudent, Cecilian loyalty over Essex's flashy ability to generate a clever image. Like Harington who claims intellectual submission yet cannot maintain this image, Essex is equally unable to sustain true emotional and intellectual self-abasement. As a shrewd monarch, Elizabeth knows this, and she will appoint Cecil as Principal Secretary in 1596. She will honour Essex's abilities as a military leader in 1596 and 1597, and Essex will reap substantial, though short-lived, glory in such high-profile missions as the raid on Cadiz.[46] In these moments, he fulfills his glamourous image from Of Love and Self-Love as the wise and chivalric hero who defends crown and country from international threat.

  27. By fusing love, humanism, and international politics in Of Love and Self-Love, Essex uses the device to participate in yet another tradition—the literary tradition, which depicts him as a true heir to Sir Philip Sidney. Although I have focused on Essex's device primarily within its historical context, I want to conclude this essay by suggesting that Of Love and Self-Love serves as somewhat of a capstone to a literary tradition. Studying the 1595 Accession device may retrospectively deepen our understanding of why Sidney and indeed so many of the court-affiliated poets—Sir Walter Ralegh, Edward Dyer, Fulke Greville, William Davison, and Edmund Spenser—were learned individuals who pursued pointedly international agenda and wrote love poetry in which they downplayed their intellectual abilities. Essex and Bacon's tactics of packaging learning as devotion in Of Love and Self-Love, I believe, may shed light on how these men chose love and even literature itself to merge humanist credentials and international politics. To love and be wise may have been unlikely, but compatible, positions long before 1595. Once we acknowledge the influence of Elizabeth's learned persona, civic humanist discourse may be lurking in other places we never expected, transformed by the politics that altered humanist culture in the court of England's learned queen.

[1]Beginning with the succession crisis following Elizabeth's near fatal illness with smallpox, the queen presented a similar series of learned demonstrations. In 1563, a Latin prayerbook Precationes priuatae. Regiae E. R. was published; in 1564, she delivered a Latin oration at the University of Cambridge (and the text received wide dissemination in the second edition of Holinshed's Chronicles); in 1566, she delivered another Latin oration at the University of Oxford; in 1567, she translated Seneca's Epistle 107 for her godson John Harington; and in 1569, a section of royal prayers in five foreign languages was published by John Day in Christian Prayers and Meditations. In regards to the prayerbooks, we have no proof that Elizabeth composed these pieces; however, these meditations are presented as her work and therefore can be associated with her public image as a learned queen.

[2] Studies that examine the political strategy inherent in Elizabeth's educated status are Lysbeth Benkert, "Translation as Image-Making:  Elizabeth I's Translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy," Early Modern Literary Studies 6.3 (2001): 2.1-20; Mary Thomas Crane, "'Video et Taceo': Elizabeth I and the Rhetoric of Counsel," Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900  28.1 (1988): 1-16; Linda Shenk, "Turning Learned Authority into Royal Supremacy: Elizabeth I's Learned Persona and Her University Orations" in Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman, ed. Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney, and Debra Barrett-Graves (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003) 78-96.

[3] Although the term "humanist" is fraught with some controversy because it, as nineteenth-century coinage, embraces many disparate meanings as well as suggests an homogeneity of philosophy that early modern civic thinkers did not exhibit, I use this term as a shorthand way to refer to the oft-celebrated ties between education, moral virtue, and enlightened government. In some scholarly circles, the term "humanist" has fallen out of use; however, scholars who address Elizabethan notions of mixed polity often use this term to denote the roots that representations of this political model have in the period's renewed study of such classical writers as Plato and Aristotle. In fact, the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge held a conference in July 2007 on "Late Humanism and Political Ideology in Northern Europe, 1580-1620."

[4] Editors Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose discuss a few of the most important and court-affiliated manuscripts of the Oxford oration in Elizabeth I: Collected Works. (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000) 327, n. 1. For a particularly interesting connection to the Earl of Essex, a copy of the oration is also included in Merton's Register, and Henry Savile, a prominent figure in the Essex Circle, was Head of Merton at that time. Registrum Annalium Collegii Mertonensis 1567-1603. ed. John M. Fletcher (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976).

[5] See Queen Elizabeth's Englishings of Boethius, Plutarch and Horace, ed. Caroline Pemberton (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1899) viii-xi.

