By Linda Shenk (auth.)
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Extra resources for Learned Queen: The Image of Elizabeth I in Politics and Poetry
This sense of Elizabeth as a queen praying with her subjects is strengthened later in the section of vernacular devotions when one of her own prayers appears without any royal fanfare. The prayers in this part of the text are for lay worshippers to say at various moments in the day, such as upon rising and upon going to bed, or on occasions such as offering thanksgiving, dealing with sickness, expressing love for neighbors, or seeking protection for the nation. In the section of prayers to be said during times of illness, one of Elizabeth’s own pieces appears—one that was originally published in her Latin prayer book, Precationes priuatae.
These private devotions are part of a long-standing and ecumenical tradition of prayer that existed long before the Reformation. In this way, they are not original to Day’s prayer book or the other text published the same year that also contains many of these prayers (Henry Bull’s Christian prayers and holy meditations18). Rather, as Helen C. 19 These texts, in turn, were drawing upon the even older traditions of the religious primer (which, in turn, was the printed version of the Books of Hours) as well as the prayer miscellany.
In terms of her image, Elizabeth emerges not simply as a multilingual monarch but rather as a multilingual monarch who participates directly in the diplomatic discourse her nation conducts (or opts not to conduct) with other nations. She chastises enemies, invites potential allies, and leads willing supporters. In the Italian and Spanish prayers, Elizabeth presents an aggressively Protestant agenda full of religious imperialism. Grounding her pious authority in the Gospel, she pledges to eradicate evil and to counter Satan’s plots.