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persons, especially when they are drunk with news and talk of the people. But here is that which hath no appearance: that this priest being utterly unacquainted with the true person, according to whose pattern he should shape his counterfeit, should think it possible for him to instruct his player either in gesture or fashions, or in recounting past matters of his life and education; or in fit answers to questions, or the like, any ways to come near the resemblance of him whom he was to represent. For this lad was not to personate one that had been long before taken out of his cradle, or conveyed away in his infancy, known to few; but a youth, that till the age almost of ten years had been brought up in a court where infinite eyes had been upon him. For King Edward, touched with remorse of his brother the Duke of Clarence's death, would not indeed restore his son, of whom we speak, to be Duke of Clarence, but yet created him Earl of Warwick, reviving his honour on the mother's side; and used him honourably during his time, though Richard the Third afterwards confined him. So that it cannot be, but that some great person that knew particularly and familiarly Edward Plantagenet, had a hand in the business, from whom the priest might take his aim. That which is most probable, out of the precedent and subsequent acts is, that it was the queen-dowager from whom this action had the principal source and motion. For certain it is she was a busy negotiating woman, and in her withdrawing chamber had the fortunate conspiracy for the king against King Richard the Third been hatched; which the king knew, and remembered perhaps but too well; and was at this time extremely discontent with the king, thinking her daughter, as the king handled the matter, not advanced but depressed: and none could hold the book so well to prompt and instruct this stage-play as she could. Nevertheless it was not her meaning, nor no more was it the meaning of any of the better and sager sort that favoured this enterprise, and knew the secret, that this disguised idol should possess the crown; but at his peril to make way to the overthrow of the king; and that done they had their several hopes and ways. That which doth chiefly fortify this conjecture is, that as soon as the matter brake forth in any strength, it was one of the king's first acts to cloister the queen-dowager in the nunnery of Bermondsey, and to take away all her lands and estate; and this by a close council, without any legal proceeding, upon far-fetched pretences, that she had delivered her two daughters out of sanctuary to King Richard, contrary to promise. Which proceeding being even at that time taxed for
rigorous and undue, both in matter and manner, makes it very probable there was some greater matter against her, which the king upon reason of policy, and to avoid envy, would not publish. It is likewise no small argument that there was some secret in it, and some suppressing of examinations, for that the priest Simon himself, after he was taken, was never brought to execution; no, not so much as to public trial, as many clergymen were upon less treasons, but was only shut up close in a dungeon. Add to this, that after the Earl of Lincoln, a prin cipal person of the House of York, was slain in Stoke-field, the king opened himself to some of his council, that he was sorry for the earl's death, because by him, he said, he might have known the bottom of his danger.
But to return to the narration itself: Simon did first instruct his scholar for the part of Richard, Duke of York, second son to King Edward the Fourth; and this was at such time as it was voiced, that the king purposed to put to death Edward Plan, tagenet, prisoner in the Tower, whereat there was great murmur. But hearing soon after a general bruit that Plantagenet had escaped out of the Tower, and thereby finding him so much beloved amongst the people, and such rejoicing at his escape, the cunning priest changed his copy, and chose now Plantagenet to be the subject his pupil should personate, because he was more in the present speech and votes of the people; and it pieced better, and followed more close and handsomely, upon the bruit of Plantagenet's escape. But yet doubting that there would be too near looking, and too much perspective into his disguise, if he should show it here in England; he thought good, after the manner of scenes in stage plays and masks, to show it afar off; and therefore sailed with his scholar into Ireland, where the affection to the House of York was most in height. The king had been a little improvident in the matters of Ireland, and had not removed officers and counsellors, and put in their places, or at least intermingled, persons of whom he stood assured, as he should have done, since he knew the strong bent of that country towards the House of York; and that it was a ticklish and unsettled state, more easy to receive distempers and mutations than England was. But trusting to the reputation of his victories and successes in England, he thought he should have time enough to extend his cares afterwards to that second kingdom.
Wherefore, through this neglect, upon the coming of Simon with his pretended Plantagenet into Ireland, all things were prepared for revolt and sedition, almost as if they had been set
and plotted beforehand.-Simon's first address was to the Lord Thomas Fitz-Gerard, Earl of Kildare, and deputy of Ireland; before whose eyes he did cast such a mist, by his own insinua tion, and by the carriage of his youth, that expressed a natural princely behaviour, as joined perhaps with some inward vapours of ambition and affection in the earl's own mind, left him fully possessed, that it was the true Plantagenet. The earl presently communicated the matter with some of the nobles, and others there, at the first secretly; but finding them of like affection to himself, he suffered it of purpose to vent and pass abroad; because they thought it not safe to resolve till they had a taste of the people's inclination. But if the great ones were in for wardness, the people were in fury, entertaining this airy body or phantasm with incredible affection; partly out of their great devotion to the House of York; partly out of a proud humour in the nation, to give a king to the realm of England. Neither did the party in this heat of affection, much trouble themselves with the attainder of George, Duke of Clarence; having newly learned by the king's example, that attainders do not interrupt the conveying of title to the crown. And as for the daughters of King Edward the Fourth, they thought King Richard had said enough for them; and took them to be but as of the king's party, because they were in his power and at his disposing. So that with marvellous consent and applause, this counterfeit Plantagenet was brought with great solemity to the castle of Dublin, and there saluted, served, and honoured as king; the boy becoming it well, and doing nothing that did bewray the baseness of his condition. And within a few days after he was proclaimed king in Dublin, by the name of King Edward the Sixth; there being not a sword drawn in King Henry his quarrel.
