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Title: Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (3 of 6): England (6 of 9)

Author: Raphael Holinshed

Release date: May 8, 2014 [eBook #45611]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Richard Tonsing and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


[Pg 397]

third sonne to Richard duke of Yorke, and vncle to Edward the fift.

An. Reg. 1.
(*) This that is here betwéene this marke & this marke (*) was not written by maister More in this historie written by him in English, but is translated out of this historie which he wrote in Latine.

(*) The next daie the protector with a great traine went to Westminster hall, & there when he had placed himselfe in the court of the Kings bench, declared to the audience, that he would take vpon him the crowne in that place there, where the king himselfe sitteth and ministreth the law, bicause he considered that it was the chiefest dutie of a king to minister the lawes. Then with as pleasant an oration as he could, he went about to win vnto him the nobles, the merchants, the artificers, and in conclusion all kind of men, but especiallie the lawiers of this realme. And finallie to the intent that no man should hate him for feare, and that his deceitfull clemencie might get him the good will of the people, when he had declared the discommodities of discord, & the cōmodities of concord & vnitie, he made an open proclamation, that he did put out of his mind all enimities, and that he there did openlie pardon all offenses committed against him.

And to the intent that he might shew a proofe therof, he commanded that one Fog, whom he had long deadlie hated, should be brought then before him, who being brought out of the sanctuarie (for thither had he fled for feare of him) in the sight of the people he tooke him by the hand. Which thing the common people reioised at, and praised, but wise men tooke it for a vanitie. In his returne homeward, whome so euer he met, he saluted. For a mind that knoweth it selfe guiltie, is in a manner deiected to a seruile flatterie [which refuseth no dutifulnesse, tend the same to neuer so hie a degrée of indignitie; which one noteth, saieng:

----rides? maiore cachinno
Concutitur; flet, si lachrymas aspexit amici;
Frigescis? friget: si dixeris, æstuo, sudat.]
From this marke (*) to this (*) is not found in sir Thomas More, but in maister Hall and Grafton.

When he had begun his reigne in the moneth of Iune, after this mockish election, then was he crowned king in the verie same moneth. And that solemnitie was furnished, for the most part, with the selfe same prouision that was appointed for the coronation of his nephue. (*) But here to shew the manner of his coronation, as the same is inserted in this pamphlet of sir Thomas More, by maister Edward Hall and Richard Grafton (although not found in the same pamphlet) thus we find it by them reported. (*) First, to be sure of all enimies (as he thought) he sent for fiue thousand men of the north against his coronation, which came vp euill apparelled, and worse harnessed, in rustie harnesse, neither defensible, nor scowred to the sale, which mustered in Finsburie field to the great disdaine of the lookers on. [By which beginning appéered to the world that he had his state in suspicion, otherwise he would not haue procured such a power to be attendant at his commandment, and that at such time as (all weapons laid aside) peace and tranquillitie should haue béene sought after for the comforts of the peoples minds, & the safetie of his owne person; but being verie mistrustfull & fraught with carefull thoughts, he was in a maze betwéene hope and feare, according to this verie true saieng:

Sollicitæ mentes spéque metúque pauent.]

The fourth daie of Iulie he came to the Tower by water with his wife, and the fift daie he created Thomas lord Howard duke of Norffolke, and sir Thomas Howard his[Pg 398] sonne he created earle of Surrie, and William lord Berkeleie was then created erle of Nottingham, and Francis lord Louell was then made vicount Louell, and the king his chamberleine, and the lord Stanleie was deliuered out of ward, for feare of his sonne the lord Strange, which was then in Lancashire, gathering men (as men said) and the said lord was made steward of the king his houshold: likewise the archbishop of Yorke was deliuered, but Morton bishop of Elie was committed to the duke of Buckingham to kéepe in ward, which sent him to his manour of Brecknocke in Wales, from whence he escaped to king Richard his confusion.

Seuentéene knights of the Bath created by king Richard.
What péers &c. states were attendant on him going to his coronation.

The same night, the king made seuentéene knights of the Bath, whose names insue: Sir Edmund the duke of Suffolks sonne, sir George Greie, the earle of Kents sonne, sir William, the lord Zouches sonne, sir Henrie Aburgauennie, sir Christopher Willoughbie, sir William Berkeleie, sir Henrie Babington, sir Thomas Arundell, sir Thomas Bologne, sir Gerueis of Clifton, sir William Saie, sir Edmund Bedingfield, sir William Enderbie, sir Thomas Lekenor, sir Thomas of Vrinon, sir Iohn Browne, sir William Berkeleie. The next daie, being the first daie of Iulie, the king rode through the citie of London toward Westminster with great pompe, being accompanied with these dukes, earles, lords, and knights, whose names follow. Edward prince of Wales, the kings onelie sonne. Dukes: the duke of Norffolke, the duke of Buckingham, the duke of Suffolke. Earles: the earle of Northumberland, the earle of Arundell, the earle of Kent, the earle of Surrie, the earle of Wilshire, the earle of Huntington, the earle of Nottingham, the earle of Warwike, the earle of Lincolne. Lords: the lord Lisle vicount, the lord Louell vicount, the lord Stanleie, the lord Audleie, the lord Dacres, the lord Ferrers of Chertleie, the lord Powes, the lord Scroope of Vpsall, the lord Scroope of Bolton, the lord Greie Codner, the lord Greie of Wilton, the lord Sturton, the lord Cobham, the lord Morleie, the lord Aburgauennie, the lord Zouch, the lord Ferrers of Grobie, the lord Welles, the lord Lomleie, the lord Matreuers, the lord Herbert, the lord Becham. Knights: sir Iames Tirell, sir William Kneuet, sir Thomas Aborow, sir William Stanleie, sir William Aparre, sir George Browne, sir Robert Middleton, sir Iohn Henningham, sir Nicholas Latimer, sir Thomas Montgomerie, sir Thomas Delamer, sir Gilbert Debnam, sir Terrie Robsart, sir William Brandon, sir Iohn Sauell, sir Henrie Wentford, sir Edward Stanleie, sir Henrie Sentmount, sir William Yoong, sir Thomas Bowser, sir Henrie Winkefield, sir Thomas Wortleie, sir Iohn Sentlow, sir Charles of Pilkington, sir Iames Harrington, sir Iohn Ashleie, sir Thomas Berkeleie, sir Richard Becham, sir William Hopton, sir Thomas Persie, sir Robert Dimmocke, sir Iohn Cheinie, sir Richard Ludlow, sir Iohn Eldrington, sir William Sands, sir Richard Dudleie, sir William Sentlow, sir Tho. Twaights, sir Edmund of Dudleie, sir Rafe Ashton, sir Richard Charlington, sir Thomas Greie, sir Philip Berkeleie, sir Robert Harington, sir Thomas Greffleie, sir Richard Harecourt, sir William Noris, sir Thomas Selenger, sir Richard Hodlesten, sir Iohn Conias, sir William Stoner, sir Philip Courtneie, sir William Gascoigne, sir Richard Amedilton, sir Roger Fines, sir George Véere, sir Henrie Persie, sir Iohn Wood, sir Iohn Aparre, sir Iohn Greie, sir Iohn Danbie, sir Richard Tailebush, sir Iohn Rudet, sir Iohn Herring, sir Richard Enderbie, sir Iohn Berkeleie, sir Iames Stranguish, sir Rafe Carnbrecke, sir Iohn Constable, sir Robert Eliard, sir Richard Derell, sir Iohn Gilford, sir Iohn Lekenor, sir Iohn Morleie, sir Iohn Hues, sir Iohn Bologne, sir Edmund Shaw alderman.

The solemne ceremonies vsed at king Richards coronation.

On the morow, being the sixt daie of Iulie, the king with quéene Anne his wife, came downe out of the White hall into the great hall at Westminster, and went directlie into the kings Bench. And from thense, the king and the quéene going vpon raie cloth barefooted, went vnto saint Edwards shrine, and all his nobilitie going with him, euerie lord in his degrée. And first went the trumpets, and then the heralds of armes in their rich coats, & next followed the crosse with a solemne procession,[Pg 399] the priests hauing fine surplisses and graie amisses vpon them. The abbats and bishops mitred and in rich copes, & euerie of them caried their crosiers in their hands. The bishop of Rochester bare the crosse before the cardinall. Then followed the earle of Huntington bearing a paire of gilt spurres, signifieng knighthood. Then followed the earle of Bedford bearing saint Edwards staffe for a relike.

After them came the earle of Northumberland bareheaded, with the pointlesse sword naked in his hand, which signified mercie. The lord Stanleie bare the mace of the constableship. The earle of Kent bare the second sword on the right hand of the king naked, with a point, which signified iustice vnto the temporaltie. The lord Louell bare the third sword on the left hand with a point, which signified iustice to the cleargie. The duke of Suffolke followed with the scepter in his hand, which signified peace. The earle of Lincolne bare the ball and crosse, which signified monarchie. The erle of Surrie bare the fourth sword before the king in a rich scabberd, and that is called the sword of estate. Then went thrée togither, in the middest went Garter king at armes in his rich cote: and on his left hand went the maior of London, bearing a mace: and on his right hand went the gentleman vsher of the priuie chamber. Then followed the duke of Norffolke, bearing the kings crowne betwéene his hands.

Quéene Anne wife to king Richard and daughter to Richard earle of Warwike and his traine.

Then followed king Richard in his robes of purple veluet, and ouer his head a canopie, borne by foure barons of the cinque ports. And on euerie side of the king there went one bishop, that is to saie, the bishop of Bath, and the bishop of Durham. Then followed the duke of Buckingham bearing the kings traine, with a white staffe in his hand, signifieng the office of the high steward of England. Then there followed a great number of earles and barons before the quéene. And then came the earle of Huntington, who bare the quéenes scepter, and the vicount Lisle bearing the rod with the doue. And the earle of Wilshire bare the quéenes crowne. Then followed quéene Anne daughter to Richard earle of Warwike in robes like to the king, betwéene two bishops, and a canopie ouer hir head borne by the barons of the ports. On hir head a rich coronet set with stones and pearle.

The king & quéene crowned.

After hir followed the countesse of Richmond heire to the duke of Summerset, which bare vp the quéenes traine. After followed the duchesse of Suffolke and Norffolke, with countesses, baronesses, ladies, and manie faire gentlewomen. In this order they passed through the palace, and entered the abbeie at the west end; and so came to their seats of estate. And after diuerse songs solemnelie soong, they both ascended to the high altar, and were shifted from their robes, and had diuerse places open from the middle vpward, in which places they were annointed. Then both the king and the quéene changed them into cloth of gold, and ascended to their seats, where the cardinall of Canturburie, & other bishops them crowned according to the custome of the realme, giuing him the scepter in the left hand, & the ball with the crosse in the right hand; and the quéene had the scepter in hir right hand, and the rod with the doue in her left hand.

On euerie side of the king stood a duke, and before him stood the earle of Surrie with the sword in his hands. And on euerie side of the quéene standing a bishop, & a ladie knéeling. The cardinal soong masse, and after pax, the king and the quéene descended, and before the high altar they were both houseled, with one host diuided betwéene them. After masse finished, they both offered at saint Edward his shrine, and there the king left the crowne of saint Edward, and put on his owne crowne. And so in order as they came, they departed to Westminster hall; and so to their chambers for a season: during which time the duke of Norffolke came into the hall, his horsse trapped to the ground in cloth of gold, as high marshall, and voided the hall. About foure of the clocke, the king and quéene entered the hall, and the king sate in the middle, and the quéene on the left hand of the table, and on euerie side of hir stood a countesse, holding a cloth of pleasance, when she list to drinke.

[Pg 400]

And on the right hand of the king sat the bishop of Canturburie. The ladies sat all on one side, in the middle of the hall. And at the table against them sat the chancellor and all the lords. At the table next the cupboord, sat the maior of London; and at the table behind the lords, sat the barons of the ports: and at the other tables sat noble and worshipfull personages. When all persons were set, the duke of Norffolke earle marshall, the earle of Surrie, constable for that daie, the lord Stanlie lord steward, sir William Hopton treasurer, & sir Thomas Persie controller, came in and serued the king solemnelie, with one dish of gold, and an other of siluer, and the quéene all in gilt vessell, and the bishop all in siluer.

Sir Robert Dimmocke the kings champion his challenge in the behalfe of king Richard.

At the second course came into the hall sir Robert Dimmocke the kings champion, making proclamation, that whosoeuer would saie, that king Richard was not lawfull king, he would fight with him at the vtterance, and threw downe his gantlet, and then all the hall cried; king Richard. And so he did in thrée parts of the hall, and then one brought him a cup of wine couered, and when he had drunke, he cast out the drinke, and departed with the cup. After that, the heralds cried a largesse thrise in the hall, and so went vp to their stage. At the end of dinner, the maior of London serued the king & quéene with swéete wine, and had of each of them a cup of gold, with a couer of gold. And by that time that all was doone, it was darke night. And so the king returned to his chamber, and euerie man to his lodging.

A gaie pretense of iustice and equitie.

When this feast was thus finished, the king sent home all the lords into their countries that would depart, except the lord Stanleie, whom he reteined, till he heard what his sonne the lord Strange went about. And to such as went home, he gaue streight charge and commandement, to sée their countries well ordered, and that no wrong nor extortion should be doone to his subiects. And thus he taught other to execute iustice and equitie, the contrarie whereof he dailie exercised. He also with great rewards giuen to the Northernemen, which he sent for to his coronation, sent them home to their countrie with great thanks: whereof diuerse of them (as they be all of nature verie gréedie of authoritie, & speciallie when they thinke to haue anie comfort or fauour) tooke on them so highlie, and wrought such maisteries, that the king was faine to ride thither in his first yeare, and to put some in execution, and staie the countrie, or else no small mischéefe had insued.

Sir Thomas More againe.
Perkin Werbecke.

Now fell there mischéefs thicke. And as the thing euill gotten is neuer well kept, thorough all the time of his reigne neuer ceassed there cruell death and slaughter, till his owne destruction ended it. But as he finished his time with the best death and the most righteous, that is to wit, his owne; so began he with the most pitious and wicked, I meane the lamentable murther of his innocent nephues, the yoong king and his tender brother: whose death and finall infortune hath naitheless comen so farre in question, that some remaine yet in doubt, whether they were in his daies destroied or no. Not for that onelie that Perkin Werbecke by manie folks malice, and mo folks follie, so long space abusing the world, was as well with princes as the poorer people reputed and taken for the yoonger of these two; but for that also that all things were in late daies so couertlie demeaned, one thing pretended, and an other meant.

Close dealing is euer suspected.

Insomuch that there was nothing so plaine and openlie prooued, but that yet for the common custome of close and couert dealing, men had it euer inwardlie suspect; as manie well counterfaited iewels make the true mistrusted. Howbeit, concerning the opinion, with the occasions moouing either partie, we shall haue place more at large to intreat, if we hereafter happen to write the time of the late noble prince of famous memorie king Henrie the seauenth, or percase that historie of Perkin in anie compendious processe by it selfe. But in the meane time, for this present matter, I shall rehearse you the dolorous end of those babes, not after euerie waie that I haue heard,[Pg 401] but after that waie, that I haue so heard by such men and by such meanes, as me thinketh it were hard but it should be true.

Iohn Gréene.
Robert Brakenberie constable of the Tower.

King Richard after his coronation, taking his waie to Glocester to visit (in his new honour) the towne of which he bare the name of his old, deuised (as he rode) to fulfill the thing which he before had intended. And forsomuch as his mind gaue him, that his nephues liuing, men would not reckon that he could haue right to the realme: he thought therefore without delaie to rid them, as though the killing of his kinsmen could amend his cause, and make him a kindlie king. Whervpon he sent one Iohn Gréene, (whom he speciallie trusted) vnto sir Robert Brakenberie, constable of the Tower, with a letter and credence also, that the same sir Robert should in anie wise put the two children to death.

The murther of the two young princes set abroch.
Sir Iames Tirrell described.

This Iohn Gréene did his errand vnto Brakenberie, knéeling before our ladie in the Tower. Who plainelie answered, that he would neuer put them to death to die therefore. With which answer Iohn Gréene returning, recounted the same to king Richard at Warwike yet in his waie. Wherewith he tooke such displeasure & thought, that the same night he said vnto a secret page of his: "Ah! whom shall a man trust? Those that I haue brought vp my selfe, those that I had wéent would most suerlie serue me, euen those faile me, and at my commandement will doo nothing for me." "Sir (quoth his page) there lieth one on your pallet without, that I dare well saie, to doo your grace pleasure, the thing were right hard that he would refuse." Meaning this by sir Iames Tirrell, which was a man of right goodlie personage, and for natures gifts worthie to haue serued a much better prince, if he had well serued God, and by grace obteined as much truth and good will as he had strength and wit.

Authoritie loueth no partners.

The man had an high heart, & sore longed vpward, not rising yet so fast as he had hoped, being hindered & kept vnder by the meanes of sir Richard Ratcliffe, and sir William Catesbie, which longing for no mo parteners of the princes fauour; and namelie, not for him, whose pride they wist would beare no péere, kept him by secret drifts out of all secret trust, which thing this page well had marked and knowne. Wherefore this occasion offered, of verie speciall friendship he tooke his time to put him forward, and by such wise doo him good, that all the enimies he had (except the deuill) could neuer haue doone him so much hurt. For vpon this pages words king Richard arose (for this communication had he sitting at the draught, a conuenient carpet for such a councell) and came out into the pallet chamber, on which he found in bed sir Iames and sir Thomas Tirrels, of person like, and brethren of bloud, but nothing of kin in conditions.

The constable of the Tower deliuereth the keies to sir Iames Tirrell vpon the kings commandement.

Then said the king merilie to them; What sirs, be ye in bed so soone? And calling vp sir Iames, brake to him secretlie his mind in this mischéeuous matter. In which he found him nothing strange. Wherefore on the morow he sent him to Brakenberie with a letter, by which he was commanded to deliuer sir Iames all the keies of the Tower for one night, to the end he might there accomplish the kings pleasure, in such things as he had giuen him commandement. After which letter deliuered, & the keies receiued, sir Iames appointed the night next insuing to destroie them, deuising before and preparing the meanes. The prince (as soone as the protector left that name, and tooke himselfe as king) had it shewed vnto him, that he should not reigne, but his vncle shuld haue the crowne. At which word the prince sore abashed, began to sigh, and said: Alas, I would my vncle would let me haue my life yet, though I léese my kingdome.

[Pg 402]

The two princes shut vp in close hold.
The two murtherers of the two princes appointed.

Then he that told him the tale, vsed him with good words, and put him in the best comfort he could. But foorthwith was the prince and his brother both shut vp, & all other remooued from them, onelie one (called Blacke Will, or William Slaughter) excepted, set to serue them and sée them sure. After which time the prince neuer tied his points, nor ought rought of himselfe; but with that yoong babe his brother, lingered with thought and heauinesse, vntill this traitorous death deliuered them of that wretchednesse. For sir Iames Tirrell deuised, that they should be murthered in their beds. To the execution whereof, he appointed Miles Forrest, one of the foure that kept them, a fellow fleshed in murther before time. To him he ioined one Iohn Dighton his owne horssekéeper, a big, broad, square, and strong knaue.

The yoong K. and his brother murthered in their beds at midnight in the Tower.

Then all the other being remooued from them, this Miles Forrest, and Iohn Dighton, about midnight (the séelie children lieng in their beds) came into the chamber, & suddenlie lapping them vp among the clothes, so to bewrapped them and intangled them, kéeping downe by force the fether-bed and pillowes hard vnto their mouths, that within a while, smoothered and stifled, their breath failing, they gaue vp to God their innocent soules into the ioies of heauen, leauing to the tormentors their bodies dead in the bed. Which after that the wretches perceiued, first by the strugling with the paines of death, and after long lieng still, to be thoroughlie dead, they laid their bodies naked out vpon the bed, and fetched sir Iames to sée them; which vpon the sight of them, caused those murtherers to burie them at the staire foot, méetlie déepe in the ground, vnder a great heape of stones.

The murther confessed.

Then rode sir Iames in great hast to king Richard, and shewed him all the maner of the murther; who gaue him great thanks, and (as some saie) there made him knight. But he allowed not (as I haue heard) the burieng in so vile a corner, saieng, that he would haue them buried in a better place, bicause they were a kings sonnes. Lo the honourable courage of a king. Whervpon they saie, that a priest of sir Robert Brakenberies tooke vp the bodies againe, and secretlie interred them in such place, as by the occasion of his death, which onelie knew it, could neuer since come to light. Verie truth is it, and well knowne, that at such time as sir Iames Tirrell was in the Tower, for treason committed against the most famous prince king Henrie the seauenth, both Dighton and he were examined, and confessed the murther in maner aboue written: but whither the bodies were remooued, they could nothing tell.

And thus (as I haue learned of them that much knew, and little cause had to lie) were these two noble princes, these innocent tender children, borne of most roiall bloud, brought vp in great wealth, likelie long to liue, reigne, and rule in the realme, by traitorous tyrannie taken, depriued of their estate, shortlie shut vp in prison, and priuilie slaine and murthered, their bodies cast God wot where, by the cruell ambition of their vnnaturall vncle and his despiteous tormentors. Which things on euerie part well pondered, God neuer gaue this world a more notable example, neither in what vnsuertie standeth this worldlie weale; or what mischéefe worketh the proud enterprise of an high heart; or finallie, what wretched end insueth such despiteous crueltie.

The iust judgement of God seuerelie reuenging the murther of the innocent princes vpon the malefactors.

For first, to begin with the ministers, Miles Forrest, at S. Martins péecemeale rotted awaie. Dighton in déed yet walketh on aliue in good possibilitie to be hanged yer he die. But sir Iames Tirrell died at the Tower hill beheaded for treason. King Richard himselfe, as ye shall hereafter heare, slaine in the field, hacked and hewed of his enimies hands, haried on horsse-backe dead, his haire in despite torne and tugged like a curre dog; and the mischéefe that he tooke, within lesse than thrée yeares of the mischéefe that he did: and yet all (in the meane time) spent in much paine & trouble outward, much feare, anguish and sorow within. For I haue heard by credible report of such as were secret with his chamberleine, that after this abominable déed doone, he neuer had a quiet mind. Than the which there can be no greater torment. For a giltie conscience inwardlie accusing and bearing witnesse against an offender, is such a plague and punishment, as hell itselfe[Pg 403] (with all the féends therein) can not affoord one of greater horror & affliction; the poet implieng no lesse in this tristichon:

Pers. sat. 3.
Pœna autem vehemens, ac multo sæuior illis,
Quas & Cæditius grauis inuenit & Radamanthus,
Nocte diéque suum gestare in pectore testem.
The outward and inward troubles of tyrants by meanes of a grudging conscience.

He neuer thought himselfe sure. Where he went abroad, his eies whirled about, his bodie priuilie fensed, his hand euer vpon his dagger, his countenance and maner like one alwaies readie to strike againe, he tooke ill rest a nights, laie long waking and musing, sore wearied with care and watch, rather slumbered than slept, troubled with fearefull dreames, suddenlie sometime start vp, lept out of his bed, and ran about the chamber; so was his restlesse heart continuallie tossed and tumbled with the tedious impression and stormie remembrance of his abhominable déed. Now had he outward no long time in rest. For herevpon, soone after began the conspiracie, or rather good confederation, betwéene the duke of Buckingham and manie other gentlemen against him. The occasion wherevpon the king and the duke fell out, is of diuerse folke in diuerse wise pretended.

