1588 queen elizabeth speech essay

  1. When was the Tilbury Speech made?
  3. Elizabeth I's 'Golden' Speech
  4. Queen Elizabeth I: Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
  5. The Spanish Armada Of 1588 : Page One

In the speech, Elizabeth defends her strength as a female leader, saying "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". In present day English:. We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. 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; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, 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.

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When was the Tilbury Speech made?

For more details of these cookies and how to disable them, see our cookie policy. Sign up for our e-newsletter. Were she to marry one of her own subjects--such as her close friend and favorite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester--she would upset the delicate balance of power among competing factions of the nobility at her court. And if she chose a foreign husband--if one of appropriate religious affiliation could be found--she would upset the equally delicate balance of alliances among European states and probably precipitate a war. As it was, she used the prospect of marriage to manipulate her nobles at home and foreign princes abroad.

On several occasions she managed to forestall a war by seeming to contemplate marriage with a relative of some particularly belligerent prince. Probably she realized that she could rule more effectively if she could offer herself perpetually as a rich but never quite attainable prize. She also may have feared the loss of independence that would come with marriage, even to a queen.


She is said to have remarked that she would have but one mistress and no master. Parliament repeatedly petitioned her either to marry or name a successor, and the queen wrote a series of speeches in response to those demands. She revised several of the speeches after delivering them and had printed copies disseminated to make her position more widely known; no copies of these printed versions survive, however. In a speech to the House of Commons she says unequivocally that she has decided to remain single. She does not seem particularly angry at receiving advice to marry, although she warns Parliament not to try to tell her whom to marry.

She concludes with a prediction: "and in the end, this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queen, having reigned such a time, lived and died a virgin. Despite the disapproval of William Cecil, her chief adviser, she made Leicester her master of the horse and spent much time with him. Rumors spread that she had either married him secretly or given birth to an illegitimate child by him. In September Leicester's wife was found dead under suspicious circumstances, and Elizabeth seems to have realized that the scandal prohibited marriage to him--if, in fact, she had ever seriously considered it.

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  6. Queen Elizabeth I.

She also, around the same time, either contemplated or seemed to contemplate marriage to the Hapsburg archduke Charles of Austria, but the negotiations were inconclusive. In October Elizabeth almost died of smallpox, and Parliament felt justified in renewing its demands. Her two speeches to Parliament in are perhaps her most tentative and are couched in the most ambiguous language of all her speeches on the issue of marriage. In the first she says that she will "touch, but not presently She alludes to her recent illness, assuring Parliament that "there needs no boding of my bane.

Elizabeth I's 'Golden' Speech

I know now as well as I did before that I am mortal. When in Parliament again pressed her to marry, she delivered a much stronger reply, concluding with an affirmation of her ability to rule: "And 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. Nothing came of the proposal at this point, and in Parliament was again harping on Elizabeth's unmarried state. She replied, in a speech that she proudly copied for her godson Sir John Harrington, that "if I were a milkmaid with a pail on my arm, whereby my private person might be little set by, I would not forsake that poor and single state to match with the greatest monarch.

In she decided against it, precluding the possibility of bearing an heir. A poem, "On Monsieur's Departure," perhaps written about this time, uses conventional Petrarchan language to express sorrow at disappointed love. The poem, in three rhyme-royal stanzas, complains that "I grieve and dare not show my discontent Also, marriage and succession were powerfully emotional topics, so it was important for her to shape public opinion on them if she could. But some of her letters, speeches, and poems touch on other pressing issues of her reign: the long crisis involving Mary, Queen of Scots; Elizabeth's attempts to forge and enforce an Anglican middle way between Roman Catholicism and extreme Protestantism; and, in foreign policy, efforts to play off opposing European factions against each other and to champion Protestantism abroad without engaging in expensive wars.

Catholic powers in Europe hoped that Mary would become queen of England, either at Elizabeth's death or through a Catholic rebellion. Mary's hopes of gaining the English throne were hampered, however, by Elizabeth's refusal to name either her or her son James as heir, and also by domestic problems in Scotland, where the power of a strong Protestant faction was strengthened by a series of scandals involving Mary's private life.

