Once, when the Queen dined at Lord Burleigh's, in the Strand. Tarleton accompanied her, and, when the noble host besought her Highness to remain for the night, she positively refused. An application was then made to Tarleton, with the promise of a large reward if he could induce the Queen to remain. " Procure me," said Tarleton, " the parsonage of Sherd." They immediately caused the patent to be drawn up. He then put on a parson's cap and gown, and loudly repeated these words as the Queen descended the stairs: "A parson or no parson? A parson or no parson?" When Elizabeth understood what he meant, she not only stayed all night, but remained a fortnight, and actually confirmed him in his possession of the benefice. "Never," says a writer upon those times, " was there a madder parson." He eventually turned the bell-metal, parsonage, and all into ready money.
On one occasion Lord Leicester met Tarleton at Greenwich Palace, upon which the former, with a vicious sneer, exclaimed " Good morrow, my merry fool and knave." Tarleton replied "Well, I can't bear both titles together. I will, however, take the first, and you are heartily welcome to the second." The anecdotes respecting Tarleton and the Queen are numerous ; but the majority are more traditional than authentic. Tarleton died in Shoreditch, of the plague, to the greatregret of the Queen and the citizens of London, who were wont to consider him as having stood for the world-renowned portrait of " Yorick." A genuine collection of Tarleton's jests were published in 1611, on which occasion the citizens of London proved that their old favourite was not forgotten, for they eagerly sought after the volume which contained his " merrie sayings."
From Domestic Life of Queen Elizabeth by S. Hubert