This duke (as I haue for certeine béene informed) as soone as the duke of Glocester, vpon the death of king Edward, came to Yorke, and there had solemne funerall seruice for king Edward, sent thither in the most secret wise he could, one [1]Persall his trustie seruant, who came to Iohn Ward a chamberer of like secret trust with the duke of Glocester, desiring that in the most close and couert maner, he might be admitted to the presence and spéech of his maister. And the duke of Glocester aduertised of his desire, caused him in the dead of the night (after all other folke auoided) to be brought vnto him in his secret chamber, where Persall (after his maisters recommendations) shewed him that he had secret sent him to shew him, that in this new world he would take such part as he would, & wait vpon him with a thousand good fellowes, if néed were.

[1] Persiuall, saith Ed. Hall.

The messenger sent backe with thanks, & some secret instruction of the protectors mind, yet met him againe with further message from the duke his master within few daies after at Notingham: whither the protector from Yorke with manie gentlemen of the north countrie, to the number of six hundred horsses, was come on his waie to London-ward, & after secret méeting and communication had, eftsoones departed. Wherevpon at Northampton, the duke met with the protector himselfe with thrée hundred horsses, and from thence still continued with him partner of all his deuises; till that after his coronation, they departed (as it séemed) verie great fréends at Glocester. From whense as soone as the duke came home, he so lightlie turned from him, and so highlie conspired against him, that a man would maruell whereof the change grew. And suerlie, the occasion of their variance is of diuerse men diuerselie reported.

Causes of the duke of Buckingham and K. Richards falling out.

Some haue I heard say, that the duke a little before his coronation, among other things, required of the protector the duke of Herefords lands, to the which he pretended himselfe iust inheritor. And forsomuch as the title, which he claimed by inheritance, was somwhat interlaced with the title to the crowne by the line of king Henrie before depriued, the protector conceiued such indignation, that he reiected the dukes request with manie spitefull and minatorie words. Which so wounded his heart with hatred and mistrust, that he neuer after could indure to looke aright on king Richard, but euer feared his owne life; so far foorth, that when the protector rode through London toward his coronation, he feined himselfe sicke, bicause he would not ride with him. And the other also taking it in euill part, sent him word to rise, and come ride, or he would make him be caried. Wherevpon he rode on with euill will, and that notwithstanding on the morow, rose from the feast, feining himselfe sicke, and king Richard said it was doone in hatred and despite of him.

[Pg 404]

The duke of Buckingham and king Richard mistrust each other.

And they said, that euer after continuallie, each of them liued in such hatred and distrust of other, that the duke verelie looked to haue béene murthered at Glocester: from which nathelesse, he in faire maner departed. But suerlie some right secret at that daie denie this: and manie right wise men thinke it vnlikelie (the déepe dissembling nature of both those men considered, and what néed in that gréene world the protector had of the duke, and in what perill the duke stood, if he fell once in suspicion of the tyrant) that either the protector would giue the duke occasion of displeasure, or the duke the protector occasion of mistrust. And verelie, men thinke, that if king Richard had anie such opinion conceiued, he would neuer haue suffered him to escape his hands. Verie truth it is, the duke was an high minded man, and euill could beare the glorie of another; so that I haue heard of some that say they saw it, that the duke, at such time as the crowne was first set vpon the protectors head, his eie could not abide the sight thereof, but wried his head another way.

Doctor Morton bishop of Elie, & what pageants he plaied.

But men say, that he was of truth not well at ease, and that both to king Richard well knowne, and not euill taken; nor anie demand of the dukes vncourteouslie reiected; but he both with great gifts, and high behests, in most louing and trustie maner departed at Glocester. But soone after his comming home to Brecknocke, hauing there in his custodie by the commandement of king Richard doctor Morton bishop of Elie, who (as ye before heard) was taken in the councell at the Tower, waxed with him familiar, whose wisedome abused his pride to his owne deliuerance, and the dukes destruction. The bishop was a man of great naturall wit, verie well learned, and honorable in behauior, lacking no wise waies to win fauour. He had béene fast vpon the part of king Henrie, while that part was in wealth; and nathelesse left it not, nor forsooke it in wo, but fled the realme with the quéene & the prince, while king Edward had the king in prison, neuer came home, but to the field.

The high honour of doctor Morton.

After which lost, and that part vtterlie subdued, the other (for his fast faith and wisedome) not onelie was content to receiue him, but also wooed him to come, and had him from thencefoorth both in secret trust, and verie speciall fauour, which he nothing deceiued. For he being (as yée haue heard) after king Edwards death, first taken by the tyrant for his truth to the king, found the meane to set this duke in his top, ioined gentlemen togither in the aid of king Henrie, deuising first the mariage betwéene him & king Edwards daughter: by which his faith he declared the good seruice to both his masters at once, with infinit benefit to the realme by the coniunction of those two blouds in one, whose seuerall titles had long disquieted the land, he fled the realme, went to Rome, neuer minding more to meddle with the world; till the noble prince king Henrie the seuenth gat him home againe, made him archbishop of Canturburie, and chancellor of England, wherevnto the pope ioined the honour of cardinall. Thus liuing manie daies in as much honor as one man might well wish, ended them so godlie, that his death with Gods mercie well changed his life.

Bishop Mortons subtill vndermining of the duke.

This man therefore (as I was about to tell you) by the long & often alternate proofe, as well of prosperitie as aduerse fortune, had gotten by great experience (the verie mother and mistresse of wisedome) a déepe insight in politike worldlie drifts. Whereby perceiuing now this duke glad to commune with him, fed him with faire words, and manie pleasant praises. And perceiuing by the processe of their communications, the dukes pride now and then belking out a little breath of enuie toward the glorie of the king, and thereby féeling him easie to fall out if the matter were well handled: he craftilie sought the waies to pricke him forward, taking alwaies the occasion of his comming, and so kéeping himselfe so close within his bounds, that he rather séemed to follow him, than to lead him. For when the duke first began to[Pg 405] praise and boast the king, and shew how much profit the realme should take by his reigne: my lord Morton answered thus.

Suerlie, my lord, follie were it for me to lie, for if I would sweare the contrarie, your lordship would not (I wéene) beléeue; but that if the world would haue gone as I would haue wished, king Henries sonne had had the crowne, and not king Edward. But after that God had ordered him to léese it, and king Edward to reigne, I was neuer so mad that I would with a dead man striue against the quicke. So was I to king Edward a faithfull chapleine, & glad would haue béene that his child had succéeded him. Howbeit, if the secret iudgment of God haue otherwise prouided, I purpose not to spurne against a pricke, nor labour to set vp that God pulleth downe. And as for the late protector and now king. And euen there he left, saieng that he had alreadie medled too much with the world, and would from that daie meddle with his booke and his beads, and no further.

Princes matters perillous to meddle in.

Then longed the duke sore to heare what he would haue said, bicause he ended with the king, and there so suddenlie stopped, and exhorted him so familiarlie betwéene them twaine to be bold to saie whatsoeuer he thought; whereof he faithfullie promised there should neuer come hurt, and peraduenture more good than he would wéene; and that himselfe intended to vse his faithfull secret aduise & counsell, which (he said) was the onelie cause for which he procured of the king to haue him in his custodie, where he might reckon himselfe at home, and else had he béene put in the hands of them with whome he should not haue found the like fauour. The bishop right humblie thanked him, and said: In good faith my lord, I loue not to talke much of princes, as a thing not all out of perill, though the word be without fault: forsomuch as it shall not be taken as the partie ment it, but as it pleaseth the prince to construe it.

And euer I thinke on Aesops tale, that when the lion had proclaimed that (on paine of death) there should no horned beast abide in that wood: one that had in his forehed a bunce of flesh, fled awaie a great pace. The fox that saw him run so fast, asked him whither he made all that hast? And he answered, In faith I neither wote, nor recke, so I were once hence, bicause of this proclamation made of horned beasts. What foole (quoth the fox) thou maiest abide well inough: the lion ment not by thée, for it is no horne that is in thine head. No marie (quoth he) that wote I well inough. But what and he call it an horne, where am I then? The duke laughed merilie at the tale, and said; My lord, I warrant you, neither the lion nor the bore shall pike anie matter at anie thing héere spoken: for it shall neuer come néere their eare.

In good faith sir (said the bishop) if it did, the thing that I was about to say, taken as well as (afore God) I ment it, could deserue but thanke: and yet taken as I wéene it would, might happen to turne me to little good, and you to lesser. Then longed the duke yet much more to wit what it was. Wherevpon the bishop said; In good faith (my lord) as for the late protector, sith he is now king in possession, I purpose not to dispute his title; but for the weale of this realme, whereof his grace hath now the gouernance, and whereof I am my selfe one poore member, I was about to wish, that to those good habilities whereof he hath alreadie right manie, little néeding my praise, it might yet haue pleased God, for the better store, to haue giuen him some of such other excellent vertues, méet for the rule of a realme, as our Lord hath planted in the person of your grace: and there left againe.

Here endeth sir Thomas More, & this that followeth is taken out of master Hall.

The duke somewhat maruelling at his sudden pauses, as though they were but parentheses, with a high countenance said: My lord, I euidentlie perceiue, and no lesse note your often breathing, and sudden stopping in your communication; so that to my intelligence, your words neither come to anie direct or perfect sentence in conclusion, whereby either I might perceiue and haue knowledge, what your inward intent is now toward the king, or what affection you beare toward me. For the comparison[Pg 406] of good qualities ascribed to vs both (for the which I my selfe acknowledge and recognise to haue none, nor looke for no praise of anie creature for the same) maketh me not a little to muse, thinking that you haue some other priuie imagination, by loue or by grudge, ingrauen and imprinted in your heart, which for feare you dare not, or for childish shamefastnesse you be abashed to disclose and reueale; and speciallie to mée being your fréend, which on my honor doo assure you, to be as secret in this case, as the deafe and dumbe person is to the singer, or the trée to the hunter.

Bishop Morton buildeth vpō the dukes ambition.

The bishop being somewhat bolder, considering the dukes promise, but most of all animated and incouraged bicause he knew the duke desirous to bée exalted and magnified; and also he perceiued the inward hatred and priuie rancor which he bare toward king Richard: was now boldened to open his stomach euen to the verie bottome, intending thereby to compasse how to destroie, and vtterlie confound king Richard, and to depriue him of his dignitie roiall; else to set the duke so on fire with the desire of ambition, that he himselfe might be safe and escape out of all danger and perill. Which thing he brought shortlie to conclusion, both to the kings destruction, and the dukes confusion, and to his owne safegard, and finallie to his high promotion.

And so (as I said before) vpon trust and confidence of the dukes promise, the bishop said: My singular good lord, since the time of my captiuitie, which being in your graces custodie, I may rather call it a liberall libertie, more than a streict imprisonment, in auoiding idlenesse, mother and nourisher of all vices, in reading bookes and ancient pamphlets I haue found this sentence written, that no man is borne frée, and in libertie of himselfe onelie: for one part of dutie he oweth or should owe to his parents for his procreation, by a verie naturall instinct and filiall courtesie: another part to his fréends and kinsfolke; for proximitie of bloud and naturall amitie dooth euerie dutie chalenge and demand: but the natiue countrie, in the which he tasted first the swéet aires of this pleasant and flattering world after his natiuitie, demandeth as a debt by a naturall bond, neither to be forgotten, nor yet to be put in obliuion.

The duke of Buckingham highlie commended.

Which saieng causeth me to consider in what case this realme my natiue countrie now standeth, and in what estate and assurance (before this time) it hath continued: what gouernour we now haue, and what ruler we might haue. For I plainelie perceiue the realme being in this case, must néeds decaie, and be brought to vtter confusion, and finall extermination. But one hope I haue incorporat in my brest, that is, when I consider, and in my mind doo diligentlie remember, and dailie behold your noble personage, your iustice, and indifferencie, your feruent zeale, and ardent loue toward your naturall countrie, and in like manner, the loue of your countrie toward you, the great learning, pregnant wit, and goodlie eloquence, which so much dooth abound in the person of your grace, I must néeds thinke this realme fortunate, yea twise more than fortunate, which hath such a prince in store, méet and apt to be a gouernour, in whose person (being indued with so manie princelie qualities) consisteth and resteth the verie vndoubted similitude and image of true honour.

Dispraise of the lord protector or king in esse.

But on the other side, when I call to memorie the good qualities of the late protector and now called king, so violated and subuerted by tyrannie, so changed and altered by vsurped authoritie, so clouded and shadowed by blind and insatiable ambition: yea, and so suddenlie (in manner by a metamorphosis) transformed from politike ciuilitie, to detestable tyrannie: I must néeds saie, & iustlie affirme, that he is neither méet to be a king of so noble a realme, nor so famous a realme méet to be gouerned by such a tyrant whose kingdome (if it were of more amplenesse than it is) could not long continue; neither would the Lord suffer him in his bloudthirstines to abuse the holie and diuine estate of a prince by the cruell title of tyrannie. For such he will ouerthrow, yea he will bring most horrible slaughter vpō them, as it is prophesied:

Impius ad summos quamuis ascendat honores
Aspice quas clades tempora sæua vehent.

[Pg 407]

Was not his first enterprise to obteine the crowne begun and incepted by the murther of diuerse noble, valiant true, and vertuous, personages? O holie beginning to come to a mischéeuous ending! Did he not secondarilie procéed (contrarie to all lawes of honestie) shamefullie against his owne naturall mother, being a woman of much honour and more vertue, declaring hir openlie to be a woman giuen to carnall affection, and dissolute liuing? Which thing if it had béene true, as it was not indéed, euerie good & naturall child would haue rather mummed at it, than haue blasted it abroad, and especiallie she being aliue. Declaring furthermore his two brethren, and his two nephues to be bastards, and to be borne in adulterie: yet was he not with all this content.

Suspicion in a prince how mischéefous it is.

After that he had obteined the garland, for the which he so long thirsted, he caused the two poore innocents his nephues, committed to him for especiall trust, to be murthered and shamefullie to be killed. The bloud of which séelie and litle babes dailie crie to God from the earth for vengeance. Alas, my hart sobbeth, to remember this bloudie butcher, and cruell monster. What suertie shall be in this realme to anie person, either for life or goods vnder such a cruell prince, which regardeth not the destruction of his owne bloud, and then lesse the losse of other? And most especiallie (as oftentimes it chanceth) where a couetous or a cruell prince taketh suspicion, the smallest swaruing that is possible (if the thing be misconstrued) may be the cause of the destruction of manie guiltlesse persons: and in especiall of noble and wealthie personages, hauing great possessions and riches: such a lord is Lucifer when he is entered into the hart of a proud prince, giuen to couetousnesse and crueltie.

But now my lord to conclude what I meane toward your noble person, I saie and affirme, if you loue God, your linage, or your natiue countrie, you must your selfe take vpon you the crowne and imperiall diademe of this noble empire, both for the maintenance of the honour of the same (which so long hath flourished in fame and renowme) as also for the deliuerance of your naturall countrimen, from the bondage and thraldome (woorse than the captiuitie of Aegypt) of so cruell a tyrant and arrogant oppressor. For thus I dare saie, if anie forren prince or potentate, yea the Turke himselfe would take vpon him the regiment here, and the crowne, the commons would rather admit and obeie him, than to liue vnder such a bloudsucker and child-killer. But how much more ioifull and glad would they be to liue vnder your grace, whome they all know to be a ruler méet and conuenient for them, and they to be louing and obedient subiects, méet to liue vnder such a gouernour? Despise not, nor forsake not so manifest an occasion so louinglie offered.

The bishop adiureth the duke to release the realme by some deuise from the present euill state.

And if you your selfe, knowing the paine and trauell that apperteineth to the office of a king, or for any other consideration, will refuse to take vpon you the crowne and scepter of this realme: then I adiure you, by the faith that you owe to God, by your honor and by your oth made to saint George, patrone or the noble order of the garter (whereof you be a companion) and by the loue and affection that you beare to your natiue countrie, and the people of the same; to deuise some waie, how this realme (now being in miserie) may by your high discretion and princelie policie, be brought and reduced to some suertie and conuenient regiment, vnder some good gouernour by you to be appointed: for you are the verie patrone, the onelie helpe, refuge and comfort for the poore amazed and desolate commons of this realme.

For if you could either deuise to set vp againe the linage of Lancaster, or aduance the eldest daughter of king Edward to some high and puissant prince, not onelie the new crowned king shall small time inioy the glorie of his dignitie; but also all ciuill war should ceasse, all domesticall discord should sléepe, and peace, profit and quietnesse should be set foorth and imbraced. When the bishop had thus ended his saieng, the duke sighed, and spake not of a great while. Which sore abashed the bishop, and made him change colour. Which thing when the duke perceiued, he said; Be[Pg 408] not afraid my lord, all promises shall be kept, to morrow we will common more: let vs go to supper. So that night they communed no more, not a little to the disquieting of the bishop, which now was euen as desirous to know the dukes mind and intent, as the duke longed the daie before to know his opinion and meaning.

A new conferēnce betwéene the bishop and the duke.

So the next daie, the duke sent for the bishop, and rehearsed to him in maner (for he was both wittie and eloquent) all the communication had betwéene them before, and so paused a while, and after a little season, putting off his bonet, he said: O Lord God creator of all things, how much is this relme of England, and the people of the same, bounden vnto thy goodnesse! For where we now be in vexation and trouble with great stormes oppressed, sailing and tossing in a desperate ship, without good maister or gouernour: yet by thy helpe good Lord I trust yer long time passe, that we shall prouide for such a ruler, as shall be both to thy pleasure, and also to the securitie and safegard of this noble realme.

And then he put on his bonet, saieng to the bishop; My lord of Elie, whose true hart and sincere affection toward me at all times I haue euidentlie perceiued and knowen, and now most of all in our last priuie communication and secret deuising; I must néeds in hart thinke, and with mouth confesse and saie, that you be a sure fréend, a trustie councellor, a vigilant foreséer, a verie louer of your countrie, and a naturall countrieman: for which kindnes for my part, I most louinglie render to you my hartie thanks now with words, hereafter trusting to recompense and remunerate you with déeds, if life and power shall serue.

The duke openeth himselfe and his secrets to the bishop.

And sith, at our last communication, you haue disclosed and opened the verie secrets and priuities of your stomach, touching the duke of Glocester now vsurper of the crowne; and also haue a little touched the aduancement of the two noble families of Yorke and Lancaster: I shall likewise not onelie declare and manifest vnto you all my open acts, attempts, and doings, but also my priuie intents, and secret cogitations. To the intent that as you haue vnbuckeled the bouget of your priuie meanings, and secret purposes to me: so shall all my cloudie workings, close deuises, and secret imaginations be (as cléere as the sunne) reuealed, opened, and made lightsome to you.

The duke complaineth of want of preferment in king Edwards daies.

And to begin, I declare, that when king Edward was deceassed, to whome I thought my selfe little or nothing beholden (although we two had maried two sisters) bicause he neither promoted, nor preferred me, as I thought I was worthie, and had deserued; neither fauoured nor regarded me, according to my degrée and birth (for suerlie I had by him little authoritie, and lesse rule, and in effect nothing at all: which caused me lesse to fauour his children, bicause I found small humanitie, or none in their parent) I then began to studie, and with ripe deliberation to ponder and consider, how and in what manner this realme should be ruled and gouerned. And first I remembred an old prouerbe worthie of memorie, that often rueth the realme where children rule, and women gouerne.

This old adage so sanke and settled in my head, that I thought it a great errour, and extreame mischiefe to the whole realme, either to suffer the yoong king to rule, or the quéene his mother to be a gouernesse ouer him, considering that hir brethren, and hir first children (although they were not extract of high and noble linage) tooke more vpon them, and more exalted themselues, by reason of the quéene, than did the kings brethren, or anie duke in his realme: which in conclusion turned to their confusion. Then I being persuaded with my selfe in this point, thought it necessarie both for the publike and profitable wealth of this realme, and also for mine owne commoditie and emolument, to take part with the duke of Glocester; whom (I assure you) I thought to be as cleane without dissimulation, as tractable without iniurie, as mercifull without crueltie; as now I know him perfectlie to be a dissembler without veritie, a tyrant without pitie, yea & worse than the tyrant Phalaris, destitute of all truth and clemencie.

[Pg 409]

And so by my meanes, at the first councell holden at London, when he was most suspected of that thing that after happened (as you my lord know well inough) he was made protector and defendor both of the king and of the realme, which authoritie once gotten, & the two children partlie by [2]policie brought vnder his gouernance, he being mooued with that gnawing and couetous serpent desire to reigne, neuer ceassed priuilie to exhort and require, yea and sometimes with minatorie tearmes to persuade me and other lords, as well spirituall as temporall, that he might take vpon him the crowne, till the prince came to the age of foure and twentie yeares, and were able to gouerne the realme, as a ripe and sufficient king.

[2] An vnhappie policie tending to slaughter & bloudshed.

Which thing when he saw me somewhat sticke at, both for the strangenesse of the example (bicause no such president had béene séene) and also bicause we remembred that men once ascended to the highest type of honour and authoritie, will not gladlie descend againe; he then brought in instruments, autentike doctors, proctors, and notaries of the law, with depositions of diuerse witnesses, testifieng king Edwards children to be bastards. Which depositions then I thought to be as true, as now I know them to be feined; and testified by persons with rewards vntrulie suborned. When the said depositions were before vs read and diligentlie heard, he stood vp bareheaded, saieng: Well my lords, euen as I and you (sage and discréet councellors) would that my nephue should haue no wrong; so I preie you doo me nothing but right. For these witnesses & saiengs of famous doctors being true, I am onelie the vndubitate heire to lord Richard Plantagenet duke of Yorke, adiudged to be the verie heire to the crowne of this relme by authoritie of parlement.

Which things so by learned men to vs for a veritie declared, caused me and other to take him for our lawfull and vndoubted prince and souereigne lord. For well we knew that the duke of Clarence sonne, by reason of the atteindor of his father, was disabled to inherit; and also the duke himselfe was named to be a bastard, as I my selfe haue heard spoken, and that vpon great presumptions more times than one: so againe, by my aid and fauour, he of a protector was made a king, and of a subiect made a gouernor. At which time he promised me on his fidelitie (laieng his hand in mine at Bainards castell) that the two yoong princes should liue, and that he would so prouide for them and so mainteine them in honorable estate, that I and all the realme ought and should be content. But his words wanted weight, which is a foule discredit to a prince, to a péere, yea to a priuat and meane common man, as testifieth this sentence:

Dedecus est rebus cum bona verba carent.
The principall cause why the duke of Buckingham cōnceiued such inward grudge against king Richard.

For when he was once crowned king, and in full possession of the whole realme, he cast awaie his old conditions as the adder dooth hir skin, verifieng the old prouerbe; Honours change manners, as the parish préest remembreth that he was neuer parish clearke. For when I my selfe sued vnto him for my part of the earle of Herefords lands which his brother king Edward wrongfullie deteined and withheld from me; and also required to haue the office of the high constableship of England, as diuerse of my noble ancestors before this time haue had, and in long descent continued: in this my first sute shewing his good mind toward me; he did not onelie first delaie me, and afterward denaie me, but gaue me such vnkind words, with such tawnts & retawnts, ye in manner checke and checkemate, to the vttermost proofe of my patience: as though I had neuer furthered him, but hindered him; as though I had put him downe, and not set him vp.

Yet all these ingratitudes and vndeserued vnkindnesses I bare closelie, & suffered patientlie, and couertlie remembred, outwardlie dissembling that I inwardlie thought: and so with a painted countenance, I passed the last summer in his last companie, not without manie faire promises, but without anie good déeds. But when I was crediblie informed of the death of the two yoong innocents, his owne naturall nephues contrarie [Pg 410]to his faith and promise, to the which (God be my iudge) I neuer agréed, nor condescended; O Lord, how my veines panted, how my bodie trembled, and how my heart inwardlie grudged! insomuch that I so abhorred the sight, and much more the companie of him, that I could no longer abide in his court, except I should be openlie reuenged: the end whereof was doubtfull. And so I feined a cause to depart, and with a merrie countenance and a despitefull heart I tooke my leaue humblie of him (he thinking nothing lesse than that I was displeased) and so returned to Brecknocke to you.

