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they not wrong their subjects?" and more to the same effect did he spleenfully utter. Her Grace knew of these things presently.
And, beside those compunctious visitings in the matter of "B.," there were not wanting at this juncture comfortless sages who gave him a Iobation that he could ill stomach: telling him, forsooth, how all his mischances had original in his own misdeeds: how he should reveal his secrets ; bearing himself as a sinner: not in the old guise of paper and sheet, but in a moral mess of dust and ashes.
Verily the poor Earl of Essex was in sad plight! No hero now, but a poor miserable man; unable to answer for himself, or turn out the questioners. Tormented by remorse, by the Queen, by the preachers, by the prudes, by pains in his loins, by soreness in his bones, by aches in his head, by growlings and meagrims within and without: by dolours and tremours of body and soul; by horrible imaginings, fears, tortures, and pinches—a hot disease and cold comfort. Now the distemperature of his spleen gave that hue to his religion made it worse than profitless; for he more feared the Devil than loved or trusted God!
"There's ne'er a one of you but trusis a knave
Tim. Ath., act v. sc. i.
HE Lord Burghley deceased, and the Earl of Essex retired, who but Master Secretary shall have the packing o' the cards? And lo! in good time, beside her Grace's chair, the Captain o' the Guard again. Some have the advantage of my Lord's dumps!
Sir Robert Cecyl is the man in eye. 'Tis he knoweth the tricks o' the game! Truly he beareth not the gravity of his father, muffled as it were in a Spanish cloke; his is rather the loose 'haviour of a fantastic Frenchman, under which you shall see his wit sparkle anon.
Now the old Treasurer was o' the Peace. One for letting things 'bide; with a saw of " Little governing, less discontent." And another, "All goeth well where is no shew of rule;" saying often and very safely, "Let us go on as we are!" and again with a shake of 's head, " Tis the very birth o' your untimely stirs, these interferences o' the state." "Change breedeth change: for what you alter to-day you must repair to-morrow." And, as my Lord came to his chair-days, he was more solemn on this point. But the red ferret Master Secretary would use, was alone enough to shew him fit for all affairs; 'twas his natural and his hereditary vocation. Both from necessity and by choice he was prone to statecraft—and 'twould go hard if he did not better some ensamples and instructions that came in his way. Like Walsingham, he must be doing. He must have his plots, his counterplots. He must have his writings and cypherings, his secret figures and secret intelligencers. And, if he goeth a drachm or so beyond Sir Francis' prescriptions, they say he is whilst within a scruple of some of Leicester's receipts. Certain it is, na'th'less, he hath not the religious ends of the one, nor the daring means o' the other: but you shall know more of him by and by.
Master Secretary. 45
kept good quarters between themselves; nay, they would confer one with another upon the business. And the one of them said, that to be a Secretary in the Declination of a Monarchy was a ticklish thing; and that, for his part, he did not affect it. The other straight caught up these words; discoursing with divers of his friends, that he (forsooth) had no reason to desire to be a Secretary in the Declination of a Monarchy. Then the first man took hold of it, finding means it should be told to the Queen; who, hearing of the Declination of a Monarchy (that old bug i' the ear), took it so ill as she would never after hear of the other's suit.
Sir Robert Cecyl is now in place, Sir Thomas Bodley goeth disconsolate to Oxford; there, with my Lord of Essex's better help (the Don Jerome's books to wit), founding that noble library which 'tis said the students of hereafter time shall not be learned enough to read. And of what Declination did they speak? Was it not that her Grace was yet childless, whereas the Infanta had been betrothed to the Cardinal Albert? Go to! But truly, yea! And this was Philip's last scheme. To what machinations might it not lead? Here was a Celebat, with his very episcopal signet ring had concluded himself in vinculo matrimonii! With his flaming hat, one might say in a heathen figure, fanning up Hymen's torch! What should this bode? More Armado? Oh, for Master Knox now! Had he lived to our day, would he not have sounded a blast of his Protestant trumpet against the monstrous regiment of Babylon and scarlet stockings!
Well, Sir Robert hath the care of State affairs. To see him bring bills to the Queen! 'Twas a fine thing observing his eye; how it waited on that royal lady, how, through the transparency of her Grace's countenance, he sought to spy the secrets of her politic heart. Yet how, when she frowned, with a demure abasing of his glances he would seem to retire from so sublime an aspect. And again, when her Highness smiled, how he would rally and encourage his quelled spirit; leading the discourse off into some utter businesses of the Commonwealth, most contrary to that in hand; toying and playing with the Majesty of England as a fond Angler practiseth on a seely trout! And Sir Walter Ralegh watched him. There be yet rats behind the Arras !" Go to," quoth he; "Sir Robert hath the shuffling o' the pack, but a hasn't the trump card yet!" A while agone, when her Grace willed all her courtiers to