**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Loves Of "The Lady Arabella"
by [?]

The Loves of “the Lady Arabella”[322]

Where London’s towre its turrets show
So stately by the Thames’s side,
Faire Arabella, child of woe!
For many a day had sat and sighed.

And as shee heard the waves arise,
And as shee heard the bleake windes roare,
As fast did heave her heartfelte sighes,
And still so fast her teares did poure!

Arabella Stuart, in Evans’s Old Ballads.
(Probably written by Mickle.)

The name of Arabella Stuart, Mr. Lodge observes, “is scarcely mentioned in history.” The whole life of this lady seems to consist of secret history, which, probably, we cannot now recover. The writers who have ventured to weave together her loose and scattered story are ambiguous and contradictory. How such slight domestic incidents as her life consisted of could produce results so greatly disproportioned to their apparent cause may always excite our curiosity. Her name scarcely ever occurs without raising that sort of interest which accompanies mysterious events, and more particularly when we discover that this lady is so frequently alluded to by her foreign contemporaries.

The historians of the Lady Arabella have fallen into the grossest errors. Her chief historian has committed a violent injury on her very person, which, in the history of a female, is not the least important. In hastily consulting two passages relative to her, he applied to the Lady Arabella the defective understanding and headstrong dispositions of her aunt, the Countess of Shrewsbury; and by another misconception of a term, as I think, asserts that the Lady Arabella was distinguished neither for beauty nor intellectual qualities.[323] This authoritative decision perplexed the modern editor, Kippis, whose researches were always limited; Kippis had gleaned from Oldys’s precious manuscripts a single note which shook to its foundations the whole structure before him; and he had also found, in Ballard, to his utter confusion, some hints that the Lady Arabella was a learned woman, and of a poetical genius, though even the writer himself, who had recorded this discovery, was at a loss to ascertain the fact! It is amusing to observe honest George Ballard in the same dilemma as honest Andrew Kippis. “This lady,” he says, “was not more distinguished for the dignity of her birth than celebrated for her fine parts and learning; and yet,” he adds, in all the simplicity of his ingenuousness, “I know so little in relation to the two last accomplishments, that I should not have given her a place in these memoirs had not Mr. Evelyn put her in his list of learned women, and Mr. Philips (Milton’s nephew) introduced her among his modern poetesses.”

“The Lady Arabella,” for by that name she is usually noticed by her contemporaries, rather than by her maiden name of Stuart, or by her married one of Seymour, as she latterly subscribed herself, was, by her affinity with James the First and our Elizabeth, placed near the throne; too near, it seems, for her happiness and quiet![324] In their common descent from Margaret, the elder daughter of Henry the Seventh, she was cousin to the Scottish monarch, but born an Englishwoman, which gave her some advantage in a claim to the throne of England. “Her double relation to royalty,” says Mr. Lodge, “was equally obnoxious to the jealousy of Elizabeth and the timidity of James, and they secretly dreaded the supposed danger of her having a legitimate offspring.” Yet James himself, then unmarried, proposed for the husband of the Lady Arabella one of her cousins, Lord Esme Stuart, whom he had created Duke of Lennox, and designed for his heir. The first thing we hear of “the Lady Arabella” concerns a marriage: marriages are the incidents of her life, and the fatal event which terminated it was a marriage. Such was the secret spring on which her character and her misfortunes revolved.