童贞女王:伊丽莎白一世传(txt+pdf+epub+mobi电子书下载)

作者:(英)里顿·斯特拉奇

出版社:经济科学出版社

格式: AZW3, DOCX, EPUB, MOBI, PDF, TXT

童贞女王:伊丽莎白一世传

童贞女王:伊丽莎白一世传试读:

前言

Humanities in English

培养人文素质 成就国际通才

若想精通一门语言,没有对其文化背景的深入了解恐怕永远难登大雅之堂。在全球化日益成为国际主流的今天,英语作为西方文化头牌语言的重要性已日益凸显——今日世界,恐怕在地球上的任何角落,人们都可以用英语问路、用英语聊天、用英语购物、用英语交友、用英语在跨文化间作深度交流。

正如许多西方人热切地想了解中国文化一样,中国的英语学习者对西方文化及人文的了解也处于热切的需求中。是的,如果对西方的历史、文学、艺术、宗教、哲学没有一个最基本的了解,就连好莱坞大片想要看懂都会成为一个问题;而西方文化贡献给社会的普世价值恰恰是它深厚的人文传统及“民主、自由、博爱”等现代理念,不了解这些,则与任何稍有层次和品位的西方人的交流都将难以顺畅。

另一方面,国内的英语学习及爱好者如再停留在日常生活的English In General的层次上,将难以适应深度沟通和交流的需要,因此,对专业英语及文化背景的深入了解及学习将是提升英语能力的必由之路。有鉴于此,我们编写了本套丛书——《人文英语双语读物》,为读者奉上原汁原味的人文阅读精华,其或选自原典正文、或选自专业教材、或选自网络热帖,由精研此业者掇菁撷华,辑录成册,希望能帮助读者在学习英语的同时又能品味西方文化的独特魅力。

读万卷书行万里路,在我们无法踏上万里之路以愉耳目的时候,我们可以用阅读来滋养心灵,拓展人生版图。于某一日午后,抛开世俗的纷扰,挑一静谧之处,一杯香茗,几卷书册,品文化,长知识,学英语,在书页和文字之间触摸大千世界的真谛,在阅读中将知识内化成自己的修养,此为人生至乐。

文化共语言同飞,思想与阅读共舞。让我们的目光穿越时光、穿越语言,在原汁原味的英语阅读中品味人类文明共有的人文素质、人文素养、人文情怀、人文理念……并在此过程中成就自己的文化修养及完美人生。

谨以此书献给伟大的伊丽莎白一世Chapter ITwilight Romance of the Charmful Queen

Elizabeth, the founder of the golden age of English Tudor dynasty; Essex, the rough knight in Zutphen War . She had the advantages of beauty and power, and he had the nature of courage and depression. She and he fall into love with each other shortly and pitifully.

1. Bid Farewell to the Knight Times

The English Reformation was not merely a religious event; it was also a social one. While the spiritual mould of the Middle Ages was shattered, a corresponding revolution, no less complete and no less far−reaching, occurred in the structure of secular life and the seat of power. The knights and ecclesiastics who had ruled for ages vanished away, and their place was taken by a new class of persons, neither chivalrous nor holy, into whose competent and vigorous hands the reins, and the sweets, of government were gathered. This remarkable aristocracy, which had been created by the cunning of Henry VIII, overwhelmed at last the power that had given it being. The figure on the throne became a shadow, while the Russells, the Cavendishes, the Cecils, ruled over England in supreme solidity. For many generations they were England; and it is difficult to imagine an England without them, even to−day.

