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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Elizabeth as Magnanimous Lion
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0576  Monday, 24 March 2003

From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Mar 2003 07:59:56 -0600
Subject:        Elizabeth as Magnanimous Lion

Does anyone know of a pre-1589 documentary source for this anecdote
about Elizabeth I (from Puttenham's Art, which I am annotating), or for
the figure of speech in general?

. . . Nor to seek revenge upon base and obscure persons, over whom the
conquest is not glorious, nor the victory honorable, which respect
moved our sovereign Lady (keeping always the decorum of a princely
person) at her first coming to the crown, when a knight of this realm,
who had very insolently behaved himself toward her when she was Lady
Elizabeth, fell upon his knee to her and besought her pardon,
suspecting (as there was good cause) that he should have been sent to
the Tower. She said unto him most mildly, "Do you not know that we are
descended of the lion, whose nature is not to harm or prey upon the
mouse, or any other such small vermin?"

Many thanks.

Frank Whigham

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