Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

cessively made a gentleman of the Queen's privy chamber, captain of the band of gentlemen pensioners, Vice-chamberlain, and a member of the Privy Council, at last receiving the honour of knighthood, which was then considered as great a distinction as a peerage is now* He likewise obtained royal grants of houses in London, and of lands in Pembrokeshire, Dorsetshire, Leicestershire, and Yorkshire.

This delight of the Queen to honour and enrich him caused much envy and some scandal. Complaints were uttered, that under the existing government nothing could be obtained by any others than "dancers and carpet knights—such as the Earl of Lincoln and Master Hatton, who were admitted to the Queen's privy chamber."t Sir John Perrot, a stout soldier, could not conceal his indignation, when he found himself neglected for one who he was used to say "came into court by the galliard, coming thither as a private gentleman of the Inns of Court, in a masque, and for his activity and person, which was tall and proportionable, taken into favour."J Elizabeth's undisguised partiality for the new favourite naturally excited the jealousy of Leicester, and in ridicule of the accomplishment which had in this instance excited her admiration, he proposed to introduce to her a dancing master who outdid all that had been before seen in this department of genius: but her Majesty, drawing a proper distinction between the skill of a professional artist and of an amateur exclaimed

"Pish! I will not see your man; it is his trade J" e

The Vice-chamberlain, on account of his dancing propensity, was particularly obnoxious to the Puritans;—and Burchet, a student of the Middle Temple, one of the leaders of this sect, in a fit of religious enthusiasm resolved to kill him, but by mistake, murdered, first, in the public street, Hawkins, an officer, and then Longworth, the keeper of a house in which he was confined.^

But Hatton, though so lightly esteemed by the multitude, began j- 1^71 i ^° ^ee^ ^ne s^mSs °f ambition as well as love; and

La°' 'J in spite of his want of book-learning, from his natu

ral shrewdness and mother wit, he had a considerable aptitude for business. He was returned to parliament for Higham Ferrars, and with a little practice in speaking, he became a popular and useful debater. Such a position did he acquire that on Cecil's elevation to the peerage, having become member for Northamptonshire, his native county, he was the organ of the government in the Lower House, and with the assistance of the Speaker manj- i^7^i aged it according to the Queen's directions. When

[a. D. .j "\yentworth the Puritan made his famous speech,

* The Secretary of State and the Treasurer of the Household were knighted along with him by the Queen at Windsor.

t Murdin, 124—210. Camden, 254.

% Naunton.

§ The unhappy man was evidently insane, but in those days they did not stand on such a nicety as criminal responsibility. He was convicted and executed. Camden, 284.

which gave offence to the courtiers, Hatton moved his commitment to the Tower, and afterwards brought down the message from her Majesty, that "whereas a member had uttered divers offensive matters against her for which he had been imprisoned, yet she was pleased to remit her justly occasioned displeasure, and to refer his enlargement to the house ;"—whereupon, after an admonition from the Speaker, he was set at liberty.#

Our senator, however, continued sedulously to practise the arts by which he first established himself in the royal favour. At court balls he danced with the same spirit as ever, and he particularly distinguished himself as one of the challengers in "a solemn tournay and barriers" before the Queen at Westminster— his colleagues being the Earl of Oxford, Mr. Charles Howard, and Sir Henry Lee, "who did very valiantly."t Yearly he presented the Queen with a new-year's gift, such as "a jewel of pizands of gold adorned with rubies and diamonds and flowers set with rubies, with one pearl pendent and another at the top."t In return he received a present of silver-gilt plate ; and it is remarkable that while the portion of other courtiers never exceeded two hundred ounces, and was seldom more than fifty, his never fell short of four hundred.^

These marks of fondness gave rise to malicious whispers about the Court; and among the vulgar the Queen was r 1^71 i openly charged with lavishing her favours on the LA- • -J

Vice-chamberlain.

