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Golden Speech


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Elizabeth I.

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Elizabeth's Golden Speech.


It follows the full text transcript of Elizabeth I's Golden Speech, delivered at London, England - November 30, 1601.


Elizabeth I - Spanish Armada Speech Mr. Speaker,

WE have heard your Declaration, and perceive your Care of Our State, by falling into the Consideration of a grateful Acknowledgment of such Benefits as you have Received; and that your Coming is to present Thanks unto Us, which I Accept with no less Joy, than your Loves can have Desire to offer such a Present.

I do assure you, There is no Prince that loveth his Subjects better, or whose Love can countervail Our Love. There is no Jewel, be it of never so Rich a Price, which I set before this Jewel; I mean, your Love: For I do more Esteem of It, than of any Treasure or Riches; for That we know how to prize, but Love and Thanks I count invaluable.

And, though God hath raised Me high; yet This I count the Glory of my Crown, That I have Reigned with your Loves. This makes me that 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 Subjects; and that is a Duty which I owe: Neither do I desire to live longer days, than that I may see your Prosperity; and That's my only Desire.

And as I am that Person, that still (yet under God) hath delivered you; so I trust, by the Almighty Power of God that I still shall be His Instrument to Preserve you from Envy, Peril, Dishonor, Shame, Tyranny, and Oppression; partly by Means of your intended Helps, which We take very Acceptably, because it manifests the Largeness of your Loves and Loyalty to your Sovereign.

Of My Self, I must say this, I was never any greedy scraping Grasper, nor a straight, fast-holding Prince, nor yet a Waster. My Heart was never set on Worldly Goods, but only for my Subjects Good. What You do bestow on Me, I will not hoard it up, but Receive it to bestow on You again: Yea, My own Proprieties I count Yours, and to be Expended for your Good; and your Eyes shall see the Bestowing of All, for your Good.

Therefore, render unto Them from Me, I beseech you, Mr. Speaker, such Thanks as you imagine my Heart yieldeth, but my Tongue cannot express.

[The Queen bids the Commons rise up.]

Mr. Speaker,

You give Me Thanks; but I doubt Me, that I have more Cause to Thank You all, than You Me. And I charge you, to Thank them of the Lower-House, from Me: For had I not received a Knowledge from you, I might have fallen into the Lapse of an Error, only for Lack of True Information.

Since I was Queen, yet, did I never put my Pen unto any Grant, but that, upon Pretext and Semblance made unto Me, it was both Good and Beneficial to the Subject in general; though a private Profit to some of My Ancient Servants, who had deserved well at My Hands. But the Contrary being found by Experience, I am exceedingly beholding to such Subjects, as would move the same at the first. And I am not so Simple to suppose, but that there are some of the Lower-House, whom these Grievances never touched. And for Them, I think they spoke out of Zeal for their Countries, and not out of Spleen, or Malevolent Affection, as being Parties grieved. And I take 'it exceeding Gratefully from them; because it gives Us to know, that no Respects or Interests had moved them other than the minds they bear to suffer no diminution of our Honor, and our subjects Loves unto Us. The zeal of which Affection, tending to ease my People, and Knit their hearts unto Me, I embrace with a Princely care; for (above all earthly Treasure) I esteem my People's Love, more than which I desire not to Merit.

That my Grants should be grievous to my People, and Oppressions privileged under color of our Patents; our Kingly Dignity shall not suffer it: yea, when I heard it, I could give no rest unto my Thoughts until I had Reformed it.

Shall they think to escape unpunished, that have thus Oppressed you, and have been respectless of their Duty, and regardless of Our Honor? No, Mr. Speaker, I assure you, were it not more for Conscience-sake, than for any Glory or Increase of Love, that I desire; these Errors, Troubles, Vexations and Oppressions done by these Varlets and lewd Persons, not worthy the name of Subjects, should not escape without Condign Punishment.

But I perceive they dealt with Me like Physicians, who Administering a Drug, make it more acceptable by giving it a good Aromatical Savor, or when they give Pills, do Gild them all over.

I have ever used to set the last Judgment-Day before my Eyes, as so to Rule, as I shall be Judged to Answer before a higher Judge, to whose Judgment Seat I do Appeal, That never Thought was Cherished in my Heart, that tended not to my People's Good. And now, if my Kingly Bounty have been abused, and my Grants turned to the Hurt of my People, contrary to My Will and Meaning; or if any in Authority under Me, have neglected or perverted what I have Committed to them; I hope God will not lay their Culps and Offences to my Charge; who though there were danger in repealing our Grants, yet what danger would I not rather incur for your Good, than I would suffer them still to continue?

I know the Title of a KING is a Glorious Title. But assure your self, 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 pleasing to them that bear it: For my self, I was never so much enticed with the Glorious Name of a KING, or Royal Authority of a QUEEN, as delighted that G O D had made Me his Instrument to maintain his Truth and Glory, and to Defend this Kingdom (as I said) from Peril, Dishonor, Tyranny, and Oppression.

There will never Queen sit in my Seat, with more Zeal to my country, Care for my Subjects, and that sooner with willingness will venture her Life for your Good and Safety, than My Self. For it is not my desire to Live nor Reign longer, than my Life and Reign shall be for your Good. And though you have had, and may have many Princes, more Mighty and Wife, sitting in this State; yet you never had, or shall have any that will be more Careful and Loving.

Shall I ascribe any thing to my Self, and my Sexly Weakness? I were not worthy to Live then; and of all, most unworthy of the great Mercies I have had from God, who hath ever yet given me a Heart, which never yet feared Foreign or Home-Enemy. I speak it to give God the Praise, as a Testimony before you, and not to Attribute any thing to My Self. For I, O Lord, What am I, whom Practices and Perils past should not fear? Or, What can I do?

That I should speak for any Glory, God forbid.

This, Mr. Speaker, I pray you deliver to the House, to whom heartily commend Me.

And so, I commit you All to your best Fortunes, and further Councils. And I pray you, Mr. Comptroller, Mr. Secretary, and You of My Council, That before these Gentlemen depart into their Countries, you bring them All to Kiss My Hand.



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