ward returned, and with much less number than he had, at Barnet, on the Easterday field, slew the earl of Warwick, with many other great estates of that party; and so stably attained the crown again, that he peaceably enjoyed it unto his dying day; and in such plight left it, that it could not be lost but by the discord of his very friends, or falsehood of his feigned friends.

I have rehearsed this business about this marriage somewhat the more at length, because it might thereby the better appear, upon how slippery a ground the protector builded his colour, by which he pretended King Edward's children to be bastards. But that invention, simple as it was, it liked them to whom it sufficed to have somewhat to say, while they were sure to be compelled to no larger proof than themselves list to make....

Now then, as I began to shew you, it was by the protector and his council concluded, that this Dr. Shaw should, in a sermon at Paul's Cross, signify to the people, that neither King Edward himself, nor the duke of Clarence, were lawfully begotten ; nor were not the very children of the duke of York, but gotten unlawfully by other persons, by the adultery of the duchess their mother. And that also Dame Elizabeth Lucy was verily the wife of King Edward, and so the prince and all his children bastards, who were gotten upon the queen.

According to this device, Dr. Shaw, the Sunday after, at

Paul's cross, in a great audience (as alway assembled great numbers to his preaching) took for his theme Spuria vitulamina non agent radices altas ; that is to say, bastard slips shall never take deep root. Thereupon when he had shewn the great grace that God giveth and secretly infoundeth in right generation after the laws of matrimony, then declared he that commonly those children lacked that grace, and for the punishment of their parents were for the more part unhappy, which were gotten in haste and specially in adultery. Of which, though some, by the ignorance of the world, and the truth hid from knowledge, inherited for the season other men's lands; yet God alway so provideth, that it continueth not in their blood long, but the truth coming to light, the rightful inheritors be restored, and the bastard slip pulled-up ere it can be rooted deep.

And when he had laid for the proof and confirmation of this sentence certain examples taken out of the Old Testament and other ancient histories, then began he to descend into the praise of the Lord Richard late duke of York, calling him father to the lord protector, and declared the title of his heirs unto the crown, to whom it was, after the death of King Henry VI, entailed by authority of parliament. Then shewed he that his very right heir of his body, lawa fully begotten, was only the lord protector; for he declared then, that King Edward was never lawfully married unto the queen, but was before God husband unto Dame Elizabeth Lucy, and so his children bastards. And beside that, neither King Edward himself nor the duke of Clarence, Vol. II.

G g

among those who were secret in the household, were reckoned very surely for the children of the noble duke, as those who by their favours more resembled other known men than him ; from whose virtuous conditions, he said also that King Edward was far off. But the lord-protector, he said, that very noble prince, that special pattern of knightly prowess, as well in all princely behaviour as in the lineaments and favour of his visage, represented the very face of the noble duke his father. This is, quoth he, the father's own figure, this is his own countenance, the very print of his visage, the sure undoubted image, the plain 'express likeness; of that noble duke.

[ocr errors]

Now was it before devised, that in the speaking of these ' words, the protector should have come-in among the people

to the sermon ward. To the end that, those words meeting with his presence, might have been taken among the hearers, as though the Holy Ghost had put them in the preacher's mouth; and should have moved the people even there, to cry King Richard ! King Richard ! that it might have been after said, that he was specially chosen by God

and in manner by miracle. But this device quailed, either . by the protector's negligence, or the preacher's over-much

diligence. For while the protector found by the way tarrying, lest he should prevent those words ; and the doctor, fearing that he should come ere his sermon could come to those words, hasted his matter thereto; he was come to them and past them, and entered into other matters ere the protector came.

Whom when he beheld coming, he suddenly left the matter with which he was in hand, and without any deduction thereunto, out of all order and out of all frame, began to repeat those words again,this is that very noble prince, that special pattern of knightly prowess ; who, as well in all princely behaviour, as in the lineaments and favour of his visage, representeth the very face of the noble duke of York, his father. This is that father's own figure, this his own countenance, the very print of his visage, the sure un doubted image, the plain express likeness of the noble duke, whose remembrance can never die while he liveth.

While these words were in speaking, the protector, accompanied with the duke of Buckingham, went through the people into the place where the doctors commonly stand in the upper story; where he stood to hearken the sermon. But the people were so far from crying King Richard ! that they stood as they had been turned into stones for wonder of this shameful sermon. After which once ended, the preacher gat him home and never after durst look out for shame, but kept him out of sight like an owl. And when he once asked one who had been his old friend, what the people talked of him; ali were it that his own conscience well shewed him that they talked no good, yet when the other answered him, that there was in every man's mouth spoken of him much shame, it so struck him to the heart, that within few days after he withered and consumed away.

Then, on the Tuesday following this sermon, there came unto the Guildhall in London, the duke of Buckingham, accompanied with divers lords and knights, more than haply knew the message that they brought. And there, in the east end of the hall, where the mayor keepeth the hustings, the mayor and all the aldermen being assembled about him, all the commons of the city gathered before them, after silence commanded upon great pain in the protector's name, the duke stood up; and, as he was neither unlearned, and of nature marvellously well spoken, he said unto the people with a clear and a loud voice in this manner of wise.

• Friends ! For the zeal and hearty favour that we bear you, we be come to break unto you of a matter right great and weighty; and no less weighty, than pleasing to God and profitable to all the realm; nor to no part of the realm more profitable, than to you the citizens of this noble city. For why? That thing that we wot well ye have long time lacked and sore longed for, that ye would have given great good for, that ye would have gone far to fetch, that thing we be come hither to bring you, without your labour, pain, cost, adventure, or jeopardy. What thing is that? Certes the surety of your own bodies, the quiet of your wives and your daughters, the safeguard of your goods. Of all which things, in times past ye stood evermore in doubt. For who was there of you all, who would reckon himself lord of his. own good, among so many grenades and traps as were set therefore ; among so much pilling and polling ; among so

« VorigeDoorgaan »