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ANNO DOMINI 1603
O sooner had Tir-Oen intelligence hereof but he seriously day by day implored the same by the intercession of ArthurMac-Baron his brother, and others, and after he had bin many times rejected, at the length upon promise that he would absolutely submit his life and estate to be at the Queenes disposing, the Lord Deputy (who had by some intimate friends heard of the doubtull sicknesse of the Queene, who was now of great years) permitted him to come to Mellifont; whether he presentlie posted with one or two in his company. Being admitted into the Presence Chamber (where the Lord Deputy sate in his Chayre of State, encompassed with a multitude of martiall men) with a most sad semblance and dejected countenance he fell on his knees at the very thresh-hold. After he had lyen prostrate a whole, the Lord Deputy beckened unto to come up neerer. He arose, and having come forward some few steps he prostrated himselfe againe upon his knees, and sayd, I acknowledge my sinne against God, and my fault against my most gracious Queene and Soveraigne Lady, unto whose Royall Clemency as a sacred anchor I flye, offering up my life and estate to bee at her disposing. Whose former bounty and present power as I have felt, so I most humbly beseech her that I may taste of her mercy, and be made an eternall example of her Princely Clemency. My age is not so farre spent, nor my body so feeble, nor my minde so broken, but that by my valiant and faithfull service I may expiate the sinne of my rebellion. Going on which his speech, when he began to complaine that hee had beene injuriously dealt withall through the malice of some, the Lord Deputy interrupted him, saying that so great a crime was not to be coloured with any excuse, and after some few other speeches uttered unto him with great authority (which in a martiall man is to be accounted eloquence), he commanded him to depart aside; and the next day brought him with him to Dublyn, intending to bring from thence into England to the Queene, that she might determine of him at her pleasure.
2. Thus was Tir-Oens rebellion most happily brought to an end in the eighth yeere after it brake forth, under the Queenes government and conduct of the Lord Montjoy Lord Deputy (whom King James afterward honoured with the title of Earle of Devonshire), which rebellion had beene begunne upon private grudges intermixed with ambition, cherished by contempt and parsimony in England, spread over all Ireland by pretext of restoring the Romish Religion, and hope of unbridled licentiousnesse and impunity; strengthened by the light credulty of some, and the secret favour of others which were of great authority, as also by one or two prosperous successes, Spanish pensions, Spanish forces, and Papall indulgences; and protracted by the wicked emulations of the English, by a bypartite government, the covetousnesse of the old souldiers, the cunning practises of Tir-Owen, by his dissembled truces and submissions, by the protections of malefactors bought for money, the most cumbersome difficulty of places, and by the desperate kinde of men, safer in the nimblenesse of their heeles then stablenesse in battell.
3. The Queene, which hitherto enjoyed her sound heath by reason of her abstinence from wine and most temperate dyet (which she often said was the noblest part of Physicke), being now in her Climatericall yeere, to wit, the seventyeth yeere of her age, began to be assayled with some weakenesse both of health and old age, which the foulnesse of the weather had increased, when as the last of January being a very windy and rainy day, shee removed from Westminster to Richmond to enjoy quiet, the best helpe of old age, and attend the service of God. Upon which day shee, as it were acting somewhat else (whether meditating on death, or presaging what would ensue) sayd to the Lord Admirall, whom shee alwayes held most deare, My Throne hath beene the Throne of Kings, neither ought any other then my next heire to succeed mee. And the Courtiers certainely observed that she never before more frequented prayers and Divine Service. Who doe also report that shee then commanded that Ring, wherewith shee had beene joyned as it were in marriage to her kingdome at her inauguration, and she had never after taken off, to be filed off from her finger, for that it was so growne into the flesh that it could not be drawne off. Which was taken as a sad presage, as if it portended that the marriage with her kingdome, contracted by the Ring, would be dissolved. In the beginning of her sicknesse her gums swelled, and quickly abated againe; then her appetite by little and little fayled her, and withall she gave her selfe over wholly to mellancholly, and seemed to be perplexed with some speciall feeling of sorrow, either through the force of her disease, or for the misse of Essex (as Essex his followers beleeved), or that after so great expenses of warre she was perswaded to pardon the rebell Tir-Oen, or that many of the Nobility did by secret letters and messengers seeke to winne favour with the King of Scots, that they adored him as the Sunne rising, and neglected her as now ready to set, which (as the