The imaginations of the duke of Buckingham to depriue K. Richard.

But in that iournie (as I returned) whither it were by the inspiration of the Holie-ghost, or by melancholious disposition, I had diuerse and sundrie imaginations how to depriue this vnnaturall vncle, and bloudie butcher, from his roiall seat, and princelie dignitie. First I fantised, that if I list to take vpon me the crowne, and imperiall scepter of the realme, now was the time propice and conuenient. For now was the waie made plaine, and the gate opened, and occasion giuen: which now neglected, should peraduenture neuer take such effect and conclusion. For I saw he was disdeined of the lords temporall, abhored and accurssed of the lords spirituall, detested of all gentlemen, and despised of all the communaltie: so that I saw my chance as perfectlie as I saw mine owne image in a glasse, that there was no person (if I had béen gréedie to attempt the enterprise) could nor should haue woone the ring, or got the gole before me. And on this point I rested in imagination secretlie with my selfe two daies at Tewkesburie.

Note the working of ambition in the duke.

From thence so iournieng, I mused and thought that it was not best nor conuenient to take vpon me as a conqueror. For then I knew that all men, and especiallie the nobilitie, would with all their power withstand me, both for rescuing of possessions and tenures, as also for subuerting of the whole estate, laws and customes of the realme: such a power hath a conqueror, as you know well inough my lord. But at the last, in all this doubtfull case there sprang a new branch out of my head, which suerlie I thought should haue brought forth faire floures; but the sunne was so hot, that they turned to drie wéeds. For I suddenlie remembred that the lord Edmund duke of Summerset my grandfather, was with king Henrie the sixt in the two and thrée degrées, from Iohn duke of Lancaster lawfullie begotten: so that I thought sure, my mother being eldest daughter to duke Edmund, that I was next heire to king Henrie the sixt of the house of Lancaster.

This title pleased well such as I made priuie of my counsell, but much more it incouraged my foolish desire, and eleuated my ambitious intent; insomuch that I cléerelie iudged, and in mine owne mind was determinatlie resolued, that I was indubitate heire of the house of Lancaster, and therevpon concluded to make my first foundation, and erect my new building. But whether God so ordeined, or by fortune it so chanced, while I was in a maze either to conclude suddenlie on this title, & to set it open amongst the common people, or to kéepe it secret a while, sée the chance: as I rode betwéene Worcester and Bridgenorth, I incountered with the ladie Margaret countesse of Richmond, now wife vnto the lord Stanlie, which is the verie daughter and sole heire to lord Iohn duke of Summerset, my grandfathers elder brother, which was as cleane out of my mind, as though I had neuer séene hir: so that she and hir sonne the earle of Richmond be both bulworke and portcullice betwéene me and the gate, to enter into the maiestie roiall and getting of the crowne.

[Pg 411]

The office of a king verie hard to discharge.

Now when we had communed a little concerning hir sonne, as I shall shew you after, and were departed, shée to our ladie of Worcester, and I to Shrewsburie: I then new changed, and in maner amazed, began to dispute with my selfe, little considering that thus my earnest title was turned to a tittell not so good as Est Amen. Eftsoones I imagined whether were best to take vpon me, by election of the nobilitie and communaltie, which me thought easie to be done, the vsurper king thus being in hatred and abhorred of this whole realme; or to take it by power, which, standeth in fortunes chance, and difficile to be atchiued and brought to passe. Thus tumbling and tossing in the waues of ambiguitie, betwéene the stone and the sacrifice, I considered first, the office, dutie, and paine of a king, which suerlie thinke I that no mortall man can iustlie and trulie obserue, except he be called, elected, and speciallie appointed by God as K. Dauid, and diuerse other haue béene.

But further, I remembred that if I once tooke on me the scepter, and the gouernance of the realme; that of two extreame enimies I was dailie sure, but of one trustie friend (which now a daies be gone a pilgrimage) I was neither assured nor crediblie ascerteined; such is the worlds mutation. For I manifestlie perceiued, that the daughters of king Edward, and their alies and fréends, which be no small number, being both for his sake much beloued, and also for the great iniurie & manifest tyrannie doone to them by the new vsurper, much lamented and pitied, would neuer ceasse to barke if they cannot bite at the one side of me. Semblablie, my coosine the earle of Richmond, his aids and kinsfolks, which be not of little power, will suerlie attempt like a fierce greihound, either to bite or to pearse me on the other side. So that my life and rule should euer hang by a haire, neuer in quiet, but euer in doubt of death, or deposition.

The dukes resolution not to medle in séeking to obteine the crowne.

And if the said two linages of Yorke and Lancaster, which so long haue striued for the imperiall diadem, should ioine in one against me, then were I suerlie mated, and the game gotten. Wherefore I haue cléerelie determined, and with my selfe concluded, vtterlie to relinquish all such fantasticall imaginations, concerning the obteining of the crowne. But all such plagues, calamities and troubles, which I feared and suspected might haue chanced on me if I had taken the rule and regiment of this realme, I shall with a reredemaine so make them rebound to our common enimie that calleth himselfe king, that the best stopper that he hath at tenice shall not well stop without a fault.

For (as I told you before) the countesse of Richmond in my returne from the new named king, méeting me in the high waie, praied me first for kindred sake, secondarilie for the loue that I bare to my grandfather duke Humfrie, which was sworne brother to hir father, to mooue the king to be good to hir sonne Henrie earle of Richmond, and to licence him with his fauour to returne againe into England. And if it were his pleasure so to doo, she promised that the earle hir sonne should marrie one of king Edwards daughters, at the appointment of the king, without anie thing to be taken or demanded for the said espousals, but onelie the kings fauour; which request I soone ouerpassed, and gaue hir faire words, and so departed.

But after in my lodging, when I called to memorie with a deliberate studie, and did circumspectlie ponder them, I fullie adiudged, that the Holie-ghost caused hir to mooue a thing (the end whereof she could not consider) both for the securitie of the realme, as also for the preferment of hir child, and the destruction and finall confusion of the common enimie king Richard. Which thing, she neither then thought (I am sure) as I by hir words could make coniecture, nor I my selfe cast not hir desire to be so profitable to the realme as I now doo perceiue. But such a Lord is God, that with a little sparkle he kindleth a great fire, and (to the admiration of the world) of impossibilities he maketh possibilities, of small beginnings mightie increasings, of drops great flouds.

The duke of Buckingham resolued to helpe to depose king Richard, and to prefer the erle of Richmond to the crowne.

And so finallie to declare to you the verie conclusion to the which I am both bent and set, my mind is, and my power and pursse shall helpe, that the earle of Richmond, verie heire of the house of Lancaster (in the quarrell of the which linage, both my father and grandfather lost their liues in battell) shall take to wife ladie Elizabeth eldest daughter to king Edward, by the which mariage both the houses of Yorke and Lancaster may be ioined and vnited in one, to the cléere establishment of the[Pg 412] title to the crowne of this noble relme. To which conclusion if the mothers of both parts, and especiallie the earle himselfe, and the ladie will agrée: I doubt not but the[3] bragging bore, which with his tuskes raseth euerie mans skin, shall not onelie be brought to confusion (as he hath deserued) but that this empire shall euer be certeine of an vndubitate heire, & then shall all ciuill and intestine warre cease, which so long hath continued to the paring of manie mens crownes, and this realme shall be reduced againe to quietnesse, renowme and glorie.

[3] The duke of Glocester now king.

The summe of the dukes purpose.

This inuention of the duke manie men thought after, that it was more imagined for the inward hatred that he bare to king Richard, than for anie fauor that he bare to the earle of Richmond. But of such doubtfull matter it is not best to iudge, for erring too farre from the mind and intent of the author. But what soeuer he intended, this deuise once opened to king Richard was the verie occasion, that he was rounded shorter by the whole head, without attaindor or iudgement. When the duke had said, the bishop which fauoured euer the house of Lancaster, was woonderous ioifull, and much reioised to heare this deuise. For now came the wind about euen as he would haue it, sith all his imagination tended to this effect, to haue king Richard subdued, and to haue the lines of king Edward, and king Henrie the sixt againe raised and aduanced.

The motion for the coniunction of the two houses of Lancaster & Yorke (deuised by the duke) furthered.

But lord how he reioised, to thinke how that by this marriage the linages of Yorke and Lancaster should be conioined in one, to the verie stedfastnesse of the publike wealth of this realme. And least the dukes courage should swage, or his mind should againe alter, as it did often before (as you may easilie perceiue by his owne tale) he thought to set vp all the sailes that he had, to the intent that the ship of his pretended purpose might come shortlie to some sure port, and said to the duke: My lord, sith by Gods prouision and your incomparable wisedome and policie, this noble coniunction is first mooued, now is it conuenient, yea and necessarie, to consider what personages, and what fréends we shall first make priuie of this high deuise and politike conclusion: [which is not rashlie & without aduisement to be aduentured, for therin is danger, as the wiseman saith:

Semper habet damnum mentis temerarius ardor.]

By my truth, quoth the duke, we will begin with the ladie Richmond, the earles mother, which knoweth where he is, either in captiuitie, or at large in Britaine. For I heard saie, that the duke of Britaine restored him to libertie, immediatlie after the death of king Edward, by whose means he was restreined. Sith you will begin that waie (said the bishop) I haue an old fréend with the countesse, a man sober, secret, and well witted, called Reginald Braie: whose prudent policie I haue knowne to haue compassed things of great importance, for whome I shall secretlie send, if it be your pleasure; and I doubt not but he will gladlie come and that with a good will. So with a little diligence the bishop wrote a letter to Reginald Braie, requiring him to come to Brecknocke with spéed, for great and vrgent causes touching his mistresse: and no other thing was declared in the letter. So the messenger rode into Lancashire where Braie was with the countesse, and lord Thomas Stanlie hir husband, and deliuered the letter: which when he had read, he tooke it as a signe or presage of some good fortune to come.

Then he (with the messenger) came to the castell of Brecknocke, where the duke and the bishop declared what thing was deuised, both for to set the relme in a quiet stedfastnesse, as also for the high preferment of the earle of Richmond, sonne to his ladie and mistresse: willing hir first to compasse how to obteine the good will of quéene Elizabeth, and also of hir eldest daughter bearing the same name: and after secretlie to send to hir sonne into Britaine, to declare what high honor was prepared for him, if he would sweare to marrie the ladie Elizabeth assoone as he was king, and in roiall possession of the relme. Reginald Braie with a glad heart, forgetting [Pg 413]nothing giuen to him in charge, in great hast and with good spéed returned to the countesse his ladie and mistresse.

Bishop Mortons deuise for to be at his owne libertie in his bishoprike of Elie.

When Braie was departed, and this great doubtfull vessell once set abroach, the bishop thirsting for nothing more than for libertie: when he saw the duke pleasant and well minded toward him; he told the duke, that if he were in his Ile of Elie, he could make manie fréends to further their enterprise: and if he were there and had but foure daies warning, he little regarded the malice of king Richard, his countrie was so strong. The duke knew well all this to be true, but yet loth he was that the bishop should depart: for he knew well, that as long as the bishop was with him, he was sure of politike aduise, sage counsell, and circumspect procéeding. And so he gaue the bishop faire words, saieng, that he should shortlie depart, and that well accompanied for feare of enimies.

The bishop of Elie saileth into Flanders to the earle of Richmond.

The Bishop being as wittie as the duke was wilie, did not tarrie till the dukes companie were assembled, but secretlie disguised, in a night departed (to the dukes great displeasure) and came to his sée of Elie; where he found monie and fréends; and so sailed into Flanders, where he did the earle of Richmond good seruice, and neuer returned againe, till the erle of Richmond (after being king) sent for him, and shortlie promoted him to the sée of Canturburie. Thus the bishop woond himselfe from the duke when he had most néed of his aid, for if he had taried still, the duke had not made so manie blabs of his counsell, nor put so much confidence in the Welshmen, nor yet so temerariouslie set forward (without knowledge of his fréends) as he did, which things were his sudden ouerthrowe (as they that knew it did report) [and might perhaps haue béene auoided by the bishops wisdome for the dukes saftie, as his owne; sith

Qui sapit, ille potest alios sapuisse docere.]

When Reginald Braie had declared his message and priuie instruction to the countesse of Richmond his mistresse, no maruell though she were ioious and glad, both of the good newes, and also for the obteining of such a high fréend in hir sonnes cause as the duke was. Wherefore she willing not to sléepe this matter, but to further it to the vttermost of hir power and abilitie, deuised a means how to breake this matter to quéene Elizabeth then being in sanctuarie at Westminster. And therevpon she, hauing in hir familie at that time (for the preseruation of hir health) a certeine Welshman called Lewes, learned in physicke, which for his grauitie and experience, was well knowne, and much estéemed amongest great estates of the realme, brake hir mind to him.

For with this Lewes she vsed sometime liberallie and familiarlie to talke, and now hauing opportunitie and occasion to expresse hir hart vnto him in this weightie matter, declared that the time was come that hir sonne should be ioined in marriage with ladie Elizabeth, daughter and heire to king Edward; and that king Richard being taken and reputed of all men for the common enimie of the relme, should out of all honor and estate be deiected, and of his crowne and kingdome be cléerelie spoiled and expelled: and required him to go to quéene Elizabeth (with whome in his facultie he was of counsell) not as a messenger, but as one that came fréendlie to visit and consolate hir, and (as time & place should require) to make hir priuie of this deuise; not as a thing concluded, but as a purpose by him imagined.

Lewes the physician sheweth the quéene the whole conceipt and deuise of the matter.

This physician did not linger to accomplish hir desire, but with good diligence repaired to the quéene, being still in the sanctuarie at Westminster. And when he saw time propice and conuenient for his purpose, he said vnto hir: Madame, although my imagination be verie simple, and my deuise more foolish; yet for the entire affection that I beare toward you and your children, I am so bold to vtter vnto you a secret and priuie conceit that I haue cast and compassed in my fantasticall braine. When I well remembred and no lesse considered the great losse and damage that you haue[Pg 414] susteined, by the death of your noble and louing husband; and the great dolour and sorow that you haue suffered and tollerated, by the cruell murther of your innocent children: I can no lesse doo both of bounden duetie and christian charitie, than dailie to studie, and hourelie imagine, not onelie how to bring your hart to comfort and gladnesse, but also deuise how to reuenge the righteous quarell of you and your children on that bloudie bloudsupper, and cruell tyrant king Richard.

The coniunction of the two families mooued to the Q. by the physician.

And first consider, what battell, what manslaughter, what mischéefe hath risen in this realme by the dissention betwéene the two noble houses of Yorke & Lancaster. Which two families (as I haue continued) if they may be ioined in one, I thinke, yea and doubt not, but your line shall be againe restored to the pristinate estate and degrée; to your great ioie and comfort, and to the vtter confusion of your mortall enimie the vsurper king. You know verie well madame, that of the house of Lancaster, the earle of Richmond is next of bloud, who is liuing, and a lustie yoong batcheler, and to the house of Yorke your daughters now are heires. If you could agrée and inuent the meane how to couple your eldest daughter with the yoong earle of Richmond in matrimonie, no doubt but the vsurper of the realme should be shortlie deposed, and your heire againe to hir right restored.

The quéenes readinesse to set forward this cōclusion.

When the quéene had heard this friendlie motion (which was as farre from hir thought, as the man that the rude people saie is in the moone) lord how hir spirits reuiued, and how hir heart leapt in hir bodie for ioie and gladnesse! And first giuing laud to Almightie God, as the chiefe authour of hir comfort, secondarilie to maister Lewes, as the deuiser of these good newes & tidings, she instantlie besought him, that as he had béene the first inuenter of so great an enterprise, so now he would not relinquish nor desist to follow the same: requiring him further (bicause he was apperteining to the countesse of Richmond mother to the erle Henrie) that he would with all diligent celeritie resort to hir, then lodging in hir husbands place, within the citie of London: and to declare on the quéenes behalfe to the countesse, that all the friends and fautors of king Edward hir husband, should assist and take part with the earle of Richmond hir sonne, so that he would take a corporall oth after the kingdome obteined, to espouse and take to wife the ladie Elizabeth hir daughter, or else ladie Cicilie, if the eldest daughter were not then liuing.

Maister Lewes with all dexteritie so sped his businesse, that he made and concluded a finall end and determination of this enterprise betwene the two mothers. And bicause he was a physician, and out of all suspicion and misdéeming, he was the common curror and dailie messenger betwéene them, aiding and setting foorth the inuented conspiracie against king Richard. So the ladie Margaret countesse of Richmond, brought into a good hope of the preferment of hir sonne, made Reginald Braie hir most faithfull seruant, chiefe sollicitor and priuie procuror of this conspiracie; giuing him in charge secretly to inuegle and attract such persons of nobilitie to ioine with hir and take hir part, as he knew to be ingenious, faithfull, diligent, and of actiuitie. This Reginald Braie within few daies brought vnto his lure (first of all taking of euerie person a solemne oth to be true and secret) sir Giles Daubneie, sir Iohn Cheinie knight, Richard Gilford, and Thomas Rame esquiers, and diuers other. The countesse of Richmond was not so diligent for hir part, but quéene Elizabeth was as vigilant on the other side, and made friends, and appointed councellors to set forward and aduance hir businesse.

The countesse of Richmond vttereth the matter to Urswike hir chapleine, swearing him to be secret.

In the meane season, the countesse of Richmond tooke into hir seruice Christopher Urswike, an honest and wise priest, and (after an oth of him for to be secret taken and sworne) she vttered to him all hir mind and counsell, adhibiting to him the more confidence and truth, that he all his life had fauoured and taken part with king Henrie the sixt, and as a speciall iewell put to hir seruice by sir Lewes hir physician. So the mother, studious for the prosperitie of hir son, appointed this Christopher Urs[Pg 415]wike to saile into Britaine to the earle of Richmond, and to declare and reueale to him all pacts and agréements betwene hir & the quéene agréed and concluded. But suddenlie she remembring that the duke of Buckingham was one of the first inuentors, and a secret founder of this enterprise, determined to send some personage of more estimation than hir chapleine.

Hugh Cōweie esquire sent ouer to the earle of Richmond, to informe him of his roiall preferment.

Herevpon she elected for a messenger Hugh Conweie esquier, & sent him into Britaine with a great sum of monie to hir sonne, giuing him in charge, to declare to the earle the great loue and especiall fauor that the most part of the nobilitie of the realme bare toward him, the louing hearts & beneuolent minds which the whole communaltie of their owne frée will frankelie offered, and liberallie exhibited to him, willing and aduising him not to neglect so good an occasion apparantlie offered; but with all spéed and diligence, to addict and settle his mind & full intention how to returne home againe into England, where he was both wished and looked for: giuing him further monition and counsell, to take land and arriuall in the principalitie of Wales, where he should not doubt to find both aid, comfort and friends.

Tho. Rame sent ouer for the same purpose for feare of interception.

Richard Gilford, least Hugh Conweie might fortune to be taken, or stopped at Plimmouth, where he intended to take his nauigation, sent out of Kent Thomas Rame with the same instructions: and both made such diligence, and had such wind and weather, the one by land from Calis, and the other by water from Plimmouth, that within lesse than an houre both ariued in the duke of Britains court, and spake with the earle of Richmond, which (from the death of king Edward) went at pleasure and libertie, and to him counted and manifested the cause and effect of their message and ambassage. When the earle had receiued this message (which was the more pleasant, bicause it was vnlooked for) he rendered to Iesu his sauiour, his most humble & heartie thanks, being in firme credence and beléefe, that such things as hée with busie mind and laborious intent had wished & desired, could neuer haue taken anie effect, without the helpe and preferment of almightie God.

The earle of Richmond maketh the duke of Britaine priuie to the matter.

And now being put in comfort of his long longing, he did communicate & breake to the duke of Britaine all his secrets, and priuie messages, which were to him declared: aduertising him that he was entered into a sure and stedfast hope, to obteine and get the crowne and kingdome of the realme of England, desiring him both of his good will and friendlie helpe toward the atchiuing of his offered enterprise, promising him when he came to his intended purpose, to render to him againe equall kindnes, and condigne recompense. Although the duke of Britaine before that daie, by Thomas Hutton ambassadour from king Richard, had both by monie and praiers béene solicited and mooued to put againe into safe custodie the earle of Richmond, he neuerthelesse promised faithfullie to aid him: and his promise hée trulie performed.

Hugh Cōwey and Thomas Rame returne into England and deliuer their answer.
Preparation to bring in, receiue, & erect the earle to the kingdome.

Wherevpon the earle with all diligence sent into England againe Hugh Conweie, and Thomas Rame, which should declare his comming shortlie into England: to the intent that all things, which by counsell might be for his purpose prouided, should be spéedilie and diligentlie doone; and that all things doubtfull, should of his friends be prudentlie foreséene, in auoiding all engines or snares which king Richard had or might set in disturbance of his purpose: and he in the meane season would make his abode still in Britaine, till all things necessarie for his iournie were prepared, and brought in a readinesse. In the meane season, the chiefteins of the coniuration in England began togither manie enterprises: some in conuenient fortresses put strong garrisons, some kept armed men priuilie, to the intent that when they should haue knowledge of the earles landing, they would begin to stir vp the war: other did secretlie mooue and solicit the people to rise & make an insurrection: other (amongst whom Iohn Morton bishop of Elie then being in Flanders was chiefe) by priuie letters and cloked messengers did stirre and mooue to this new coniuration, all such which[Pg 416] they certeinlie knew to haue a rooted hatred, or to beare cankered malice toward king Richard and his procéedings.

K. Richards purpose in the case of coniuration against him.

Although this great enterprise were neuer so priuilie handled, and so secretlie amongst so circumspect persons treated, compassed and conueied; yet knowledge therof came to the eares of king Richard, who with the sudden chance was not a little mooued and astonied. First bicause he had no host readie prepared; secondlie, if he should raise an armie so suddenlie, he knew not where to méet his enimies, or whither to go, or where to tarrie. Wherefore he determined to dissemble the matter as though he knew nothing, till he had assembled his host; and in the meane season either by the rumour of the common people, or by the diligence of his espials to search out all the counsels, determinations, intents, and compasses of his close aduersaries; or else by policie to intercept and take some person of the same coniuration, considering that there is no more secret nor hid espiall, than that which lurketh in dissimulation of knowledge and intelligence, or is hidden in name and shadow of counterfeit humanitie and feined kindnesse. But yet wisedome hath a deuise to auoid & shift off all such deceiuers, as the poet well saieth:

Dissimulatores vitat prudentia vafros.
The duke of Buckingham conspireth against king Richard.

And bicause he knew the duke of Buckingham to be the chiefe head and aid of the coniuration, hée thought it most necessarie to plucke him from that part, either by faire promises or open warre. Wherevpon he addressed his louing letters to the duke, full of gentle words, & most friendlie speach; giuing further in charge to the messenger that caried the letter to promise the duke (in his behalfe) golden hilles, and siluer riuers, and with all gentle and pleasant means to persuade and exhort the duke to come to the court. But the duke as wilie as the king, mistrusting the faire flattering words, and the gaie promises to him so suddenlie without any cause offered, knowing the craftie casts of king Richards bow, which in diuerse affaires before time he had séene practised, required the king to pardon him, excusing himselfe that he was so diseased in his stomach, that scant he could either take refection or rest.

