Document Sample
224 Powered By Docstoc

e Loves of “e Lady Arabella”
   Where London’s towre its turrets show                            panies mysterious events, and more particularly when
      So stately by the ames’s side,                               we discover that this lady is so frequently alluded to by
   Faire Arabella, child of woe!
                                                                    her foreign contemporaries.
      For many a day had sat and sighed,
   And as shee heard the waves arise,                                  e historians of the Lady Arabella have all fallen
                                                                    into the grossest errors. Her chief historian has com-
      And as shee heard the bleake windes roare,
                                                                    mitted a violent injury on her very person, which, in
   As fast did heave her heartfelte sighes,
      And still so fast her teares did poure!                       the history of a female, is not the least important. In
              Arabella Stuart, in Evans’s Old Ballads.              hastily consulting two passages relative to her, he ap-
              (Probably written by Mickle).                         plied to the Lady Arabella the defective understand-
                                                                    ing and headstrong dispositions of her, aunt, the Coun-
The name of Arabella Stuart,* Mr. Lodge observes,
                                                                    tess of Shrewsbury; and by another misconception of
“is scarcely mentioned in history.” e whole life of this
                                                                    a term, as I think, asserts that the Lady Arabella was
lady seems to consist of secret history, which, probably,
                                                                    distinguished neither for beauty, nor intellectual quali-
we cannot now recover. e writers who have ventured
                                                                    ties.* is authoritative decision perplexed the modern
to weave together her loose and scattered story are am-
biguous and contradictory. How such slight domestic                    * Morant, in the Biographia Britannica. is gross blunder has
                                                                    been detected by Mr. Lodge. e other I submit to the reader’s
incidents as her life consisted of could produce results            judgment. A contemporary letter-writer, alluding to the flight of
so greatly disproportioned to their apparent cause, may             Arabella and Seymour, which alarmed the Scottish so much more
always excite our curiosity. Her name scarcely ever oc-             than the English party, tells us, among other reasons of the little
                                                                    danger of the political influence of the parties themselves over
curs without raising that sort of interest which accom-             the people, that not only their pretensions were far removed, but
                                                                    he adds, “ey were ungraceful both in their persons and their
   * Long aer this article was composed, Miss Aikin published      houses.” Morant takes the term ungraceful in its modern accep-
her “Court of James the First.” at agreeable writer has written    tation; but in the style of that day, I think, ungraceful is op-
her popular volumes, without wasting the bloom of life in the       posed to gracious in the eyes of the people, meaning that their
dust of libraries, and our female historian has not occasioned me   persons and their houses were not considerable to the multitude.
to alter a single sentence in these researches.                     Would it not be absurd to apply ungraceful in its modern sense to

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                           Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                                

editor, Kippis, whose researches were always limited;                   en name of Stuart, or by her married one of Seymour,
Kippis had gleaned from Oldys’s precious manuscripts                    as she latterly subscribed herself, was, by her affinity
a single note, which shook to its foundations the whole                 with James the First, and our Elizabeth, placed near
structure before him; and he had also found, in Bal-                    the throne; too near, it seems, for her happiness and
lard, to his utter confusion, some hints that the Lady                  quiet! In their common descent from Margaret, the eld-
Arabella was a learned woman, and of a poetical gen-                    est daughter of Henry VII., she was cousin to the Scot-
ius, though even the writer himself, who had recorded                   tish monarch, but born an Englishwoman, which gave
this discovery, was at a loss to ascertain the fact! It                 her some advantage in a claim to the throne of Eng-
is amusing to observe Honest George Ballard in the                      land. “Her double relation to royalty,” says Mr. Lodge,
same dilemma as honest Andrew Kippis. “is lady,”                       “was equally obnoxious to the jealousy of Elizabeth,
he says, “was not more distinguished for the dignity of                 and the timidity of James, and they secretly dreaded the
her birth, than celebrated for her fine parts and learn-                 supposed danger of her having a legitimate offspring.”
ing; and yet,” he adds, in all the simplicity of his in-                Yet James himself, then unmarried, proposed for the
genuousness, “I know so little in relation to the two                   husband of the Lady Arabella one of her cousins, Lord
last accomplishments, that I should not have given her                  Esme Stuart, whom he had created Duke of Lenox, and
a place in these memoirs had not Mr. Evelyn put her                     designed for his heir. e first thing we hear of “the
in his list of learned women, and Mr. Philips (Milton’s                 Lady Arabella” concerns a marriage. Marriages are
nephew) introduced her among his modern poetess-                        the incidents of her life, and the fatal event which ter-
es.”                                                                    minated it was a marriage. Such was the secret spring
   “e Lady Arabella,” for by that name she is usually                  on which her character and her misfortunes revolved.
noticed by her contemporaries, rather than by her maid-                    is proposed match was desirable to all parties; but
                                                                        there was one greater than them all, who forbad the
a family or house? And had any political danger been expected, as-
suredly it would not have been diminished by the want of personal       bans. Elizabeth interposed; she imprisoned the Lady
grace in these lovers. I do not recollect any authority for the sense   Arabella, and would not deliver her up to the king,
of ungraceful in opposition to gracious, but a critical and literary
antiquary has sanctioned my opinion.                                    of whom she spoke with asperity, and even with con-