[6] For a study of the court's response to Elizabeth's Latin quip to the Polish Ambassador, see Janet M. Green, "Queen Elizabeth's Latin Reply to the Polish Ambassador," Sixteenth Century Journal  31 (2000): 987-1008.

[7] For example, the precarious year after Mary Queen of Scots was taken into English custody saw the publication of Christian Prayers and Meditations that represented Elizabeth as a Queen Solomon—wise, devoted to God, and supported by an unified nation of Protestant believers. See "Queen Solomon: An International Elizabeth I in 1569," Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England, ed. Robert Bucholz and Carole Levin (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, forthcoming). I explore many more examples of this association between national defence and Elizabeth's learning as well as the effect of this persona on her internationally ambitious courtier-poets in my book project, currently titled Elizabeth I, Learned Queen: Sovereignty, Court Poetry, and International Politics.

[8] Hammer, "Upstaging the Queen: the Earl of Essex, Francis Bacon and the Accession Day Celebrations of 1595," The Politics of the Stuart Court Masque, ed. David Bevington and Peter Holbrook (New York: Cambridge UP, 1998) 41-66; for Hammer's sustained work on Essex as an intellectual, The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 1585-1597 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1999); Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry, 1977 (London: Pimlico, 1999) 139; McCoy (who focuses mostly on Bacon's credentials), The Rites of Knighthood: The Literature and Politics of Elizabethan Chivalry (Berkeley: U of California P, 1989) 85-86. In particular, I am indebted to Hammer's crucial work on Essex.

[9] Despite Essex's need to claim fidelity and submission, both he and Bacon would have found asserting these poses particularly galling at some point during the preparations for the production. Elizabeth had passed over Bacon—once again—for appointment. On November 6th, she officially commissioned Thomas Fleming as her new Solicitor General.

[10] Citations of Of Love and Self-Love are from Francis Bacon: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, ed. Brian Vickers (New York: Oxford UP, 1996) 68. Subsequent citations are provided in-text.

[11] Elizabeth I: Collected Works, 327. Subsequent citations are provided in-text. In the original Latin, this passage reads: Non sunt laudes eximiae et insignes, sed immeritae meae, Non doctrinarum in multis generibus indicationes, narrationes et explicationes, Non orationes multis et varijs modis eruditè et insignitèr expressae, sed aliud quiddam est multo pretiosius atque praestantius, Amor scilicet, qui nec vnquam auditus nec scriptus nec memoriaa hominum notus fuit. Citations of the original Latin are from Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions and Foreign Language Originals, ed. Janel Mueller and Leah S. Marcus (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003) 164. I initially noted Elizabeth's echo of 1 Corinthians 2:9 in "Turning Learned Authority into Royal Supremacy: Elizabeth I's Learned Persona and Her University Orations."

[12] Using 1 Corinthians 2:9 to showcase Elizabeth's divine, learned supremacy extends beyond Elizabeth's oration; John Lyly had modulated Pauline notions in his play Endymion (performed for the queen in 1588 or 1589), and this Corinthian tradition will continue after the performance of Of Love and Self-Love. Most notably, William Shakespeare has Bottom garble 2:9 in A Midsummer Night's Dream—a reference that is designed, I believe, to acknowledge both Elizabeth's learned persona and Of Love and Self-Love. For another study that examines Shakespeare's interest in Essex's device, see Chris Fitter, "Historicising Shakespeare's Richard II: Current Events, Dating, and the Sabotage of Essex," Early Modern Literary Studies 11.2 (Sept 2005): 1.1-47.

[13] "The Transformation of the Earl of Essex: Post-Execution Ballads and 'The Phoenix and the Turtle,'" Studies in Philology 99.1 (2002): 57.

