Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth presided over the greatest period of English Literature.  She inspired authors like Spenser and Ralegh.  When Shakespeare killed of Sir John Falstaff, the Queen "requested" his return.    Shakespeare obliged with "The Merry Wives of Windsor."  She also wrote some herself.

"The Doubt of Future Foes"

This poem reflects her anxiety over the situation with Mary Stuart, her cousin, better known as Mary, Queen of Scots.  Mary was a Catholic who had been expelled from Scotland by her Protestant subjects.  She was involved with Catholic plots to overthrow Elizabeth, and Elizabeth under pressure from her supporters reluctantly agreed to have her executed.

14 England will not allow a foreigner to come in and take over the throne.

16 Heads will roll!

"On Monsieur's Departure"

Elizabeth is breaking up with somebody, either the French Duke of Anjou or the English Earl of Essex.  Elizabeth's position as a woman on the throne was precarious - England had had only male rulers.  By staying single, she could preserve power for herself instead of handing it over to her husband, but she could not provide an heir to the throne.  She ruled by keeping people guessing about whom she would marry then not ever marrying any of them.

1-4 She must conceal her true feelings - common enough for anybody, but especially for a queen.

5 "I freeze but am burned" - This oxymoron is a typical Elizabethean conceit.

an oxymoron joins two terms that seem to contradict each other and don't seem to belong together.  "Jumbo shrimp" & "burning cold" are examples.  The oxymoron was popular during this time, especially in sonnets.

7-12  She is unable to quit loving him.

13-18  She wants to either die or get over him.