Tuesday, October 13, 2015

GLORIANA! The ABC's of the Reign of Our Most Gracious Sovereign Elizabeth F is for Fart

The ability to relate to her subjects no matter what tier of society from which they hailed was the reason they returned the love Elizabeth I had for them. 
As a little girl she traveled in a litter:
16th Century Nobleman's Horse Drawn Litter, 1886 Giclee Print by ...
A litter, Tudor style.

from residence to residence, all over the English countryside.
She recognized that where ever she went, the citizens lined up to wave to her, to shout good wishes to her, and very often, to run up to the side of her litter to give her sweets or baked treats they'd made.
The love they had for her was mutual.
She loved them right back.

Elizabeth's love for her people showed itself through the seriousness with which she regarded her God-given role as their queen, through her refusal to marry in order to serve them the best way she knew, and through her willingness to throw a little common joke in here and there.

In Tudor England, there were certain things people at court did (flatter wildly with words, write poetry, do good works and charitable acts, dance, sing and play music) and certain things people at court most certainly did NOT do (imagine the death of their monarch, steal, use poor manners at table, and 'the breaking of wind was very frowned upon.') 
In other words, one did not fart.
 Fart Sound Free 1.1.1 | APKDAD
Especially around one's betters.
Just . . . no.

On a memorable ocassion, Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford
An Amusing Tale Regarding The 17th Earl of Oxford
“This Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell [for] 7 yeares. On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart.” - From John Aubrey’s Brief Lives (1693).
"LOL! The smeller's the feller!"

was at court, and, as lords and ladies did, he bent low to make his bow to his queen.
And . . . he farted.

Not the kind of fart where you can pretend it was your leg on the leather chair, or your shoe squeaking.
It was a depth-charger kind of fart.
The kind of fart everyone heard.
He bolted from court, mortified.

The man freaking LEFT THE COUNTRY for SEVEN YEARS.

That's how appalled he was at his butt blast in front of the queen.

Finally, finally, seven years after the fact of the fart, the Earl returned to court.
What did Elizabeth do?
She greeted him cheerily with this: 
"My lord, I had forgot the fart!"

While the Earl may have wished the floor had opened up and swallowed him, Elizabeth's greeting proved several things:
  •  she valued protocol
  •  she put the Earl on the spot for his transgression, but in a funny (kinda mean) way
  •  she never forgot anything; this was seven years later! 
 Her ability to be a little coarse sometimes surprised and irritated ambassadors and other visitors of note; they sniffed their disapproval in their dispatches back to their homeland(s.)
Yet it was exactly that ability to mix it up and be a little vulgar every now and then that gave the very haughty queen common ground to share with her people.
Her rough edge on the odd occasion made her human, made her funny, made her likable - and it made her people love her right back.
She was a queen who wasn't too grand to call someone on their very public fart.