2. Essex, the Last Flame of Knight

The change came quickly—it was completed during the reign of Elizabeth. The rebellion of the Northern Earls in 1569 was the last great effort of the old dispensation to escape its doom. It failed; the wretched Duke of Norfolk—the feeble Howard who had dreamt of marrying Mary Queen of Scots—was beheaded; and the new social system was finally secure. Yet the spirit of the ancient feudalism was not quite exhausted. Once more, before the reign was over, it flamed up, embodied in a single individual—Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. The flame was glorious—radiant with the colours of antique knighthood and the flashing gallantries of the past; but no substance fed it; flaring wildly, it tossed to and fro in the wind; it was suddenly put out. In the history of Essex, so perplexed in its issues, so desperate in its perturbations, so dreadful in its conclusion, the spectral agony of an abolished world is discernible through the tragic lineaments of a personal disaster.

3. The Complex Essexes

His father, who had been created Earl of Essex by Elizabeth, was descended from all the great houses of mediaeval England. The Earl of Huntingdon, the Marquis of Dorset, the Lord Ferrers—Bohuns, Bourchiers, Rivers, Plantagenets—they crowded into his pedigree. One of his ancestresses, Eleanor de Bohun, was the sister of Mary, wife of Henry IV; another, Anne Woodville, was the sister of Elizabeth, wife of Edward IV; through Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, the family traced its descent from Edward III. The first Earl had been a man of dreams—virtuous and unfortunate. In the spirit of a crusader he had set out to subdue Ireland; but the intrigues of the Court, the economy of the Queen, and the savagery of the kerns had been too much for him, he had effected nothing, and had died at last a ruined and broken−hearted man. His son Robert was born in 1567. Nine years old when his father died, the boy found himself the inheritor of an illustrious name and the poorest Earl in England. But that was not all. The complex influences which shaped his destiny were present at his birth: his mother was as much a representative of the new nobility as his father of the old. Lettice Knollys's grandmother was a sister of Anne Boleyn; and thus Queen Elizabeth was Essex's first cousin twice removed. A yet more momentous relationship came into being when, two years after the death of the first Earl, Lettice became the wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The fury of her Majesty and the mutterings of scandal were passing clouds of small significance; what remained was the fact that Essex was the stepson of Leicester, the Queen's magnificent favourite, who, from the moment of her accession, had dominated her Court. What more could ambition ask for? All the ingredients were present—high birth, great traditions, Court influence, even poverty—for the making of a fine career.

4. The Young Man with both Courage and Depression

The young Earl was brought up under the guardianship of Burghley. In his tenth year he was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge, where in 1581, at the age of 14, he received the degree of Master of Arts. His adolescence passed in the country, at one or other of his remote western estates—at Lanfey in Pembrokeshire, or, more often, at Chartley in Staffordshire, where the ancient house, with its carved timber, its embattled top, its windows enriched with the arms and devices of Devereux and Ferrers, stood romantically in the midst of the vast chase, through which the red deer and the fallow deer, the badger and the wild boar, ranged at will. The youth loved hunting and all the sports of manhood; but he loved reading too. He could write correctly in Latin and beautifully in English; he might have been a scholar, had he not been so spirited a nobleman. As he grew up this double nature seemed to be reflected in his physical complexion. The blood flew through his veins in vigorous vitality; he ran and tilted with the sprightliest; and then suddenly health would ebb away from him, and the pale boy would lie for hours in his chamber, obscurely melancholy, with a Virgil in his hand.

When he was eighteen, Leicester, sent with an army to the Netherlands, appointed him General of the Horse. The post was less responsible than picturesque, and Essex performed its functions perfectly. Behind the lines, in festive tournaments, "he gave all men great hope," says the Chronicler, "of his noble forwardness in arms"—a hope that was not belied when the real fighting came. In the mad charge of Zutphen he was among the bravest, and was knighted by Leicester after the action.

5. The Love of the Goddess and the Handsome Man

More fortunate—or so it seemed—than Philip Sidney, Essex returned scathless to England. He forthwith began an assiduous attendance at Court. The Queen, who had known him from his childhood, liked him well. His stepfather was growing old; in that palace a white head and a red face were serious handicaps; and it may well have seemed to the veteran courtier that the favour of a young connexion would strengthen his own hand, and, in particular, counterbalance the rising influence of Walter Raleigh. Be that as it may, there was soon no occasion for pushing Essex forward. It was plain to all—the handsome, charming youth, with his open manner, his boyish spirits, his words and looks of adoration, and his tall figure, and his exquisite hands, and the auburn hair on his head, that bent so gently downwards, had fascinated Elizabeth.