[14] The fusion of love with wisdom in Of Love and Self-Love is far more clever than either Essex's use of love or Bacon's reference to Elizabeth's wisdom in their individual texts for the queen in 1592. In Essex's letter to Elizabeth that October, he utilizes the notion of unparalleled love, claiming that "while your Majestie geues me leaue to say I loue you, my fortune is as my affection, unmatchable. Yf euer you deny me thatt liberty, you may end my lyfe, butt neue[r] shake my constancy, for where the sweetnes of your nature turned into the greatest bitternes thattt cold be, yt is nott in your power, (as greatt a Q[ueen] as you are) to make me loue you less" (fol. 33; qtd. in Grace Ioppolo, "'Your Majesties Most Humble Faythfullest and Most Affectionate Seruant': The Earl of Essex Constructs Himself and His Queen in the Hulton Letters," Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing, ed. Peter Beal and Grace Ioppolo [London: British Library, 2007] 62).  Likewise, Bacon, in his Of Tribute; Or, Giving That Which is Due (thought to have been written about 1592), praises Elizabeth's discourse as admirable "whether it be in learning or in love"; however, his compliments on her wisdom follow convention. Bacon celebrates her skill in foreign languages, her subsequent ability to talk directly to ambassadors, and her skill in appointing wise advisors (Vickers 47-48). Appropriately enough, both Of Tribute and Of Love and Self-Love are included in a manuscript containing documents related to the Elizabethan court. See Peter Beal, comp. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. vol. 1 (New York: R. R. Bowker Co, 1980) 18.

[15] Because the entertainment seeks to represent Essex rather than Bacon, I will focus on Essex's strategies of self-promotion. McCoy addresses Bacon's career in relation to this device.

[16] "Upstaging the Queen," 46. For a list of the extant texts as well as more discussion on the textual situation, see Beal, 51-52. Other commentary regarding the textual situation occurs in Hammer, "Upstaging the Queen," 46; James Spedding, ed, The Works of Francis Bacon, vol. 7 (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862) 374-92; Vickers 535-37. To date, no collation of the various manuscripts has been published.

[17] Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997, xxvii.

[18] Although it is rare to have a major author's rough notes for poetic works in this period, H. R. Woudhuysen comments that we have many of Bacon's working drafts for his philosophical and scientific writings. Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts, 1558-1640 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996) 95.

[19] In his rough draft (Lambeth Palace, MS 936, No. 274; BcF 309 in Beal, p. 51), Bacon writes a speech for the hermit but then, in the polished draft (Lambeth Palace, MS 933, No. 118; BcF 308 in Beal, p. 51) ends up giving most of this speech to the statesman.

[20] These comments are printed in the notes in Spedding, 376-77.

[21] Public Record Office, SP, 12/254/67-68; BcF 317 in Beal, p. 52.

[22] Pierpont Morgan Library, MA 1201, ff. 12-21v; BcF 314 in Beal p. 51.

[23] Citations of Whyte's letter are from Arthur Collins, ed, Letters and Memorials of State, 1746, vol. 1 (New York: AMS, 1973) 362. Subsequent citations are provided in-text. Significantly, Whyte also identifies the university men who played in the device. He explains that, "Thold Man was he, that in Cambridg plaied Giraldy, Morley plaied the Secretary, and he that plaied Pedantiq, was the Soldior, and Toby Matthew acted the Squires Part" (362). Matthew would have been particularly attuned to entertaining Elizabeth within the context of her position as a learned queen. Matthew might have performed in one of the plays prepared for her visit to Oxford because, according to university records, he was performing in plays there in 1592. Even if Matthew did not act before the queen, he would still have been acutely aware of the implications of entertaining her. His father (of the same name) was at Cambridge when the queen visited in 1564, and he was probably the person who adapted the story of Marcus Geminus into a play to be performed for her on the first evening of her visit.

[24] "Upstaging the Queen," 51.

[25] For more on the role of university men on Accession Day, see Strong's chapter on Accession Day sermons, 117-28.

[26] (London, 1585) A3v.

[27] A Reuelation of the True Minerua (London, 1582) B4v. Subsequent citations are provided in-text.

[28] (London, 1587) A3r.

[29]A3v. In this latter phrase, Kyffin may be echoing John Prime's 1585 sermon that describes Elizabeth as "the terror of her foes, the comfort of her friends" (A5r in the text, though this page should be B5r: the last two pages have been mislettered with signature A). Kyffn's decision to make Elizabeth an educator rather than a comfort matches his more overt praise of Elizabeth's learned status—a contrast with Prime's more guarded comments which greater emphasize the limitations of Elizabeth's gender and, in turn, her need to be surrounded by wise, male advisors.

[30] Nugae Antiquae, ed. Thomas Park (London, 1804) 368-69. For an insightful discussion of the effect of James's learning on period writers, see Curtis Perry, The Making of Jacobean Culture: James I and the Renegotiation of Elizabethan Literary Practice, especially pages 25-49.

[31] Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001) 184-85.

[32] The Scholemaster (London, 1570) 21. 