Queen Elizabeth I: Speech to the Troops at Tilbury

She had married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in , but by she had grown to dislike her husband and was enjoying the company of her French secretary, David Rizzio. Darnley and a group of Protestant lords murdered Rizzio. Mary was imprisoned in but soon escaped and fled to England, where she plotted Elizabeth's overthrow with Catholic factions both within and outside of England. Despite the urging of her advisers and Parliament, Elizabeth was reluctant to set the dangerous precedent of executing an anointed queen. Although she realized the threat that Mary posed both to her own safety and to the stability of the realm, she did not want to act directly to bring about her death.

She vacillated, equivocated, and procrastinated until the execution could be carried out without seeming to be ordered by her. Several speeches seek to explain--or perhaps to conceal and confuse--her attitude toward Mary and her failure to act decisively against her. In a well-known phrase she assures Parliament that "your judgment [that she should execute Mary] I condemn not, neither do I mistake your reasons, but pray you to accept my thankfulness, excuse my doubtfulness, and take in good part my answer-answerless.

Religion was an important factor in all of the issues of Elizabeth's reign, including marriage, succession, the crisis over Mary, and foreign policy.

The nature of Elizabeth's personal religious beliefs is impossible to determine with certainty, although she seems to have leaned more toward Rome than her public policies would indicate. Two guiding principles shaped her stance on religion throughout her reign: to establish the Church of England as a mean between the extremes of Catholic and Puritan belief; and to eliminate, as far as possible, persecution for private belief. She had herself experienced religious persecution under Mary Tudor and perhaps for that reason decided to allow a certain amount of private nonconformity if a show of outward orthodoxy were maintained.

She is supposed to have said that she intended to make no windows into men's souls. Thus, despite the hopes of her strongly Protestant counselors and Parliament that she would complete the reformation of the English church, she held a middle course and assured Parliament in a speech of that "if I were not persuaded that mine were the true way of God's will, God forbid I should live to prescribe it to you.

In contrast to her male predecessors she sought to avoid foreign wars. Such wars were expensive, and her frugality was legendary; then, too, whenever she sent an army out of the country its leaders tended to act on their own initiative and ignore her moderating orders. Although she was persuaded to send troops to help Scottish Protestant rebels in , she refused to send similar help to the Netherlands in the mid s.

When she did send Leicester there with an army in , he immediately disobeyed her orders and accepted the governorship of the region. Incensed, Elizabeth wrote a letter that is typical of her forceful and plain style when she was angry: "Jesus! I am utterly at squares with this childish dealing. If I have used my forces to keep the enemy far from you, I have thereby thought your safety the greater, and your danger the less.

Spain, as the most powerful Catholic country in Europe, was the chief threat to England for most of her reign. She sought to forestall that threat by supporting European Protestant movements--indirectly, for the most part--and by using the promise of marriage to prevent an alliance of France and Spain against England. She eventually precipitated war with Spain, however, by sending Leicester and his army to aid the rebellion against Spanish rule in the Netherlands and by sending Sir Francis Drake to capture and rob Spanish ships and ports.

Spain sent a fleet--the great Armada--to attack England, but it was defeated by the English navy and destroyed on the way home by bad weather.

The Spanish Armada Of 1588 : Page One

Elizabeth has traditionally been credited with a stirring speech to troops gathered at Tilbury to repel the expected Spanish invasion. Although the text is not as certain as those of the parliamentary speeches, it has long been famous for its defiant language: "I know I have the body 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.

In addition to these ringing phrases, the speech includes a more practical assurance to the troops that they will be paid for their services. The defeat of the Armada marked the high point of Elizabeth's popularity and power. As she grew older, still unmarried and still without a designated heir, there was growing fear and discontent in England.

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was the great favorite of her later years. In Ireland he ignored Elizabeth's orders, and he returned to England in defiance of her. He plotted to overthrow her in and was executed in That year she delivered her famous "Golden Speech" to Parliament, defending her practice of granting monopolies to favorites such as Essex but mostly reiterating, in that language of love and gratitude and in a style shaped by careful use of balance and antithesis that had served so well to maintain her popularity in earlier years, that her people may have had princes who were "more mighty and wise" but never "more careful and loving" than she.

One can also hear a hint of weariness in this speech when she says that "to be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it, than to them that bear it.

The unpopularity of the Stuart monarchs who succeeded Elizabeth and the civil and political upheavals during their reigns quickly caused English subjects to look back with nostalgia to the days of "good Queen Bess. Certainly Elizabeth was successful at maintaining peace at home and abroad and also at establishing her own image as a loving and able ruler.