Archibald Armstrong


James I. was complaining of the leanness of his hunting horse, and swore by his soul, he could see no reason why the animal should not be as fat as the horses of his subjects, seeing that he bestowed upon him good feeding and keeping, and rode him very easily. Archy Armstrong, his fool, who was standing by, said he would tell his majesty how to raise the animal's flesh, and that very speedily. “I pray thee, fool, how?” inquired the king. “Make him a bishop,” answered Archy, who seems to have had an antipathy to that class of dignitaries, “and if he is not soon as fat as he can wallow, ride me!

Being desired to say a grace at the royal table, where Archbishop Laud was present, he gave one in these emphatic and ambiguous words: “All praise to God, and little Laud to the deil.” (Laud, it must be understood, was a man of very small stature; the Puritans gave him the punning epithet of his Little Grace .)