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7. Dreaming the Queen On March 20, 1601 John Garnons, who had previously been a justice of the peace, wrote to Sir Robert Cecil in concern over some dreams that John Notte, "a gentleman well affected in religion," reported that his wife Joan had shared with him.1 Notte assured Garnons he was "importunately moved by my wife" to deliver these notes to Garnons. Joan Notte was Garnons's godchild, which may be why they decided to use him as their intermediary. The Nottes had recorded not only Joan's dreams but also conversations, mostly about Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, she had overheard over the last few years that seemed to them at this time to possibly be treasonous. The dreams, which Joan Notte had on two successive Saturdays in early 1601, were "warnings against assassination to be addressed to the Queen and to Sir Robert Cecil."2 Ofcourse the early spring of 1601 was such a chaotic, dangerous time that one can imagine anyone having nightmares: only the month before Essex had marched armed with his followers through the streets of London, a rebel against his queen.3 We know today that worries during the day are often reflected in dreams at night, a phenomenon of which some Elizabethans were aware as well. In Terrors ofthe Night Thomas Nash claimed, "A Dreame is nothing else but the Echo ofour conceipts in the day.... In the day time wee torment our thoughts and imaginations with sundry cares and devices; all the night time they quake and tremble after the terror of their late suffering, and still continue thinking of the perplexities they have endured."4 Joan Notte's dreams, like her memories she described at the same time, are filled with fear over the role the Earl of Essex was determined to play and what danger this posed for Elizabeth. * * * In 1601 the Essex rebellion shattered a dream about Elizabeth as sacred and glorious monarch as well as questioning her success at dealing 150 Chapter 7 with the issues ofgender and power. Joan Notte's dreams, as well as some others to be discussed, lead us to a discussion of ways people felt about the queen at the end ofher reign, how she responded, and how her image was used after her death. The concerns ofthe reign-the queen's sexuality, her ability to rule, the problems of the succession-are reflected in the dreams at the end ofthe reign, and in some ofthe pamphlets written both before and after her death. That Notte's dreams, among the few recorded dreams about Elizabeth, also include Essex, demonstrates his significance in reshaping attitudes toward Elizabeth, and the confluence between waking fears of danger and unconscious concerns and desires. We can see Essex as a touchstone for the problems and fears over Elizabeth's reign as it was nearing its close. Though Essex is not a character in all the recorded dreams we have, his concerns, the pressures he placed on Elizabeth to be the queen he desired her to be, and his actual presence in some of the dreams demonstrate the tensions and conflicts of Elizabeth's reign from the mid-158os when he first appeared at court. A discussion of Essex will bring us back to the dreams in which he eventually appears. Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, had first come to the court as a young man in 1584, protege of his stepfather, Elizabeth's favorite, Robert, Earl of Leicester and son of her hated rival, Lettice Knollys Devereux . Both Essex and Sir Philip Sidney fought in the Low Countries; when Sidney was dying from his wounds after the battle of Zutphen in the fall of 1586, he left his sword to Essex. As McCoy points out, "Essex took on this chivalric legacy with reckless ardor." 5 For much of the populace as well, Essex took Sidney's place as the representative of honor and chivalry. In 1590 at the age of twenty-three Essex even secretly married Sidney's widow, Frances Walsingham. Elizabeth forgave Essex this marriage . That year she had already helped the financial burden that came in part, but only in part, from his reckless extravagance. Elizabeth gave him the "Farm of Sweet Wine" for a ten-year period. Essex had the right to levy all duties on sweet wines from the Mediterranean, which provided him with a considerable income. On Michaelmas Day 1600 this monopoly would revert back to the Crown. In...


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