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deserved passing well of his country, both at home and abroad. That there was not any other of the English nation furnished with the skill and knowledge of a Commander, to manage war, and repel all hostile attempts; nor more dear to the people. And, therefore, he was the meetest man to pacify commotions if any should arise, and restore the Commonwealth: and flatly, the worthiest man of any to be most fully enlightened with the gracious aspect and wholesome influence of the Queen's countenance.
And, indeed, had it consented with her Highness' dignity now to be reconciled to my Lord, there was room for him in the Court. But, as was said in old time os Germanicus, his deadliest enemies were his own ornaments; and his adversaries had little else to complain of than his greatness; for he who was not sharp to his enemies was, like Pompey, to such as yielded, placable. But Essex, finding the Queen yet without kindly motion towards him, took his pen; and, if the Queen had already probed the rankling wound of his honour, she might now fee bare before her eyes where she had touched to the very quick his manly pride:—
"At sundry times, and by sundry messengers, I received The Fountain of Honour. 243
these words as your Majesty's own, *That you meant to correct, not to ruin.' Since when I have languished in four months' sickness: forfeited almost all that I was able to engage; felt the very pangs of death upon me; and saw that poor reputation, whatsoever it was, that I enjoyed hitherto, not suffered to die with me, but buried, and I alive; I yet kissed your Majesty's correcting hand, and was confident in your royal word. For, I said to myself, between my ruin and my Sovereign's favour there is no mean: and, if she bestow favour again, she gives it with all things in this world I either need or desire. But now, the length of my troubles, and the continuance — or rather increase — of your Majesty's indignation, have made all men so afraid of me, as mine own poor estate is not only ruined, but my kind friends and faithful servants are like to die in prison, because I cannot help myself with mine own. Now I do not only feel the weight of your Majesty's indignation, and am subject to their malicious insinuations that first envied me for my happiness in your favour, and now hate me out of custom; but, as if I were thrown into a corner like a dead carcase, I am gnawed on and torn by the vilest and basest creatures upon earth. The prating tavern-haunter speaks of me what he lists. The frantic libeller writes of me what he lists: already they print me and make me speak to the world; and shortly will they play me in what forms they list upon the stage. The least of these is a thousand times worse than death.
"But this is not the worst of my destiny. For your Majesty, that hath mercy for all the world but me: that hath protected from scorn and infamy all to whom you ever avowed favour but Essex, and never repented you of any gracious assurance you had given till now: your Majesty I say, hath now, in this eighth month of my imprisonment—as if you thought mine infirmities, beggary, and infamy too little punishment—rejected my letters and refused to hear of me; which to Traytors even you never did.
"What, therefore, remaineth for me? Only this, to beseech your Majesty, on the very knees of my heart, to conclude my punishment, my misery, and my life altogether, that I may go to my Saviour, who hath paid himself a ransom for me; and whom, methinks, I still hear calling me out of this unkind world, in which I have already lived too long, and ever thought myself too happy."
This endless misery—this cureless malice—
Thierry And Theodoret, act v. sc. n.
CAGED Eagle, the Lion in a toyle, Leviathan hooked, Man manacled and fettered! In these how is Nature thwarted, estopped, bobbed, degraded! An Earl of England, a gentleman of high descent, of untarnished honour, of polished wit—how shall he brook such an affront to true nobility, birth, courage, sense, as hath so unjustly been put upon my Lord? Is there no bourne to patience? May not we tread those soft banks till our compliant feet stick in the very mud of cowardice? So!
The paltry sentence proved how petty was the charge. "Justice had her balance taken from her," as Master Francis facetely surmised; "my Lord was wounded in the back!" True, Master Bacon, true; and it is to be lamented that you were the Brutus whose blow so basely thrust at his manly heart!
Her Grace, urged by Cecyl, had, as Ralegh foretold, entered her anger and her pride with the accusation. But the Council, not finding my Lord guilty of any serious crime, so would they not condemn him gready.
Yet this sentence would let down her Majesty as one touched o' the spleen rather than equable. She must still stand * Semper eadem' before the world! So 'twas with an ill grace the Royal prerogative of mercy spake, * die Earl of Essex is at liberty!"
Cecyl now found that he had overwrought himself. And wisely and in time had he checked hand; warding off from the Star-Chamber her vindictive Majesty. Ralegh, on the other fide, upon a conceit of its certain violation of all forms of law, and traditional straining towards the Sovereign's will, had looked forward to that prosecution as the very sure end of Essex's career; trusting to his own