|Likely the most realistic of her everyday appearance|
... Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. ...
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 joys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by changèd 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.
Her methods of persuasion were known far and wide. With a glance, a show of her knee, a display of her powdered cleavage, men take arms for her, do anything for her. Her weapons are her body parts. Literally, when he says, "lay those arms aside," he does means her bodily arms, for they are also symbolic of weaponry. This poem's message is also supported by French King Henri IV's ambassador in his journal entry. He wrote:
I charge you, lady young and fair,Straightaway to lay your arms aside.Lay by your armor, would you dareTo spread the slaughter far and wide?O lady, lay your armour by,Conceal your curling hair also,For never was a man could flyThe coils that o’er your bosom flow.And if you answer, lady fair,That north or south you ne’er took life,Your very eyes, your glance, you airCan murder without axe or knife.And oh! If you but bare your knee,If you your soft hand’s palm advance,You’ll slaughter many a company.What more is done with shield and lance?Oh, hide your bosom limey white,Your naked side conceal from me.Ah, show them not in all men’s sight,Your breasts more bright than flowering tree.And if in you there’s shame or fearFor all the murders you have done,Let those bright eyes no more appear,Those shining teeth be seen of none.Lady, we tremble far and near!Be with these conquests satisfied,And lest I perish, lady dear,Oh, lay those arms of yours aside.
She was strangely attired in a dress of silver cloth, white and crimson... She kept the front of her dress open, and one could see the whole of her bosom, and passing low, and often she would open the front of this robe with her hands as if she was too hot.... Her bosom is somewhat wrinkled... but lower down her flesh is exceeding white and delicate, so far as one could see. As for her face, it is and appears to be very aged. It is long and thin, and her teeth are very yellow and unequal... Many of them are missing so that one cannot understand her easily when she speaks quickly.
[The Queen was] clad in a dress of black taffeta, bound with gold lace... She had a petticoat of white damask, girdled and open in front, as was also her chemise, in such a manner that she often opened this dress and one could see all her belly, and even to her navel... When she raises her head, she has a trick of putting both hands on her gown and opening it insomuch that all her belly can be seen.Here, Elizabeth portrays a motherly image, as previously mentioned, giving off the image of the Virgin Mary, laying both hands on her exposed stomach as if pregnant. In this respect, she offers herself as pregnant with the whole of England. She is its mother. Its people are her children. The slight opening of her white girdle is for a little sex appeal, surely, as well as the image of a wetnurse in coordination with the motherly image. This is a carefully constructed image, not a hastily sloppy dressing by her servants. A queen would have no such deeds.
In relation, while presenting herself in the image of a warrior queen and a sex object, Elizabeth sought to make herself her eternally marries to the state. She refused to give up her power to anyone, let alone any man from a foreign land. Men, for some reason, had not just an obsession with her marrying (for political reasons) but even for her having children. There was an obsession with her womb. She needed a legacy to inherit the throne from her. But this child, too, would take her throne once he was of age, if she were unmarried, which would be incredibly young, further endangering the fickle atmosphere of England. She speaks wittily of her subjects thinking her womb belonging to the state, whereas she believes her womb to be hers and hers alone. Here she gives a speech unto her advisers, who repeatedly advised her to marry and bear children.
...the two proceedings that you presented me, in many words expressed, contained these two things: my sortie in marriage, and of your cares the greatest, my succession, of which two the last I think is best be touched, and of the other a silent thought may serve, for I had thought it had been so desired as none other tree's blossoms should have been minded or hope of my fruit had been denied you.
King Henri's ambassador's journal entries were taken from the captivating essay on Elizabeth called "'Shaping Fantasies': Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture" by Louis Adrian Montrose, as found in Representations, No. 2 (Spring, 1983), pp. 61-94.