The new star, rising with extraordinary swiftness, was suddenly seen to be shining alone in the firmament. The Queen and the Earl were never apart. She was fifty−three, and he was not yet twenty: a dangerous concatenation of ages. Yet, for the moment—it was the May of 1587—all was smooth and well. There were long talks, long walks and rides through the parks and the woods round London, and in the evening there was more talk, and laughter, and then there was music, until, at last, the rooms at Whitehall were empty, and they were left, the two, playing cards together. On and on through the night they played—at cards or one game or another, so that, a contemporary gossip tells us, "my Lord cometh not to his own lodging till birds sing in the morning." Thus passed the May of 1587 and the June.

If only time could have stood still for a little and drawn out those halcyon weeks through vague ages of summer! The boy, in his excitement, walking home through the dawn, the smiling Queen in the darkness, but there is no respite for mortal creatures. Human relationships must either move or perish. When two consciousnesses come to a certain nearness the impetus of their interactions, growing ever intenser and intenser, leads on to an unescapable climax. The crescendo must rise to its topmost note; and only then is the preordained solution of the theme made manifest.第一章倾世女王的黄昏恋〔1〕

伊丽莎白,英国都铎王朝黄金时代的缔造者;埃塞克斯,苏〔2〕特芬战役中的勇猛骑士。她美丽与权力双拥,他勇敢与忧郁并存。她和他,短暂地、可怜地相爱着。

1.告别骑士时代

英国的宗教改革,不仅是一项宗教大事,也是一项社会大事。中世纪的精神枷锁震碎了,但是,相应地,一场革命运动出现在世俗生活和权力交椅的夹缝中,同样是既全面而又意义深远。占据统治地位长达数年的骑士与神职人员销声匿迹,而其位置也由一个新的阶级所取而代之:他们既没有骑士风度,也不具神圣气质,但他们活跃在社会舞台上,有力地掌握着政府的一切权力和利益。这是一个能力非凡的贵族阶级,原来是亨利八世玩弄政治把戏创造出来的,但是讽刺的是,到最后,是这个阶级吞没了创造它的那份权力。这使得王座就像一个影子,一个傀儡,整个英格兰的政权已经被拉塞尔家族、卡文迪什家族和塞西尔家族等贵族牢牢掌控了,其至高无上的权力固若金汤。他们代表着英国,并一代又一代地传承下来;即使到了今天,也很难想象没有他们的英国是什么样的。亨利七世,都铎王朝的创建者

2.埃塞克斯——骑士精神的最后光芒

时代的更替很迅速地在伊丽莎白当权时期完成了。1569年的北方伯爵叛乱,是旧的社会制度为了逃脱灭亡的命运而作的最后的垂死挣扎。可惜的是,叛乱以失败而告终;可怜的诺福克公爵——软弱的霍华德一直梦想着娶到苏格兰的玛丽女王,结果却被砍头了;最后,新的社会制度终于确立下来了。然而,古代封建主义的幽灵并没有完全灭绝。在伊丽莎白当权期间,这个幽灵又一次发出光芒,并附寄在一个人的身上——埃塞克斯伯爵,即罗伯特·德弗雷。这道光芒,霞光万丈——闪耀着五彩缤纷的古代骑士精神和过往岁月的豪侠风范,让人触目惊心;可惜的是,没有养料来支撑这种精神和风范,它只能在风里飘忽不定,它的光亮也散漫虚弱,说不定突然之间就会灰飞烟灭。埃塞克斯的一生,经历着跌宕起伏的劫难、危险恶劣的动乱以及恐怖凄惨的结局。种种灾难和悲剧,向人们展示了一个被摈弃的装着形形色色苦难的世界。安妮·博林

