« PreviousContinue »
Chenies Woodlands. 97
ceived the poetry of "As you Like It,"—though for a romantic colouring he put the scene in Arden. You shall judge. 'Tis of Jaques one speaks :—
"To-day, my Lord of Amiens and myself
"You shall see these things whiles here," said he; "though 'tis not often a poet in the dumps so moralises on them! And again, where else was this writ?
"Under the Greenwood tree,
VOL. III. H
Come hither, Come hither, Come hither!
Hereshall he see
"Who doth ambitionshun,
There was more than one Phœbe in Steeple-Claydon,
and too many of Silvius' sort about Chenies, the Jades
said. Some accused poor Davy of being a Touchstone, he
having seen foreign parts; though not such a fool as to have
been in Arden, quod he. Twas one o' the Waights' songs,
"Whatshall he have who killed the deer?"
And another less modestly worded, that the wild lads
"Between the acres of the rye."
Now upon this subject the Earl of Southampton and William Cheney sat talking almost through the night: but my Lord The Succession again. 09
of Essex was in the room behind the Armoury, closeted with Sir Thomas, going over and over again the vexed question of the succession. Now would he bring himself through York and now through Lancaster; then would he fall back on Thomas of Woodstock; and anon conceive none stood between him, Robert Devereux, and the rightful inheritance of the Throne.
But the Knight was resolute that my Lord, and those claiming with the like right, were but in the fifth degree: that, if the Plantagenet blood should be restored, there were very many of admitted descent nearer akin to the great stock of Edward the Third; but that the nation having graffed the House of Tudor on that stock, and suffered Henry the Eighth to will the order os succession, that order now rested either in the Queen under that precedent, or in the nation expressing itself in Parliament. He thought the Queen was competent; if she failed, the other. And he reminded Essex how, when the Scots Queen was cut off, prudent men had said she had been the heir to both these realms; and that her son James undoubtedly represented the blood of Henry the Seventh.
And with this he scarce stayed my Lord's importunity: for certainly some had set his head hammering on these matters with an evil aim. You remember how Doleman's book was dedicated to him; and now, with expressions of esteem and respect, one Hayward, a Student of Civil Law in Cambridge, presents to my Lord "A Treatise of Henry IV.," shewing the deposition of King Richard II. And there was much descanting about it forthwith, why such a story should come out at this time; and many exceptions were taken to the Epistle dedicatory, objecting to my Lord in good earnest. Of such import was it thought by some that her Grace questioned Master Francis if this might not be Treason, and would fain have the author racked, that he might reveal. But Bacon (with a jest) diverted her, saying he could prove the book a felony, for many passages therein were basely stolen; but for treason, there was no such matter in't.
But, howsoever, the Earl's imagination bent on the succession; and, what is more, people very well knew it was so.
"The greatest plagues that human nature staffers
^ a great horse he called "White Surrey," the blue footcloth embroidered on either side with the silver Cross-flory, Sir Thomas and his meiny in great state escorted his military guests as far as Buckingham.
The little troop os Yeomanry were yet drawn up in the Court-yard, a most seemly sight, for the men were all in blue, having the five links of chain worked upon their shoulders; and Davy was a flourishing his banner to and fro lustily, to the amazement of the byestanders. The troop was indeed a gallant band, having been marshalled by