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                         Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                                        

tempt.* e greatest infirmity of Elizabeth was her                      ed; it multiplied the aspirants, while every party hu-
mysterious conduct respecting the succession to the                    moured itself by selecting its own claimant, and none
English throne; her jealousy of power, her strange un-                 more busily than the continental powers. One of the
happiness in the dread of personal neglect, made her                   most curious is the project of the Pope, who, intending
averse to see a successor in her court, or even to hear                to put aside James I. on account of his religion, formed
of a distant one; in a successor she could only view a                 a chimerical scheme of uniting Arabella with a prince
competitor. Camden tells us that she frequently ob-                    of the house of Savoy; the pretext, for without a pretext
served, that “most men neglected the setting sun,” and                 no politician moves, was their descent from a bastard
this melancholy presentiment of personal neglect this                  of our Edward IV.; the Duke of Parma was, however,
political coquette not only lived to experience, but even              married, but the Pope, in his infallibility, turned his
this circumstance of keeping the succession unsettled                  brother the Cardinal into the Duke’s substitute by
miserably disturbed the queen on her death-bed. Her                    secularising the churchman. In that case the Cardinal
ministers, it appears, harassed her when she was lying                 would then become King of England in right of this
speechless; a remarkable circumstance, which has hith-                 lady!—provided he obtained the crown!*
erto escaped the knowledge of her numerous histori-                      We might conjecture from this circumstance, that
ans, and which I shall take an opportunity of disclos-                 Arabella was a Catholic, and so Mr. Butler has recently
ing in this volume.                                                    told us; but I know of no other authority than Dodd,
  Elizabeth leaving a point so important always prob-                  the Catholic historian, who has inscribed her name
lematical, raised up the very evil she so greatly dread-               among his party. Parsons, the wily Jesuit, was so doubt-
  * A circumstance which we discover by a Spanish memorial,            ful how the lady, when young, stood disposed towards
when our James I. was negotiating with the cabinet of Madrid.
He complains of Elizabeth’s treatment of him; that the queen re-          * See a very curious letter, the ccxcix of Cardinal D’Ossat,
fused to give him his father’s estate in England, nor would deliver    Vol. v. e Catholic interest expected to facilitate the conquest of
up his uncle’s daughter, Arabella, to be married to the Duke of        England by joining their armies with these of “Arbelle,” and the
Lenox, at which time the queen uso palabras muy asperas y de mu-       commentator writes that this English lady had a party, consisting
cho disprechia contra el dicho Rey de Escocia; she used harsh words,   of all those English who had been the judges, or the avowed en-
expressing much contempt of the king. Winwood’s Mem. i. 4.             emies of Mary of Scotland, the mother of James the First.

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                              Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                     

Catholicism, that he describes “her religion to be as      son of the Earl of Northumberland; but to the jealous
tender, green, and flexible, as is her age and sex, and     terror of Elizabeth an English Earl was not an object
to be wrought hereaer and settled according to future     of less magnitude than a Scotch Duke. is is the third
events and times.” Yet in 1611, when she was finally sent   shadowy husband!
into confinement, one well informed of court affairs            When James I. ascended the English throne, there ex-
writes, “that the Lady Arabella hath not been found in-    isted an Anti-Scottish party. Hardly had the northern
clinable to popery.”*                                      monarch entered into the “Land of Promise,” when his
   Even Henry IV. of France was not unfriendly to this     southern throne was shaken by a foolish plot, which one
papistical project of placing an Italian cardinal on the   writer calls “a state riddle;” it involved Rawleigh, and
English throne. It had always been the state-interest of   unexpectedly the Lady Arabella. e Scottish monarch
the French cabinet to favour any scheme which might        was to be got rid of, and Arabella was to be crowned.
preserve the realms of England and Scotland as sep-        Some of these silly conspirators having written to her,
arate kingdoms. e manuscript correspondence of            requesting letters to be addressed to the King of Spain,
Charles IX. with his ambassador at the court of Lon-       she laughed at the letter she received, and sent it to the
don, which I have seen, tends solely to this great pur-    King. us for a second time was Arabella to have been
pose, and perhaps it was her French and Spanish allies     Queen of England. is occurred in 1603, but was fol-
which finally hastened the political martyrdom of the       lowed by no harsh measures from James the First.
Scottish Mary.                                                In the following year, 1604, I have discovered that,
   us we have discovered two chimerical husbands of       for the third time, the lady was offered a crown! “A great
the Lady Arabella. e pretensions of this lady to the      ambassador is coming from the King of Poland, whose
throne had evidently become an object with speculat-       chief errand is to demand my Lady Arabella in mar-
ing politicians; and perhaps it was to withdraw herself    riage for his master. So may your princess of the blood
from the embarrassments into which she was thrown,         grow a great queen, and then we shall be safe from
that, according to De ou, she intended to marry a         the danger of missuperscribing letters.”* is last passage
  * Winwood’s Memorials, iii. 281.                           * is manuscript letter from William, Earl of Pembroke, to