The duke of Buckingham a professed enimie to king Richard.

King Richard not being content with this excuse would in no wise admit the same; but incontinent directed to the duke other letters, of a more rougher and hautier sort, not without tawnting and biting tearmes, and checking words, commanding him (all excuses set apart) to repaire without anie delaie to his roiall presence. The duke made to the messeng a determinate answer, that he would not come to his mortall enimie, whome he neither loued, nor fauoured: and immediatlie prepared open warre against him, and persuaded all his complices and partakers, that euerie man in his quarter, with all diligence should raise vp people & make a commotion. And by this means almost in one moment Thomas marques Dorset came out of sanctuarie, where since the begining of K. Richards daies he had continued, whose life by the onelie helpe of sir Thomas Louell was preserued from all danger & perill in this troublous world, gathered togither a great band of men in Yorkeshire.

K. Richards drift in the disposing of his armie.

Sir Edward Courtneie, and Peter his brother bishop of Excester, raised an other armie in Deuonshire and Cornewall. In Kent Richard Gilford and other gentlemen collected a great companie of souldiers, and openlie began warre. But king Richard, who in the meane time had gotten togither a great strength and puissance, thinking it not most for his part beneficiall, to disperse and diuide his great armie into small branches, and particularlie to persecute anie one of the coniuration by himselfe, determined (all other things being set aside) with his whole puissance to set on the chiefe head, which was the duke of Buckingham. And so remoouing from London, he tooke his iournie towards Salisburie, to the intent that in his iournie he might set on the dukes armie, if he might know him in anie place incamped, or in order of battell arraied.

[Pg 417]

The duke of Buckinghāms power of wild Welshmen (falseharted) doo faile him.

The king was scarse two daies iournie from Salisburie, when the duke of Buckingham accompanied with a great power of wild Welshmen, whom he (being a man of great courage and sharpe spéech) in maner against their willes had rather thereto inforced and compelled by lordlie and streict commandement, than by liberall wages and gentle demenour, which thing was the verie occasion why they left him desolate, & cowardlie forsooke him. The duke with all his power marched through the forrest of Deane, intending to haue passed the riuer Seuerne at Glocester, & there to haue ioined his armie with the Courtneis, and other westerne men of his confederacie and affinitie. Which if he doone, no doubt but king Richard had béene in great ieopardie, either of priuation of his realme, or losse of his life, or both.

A sore floud of high water dooing much harme, called the duke of Buckinghāms great water.

But sée the chance. Before he could atteine to Seuerne side, by force of continuall raine and moisture, the riuer rose so high that it ouerflowed all the countrie adioining, insomuch that men were drowned in their beds, and houses with the extreame violence were ouerturned, children were caried about the fields swimming in cradels, beasts were drowned on hilles. Which rage of water lasted continuallie ten daies, insomuch that in the countrie adioining they call it to this daie, The great water; or the duke of Buckinghams great water. By this floud the passages were so closed, that neither the duke could come ouer Seuern to his adherents, nor they to him. During the which time, the Welshmen lingring idelie, and without monie, vittels, or wages, suddenlie scattered and departed: and for all the dukes faire promises, threatnings, and inforcement, would in no wise either go further nor abide.

The duke (being thus left almost post alone) was of necessitie compelled to flie, and in flight was with this sudden fortune maruellouslie dismaid: and being vnpurneied what counsell he should take, and what waie he should follow, like a man in despaire, not knowing what to doo, of verie trust & confidence conueied himselfe into the house of Humfreie Banaster his seruant beside Shrewesburie, whome he had tenderlie brought vp, and whome he aboue all men loued, fauoured and trusted; now not doubting but that in his extreame necessitie he should find him faithfull, secret, and trustie, intending there couertlie to lurke, till either he might raise againe a new armie, or else shortlie to saile into Britaine to the earle of Richmond. [But alas (good duke) the meanes (by occasion of Gods prouidence, shaking men out of their shifts of supposed safetie) failed him, and he fell infortunatlie into the hands of the foming bore, that tare him in péeces with his tuskes.]

The dukes adherents & their powers dispersed.

Now when it was knowne to his adherents, which were redie to guie battell, that his host was scatred, and had left him almost alone, and was fled, & could not be found; they were suddenlie amazed & striken with sudden feare, that euery man like persons desperate shifted for himselfe & fled. Some went to sanctuarie, and to solitarie places; some fled by sea, whereof the most part within a few daies after arriued safelie in the duchie of Britaine. Among which number were these persons; Peter Courtneie bishop of Excester, and sir Edmund Courtneie his brother, by king Henrie the seuenth after created earle of Deuonshire; Thomas marquesse Dorset, Iohn lord Welles, sir Iohn Bourchier, sir Edward Wooduile, a valiant man in armes, brother to quéene Elizabeth, sir Robert Willoughbie, sir Giles Daubneie, sir Thomas Arundell, sir Iohn Cheinie and his two brethren, sir William Barkelie, sir William Brandon, & Thomas his brother, sir Richard Edgecombe; all these for the most part being knights, Iohn Hallowell, and Edward Poinings, a politike capteine.

A proclamation for the apprehension of the duke of Buckinghā, with large rewards to the apprehendor.

At this verie season, Iohn Morton bishop of Elie, and Christopher Urswike priest, and an other companie of noble men soiourned in Flanders; and by letters and messengers procured manie enimies against king Richard, which vsing a vigilant eie, and a quicke remembrance, being newlie come to Salisburie, hauing perfect notice and knowledge how the duke was fled, and how his complices intended to passe out of the realme; first he sent men of warre to all the next ports and passages, to kéepe[Pg 418] streictlie the sea coast, so that no person should passe outward, nor take land within the realme without their assent and knowledge; secondarilie he made proclamation, that what person could shew and reueale where the duke of Buckingham was, should be highlie rewarded; if he were a bondman, he should be infranchised and set at libertie; if he were of frée bloud, he should haue a generall pardon, and be rewarded with a thousand pounds.

K. Richard sendeth foorth a nauie to scowre the sea ouer against Britaine.

Furthermore, bicause he vnderstood by Thomas Hutton, which (as you haue heard) was newlie returned out of Britaine, that Francis duke of Britaine not onelie refused to kéepe the earle of Richmond as a prisoner, at his contemplation, and for his sake; but also that he was readie to aid and succour the said earle, with men, monie and all things necessarie for his transporting into England; he therefore rigged and sent out ships of warre, well furnished and decked with men and artillerie, to scowre and kéepe that part of the sea that lieth ouer against Britaine, to the intent that if the earle of Richmond would aduenture to saile toward England, either he should be taken captiue, or be beaten and driuen from the coast of England. And moreouer, to the intent that euerie coast, waie, passage, and corner, should be diligentlie watched & kept, he set at euerie doubtfull and suspected place men of warre, to séeke, search, and inquire, if anie creature could tell tidings of the duke of Buckingham; or of anie of his confederation, adherents, fautors or partakers.

Humfreie Banaster seruant vnto the duke of Buckingham betraied his maister.
Gods secret iudgements vpon Banaster and his children after the duke was apprehended.
The duke of Buckingham beheaded without arreignmēnt or iudgement.

While this busie search was diligentlie applied and put in execution, Humfreie Banaster (were it more for feare of life and losse of goods, or allured & prouoked by auaricious desire of the thousand pounds) he bewraied his guest and maister to Iohn Mitton then shiriffe of Shropshire; which suddenlie with a strong power of men in harnesse apprehended the duke in a little groue adioining to the mansion of Humfreie Banaster, and in great hast and euill spéed conueied him apparelled in a pilled blacke cloake to the towne of Shrewesburie, where king Richard then kept his houshold. Whether this Banaster bewraried the duke more for feare than couetous, manie men doo doubt: but sure it is, that shortlie after he had betraied the duke his master; his sonne and heire waxed mad, & so died in a bores stie; his eldest daughter of excellent beautie, was suddenlie striken with a foule leprosie; his second sonne maruellouslie deformed of his lims, and made lame; his yoonger sonne in a small puddle was strangled and drowned; and he being of extreame age, arreigned, and found guiltie of a murther, and by his cleargie saued. And as for his thousand pounds, K. Richard gaue him not one farthing, saieng that he which would be vntrue to so good a maister, would be false to all other: howbeit some saie that he had a small office or a farme to stop his mouth withall. The duke being by certeine of the kings councell diligentlie vpon interrogatories examined, what things he knew preiudiciall vnto the kings person, opened and declared franklie and fréelie all the coniuration, without dissembling or glosing; trusting, bicause he had trulie and plainelie reuealed and confessed all things that were of him required, that he should haue licence to speake to the king: which (whether it were to sue for pardon and grace, or whether he being brought to his presence, would haue sticked him with a dagger as men then iudged) he sore desired and required. But when he had confessed the whole fact & conspiracie, vpon All soules daie, without arreigment or iudgement, he was at Salisburie in the open market place, on a new scaffold beheaded and put to death.

This death (as a reward) the duke of Buckingham receiued at the hands of king Richard, whome he before in his affaires, purposes and enterprises had holpen, susteined, and set forward, aboue all Gods forbode. By this all men may easilie perceiue, that he not onelie loseth both his labour, trauell, and industrie (and further staineth and spotteth his line with a perpetuall ignominie and reproch) which in euill and mischiefe assisteth and aideth an euill disposed person, considering for the most part, that he for his fréendlie fauour should receiue some great displeasure or importunate chance.[Pg 419] Beside that, God of his iustice in conclusion appointed to him a condigne paine and affliction for his merits and deserts. [Auailable therefore, and for his best aduantage had it béene, to haue followed the wise counsell of him, that willed him, and such as he, to kéepe them from the man that hath power to slaie; so shalt thou doubt (saith he) the feare of death. And if thou come vnto him make no fault, least he take awaie thy life: remember that thou goest in the middest of snares, & that thou walkest vpon the towers of the citie. Which aduise a learned man, in good place, and necessarie seruice about the prince, neatlie comprised in these few verses:

Gu. Ha.
Vtere principibus modicè, nimis esse propinquus
Si cupis, in vitæ multa pericla rues.
Si tua te fortuna facit seruire potenti,
Dispice ne titubes, atque repentè cadas,
Sollicitè vigiles, laquei sunt vndíque fusi,
Turribus in summis es situs, ergo caue.]
The earle of Richmonds preparation of ships and souldiers to the sea.
His ships disparkled by tempest.

While these things were thus handled and ordered in England, Henrie earle of Richmond prepared an armie of fiue thousand manlie Britons, and fortie well furnished ships. When all things were prepared in a readinesse, and the daie of departing and setting forward was appointed, which was the twelfe daie of the moneth of October, the whole armie went on shipbord, and halsed vp their sailes, and with a prosperous wind tooke the sea. But toward night the wind changed, and the weather turned, and so huge and terrible a tempest so suddenlie arose, that with the verie power and strength of the storme, the ships were disparkled, seuered & separated asunder: some by force were driuen into Normandie, some were compelled to returne againe into Britaine. The ship wherein the earle of Richmond was, associat onelie with one other barke, was all night tossed and turmoiled.

He séeth all the sea banks furnished with souldiers.
He sendeth to know whether they were with him or against him.

In the morning after, when the rage of the furious tempest was asswaged, and the ire of blustering wind was some deale appeased; about the houre of noone the same daie, the earle approched to the south part of the realme of England, euen at the mouth of the hauen of Pole, in the countie of Dorset, where he might plainelie perceiue all the sea bankes & shores garnished and furnished with men of warre and souldiers, appointed and deputed there to defend his arriuall and landing (as before is mentioned.) Wherefore he gaue streict charge, and sore commandement, that no person should once presume to take land, and go to shore, vntill such time as the whole nauie were assembled and come togither. And while he taried and lingered, he sent out a shipboate toward the land side, to know whether they, which stood there in such a number, and so well furnished in apparell defensiue were his foes and enimies, or else, his fréends and comfortors.

A forged tale to intrap the earles messengers.

They that were sent to inquire, were instantlie desired of the men of warre kéeping the coast (which thereof were before instructed & admonished) to descend and take land, affirming that they were appointed by the duke of Buckingham there to await and tarie for the arriuall and landing of the earle of Richmond, and to conduct him safelie into the campe, where the duke not far of laie incamped with a mightie armie, and an host of great strength and power, to the intent that the duke and the earle, ioining in puissances and forces togither, might prosecute and chase king Richard being destitute of men, and in maner desperate, and so by that meanes, and their owne labours, to obteine the end of their enterprise which they had before begun.

[Pg 420]

The earle arriueth in Normandie & passeth by land into Britaine againe.

The earle of Richmond suspecting their flattering request to be but a fraud (as it was in déed) after he perceiued none of his ships to appeare in sight, he weied vp his anchors, halsed vp his sailes, & hauing a prosperous and streinable wind, and a fresh gale sent euen by God to deliuer him from that perill and ieopardie, arriued safe and in all securitie in the duchie of Normandie, where he (to refresh and solace his soldiers and people) tooke his recreation by the space of thrée daies, and cléerelie determined with part of his companie to passe all by land againe into Britaine. And in the meane season he sent ambassadors to the French king, called Charles the eight, which newlie succéeded his father king Lewes the eleuenth, not long before departed to God, requiring of him a safe conduct and licence to passe thorough his countrie of Normandie into Britaine.

Charles the 8. of France his beneuolence to the earle of Richmond.

This yoong king, hauing compassion of the misfortune of the earle of Richmond, not onelie gentlie granted and assigned to him a pasport; but also liberallie disbursed to him a great summe of monie for his conduct and expenses necessarie in his long iournie and passage. But the earle trusting in the French kings humanitie, aduentured to send his ships home into Britaine, and to set forward himselfe by land on his iournie, making no great hast till his messengers were returned. Which being with that benefit so comforted, and with hope of prosperous successe so incouraged, marched towards Britaine with all diligence, intending there to consult further with his louers & fréends of his affaires and enterprises. When he was returned againe into Britaine, he was certified by credible information, that the duke of Buckingham had lost his head; and that the marquesse Dorset, and a great number of noble men of England, had a little before inquired and searched for him there, and were now returned to Vannes.

The earle lamenteth and reioiseth.

When he had heard these newes thus reported, he first sorowed and lamented his first attempt and setting forward of his fréends, and in especiall of the nobilitie, not to haue more fortunatelie succéeded. Secondarilie, he reioised on the other part, that God had sent him so manie valiant and prudent capteins to be his companions in his martiall enterprises, trusting suerlie and nothing doubting in his owne opinion, but that all his businesse should be wiselie compassed, and brought to a good conclusion. Wherefore he determining with all diligence to set forward his new begun businesse, departed to Rheims, and sent certeine of his priuie seruitours to conduct and bring the marquesse and other noble men to his presence. When they knew that he was safelie returned into Britaine, Lord how they reioised! for before that time they missed him, and knew not in what part of the world to make inquirie or search for him. For they doubted and no lesse feared least he had taken land in England, & fallen into the hands of king Richard, in whose person they knew well was neither mercie nor compassion.

The English lords giue faith and promise either to other.
The earle of Richmond sweareth to marrie Elizabeth daughter to Edward the fourth, after possession of the crowne.

Wherefore in all spéedie maner they galoped toward him, and him reuerentlie saluted. Which méeting after great ioy and solace, and no small thanks giuen and rendered on both parts, they aduisedlie debated and communed of their great businesse and weightie enterprise. In the which season the feast of the Natiuitie of our sauiour Christ happened, on which daie all the English lords went with their solemnitie to the chéefe church of the citie, and there ech gaue faith and promise to other, the earle himselfe first tooke a corporall oth on his honor, promising that incontinent after he shuld be possessed of the crowne and dignitie of the realme of England, he would be conioined in matrimonie with the ladie Elizabeth daughter to king Edward the fourth. Then all the companie sware to him fealtie, and did to him homage (as though he had béene that time the crowned king, and annointed prince) promising faithfullie, and firmelie affirming, that they would not onelie loose their worldlie substance; but also be depriued of their liues and worldlie felicitie, rather than to suffer king Richard that tyrant longer to rule and reigne ouer them.

Which solemne oths made and taken, the earle of Richmond declared and communicated all these dooings to Francis duke of Britaine, desiring & most heartilie requiring him to aid him with a greater armie to conduct him into his countrie, which so sore longed and looked for his returne, and to the which he was by the more part of the nobilitie and communaltie called and desired. Which (with Gods aid, and the dukes comfort) he doubted not in short time to obteine; requiring him further to prest[Pg 421] to him a conuenient summe of monie; affirming that all such summes of monie which he had receiued of his especiall fréends, were spent and consumed in preparation of his last iourneie made toward England; which summes of monie, after his enterprise once atchiued, he in the word of a prince faithfullie promised to repaie and restore againe. The duke promised him aid and helpe. Vpon confidence whereof he rigged his ships, and set foorth a nauie well decked with ordinance, and warlikelie furnished with all things necessarie, to the intent to saile forward shortlie, and to loose no time.

Diuerse of the earle of Richmonds faction apprehended and executed.
Abr. Flem.

In the meane season king Richard apprehended in diuerse parts of the realme certeine gentlemen of the earle of Richmonds faction, & confederation, which either intended to saile into Britaine toward him, or else at his landing to assist and aid him. Amongst whome sir George Browne, sir Roger Clifford, and foure other were put to execution at London, and sir Thomas Sentleger which had married the duchesse of Excester the kings owne sister, and Thomas Rame, and diuerse other were executed at Excester. Beside these persons, diuerse of his houshold seruants, whome either he suspected or doubted, were by great crueltie put to shamefull death. [By the obseruation of which mens names, the place, and the action here mentioned, with the computation oftime, I find fit occasion to interlace a note (newlie receiued from the hands of one that is able to saie much by record) deliuering a summarie (in more ample sort) of their names, whome king Richard did so tyrannicallie persecute and execute; as followeth.]

Iohn Hooker, alias Vowel.
K. Richard commeth to Excester, and is receiued with presents.
A prophesie, the memorie whereof did appall the kings spirits.

King Richard (saith he) came this yeare to the citie, but in verie secret maner, whome the maior & his brethren in the best maner they could did receiue, and then presented to him in a purse two hundred nobles; which he thankefullie accepted. And during his abode here he went about the citie, & viewed the seat of the same, & at length he came to the castell: and when he vnderstood that it was called Rugemont, suddenlie he fell into a dumpe, and (as one astonied) said; Well, I sée my daies be not long. He spake this of a prophesie told him, that when he came once to Richmond he should not long liue after: which fell out in the end to be true, not in respect of this castle, but in respect of Henrie earle of Richmond, who the next yeare following met him at Bosworth field where he was slaine. But at his being here, he did find the gentlemen of this countrie not to be best affected towards him, and after his departure, did also heare that the marquesse of Dorset, the bishop of Excester, and sundrie other gentlemen were in a confederacie against him for the assisting of the erle of Richmond.

Lord Scroope by the kings commission kept a session against diuerse indicted of high treson.
More than fiue hundred indicted, whereof some escaped, and some were executed.

Wherefore he sent downe Iohn lord Scroope with a commission to kéepe a session; who sat at Torington, & then & there were indicted of high treason, Thomas marquesse Dorset, Peter bishop of Excester, Thomas Sentleger, and Thomas Fulford knights as principals, and Robert Willoughbie and Thomas Arundell knights, Iohn Arundell deane of Excester, Dauid Hopton archdeacon of Excester, Oliuer abbot of Buckland, Bartholomew Sentleger, William Chilson, Thomas Gréenefield, Richard Edgecombe, Robert Burnbie, Walter Courtneie, Thomas Browne, Edward Courtneie, Hugh Lutterell, Iohn Crocker, Iohn Hallewell, and fiue hundred others were indicted as accessaries. All which fled and shifted for themselues, some into Britaine, and some else where; sauing sir Thomas Sentleger, and one sir Iohn Rame; who were brought to Excester, and there at the Carefax were beheaded.

The earle of Richmōd atteinted in parlement, and all other that fled ouer sea to take his part.

After this, king Richard called a parlement, in the which he atteinted the earle of Richmond and all other persons which were fled out of the realme for feare, or anie other cause, as enimies to him, and to their naturall countrie; & all their lands, goods, & possessions, were confiscate and seized to the kings vse. And yet not content with this preie, which no doubt was of no small valour and moment, he laid on the peoples necks a great tax and tallage, and suerlie necessitie to that actin maner him compelled.[Pg 422] For what with purging and declaring his innocencie concerning the murther of his nephues towards the world, and what with cost to obteine the loue and fauour of the communaltie (which outwardlie glosed, and openlie dissembled with him) he gaue prodigallie so manie and so great rewards, that now both he lacked, and scarse wist honestlie how to borow.

An. Reg. 2.
King Richard chargeth the lord Stanleie to kéepe his wife in some secret place from dealing against him.

In this troublous season, nothing was more maruelled at, than that the lord Stanleie had not béene taken, and reputed as an enimie to the king; considering the working of the ladie Margaret his wife, moother to the earle of Richmond. But forsomuch as the enterprise of a woman was of him reputed of no regard or estimation; and that the lord Thomas hir husband had purged himselfe sufficientlie to be innocent of all dooings and attempts by hir perpetrated and committed; it was giuen him in charge to kéepe hir in some secret place at home, without hauing anie seruant or companie: so that from thence foorth she should neuer send letter or messenger vnto hir sonne, nor anie of his fréends or confederats, by the which the king might be molested or troubled, or anie hurt or preiudice might be attempted against his realme and communalitie. Which commandement was a while put in execution and accomplished, according to his dreadfull commandement.

Yet the wild worme of vengeance wauering in his head, could not be content with the death of diuerse gentlemen suspected of treason; but also he must extend his bloudie furie against a poore gentleman called Callingborne, for making a small rime of thrée of his vnfortunate councellors, which were the lord Louell, sir Richard Ratcliffe his mischéeuous minion, and sir William Catesbie his secret seducer, which méeter or rime was thus framed;

The Cat, the Rat, and Louell our dog,
Rule all England vnder an hog.
Collingborne executed.

Meaning by the hog, the dreadfull wild boare, which was the king cognisance. But bicause the first line ended in dog, the metrician could not (obseruing the regiments of méeter) end the second verse in boare, but called the boare an hog. This poeticall schoolemaister, corrector of bréefs and longs, caused Collingborne to be abbreuiated shorter by the head, and to be diuided into foure quarters.

Collingborne indictment.
Collingborne a fauourer of the earle of Richmond.

Here is to be noted, that beside the rime which is reported by some to be the onelie cause for which this gentleman suffered, I find in a register booke of indictements concerning fellonies and treasons by sundrie persons committed, that the said Collingborne (by the name of William Collingborne) late of Lidyard in the countie of Wilshire esquier, and other his associats were indicted in London: for that they about the tenth daie of Iulie, in this second yeare of king Richards reigne, in the parish of saint Botulphes in Portsoken ward had solicited and requested one Thomas Yate, offering to him for his paines eight pounds, to go ouer into Britaine vnto Henrie erle of Richmond, Thomas marquesse Dorset, Iohn Cheineie esquier, and others, which in the last parlement holden at Westminster had béene atteinted of sundrie high treasons by them practised within the kings dominion.

Collingborne purposse to aid the erle at his arriuall at Pole in Dorsetshire.

