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Court Jester in Queen Elizabeth's Reign



Although a scholar of King's College, Cambridge, in 1539, and being a Master of the Arts, he was soon attached as the Jester in the household of the Duke of Norfolk before Henry VIII's death, and that, in Elizabeth's reign, he was transferred to the court.

 

That a man of education like Pace should have voluntarily assumed "the fool's coat" often excited hostile comment.

To such criticism Pace's friend, John Heywood, the epigrammatist, once answered that

 

" IT WAS BETTER FOR THE COMMON WEAL FOR WISE MEN TO 'GO IN FOOLS' COATS'  THAN FOR FOOLS TO 'GO IN WISE MEN'S GOWNS'    (Camden, Remaines, ed. 1857,p.314)

 

Pace refused to come to the Queen at some time, because of his anger at her Politics, someone convinced  him to attend her.

 

Queen Elizabeth said, when he was brought to her, "Come on, Pace; now we shall hear of our faults."  Saith Pace, "I DO NOT USE TO TALK OF THAT, THAT ALL THE TOWN TALKS OF."  Pace was dead before 1592.

 

from dictionary of National Biograph (Oxford)