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                              Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                                         

seems to allude to something. What is meant of “the                         Arabella, from certain circumstances, was a depend-
danger of missuperscribing letters?”                                     ent on the king’s bounty, which flowed very unequally;
  If this royal offer was ever made, it was certainly for-                oen reduced to great personal distress, we find by her
bidden. Can we imagine the refusal to have come from                     letters, that “she prayed for present money, though it
the lady, who, we shall see, seven years aerwards, com-                 should not be annually.” I have discovered that James
plained that the king had neglected her in not provid-                   at length granted her a pension. e royal favours, how-
ing her with a suitable match? It was this very time that                ever, were probably limited to her good behaviour.*
one of those butterflies, who quiver on the fair flowers                      From 1604 to 1608, is a period which forms a blank
of a court, writes, that “My Ladye Arbella spends her                    leaf in the story of Arabella. In this last year this unfor-
time in lecture, reiding, &c., and she will not hear of                  tunate lady had again fallen out of favour, and, as usual,
marriage. Indirectly there were speaches used in the                     the cause was mysterious, and not known even to the
recommendation of Count Maurice, who pretendeth to                       writer. Chamberlain, in a letter to Sir Ralph Winwood,
be Duke of Guildres. I dare not attempt her.”* Here we                   mentions, “the Lady Arabella’s business, whatsoever
find another princely match proposed. us far, to the                     it was, is ended, and she restored to her former place
Lady Arabella, crowns and husbands were like a fairy                     and graces. e king gave her a cupboard of plate, bet-
banquet seen at moonlight, opening on her sight, im-                     ter than 200l. for a new year’s gi, and 1000 marks
palpable and vanishing at the moment of approach.                        to pay her debts, besides some yearly addition to her
                                                                         maintenance, want being thought the chiefest cause
Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury, is dated from Hampton Court, Oct.           of her discontentment, though she be not altogether free
3, 1604. Sloane’s mss. 4161.
   * Lodge’s Illustrations of British History, iii. 286. It is curious   from suspicion of being collapsed.”† Another mysterious
to observe, that this letter by W. Fowler, is dated on the same day
as the manuscript letter I have just quoted, and it is directed to          * Two letters of Arabella, on distress of money, are preserved
the same Earl of Shrewsbury; so that the Earl must have received,        by Ballard. e discovery of a pension I made in Sir Julius Cæsar’s
in one day, accounts of two different projects of marriage for his        manuscripts; where one is mentioned of 1600l. to the Lady Arabel-
niece! is shows how much Arabella engaged the designs of for-           la. Sloane’s ms. 4160. Mr. Lodge has shown that the king once
eigners and natives. Will Fowler was a rhyming and fantastical           granted her the duty on oats.
secretary to the queen of James the First.                                  † Winwood’s Memorials, iii. 117-119.

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                               Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                          

