Gateway to the Classics: The World's Story: England by Eva March Tappan
The World's Story: England by  Eva March Tappan

The Last Moments of Queen Elizabeth

by Paul Delaroche

(French artist,  1797-1856)

QUEEN ELIZABETH signed the death warrant of her favorite, the Earl of Essex, with the greatest reluctance; and after his execution she sank into a profound melancholy. Her strength failed rapidly, and all knew that her death could not be far away. She refused to be carried to her bed, and for ten days the great queen lay on the floor groaning and sighing. She would not take the medicine which her physicians prescribed, she would not cat, and she rarely spoke. The Council were in session, and at length they sent the Keeper, Admiral, and Secretary to learn her will in regard to her successor. "I would have a king to succeed me," she said faintly; and this was, of course, interpreted to indicate the King of Scots. "Fix your thoughts upon God," said the Archbishop of Canterbury gently. "I do," she replied, "nor do they wander from Him in the least." She soon closed her eyes in a deep slumber, and from this she did not awake.

In the picture the queen is seen lying on the floor. The royal ermine is about her, and she is adorned with jewels, but her face is pinched and haggard with age and with suffering. The three men sent by the Council have just entered the apartment, and one of them, kneeling beside her, is asking whom she will have to succeed her.

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