3.复杂的埃塞克斯家族

埃塞克斯的父亲就是伊丽莎白册封的从中世纪英格兰的所有名门望族中传承下来的埃塞克斯伯爵。他家的家谱图上,聚集着亨廷顿伯爵、多塞特侯爵、费勒斯勋爵、波亨家族、布希尔家族、里弗家族、普兰塔吉内特家族等众多的族人。埃塞克斯家族的母系祖先中,有一个名叫埃莉诺·德·波亨的女子,她是亨利四世的妻子玛丽的姐妹;还有一个名叫安妮·伍德维尔的女子,她是爱德华四世妻子伊丽莎白的姐妹;埃塞克斯家族的世系表,可以由格劳斯特公爵,即伍德斯托克的托马斯,向上追溯到爱德华三世。埃塞克斯家族的第一代伯爵是一位空想家,为人正直,却时运不济、命途多舛。他曾怀着十字军战士的英雄精神,英勇出征爱尔兰;可惜他容忍不了诡计多端的宫廷、爱财如命的女王以及野蛮凶残的爱尔兰轻步兵,结果出征无功,倾家荡产,在悲痛中死去。他的儿子罗伯特出生于1567年。这个可怜的孩子9岁丧父,成了一个空有虚名的显赫家族的继承人,同时也是英格兰最穷困的一名伯爵。但这句话概括不了他的全部遭遇。在他出生的时候,导致他一生的坎坷命运的各种因素就已经存在了:他的母亲莱蒂斯·诺里斯是个新型贵族的代表人物,而他的父亲是一个旧式贵族〔3〕的代表人物。莱蒂斯·诺里斯的祖母是安妮·博林的姐妹,因此伊丽莎白女王就变成了埃塞克斯的姨奶奶。第一代伯爵去世两年后,又增添了一个更重要的关系,那就是莱蒂斯成了莱斯特伯爵罗伯特·达德利的妻子。这引起了女王的愤怒,再加上各种流言蜚语,当然这一切就象天空中飘过的云,已经成为过往;只留下一个事实:埃塞克斯成为莱斯特伯爵的继子。然而,莱斯特伯爵从女王登基起就一直是女王的亲信。雄心勃勃的他还需要什么别的东西吗?所有构成美好前程的因素都已经具备——贵族的出身、豪门的传承、宫廷的势力,还有贫困的家境。

4.勇猛与忧郁并存的少年〔4〕

埃塞克斯小伯爵是在伯利的监督下长大的,他10岁那年,伯利就把他送到剑桥大学的三一学院。1581年,14岁时他就已经获得了硕士学位。青年时期是他在偏远的英格兰西部——彭布罗克郡的蓝菲的家乡度过的,不过,他更愿意去的地方是斯塔福特郡的查特里。那里有广袤的猎场,猎场中间是神秘的古屋,古屋上面有雕花的梁木、垛墙。德弗雷和菲勒斯家的武器和徽饰点缀在大大小小的窗子上,赤鹿和黇鹿、獾和野猪漫游在无边无际的猎场上。这个小青年喜欢打猎,他喜欢成年男子喜欢的一切活动,同时他也喜欢读书。他的拉丁文写得流利,他的英语写得很优美,可惜的是,他是一个英勇的贵族,不然的话,他很可能发展成为一名学者。他文武双全的禀赋,随着年龄的增长,越发明显地在他身上反映出来。他的血管里流淌着奔腾的血液;他赛跑、骑马、比武,总是挑战着最勇猛的劲敌;然而,有时候他会突然猛劲消退,变得苍白无力,然后虚弱地躺倒在床上,手捧一本维吉尔的诗集,黯然神伤,一连几小时在忧郁中度过。战争中的菲利普·西德尼