Besides this, to declare vnto them that they should doo verie well, to returne into England with all such power as they might get before the feast of S. Luke the euangelist next insuing; for so they might receiue all the whole reuenues of the realme due at the feast of saint Michaell next before the said feast of saint Luke. And that if the said earle of Richmond and his partakers, following the counsell of the said Collingborne, would arriue at the hauen of Pole in Dorsetshire, he the said Collingborne and other his associats would cause the people to rise in armes, and to leuie warre against king Richard, taking part with the said earle and his fréends; so that all things should be at their commandements. Moreouer, to mooue the said earle to send the said Iohn Cheineie vnto the French king, to aduertise him that his ambassadors sent into England should be dallied with, onelie to driue off the time till the[Pg 423] season were past, and that then in the beginning of summer king Richard meant to make warre into France, inuading that realme with all puissance: and so by this meanes to persuade the French king to aid the earle of Richmond and his partakers, in their quarell against king Richard.

Collingborne indicted to be a libeller against king Richard.

Further, that the said William Collingborne, being confederate with the said earle and other his adherents, as well within the realme as without, the eightéenth day of Iulie, in the said second yeare, within the parish of saint Gregories in Faringdon ward within, had deuised certeine bils and writings in rime, to the end that the same being published, might stir the people to a commotion against the king. And those bils and writings in rime so deuised and written, the same Collingborne the daie and yeare last mentioned, had fastened and set vpon diuerse doores of the cathedrall church of saint Paule, for the more spéedie furthering of his intended purpose. Thus farre the indictement. But whether he was giltie in part or in all, I haue not to saie.

Sée Scotland pag. 284, 285.

King Richard being thus disquieted in mind, and doubtfull for the suertie of his owne estate, called to remembrance that confederations, honest bands and pacts of amitie, concluded and had betwixt princes and gouernours, are the efficient cause that realmes and common wealths are strengthened with double power, that is, with aid of fréends abroad, and their owne forces at home. Wherevpon he deuised how to conclude a league and amitie with his neighbour the king of Scots: who not long before had made diuerse incursions and roads into the realme of England. And although he had not much gotten; yet verelie he lost not much. And now euen as king Richard could haue wished, he of himselfe made sute for peace or truce to be had betwixt him and king Richard; who willinglie giuing eare to that sute, commissioners were appointed to méete about the treatie thereof, as in the historie of Scotland it maie appeare.

A truce betwixt England & Scotland with a treatie of aliance.
Iohn earle of Lincolne proclaimed heire apparant to the crowne.

At length they agréed vpon a truce for thrée yéeres, and withall for a further increase of firme fréendship and sure amitie (betwixt him and the king of Scots) king Richard entered into a treatie also of aliance for the concluding of a marriage betwixt the duke of Rothsaie (eldest sonne to the king of Scots) and the ladie Anne de la Poole daughter to Iohn duke of Suffolke and the duchesse Anne, sister to king Richard: which sister he so much fauoured, that studieng by all waies and meanes possible, how to aduance hir linage, he did not onelie thus séeke to preferre hir daughter in marriage; but also after the death of his sonne, he proclaimed Iohn earle of Lincolne hir sonne and his nephue, heire apparant to the crowne of England, disheriting king Edwards daughters, whose brethren (as ye haue heard) he most wickedlie had caused to be murthered and made awaie.

A marriage concluded betwixt the prince of Rothsaie & the duke of Suffolkes daughter.

The king of Scots standing in néed of fréends, although not so greatlie as king Richard, did willinglie consent to that motion of marriage, first broched by king Richard, insomuch that it tooke effect, and by commissioners was passed and concluded, in maner as in the historie of Scotland it likewise appeareth. But albeit that by this league and amitie thus couenanted and concluded, it might be thought, that all conspiracies, coniurations, and confederacies against king Richard had béene extinct, especiallie considering the duke of Buckingham and his alies were dispatched out of the waie, some by death, and some by flight and banishment into farre countries: yet king Richard, more doubting than trusting to his owne people and fréends, was continuallie vexed and troubled in mind for feare of the earle of Richmonds returne: which dailie dread and hourelie agonie caused him to liue in dolefull miserie, euer vnquiet, and in maner in continuall calamitie.

[Pg 424]

King Richard attempteth the duke of Britaine to deliuer the earle of Richmond into his hands.
A great temptation with large offers.

Wherefore he intending to be reléeued, and to haue an end of all his doubtfull dangers, determined cléerelie to extirpate and plucke vp by the roots all the matter and ground of his feare and doubts. Insomuch that (after long and deliberate consultation had) nothing was for his purpose and intent thought either more necessarie or expedient than once againe with price, praier, and rewards, to attempt the duke of Britaine, in whose territorie the earle of Richmond then abode, to deliuer the said earle into his hands: by which onelie meanes he should be discharged of all feare and perill, and brought to rest and quietnesse both of bodie and mind. Wherefore incontinent he sent certeine ambassadors to the duke of Britaine, which tooke vpon them (beside the great and ample rewards that they brought with them into Britaine) that king Richard should yearelie paie and answer the duke of all the reuenues, rents, and profits of the seigniories, lands, and possessions, as well belonging and apperteining to the erle of Richmond, as to anie other noble or gentleman, which then were in the earles companie; if he after that time would kéepe them in continuall prison, and restraine them from libertie.

The ambassadors (furnished with these and other instructions) arriued in Britaine, and came to the dukes house; where with him they could haue no maner of communication concerning their weightie affaires: by reason that he being faint and weakened by a long and dailie infirmitie, began a little to wax idle and weake in his wit and remembrance. For which cause Peter Landoise his chéefe treasuror, a man both of pregnant wit and great authoritie, ruled and adiudged all things at his pleasure and commandement, for which cause (as men set in authoritie be not best beloued) he excited & prouoked against him the malice and euill will of the nobilitie of Britaine, which afterward (for diuerse great offenses by him during his authoritie perpetrate & committed) by their meanes was brought to death & confusion.

Peter Landoise is mooued by the ambassadors of king Richard in their sute.
Note what loue of lucre or gréedie gaping after rewards dooth.

The English ambassadors mooued their message and request to Peter Landoise, and to him declared their maisters commandement, instantlie requiring and humblie desiring him (in whose power it laie to doo all things in Britaine) that he would fréendlie assent to the request of king Richard: offering to him the same rewards and lands, that they should haue offered to the duke. This Peter (which was no lesse disdeined than hated almost of all the people of Britaine) thought that if he did assent & satisfie king Richards petition and desire, he should be of power and abilitie sufficient to withstand and repell the malicious attempts and disdeinfull inuentions of his enuious aduersaries. Wherefore he faithfullie promised to accomplish king Richards request & desire: so that he kept promise with him, that he might be able to withstand the cankered malice of his secret enimies.

Sée page 343.
Abr. Fl.

This act that he promised to doo, was not for anie grudge or malice that he bare vnto the erle of Richmond: for (as you haue heard before) he deliuered him from the perill of death at saint Malos, when he was in great doubt of life, and ieopardie. But as cause ariseth we euer offend, and that curssed hunger of gold, and execrable thirst of lucre, and inward feare of losse of authoritie, driueth the blind minds of couetous men, & ambitious persons to euils and mischéefs innumerable, not remembring losse of good name, obloquie of the people, nor in conclusion the punishment of God for their merits and deserts. [Which vengeance of God for such falshood was more to be feared, than the gaie offers of the king to be desired; for the one was sure to fall, the other was likelie to faile. Wherefore it is wisedome to make choise of a fréend, by the rule of the wiseman to be obserued in wine, which is drunke with pleasure when it is old. Neither dooth it stand with a mans safetie to trust a fréend too farre; for occasions maie fall out wherby he shall become an enimie, as the poet saith:

Hostis erit forsan qui tuus hospes erat.]
Bishop Morton preuenteth & defeateth the practises of king Richard and Peter Landoise.

But fortune was so fauourable to the publike wealth of the realme of England, that this deadlie and dolorous compact tooke none effect or place. For while posts ran, and letters were sent to and fro for the finishing of this great enterprise betwéene king Richard and Peter Landoise, Iohn Morton bishop of Elie (soiourning then in Flanders) was of all this craftie conueiance certified by his secret and sure[Pg 425] fréends. Wherefore he sent Christopher Urswike (which at that sent verie season was come out of Britaine into Flanders) to declare to the earle of Richmond how all the deceit and craftie working was conueied and compased, giuing him charge to councell and aduise the earle in all hast possible with all his companie to retire out of Britaine into France.

The earle of Penbroke cōductor of the earle of Richmonds companie.

When these newes were brought to the earle, he then kept house in Vannes, and incontinent dispatched againe Christopher Urswike vnto Charles the French king, requiring him that he and his might safelie passe into France. Which desire being obteined, the messenger shortlie returned to his lord and prince. The earle, well perceiuing that it was expedient and necessarie, with all spéed and diligence to looke to this weightie matter, calling verie few to counsell, he made inquirie and search of all secret & by-waies, & sent before all his noble men, as though for a certeine familiaritie and kindnesse they should visit and comfort the duke, which then (for recreation and change of aire) laie on the borders and confines of France. And secretlie he gaue charge to the earle of Penbroke, which was the leader and conductor of his companie, that when they approched the marches and limits of Britaine, they should diuert and take the next waie into France.

The earles small traine for a policie.
The earle apparelled like a page attēndeth vpō one of his men as his maister.

The noble men somewhat suspicious of things newlie imagined, without any tarieng, scowring the waies as fast as their horsses could runne, came out of the duchie of Britaine into the duchie of Aniou in the dominion of France, where they taried the erles comming, which two daies after departed out of Vannes, onelie accompanied with fiue seruitors, as though he had gone secretlie to visit a familiar friend of his, in a small village adioining. No man suspected then he would depart, considering that a great multitude of Englishmen were left and continued in the citie. But after that he had passed directlie fiue miles forward, he suddenlie turned into a solitarie wood next adioining, where clothing himselfe in the simple coat of his poore seruant, made and appointed his said minister leader and maister of his small companie, & he as an humble page diligentlie followed and serued his counterfeit gouernor, neither resting nor refreshing themselues, except the baiting of their horsses, till they by waies vnknowne, now this way, now turning that way, came to their companie abiding them in Angiers.

The fourth day after the earle of Richmond was thus departed, that craftie merchant Peter Landoise, thirsting still after his preie promised by king Richard, was readie to set forward his crew of souldiers, which he priuilie had consigned, with certeine trustie capteins for that onelie purpose appointed and elected, to performe and atchiue his pretended enterprise; dissembling and feining them to be conducted and hired by him to serue the earle of Richmond, and him to conduct in his returne towards his natiue countrie: meaning no other thing but to apprehend him, and the other noble men in his retinue, which no such fraud suspected, nor yet anie treason imagined, vnware and vnprouided, and destitute of all aid, and them to cast and commit suddenlie into continuall captiuitie and bondage, to the intent that by this his wretched and naughtie act, he might satisfie the charitable request and louing desire of good king Richard, more for his owne profit than king Richards gaine.

Peter Landoise his expectation disappointed by the priuate and vnknowne departing of the earle.

But when this craftie dissembler Peter Landoise, which was no wilier than an old fox, perceiued that the earle was departed (thinking that to be true that he imagined) Lord how currors ran into euerie coast! how light horssemen gallopped in euerie stréet! to follow and deteine him, if by anie possibilitie hée could be met with and ouertaken, and him to apprehend and bring captiue into the citie of Vannes. The horssemen made such diligence, and with such celeritie set forward their iournie, that nothing was more likelie than they to haue obteined, yea and seized their preie. For the earle of Richmond was not entered into the realme of France scarse one houre, but the fol[Pg 426]lowers came to the limits and confines of Britaine, and durst aduenture no further, but vainlie (without their desire) sorrowfullie returned.

The duke of Britains loue to the earle of Richmond, & the care of his safetie.

At which season were left at Vannes about the number of thrée hundred Englishmen, which not being called to counsell, and vnware of this enterprise, but knowing of the earles sudden departure, were so incontinentlie astonied, that in maner they were all in despaire, both of him, and their owne suertie and safegard. But fortune turned hir saile, and otherwise it happened than their feare them incumbered. For the duke of Britaine, now being somewhat recouered, was sore displeased, and nothing contented, that the earle of Richmond was in his dominion so vncourteouslie vsed and intreated, that he should be by fraud and vntruth compelled to leaue and flie out of his duchie and countrie, contrarie to his honour. Wherefore he tooke verie great displeasure with Peter Landoise his treasuror, to whome (although he knew not, and was ignorant that all the drift was driuen and deuised by him) he laid the fault, and imputed the crime.

Edw. Wooduile & Edward Poinings receiue monie of the duke for the earles conduct and his companie.

Herevpon he sent for Edward Wooduile, and Edward Poinings, valiant esquiers of England, and deliuered vnto to them monie sufficient for their conduct, willing them to conueie the rest of the Englishmen being in Britaine, to the erle of Richmonds presence. When the earle was thus furnished, and appointed with his trustie companie, and was escaped all the dangers, labirinths, and snares that were set for him: no maruell though he were iocund and glad of the prosperous successe that happened in his affaires. Wherefore, least he should séeme to be blotted with the note of ingratitude, he sent diuerse of his gentlemen to the duke of Britaine, the which should publish and declare to him on the behalfe of the earle, that he and his were onelie by his benefit and fauour conserued and deliuered from the imminent danger that they were like to be trapped in. Wherefore at that time he rendered vnto him his most hartie thanks in words, trusting and not doubting, but in time to come liberallie to recompense him with acts and déeds.

The earle of Richmond goeth to the French king, and telleth him the cause of his cōming.

After this, the earle tooke his iournie to Charles the French king, lieng then at Langes vpon the riuer of Loire, to whome (after great thanks giuen for manifold pleasures by him to the earle shewed) hée disclosed and manifested the cause and occasion of his accesse and repaire to his person. After that, hée required of him helpe and succour, to the intent that by his immortall benefit to him at that time shewed, hée might safelie returne vnto the nobilitie of his realme; of whome he was generallie called to take vpon him the crown & scepter of the realme, sith they much hated and abhorred the tyrannie of king Richard. King Charles promised him aid and comfort, and bade him be of good courage, and make good cheare; for he assured him that he would gladlie shew to him his beneuolent mind and bountifull liberalitie. Which king from thence remooued to Mountargis, leading with him the earle of Richmond, and all the noble personages of his retinue and faction.

Abr. Fl. ex Ge. page 13.

¶ This is that Charles the French K. in whose time France was all aflant, for the state of that realme is said, that then it was verie populous in multitudes of men, for wealth and riches euerie particular region most fertile and plentifull, for glorie in armes most florishing & renowmed, a policie well directed, discipline administred, an authoritie dreadfull, and in opinion and hope most mightie; lastlie their generall conditions and faculties so well furnished, as perhaps it was not more happie in these mortall felicities since the daies of Charlemaine. It was newlie amplified in euerie one of the thrée parts wherein all Gall stood diuided by the ancients: for fortie yéers before vnder Charles the seuenth (a prince for his victories obteined with great dangers called Happie) Normandie and the duchie of Guien, holden by the Englishmen, were reduced to the obedience of the French crowne. And in the last daies of Lewes the eleuenth, the earledome of Prouince, the dukedome of Burgognie, almost all[Pg 427] Picardie, togither with the duchie of Britaine, were by a new mariage inuested in the power of Charles the eight.

Sir Iohn Vere earle of Oxford getteth out of prison, & he with others go to the earle of Richmond.

While the earle was thus attendant in the French court, Iohn Vere earle of Oxford, which (as you haue heard before) was by king Edward kept in prison within the castell of Hammes, so persuaded Iames Blunt capteine of the same fortresse, and sir Iohn Fortescue porter of the towne of Calis, that he himselfe was not onelie dismissed and set at libertie; but they also abandoning and leauing their fruitfull offices, did condescend to go with him into France to the earle of Richmond, and to take his part. But Iames Blunt, like a wise capteine, bicause he left his wife remaining in the castell before his departure, did fortifie the same both with new munitions, and fresh souldiers. [And here bicause the names of Vere and Fortescue are remembred, it shall not be amisse, somewhat out of due place, yet better a little out of order than altogither to omit the same, to adde a supplement for the further perfecting of a report recorded in page 329, and adding some light also to this present place touching the said persons, with others.]

Abr. Fl. ex I. S. pag. 733.
The earle of Oxford leuieth a power and commeth into England.

¶ Know you therefore, that this sir Iohn Vere earle of Oxford (that withdrew himselfe from Barnet field, and with all spéed fled into Scotland) in the yere 1473, and the thirtéenth of Edward the fourth, did (after he had sometime soiourned there) saile into France, about the borders whereof he was continuallie houering, as hoping to win some preie (to support his estate) of such passengers as for merchandize cause or otherwise must kéepe their course a long the sea. Whose good successe therein did not deceiue his mind. For in the end (what of one and other) hée got such riches and other furniture, as he was able to support a chosen number of followers. Wherwith he (being reléeued and incouraged to aduenture to set foot in his countrie in despite of king Edward) did with his companie of 397 persons, and with his saile of ships land in the west countrie the last of September, where (partlie by force of his, and partlie through feare of the inhabitants, but mostlie by a subtill shift) he gat and entered the castell of saint Michaels mount, a place of strength, and such an harborough, as he determined to kéepe the same against all assailants. During the time of his remaine there, he would with his companie manie times descend the hill, and come abrode in the countrie, where (for his loue, for his honour, and for the hatred they bare to king Edward) he was well interteined of manie gentlemen and others of the countrie.

But this matter vnpossible long to be kept in secret, was at length brougnt to the knowledge of king Edward; who being somewhat mooued, thought in the beginning to withstand such mischéefe, least suffering too long, & the earle growing to strength, he might be put to as great plunge for the crowne as he had bene twise before: wherwith séeing he was possessed, he grew resolute to kéepe it both by policie and puissance, maugre the open violence and priuie practises as well of his professed as secret enimies. For he ran through the pikes yer he could obteine it, and offered his bodie to manie desperate perils in hope to get it; which if he had either feared or shunned, it is a matter of demand whether he had euer had it. For pretious things, as principalities and such like, vnlesse they be hereditarie, as they are hardlie kept, so are they not easilie gotten: for he that desireth to gather a rose, must not be tender ouer his fingers bicause of thornes; and he that would tast honie fresh out of the hiue, must not be scared with the stinging of bées, as the poet verie swéetlie noteth:

Non quisquam fruitur veris odoribus,
Hyblæos latebris nec spoliat fauos,
Si fronti caueat si timeat rubos,
Armat spina rosas, mella tegunt apes.

[Pg 428]

Shiriffe Bodringham besiegeth the mount that the earle had taken.
The name of Fortescue wherevpon it grew.

Wherefore king Edward gaue in charge to Bodringham, ruler or shiriffe of Cornewall to assemble such power as he could; and besieging the mount, he should either take or kill the earle of Oxford. The which the shiriffe did accordinglie, but that so feintlie and fauourablie, as he permitted the earle of Oxford (now in distresse) to reuittell the mount, knowing that there was no waie to expell the earle from thence but by famine. These things thus doone (the king not pleased, and the earle not displeased) one Fortescue (which surname is deduced from the strength of his shield, whereof that familie had first originall) was with a stronger and faithfuller companie sent by king Edward to laie siege to the castell; which he did, and long continued. For it was not easie to be had, being (of it selfe) by nature stronglie set, by policie well vittelled, and by manhood valiantlie defended: which mooued the king to assay an other means therefore, and to sée if policie might doo that which force could not.

Deuises to withdraw the earles power from him.
The earle of Oxford submitteth himselfe & yéeldeth the castell into the kings hands.

For which cause, as Fortescue still continued the said siege, the K. supposed it best (if possiblie he might) to weaken the earles part, by withdrawing the strength and hearts of his people from him: which might not be doone but with rich promises and strong pardons. On which consideration he sent liberallie pardons to them, and in the end so secretlie wrought with the earles men: that if the earle (fearing the woorst, and iudging it better to trie the kings mercie, than to hazard the extreamitie of taking, in which rested nothing but assured death) had not wholie submitted himselfe to king Edward, he had béene by his owne men most dishonestlie betraied, and suddenlie taken prisoner. Wherevpon the earle comming foorth to Fortescue, did there yéeld himselfe and the castell into the kings hands. At what time (being the fiftéenth of Februarie, which from the first entrance of the earle into that castell being the last of September, was about foure moneths and fouretéene daies) the same Fortescue entred the mount, & tooke possession thereof, finding it yet sufficientlie vittelled to haue susteined an other siege more than one halfe yeare. After all things were thus quieted, the earle, the lord Beaumont, two brothers of the said earle, and Thomas Clifford, were brought vp as prisoners vnto king Edward. And now to our present historie againe.

When the earle of Richmond saw the earle of Oxenford, he was rauished with an incredible gladnesse, that he being a man of so high nobilitie, of such knowledge and practises in feates of warre, and so constant, trustie and assured (which alwaie had studied for the maintenance and preferment of the house of Lancaster) was now by Gods prouision deliuered out of captiuitie and imprisonment; and in time so necessarie and conuenient come to his aid, succour, and aduancement; in whome more surer than anie other he might put his trust and confidence, and take lesse paine and trauell in his owne person. For it was not hid from him, that such as euer had taken part with king Edward before this time, came to doo him seruice, either for malice they bare king Richard, or else for feare to liue vnder his cruell rule and tyrannous gouernance.

Divers English doo voluntarilie submit themselues to the earle of Richmond in France.

Not long after, the French king returned againe to Paris, whome the earle of Richmond followed, intending there to solicit his matter to the conclusion. Wherevpon he besought king Charles to take vpon him the whole tuition and defense of him and his cause, so that he and his companie being (by his means) aided and comforted, should confesse and saie, their wealth, victorie, and aduancement to haue flowed and budded foorth of his bountifulnesse and liberalitie, which they would (God willing) shortlie acquite. In the meane season, diuerse Englishmen, which either fled out of England for feare, or were at Paris to learne and studie good literature and vertuous doctrine, came voluntarilie and submitted themselues to the earle of Richmond, and vowed & sware to take his part. Amongst whom was Richard Fox a priest, a man of great wit and no lesse learning, whome the earle incontinent receiued into secret familiaritie, and in bréefe time erected and aduanced him to high dignities and promotions, and in conclusion made him bishop of Winchester.

[Pg 429]

K. Richards deuise to infringe and defeat the earle of Richmōds purpose.

In the meane season, king Richard was crediblie aduertised, what promises and oths the earle and his confederates had made and sworne togither at Reimes, and how by the earles means all the Englishmen were passed out of Britaine into France. Wherefore being sore dismaid, and in a maner desperate, bicause his craftie chieuance tooke none effect in Britaine, he imagined & deuised how to infringe and disturbe the earles purpose by an other meane; so that by the marriage of ladie Elizabeth his néece, he should pretend no claime nor title to the crowne. For he thought if that marriage failed, the earles chéefe combe had béene clearlie cut. And bicause that he being blinded with the ambitious desire of rule before this time in obteining the kingdome, had committed and doone manie curssed acts, and detestable tyranies, yet according to the old prouerbe; Let him take the bull that stale awaie the calfe: he thought all facts by him committed in times passed to be but of small moment, and not to be regarded in comparison of that mischéeuous imagination, which he now newlie began and attempted.

A subtill and lewd practise of king Richard to beguile the earle of Richmond.

There came into his vngratious mind a thing not onelie detestable to be spoken of in the remembrance of man, but much more cruell and abhominable to be put in execution. For when he reuolued in his wauering mind, how great a founteine of mischéefe toward him should spring, if the earle of Richmond should be aduanced to the marriage of his néece: which thing he heard saie by the rumor of the people, that no small number of wise and wittie personages enterprised to compasse and bring to conclusion: he cléerelie determined to reconcile to his fauour his brothers wife quéene Elizabeth, either by faire words, or liberall promises; firmelie beléeuing hir fauour once obteined, that she would not sticke to commit (and louinglie credit) to him the rule and gouernance both of hir and hir daughters, and so by that meanes the earle of Richmond of the affinitie of his néece should be vtterlie defrauded and beguiled.

