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had business to speed, as many other men were in their times, who be now famous only by the infamy of their illdeeds. Her doings were not much less, albeit they be much less remembered, because they were not so evil. For men use, if they have an evil turn, to write it in marble; and whoso doth us a good turn, we write it in dust. Which is not worst proved by her; for at this day she beggeth of many at this day living, who at this day had begged if she had not been.
Now was it so devised by the protector and his council, that the self day on which the lord-chamberlain was beheaded in the Tower of London, and about the self-same hour, was there, not without his assent, beheaded at Pomfret, the fore-remembered lords and knights, who were taken from the king at Northampton and Stony Stratford. Which thing was done in the presence and by the order of Sir Richard Ratclif, knight, whose service the protector specially used in the counsel and in the execution of such lawless enterprises ; as a man who had been long secret with him, having experience of the world and a shrewd wit, short and rude in speech, rough and boisterous of behaviour, bold in mischief, as far from pity as from all fear of God. This knight, bringing them out of the prison to the scaffold, and shewing to the people about, that they were traitors, not suffering them to speak and declare their innocence, lest their words might have inclined men' to pity them and to hate the protector and his party, caused them hastily, without judgment, process, or manner of order, to be behead
ed; and without other earthly guilt, but only that they were good men, too true to the king, and too nigh to the queen.
Now when the lord-chamberlain and these other lords and knights were thus beheaded and rid out of the way, then thought the protector, that while men mused what the matter meant, while the lords of the realm were about him out of their own strength, while no man wist what to think nor whom to trust, ere ever they should have space' to dispute and digest the matter and make parties, it were best hastily to pursue his purpose, and put himself in possession of the crown ere men could have time to devise any ways to resist. But now was all the study, by what mean this matter, being of itself so heinous, might be first broken to the people in suchwise, that it might be well taken. To this counsel they took divers, such as they thought meetly to be trusted, likely to be induced to the party, and able to stand them in stead either by power or policy.
Among whom, they made of counsel Edmund Shaw, knight, then mayor of London, who, upon trust of his own advancement, whereof he was, of a proud heart, highly desirous, should frame the city to their appetite. Of spiritual men, they took such as had wit, and were in authority among the people for opinion of their learning, and had no scrupulous conscience. Among these had they John Shaw, clerk, brother to the mayor, and Friar Penker, provincial of the Augustin friars; both doctors of divinity, both great
preachers, both of more learning than virtue, of more fame than learning; for they were before greatly esteemed among the people, but after that never.
Of these two, the one had a sermon in praise of the protector, before the coronation, the other after ; both so full of tedious Aattery, that no man's ears could abide them. Penker, in his sermon, so lost his voice, that he was fain to leave off and come down in the midst. Doctor Shaw, by his sermon, lost his honesty, and soon after his life; for very shame of the world, into which he durst never after come abroad. But the friar feared for no shame, and so it harmed him the less. Howbeit some doubt and many think, that Penker was not of counsel of the matter before the coronation, but, after the common manner, fell to flattery after; namely, since his sermon was not incontinent upon it, but at S. Mary hospital, at the Easter after. But
so far forth, that they determined that he should first break the matter in a sermon at Paul's Cross, in which he should, by the authority of his preaching, incline the people to the protector's ghostly purpose.
But now was all the labour and study, in the device of some convenient pretext, for which the people should be content to depose the prince and accept the protector for king. In which, divers things they devised; but the chief thing, and the weighty of all that invention, rested in this, that they should allege bastardy, either in King Edward himself, or in his children, or both ; so that he should seem disabled to inherit the crown by the duke of York, and the prince by him. To lay bastardy on King Edward, sounded openly to the rebuke of the protector's own mother, who was mother to them both; for in that point could be none other colour, but to pretend that his own mother was an adultress, which notwithstanding, to farther this purpose he letted not. But nevertheless he would that point should be less and more favourably handled ; not even fully plain and directly, but that the matter should be touched aslope craftily, as though men spared in that point to speak all the truth, for fear of his displeasure. But the other point, concerning the bastardy that they devised to surmise in King Edward's children, that would he should be openly declared and enforced to the uttermost. The colour and pretext whereof cannot be well perceived, but if we first repeat you some things long before done about King Edward's marriage.
After that King Edward IV had deposed King Henry VI, and was in peaceable possession of the realm, determining himself to marry, as it was requisite both for himself and for the realm, he sent over in embassy the earl of Warwick, with other noblemen in his company, unto Spain, to entreat and conclude a marriage between King Edward and the king's daughter of Spain. In which thing the earl of Warwick found the parties so toward and willing, that he speedily, according to his instructions, without any difficulty, brought the matter to very good conclusion. Vol. II.
Now happened it, that in the mean season, there came to make a suit by petition to the king, Dame Elizabeth Gray, who was afterward his queen, at that time a widow, born of noble blood, specially by her mother, who was duchess of Bedford ere she married the Lord Wodefeld her father. Howbeit this Dame Elizabeth herself being in service with Queen Margaret, wife unto King Henry VI, was married unto one — Gray, a squire, whom King Henry made knight upon the field that he had on at against King Edward ; and little while enjoyed he that knighthood, for he was at that same field slain. After which done, and the earl of Warwick being on his embassy about the afore-remembered marriage, this poor lady made humble suit unto the king, that she might be restored unto such small lands as her late husband had given her in jointure.
Whom when the king beheld and heard her speak, as. she was both fair, of a good favour, moderate of stature, well made, and very wise, he not only pitied her but also waxed enamoured of her; and taking her afterward secretly aside, began to enter in talking more familiarly. Whose appetite when she perceived, she virtuously denied him ; but that did she so wisely, and with so good manner and words so well set, that she rather kindled his desire than quenched it. And finally, after many a meeting, much wooing and many great promises, she well espied the king's affection toward her so greatly increased, that she durst somewhat the more boldly say her mind, as to him whose heart she perceived more firmly set than to fall-off for a