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MR. BACON'S DISCOURSE
PRAISE OF HIS SOVEREIGN.
No praise of magnanimity, nor of love, nor of knowledge, can intercept her praise, that planteth and nourisheth magnanimity by her example, love by her person, and knowledge by the peace and serenity of her times. And if these rich pieces be so fair unset, what are they set, and set in all perfection: Magnanimity no doubt consisteth in contempt of peril, in contempt of profit, and in meriting of the times wherein one liveth. For contempt of peril, see a lady that cometh to a crown after the experience of some adverse fortune, which for the most part extenuateth the mind, and maketh it apprehensive of fears. No sooner she taketh the sceptre into her sacred hands, but she putteth on a resolution to make the greatest, the most important, the most dangerous that can be in a state, the alteration of religion. This she doth, not after a sovereignty established and continued by sundry years, when custom might have bred in her people a more absolute obedience; when trial of her servants might have made her more assured whom to employ; when the reputation of her policy and virtue might have made her government redoubted: but at the very entrance of her reign, when she was green in authority, her servants scant known unto her, the adverse part not weakened, her own part not confirmed. Neither doth she reduce or reunite her realm to the religion of the states about her, that the evil inclination of the subject might be countervailed by the good correspondence in foreign parts : but contrariwise, she introduceth a religion exterminated and persecuted both at home and abroad. Her proceeding herein is not by degrees and by stealth, but absolute and at once. Was she encouraged thereto by the strength she found in leagues and alliances with great and potent confederates ? No, but she found her realm in wars with her nearest and mightiest neighbours. She stood single and alone, and in league only with one, that after the people of her nation had made his wars, left her to make her own peace; one that could never be by any solicitation moved to renew the treaties; and one that since hath proceeded from doubtful terms of amity to the highest acts of hostility. Yet, notwithstanding the opposition so great, the support so weak, the season so improper ; yet, I
say, because it was a religion wherein she was nourished and brought up; a religion that freed her subjects from pretence of foreign powers, and indeed the true religion ; she brought to pass this great work with successs worthy so noble a resolution. See a queen that, when a deep and secret conspiracy was plotted against her sacred person, practised by subtile instruments, embraced by violent and desperate humours, strengthened and bound by vows and
sacraments, and the same was revealed unto her, (and yet the nature of the affairs required further ripening before the apprehension of any of the parties,) was content to put herself into the guard of the divine providence, and her own prudence, to have some of the conspirators in her eyes, to suffer them to approach to her person, to take a petition of the hand that was conjured for her death ; and that with such majesty of countenance, such mildness and serenity of gesture, such art and impression of words, as had been sufficient to have represt and bound the hand of a conspirator, if he had not been discovered. Lastly, see a queen, that when her realm was to have been invaded by an army, the preparation whereof was like the travel of an elephant, the provisions were infinite, the setting forth whereof was the terror and wonder of Europe ; it was not seen that her chear, her fashion, her ordinary manner was any thing altered : not a cloud of that storm did appear in that countenance wherein peace doth ever shine ; but with excellent assurance, and advised security, she inspired her council, animated her nobility, redoubled the courage of her people, still having this noble apprehension, not only that she would communicate her fortune with them, but that it was she that would protect them, and not they her : which she testified by no less demonstration than her presence in camp. Therefore, that magnanimity that neither feareth greatness of alteration, nor the views of conspirators, nor the power than heroical.
is moro For her merits, who doth not acknowledge, that she hath been as a star of most fortunate influence upon
For contempt of profit, consider her offers, consider her purchases. She hath reigned in a most populous and wealthy peace, her people greatly multiplied, wealthily appointed, and singularly devoted. She wanted not the example of the power of her arms in the memorable voyages and invasions prosperously made and atchieved by sundry her noble progenitors. She had not wanted pretences, as well of claim and right, as of quarrel and revenge. She hath reigned during the minority of some of her neighbour princes, and during the factions and divisions of their people upon deep and irreconcilable quarrels, and during the embracing greatness of some one that hath made himself so weak through too much burthen, as others are through decay of strength; and yet see her sitting as it were within the
compass of her sands. Scotland, that doth as it were eclipse her island ; the United Provinces of the Low Countries, which for wealth, commodity of traffic, affection to our nation, were most meet to be annexed to this crown; she left the possession of the one, and refused the sovereignty of the other : so that notwithstanding the greatness of her means, the justness of her pretences, and the rareness of her opportunity, she hath continued her first mind, she hath made the possessions which she received the limits of her dominions, and the world the limits of her name, by a peace that hath stained all victories.
wherein she hath shined ? Shall we
speak of merit of clemency? or merit of beneficence ? Where shall a man take the most proper and natural trial of her royal clemency? Will it best appear in the injuries that were done unto her before she attained the crown ? or after she is seated in her throne ? or that the commonwealth is incorporated in her person? Then clemency is drawn in question, as a dangerous encounter of justice and policy. And therefore, who did ever note, that she did relent, after that she was established in her kingdom, of the wrongs done unto her former estate? Who doth not remember how she did revenge the rigour and rudeness of her jailor by a word, and that no bitter but salt, and such as shewed rather the excellency of her wit than any impression of her wrong? Yea, and further, is it not so manifest, that since her reign, notwithstanding the principle that princes should not neglect, “That the Commonwealth's wrong is included in themselves;" yet when it is question of drawing the sword, there is ever a conflict between the justice of her place, joined with the necessity of her state and her royal clemency, which as a sovereign and precious balm continually distilleth from her fair hands, and falleth into the wounds of many that have incurred the offence of her law.
Now, for her beneficence, what kind of persons have breathed during her most happy reign, but have had the benefit of her virtues conveyed unto them? Take a view, and consider, whether they have not extended to subjects, to neighbours, to remote strangers, yea, to her greatest enemies. For her subjects,