And if no ingenious remedie could be otherwise inuented, to saue the innumerable mischéefes which were euen at hand, and like to fall if it should happen quéene Anne his wife to depart out of this present life, then he himselfe would rather take to wife his cousine and néece the ladie Elizabeth; than for lacke of that affinitie the whole realme should run to ruine, as who said, that if he once fell from his estate and dignitie, the ruine of the relme must néeds shortlie insue and follow. Wherefore he sent to the quéene (being in sanctuarie) diuerse and often messengers, which first should excuse and purge him of all things before against hir attempted or procured, and after should so largelie promise promotions innumerable, and benefits, not onelie to hir, but also to hir sonne lord Thomas marquesse Dorset, that they should bring hir (if it were possible) into some wanhope, or (as men saie) into a fooles paradise.

The inconstancie of Q. Elizabeth.

The messengers, being men both of wit and grauitie, so persuaded the quéene with great and pregnant reasons, & what with faire and large promises, that she began somewhat to relent, and to giue to them no deafe eare; insomuch that she faithfullie promised to submit and yéeld hir selfe fullie and frankelie to the kings will and pleasure. And so she putting in obliuion the murther of hir innocent children, the infamie and dishonour spoken by the king hir husband, the liuing in adulterie laid to hir charge, the bastarding of hir daughters; forgetting also the faithfull promise and open oth made to the countesse of Richmond, mother to the earle Henrie, blinded by auaricious affection, & seduced by flattering words, first deliuered into king Richards hands hir fiue daughters, as lambs once againe committed to the custodie of the rauenous woolfe.

Quéene Elizabeth allureth hir sonne the marquesse Dorset home out of France.

After she sent letters to the marquesse hir sonne, being then at Paris with the earle of Richmond, willing him in anie wise to leaue the earle, and without delaie to repaire into England, where for him were prouided great honours, and honourable promotions; ascerteining him further, that all offenses on both parts were forgotten and[Pg 430] forgiuen, and both he and she highlie incorporated in the kings heart. Suerlie the inconstancie of this woman were much to be maruelled at, if all women had béene found constant; but let men speake, yet women of the verie bond of nature will follow their owne sex. But it was no small allurement that king Richard vsed to ouercome hir (for we know by experience that women are of a proud disposition, and that the waie to win them is by promises of preferment) and therefore it is the lesse maruell that he by his wilie wit had made conquest of hir wauering will. [Besides that, it is to be presumed that she stood in feare to impugne his demands by denials, least he in his malicious mood might take occasion to deale roughlie with hir, being a weake woman, and of a timorous spirit.]

Now when king Richard had thus with glorious promises, and flattering words, pleased and appeased the mutable mind of quéene Elizabeth, which knew nothing lesse than that he most intended; he caused all his brothers daughters to be conueied into his palace with solemne receiuing: as though with his new familiar and louing interteinment they should forget, and in their minds blot out the old committed iniurie, and late executed tyrannie. Now nothing was contrarie and against his diuelish purpose, but that his mansion was not void of his wife, which thing he in any wise adiudged necessarie to be doone. But there was one thing that so much feared and staied him from committing this abhominable murther, bicause (as you haue heard before) he began to counterfet the image of a good and well disposed person: and therefore he was afeard least the sudden death of his wife once openlie knowne, he should loose the good and credible opinion which the people had of him, without anie desert, conceiued and reported.

A forged cōplaint of king Richard against his wife to be rid of hir.

But in conclusion, euill counsell preuailed in a wit latelie minded to mischéefe, and turned from all goodnesse. So that his vngratious desire ouercame his honest feare. And first to enter into the gates of his imagined enterprise, he absteined both from the bed and companie of his wife. Then he complained to diuerse noble men of the realme, of the infortunate sterilitie and barennesse of his wife, bicause she brought foorth no fruit and generation of hir bodie. And in especiall he recounted to Thomas Rotheram archbishop of Yorke (whome latelie he had deliuered out of ward and captiuitie) these impediments of his quéene, and diuerse other, thinking that he would reueale to hir all these things, trusting the sequele hereof to take due effect, that she hearing this grudge of hir husband, & taking therefore an inward thought, would not long liue in this world.

A rumor spred abroad of the quéenes death at the procurement of king Richard.

Of this the bishop gathered (which well knew the complexion and vsage of the king) that the quéenes daies were short, and that he declared to certeine of his secret fréends. After this he procured a common rumor (but he would not haue the author knowne) to be published and spred abroad among the common people, that the quéene was dead; to the intent that she taking some conceit of this strange fame, should fall into some sudden sicknesse or gréeuous maladie: and to prooue if afterwards she should fortune by that or anie other waies to lease her life, whether the people would impute hir death to the thought or sicknesse, or thereof would laie the blame to him. Now when the quéene heard tell that so horrible a rumor of hir death was sprung amongst the communaltie, she sore suspected and iudged the world to be almost at an end with hir. And in that sorowfull agonie she with lamentable countenance and sorowfull cheare, repaired to the presence of the king hir husband, demanding of him what it should meane, that he had iudged hir worthie to die.

[Pg 431]

The quéene wife to king Richard suddenlie dead.
K. Richard casteth his loue on his néece purposing to marie her.

The king answered hir with faire words, and with smiling and flattering leasings comforted hir; and bid hir be of good chéere, for (to his knowledge) she should haue no other cause. But howsoeuer that it fortuned, either by inward thought and pensiuenesse of hart, or by infection of poison (which is affirmed to be most likelie) within few daies after the quéene departed out of this transitorie life, and was with due solemnitie buried in the church of S. Peter at Westminster. This is the same Anne, one of the daughters of the earle of Warwike, which (as you haue heard before) at the request of Lewes the French king was maried to prince Edward, sonne to king Henrie the sixt. The king thus (according to his long desire) losed out of the bonds of matrimonie, began to cast a foolish fantasie to ladie Elizabeth his néece, making much sute to haue hir ioined with him in lawfull matrimonie.

But bicause all men and the maiden hirselfe most of all detested and abhorred this vnlawfull, and in maner vnnaturall copulation; he determined to prolong and defer the matter, till he were in a more quietnesse. For all that verie season he was oppressed with great, weightie, and vrgent causes, and businesses on euerie side; considering that dailie, part of the nobilitie sailed into France to the earle of Richmond: other priuilie fauoured and aided certeine of the coniuration, so that of his short end few or none were in doubt. And the common people (for the most part) were brought to such desperation, that manie of them had rather be reputed and taken of him in the number of his enimies, than to abide the chance and hazard to haue their goods taken as a spoile of victorie, by his enimies. [In such hatred they had the wretch, wishing his hart in their hands with the hazard of their heads. For how can people saie well or thinke well of tyrants, whose propertie it is to teare them in péeces with their clawes, like a woolfe let loose among a fold of shéepe? Whereto Homer had an eie when he said in pithie sense as here followeth:

Hom. Odyss. lib. 19.
Quisquis inhumanis studet intestabilis vti
Moribus, huic omnes viuo clàm dira precantur:
Huic omnes credunt fas insultare perempto.]
What noble men K. Richard most mistrusted.

Amongst the noble men whome he most mistrusted, these were the principall. Thomas lord Stanleie, sir William Stanleie his brother, Gilbert Talbot, and six hundred other: of whose purposes although king Richard were not ignorant, yet he gaue neither confidence nor credence to anie one of them; and least of all to the lord Stanleie, bicause he was ioined in matrimonie with the ladie Margaret, mother to the earle of Richmond, as afterward apparantlie yée may perceiue. For when the said lord Stanleie would haue departed into his countrie to visit his familie, and to recreate and refresh his spirits (as he openlie said, but the truth was, to the intent to be in a perfect readinesse to receiue the earle of Richmond at his first arriuall in England) the king in no wise would suffer him to depart, before he had left as an hostage in the court George Stanleie lord Strange, his first begotten sonne and heire.

An. Reg. 3.
The castell of Hammes deliuered vnto the earle of Richmond.

While king Richard was thus troubled and vexed with imaginations of the troublous time that was like to come: lo, euen suddenlie he heard newes, that fire was sprung out of the smoke, and the war freshlie begun; and that the castell of Hammes was deliuered into the hands of the earle of Richmond, by the meanes of the earle of Oxford; and that not onlie he, but also Iames Blunt capteine of the castell, were fled into France to aid the earle Henrie. Wherefore he, thinking it great policie to withstand the first brunt, sent the most part of the garrison of Calis, to recouer againe by force the castell of Hammes. They which were in the castell, perceiuing their aduersaries to approch, prepared munitions and engines for their defense, and sent also to the earle of Richmond, to aduertise him of their sudden inuasion, requiring of him hastie aid and spéedie succour.

[Pg 432]

Thomas Brandon entereth the castell.
Why king Richard gaue licence to all in the castell to depart in safetie with bag and baggage.

The earle sléeping not this first begun assault, sent the earle of Oxford with an elected companie of souldiers to raise the siege, and rescue the castell: which at their first arriuing pitched their campe not far from their enimies. Now while king Richards men gaue vigilant eie, waiting least the earle of Oxford should take anie aduantage of them that laie on that side of the castell; Thomas Brandon with thirtie approoued men of war by a marish, which laie on the other side, entered into the castell. The souldiers within greatlie incouraged, & much comforted by this new succour and aid, grieued the enimies, by shooting from the walles more than they were accustomed to doo. Then they of the castell vexed their enimies on the fore part: and the earle of Oxford no lesse molested & vnquieted them on the other part. Which was the occasion that king Richards men offered (of their owne méere motion) licence to all being within the castell to depart in safetie, with bag and baggage, nothing excepted.

Which condition the earle of Oxford, comming onelie for that purpose to deliuer his louing fréends out of all perill and danger and chieflie of all, his old hostesse Iane Blunt, wife to Iames Blunt the capteine, would in no wise forsake or refuse: and so leauing the castell bare and vngarnished both of vittels and artillerie, came safelie to the earle of Richmond soiourning in Paris. During this time, king Richard was crediblie informed of his inquisitors and espials, that the earle of Richmond was with long sute in the court of France sore wearied; and desiring great aid, could obteine small reliefe: in somuch that all things went so farre backwards, that such things as were with great diligence (and no lesse deliberation) purposed and determined to be set forward, were now dashed and ouerthrowne to the ground.

K. Richard calleth home his ships of warre from the narrow seas.

King Richard either being too light of credence, or seduced and deluded by his craftie taletellers, greatlie reioised, as though he had obteined the ouer hand of his enimies with triumphant victorie, and thought himselfe neuer so suerlie deliuered of all feare and dreadfull imaginations: so that he néeded now no more once for that cause either to wake, or to breake his golden sléepe. Wherefore he called home againe his ships of warre, which he had appointed to kéepe the narrow seas, and dispatched all such souldiers as he had deputed to kéepe certeine garrisons, and to stop certeine passages (as you haue heard before.) Yet least he might for lacke of prouision be suddenlie trapped, he streightlie charged and gaue in commandement to all noblemen, and especiallie such as inhabited néere the sea coast, and on the frontiers of Wales, that (according to the vsage of the countrie) they should kéepe diligent watch and strong ward, to the intent that his aduersaries in no wise should haue anie place opportune easilie to take land, without defense or rebutting back.

The vse of beacons in countries néere the sea coasts.

For the custome of the countries adjoining néere to the sea is (especiallie in the time of warre) on euerie hill or high place to erect a beacon with a great lanterne in the top, which may be séene and discerned a great space off. And when the noise is once bruted that the enimies approch néere the land, they suddenlie put fire in the lanternes, and make shouts and outcries from towne to towne, and from village to village. Some run in post from place to place, admonishing the people to be readie to resist the ieopardie, and defend the perill. And by this policie the fame is soone blowne to euerie citie and towne, in somuch that aswell the citizens as the rurall people be in short space assembled and armed to repell and put backe the new arriued enimies. [Whereas if the necessarie vse of this visible warning were neglected, the policie of the enimie might priuilie so preuaile, as that the people should sooner fall into perill irrecouerable, than they could thinke on (much lesse prouide) meanes to auoid it.]

But now to returne to our purpose. King Richard thus somewhat eased of his accustomed pensiuenesse, began to be a little more merrie, & tooke lesse thought and care for outward enimies than he was woont to doo; as who say, that he with politike prouision should withstand the destinie which hoong ouer his head, and was ordeined in briefe time suddenlie to fall. Such is the force and puissance of diuine iustice, that euerie man shall lesse regard, lesse prouide, lesse be in doubt of all things, when he is most néerest punishment, and next to his mischance for his offenses & crimes. [For though God did forbeare him a while, yet was that forbearance no acquittance, but rather a time of preparing & making vp that which wanted of the plagues that God[Pg 433] had purposed in iustice to powre vpon and ouerwhelme him for his fowle offenses, which could not scape heauie iudgment & vengeance:

Nam scelus admissum pœna seuera premit.]
Dissention among the péeres of France made the earle of Richmond renew his sute and put him to his shifts.
The marques Dorset forsaketh the earle.

About this season, while the earle of Richmond was desiring aid of the French king, certeine noble men were appointed to rule the realme of France, during the minoritie of king Charles, which amongst themselues were not of one opinion. Of which dissention, Lewes duke of Orleance was the chiefe stirrer, who bicause he had maried ladie Ioane sister to the French king, tooke vpon him aboue other the rule and administration of the whole realme. By reason of which controuersie, no one man was suffered to rule all. Wherefore the earle of Richmond was compelled to make sute to euerie one of the councell seuerallie one after another, requiring and desiring them of aid and reliefe in his weightie businesse, and so his cause was prolonged and deferred. During which time, Thomas marquesse Dorset, which was (as you haue heard) intised by his mother to returne againe into England, partlie despairing in the good successe of the earle of Richmond, and partlie ouercome and vanquished with the faire glosing promises of king Richard: secretlie in the night season stale out of Paris, and with all diligent expedition tooke his iournie toward Flanders.

When relation of his departure was made to the earle of Richmond, and the other noble men, no maruell though they were astonied and greatlie amazed. Yet that notwithstanding, they required of the French king, that it might be lawfull for them in his name, and by his commandement, to take and staie their companion, confederate, and partaker of all their counsell, in what place within his realme and territorie so euer they could find him. Which petition once obteined, they sent out currors into euerie part, amongst whom Humfreie Cheinie (plaieng the part of a good bloud hound) followed the tract of the flier so euen by the sent, that he ouertooke and apprehended him not far from Campeigne; and so what with reason, and what with faire promises, being persuaded, he returned againe to his companions.

The earle of Richmond hath men and monie of the French king for hostages.

The earle of Richmond vnburdened of this misaduenture, least by lingering of daies, and prolonging of time, he might loose the great opportunitie of things to him offered and ministred: also least he should further wound and molest the minds of his faithfull and assured fréends, which dailie did expect and tarie for his comming, determined no longer to protract and deferre the time: but with all diligence and celeritie attempted his begun enterprise. And so obteining of king Charles a small crew of men, and borrowing certeine summes of monie of him, and of diuerse other his priuate fréends, for the which he left as debter (or more likelie as a pledge or hostage) lord Thomas marquesse Dorset (whome he halfe mistrusted) and sir Iohn Bourchier, he departed from the French court, and came to the citie of Rone.

The earle is gréeued at the newes of king Richards intended marriage with his néece.

While he taried there, making prouision at Harfléet in the mouth of the riuer of Sene for all things necessarie for his nauie, tidings were brought to him that king Richard (being without children, and now a widower) intended shortlie to marie the ladie Elizabeth his brothers daughter; and to prefer the ladie Cicilie hir sister to a man found in a cloud, and of an vnknowne linage and familie. He tooke theses newes as a matter of no small moment: and so (all things considered) it was of no lesse importance than he tooke it for. For this thing onelie tooke awaie from him and all his companions their hope and courage, that they had to obteine an happie enterprise. And therefore no maruell though it nipped him at the verie stomach: when he thought, that by no possibilitie he might atteine the mariage of any of K. Edwards daughters, which was the strongest foundation of his building; by reason whereof he iudged that all his fréends in England would abandon and shrinke from him.

[Pg 434]

Sir Walter Herbert.
A mariage purposed but disappointed.

Wherefore, making not manie of his counsell, after diuerse consultations, he determined not yet to set forward: but to tarie and attempt how to get more aid, more fréends, and more stronger succours. And amongst all other, it was thought most expedicnt to allure by affinitie in his aid, as a companion in armes, sir Walter Herbert, a man of an ancient stocke, & of great power among the Welsh, who had with him a faire ladie to his sister, of age ripe to be coupled with him in matrimonie. And for the atchiuing of this purpose, messengers were secretlie sent to Henrie earle of Northumberland (which had before maried another sister of sir Walter Herberts) to the intent that he should set forward all this deuise and purpose: but the waies were so narowlie watched, and so manie spies laid, that the messenger procéeded not in his iournie and businesse.

The Welshmen offer to aid the earle of Richmond.

But in the meane season, there came to the earle a more ioifull message from Morgan Kidwellie, learned in the temporall law, which declared that Rice ap Thomas, a man of no lesse valiantnesse than actiuitie, and Iohn Sauage an approoued capteine, would with all their power be partaker of his quarell. And that Reginald Breie had collected and gotten togither no small summe of monie for the paiment of the wages to the souldiers and men of warre: admonishing him also to make quicke expedition, and to take his course directlie into Wales. The earle of Richmond, bicause he would no longer linger and wearie his fréends, liuing continuallie betwéene hope and feare, determined in all conuenient hast to set forward, and caried to his ships armor, weapons, vittels, and all other ordinances expedient for warre.

The earle arriueth at Milford hauen.

After that all things were in readinesse, the earle being accompanied onelie with two thousand men, and a small number of ships, weied vp his anchors, and halsed vp his sailes in the moneth of August, and sailed from Harfléet with so prosperous a wind, that the seuenth daie after his departure, he arriued in Wales in the euening, at a place called Milford hauen, and incontinent tooke land, and came to a place called Dalle; where he heard saie that a certeine companie of his aduersaries were laid in garrison to defend his arriuall all the last winter. And the earle at the sunne rising remooued to Hereford west, being distant from Dalle not full ten miles, where he was ioifullie receiued of the people, and he arriued there so suddenlie, that he was come and entered the towne at the same time when the citizens had but knowledge of his comming.

A false rumor of ill newes.

Here he heard newes, which were as vntrue as they trulie were reported to him in Normandie; that Rice ap Thomas, and Iohn Sauage, with bodie and goods, were determined to aid king Richard. While he and his companie were some what astonied at these new tidings, there came such message from the inhabitants of the towne of Penbroke, that refreshed and reuiued their frosen hearts and daunted courages. For Arnold Butler a valiant capteine, which first asked pardon for his offenses before time committed against the earle of Richmond, and that obteined, declared to him that the Penbrochians were readie to serue and giue their attendance on their naturall and immediat lord Iasper earle of Penbroke. The earle of Richmond, hauing his armie thus increased, departed from Hereford west to the towne of Cardigan, being fiue miles distant from thence.

The earle of Richmond's power made stronger by accesse of confederats.

While the souldiers were refreshing and trimming themselues in their campe, strange tidings sproong among them without anie certeine author; that sir Walter Herbert, which laie with a great crue of men at Carmarden, was now with a great armie readie to approch and bid them battell. With which newes the armie was sore troubled, and euery man assaied his armour and prooued his weapon, and were prest to defend their enimies. And as they were in this fearfull doubt, certeine horssemen, which the earle had sent to make inquirie and search, returned and reported all the countrie to be quiet, and no let nor impediment to be laid or cast in their iournie. And euen at the same time, the whole armie was greatlie recomforted, by reason that the comming of Richard Griffith, a man of great nobilitie, the which notwithstanding that he was confederate with sir Walter Herbert, and Richard ap Thomas; yet at that verie instant[Pg 435] he came to the earle of Richmond with all his companie; which were of no great number. After him the same daie came Iohn Morgan with his men.

The erle sendeth secret word to his mother and other his fréends that he meant direct passage to London & their conference.

Then the earle aduanced forward in good hast, making no repose or abode in anie one place. And to the intent to passe forward with sure and short expedition, he assaulted euerie place where his enimies had set anie men of warre; which with small force, and lesse difficultie, he brieflie did ouercome & vanquish. And suddenlie he was by his espials ascerteined, that sir Walter Herbert, and Rice ap Thomas were in harnesse before him, readie to incounter with his armie, and to stop their passage. Wherefore like a valiant capteine he first determined to set on them, and either to destroie or to take them into his fauour, and after with all his power and puissance to giue battell to his mortall enimie king Richard. But to the intent his fréends should know in what readinesse he was, and how he procéeded forward; he sent of his most secret and faithfull seruants with letters and instructions to the ladie Margaret his mother, to the lord Stanleie and his brother, to sir Gilbert Talbot, and to other his trustie fréends; declaring to them that he being succoured and holpen with the aid and reliefe of his fréends, intended to passe ouer the riuer of Seuerne at Shrewesburie, and so to passe directlie to the citie of London.

Rice ap Thomas sweareth fealtie and seruice to the earle of Richmond.

Wherefore he required them, as his speciall trust and confidence was fixed in the hope of their fidelitie, that they would méet him by the waie with all diligent preparation; to the intent that he and they, at time and place conuenient, might communicate togither the déepenesse of all his doubtfull and weightie businesse. When the messengers wer dispatched with these commandements and admonitions, he marched forward toward Shrewesburie: and in his passing, there met and saluted him Rice ap Thomas with a goodlie band of Welshmen, which making an oth and promise to the earle, submitted himselfe wholie to his order and commandement. For the earle of Richmond two daies before made to him promise, that if he would sweare to take his part and be obedient to him, he would make him chiefe gouernour of Wales: which part as he faithfullie promised and granted, so (after that he had obteined and possessed the realme and diademe) he liberallie performed and accomplished the same.

In the meane time the messengers, that were sent, diligentlie executed their charge, and laden with rewards of them to whom they were sent, returned to him the same day that he entered into Shrewesburie: and made relation to him that his fréends were readie in all points to doo all things for him, which either they ought or might doo. The earle Henrie brought in good hope with this pleasant message, continued foorth his intended iournie, and came to a little towne called Newport, and pitching his campe on a little hill adioining, reposed himselfe there that night. In the euening the same daie came to him sir Gilbert Talbot, with the whole power of the yoong earle of Shrewesburie then being in ward, which were accounted to the number of two thousand men. And thus his power increasing, he arriued at the towne of Stafford, and there paused.

The lord Stanleies deuise to auoid suspicion of K. Richard and to saue his sonnes life.

There also came sir William Stanleie accompanied with a few persons. And after that the earle and he had communed no long time togither; he reuerted to his souldiors whom he had assembled togither to serue the earle: which from thence departed to Lichfield, and lay without the walles in his campe all the night. The next morning he entered into the towne, and was with all honor like a prince receiued. A daie or two before, the lord Stanleie, hauing in his band almost fiue thousand men, lodged in the same towne. But hearing that the erle of Richmond was marching thitherward, gaue to him place, dislodging him and his, and repaired to a towne called Aderstone, there abiding the comming of the earle. And this wilie fox did this act, to auoid all suspicion on king Richards part.

For the lord Stanleie was afraid, least if he should séeme openlie to be a fautor or aider to the earle his sonne in law, before the day of the battell, that king Richard,[Pg 436] which yet vtterlie did not put in him diffidence and mistrust, would put to some cruell death his sonne and heire apparant George lord Strange, whome king Richard (as you haue heard before) kept with him as a pledge or hostage, to the intent that the lord Stanleie his father should attempt nothing preiudiciall to him. King Richard at this season kéeping his house in the castle of Notingham, was informed that the earle of Richmond, with such banished men as were fled out of England to him, were now arriued in Wales, and that all things necessarie to his enterprise were vnprouided vnpurueied, and verie weake, nothing méet to withstand the power of such as the king had appointed to méet him.

