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Elizabeth I

  • For what is a family without a steward, a ship without a pilot, a flock without a shepherd, a body without a head, the same, I think, is a kingdom without the health and safety of a good monarch.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • letter to King Edward VI ()
  • Where might is mixed with wit, there is too good an accord.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • letter ()
  • Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to Sir Edward Dyer, in Francis Bacon, Apophthegms ()
  • My lord, we have quite forgot the fart.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • greeting the returning Earl of Oxford, who had just spent seven years in exile out of embarrassment for having farted while bowing to her, in John Aubrey, Brief Lives ()
  • God may pardon you, but I never can.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1587, to the Countess of Nottingham, in David Hume, History of England Under the House of Tudor ()
  • My seat has been the seat of kings, and I will have no rascal to succeed me.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1603, in Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns ()
  • [To Sir Walter Raleigh on his introducing tobacco to Great Britain:] I have known many persons who turned their gold into smoke, but you are the first to turn smoke into gold.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in James A. St. John, Life of Sir Walter Raleigh ()
  • Hang Irish harpers wherever found.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • orders to Lord Barrymore (1603), in Francis O'Neill, Irish Minstrels and Musicians ()
  • ... we Princes are set as it were upon stages, in the sight and view of all the world. The least spot is soon spied in our garments, a blemish quickly noticed in our doings.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1581, in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I am more afraid of making a fault in my Latin than of the Kings of Spain, France, Scotland, the whole House of Guise, and all of their confederates.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • ... 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 or die amongst you all — to lay down for my God, and for my kingdoms, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • speech to the troops at Tilbury (1588), in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • Must! Is must a word to be addressed to princes? Little man, little man! Thy father, if he had been alive, durst not have used that word.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • when ordered to bed during her final illness by Robert Cecil (1603), in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • ... though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my crown: That I have reigned with your loves.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • "The Golden Speech" (1601), in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • To be a king and wear a crown is more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasure to them that bear it ...

    • Elizabeth I,
    • "The Golden Speech" (1601), in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • [On being urged to marry:] I do not choose that my grave should be dug while I am still alive.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I have never been able to be so allured by the prospect of advantages or so terrified by misfortunes, swayed by honours or fettered by affection, nay not even so smitten by the fear of death, as to enter upon marriage.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • The true sin against the Holy Ghost is ingratitude.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I don't keep a dog and bark myself.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • c. 1590, in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • [To Parliament, when it urged her to marry and settle the succession:] You attend to your own duties and I'll perform mine.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • Although I may not be a lioness, I am a lion's cub, and inherit many of his qualities; and as long as the King of France treats me gently he will find me as gentle and tractable as he can desire; but if he be rough, I shall take the trouble to be just as troublesome and offensive to him as I can.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1574, in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • [When opposed by leaders of her Council:] I will make you shorter by the head!

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I would rather go to any extreme than suffer anything that is unworthy of my reputation, or of that of my crown.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to the French ambassador, in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I am and am not; freeze, and yet I burn, / Since from myself my other self I turn.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1582, in Gwen John, Queen Elizabeth ()
  • [On being told Mary, Queen of Scots, was taller than she:] Then she is too high, for I myself am neither too high nor too low.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1568, in Katharine Anthony, Queen Elizabeth ()
  • Affection! Affection is false.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1600, in J.E. Neale, Queen Elizabeth I ()
  • It has been always held for a special principle in friendship that prosperity provideth but adversity proveth friends ...

    • Elizabeth I,
    • letter to Mary, Queen of Scots (1567), in G.B. Harrison, The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I ()
  • ... who seeketh two strings to one bow, they may shoot strong, but never straight ...

    • Elizabeth I,
    • letter to James VI, King of Scotland (1585), in G.B. Harrison, The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I ()
  • Words are leaves, the substance consists of deeds, which are the true fruits of a good tree.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • letter to Henry IV, King of France (1601), in G.B. Harrison, The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I ()
  • Brass shines as fair to the ignorant as gold to the goldsmith.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1581, in G.B. Harrison, The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I ()
  • I would not open windows into men's souls.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • c. 1559, in J.B. Black, The Reign of Elizabeth 1558-1603 ()
  • [On Thomas Seymour's death:] This day died a man of much wit and very little judgment.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1549, in Elizabeth Jenkins, Elizabeth the Great ()
  • Though I be a woman, yet I have as good a courage, answerable to my place, as ever my father had ... 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.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1565, in Elizabeth Jenkins, Elizabeth the Great ()
  • Green wounds scarce abide the toucher's hand.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • 1579, in Elizabeth Jenkins, Elizabeth the Great ()
  • All my possessions for a moment of time.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • attributed last words (1603), in Barnaby Conrad, Famous Last Words ()
  • Had I been crested, not cloven, my Lords, you had not treated me thus.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to courtiers, in Nigel Nicolson, Portrait of a Marriage ()
  • 'Twas Christ the Word that spake it, / The same took bread and brake it, / And as the Word did make it, / So I believe and take it.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Leah S. Marcus et al., eds., Elizabeth I: Collected Works ()
  • Eyes of youth have sharp sight, but commonly not so deep as those of elder age ...

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Leah S. Marcus et al., eds., Elizabeth I: Collected Works ()
  • Often when I am true, I am not believed. / And when I flatter, I am always believed.

    • Elizabeth I
  • No crooked leg, no bleared eye, / No part deformed out of kind, / Nor yet so ugly half can be / As the inward, suspicious mind.

    • Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I, English queen

(1533 - 1603)