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not have an equal confidence. Nay, it is an argument of the weakness and depravity of a prince, who if he encouraged and rewarded virtue, would not want numbers of able heads to assist him.
But, Madam, I must remember to whom it is that I am speaking, to one of the wisest and best of princes; on whom the first flattery can never have any effect, as being entirely free from all vicious inclinations, and of too good judgement to be imposed on by the fairest appearances of virtue so far, as to lose the juster considerations of public good in the shining qualities of any particular. Under you,
Madam, we find that saying true, 'How happy is the kingdom governed by a philosopher!' We feel the blessing, and every day experience the manna of your reign. And how indulgent soever your Majesty may be thought to the eminent excellences of some, yet I have no manner of fear that they will ever be able to expel your Majesty's affections from all your other subjects, or make you ever deviate to a partiality in their favour against the good and universal cries of your people.
'This noble temper of your Majesty it is, that secures me against all fears from this freedom, which I have taken; since you will easily see a public spirit, void of all private aims, shine through the whole. I have, therefore, only to add my ardent wishes for the prosperous and long reign of your Majesty, over a people that are sensible of the blessing, which Providence has bestowed on them in their gracious Queen.'
STANZAS SENT, WITH A NEW YEAR'S GIFT OF A SPINNING
WHEEL, BY SIR WILLIAM CECIL TO HIS DAUGHTER.
years do grow, so cares increase,
And time will move; so look to thrift:
But one thing first I wish and pray,
And play the rest, as times require.
EARL OF ESSEX.*
ROBERT DEVEREUX was the eldest son of Walter first Earl of Essex, by Lettice daughter of Sir Francis Knollys, who was related to Queen Elizabeth. He was born in 1567 at Netherwood, his father's seat in Herefordshire.
This nobleman, destined subsequently to run an illustrious career, was during his tender years so backward in his learning, that his father died with a very humble idea of his abilities: but this, in the judgement of many, proceeded from his preference of his younger son, Walter, who it appears had quicker parts in his childhood. On his death-bed however, he recommended Robert, then in the tenth year of his age, to the protection of Thomas Radcliffe Earl of Sussex, and to the care of Lord Burghley, whom he appointed his guardian. Water
* AUTHORITIES. Camden's Annals of Queen Elizabeth; Baker's Chronicle; Winstanley's English Worthies; Birch's Memoirs, &c. of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; and Hume's History of England.
house, then Secretary for Ireland, in which country his father expired, had the immediate direction of his person and estate, which though not a little injured by his predecessor's public spirit, was still very considerable; and his popularity at court was so remarkable, that according to that gentleman's assertion, there was no man so strong in friends as the little Earl of Essex.'
In 1578, when he was about twelve years of age, Lord Burghley placed him at Trinity College, Cambridge, under the care of Dr. Whitgift the master, subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury. Here he first began to apply himself to learning with uncommon assiduity; and, in a short time, he surpassed all his noble contemporaries.
In 1582, having taken the degree of M. A.he left the University, and retired to his own house at Lambsie in South-Wales, to which he gradually became so much attached for it's rural quiet, that it was with difficulty he was prevailed upon to leave it.
His first appearance at court was in the seventeenth year of his age. Thither he carried with him, among other powerful recommendations, a fine person, a polite address, and an affability which procured him numerous friends. Neither must it be forgotten that his mother, not long after his father's death, had married the Queen's favourite, the celebrated Earl of Leicester. At first, however, he showed great reluctance to avail himself of his step-father's interest, being disgusted at the nuptials which opened his way to it; but in the end, by the persuasion of his friends, he was so far reconciled to him, that toward the close of the year 1585 he accompanied him to Holland,
with the title of General of the Horse. In this quality, he gave the highest proofs of personal courage in the battle of Zutphen; and, for his gallant behaviour upon that occasion, was created by Leicester a Knight-banneret.
On his return to England, it quickly appeared that the Queen not only approved, but was desirous also of rewarding, his services; for upon Leicester's advancement in 1587 to the office of Lord-Steward, Essex succeeded him as Master of the Horse. The following year, when her Majesty assembled the army at Tilbury for the defence of the kingdom, and gave the command of it under herself to Leicester, she created Essex General of the Horse; and, soon afterward, conferred upon him the Order of the Garter.
The death of Leicester, which happened in the same year, placed him on the pinnacle of prosperity. He had, now, no rival near the throne: on the contrary, Burghley, the chief person in power, was his patron and his friend. From this time, the Queen showed a decisive partiality in his favour, which so perverted his better judgement, that he occasionally gave way to sallies of arrogance and vanity even in her presence, till the following incident administered a check to his presumption: Sir Charles Blount, a very handsome young man, having distinguished himself at a tilting-match, her Majesty sent him a chess-queen of gold enamelled, which he fastened upon his arm with a crimson ribbon. Essex under an impulse of jealousy cried out, with affected disdain, Now, I perceive, every fool must have a favour." For this affront, Blount challenged Essex: