Quotes associated with ELizabeth I, apocryphal and true.

This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.

— Psalm 118 verse 23, reported to have been said by Elizabeth I when she found out that she was Queen.

A clear and innocent conscience fears nothing.

— Elizabeth I

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and of a King of England too.

— Elizabeth I

A fool too late bewares when all the peril is past.

— Elizabeth I

A strength to harm is perilous in the hand of an ambitious head.

— Elizabeth I

All my possessions for a moment of time.

— Elizabeth I

Brass shines as fair to the ignorant as gold to the goldsmiths.

— Elizabeth I

Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested.

— Elizabeth I

Fear not, we are of the nature of the lion, and cannot descend to the destruction of mice and such small beasts.

— Elizabeth I

God forgive you, but I never can.

— Elizabeth I, to the dying Countess of Nottingham (a quote of legend)

God has given such brave soldiers to this Crown that, if they do not frighten our neighbours, at least they prevent us from being frightened by them.

— Elizabeth I

He who placed me in this seat will keep me here.

— Elizabeth I

I do not choose that my grave should be dug while I am still alive.

— Elizabeth I

I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people.

— Elizabeth I

I do not want a husband who honours me as a queen, if he does not love me as a woman.

— Elizabeth I

I find that I sent wolves not shepherds to govern Ireland, for they have left me nothing but ashes and carcasses to reign over!

— Elizabeth I

I have the heart of a man, not a woman, and I am not afraid of anything.

— Elizabeth I

I pray to God that I shall not live one hour after I have thought of using deception.

— Elizabeth I

I shall lend credit to nothing against my people which parents would not believe against their own children.

— Elizabeth I

I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married.

— Elizabeth I

I would rather go to any extreme than suffer anything that is unworthy of my reputation, or of that of my crown.

— Elizabeth I

If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.

— Elizabeth I

If we still advise we shall never do.

— Elizabeth I

It is a natural virtue incident to our sex to be pitiful of those that are afflicted.

— Elizabeth I

Monarchs ought to put to death the authors and instigators of war, as their sworn enemies and as dangers to their states.

— Elizabeth I

Must! Is must a word to be addressed to princes? Little man, little man! Thy father, if he had been alive, durst not have used that word.

— Elizabeth I

My mortal foe can no ways wish me a greater harm than England’s hate; neither should death be less welcome unto me than such a mishap betide me.

— Elizabeth I

One man with a head on his shoulders is worth a dozen without.

— Elizabeth I

The end crowneth the work.

— Elizabeth I

The past cannot be cured.

— Elizabeth I

The stone often recoils on the head of the thrower.

— Elizabeth I

The word must is not to be used to princes.

— Elizabeth I

There is nothing about which I am more anxious than my country, and for its sake I am willing to die ten deaths, if that be possible.

— Elizabeth I

There is one thing higher than Royalty: and that is religion, which causes us to leave the world, and seek God.

— Elizabeth I

Those who appear the most sanctified are the worst.

— Elizabeth I

Though I am not imperial, and though Elizabeth may not deserve it, the Queen of England will easily deserve to have an emperor’s son to marry.

— Elizabeth I

Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind.

— Elizabeth I

To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it.

— Elizabeth I

Where might is mixed with wit, there is too good an accord in a government.

— Elizabeth I

Where minds differ and opinions swerve there is scant a friend in that company.

— Elizabeth I

Ye may have a greater prince, but ye shall never have a more loving prince.

— Elizabeth I

There is no contentment for a young mind in an old body

— Elizabeth I

11 thoughts on “Quotes

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your Anne Boleyn Files site so I’m glad to see you’ve started a Elizabeth Files site too! She’s always been one of my big heroes in history.

    I do have a question about one of the quotes on this page: God forgive you, but I never can. — Elizabeth I, to the dying Countess of Nottingham.

    Who was the Countess & what the heck did she do??? I don’t recognize the reference.


    Kelly B.

  2. Thanks, Kelly!

    This is actually a quote of legend. Legend has it that Elizabeth I gave her favourite, Essex, a ring, and said that if was ever in trouble that he should send the ring to her as a sign and that she would then help him, It is said that when Essex was in the Tower, he put his hand through a window and instructed a boy to give the ring to Lady Scrope with a message to give to the Queen. By mistake, the ring went to the the Countess of Nottingham (Katherine Carey, daughter of Mary Boleyn) who was married to Essex’s rival and so never made it to the Queen.

    Legend has it that the Queen visited the Countess on her deathbed and said this quote. However, this is not likely to be true when we consider the closeness between Katherine Carey, the Countess of Nottingham, and the Queen, the fact that Elizabeth gave her a lavish state funeral and also the fact that Elizabeth’s own health deteriorated rapidly after the death of her beloved friend.

  3. Claire,
    I had always thought the quote “All my possessions for a moment of time” to be apocryphal, Upon checking further I was rather suprised with what I found.
    Some give all your quotes as attributed to Elizabeth, others not only say the “All my possessions…..” quote is apocryphal (as Elizabeth was said to have lost the power of speech on her deathbed), but also say two others are actually false.
    That Essex never sent a ring to Elizabeth (as this is legend that’s understandable) and that the “This is the Lord’s doing……” is also apocryphal and has no factual evidence.
    I had always accepted this quote as true. I realise that some debate will ensue given history, but what is fact or otherwise must be agreed by all surely?
    This is not having a go (honestly) Claire, but I am curious as to what is correct here (I would be happy to trust you as a source) and why historians cannot agree about certain events.

  4. Hi Neil,
    This page was supposed to be a page of quotes associated with Elizabeth I, including legendary/apocryphal ones, sorry I should make that clear. Regarding fact there are things you read in one history text book which the author cites as fact and then you read somewhere else that it is a legend or no proof that it happened, very frustrating! It would be nice if historians would agree but I don’t think they ever will. Even when they use the same sources they interpret them differently!

  5. As far as the “This is the Lord’s doing…” quote, Elizabeth I is “said” to have spoken that verse of scripture but we do not really know what she said. I hope she did because it is a beautiful verse of scripture and is very fitting for the occasion.

  6. Thanks Claire.
    I suppose historians are no different to anybody else, they can be influenced by their own beliefs and experience and one historian’s beliefs can be very different to another.
    With regard to the “This is the Lord’s doing…….”, I too would like to think this is true and is probably the reason I had always thought it to be so (which rather proves the point of different people believing different events because of their own personality).

  7. “I would not have you think that this mine honest goodwill towards you to proceed of any sudden motion of passion; for, as truly as God is God, my mind was fully bent, the other time I was at liberty, to marry you before any man I know.”

    I read this on here – what is the reference?

    Thanks for the great website, I love it.

  8. Monica, sorry for the late answer. This was attributed to Katherine Parr, to Thomas Seymour after Henry died. If Henry hadn’t fixated on KP, she would have married Seymour, but she bowed to the king’s wishes.

  9. I vaguely recall something from a high school textbook six decades ago that quoted Elizabeth the first as saying something similar to: “I will prosecute a man for his deeds but never for his thoughts.” Can anyone provide such a reference? Thanks

  10. There are a few quotes missing from here:

    “Much suspected by me
    Nothing proved can be
    Quoth Elizabeth, prisoner.”
    Carved into a windowpane at Woodstock Manor and published in Foxe’s Acts and Monuments

    “Kings were wont to honour philosophers, but if I had such I would honour them as angels that should have such piety in them that they would not seek where they are the second to be the first, and where the third to be the second and so forth.” – To parliament 1566

    “Though I be a woman yet I have as good a courage answerable to my place as ever my father had. I am your anointed Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.” – To parliament 1566

    “The use of the sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession thereof.” – To the Spanish ambassador

    “Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.” – To Sir Edward Dyer, as quoted in Apophthegms (1625) by Francis Bacon.

    “Let them have their masses if they wish, I will not make windows into men’s souls. There is but one Christ, Jesus. One faith. The rest is a dispute over trifles. – To the privy council.

    “If I follow the inclination of my nature, it is this: beggar-woman and single, far rather than queen and married.”

    “I am married, my lords, to the kingdom of England. It would please me best if, at my last, a marble stone should read that this queen, having reigned for such a time, lived and died a virgin.” – To parliament

    “There will be but one mistress here and no master. No man shall rule over me”.

    “I may not be a lion but I am a lions cub and I have a lion’s heart” – To parliament

    “Life is for living and working at. If you find anything or anybody a bore, the fault is in yourself.”

    “As for my own part I care not for death, for all men are mortal; and though I be a woman yet I have as good a courage answerable to my place as ever my father had. I am your anointed Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am indeed endowed with such qualities that if I were turned out of the realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.”

    “From my years of understanding … I happily chose this kind of life in which I yet lve, which I assure you for my own part hath hitherto best contented myself and I trust hath been most acceptable to God. From the which if either ambition of high estate offered to me in marriage by the pleasure and appointment of my prince … or if the eschewing of the danger of my enemies or the avoiding of the peril of death … could have drawn or dissuaded me from this kind of life, I had not now remained in this estate wherein you see me. But so constant have I always continued in this determination … yet is it most true that at this day I stand free from any other meaning that either I have had in times past or have at this present.”

    “It is hard to find beauty in the art of self expression.”

    “There is no marvel in a woman learning to speak, but there would be in teaching her to hold her tongue”

    “While we perceive … the zeal and love of your mind towards us is not diminished, yet in part we are grieved that we cannot gratify your Serene Highness with the same kind of affection. And that indeed does not happen because we doubt in any way of your love and honour, but, as often we have testified both in words and writing, that we have never yet conceived a feeling of that kind of affection towards anyone.

    We therefore beg your Serene Highness again and again that you be pleased to set a limit to your love, that it advance not beyond the laws of friendship for the present nor disregard them in the future. …

    We certainly think that if God ever direct our hearts to consideration of marriage we shall never accept or choose any absent husband how powerful and wealthy a Prince soever. But that we are not to give you an answer until we have seen your person is so far from the thing itself that we never even considered such a thing. I have always given both to your brother … and also to your ambassador likewise the same answer with scarcely any variation of the words, that we do not conceive in our heart to take a husband but highly commend this single life, and hope that your Serene Highness will no longer spend time in waiting for us.” – Response to Erik XIV of Sweden

    “I give you this charge, that you shall be of my Privy Council and content yourself to take pains for me and my realm. This judgement I have of you, that you will not be corrupted with any manner of gift and that you will be faithful to the State, and that without respect of my private will, you will give me that counsel that you think best: and, if you shall know anything necessary to be declared to me of secrecy, you shall show it to myself only and assure yourself I will not fail to keep taciturnity therein. And therefore herewith I charge you.” – To William Cecil on his apointment as Secretary of State

    “Men fight wars. Women win them.”

    “I see, and say nothing.”

    “I would not have my sheep branded with any other mark than my own, or follow the whistle of a strange shepherd.”

    “Proud Prelate, you know what you were before I made you what you are. If you do not immediately comply with my request I will unfrock you by God”!”

    “A Domino factum est istud: et est mirabile in oculis nostris.”

  11. (Elizabeth I ) #HALF sister was called (Mary I) but Evey one who know her and hated her (protastant) called her by the name of (EVIL BLOODY MARY) or just (BLOODY MARY.).

    Learnt from history class in the past (6 months.)
    Good job right if you knew this please give me more info about what happens after this

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