Elizabeth I of England

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Rev. Dale Turner
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Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603, ascended in 1558)
Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes referred to as The Virgin Queen (since she was never married), Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth I was the fifth and final monarch of the Tudor dynasty.


  • Much suspected by me,
    Nothing proved can be,
    Quoth Elizabeth prisoner.
    • Written with a diamond on her window at Woodstock (1555), published in Acts and Monuments (1563) by John Foxe
  • This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
    • Her reaction when she was told she was Queen (1558-11-17)
  • Kings were wont to honour philosophers, but if I had such I would honour them as angels that should have such piety in them that they would not seek where they are the second to be the first, and where the third to be the second and so forth.
    • Response to Parliament (October 1566)
  • Though I be a woman yet I have as good a courage answerable to my place as ever my father had. I am your anointed Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.
    • Response to Parliament (October 1566)
  • I will make you shorter by the head.
    • Response to Parliament (October 1566)
  • The use of the sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession thereof.
    • To the Spanish Ambassador (1580)
  • Brass shines as fair to the ignorant as gold to the goldsmiths.
    • Letter (1581)
  • I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
    I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
    I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
    I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
    • "On Monsieur's Departure" (February 1582)
  • My care is like my shadow in the sun,
    Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
    Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
    His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
    No means I find to rid him from my breast,
    Till by the end of things it be supprest.
    Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
    For I am soft and made of melting snow;
    Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
    Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
    Or let me live with some more sweet content,
    Or die and so forget what love ere meant.
    • "On Monsieur's Departure" (February 1582)
  • Must is not a word to be used to princes! Little man, little man, if your late father were here he would never dare utter such a word.
    • To Robert Cecil when he said, in her final illness (March 1603), that she must go to bed.
  • Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.

Speech to the Troops at Tilbury (1588)

Delivered at Tilbury, Essex on August 19, 1588. Full text at Wikisource.

  • Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects.
  • I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm.
  • Rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns.
  • By your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

The Golden Speech (1601)

Delivered to the House of Commons on November 30, 1601. Full text at Wikisource.

  • Though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves.
  • I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people. Therefore I have cause to wish nothing more than to content the subject and that is a duty which I owe. Neither do I desire to live longer days than I may see your prosperity and that is my only desire.
  • I know the title of a King is a glorious title, but assure yourself that the shining glory of princely authority hath not so dazzled the eyes of our understanding, but that we well know and remember that we also are to yield an account of our actions before the great judge. To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it.
  • There will never Queen sit in my seat with more zeal to my country, care to my subjects and that will sooner with willingness venture her life for your good and safety than myself. For it is my desire to live nor reign no longer than my life and reign shall be for your good. And though you have had, and may have, many princes more mighty and wise sitting in this seat, yet you never had nor shall have, any that will be more careful and loving.


  • All my possessions for a moment in time.
    • Reputedly her last words
  • Although I may not be a lion, I am a lion's cub, and inherit many of his qualities; and as long as the King of France treats me gently he will find me as gentle and tractable as he can desire; but if he be rough, I shall take the trouble to be just as troublesome and offensive to him as I can.
    • To Parliament, on the Dauphin of France
  • Better to be a begger and single than a queen and married.
  • I am already bound unto an husband, which is the kingdom of England.
    • To Parliament
  • I will have one mistress here, and no master! No man shall rule over me
    • Reputedly said to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
  • I would not open windows into men's souls.
    • Attributed to her by Francis Bacon; said to be her response when refusing to sanction an investigation into whether her subjects were secretly Catholic.
  • If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.
  • My lords, the past cannot be cured.
    • Statement to Parliament
  • She almost reluctantly learns to admire her strength and convictions as another powerful, determined woman.
    • To Parliament
  • There is a small proportion betwixt a fool who useth not wit because he hath it not and him that useth it not when it should avail him.
    • To Parliament
  • There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ. One faith. All else is a dispute over trifles.
    • On the Protestant/Catholic divide
  • What will my enemies not say, that for the safety of her life a maiden queen could be content to spill the blood even of her own kinswoman?
    • Said to the council when beseeched to sign Mary Queen of Scots' death warrant
  • You are like my little dog. Whenever they see you, they know I am not far behind.
    • Reputedly said to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
  • Jesus! Thirteen Thousand!
    • (said to the Archbishop Of Canterbury when he complained about his difficulties in finding enough priests to fill the 13,000 parishes in England)

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