埃塞克斯18岁时,莱斯特伯爵奉命率领一支远征荷兰的军队,任命他为骑兵司令。这个职位多半是虚设的,没有多大的实际任务。但是埃塞克斯的任务完成的非常出色。根据记载,在战场的后方,每当遇到宴会、要进行比武活动时,“他的表现让所有人对他抱有巨大的期望,希望他在真正的战场上能够英勇杀敌”——到了真正的战场上,他果然不负众望。在疯狂进攻苏特芬的那场突袭战斗中,他成为作战最勇敢的一个。因此,莱斯特伯爵后来授予他“骑士”称号。

5.女神与美男的忘年恋情〔5〕

埃塞克斯的运气比菲利普·西德尼好,因为埃塞克斯没有带伤回英国。他一回国后就开始在宫廷里朝夕相处地侍候女王。女王是看着他长大的,非常喜欢他。埃塞克斯的继父已经慢慢变老,在那个宫廷里,年老没有优势,女子也不受待见,这位干练的老臣也许认为,女王宠爱他的儿子可以增强他自己的权势,特别是可以抗拒沃尔特·罗利日益剧增的影响力。尽管这很合理,由于时间匆忙,埃塞克斯仍然没有获得被提拔的机会。但是,明眼人都知道,这个魅力四射的俊美的年轻人,已经深深打动了伊丽莎白女王的心:他那爽朗的风度、稚嫩的神态、恭敬的言语、英俊的轮廓、高挑的身材、灵巧的双手,还有那柔和的金发……这一切的一切,都是伊丽莎白女王的最爱。

这是一颗嘎然升起的新星,顷刻间出现在女王的天空,光芒四射,只为照耀女王的世界。女王和伯爵从此相随相伴,那一年,女王53岁,伯爵还不到20岁:这对有情人的年龄差距是一个危险的潜在因素。他们整日泡在一起,他们不停地交谈、在公园里和伦敦郊外的森林中骑马、散步,即使到了晚上也不分开,仍然在一起谈笑风生、欣赏歌曲,一直到白厅里所有厅室都已人去楼空,只剩下他们两个了才肯离去,然而离开白厅后还要在一起打牌。他们经常通宵玩乐——打牌或做游戏。以至于后来流传着一种闲话:“天已大亮了,鸟儿唱歌了,爵爷才肯回家。”他们就这样在一起度过了1587年的5月和6月。

如果时间可以停止不前,把这段情爱岁月拉长到他们的整个盛年时代,那该有多幸福啊!每次分手时刻,小伙子总是满怀激情地在晨曦中走回家,在他身后的幽暗处,那是女王欢送的笑脸,可是,有些事情是不能停留的。人与人的关系不是变化就是消失,那是必然的现象。当两个有感情的人亲近到一定的程度,彼此之间的影响力越来越大,最终只能通向那个无法逃避的焦点。就好比在音乐中,渐强音必然会上升到最高音,只有到了这一巅峰,预期的乐章高潮才能突显出来。年少英俊的埃塞克斯伯爵

注释

〔1〕英国都铎王朝:开始于亨利六世1485年入主英格兰、威尔士和爱尔兰,结束于1603年伊丽莎白一世的去世。这个王朝因其将英国从一个老式的国家变成优秀强大的国家而令世人所瞩目。

〔2〕苏特芬战役:发生在1586年9月22日,英国支持荷兰联合省与西班牙作战,这是八十年持久战的一部分,为了收复北荷兰失地,不过以西班牙胜利而告终。

〔3〕安妮·博林(1501年-1536年)是英格兰王后,英王亨利八世的第二任妻子,伊丽莎白一世的母亲,威尔特伯爵汤马斯·博林与伊丽莎白·博林之女。安妮·博林原本是亨利八世第一任妻子阿拉贡的凯瑟琳的侍从女官,1533年1月与亨利八世秘密结婚,5月被宣布为合法妻子。3个月后亨利八世对她的热情消退,直到1533年9月生下伊丽莎白后才稍和缓。但两人关系在1536年1月安妮·博林流产时恶化。1536年5月2日被捕入狱,关进伦敦塔;5月19日以通奸罪被斩首。