feminine sex and old age are wont to suspect) shee easily beleeved; and that not without cause, for some of the Lords of the court (to say nothing of the Ladies), who least of all ought to have done it, ungratefully in a manner forsooke her, whilest she altered not from her selfe, but they from their opinion of her, either for that they saw her now in her extreame age, or were weary of her long government (for things of long continuance, though good, are tedious), or a credulous greedinesse of novelty hoped for better times, despised the present, forgot benefits past (the rememberance whereof is a burden to unthankfull persons), finding fault with the times, haply in a mystery of Court to winne favour with her successor, in a false beliefe that the disprayse of the predecessor is a most pleasing delight to the successors. And this they did so openly that in this respect they spake ill one of another, and others propounded to have the successor sent for whilest her recovery was yet doubtfull, so as in minde they seemed fugitives though they stayed at home. Hereupon she held her selfe for a miserable forlorne woman, and her griefe with disdayne extorted from her such speeches as these; They have yoaked my necke. I have none whom I may trust. My estate is turned upside downe. And they to increase this her griefe sugested unto her, as if her authority among the people decayed by little and little, whereas the people (in whom there is alwayes a murmuring malignity against such as are in authority) complayned of nothing more then that the power of some neere about the Queene, if not above her, was growne too great, and that the hands of others were hasty and greedy (as the manner is) under an old Prince.
4. But when the rumor was growne rife that her sicknesse increased, and that as she had done alwayes before in the prime of her age, so now most of all shee refused all helpe of Physicke, it is incredible with what flying speed Puritans, Papists, and ambitious persons of all sorts, flatterers and others, every of them forward for their owne hopes, poasted night and day, by sea and land, into Scotland, to adore the rising King and gaine his favour. Whose title to the succession the Queene (though in her wisedome not openly yet) alwayes truly and from her heart favoured according to equity; as also did all men of all estates, who with great tranquility and security had cast their eyes and mindes upon him as her undoubted heire, though false rumors were spread abroad of a marriage of the Lady Arbella his Uncles daughter, and the French Embassadour laboured to rayse commotions lest the two divided kingdomes of Britaine, England and Scotland, should be united in one. In the beginning of March an heavy dulnesse, with a frowardnesse familiar to old age, began to lay hold on her, insomuch as she would sit silently, abstaine from meate, fixing her minde wholly upon meditations, and being impatient of any talke unlesse it were with the Archbishop of Canterbury, with whom she prayed often and most devoutly, untill by little and little her speech fayled her; and afterward she most willingly heard him praying by her. At which time, the Lord Admirall relating to the rest of the Privy Councell what shee at her departing from Westminster had sayd to him obiter concerning her successor, it seemed good to them that he with the Lord Keeper and the Secretary should goe unto her and put her in rememberance thereof, and give her to understand that they were come in behalfe of the rest of the Councell to understand her pleasure touching her succession. The Queene made answer with shortnesse of minde, I sayd that my Throne was a Throne of Kings, I would not that any base should succeed mee. The Secretary asking her what she meant by those words, I will (saith she) that a King succeed me; and who but my neerest kinsman, the King of Scots? Then being put in minde by the Archbishop to thinke on God, That I doe (said she), neither doth my minde wander from him. And when she could not pray with her tongue, with her hands and eyes shee directed her pious lifting of her heart to God, and herein she prayed, in that she grieved inwardly that shee could not pray, as was plainely to be gathered by her signes. The 24th of March, which was the Eeve of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin, she (which was borne on the Eeve of the Nativity of the same blessed Virgin) was called out of the prison of her body unto an everlasting Country in heaven, most quietly departing this life by that manner of death which Augustus wished, in the 44th yeere of her reygne, and of her age the 70th. Unto which no King of England ever attayned before. The most sorrowfull misse of her, which she left to the English, was asswaged by the great hope conceived of the vertues of King James her successor; who after a few houres was proclaymed King with the most joyfull shouts and acclamations of all men. No oblivion shall smother her glory. For her most happy memory liveth, and so shall live in mens minds to all posterity, As who (to use no other then her successors words) in wisedome and felicity of government surpassed (without envy be it spoken) all the Princes since the dayes of Augustus.