Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Pembroke, a zealous Yorkist, who was slain fighting in the cause of Edward the Fourth.

"Thomas Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire, the proud and delighted grandfather of the princely babe, supported the train on one side. He lived to witness the cruel and disgraceful end of his son and daughter, and died long before the prosperous days of his illustrious grandchild.

"Edward Stanly, third earl of Derby, formed an exception to this train of ill-fated nobles. Educated by Wolsey, whose ward he was, he proved himself a faithful subject to four succeeding sovereigns; and, in the most disturbed times, stood firm in his unshaken loyalty. Full of years and honours, and rich in hereditary distinctions, he died, universally esteemed, in 1574.

"Four lords, three of whom met with disastrous fate, supported the canopy over the royal infant. One was her uncle, the accomplished viscount Rochford, who suffered death by the tyranny of Henry, for a crime of which he is now most fully acquitted. Another was lord Hussey, who expiated the crime of rebellion on the scaffold, a few years afterwards. The two others were brothers, of the family of the illustrious but unfortunate Howards.

"Lord William, uncle to Catherine Howard, was unjustly condemned to perpetual imprisonment and forfeiture of goods, for not exposing her misconduct; but the sentence was afterwards remitted. He lived to be eminent in the next reign, under the title of lord Howard of Effingham, and died peacefully, in a venerable age.

"The ambition of lord Thomas was the cause of his sufferings. He married the lady Margaret Douglas, niece to the king, and on the discovery of which he was committed to the Tower, where he died in close imprisonment.

"The ceremony of christening was performed by Stokely, bishop of London, attended by several abbots and bishops mitred; and the benediction was pronounced by Cranmer, that learned and distinguished prelate, whose virtues, whose weaknesses, whose general benevolence and holy faith, exhibited amidst the flames of martyrdom, have rendered him a distinguished character in the history of this eventful reign.

"At the conclusion of the ceremonies, garter king-at-arms cried aloud: 'God, of his infinite goodness, send prosperous life and long, to the high and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth.' The trumpets then sounded a flourish, and the party prepared to retrace their steps to the palace.

"In the return from church, the gifts of the sponsors, consisting of bowls and cups, some gilded, and others of massy gold, were carried by four persons of quality, viz: Thomas Somerset, second earl of Worcester; Thomas Ratcliff, lord Fitzwalter, afterwards earl of Sussex; and Sir John Dudley, Son' of the detested associate of Empson, and afterwards the notorious duke of Northumberland; whose crimes received, at length, their due recompence in that ignominious death; to which his guilty and extravagant projects had conducted so many t:omparatively innocent victims." *

When Mr. Wilmot had finished his narration, Mrs. Spencer remarked, that, by the untimely death of Ann Boleyn, the infant princess became a partaker of some of the trouble that involved so many of the distinguished individuals who attended this august ceremony.

"Yes," said Mr. Wilmot; "and there are some curious extracts extant, respecting the petty mortifications she was destined to endure in childhood, whilst the subject of her legitimacy was left unsettled. Passing over these, however, I shall give the girls a short account of the pursuits that engrossed her youth, and which is taken from some writings of the celebrated Roger Ascham.

"This gentleman says: 'The lady Elizabeth has completed her sixteenth year; and so much solidity and understanding, such courtesy united with dignity, have never been observed* at so early an age. She has the most ardent love of true religion, and of the best kind of literature. The constitution of her mind is exempt from female weakness; and she is endued with a masculine power of application. No apprehension can be quicker than hers, no memory more retentive. French and Italian she speaks like English; Latin with fluency, propriety, and judgment: she also spoke Greek with me frequently, willingly, and moderately well. Nothing can be more elegant than her handwriting, whether in the Greek or Roman characters. , In music she is very skilful, but does not greatly delight.

"' With respect to personal decoi ations, she greatly prefers a simple elegance to show and splendour; so despising the outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, that, in her whole manner of life, she greatly prefers Hippolyta than Phaedra.

"' She read with me almost the whole of Cicero, and a great part of Livy: from these two writers, her knowledge of the Latin language has been exclusively derived. The beginning of the day was almost always devoted by her to the New Testament, in Greek; after which, she read select orations of Isocrates, and the tragedies of Sophocles. For her religious instruction, she drew first from the fountains of Scripture, and afterwards from St. Cyprian, the common-places of Melancthon, and similar works, which contain pure doctrine in simple language.'"

Mrs. Spencer remarked, that Ascham's account of Elizabeth's simplicity in dress was singular, when contrasted with the love of magnificence and show, which she displayed in after life.

"And yet," replied Mr. Wilmot, "his testimony is corroborated by that of Dr. Elmer, or Aylmer, who was tutor to lady Jane Grey and her sisters, and" became, subsequently, during Elizabeth's reign, bishop of London. He thus draws her character, when young, in a work entitled, 'A Harbour for faithful Subjects.'

"' The king left her rich clothes and jewels; and I know it to be trne, that, in seven years after her father's death, she never, in all that time, looked upon that rich attire and precious

« ZurückWeiter »