K. Richard contemneth the earle and his power.

This rumor so inflated his mind, that in maner disdeining to heare speake of so small a companie, he determined at the first to take little or no regard to this so small a sparkle, declaring the earle to be innocent and vnwise, bicause that he rashly attempted such a great enterprise with so small and thin a number of warlike persons: and therefore he gaue a definitiue sentence, that when he came to that point that he should be compelled to fight against his will, hée either should be apprehended aliue, or else by all likelihood he should of necessitie come to a shamefull confusion: and that he trusted to be shortlie doone by sir Walter Herbert, and Rice ap Thomas, which then ruled Wales with equall power and like authoritie.

But yet reuoluing and casting in his mind, that a small war begun and winked at, and not regarded, maie turne to a great broile and trouble; and that it was prudent policie not to contemne and disdeine the little power and small weakenesse of the enimie (be it neuer so small) thought it necessarie to prouide for afterclaps that might happen & chance. For victorie dooth not alwaies follow the greatest multitude, neither is it a necessarie consequent, that the biggest bodie is indued with most force. For we sée that the small viper is the huge buls deadlie bane, and a little curre dooth catch a bore boisterous and big; as the poet properlie (and to the purpose) verie well saith:

Parua necat morsu spatiosum vipera taurum,
A cane non magno sæpè tenetur aper.
The king sendeth to his friends for a chosen power of men.

Wherefore he sent to Iohn duke of Norffolke, Henrie earle of Northumberland, Thomas earle of Surrie, and to other of his especiall & trustie friends of the nobilitie, which he judged more to preferre and estéeme his wealth and honour, than their owne riches and priuate commoditie; willing them to muster and view all their seruants and tenants, and to elect and choose the most couragious and actiue persons of the whole number, and with them to repaire to his presence with all spéed and diligence. Also hée wrote to Robert Brakenberie lieutenant of the Tower, commanding him with his power to come to his armie, and to bring with him (as fellowes in armes) sir Thomas Bourchier, & sir Walter Hungerford, and diuers other knights and esquiers, in whom he cast no small suspicion.

The earle is incamped at Litchfield.

Now while he was thus ordering his affaires, tidings came that the earle of Richmond was passed Seuerne, & come to Shrewesburie without anie detriment or incumbrance. At which message he was sore mooued and broiled with melancholie and dolor, crieng out, & asking vengeance of them that (against their oth and promise) had so deceiued him. For which cause he began to haue diffidence in other, insomuch that he determined himselfe out of hand the same daie to méet with and resist his aduersaries: and in all haste sent out espials to view and espie what waie his enimies kept and passed. They diligentlie dooing their dutie, shortlie after returned, declaring to the king that the earle was incamped at the towne of Lichfield.

[Pg 437]

The ordering of king Richards armie.

When he had perfect knowledge where the earle with his armie was soiourning, he hauing continuall repaire of his subiects to him, began incontinentlie without delaie to marshall and put in order his battels (like a valiant capteine and politike leder) and first he made his battels to set forward, fiue and fiue in a ranke, marching toward that way where his enimies (as was to him reported) intended to passe. In the middle part of the armie, he appointed the traffike and cariage preteining to the armie. Then he (inuironed with his gard) with a frowning countenance and cruell visage, mounted on a great white courser, and followed with his footmen, the wings of horssemen coasting and ranging on euerie side: and kéeping this arraie, he with great pompe entered the towne of Leicester after the sunne set [full of indignation & malice, which vttered it selfe from the inward hart by the mouth, out of which flowed speaches of horrible heate, tempered with cruell threatnings, equall to his of whome it was thus said long ago:

Horrebant sæuis omnia verba minis.]
The earle of Richmond remoueth his power to Tamworth.

The earle of Richmond raised his campe, and departed from Lichfield to the towne of Tamworth thereto néere adioining, and in the mid way passing, there saluted him sir Walter Hungerford and sir Thomas Bourchier knights, and diuerse other which yéelded and submitted themselues to his pleasure. For they, being aduertised that king Richard had them in suspicion and gelousie, a little beyond Stonie Stratford left and forsooke priuilie their capteine Robert Brakenberie; and wandering by night, and in maner by vnknowne paths, and vncerteine waies searching, at the last came at earle Henrie. Diuerse other noble personages, which inwardlie hated king Richard woorse than a tode or a serpent, did likewise resort to him with all their power and strength, wishing and working his destruction, who otherwise would haue béene the instrument of their casting away.

A strange chance that happened to the earle of Richmond.

There happened in this progression to the earle of Richmond a strange chance worthie to be noted. For albeit he was a man of valiant courage, & that his armie increased, and dailie more and more he waxed mightier and stronger; yet he was not a litle afeard, bicause he could in no wise be assured of his father in law Thomas lord Stanleie, which for feare of the destruction of the lord Strange his sonne (as you haue heard) as yet inclined to neither partie. For if he had gone to the earle, and that notified to king Richard, his sonne had béene shortlie executed. Wherefore he accompanied with twentie light horssemen lingered in his iournie, as a man musing & imagining what was best to be doone. And the more to aggrauate his pensiuenesse, it was shewed him, that king Richard was at hand with a strong power & a great armie.

The earle of Richmond put to a hard shift.

While he thus heauilie dragged behind his host, the whole armie came before the towne of Tamwoorth; and when he for the déepe darknesse could not perceiue the steps of them that passed on before, and had wandered hither & thither, séeking after his companie and yet not once hearing anie noise or whispering of them; he turned to a verie little village, being about thrée miles from his armie taking great thought, and much fearing least he should be espied, and so trapped by king Richards scoutwatch. There he taried all night, not once aduenturing to aske or demand a question of any creature, he being no more amazed with the ieopardie & perill that was passed, than with this present chance, sore feared that it shuld be a prognostication or signe of some infortunate plage afterward to succéed. As he was not merie being absent from his armie, so likewise his armie much maruelled, and no lesse mourned for his sudden absence.

The lord Stanleie the earle of Richmond & others méet, embrace, and consult.

The next morning earlie in the dawning of the day he returned, and by the conduct of good fortune, espied and came to his armie, excusing himselfe not to haue gone out of the way by ignorance: but that for a policie (deuised for the nonce) he went from his campe to receiue some glad message from certeine of his priuie fréends and secret alies. This excuse made, he priuilie departed againe from his host to the towne of Aderston, where the lord Stanleie and sir William his brother with their bands were abiding. There the earle came first to his father in law, in a litle close, where he saluted him, and sir William his brother: and after diuerse and fréendlie imbracings, each reioised of the state of other, and suddenlie were surprised with great ioy, comfort,[Pg 438] and hope of fortunate successe in all their affaires and dooings. Afterward they consulted togither how to giue battell to king Richard if he would abide, whome they knew not to be farre off with an huge host.

The principals of K. Richards power fall from him.

In the euening of the same day, sir Iohn Sauage, sir Brian Sanford, sir Simon Digbie, and manie other, leauing king Richard, turned and came to the part of the earle of Richmond, with an elect companie of men. Which refusall of king Richards part, by men of such experience, did augment and increase both the good hope, and the puissance of the earle of Richmond. In the meane season, king Richard which was appointed now to finish his last labor by the very diuine iustice & prouidence of God (which called him to condigne punishment for his mischiefous deserts) marched to a place méet for two battels to incounter, by a village called Bosworth, not farre from Leicester: and there he pitched his field on a hill called Anne Beame, refreshed his souldiers, and tooke his rest.

The dreame of king Richard the third foretelling him of his end.

The fame went, that he had the same night a dreadfull and terrible dreame: for it séemed to him being asléepe, that he did sée diuerse images like terrible diuels, which pulled and haled him, not suffering him to take anie quiet or rest. The which strange vision not so suddenlie strake his heart with a sudden feare, but it stuffed his head and troubled his mind with manie busie and dreadfull imaginations. For incontinent after, his heart being almost damped, he prognosticated before the doubtfull chance of the battell to come; not vsing the alacritie and mirth of mind and countenance as he was accustomed to doo before he came toward the battell. And least that it might be suspected that he was abashed for feare of his enimies, and for that cause looked so pitiouslie; he recited and declared to his familiar fréends in the morning his wonderfull vision and fearefull dreame.

But I thinke this was no dreame, but a punction and pricke of his sinfull conscience: for the conscience is so much more charged and aggréeued, as the offense is greater & more heinous in degrée. [So that king Richard, by this reckoning, must néeds haue a woonderfull troubled mind, because the déeds that he had doone, as they were heinous and vnnaturall, so did they excite and stirre vp extraordinarie motions of trouble and vexations in his conscience.] Which sting of conscience, although it strike not alwaie; yet at the last daie of extreame life, it is woont to shew and represent to vs our faults and offenses, and the paines and punishments which hang ouer our heads for the committing of the same, to the intent that at that instant, we for our deserts being penitent and repentant, maie be compelled (lamenting and bewailing our sinnes like forsakers of this world) iocund to depart out of this mischéefe life.

King Richard bringeth all his men into the plaine.
The duke of Norfolke and the earle of Surrie on K. Richards side.

Now to returne againe to our purpose. The next daie after, king Richard being furnished with men & all ablements of warre, bringing all his men out of their campe into the plaine, ordered his fore-ward in a maruellous length, in which he appointed both horsmen and footmen, to the intent to imprint in the hearts of them that looked a farre off, a sudden terror and deadlie feare, for the great multitude of the armed souldiers: and in the fore-front he placed the archers like a strong fortified trench or bulworke. Ouer this battell was capteine, Iohn duke of Norffolke, with whome was Thomas earle of Surrie his sonne. After this long vant-gard, followed king Richard himselfe with a strong companie of chosen and approoued men of warre, hauing horssemen for wings on both sides of his battell.

[Pg 439]

The lord Stanleie refuseth to set the earles men in battell araie.

After that the earle of Richmond was departed from the communication of his fréends (as you haue heard before) he began to be of a better stomach, and of a more valiant courage, and with all diligence pitched his field iust by the campe of his enimies, and there he lodged that night. In the morning betimes, he caused his men to put on their armour, and apparell themselues readie to fight and giue battell; and sent vnto the lord Stanleie (which was now come with his band into a place indifferent betwéene both the armies) requiring him with his men to approch néere to his armie, and to helpe to set the souldiers in arraie. But he answered that the earle should set his owne men in good order of battell, while he would arraie his companie, and come to him in time conuenient. Which answer made otherwise than the earle thought or would haue iudged, considering the oportunitie of the time & the weight of the businesse. And although he was ther withall a little vexed, & began some what to hang the head; yet he without anie time delaieng, compelled of necessitie, after this maner instructed and ordered his men.

The earle setteth his men in order and appointeth chéefteins.

He made his fore-ward somewhat single and slender, according to the small number of his people. In the front he placed the archers, of whome he made capteine Iohn earle of Oxenford. To the right wing of the battell he appointed sir Gilbert Talbot to be the leader. To the left wing, he assigned sir Iohn Sauage who had brought thither with him a crue of right able personages, clad in white coats and hoods, which mustered in the eies of their aduersaries right brimlie. The earle of Richmond himselfe, with aid of the lord Stanleie, gouerned the battell, accompanied with the earle of Penbroke, hauing a good companie of horssemen, and a small number of footmen. For all his whole number excéeded not fiue thousand men, beside the power of the Stanleies, wherof thrée thousand were in the field, vnder the standard of sir William Stanleie. The kings number was double so much and more. When both these armies were thus ordered, and all men readie to set forward, king Richard called his chiefteins togither, and to them said as followeth.

The oration of king Richard the third to the chiefteins of his armie.

King Richard iustifieth himselfe and his gouernement.

My most faithfull and assured fellowes, most trustie & welbeloued fréends, & elected capteins, by whose wisedome and policie I haue obteined the crowne, and type of this famous realme, and noble region: by whose puissance & valiantnesse I haue inioid and possessed the state roiall & dignitie of the same, maugre the ill will and seditious attempts of all my cankered enimies, and insidious aduersaries: by whose prudent & politike counsell I haue so gouerned my realme, people, subiects, that I haue omitted nothing apperteining to the office of a iust prince: nor you haue pretermitted nothing belonging to the dutie of wise and sage councellors. So that I maie saie, and trulie affirme, that your approoued fidelitie & tried constancie, maketh me to beléeue firmelie, and thinke that I am an vndoubted king, and an indubitate prince.

And although in the adeption and obteining of the garland, I being seduced, and prouoked by sinister councell, and diabolicall temptation, did commit a wicked and detestable act: yet I haue with streict penance and salt tears (as I trust) expiated & cléerelie purged the same offense: which abhominable crime I require you of frendship as cléerelie to forget, as I dailie remember to deplore and lament the same. If ye will euen now diligentlie call to remembrance in what case and perplexitie we doo stand; and in what doubtfull perill we be all intrapped; I doubt not but you in heart will thinke, and with mouth confesse, that if euer amitie and faith preuailed betwéene prince and subiects, or betwéene subiect and subiect; or if euer bond of alegiance obliged the vassall to loue and serue his naturall souereigne lord; or if anie obligation of dutie bound anie prince to aid & defend his subiects; all these loues, bonds, and duties of necessitie are now this day to be tried, shewed, and put in experience.

He speaketh opprobriouslie of the earle of Richmond.

For if wise men saie true (as they doo not lie) there is some policie in getting, but much more in kéeping; the one being but fortunes chance, & the other high wit and policie. For which cause, I with you, and you with me, must néeds this day take labour and paine, to kéepe and defend with force, that preheminence and possession, which by your prudent deuises I haue gotten & obteined. I doubt not but you know how the diuell (continuall enimie to humane nature, disturber of concord, & sower of[Pg 440] sedition) hath entered into the heart of an vnknowne Welshman (whose father I neuer knew, nor him personallie saw) exciting him to aspire and couet our realme, crowne, and dignitie, and thereof cléerelie to depriue and spoile vs and our posteritie. Ye sée further, how a companie of traitors, théeues, outlawes, and runnagates of our owne nation, be aiders and partakers of his feat and enterprise, readie at hand to ouercome and oppresse vs.

You sée also, what a number of beggerlie Britans and faint-hearted Frenchmen be with him arriued to destroie vs, our wiues and children. Which imminent mischéefs and apparant inconueniences, if we will withstand & repell, we must liue togither as brethren, fight togither like lions, & feare not to die togither like men. And obseruing and kéeping this rule and precept, beléeue me, the fearefull hare neuer fled faster before the gréedie greihound, nor the sillie larke before the sparrowhawke, nor yet the simple shéepe before the rauenous woolfe; than your proud bragging aduersaries, astonied and amazed with the onelie sight of your manlie visages, will flée, run, and skir out of the field. For if you consider and wiselie ponder all things in your mind, you shall perceiue, that we haue manifest causes, and apparant tokens of triumph and victorie.

The K. would persuade his capteins that the earle of Richmond is not warrior.

And to begin with the erle of Richmond capteine of this rebellion, he is a Welsh milkesop, a man of small courage, and of lesse experience in martiall acts and feats of warre, brought vp by my moothers meanes: and mine, like a captiue in a close cage in the court of Francis duke of Britaine; and neuer saw armie, nor was exercised in martiall affaires: by reason wherof he neither can, nor is able by his owne will or experience to guide or rule an hoast. For in the wit and policie of the capteine consisteth the chéefe adeption of the victorie, and ouerthrow of the enimies. Secondarilie feare not, but put awaie all doubts; for when the traitors and runnagates of our realme, shall sée vs with banner displaied come against them, remembring their oth, promise, and fidelitie made vnto vs, as to their souereigne lord and annointed king; they shall be so pricked and stoong in the bottome of their scrupulous consciences, that they for verie remorse and dread of the diuine plague, will either shamefullie flée, or humblie submit themselues to our grace and mercie.

Frenchmen & Britans great bosters small rosters.

And as for the Frenchmen and Britans, their valiantnesse is such, that our noble progenitors, and your valiant parts haue them oftener vanquished and ouercome in one moneth, than they in the beginning imagined possiblie to compasse and finish in a whole yeare. What will you make of them? braggers without audacitie, drunckards without discretion, ribalds without reason, cowards without resisting, and in conclusion, the most effeminate and lasciuious people that euer shewed themselues in front of battell; ten times more couragious to flée & escape, than once to assault the breast of our strong & populous armie. Wherefore considering all these aduantages, expell out of your thoughts all douts, auoid out of your minds all feare; and like valiant champions aduance foorth your standards, & assaie whether your enimies can decide and trie the title of battell by dint of sword. Aduance (I say againe) forward my capteines, in whome lacketh neither policie, wisedome, nor yet puissance. Euerie one giue but one sure stripe, & suerlie the iournie is ours. What preuaileth a handfull to a whole realme?

K. Richards vaine confidence and bootlesse courage.

Desiring you (for the loue that you beare to me) and the affection that you haue to your natiue and naturall countrie, and to the safegard of your prince & your selues, that you will this daie take to you your accustomed courage and couragious spirits, for the defense and safegard of vs all. And as for me, I assure you, this daie I will triumph by glorious victorie, or suffer death for immortall fame. For they be maimed and out of the palace of fame disgraded, dieng without renowme, which doo not as much prefer and exalt the perpetuall honour of their natiue countrie, as their owne mortall and transitorie life. Now saint George to borow, let vs set forward, and remember well, that I am he which shall with high aduancements reward and preferre the[Pg 441] valiant and hardie champions, and punish and torment the shamefull cowards, and dreadfull dastards.

This exhortation incouraged all such as fauoured him; but such as were present (more for dread than loue) kissed them openlie, whome they inwardlie hated. Other sware outwardlie to take part with such, whose death they secretlie compassed, and inwardlie imagined. Other promised to inuade the kings enimies, which fled and fought with fierce courage against the king. Other stood still and looked on, intending to take part with the victors and ouercommers. So was his people to him vnsure and vnfaithfull at his end, as he was to his nephues vntrue and vnnaturall in his beginning. [How then was it possible that this princes regiment could long stand, séeing the preseruation and prorogation of his reigne consisted not in the loue of his subiects? In place wherof bicause feare (yea seruile and forced feare succéeded) he was the sooner forsaken of his people, whose harts fell from him as isicles from a penthouse in a sunnie daie; and in this case the poet saith truelie, and was well worthie of credit when he craued it, saieng:

Credite quem metuit quisq; perire cupit.]
The person of the earle of Richmond described.

When the earle of Richmond knew by his foreriders that the king was so néere imbatelled, he rode about his armie from ranke to ranke, & from wing to wing, giuing comfortable words to all men, and that finished (being armed at all péeces, sauing his helmet) mounted on a little hill, so that all his people might sée and behold him perfectlie, to their great reioising. For he was a man of no great stature, but so formed and decorated with all gifts and lineaments of nature, that he séemed more an angelicall creature, than a terrestriall personage. His countenance and aspect was chéerefull and couragious, his haire yellow like the burnished gold, his eies graie shining and quicke; prompt and readie in answering, but of such sobrietie, that it could neuer be iudged whether he were more dull than quicke in speaking (such was his temperance.) Now when he had ouerlooked his armie ouer euerie side, he paused awhile, and after with a lowd voice and bold spirit spake to his companions these, or the like words following.

The oration of King Henrie the seauenth to his armie.

If euer God gaue victorie to men fighting in a iust quarrell, or if he euer aided such as made warre for the wealth & tuition of their owne naturall and nutritiue countrie, or if he euer succoured them which aduentured their liues for the reléefe of innocents, suppressing of malefactors and apparant offenders; no doubt my fellowes & fréends, but he of his bountifull goodnesse will this daie send vs triumphant victorie, and a luckie iournie ouer our proud enimies, and arrogant aduersaries: for if you remember and consider the verie cause of our iust quarell, you shall apparantlie perceiue the same to be true, godlie, and vertuous. In the which I doubt not, but God will rather aid vs (yea and fight for vs) than sée vs vanquished and ouerthrowne by such as neither feare him nor his laws, nor yet regard iustice or honestie.

The earles cause iust and right, & therefore likelie of good successe.

Our cause is so iust, that no enterprise can be of more vertue, both by the lawes diuine & ciuill. For what can be a more honest, goodlie, or godlie quarrell, than to fight against a capteine, being an homicide and murtherer of his owne bloud or progenie, an extreame destroier of his nobilitie, and to his and our countrie and the poore subiects of the same a deadlie mallet, a firie brand, and a burthen intollerable? Beside him, consider who be of his band and companie: such as by murther and vntrueth committed against their owne kin and linage, yea against their prince and souereigne lord, haue disherited me and you, and wrongfullie deteine and vsurpe our[Pg 442] lawfull patrimonie & lineall inheritance. For he that calleth himselfe king, kéepeth from me the crowne and regiment of this noble realme and countrie, contrarie to all iustice and equitie.

A great motiue to the nobles & gentles assisting the earle.

Likewise, his mates and friends occupie your lands, cut downe your woods, and destroie your manors, letting your wiues and children range abroade for their liuing: which persons for their penance and punishment I doubt not, but God of his goodnes will either deliuer into our hands, as a great gaine and bootie; or cause them (being gréeued and compuncted with the pricke of their corrupt consciences) cowardlie to flie, and not abide the battell. Beside this I assure you, that there be yonder in the great battell, men brought thither for feare, and not for loue; souldiers by force compelled, and not with good will assembled; persons which desire rather the destruction than saluation of their maister and capteine: and finallie, a multitude, whereof the most part will be our friends, and the least part our enimies.

K. Richards offenses and ill qualities summarilie touched by the earle.

For truelie I doubt which is greater, the malice of the soldiors toward their capteine; or the feare of him conceiued of his people. For suerlie this rule is infallible, that as ill men dailie couet to destroie the good; so God appointeth the good men to confound the ill. And of all worldlie goods the greatest is to suppresse tyrants, and reléeue innocents; whereof the one is as much hated, as the other is beloued. If this be true (as clearkes preach) who will spare yonder tyrant Richard duke of Glocester, vntruelie calling himselfe king, considering that he hath violated and broken both the lawes of God and man? What vertue is in him which was the confusion of his brother, and murtherer of his nephues? What mercie is in him that sleieth his trustie fréends as well as his extreame enimies? Who can haue confidence in him which putteth diffidence in all men?

K. Richard a notorious tyrant.

If you haue not read, I haue heard good clearkes saie, that Tarquine the proud for the vice of the bodie lost the kingdome of Rome; and the name of Tarquine banished the citie for euer: yet was not his fault so detestable as the fact of cruell Nero, which slue his own mother, and opened hir entrailes, to behold the place of his conception. Behold yonder Richard, which is both Tarquine and Nero: yea a tyrant more than Nero, for he hath not onlie murthered his nephue being his king and souereigne lord, bastarded his noble brethren, and defamed the wombe of his vertuous and womanlie mother; but also compassed all the meanes and waies that he could inuent, how to defile and carnallie know his owne néece, under the pretense of a cloked matrimonie, which ladie I haue sworne and promised to take to my mate and wife, as you all know and beléeue.

In encouragements to his armie to plaie the men in a iust cause.

