« PředchozíPokračovat »
afflicted with a choking sensation, and the ghosts of her murdered sister-Mary, Queen of Scots, and her former lover, the beheaded Earl of Essex, appeared nightly.
Cecil asked her a few days before she died how she felt, when she muttered, "My lord, I am tied with a chain of iron about my neck."
Thus a cruel, bloody conscience sat like a fiend over her dying sighs and groans, and though surrounded with the wealth and glory of the world, the Virgin Queen stepped into eternity with only the memory of a successful tyrant to light her to the Pluto realms of her father, King Henry the Eighth!
Her funeral procession and burial in Westminster Abbey was the grandest exhibition of royal pomp and magnificence. The whole population seemed to fill all the alleys, streets and parks of the great city, with the army and navy leading the funeral cortege, while the great bells from steeple, tower and temple rang out their periodical wail of sonorous sounds for twenty-four hours.
The body of Elizabeth had been scarcely cold in death when Lord Cecil and the Royal Council proclaimed James of Scotland, King of England, Ireland, Scotland and France, tumbling over each other in a mad race to throw themselves prostrate before the rising sun, forgetting in a day the honors and benefactions showered upon them for forty years by their late mistress.
And thus we see from age to age,
King James left Edinburgh on the 5th of April with a royal escort for London, and by easy stage from town to town and castle to castle, made a triumphal march to London, where he arrived on the 7th of May, 1603, putting up at the Whitehall Palace. The lords of the realm and millions of faithful subjects gave James their loyal adhesion and support, lauding him to the skies as monarch of the realm and defender of the Faith. Hope had no thorns in her crown.
Protestants and Catholics alike, on their first rush of spontaneous patriotism, made a bid for the patronage of the new king, who, although reared a Protestant, was known to have sympathy for certain Catholic lords, who tried to save his motherMary, Queen of Scots, from the fatal block. James never forgave Elizabeth for the murder of his mother, and in his inmost heart despised his predecessor.
King James after his coronation and triumphal entry into London on the 15th of March, 1604, ordered a partial jail delivery, releasing hundreds of prisoners in Scotland, Ireland and England, exempting only highway and house robbers, murderers, and those who had committed overt acts of treason against the crown.
Many political prisoners had been immured in the Tower and other state prisons on trivial or trumped up charges, preferred by jealous courtiers on personal or religious grounds.
James was very friendly to the dramatic profession, and granted a charter to the Shakspere Company to play at the Blackfriars, Globe, Prince, Fortune and Curtain theatres.
In the coronation procession nine of the "Kings Company" appeared dressed out in fantastic array, wearing four yards and a half each of silk-scarlet cloth.
The nine chief actors thus honored by the King were William Shakspere, Augustine Phillips, Laurence Fletcher, John Hemmings, William Sley, Robert Armyn, Henry Condell, Richard Cowley and Richard Burbage.
King James sent for Shakspere and Burbage and told them to be ever in readiness the King's servants to perform at any of the palaces that he might entertain domestic or foreign guests, and assured them that the puritanical policy that had hounded them in the past should not prevail during his reign, believing that the stage, properly managed, was as great an educator for the people as the church.
When William told me of this interview with the King I expressed great delight, with the other literary bohemians that now there sat on the throne of old Albion, a patron of poetry, painting, music and sculpture.
The Church of Rome and the Church of England had been battling for nearly a hundred years in Britain for the mastery; and although the devotees of Luther's Reformation had cracked the creed of popes and princes, there was a general demand for a new version and translation of the Bible, cutting out the Catholicism of the old book and expurgating the vulgarity and superstition engrafted on the "Word of God" by the apostles and bishops of the first, second and third centuries, after Christ had been crucified for the sins of all mankind.
Curious kind of celestial justice, to kill any man for my sins and crimes? I prefer to suffer for my own sins and not fall back on a "scapegoat" to carry them off into the wilderness.
On the first of September, 1604, a great religious conclave was held at Hampton Court by the established church and the Puritans, and there it was determined to make a new, revised and complete edition of the Bible, by the royal authority of King James.
On the first of May, 1607, forty-seven of the most learned men of the British realm assembled in three parties at Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster to make a new Bible for the guidance of mankind. Hebrew, Greek and Latin scholars made up the great conclave; and after four years of detailed labor the King James edition of the Bible was published to the world, cutting loose forever from the power of Rome.
Although the "Word of God" has been revised several times since by man there are yet a large number of sentences and verses in the Old and New Testament that might be expurgated in the interest of decency, reason and science.
This electric age is too rapid and wise to gulp down the obsolete doctrine of ancient fanaticism, and the preachers of to-day are painfully alarmed at the decreasing number of pewholders and patrons, who once listened to their rigmarole platitudes or eloquent dissertations on the power and location of an unknown God.
On Christmas Eve, 1607, the "King's Players,' with Shakspere and Burbage in the respective rôles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, produced that great
historical play at the grand reception room of Whitehall, in the presence of King James and the nobles of his court, surrounded by the ministers and diplomats from all the civilized nations of the world.
I never saw a grander audience, interspersed with the most beautiful ladies of the world, who shone in their jewels and diamonds like a field of variegated wild flowers, besprinkled with the morning dew.
The witches in the play seemed to startle the King, and more than ever convince him that these inhabitants of earth and air were all of a reality, and should be destroyed wherever found, believing that they held the destiny of man in the caldron of their incantations.
"Come, come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here;
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief; come, thick night,
This speech of the devilish Lady Macbeth made