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Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Elizabethan age -- from a delightfully demented source

Chapter 33

Elizabeth

ALTHOUGH this memorable queen was a man, she was constantly addressed by her courtiers by various affectionate female nicknames, such as Auroraborealis, Ruritania, Black Beauty (or Bete Noire), and Brown Bess. She also very graciously walked on Sir Walter Raleigh's overcoat whenever he dropped it in the mud and was, in fact, in every respect a good and romantic queen.

Wave of Beards

One of the most romantic aspects of the Elizabethan age was the wave of beards which suddenly
swept across History and settled upon all the great men of the period. The most memorable of these beards was the cause of the outstanding event of the reign, which occurred in the following way.

The Great Armadillo

The Spaniards complained that Captain F. Drake, the memorable bowlsman, had singed the King of Spain's beard (or Spanish Mane, as it was called) one day when it was in Cadiz Harbour. Drake replied that he was in his hammock at the time and a thousand miles away. The King of Spain, however, insisted that the beard had been spoilt and sent the Great Spanish Armadillo to ravish the shores of England.

The crisis was boldly faced in England, especially by Big Bess herself, who instantly put on an enormous quantity of clothing and rode to and fro on a white horse at Tilbury -- a courageous act which was warmly appluded by the English sailors.

In this striking and romantic manner the English were once more victorious.

The Queen of Hearts

A great nuisance in this reign was the memorable Scottish queen, known as Mary Queen of Hearts on account of the large number of husbands she obtained, eg. Cardinale Ritzio, Boswell, and the King of France: most of these she easily blew up at Holywood. Unfortunately for Mary, Scotland was now suddenly overrun by a wave of synods led by Sir John Nox, the memorable Scottish Saturday Knight. Unable to believe, on account of the number of her husbands, that Mary was a single person, the Knight accused her of being a 'monstrous regiment of women', and after this brave remark had her imprisoned in Loch Lomond. Mary, however, escaped and fled to England, where Elizabeth immediately put her in quarantine on the top of an enormous Height called Wutheringay.

As Mary had already been Queen of France and Queen of Scotland many people thought it would be unfair if she were not made Queen of England as well. Various plots, such as the Paddington Plot, the Threadneedle Conspiracy and the Adelfi plot, were therefore hatched to bring this about. Elizabeth, however, learning that in addition to all this Mary was good-looking and could play on the virginals, recognized that Mary was too romantic not to be executed, and accordingly had that done.

*****

(exerpted from 1066 and All That by W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman)

Next post: a quiz.

2 comments:

thomasw said...

hehe, i like the after-thought phrase in the title of the book "...and all that."

Susan Katherine said...

*SNORT* could you please warn us who may be sipping afternoon tea before you post from that towering comic genius or Good Thing, known as 1066 and All that? My keyboard is not looking very happy :-) I'm so glad you still have that - we often do short exams based on the questions in it when bored of an evening...