[33] The Complete Works of John Lyly, vol 2, ed. R. Warwick Bond (Oxford: Clarendon, 1902) 213, ll. 6-7.

[34] Matthew Parker, The holie Bible (London, 1568) 98v.

[35] Vt diuturna sit haec Academia, habeatur inprimis cura vt Deus colatur non more omnium opinionum, non secundum ingenia nimis inquisita et exquisita, sed vt lex diuina iubet et nostra praecipit. Non enim talem principem habetis quae vobis quicquam precepit quod contra conscientiam verè Christianam esse deberet (Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions, 164).

[36] Ab initio Regni mei gubernationis summa et praecipua mea sollicitudo cura et vigilia fuit, vt tam ab externis inimicis quam internis tumultibus seruaretur (Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions, 164).

[37] Unton notes that "The Cardinall of Bourbon, the Chancellor and the three Bishopes that came to Noyon to the Kinge, wherof your Lordship was before advertised, are come to the campe, expreslie to perswade the Kinge to be instructed in their Catholicke faithe, as also to conclude a peace with his subjectes, wherof they seeme to assure the Kinge. Hee putteth them in hope that he wilbe become a Catholicke, as him selfe confesseth to me; and did were two daies together a cloacke of the order of St. Espritt,--wherat the common sorte doe greately rejoice; also he offereth them to conclude a peace with reasonable conditions, which I beleeve to be impossible." Correspondence of Sir Henry Unton, knt., ambassador from Queen Elizabeth to Henry IV, king of France, in the years 1591 and 1592, ed. Joseph Stevenson (London, W. Nichol, 1847) 171.

[38] Elizabeth's nod to England's serenity is not the only comment directed to the French ambassador. The university staged a disputation that considered whether or not it was lawful, in a Christian republic, to dissemble in religion [An licet in Christiana Republica dissimulare in Causa Religionis?]. John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, vol. 3 (London: Printed by and for J. Nichols and Son, 1823) 159.

[39] I find it interesting that the statesman's oration can be found as an individual speech in one manuscript (Folger, MS V. b. 214, f. 200; BcF 316 in Beal 51). Also, one of the manuscripts of the overall entertainment is located in Queen's College, Oxford—an appropriate location considering the device's use of Elizabeth's oration at Oxford (The Queen's College, Oxford, MS 121, pp. 405-07; BcF 315 in Beal p. 51). Also, Tobie Matthew, Jr., who acted the role of the squire in the device, was an Oxford man, although he was from Christ Church.

[40] See footnote 12 for my comment regarding Shakespeare's use of 1 Corinthians.

[41] I am indebted to Vickers who draws attention to Bacon's repeated use of this maxim, p. 538.  In addition, this same Latin phrase occurs in the manuscript found in Reynolds's hand (in the ambassador's speech regarding the Indian boy). This common sententia provides another instance to suggest that different members of Essex's secretariat might have been collaborating on (or at least discussing) aspects of the Accession Day entertainment.

[42] "Upstaging the Queen," 54-55.

[43] Elizabeth was often entertained at Theobalds, but these two visits were especially geared for allowing Cecil to express his readiness to assume his father's duties (many of which he was already performing unofficially).

[44] Materializing Space at an Early Modern Prodigy House: the Cecils at Theobalds, 1564-1607 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004) 126.

[45] I do find it interesting, however, that Robert Cecil chooses to express his unflagging loyalty to Elizabeth in poetry at moments when his involvement in (or capacity for) international participation comes to the fore. In 1594 during his competition with Essex, he wrote the hermit's oration for the Theobalds entertainment. In 1602, not long after he becomes James I's primary contact in England, Cecil composes a few loyal verses as well. I am indebted to Joshua Eckhardt's essay, "'From a Seruant of Diana' To the Libellers of Robert Cecil: The Transmission of Songs Written for Queen Elizabeth I," for drawing my attention to these verses. Eckhardt's essay appears in Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing, ed. Peter Beal and Grace Ioppolo (London: British Library, 2007) 115-31.

[46] This international focus within the language of love resonates with Roland Greene's discussion of love as housing "geopolitical ambitions" in his discussion of Astrophil and Stella. "'This Phrasis is Continuous': Love and Empire in 1590," JHP 16 (1992): 237-52.

Works Cited


Responses to this piece intended for the Readers' Forum may be sent to the Editor at M.Steggle@shu.ac.uk.

© 2007-, Matthew Steggle (Editor, EMLS).