expression, which would seem to allude either to poli-         ing the reputation of her constant and virtuous disposi-
tics or religion; but the fact appears by another writer       tion.”*
to have been a discovery of a new project of marriage             e revels of Christmas had hardly closed, when the
without the king’s consent. is person of her choice           Lady Arabella forgot that she had been forgiven, and
is not named; and it was to divert her mind from the           again relapsed into her old infirmity. She renewed a con-
too constant object of her thoughts, that James, aer          nexion, which had commenced in childhood, with Mr.
a severe reprimand, had invited her to partake of the          William Seymour, the second son of Lord Beauchamp,
festivities of the court, in that season of revelry and rec-   and grandson of the Earl of Hertford. His character
onciliation.                                                   has been finely described by Clarendon: He loved his
   We now approach that event of the Lady Arabella’s           studies and his repose; but when the civil wars broke
life, which reads like a romantic fiction: the catastro-        out, he closed his volumes and drew his sword, and was
phe, too, is formed by the Aristotelian canon; for its         both an active and a skilful general. Charles I. created
misery, its pathos, and its terror, even romantic fiction       him Marquis of Hertford, and governor of the prince;
has not exceeded!                                              he lived to the Restoration, and Charles II. restored
   It is probable that the king, from some political mo-       him to the dukedom of Somerset.
tive, had decided that the Lady Arabella should lead              is treaty of marriage was detected in February,
a single life; but such wise purposes frequently meet          1609, and the parties summoned before the privy coun-
with cross ones; and it happened that no woman was             cil. Seymour was particularly censured for daring to
ever more solicited to the conjugal state, or seems to         ally himself with the royal blood, although that was
have been so little averse to it. Every noble youth, who       running, in his own veins. In a manuscript letter which
sighed for distinction, ambitioned the notice of the           I have discovered, Seymour addressed the lords of
Lady Arabella; and she was so frequently contriving a          the privy council. e style is humble; the plea to ex-
marriage for herself, that a courtier of that day, writing     cuse his intended marriage is, that being but “A young
to another, observes, “these affectations of marriage in        brother, and sensible of mine own good, unknown to
her, do give some advantage to the world of impair-              * Winwood’s Memorials, Vol. iii. 119.

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                    Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                                      

the world, of mean estate, not born to challenge any-                 Brigg’s house in Fleet-street, and then a third at Mr.
thing by my birthright, and therefore my fortunes to                  Baynton’s; at both which we had the like conference
be raised by mine own endeavour, and she a lady of                    and resolution as before.” He assures their lordships
great honour and virtue, and, as I thought, of great                  that both of them had never intended marriage without
means, I did plainly and honestly endeavour lawfully                  his majesty’s approbation.*
to gain her in marriage.” ere is nothing romantic in                    But Love laughs at privy councils, and the grave
this apology, in which Seymour describes himself as a                 promises made by two frightened lovers. e parties
fortune-hunter! which, however, was probably done to                  were secretly married, which was discovered about
cover his undoubted affection for Arabella, whom he                    July in the following year. ey were then separately
had early known. He says, that “he conceived that this                confined, the lady at the house of Sir omas Parry
noble lady might, without offence, make the choice of                  at Lambeth, and Seymour in the Tower, for “his con-
any subject within this kingdom; which conceit was be-                tempt in marrying a lady of the royal family without
gotten in me upon a general report, aer her ladyship’s               the king’s leave.”
last being called before your lordships,* that it might be.”             is, their first confinement, was not rigorous; the
He tells the story of this ancient wooing—“I boldly in-               lady walked in her garden, and the lover was a prisoner
truded myself into her ladyship’s chamber in the court                at large in the Tower. e writer in the Biographia Bri-
on Candlemass day last, at what time I imparted my                    tannica observes, that ”Some intercourse they had by
desire unto her, which was entertained, but with this                 letters, which, aer a time, was discovered. In this his-
caution on either part, that both of us resolved not to               tory of love these might be precious documents, and in
proceed to any final conclusion without his majesty’s                  the library at Longleat, these love epistles, or perhaps
most gracious favour first obtained. And this was our                  this volume, may yet lie unread in a corner.† Arabel-
first meeting! Aer that we had a second meeting at                    la’s epistolary talent was not vulgar: Dr. Montford, in a
  * is evidently alludes to the gentleman whose name appears           * Harl. mss. 7003.
not, which occasioned Arabella to incur the king’s displeasure          † It is on record that at Longleat, the seat of the Marquis of
before Christmas; the Lady Arabella, it is quite clear, was resolv-   Bath, certain papers of Arabella are preserved. I leave to the no-
edly bent on marrying herself!                                        ble owner the pleasure of the research.

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                            Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                 