〔4〕伯利:威廉·塞西尔(1520-1598),英国女王伊丽莎白一世的重臣,1558年11月20日进入枢密院,任命为首席国务大臣,1571年被册封为伯利勋爵。

〔5〕菲利普·西德尼:伊丽莎白时代一个主要的朝臣,学者和诗人,才华横溢,富有骑士气概。1586年自愿入伍,到法兰德斯去和西班牙人作战。同年9月22日,在苏特芬战役中,大腿负了重伤,不治而亡,年仅32岁。Chapter IIThe Glorious Years of the Virgin Queen

Elizabeth, the virgin queen in the legend, was truly a charming and affectionate woman. She disliked matrimony, so didn't get married. She was not married but committed the asseveration of getting married to the slavers. It was just one of the Keys of her genius diplomacy.

1. The Wonderful Age of Elizabeth

The reign of Elizabeth, (1558 to 1603), falls into two parts: the thirty years that preceded the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the fifteen that followed it. The earlier period was one of preparation; it was then that the tremendous work was accomplished which made England a coherent nation, finally independent of the Continent, and produced a state of affairs in which the whole energies of the country could find free scope. During those long years the dominating qualities of the men in power were skill and prudence. The times were so hard that anything else was out of place. For a whole generation the vast caution of Burghley was the supreme influence in England. The lesser figures followed suit; and, for that very reason, a certain indistinctness veils them from our view. Walsingham worked underground; Leicester, with all his gorgeousness, is dim to us—an uncertain personage, bending to every wind; the Lord Chancellor Hatton danced, and that is all we know of him. Then suddenly the kaleidoscope shifted; the old ways, the old actors, were swept off with the wreckage of the Armada. Burghley alone remained—a monument from the past. In the place of Leicester and Walsingham, Essex and Raleigh—young, bold, coloured, brilliantly personal—sprang forward and filled the scene of public action. It was the same in every other field of national energy: the snows of the germinating winter had melted, and the wonderful spring of Elizabethan culture burst into life.

2. The Flourishing Age and the Cultural Men

The age—it was that of Marlowe and Spenser, of the early Shakespeare and the Francis Bacon of the Essays—needs no description: everybody knows its outward appearances and the literary expressions of its heart. More valuable than descriptions, but what perhaps is unattainable, would be some means by which the modern mind might reach to an imaginative comprehension of those beings of three centuries ago—might move with ease among their familiar essential feelings—might touch, or dream that it touches, (for such dreams are the stuff of history), the very "pulse of the machine." But the path seems closed to us. By what art are we to worm our way into those strange spirits, those even stranger bodies? The more clearly we perceive it, the more remote that singular universe becomes. With very few exceptions—possibly with the single exception of Shakespeare—the creatures in it meet us without intimacy; they are exterior visions, which we know, but do not truly understand.

It is, above all, the contradictions of the age that baffle our imagination and perplex our intelligence. Human beings, no doubt, would cease to be human beings unless they were inconsistent; but the inconsistency of the Elizabethans exceeds the limits permitted to man. Their elements fly off from one another wildly; we seize them; we struggle hard to shake them together into a single compound, and the retort bursts. How is it possible to give a coherent account of their subtlety and their naïveté, their delicacy and their brutality, their piety and their lust? Wherever we look, it is the same. By what perverse magic were intellectual ingenuity and theological ingenuousness intertwined in John Donne? Who has ever explained Francis Bacon? How is it conceivable that the puritans were the brothers of the dramatists? What kind of mental fabric could that have been which had for its warp the habits of filth and savagery of sixteenth−century London and for its woof an impassioned familiarity with the splendour of Tamburlaine and the exquisiteness of Venus and Adonis? Who can reconstruct those iron−nerved beings who passed with rapture from some divine madrigal sung to a lute by a bewitching boy in a tavern to the spectacle of mauled dogs tearing a bear to pieces? Iron−nerved? Perhaps; yet the flaunting man of fashion, whose codpiece proclaimed an astonishing virility, was he not also, with his flowing hair and his jewelled ears, effeminate? And the curious society which loved such fantasies and delicacies—how readily would it turn and rend a random victim with hideous cruelty! A change of fortune—a spy's word—and those same ears might be sliced off, to the laughter of the crowd, in the pillory; or, if ambition or religion made a darker embroilment, a more ghastly mutilation—amid a welter of moral platitudes fit only for the nursery and dying confessions in marvellous English—might diversify a traitor's end.