Henry's first proceeding, for reasons which are some→ what mysterious, was the seclusion of the queen dowager, his mother-in-law, in the nunnery of Bermondsey:
This lady was amongst the examples of great variety of fortune. She had first from a distressed suitor, and desolate widow, been taken to the marriage bed of a bachelor king, the goodliest personage of his time; and even in his reign she had endured a strange eclipse by the king's flight, and temporary depriving of the crown. She was also very happy, in that she had by him fair issue; and continued his nuptial love, helping herself by some obsequious bearing and dissembling of his
pleasures to the very end. She was much affectionate to her own kindred, even unto faction; which did stir great envy in the lords of the king's side, who counted her blood a disparagement to be mingled with the king's. With which lords of the king's blood joined also the king's favourite, the Lord Hastings; who, notwithstanding the king's great affection to him, was thought at times, through her malice and spleen, not to be out of danger of falling. After her husband's death she was matter of tragedy, having lived to see her brother beheaded, and her two sons deposed from the crown, bastarded in their blood, and cruelly murdered. All this while nevertheless she enjoyed her liberty, state, and fortunes: but afterwards again, upon the rise of the wheel, when she had a king to her son-inlaw, and was made grandmother to a grandchild of the best sex; yet was she upon dark and unknown reasons, and no less strange pretences, precipitated and banished the world into a nunnery; where it was almost thought dangerous to visit her, or see her; and where not long after she ended her life: but was by the king's commandment buried with the king her husband, at Windsor. She was foundress of Queen's College in Cambridge. For this act the king sustained great obloquy, which nevertheless, besides the reason of state, was somewhat sweetened to him by a great confiscation.
A page or two farther on we are introduced to another female member of the House of York, destined to figure conspicuously in the sequel, the Lady Margaret of Burgundy :
Margaret was second sister to King Edward the Fourth, and had been second wife to Charles, surnamed the Hardy, Duke of Burgundy, by whom, having no children of her own, she did, with singular care and tenderness, intend the education of Philip and Margaret, grandchildren to her former husband; which won her great love and authority among the Dutch. This Princess, having the spirit of a man and malice of a woman, abounding in treasure by the greatness of her dower and her provident government, and being childless, and without any nearer care, made it her design and enterprise to see the majesty royal of England once again replaced in her house, and had set up King Henry as a mark at whose overthrow all her actions should aim and shoot, insomuch as all the counsels of his succeeding troubles came chiefly out of that quiver. And she bare such a mortal hatred to the house of Lancaster,
and personally to the King, as she was noways mollified by the conjunction of the houses in her niece's marriage, but rather hated her niece as the means of the King's ascent to the crown, and assurance therein.
The cause of the Pretender had been taken up in England, most probably with a view to ulterior objects of his own, by John Earl of Lincoln, son of John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and of Elizabeth, King Edward the Fourth's eldest sister, a man of great wit and courage; two thousand Germans had come over under the command of Martin Swart, a valiant and experienced captain; and the rebels in these circumstances determined to leave Ireland, and to strike their great blow in England. "The King, in the mean time, who at the first when he heard what was done in Ireland, though it troubled him, yet thought he should be well enough able to scatter the Irish as a flight of birds, and rattle away this swarm of bees with their king; when he heard afterwards that the Earl of Lincoln was embarked in the action, and that the Lady Margaret was declared for it, he apprehended the danger in a true degree as it was, and saw plainly that his kingdom must again be put to the stake, and that he must fight for it." And here is the narrative of the bloody issue as it was determined near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, on the 16th of June, 1487:
The Earl, nothing dismayed, came forward that day unto a little village called Stoke and there encamped that night, upon the brow or hanging of a hill. The King next day presented him battle upon the plain, the fields there being open and champain. The Earl courageously came down and joined battle with him. Concerning which battle the relations that are left unto us are so naked and negligent, though it be an action of so recent memory, as they rather declare the success of the day than the manner of the fight. They say that the King divided his army into three battails, whereof the vant-guard only, well strengthened with wings, came to fight: that the fight was fierce and obstinate and lasted three hours before the victory inclined either way, save that judgment might be made by that the King's vant-guard of itself maintained fight against the whole