manuscript letter, describes one of those effusions which     upon your body. You may see by me what in-
Arabella addressed to the king. “is letter was penned       conveniences it will bring one to; and no for-
by her in the best terms, as she can do right well. It was   tune, I assure you, daunts me so much as that
                                                             weakness of body I find in myself; for, si nous
oen read without offence, nay, it was even commended
                                                             vivons l’âge d’un veau, as Marot says, we may,
by his highness, with the applause of prince and Coun-       by God’s grace, be happier than we look for,
cil.” One of these amatory letters I have recovered. e      in being suffered to enjoy ourself with his maj-
circumstance is domestic, being nothing more at first         esty’s favour. But if we be not able to live to
than a very pretty letter on Mr. Seymour having taken        it, I, for my part, shall think myself a pattern
cold, but, as every love-letter ought, it is not without a   of misfortune in enjoying so great blessing as
                                                             you, so little awhile. No separation but that
pathetic crescendo; the tearing away of hearts so firmly
                                                             deprives me of the comfort of you. For where-
joined, while, in her solitary imprisonment, the secret      soever you be, or in what state soever you are,
thought that he lived and was her own, filled her spirit      it sufficeth me you are mine! Rachel wept and
with that consciousness which triumphed even over that       would not be comforted, because her children were
sickly frame so nearly subdued to death. e familiar         no more. And that, indeed, is the remediless sor-
style of James the First’s age may bear comparison with      row, and none else! And therefore God bless
                                                             us from that, and I will hope well of the rest,
our own. I shall give it entire.
                                                             though I see no apparent hope. But I am sure
     “lady arbella to mr. william seymour.                   God’s book mentioneth many of his children
         “Sir,                                               in as great distress that have done well aer,
                                                             even in this world! I do assure you nothing the
             “I am exceeding sorry to hear you have
                                                             state can do with me can trouble me so much
    not been well. I pray you let me know truly
                                                             as this news of your being ill doth; and you see
    how you do, and what was the cause of it. I
                                                             when I am troubled, I trouble you too with te-
    am not satisfied with the reason Smith gives
                                                             dious kindness; for so I think you will account
    for it, but if it be a cold, I will impute it to some
                                                             so long a letter, yourself not having written to
    sympathy betwixt us, having myself gotten a
                                                             me this good while so much as how you do.
    swollen cheek at the same time with a cold. For
                                                             But, sweet sir, I speak not this to trouble you
    God’s sake, let not your grief of mind work
Isaac D’Israeli                                                                          Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                  

    with writing but when you please. Be well, and            for me to imagine it could be offensive to your
    I shall account myself happy in being                     majesty, having few days before given me your
                     “Your faithful loving wife,              royal consent to bestow myself on any subject of
                                            “Arb. S,”*        your majesty’s (which likewise your majesty had
                                                              done long since). Besides, never having been
  In examining the manuscripts of this lady, the defect
                                                              either prohibited any, or spoken to for any, in
of dates must be supplied by our sagacity. e follow-         this land, by your majesty these seven years that
ing “petition,” as she calls, it, addressed to the king, in   I have lived in your majesty’s house, I could
defence of her secret marriage, must have been written        not conceive that your majesty regarded my
at this time. She remonstrates with the king for what         marriage at all; whereas if your majesty had
she calls his neglect of her; and while she fears to he       vouchsafed to tell me your mind, and accept
                                                              the free-will offering of my obedience, I would
violently separated from her husband, she asserts her
                                                              not have offended your majesty, of whose gra-
cause with a firm and noble spirit, which was aerwards        cious goodness I presume so much, that if it
too severely tried!                                           were now as convenient in a worldly respect, as
                                                              malice may make it seem to separate us, whom God
    “to the king.
                                                              hath joined, your majesty would not do evil
        “May it please your most excellent Majesty.           that good might come thereof, nor make me,
           “I do most heartily lament my hard for-            that have the honour to be so near your maj-
    tune that I should offend your majesty the                 esty in blood, the first precedent that ever was,
    least, especially in that whereby I have long             though our princes may have le some as little
    desired to merit of your majesty, as appeared             imitable, for so good and gracious a king as
    before your majesty was my sovereign. And                 your majesty, as David’s dealing with Uriah.
    though your majesty’s neglect of me, my good              But I assure myself, if it please your majesty
    liking of this gentleman that is my husband,              in your own wisdom to consider thoroughly of
    and my fortune, drew me to a contract before              my cause, there will no solid reason appear to
    I acquainted your majesty, I humbly beseech               debar me of justice and your princely favour,
    your majesty to consider how impossible it was            which I will endeavour to deserve whilst I
  * Harl. mss. 7003.                                          breathe.”

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                           Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                     0

