Near the end of a speech to his first Parliament (19 March 1604), James makes a rhetorical move, disingenuous and shrewd. He offers an excuse “in case you have not found such Eloquence in my Speech, as peradventure you might have looked for at my hands. I might, if I list, alledge the great weight of my Affaires and my continuall businesse and distraction, that I could never have leasure to thinke upon what I was to speake, before I came to the place where I was to speak.” Because James has had almost a year since being named King of England to contemplate his maiden speech to Parliament, we may take his “excuse” as special pleading. Clearly his strategy nicely reinforces the obvious eloquence of the speech; indeed, hearers may marvel all the more at the quality of the speech, given James's apparent lack of leisure to prepare it. James cannot, however, offer a compelling case for lack of time to write this important, initial speech to Parliament; in fact, his own care as a writer argues against this. But if, for the sake of argument, we take him seriously, where might James easily and readily have gotten the major ideas and themes of the speech (beyond his own obvious writings)? I answer that he could have found them in the magnificent royal entry pageant in his honor that occurred only four days (15 March) before the speech to Parliament. Most of the ideas that inform James's speech find some kind of dramatic representation in the pageant. Indeed, I will argue that the pageant and Parliament speech form a continuous event, designed to honor, instruct, and celebrate the king. These two events constitute the most important public events of James's early English reign and therefore make an exceptional claim for historical significance. In order to reach Westminster and Parliament, James must first figuratively and literally pass through London's civic pageant.