One Mather made a traitorous speech before a large assembly of people, in which he said, " The Queen desireth nothing but to feed her own lewd fantasy, and to cut off such of her nobility as are not perfumed and court-like to please her delicate eye, and to place such as are for her, — dancers, who have more recourse unto her Majesty in her privy chamber than reason would suffer if she were so virtuous and well inclined as some noise her." II In a letter written soon afterby Archbishop Parker to Burgh- r 1 ^~ -, ley, he gives information that a man examined by •- "■*

the Mayor of Dover and another magistrate, "uttered most shameful words against the Queen's Majesty, that the Earl of Leicester and Mr. Hatton should be such towards her as the matter is so horrible that they would not write down the words, but would have uttered them in speech to your Lordship if ye could have been at Jeisure/'IT

Hatton, who for a time had triumphed over Leicester, being himself neglected for the eccentric, but young, handsome, and accomplished Earl of Oxford, was thrown into a state of deep despondency, and imparted to his bosom friend Mr. Edward Dyer a

* 1 Pari. Hist. 802.

t NichoPs Progresses of Queen Elizabeth.

% New Year's Day, 1572,

\ See lists of royal presents, Nichol's Progresses, vol. ii. and iii.

|j Murdin, p. 204. f Strype's Life-of Archbishop Parker, ii. 127.

resolution he had formed to reproach Elizabeth for her inconstancy. He received a very long letter in answer, containing the following sage reflections and advice: —

"One that standeth by shall see more in the game than one that is much more skilful, whose mind is too earnestly occupied. First of all, you must consider with whom you have to deal, and what we be towards her; who though she do descend very much in her sex as a woman, yet we may not forget her place, and the nature of it as our Sovereign. Now if a man, of secret cause known to himself, might in common reason challenge it, yet if the Queen mislike thereof, the world followeth the sway of her inclination; and never fall they in consideration of reason, as between private persons they do. And if it be after that rate for the most part in causes that may be justified, then much more will it be so in causes not to be avouched. A thing to be had in regard; for it is not good for any man straitly to weigh a general disallowance of her doings. That the Queen will mislike of such a course, this is my reason: she will imagine that you go about to imprison her fancy, and to warp her grace within your disposition; and that will breed despite and hatred in her towards you: and so you may be cast forth to the malice of every envious person, flatterer, and enemy of yours; out of which you shall never recover yourself clearly, neither your friends, so long as they show themselves your freinds. But the best and soundest way in mine opinion is, to put on another mind; to use your suits towards her Majesty in words, behaviour, and deeds; to acknowledge your duty, declaring the reverence which in heart you bear, and never seem deeply to condemn her frailties, but rather joyfully to condemn such things as should be in her, as though they were in her indeed; hating my Lord of Ctm#, in the Queen's understanding for affection's sake, and blaming him openly for seeking the Queen's favour. For though in the beginning when her Majesty sought you (after her good manner), she did bear with rugged dealing of yours until she had what she fancied, yet now, after satiety and fulness, it will rather hurt than help you; whereas, behaving yourself as I said before, your place shall keep you in worship, your presence in favour, your followers will stand to you, at the least you shall have no bold enemies, and you shall dwell in the ways to take all advantages wisely, and honestly to serve your turn at times.

"You may perchance be advised and encouraged to the other way by some kind of friends that will be glad to see whether the Queen will make an apple or a crab of you, which, as they find, will deal accordingly with you; following if fortune be good; if not, leave, and go to your enemy: for such kind of friends have no commodity by hanging in suspense, but set you a fire to do off or on, — all is one to them; rather liking to have you in any extremity than in any good mean." t

* Oxford. f Harleian MSS.787. fol. 88.