   It is indorsed, “A copy of my petition to the King’s     arch; and the solemn forebodings of Lady Drummond,
Majesty.” In another, she implores that “If the neces-      who appears to have been a lady of excellent judgment,
sity of my state and fortune, together with my weak-        showed, by the fate of Arabella, how they were true!
ness, have caused me to do somewhat not pleasing to
                                                                    “lady jane drummond to lady arabella,
your majesty, let it be all covered with the shadow of
                                                                    Answering her prayer to know the cause of her
your royal benignity.” Again, in another petition, she                              confinement.
writes,                                                            “is day her majesty hath seen your lady-
      “Touching the offence for which I am now                   ship’s letter. Her majesty says, that when she
    punished, I most humbly beseech your maj-                   gave your ladyship’s petition to his majesty, he
    esty, in your most princely wisdom and judg-                did take it well enough, but gave no other an-
    ment, to consider in what a miserable state I               swer than that ye had eaten of the forbidden tree.
    had been, if I had taken any other course than              is was all her majesty commanded me to say
    I did; for my own conscience; witnessing be-                to your ladyship in this purpose; but withal
    fore God that I was then the wife of him that               did remember her kindly to your ladyship, and
    now I am, I could never have matched with                   sent you this little token in witness of the con-
    any other man, but to have lived all the days of            tinuance of her majesty’s favour to your lady-
    my life as a harlot, which your majesty would               ship. Now, where your ladyship desires me to
    have abhorred in any, especially in one who                 deal openly and freely with you, I protest I can
    hath the honour (how otherwise unfortunate                  say nothing on knowledge, for I never spoke
    soever) to have any drop of your majesty’s                  to any of that purpose but to the queen; but the
    blood in them.”                                             wisdom of this state, with the example how some of
                                                                your quality in the like case has been used, makes
  I find a letter of Lady Jane Drummond, in reply to             me fear that ye shall not find so easy end to your
this, or another petition, which Lady Drummond had              troubles as ye expect or I wish.”
given the queen to present to his majesty. It was to          In return, Lady Arabella expresses her grateful
learn the cause of Arabella’s confinement. e pithy ex-      thanks—presents her majesty with “this piece of my
pression of James the First is characteristic of the mon-   work, to accept in remembrance of the poor prison-
Isaac D’Israeli                                                                              Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                           

er that wrought them, in hopes her royal hands will            pale, and wan; and though free from fever, he declared
vouchsafe to wear them, which till I have the honour to        her in no case fit for travel. e king observed, “It is
kiss, I shall live in a great deal of sorrow. Her case,” she   enough to make any sound man sick to he carried in a
adds, “could be compared to no other she ever heard            bed in that manner she is; much more for her whose im-
of, resembling no other.” Arabella, like the queen of          patient and unquiet spirit heapeth upon herself far greater
Scots, beguiled the hours of imprisonment by works             indisposition of body than otherwise she would have.” His
of embroidery; for in sending a present of this kind to        resolution, however, was, that “she should proceed to
Sir Andrew Sinclair to be presented to the queen, she          Durham, if he were king!” “We answered,” replied the
thanks him for “vouchsafing to descend to these petty           doctor, “that we made no doubt of her obedience.”—
offices to take care even of these womanish toys, for her        “Obedience is that required,” replied the king, “which
whose serious mind must invent some relaxation.”               being performed, I will do more for her than she ex-
  e secret correspondence of Arabella and Seymour             pected.”*
was discovered, and was followed by a sad scene. It              e king, however, with his usual indulgence, appears
must have been now that the king resolved to consign           to have consented that Lady Arabella should remain
this unhappy lady to the stricter care of the Bishop of        for a month at Highgate, in confinement, till she had
Durham. Lady Arabella was so subdued at this distant           sufficiently recovered to proceed to Durham, where the
separation, that she gave way to all the wildness of de-       bishop posted, unaccompanied by his charge, to await
spair; she fell suddenly ill, and could not travel but in      her reception, and to the great relief of the friends of
a litter, and with a physician. In her way to Durham,          the lady, who hoped she was still within the reach of
she was so greatly disquieted in the first few miles of         their cares, or of the royal favour.
her uneasy and troublesome journey, that they would              A second month’s delay was granted, in consequence
proceed no further than to Highgate. e physician re-          of that letter which we have before noticed as so im-
turned to town to report her state, and declared that          pressive and so elegant, that it was commented by the
she was assuredly very weak, her pulse dull and melan-
                                                                 * ese particulars I derive from the manuscript letters among
choly, and very irregular; her countenance very heavy,         the papers of Arabella Stuart. Harl. mss. 7003.

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                                    Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                    

