Speach to Parliament, March 1603
OF THE first Parliament.1 It did no sooner please God to lighten his hand, and relent the violence of his devouring Angel against the poore people of this Citie,2 but as soone did I resolve to call this Parliament, and that for three chiefe and principall reasons: The first whereof is, (and which of it selfe, although there were no more, is not onely a sufficient, but a most full and necessary ground and reason for convening of this Assembly) This first reason I say is, That you who are here presently assembled to represent the Body of this whole Kingdome, and of all sorts of people within the same, may with your owne eares heare, and that I out of mine owne mouth may deliver unto you the assurance of my due thankefulnes for your so joyfull and generall applause to the declaring and receiving of mee in this Seate (which GOD by my Birthright and lineall descent had in the fulnesse of time provided for me) and that, immediately after it pleased God to call your late Soveraigne of famous memory, full of dayes, but fuller of immortall trophes* of Honour, out of this transitorie life. Not that I am able to expresse by wordes, or utter by eloquence the vive* Image of mine inward thankfulnes, but onely that out of mine owne mouth you may rest assured to expect that measure of thankefulnes at my hands, which is according to the infinitenes of your deserts, and to my inclination and abilitie for requitall of the same. Shall I ever? nay, can I ever be able, or rather so unable in
memorie, as to forget your unexpected readinesse and alacritie, your ever memorable resolution, and your most wonderfull conjunction and harmonie of your hearts in declaring and embracing mee as your undoubted and lawfull King and Governour? Or shall it ever bee blotted out of my minde, how at my first entrie into this Kingdome, the people of all sorts rid and ran, nay rather flew to meet mee? their eyes flaming nothing but sparkles of affection, their mouthes and tongues uttering nothing but sounds of joy, their hands, feete, and all the rest of their members in their gestures discovering a passionate longing, and earnestnesse to meete and embrace their new Soveraigne. Quid ergo retribuamP Shall I allow in my selfe, that which I could never beare with in another? No I must plainely and freely confesse here in all your audiences, that I did ever naturally so farre mislike a tongue to smoothe, and diligent in paying their creditors with lip payments and verball thankes, as I ever suspected that sort of people meant not to pay their debtors in more substantiall sort of coyne. And therefore for expressing of my thankefulnesse, I must resort unto the other two reasons of my convening of this Parliament, by them in action to utter my thankefulnesse: Both the said reasons having but one ground, which is the deedes, whereby all the dayes of my life, I am by Gods grace to expresse my said thankfulnesse towards you, but divided in this, That in the first of these two, mine actions of thankes, are so inseparably conjoyned with my Person, as they are in a maner become individually annexed to the same: In the other reason, mine actions are such, as I may either doe them, or leave them undone, although my Gods grace I hope never to be weary of the doing of them.