The Doubt of Future Foes.
by Elizabeth I, Queen of England
The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy;
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects` faith doth ebb,
Which should not be if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of joy untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by changed course of winds.
The top of hope supposed, the root of rue shall be,
And fruitless all their grafted guile, as shortly ye shall see.
The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The daughter of debate that discord aye doth sow
Shall reap no gain where former rule still peace hath taught to know.
No foreign banished wight shall anchor in this port;
Our realm brooks not seditious sects, let them elsewhere resort.
My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ
To poll their tops that seek such change or gape for future joy.
Queen Elizabeth was very possibly the most highly educated, cultured and intelligent monarch ever to sit upon the throne of England, yet just as the child is father to the man, the Machiavellian political intrigues which had insidiously soaked into the fabric of the Tudor court from the moment the deeply paranoid and suspicious Henry Tudor claimed the throne from Richard III on Bosworth Field in 1485, left it`s mark on the young Elizabeth as her fortunes ebbed and waned according to who was in favour at court, executed, or indeed, who was monarch. By the time she ascended to the throne in 1558, she had seen off by luck and astute manoeuvering by knowing what to say, when to say it, and to whom, enough political enemies of various strengths to have scarred her mentally for life. Any actions, for good or bad, in her reign, have to be seen against the perilously dangerous environment in which she lived. Who could she ultimately trust to fight her corner except herself? Virtually all of her relatives, whether near or far in the bloodline, had been the victims of her father`s psychotic campaign of judicial murder; and so by the time she became queen, it was by dint of being just about the last acceptable option standing. The Doubt of Future Foes very cleverly shows her concerns of being herself alone surrounded by enemies, liars, dissemblers, and the ambitious who may do her harm if given the opportunity. Every step needs must be careful, precise and calculated in order to protect herself. She has watched and learned what is required to be not just a ruler, but how to be a successful one and stay there, by giving out a smile here, or a favour there; nothing which costs her in the long run, but which could cost the recipient the social and political advantage of her patronage if they displease by not meeting her expectations. And if they should quibble or rock her kingdom`s boat, well then……“My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ to poll their tops that seek such change or gape for future joy.” She may gently nurture, push and cojole her high and mighty subjects to do her bidding, because she is still a woman surrounded by hugely ambitious testosterone fuelled alpha males jostling each other like bull elephants in the rutting season, but ultimately there is the rusty sword to remove ambitious heads. Only she can decide where the line is drawn and no further: she is herself alone.