king, and applauded by prince Henry and the council.          red tops, and a rapier by her side.” us accoutred, the
   But the day of her departure hastened, and the Lady        Lady Arabella stole out with a gentleman about three
Arabella betrayed no symptom of her first despair. She         o’clock in the aernoon. She had only proceeded a mile
openly declared her resignation to her fate, and showed       and a half, when they stopped at a poor inn, where one
her obedient willingness, by being even over-careful in       of her confederates was waiting with horses, yet she was
little preparations to make easy so long a journey. Such      so sick and faint, that the ostler, who held her stirrup,
tender grief had won over the hearts of her keepers, who      observed, that “the gentleman could hardly hold out to
could not but sympathise with a princess, whose love,         London.” She recruited her spirits by riding; the blood
holy and wedded too, was crossed only by the tyranny          mantled in her face, and at six o’clock our sick lover
of statesmen. But Arabella had not within that tran-          reached Blackwall, where a boat and servants were
quillity with which she had lulled her keepers. She and       waiting. e watermen were at first ordered to Wool-
Seymour had concerted a flight, as bold in its plot, and       wich; there they were desired to push on to Gravesend,
as beautifully wild, as any recorded in romantic story.       then to Tilbury, where, complaining of fatigue, they
e day preceding her departure, Arabella found it not         landed to refresh; but, tempted by their freight, they
difficult to persuade a female attendant to consent that        reached Lee. At the break of morn they discovered a
she would suffer her to pay a last visit to her husband,       French vessel riding there to receive the lady; but as
and to wait for her return at an appointed hour. More         Seymour had not yet arrived, Arabella was desirous to
solicitous for the happiness of lovers than for the repose    lie at anchor for her lord, conscious that he would not
of kings, this attendant, in utter simplicity, or with gen-   fail to his appointment. If he indeed had been prevent-
erous sympathy, assisted the Lady Arabella in dressing        ed in his escape, she herself cared not to preserve the
her in one of the most elaborate disguisings. “She drew       freedom she now possessed; but her attendants, aware
a pair of large French-fashioned hose or trowsers over        of the danger of being overtaken by a king’s ship, over-
her petticoats; put on a man’s doublet or coat; a peruke,     ruled her wishes, and hoisted sail, which occasioned
such as men wore, whose long locks covered her own            so fatal a termination to this romantic adventure. Sey-
ringlets; a black hat, a black cloak, russet boots with       mour indeed had escaped from the Tower; he had le

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                               Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                   

his servant watching at his door to warn all visitors not   Arabella, and all was hurry in the seaports. ey sent to
to disturb his master, who lay ill with a raging tooth-     the Tower to warn the lieutenant to he doubly vigilant
ache, while Seymour in disguise stole away alone, fol-      over Seymour, who, to his surprise, discovered that his
lowing a cart which had just brought wood to his apart-     prisoner had ceased to be so for several hours. James at
ment. He passed the warders; he reached the wharf,          first was for issuing a proclamation in a style so angry
and found his confidential man waiting with a boat,          and vindictive, that it required the moderation of Cecil
and he arrived at Lee. e time pressed ; the waves          to preserve the dignity while he concealed the terror
were rising; Arabella was not there; but in the distance    of his majesty. By the admiral’s detail of his impetuous
he descried a vessel. Hiring a fisherman to take him on      movements, he seemed in pursuit of an enemy’s fleet;
board, to his grief, on hailing it, he discovered that it   for the courier is urged, and the postmasters are roused
was not the French vessel charged with his Arabella;        by a superscription, which warned them of the eventful
in despair and confusion he found another ship from         despatch: “Haste, haste, post haste! Haste for your life,
Newcastle, which for a good sum altered its course, and     your life!” e family of the Seymours were in a state
landed him in Flanders. In the meanwhile the escape         of distraction; and a letter from Mr. Francis Seymour
of Arabella was first known to government, and the           to his grandfather, the Earl of Hertford, residing then
hot alarm which spread may seem ludicrous to us. e         at his seat far remote from the capital, to acquaint him
political consequences attached to the union and the        of the escape of his brother and the lady, still bears
flight of these two doves from their cotes, shook with       to posterity a remarkable evidence of the trepidations
consternation the grey owls of the cabinet, more partic-    and consternation of the old earl: it arrived in the mid-
ularly the Scotch party, who, in their terror, paralleled   dle of the night, accompanied by a summons to attend
it with the gunpowder treason, and some political dan-      the privy-council. In the perusal of a letter written in
ger must have impended, at least in their imagination,      a small hand, and filling more than two folio pages,
for Prince Henry partook of this cabinet panic.             such was his agitation, that in holding the taper he
   Confusion and alarm prevailed at court; couriers were    must have burnt what he probably had not read; the
despatched swier than the winds waed the unhappy          letter is scorched, and the flame has perforated it in so

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                             Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                  

