law. The inns of court were crowded with students, not a few of whom forsook the courts for the drama. The age of chivalry was over, that of commerce begun. No one gained much glory by a military career in the days of Elizabeth. The church, the law, banking, commerce, even politics and literature, offered better roads to wealth or fame.
The importance of the court in Elizabethan London is not easy to realize to-day. It dominated the life of the small city. Its nobles and their retainers, its courtiers and hangers-on, made up a considerable portion of the population; its shows supplied the entertainment, its gossip the politics of the hour. It was the seat of pageantry, the mirror of manners, the patron or the oppressor of every one. No one could be so humble as to escape coming somehow within its sway, and some of the greatest wrecked their lives in efforts to secure its approval. It is no wonder that the plays of Shakespeare deal so largely with kings, queens, and their courts. Under the Tudors, and
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