3. The Queen's Unheroic Diplomacy

The lion heart, the splendid gestures—such heroic things were there, no doubt—visible to everybody; but their true significance in the general scheme of her character was remote and complicated. The sharp and hostile eyes of the Spanish ambassadors saw something different; in their opinion, the outstanding characteristic of Elizabeth was pusillanimity. They were wrong; but they perceived more of the truth than the idle onlooker. They had come into contact with those forces in the Queen's mind which proved, incidentally, fatal to themselves, and brought her, in the end, her enormous triumph. That triumph was not the result of heroism. The very contrary was the case: the grand policy which dominated Elizabeth's life was the most unheroic conceivable; and her true history remains a standing lesson for melodramatists in statecraft. In reality, she succeeded by virtue of all the qualities which every hero should be without—dissimulation, pliability, indecision, procrastination, parsimony. It might almost be said that the heroic element chiefly appeared in the unparalleled lengths to which she allowed those qualities to carry her. It needed a lion heart indeed to spend twelve years in convincing the world that she was in love with the Duke of Anjou, and to stint the victuals of the men who defeated the Armada; but in such directions she was in very truth capable of everything. She found herself a sane woman in a universe of violent maniacs, between contending forces of terrific intensity—the rival nationalisms of France and Spain, the rival religions of Rome and Calvin; for years it had seemed inevitable that she should be crushed by one or other of them, and she had survived because she had been able to meet the extremes around her with her own extremes of cunning and prevarication. It so happened that the subtlety of her intellect was exactly adapted to the complexities of her environment. The balance of power between France and Spain, the balance of factions in France and Scotland, the swaying fortunes of the Netherlands, gave scope for a tortuosity of diplomacy which has never been completely unravelled to this day. Burghley was her chosen helper, a careful steward after her own heart; and more than once Burghley gave up the puzzle of his mistress's proceedings in despair. Nor was it only her intellect that served her; it was her temperament as well. That too—in its mixture of the masculine and the feminine, of vigour and sinuosity, of pertinacity and vacillation—was precisely what her case required. A deep instinct made it almost impossible for her to come to a fixed determination upon any subject whatever. Or, if she did, she immediately proceeded to contradict her resolution with the utmost violence, and, after that, to contradict her contradiction more violently still. Such was her nature—to float, when it was calm, in a sea of indecisions, and, when the wind rose, to tack hectically from side to side. Had it been otherwise—had she possessed, according to the approved pattern of the strong man of action, the capacity for taking a line and sticking to it—she would have been lost. She would have become inextricably entangled in the forces that surrounded her, and, almost inevitably, swiftly destroyed. Her femininity saved her. Only a woman could have shuffled so shamelessly, only a woman could have abandoned with such unscrupulous completeness the last shreds not only of consistency, but of dignity, honour, and common decency, in order to escape the appalling necessity of having, really and truly, to make up her mind. Yet it is true that a woman's evasiveness was not enough; male courage, male energy were needed, if she were to escape the pressure that came upon her from every side. Those qualities she also possessed; but their value to her—it was the final paradox of her career—was merely that they made her strong enough to turn her back, with an indomitable persistence, upon the ways of strength.

4. She Hatred Wastefulness and Loved Peace

Religious persons at the time were distressed by her conduct, and imperialist historians have wrung their hands over her since. Why

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