critical a part, that the poor old earl journeyed to town   onment, which lasted only four years; for her consti-
in a state of uncertainty and confusion. Nor was his        tutional delicacy, her rooted sorrows, and the violence
terror so unreasonable as it seems. Treason had been        of her feelings, sunk beneath the hopelessness of her
a political calamity with the Seymours. eir progeni-       situation, and a secret resolution in her mind to refuse
tor the Duke of Somerset the protector, had found that      the aid of her physicians, and to wear away the faster
“all his honours,” as Frankland strangely expresses it,     if she could, the feeble remains of life. But who shall
“had helped him too forwards to hop headless.” Henry,       paint the emotions of a mind which so much grief, and
Elizabeth, and James, says the same writer, considered      so much love, and distraction itself, equally possessed?
that it was needful, as indeed in all sovereignties, that      What passed in that dreadful imprisonment cannot
those who were near the crown “should be narrowly           perhaps be recovered for authentic history; but enough
looked into for marriage.”                                  is known; that her mind grew impaired, that she finally
   But we have le the lady Arabella alone and mourn-       lost her reason; and if the duration of her imprison-
ful on the seas, not praying for favourable gales to        ment was short, it was only terminated by her death.
convey her away; but still imploring her attendants to      Some loose effusions oen begun and never ended,
linger for her Seymour; still straining her sight to the    written and erased, incoherent and rational, yet remain
point of the horizon for some speck which might give        in the fragments of her papers. In a letter she proposed
a hope of the approach of the boat, freighted with all      addressing to Viscount Fenton, to implore for her his
her love. Alas! Never more was Arabella to cast a single    majesty’s favour again, she says, “Good, my lord, con-
look on her lover and her husband! She was overtaken        sider the fault cannot be uncommitted; neither can any
by a pink in the king’s service, in Calais roads; and       more be required of any earthly creature but confession
now she declared that she cared not to be brought back      and most humble submission.” In a paragraph she had
again to her imprisonment should Seymour escape,            written, but crossed out, it seems that a present of her
whose safety was dearest to her!                            work had been refused by the king, and that she had no
   e life of the unhappy, the melancholy, and the dis-     one about her whom she might trust.
tracted Arabella Stuart is now to close in an impris-

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                             Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                                                 

          “Help will come too late; and be assured           world, and which, if it weare to do again, I
    that neither Physician nor other, but whom I             would not adventure the losse of for any other
    think good, shall come about me while I live,            worldly comfort; mercy, it is I desire, and that
    till I have his majesty’s favour, without which          for God’s sake!”
    I desire not to live. And if you remember of
    old, I dare die, so I be not guilty of my own           Such is the history of the Lady Arabella, who, from
    death, and oppress others with my ruin too, if       some circumstances not sufficiently opened to us, was
    there be no other way, as God forbid, to whom        an important personage, designed by others, at least,
    I commit you; and rest as assuredly as hereto-       to play a high character in the political drama. rice
    fore, if you be the same to me,
                                                         selected as a queen; but the consciousness of royalty
                 “Your lordship’s faithful friend,       was only felt in her veins while she lived in the poverty
                                               “A. S.”   of dependence. Many gallant spirits aspired aer her
   at she had frequently meditated on suicide appears   hand, but when her heart secretly selected one beloved,
by another letter—“I could not be so unchristian as to   it was for ever deprived of domestic happiness! She is
be the cause of my own death. Consider what the world    said not to have been beautiful, and to have been beau-
would conceive if I should be violently inforced to do   tiful; and her very portrait, ambiguous as her life, is
it.”                                                     neither the one nor the other. She is said to have been
   One fragment we may save as an evidence of her ut-    a poetess, and not a single verse substantiates her claim
ter wretchedness.                                        to the laurel. She is said not to have been remarkable
                                                         for her intellectual accomplishments, yet I have found a
       “In all humility, the most wretched and un-
    fortunate creature that ever lived, prostrates       Latin letter of her composition in her manuscripts. e
    itselfe at the feet of the most merciful king        materials of her life are so scanty that it cannot he writ-
    that ever was, desiring nothing but mercy and        ten, and yet we have sufficient reason to believe that
    favour, not being more afflicted for anything          it would be as pathetic as it would be extraordinary,
    than for the losse of that which hath binne          could we narrate its involved incidents, and paint forth
    this long time the onely comfort it had in the
                                                         her delirious feelings. Acquainted rather with her con-

Isaac D’Israeli                                                                           Curiosities of Literature
The Loves of “The Lady Arabella”                                                   

duct than with her character, for us the Lady Arabella
has no palpable historical existence; and we perceive
rather her shadow than herself! A writer of romance
might render her one of those interesting personages
whose griefs have been deepened by their royalty, and
whose adventures, touched with the warm hues of love
and distraction, closed at the bars of her prison-grate: a
sad example of a female victim to the state!
  “rough one dim lattice, fring’d with ivy round,
      Successive suns a languid radiance threw,
   To paint how fierce her angry guardian frown’d,
      To mark how fast her waning beauty flew!”

  Seymour, who was aerwards permitted to return,
distinguished himself by his loyalty through three suc-
cessive reigns, and retained his romantic passion for
the lady of his first affections; for he called the daugh-
ter he had by his second lady by the ever-beloved name
of Arabella Stuart.

Isaac D’Israeli                                              Curiosities of Literature

Shared By: