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But surely some right secret at that day deny this. And many right wise men think it unlikely, the deep dissembling nature of those both men considered, and what need in that green world the protector had of the duke, and in what peril the duke stood if he fell once in suspicion of the tyrant, that either the protector would give the duke occasion of displeasure, or the duke the protector occasion of mistrust. And utterly men think, that if King Richard had any such opinion conceived, he would never have suffered him to escape his hands. Very truth it is, the duke was an high minded man and evil could bear the glory of another. So that I have heard of some, who said they saw it, that the duke, at such time as the crown was first set upon the protector's head, his eye could not abide the sight thereof, but wried his head another way.
But men say that he was of truth not well at ease, and that both to King Richard well known and not ill-taken, por any demand of the duke's uncourteously rejected ; but he both with great gifts and high behests, in most loving and trusty manner, departed at Gloucester. But soon after his coming home to Brecknock, having there in his custody, by the commandment of King Richard, Dr. Morton, bishop of Ely, who, as ye before heard, was taken in the council at the Tower, waxed with him familiar. Whose wisdom abused his pride, to his own deliverance and the duke's destruction.
The bishop was a man of great natural wit, very well
learned, and honourable in behaviour, lacking no wise ways to win favour. He had been fast upon the part of King Henry, while that part was in wealth ; and nevertheless left it not nor forsook it in woe; but fled the realm with the queen and the prince while King Edward had that king in prison, never came home but to the field, after which lost and the party utterly subdued, the other, for his fast faith and wisdom, not only was content to receive him, but also wooed him to come; and had him from thenceforth both in secret trust and very special favour. Which he nothing deceived. For he being, as ye have heard, after King Edward's death, first taken by the tyrant for his truth to the king, found the mean to set this duke in his top, joined gentlemen together in aid of King Henry, devising first the marriage between him and King Edward's daughter. By which, his faith declared, and good service to both his masters at once, with infinite benefit to the realm by the conjunction of those two bloods in one whose several titles had long inquieted the land, he fed the realm, went to Rome, never minding more to meddle with the world. Till that noble prince, King Henry VII, gat him home again, made him archbishop of Canterbury and chancellor of England, whereunto the pope joined the honour of cardinal. Thus living many days in as much honour as one man might well wish, ended them so godly, that his death with God's mercy well changed his life.
This man therefore, as I was about to tell ye, by that long and often-alternate proof as well of prosperity as ad
verse fortune, had gotten by great experience, the very mother and mistress of wisdom, a deep insight in politic, worldly drifts. Whereby, perceiving now this duke glad to commune with him, fed him with fair words and many pleasant praises. And perceiving, by the process of their communications, the duke's pride now and then balk out a little breed of envy toward the glory of the king, and thereby feeling him easy to fall out if the matter were well handled, he craftily sought the ways to prick him forward, taking alway the occasion of his coming, and so keeping himself close within his bonds, that he rather seemed him to follow him than to lead him. Á
· For when the duke first began to praise and boast the king, and shew how much profit the realm should take by his reign, my Lord Morton answered, · Surely, my lord, folly were it for me to lie. For if I would swear the contrary, your lordship would not I ween believe, but, that if the world would have gone as I would have wished, King Henry's son had had the crown and not King Edward. But after that God had ordered him to lose it, and King Edward to reign, I was never so mad that I would with a dead man strive against the quick. So was I to King Edward faithful chaplain, and glad would have been that his child had succeeded him. Howbeit if the secret judgment of God have otherwise provided, I purpose not to 'spurn against a prick, nor labour to set-up that God pulleth-down. And as for the late protector and now king, '-- and even there he left, saying that he had already meddled too much
with the world, and would from that day meddle with his book and his beads, and no farther.
Then longed the duke sore to hear what he would have said, because he ended with the king and there so suddenly stopped. And exhorted him so familiarly, between them twain to be bold to say whatsoever he thought, whereof he faithfully promised there should never come hurt, and peradventure more good than he would ween; and that himself intended to use his faithful secret advice and counsel, which he said was the only cause for which he procured of the king to have him in his custody, where he might reckon himself at home, and else had he been put in the hands of them with whom he should not have founden the like favour.
The bishop right humbly thanked him, and said, · In good faith, my lord, I love not much to talk much of princes, as a thing not all out of peril though the word be without fault; forasmuch as, it shall not be taken as the party meant it, but as it pleaseth the prince to construe it. And ever I think on Æsop's tale, that when the lion had proclaimed, that on pain of death there should none horned beast abide in that wood, one that had in his forehead a bunch of flesh fled away a great pace. The fox that saw him run so fast, asked him whither he made all that haste? And he answered, in faith I neither wot nor reck, so I were once hence, because of this proclamation made of horned beasts. What fool! quoth the fox, thou mayest Vol. II.
SIR T. MORE'S RICHARD III.
abide well enough, the lion meant not by thee, for it is none horn that is in thine head. No marry, quoth he, that wot I well enough; but what and he call it an horn, where am I then ?
The duke laughed merrily at the tale, and said, “ My lord, I warrant you, neither the lion nor the boar shall pike any matter at anything here spoken; for it shall never come near their ear.'
• 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 meant it, could deserve but thank; and yet, taken as I ween it would, might happen to turn me to little good, and you to less.
Then longed the duke yet much more to wit what it was. . Whereupon the bishop said, “ In good faith, my lord, as for the late protector, since he is now king in possession, I purpose not to dispute his title. But for the weal of this realm, whereof his grace hath now the governance, and whereof I am myself one poor member, I was about to wish, that to those good abilities whereof he hath already right many, little needing my praise, it might yet have pleased God, for the better store, to have given him some of such other excellent virtues meet for the rule of a realm, as our Lord hath planted in the person of your grace.'