Hatton accordingly wrote a long and respectful letter to the Queen, in which he does not allude to the new favourite, but supposes that he has fallen into disfavour for imputed faults of his own, — " unthankfulness, covetousness, and ambition." Against these he proceeds to justify himself: —

"To the first, I speak the truth before God, that I have most entirely loved your person and service; to the which, without exception, I have everlastingly vowed my whole life, liberty, and fortune. Even so am I yours, as, whatever God and you should have made me, the same had been your own; than which I could, nor any can, make large recompense. This I supposed to have been the true remuneration of greatest good turns, because I know it balanceth in weight the greatest good wills. Neither hath the ceremony of thanksgiving any way wanted, as the world will rightfully witness with me; and therefore in righteousness I most humbly pray you condemn me not. Spare your poor prostrate servant from this pronounced vengeance."—

After showing, at great length, that he had " ever found her largess before his lack, in such plenty as he could wish no more," and that he had "never sought place but to serve her, he goes on to say,—

"Believe not, I humbly beseech you for your wisdom and worthiness, the tale so evil told of your most faithful: be not led by lewdness of others to lose your own, that truly lovethyou. These most unkind conceits wonderfully wring me: reserve me more graciously to be bestowed on some honourable enterprise for you;, and so shall I die a most joyful man and eternally bound to you. But would God I might win you to think well according with my true meaning; then should I acquit my mind, and serve you with joy and further hope of goodness. I pray God bless you forever. "Your desparing most wretched bondman,

"ch. Hatton."

Nevertheless, the Earl of Oxford was preferred till Hatton fell into a serious illness, which revived the Queen's af- . . ^^ r

fection for him. I - - -h

The Court scandal of that day is recorded in a very lively letter written by Gilbert Talbot to his father the Earl of Shrewsbury:— "My Lord of Oxford is lately grown into great credit; for the Queen's Majesty delighteth more in his personage, and his dancing; and valiantness, than any other. At all these love matters my Lord Treasurer winketh, and will not meddle any way. Hatton is sick still: it is thought he will very hardly recover his disease, for it is doubted it is in his kidneys: the Queen goeth almost every day to» see how he doth."

He slowly recovered, and Talbot in another letter, after stating that the Queen had postponed progress to Bristol, adds, " Mr. Hatton, by reason of his great sickness, is minded to go to the Spa for the better recovery of his health." Strype says,." Mr,

VOL. II. 12

Hatton (not well in health) took this opportunity to get leave to go to the Spa, and Dr. Julio (a great Court physician) with him; whereat the Queen showed herself very pensive, and very unwilling to grant him leave, for he was a favourite."*

However, on the 29th of May, an order was made by the Privy Council for allowing Hatton "to pass over the seas for recovery of his health,"—and having taken a tender leave of Elizabeth he proceeded on his journey in company with Dr. Julio, on the 3d of June following.

During their separation, the lovers kept up a constant correspondence. All her letters are unfortunately lost, but the originals of many of his have lately been discovered in the State Paper Office —written in the style of an ardent and successful admirer to his mistress—his passion being rendered more romantic by distance and illness.t She had given him the pastoral name of "Lydds," and they had agreed on certain ciphers expressing sentiment of endearment, the exact meaning of which is not disclosed to us. Here is his first, written to her only two days after their separation, showing that he had received several from her in the interval;

[graphic]

, HIf I could express my feelings of your gracious letters, I should utter unto you matter of strange effect. In reading of them, with my tears I blot them. In thinking of them I feel so great comfort, that I find cause, as God knoweth, to thank you on my knees. Death had been much more my advantage than to win health and life by so loathsome a pilgrimage. The time of two days hath drawn me further from you than ten, when I return, can lead me towards you. Madam, I find the greatest lack that ever poor wretch sustained. No death, no, not hell, no fear of death shall ever win of me my consent so far to wrong myself again as to be absent from you one day. God grant my return. I will perform this vow. I lack that I live by. The more I find this lack, the further I go from you. Shame whippeth me forward. Shame

* Strype, ii. 449.

t The public is indebted for the discovery of these letters to the research of Sir Harris Nicholas.

« AnteriorContinuar »