Author: Queen Elizabeth I
Year: 1588
Location: England
Occasion: Address to English soldiers before the battle with the Spanish Armada

Critical Commentary:

Elizabeth I of England delivered this short but rather ardent speech in the field, where the soldiers of her army were preparing for the battle with the Spanish Armada. This was a decisive fight which would identify the ruler of the world and provide endless power and domination. The queen spoke sincerely, but already her presence was determinative for the soldiers. It stirred enthusiasm in soldiers and they defeated the fleet of the King of Philip II of Spain. The battle lasted for 9 days. The Spanish Armada was defeated. England obtained the control over the trade and thus almost world domination.

Text of the Speech

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

Source: http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/elizabeth.htm