If this cause be not iust, and this quarell godlie; let God (the giuer of victorie) iudge and determine. We haue (thanks be giuen to Christ) escaped the secret treasons in Britaine, and auoided the subtill snares of our fraudulent enimies there, passed the troublous seas in good and quiet safegard, and without resistance haue ouergone the ample region & large countrie of Wales, and are now come to the place which we so much desired: for long we haue sought the furious bore, and now we haue found him. Wherefore let vs not feare to enter into the toile, where we may suerlie sleie him; for God knoweth that we haue liued in the vales of miserie, tossing our ships in dangerous stormes: let vs not now dread to set vp our full sailes in faire weather, hauing with vs both God and good fortune.

If we had come to conquer Wales and had atchiued it, our praise had béene great, and our gaine more: but if we win this battell, the whole rich realme of England, with the lords and rulers of the same, shall be ours; the profit shall be ours, and the honour shall be ours. Therefore labour for your game, & sweat for your right. While we were in Britaine, we had small liuings and little plentie of wealth or welfare, now is the time come to get aboundance of riches, and copie of profit; which is the reward of your seruice, and merit of your paines. And this remember with your[Pg 443] selues, that before vs be our enimies; and on either side of vs be such, as I neither suerlie trust, nor greatlie beléeue; backeward we cannot flée; so that héere we stand like shéepe in a fold, circumuented and compassed betwéene our enimies and our doutfull friends.

Victorie consisteth not in multitude but in manlinesse.

Wherefore let all feare be set aside, and like sworne brethren let vs ioine in one; for this daie shall be the end of our trauell, and the gaine of our labour, either by honorable death or famous victorie: and as I trust, the battell shall not be so sowre, as the profit shall be swéet. Remember that victorie is not gotten with the multitudes of men, but with the courages of hearts, and valiantnesse of minds. The smaller that our number is, the more glorie is to vs if we vanquish: if we be ouercome, yet no laud is to be attributed to the victors, considering that ten men fought against one. And if we die so glorious a death in so good a quarell, neither fretting time, nor cancarding obliuion, shall be able to darken or rase out of the booke of fame either our names, or our godlie attempt. And this one thing I assure you, that in so iust and good a cause, and so notable a quarrell, you shall find me this daie rather a dead carrion vpon the cold ground, than a frée prisoner on a carpet in a ladies chamber.

Let vs therefore fight like inuincible giants, and set on our enimies like vntimorous tigers, & banish all feare like ramping lions. And now aduance forward true men against traitors, pitifull persons against murtherers, true inheritors against vsurpers, the scourges of God against tyrants. Displaie my banner with a good courage, march foorth like strong and robustious champions, and begin the battell like hardie conquerors. The battell is at hand, and the victorie approcheth; and if we shamefullie recule, or cowardlie flée; we and all our sequele be destroied, and dishonored for euer. This is the daie of gaine, and this is the time of losse; get this daie victorie, and be conquerors: and léese this daies battell, and be villaines. And therefore in the name of God and S. George, let euerie man couragiouslie aduance foorth his standard.

The battell betwéene king Richard, and king Henrie the seuenth, called Bosworth field.
The policie of the earle.

These chéerefull words he set foorth with such gesture of his bodie, & smilling countenance, as though alreadie he had vanquished his enimies, and gotten the spoile. He had scantlie finished his saieng, but the one armie spied the other. Lord how hastilie the soldiers buckled their healmes, how quicklie the archers bent their bowes and frushed their feathers, how readilie the bilmen shooke their billes, and prooued their staues, readie to approach and ioine, when the terrible trumpet should sound the bloudie blast to victorie or death! Betwéene both armies there was a great marish then (but at this present, by reason of diches cast, it is growne to be firme ground) which the earle of Richmond left on his right hand; for this intent, that it shouid be on that side a defense for his part, and in so dooing he had the sunne at his backe, and in the faces of his enimies. When king Richard saw the earles companie was passed the marish; he did command with all hast to set vpon them. Then the trumpets sounded, and the souldiers shouted, and the kings archers couragiouslie let flie their arrowes. The earles bowmen stood not still, but paied them home againe.

The earle of Oxfords charge to his band of men.

The terrible shot once passed, the armies ioined and came to hand-strokes, where neither sword nor bill was spared. At which incounter, the lord Stanleie ioined with the earle. The earle of Oxford in the meane season, fearing least while his companie was fighting, they should be compassed and circumuented with the multitude of the enimies, gaue commandement in euerie ranke, that no man should be so hardie, as to go aboue ten foot from the standard. Which commandment once knowne, they knit themselues togither, and ceassed a little from fighting. The aduersaries suddenlie abashed at the matter, and mistrusting some fraud and deceit, began also to pause and left striking; and not against the wils of manie, which had rather had the king destroied, than saued, and therefore they fought verie faintlie, or stood still.

[Pg 444]

The earle of Oxfords valiantnesse.
The earle of Richmond proffereth to incounter K. Richard bodie to bodie. Sir William Brandon slaine.

The earle of Oxford, bringing all his band togither on the one part, set on his enimies; freshlie againe. The adversaries perceiuing that, placed their men slender and thin before, but thicke and broad behind, beginning againe hardilie the battell. While the two fore-wards thus mortallie fought, ech intending to vanquish and conuince the other; king Richard was admonished by his explorators and espials, that the earle of Richmond (accompanied with a small number of men of armes) was not far off. And as he approched and marched toward him, he perfectlie knew his personage; by certeine demonstrations and tokens, which he had learned and knowen of others that were able to giue him full information. Now being inflamed with ire, and vexed with outragious malice, he put his spurres to his horsse, and rode out of the side of the range of his battell, leauing the vant-gard fighting; and like a hungrie lion ran with speare in rest toward him. The earle of Richmond perceiued well the king furiouslie comming toward him, and bicause the whole hope of his wealth and purpose was to be determined by battell, he gladlie preferred to incounter with him bodie to bodie, and man to man.

The kings armie flieth.

King Richard set on so sharplie at the first brunt, that he ouerthrew the earles standard, and slue sir William Brandon his standard-bearer (which was father to sir Charles Brandon by king Henrie the eight created duke of Suffolke) and matched hand to hand with sir Iohn Cheinie, a man of great force and strength, which would haue resisted him: but the said Iohn was by him manfullie ouerthrowen. And so he making open passage by dint of sword as he went forward, the earle of Richmond withstood his violence, and kept him at the swords point without aduantage, longer than his companions either thought or iudged: which being almost in despaire of victorie, were suddenlie recomforted by sir William Stanleie, which came to his succors with thrée thousand tall men. At which verie instant, king Richards men were driuen backe and fled, & he himselfe manfullie fighting in the middle of his enimies, was slaine, and (as he worthilie had deserued) came to a bloudie death, as he had lead a bloudie life.

Duke of Norffolke slaine in the field.

In the meane season, the earle of Oxford with the aid of the lord Stanleie, after no long fight, discomfited the fore-ward of king Richard, whereof a great number were slaine in the chase and fight: but the greatest number which (compelled by feare of the king, and not of their méere voluntarie motion) came to the field, gaue neuer a stroke, and hauing no harme nor damage, safelie departed, which came not thither in hope to sée the king prosper and preuaile, but to heare that he should be shamefullie confounded and brought to ruine. In this battell died few aboue the number of a thousand persons: and of the nobilitie were slaine Iohn duke of Norffolke, which was warned by diuerse to refraine from the field, in so much that the night before he should set forward toward the king, one wrote this rime vpon his gate:

Iacke of Norffolke be not too bold,
For [4]Dikon thy maister is bought and sold.

[4] Richard.

Yet all this notwithstanding, he regarded more his oth, his honor, and promise made to king Richard, like a gentleman; and as a faithfull subiect to his prince, absented not himselfe from his maister; but as he faithfullie liued vnder him, so he manfullie died with him, to his great fame and laud. And therfore, though his seruice was ill imploied in aid of a tyrant (whome it had béene more honorable to haue suppressed than supported) yet bicause he had vpon his fealtie vndertaken to fight in his quarell, he thought it lesse losse of life and liuing than of glorie & honour: so that he might haue said, in respect of his loialtie & promised truth testified with constancie to the death:

Est mihi supplicium causa fuisse pium.

[Pg 445]

What persons of name were slaine on king Richards side.

There were slaine beside him, Walter lord Ferrers of Chartleie, sir Richard Radcliffe, and Robert Brakenberie lieutenant of the Tower, and not manie gentlemen more. Sir William Catesbie learned in the lawes of the realme, and one of the chéefe councellors to the late king, with diuerse other, were two daies after beheaded at Leicester. Amongst them that ran awaie, were sir Francis vicount Louell, and Humfreie Stafford, and Thomas Stafford his brother, which tooke sanctuarie in saint Iohns at Glocester. Of captiues and prisoners there were a great number. For after the death of king Richard was knowne and published, euerie man in manner vnarming himselfe, & casting awaie his abiliments of warre, méekelie submitted themselues to the obeisance and rule of the earle of Richmond: of the which the more part had gladlie so doone in the beginning, if they might haue conuenientlie escaped from king Richards espials, which hauing as cléere eies as Lynx, and open eares as Midas, ranged & searched in euerie quarter.

Earl of Surreie cōmitted to the Tower notwithstanding his submission.

Amongst these was Henrie the fourth earle of Northumberland, which (whether it was by the commandement of King Richard, putting diffidence in him; or he did it for the loue and fauour that he bare vnto the earle) stood still with a great companie, and intermitted not in the battell, which was incontinentlie receiued into fauour and made of the councell. But Thomas Howard earle of Surreie, which submitted himselfe there, was not taken to grace; bicause his father was chiefe councellor, and he greatlie familiar with king Richard, but committed to the Tower of London, where he long remained; and in conclusion deliuered, was for his truth and fidelitie after promoted to high honors, offices and dignities. On the earle of Richmonds part were slaine scarse one hundred persons, among whome the principall was sir Willam Brandon his standard-bearer. This battell was fought at Bosworth in Leicestershire, the two and twentith daie of August, in the yeare of our redemption 1485. The whole conflict indured litle aboue two houres.

How king Richard might haue escaped.

King Richard (as the fame went) might haue escaped and gotten safegard by fléeing. For when they, which were next about his person, saw and perceiued at the first ioining of the battell the souldiers faintlie and nothing couragiouslie to set on their enimies; and not onlie that, but also that some withdrew themselues priuilie out of the prease and departed; they began to suspect fraud and to smell treason; and not onelie exhorted, but determinatlie aduised him to saue himselfe by flight. And when the losse of the battell was imminent and apparant, they brought to him a swift and a light horsse, to conueie him awaie. He which was not ignorant of the grudge and ill will that the common people bare toward him, casting awaie all hope of fortunate successe and happie chance to come, answered (as men saie) that on that daie he would make an end of all battels, or else there finish his life. Such a great audacitie and such a stomach reigned in his bodie.

For suerlie he knew that to be the daie, in the which it should be decided and determined whether he should peaceablie obteine and inioy his kingdome during his life, or else vtterlie forgo and be depriued of the same. With which too much hardines he being ouercome, hastilie closed his helmet, and entered fiercelie into the hard battell, to the intent to obteine that daie a quiet reigne and regiment; or else to finish there his vnquiet life, and vnfortunat gouernance. And so this miser at the same verie point had like chance and fortune, as happeneth to such which in place of right iustice and honestie, following their sensuall appetite, loue, and vse to imbrace mischiefe, tyrannie, and vnthriftinesse. Suerlie these be examples of more vehemencie, than mans toong can expresse, to feare and astonish such euill persons, as will not liue one houre vacant from dooing and exercising crueltie, mischiefe, or outragious liuing.

The deuout behauior of the earle of Richmond after the victorie.

When the earle had thus obtained victorie, and slaine his mortall enimie, he knéeled downe and rendred to almightie God his hartie thanks, with deuout and godlie orisons; beséeching his goodnesse to send him grace to aduance and defend the catholike faith;[Pg 446] and to mainteine iustice and concord amongst his subiects and people, by God now to his gouernance committed & assigned. Which praier finished, he replenished with incomparable gladnesse ascended vp to the top of a little mounteine, where he not onelie praised and lauded his valiant souldiers; but also gaue vnto them his hartie thanks, with promise of condigne recompense for their fidelitie and valiant facts, willing and commanding all the hurt and wounded persons to be cured, and the dead carcasses to be deliuered to the sepulture. Then the people reioised, and clapped their hands, crieng vp to heauen; King Henrie, king Henrie.

The lord Stanleie setteth the crowne on king Henries head.

When the lord Stanleie saw the good will and gladnesse of the people, he tooke the crowne of king Richard which was found amongst the spoile in the field, and set it on the earles head; as though he had béene elected king by the voice of the people, as in ancient times past in diuerse realmes it hath béene accustomed: and this was the first signe and token of his good lucke and felicitie, ¶I must put you here in remembrance, how that king Richard (putting some diffidence in the lord Stanleie) had with him as an hostage the lord Strange, his eldest sonne, which lord Stanleie (as ye haue heard before) ioined not at the first with his sonne in lawes armie, for feare the king would haue slaine the lord Strange his heire.

The lord Stanlies bold answer to K. Richards purseuant.

When king Richard was come to Bosworth, he sent a purseuant to the lord Stanleie, commanding him to aduance forward with his companie, and to come to his presence; which thing if he refused to doo, he sware by Christes passion, that he would strike off his sonnes head before he dined. The lord Stanleie answered the purseuant that if the king did so, he had more sonnes aliue; and as to come to him, he was not then so determined. When king Richard heard this answer, he commanded the lord Strange incontinent to be beheaded; which was at that verie same season, when both the armies had sight ech of other. But the councellors of king Richard pondered the time and cause, knowing also the lord Strange to be innocent of his fathers offense, & persuaded the king that it was now time to fight, & no time to execute.

Proclamation made to bring in the lord Strange.

Besides that, they aduised him to kéepe the lord Strange as prisoner till the battell were ended, and then at leisure his pleasure might be accomplished. So (as God would) king Richard brake his holie oth, and the lord was deliuered to the kéepers of the kings tents, to be kept as prisoner. Which, when the field was doone, and their maister slaine, and proclamation made to know where the child was, they submitted themselues as prisoners to the lord Strange, and he gentlie receiued them, and brought them to the new proclamed king; where, of him and of his father he was receiued with great ioy. After this the whole campe remooued with bag and baggage.

The shamefull cariage of K. Richards bodie to Leicester.

The same night in the euening, king Henrie with great pompe came to the towne of Leicester; where as well for the refreshing of his people & souldiers, as for preparing all things necessarie for his iournie toward London, he rested and reposed himselfe two daies. In the meane season the dead corps of king Richard was as shamefullie caried to the towne of Leicester, as he gorgeouslie (the day before) with pompe and pride departed out of the same towne. For his bodie was naked and despoiled to the skin, and nothing left about him, not so much as a clout to couer his priuie members, and was trussed behind a purseuant of arms, one Blanch Senglier, or White bore, like a hog or calfe, his head and armes hanging on the one side of the horsse, and his legs on the other side, and all besprinkled with mire and bloud he was brought to the graie friers church within the towne, and there laie like a miserable spectacle.

[Pg 447]

K. Richards badge and cognisance euerie where defaced.

But suerlie considering his mischiefous acts and vngratious dooings, men maie woonder at such a caitife, who although he deserued no buriall place either in church or churchyard, chappell or chancell, but otherwise to haue bin bestowed: yet in the said church he was with no lesse funerall pompe & solemnitie interred, than he would to be doone at the buriall of his innocent nephues, whome he caused cruellie to be murthered, and vnnaturallie killed. Now when his death was knowne, few lamented and manie reioiced. The proud bragging white bore (which was his badge) was violentlie rased & plucked downe from euerie signe and place where it might be espied: so ill was his life, that men wished the memorie of him to be buried with his carren corps. He reigned two yéers, two moneths, and one daie [too long by six and twentie moneths, and foure and twentie houres in most mens opinions, to whome his name and presence was as swéet and delectable, as his dooings princelie, and his person amiable.]

The description of king Richard.

As he was small and little of stature, so was he of bodie greatlie deformed; the one shoulder higher than the other; his face was small, but his countenance cruell, and such, that at the first aspect a man would iudge it to sauour and smell of malice, fraud, and deceit. When he stood musing, he would bite and chaw busilie his nether lip; as who said, that his fierce nature in his cruell bodie alwaies chafed, stirred, and was euer vnquiet: beside that, the dagger which he ware, he would (when he studied) with his hand plucke vp & downe in the sheath to the midst, neuer drawing it fullie out: he was of a readie, pregnant, and quicke wit, wilie to feine, and apt to dissemble: he had a proud mind, and an arrogant stomach, the which accompanied him euen to his death, rather choosing to suffer the same by dint of sword, than being forsaken and left helpelesse of his vnfaithfull companions, to preserue by cowardlie flight such a fraile and vncerteine life, which by malice, sicknesse, or condigne punishment was like shortlie to come to confusion.

Thus ended this prince his mortall life with infamie and dishonor, which neuer preferred fame or honestie before ambition, tyrannie and mischiefe. And if he had continued still protector, and suffered his nephues to haue liued and reigned, no doubt but the realme had prospered, & he as much praised & loued as he is now had in hatred: but to God, which knew his inward thoughts at the houre of his death, I remit the punishment of his offenses commited in his life; which if the one be as manifold as the other, Gods iustice were not to be charged with crueltie. For by nature he is mercifull, slow to anger, and loth to smite: but yet euerie sinne (in respect of his righteousnesse) being deadlie (much more heinous and horrible) how can he but by iustice (which is an essentiall vertue in him) punish it seuerelie? And if he did it with ten thousand torments, who shall be so hardie as to expostulate and reason why he so dooth?

Sée pag. 324.

But to leaue the tyrant as he died, you shall vnderstand that K. Henrie the seuenth caused a toome to be made and set vp ouer the place where he was buried, in the church of the graie friers at Leicester, with a picture of alabaster representing his person, dooing that honour to his enimie, vpon a princelie regard and pitifull zeale, which king Richard (mooued of an hypocritical shew of counterfeit pitie) did to Henrie the sixt, whom he had first cruellie murthered, and after in the second yeare of his vsurped reigne, caused his corps to be remooued from Chertseie vnto Windsore, and there solemnlie interred. And now to conclude with this cruell tyrant king Richard, we may consider in what sort the ambitious desire to rule and gouerne in the house of Yorke, was punished by Gods iust prouidence.

Sée pag. 268.
Sée pag. 346.

For although that the right might séeme to remaine in the person of Richard duke of Yorke, slaine at Wakefield; yet maie there be a fault worthilie reputed in him, so to séeke to preuent the time appointed him by authoritie of parlement to atteine to the crowne intailed to him and his issue; in whome also, and not onelie in himselfe, that offense (as maie bée thought) was dulie punished. For although his eldest sonne Edward the fourth, béeing a prince right prouident and circumspect for the suertie of his owne estate and his children, insomuch that not content to cut off all his armed and apparant enimies, he also of a gealous feare, made awaie his brother the duke of Clarence, and so thought to make all sure: yet Gods vengeance might not be disap[Pg 478]pointed, for (as ye haue partlie heard) he did but further thereby the destruction of his issue, in taking awaie him that onlie might haue staied the crueltie of his brother of Glocester, who inraged for desire of the kingdome, bereft his innocent nephues of their liues & estates.

Abr. Flem. ex Guic. pag. 49.
Lodowike Sforce duke of Millan by vsurpation.

And as it thus well appeared, that the house of Yorke shewed it selfe more bloudie in séeking to obteine the kingdome, than that of Lancaster in vsurping it: so it came to passe, that the Lords vengeance appeared more heauie towards the same than toward the other, not ceassing till the whole issue male of the said Richard duke of Yorke was extinguished. For such is Gods iustice, to leaue no vnrepentant wickednesse vnpunished, as especiallie in this caitife Richard the third, not deseruing so much as the name of a man, much lesse of a king, most manifestlie appeareth. [At whom we will end, with a comparison of the like practise in Lodowike Sforce, aspiring to the dukedome of Millane, the name, armes and title wherof he tooke vpon him, hauing secretlie protested before, that he receiued them as apperteining to him by the inuestiture of the king of Romans.

It was published that the death of Galeas (his late predecessor) happened by immoderate cohabitation, but the vniuersall iudgment of Italie was, that he died not of infirmities naturall, nor by incontinencie, but by poison and violent compulsion. Wherof Theodor de Pauia, one of the physicians, assisting when the king visited him, assured the king to sée most apparant and manifest signes: and if hée were dispatched by poison, there was none that doubted that his vncle was innocent, either directlie or indirectlie; as he, who not content with an absolute power to be gouernor of the state, but aspiring according to the common desires of great men, to make themselues glorious with titles and honors; and speciallie he judged, that both for his proper suertie and the succession of his children, the death of the lawfull prince was necessarie, and therefore thought to establish in himselfe the power and name of duke. Wherin ambition and couetousnesse preuailed aboue conscience and law of nature, and the gealous desire of dominion inforced his disposition (otherwise abhorring bloud) to that vile action.

Sée page. 211.
Guic. pag. 12.

But to end with king Richard sometimes duke of Glocester, a title of dignitie ioined with misfortune and vnluckinesse (as is noted[3] before.) So that for infelicitie it might well be compared vnto the name of Ione, a name vnhappie and much accurssed for the kingdome of Naples. As for king Richard, better had it béene for him to haue contented his heart with the protectorship, than to haue cast vp his snout, or lifted vp his hornes of ambition so high (and that with a setled intent) as to hacke and hew downe by violent blowes all likelie impediments betwixt him and home. Better (I say) had it béene for him to haue dwelt vpon his first honor, than to haue wandered in princelinesse; and better had it béene for him neuer to haue inioied the flattering prosperitie of a king, than afterwards to fall, and neuer to recouer losse or ruine, as is noted by the poet, saieng:

T. Wat. in Am. Quer. 7.
Est melius nunquam felicia tempora nosse,
Quàm post blanditias fortunæ, fata maligna
Nec reparanda pati infortunia sortis iniquæ.]
Fr. Thin.
The death of William Dudleie bishop of Durham, descended of the honorable house of the Dudleies.

¶ In this yere 1483 died William Dudleie who (by the translation of Laurence Booth bishop of Durham and chancellor of England from the sée of Durham to the citie of Yorke) was made bishop of Durham (in place of the said Laurence) by the popes bulles. For by vertue thereof, Edward the fourth in the sixtéenth yeare of his reigne, and in the yeare of Christ 1476, directed his letters patents to the knights and other frée men of that bishoprike, with all solemnitie to install the said William Dudleie (borne of the honorable house of the lords Dudleies) in the said bishoprike of Durham, and to deliuer him quiet possession therof, who was consecrated there[Pg 479]vnto in the yeare of Christ 1477, in which he woorthilie gouerned six yeares, and died in this yeare, as before.

Now of learned men that liued, and wrote in the daies of this vsurper and his nephue king Edward the fift, these we find recorded by Iohn Bale. First, Iohn Penketh an Augustine frier of Warington in Lancashire, a right subtill fellow in disputation, following the footsteps of his master Iohn Duns, whome he chieflie studied, he wrote diuers treatises, and made that infamous sermon at Paules crosse, in fauour of the duke of Glocester then protector, to the disheriting of Edward the fift, his lawfull king and gouernor; Iohn Kent or Caileie borne in Southwales; George Ripleie, first a chanon of Bridlington, and after a Carmelit frier in Boston, a great mathematician, rhetorician, and poet; Iohn Spine a Carmelit frier of Bristow, that procéeded doctor of diuinitie in Cambridge: and such like.

Thus farre Richard the vsurper, vnnaturall vncle to Edward the fift and Richard duke of Yorke, brethren.

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation normalised.

Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

Any footnotes that were also sidenotes were formatted as sidenotes as that more nearly approximates the original format.

Page number 478 follows the page numbered 447 in original. There is no obvious gap in the text so this must be a printers error.