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is to say, they that seen few things woll soon say their PROSE WRITERS.
advice. Forsooth those folks consideren little the SIR JOHN FORTESCUE.
good of the realın, whereof the might most stondeth
upon archers, which be no rich men. And if they Not long after the time of Lydgate, our attention
were made poorer than they be, they should not have is called to a prose writer of eminence, the first
wherewith to buy them bows, arrows, jacks, or any since the time of Chaucer and Wickliffe. This was other armour of defence, whereby they might be able SIR John ForTESCUE, Chief Justice of the King's to resist our enemies when they list to coine upon us, Bench under llenry VI., and a constant adherent of which they may do on every side, considering that we the fortunes of that monarch. He flourished be- be an island ; and, as it is said before, we may not tween the years 1430 and 1470. Besides several Latin have soon succours of any other realm. Wherefore tracts, Chief Justice Fortescue wrote one in the we should be a prey to all other enemies, but if we be common language, entitled, The Difference betureen an mighty of ourself, which might stondeth most upon Absolute and Limited Monarchy, as it more particularly our poor archers ; and therefore they needen not only regards the English Constitution, in which he draws a to have such habiliments as now is spoken of, but also striking, though perhaps exaggerated, contrast be
they needen to be much exercised in shooting, which tween the condition of the French under an arbi- may not be done without right great expenses, as trary monarch, and that of his own countrymen, every man expert therein knoweth right well. Wherewho even then possessed considerable privileges as fore the making poor of the commons, which is the subjects. The following extracts convey at once an making poor of our archers, should be the destruction idea of the literary style, and of the manner of of the greatest might of our realm. Item, if poor men thinking, of that age.
may not lightly rise, as is the opinion of those meni,
which for that cause would have the commons poor; [English Courage.]
how then, if a mighty man made a rising, should he
be repressed, when all the commons be so poor, that Original spelling.-It is cowardise and lack of hartes and
after such opinion they may not fight, and by that corage, that kepith the Frenchmen from rysyng, and not po.
reason not help the king with fighting? And why vertye; which corage no Frenche man hath like to the English man. It hath ben often seen in Englond that iij or iv thefes,
maketh the king the commons to be every ycar musfor povertie, hath sett upon vij or viij true men, and robbyd
tered, sithen it was good they had no harness, nor them al. But it hath not ben seen in Fraunce, that vij or viij
were able to fight? Oh, how unwise is the opinion of thefes have ben hardy to robbe iij or iv true men. Wherfor
these men ; for it may not be maintained by any it is right seld that French men be hangyd for robberye, for reason! Item, when any rising hath been made in that thay have no hertys to do so terryble an acte. There be this land, before these days by commons, the poorest therfor mo men hangyd in Englond, in a yere, for robberye men thereof hath been the greatest causers and doers and manslaughter, than ther be hangid in Fraunce for such therein. And thrifty men have been loth thereto, for cause of crime in vij yers, &c.]
dread of losing of their goods, yet often times they
have gone with them through menaces, or else the It is cowardice and lack of hearts and courage, that same poor men would have taken their goods : wherein keepeth the Frenchmen from rising, and not poverty ; lit seemeth that poverty hath been the whole and chief which courage no French man hath like to the cause of all such rising. The poor man hath been English man. It hath been often seen in England | stirred thereto by occasion of his poverty for to get that three or four thieves, for poverty, hath set upon rood: and the rich men have gone with them because seven or eight true men, and robbed them all. But
all. But they wold not be poor by losing of their goods. What it hath not been seen in France, that seven or eight then would fall, if all the commons were poor? thieves have been hardy to rob three or four true men. Wherefore it is right seld' that Frenchmen be hanged for robbery, for that they have no hearts to do so
WILLIAM CAXTON. terrible an act. There be therefore mo men hanged in England, in a year, for robbery and manslaughter,
'I The next writer of note was William Caxton, than there be banged in France for such cause of the celebrated printer; a man of plain understandcrime in seven years. There is no man hanged in | ing, but great enthusiasm in the cause of literature. Scotland in seven years together for robbery, and yet / While acting as an agent for Englishi merchants in they be often times hanged for larceny, and stealing Holland, he made himself master of the art of print. of goods in the absence of the owner thereof ; but ing, then recently introduced on the Continent; and, their hearts serve them not to take a man's goods
having translated a French book styled, The Recuyeli while he is present and will defend it ; which manner of the Histories of Troye, he printed it at Ghent, in of taking is called robbery. But the English man be 1471, being the first book in the English language of another courage; for if he be poor, and see another ever put to the press.* Afterwards he established man having riches which may be taken from him by a printing-office at Westminster, and in 1474, promight, he wol not spare to do so, but if that poor manduced The Game of Chess, which was the first book be right true. Wherefore it is not poverty, but it is printed in Britain. Caxton translated or wrote about lack of heart and cowardice, that keepeth the French sixty different books, all of which went through his men from rising.
own press before his death in 1491. As a specimen
of his manner of writing, and of the literary language What harm would come to England if the Commons
of this age, a passage is lere extracted, in modern thereof were Poor.
* In a note to this publication, Caxton says- Forasmuch Some men have said that it were good for the king as age creepeth on me daily, and fecbleth all the bodie, and also that the commons of England were made poor, as be because I have promised divers gentlemen, and to my friends, the commons of France. For then they would not to address to them, as hastily as I might, this said book, there. rebel, as now they done often times, which the com fore I have practised and learned, at my great charge and dismons of France do not, nor may do ; for they have no pence, to ordain this said book in print, after the manner and weapon, nor armour, nor good to buy it withall. To form as ye may here see, and is not written with pen and ink, these manner of men may be said, with the philoso
as other books ben, to the end that all men may have them at pher, Ad parva respicientes, de facili enunciant; that
once, for all the books of this story, named The Recule of the
Historeys of Troyes, thus emprinted, as ye here see, were begun 1 Seldom. 2 But if-unless.
in one day, and also finished in one day.'
spelling, from the conclusion of his translation of he came at the last hour, he slept in our Lord; of The Golden Legend.
whom a friar saw the soul, in manner of a star, like to the moon in quantity, and the sun in clearness.
Prose history may be said to have taken its rise in the reigns of Henry VII. and VIII. ; but its first examples are of a very homely character. ROBERT FABIAN and EDWARD HALL may be regarded as the first writers in this department of our national lite. rature. They aimed at no literary excellence, nor at any arrangement calculated to make their writings more useful. Their sole object was to narrate minutely, and as far as their opportunities allowed, faithfully, the events of the history of their country. Written in a dull and tedious manner, without any exercise of taste or judgment, with an absolute want of discrimination as to the comparative importance of facts, and no attempt to penetrate the motives of the actors, or to describe more than the external features of even the greatest of transactions, the Chronicles, as they are called, form masses of matter which only a modern reader of a peculiar taste, curiosity, or a writer in quest of materials, would now willingly peruse. Yet it must be admitted, that to their
minuteness and indiscrimination we are indebted for William Caxton.
the preservation of many curious facts and illustra
tions of manners, which would have otherwise been [Legend of St Francis.]
Fabian, who was an alderman and sheriff of LonFrancis, servant and friend of Almighty God, was don, and died in 1512, wrote a general chronicle of born in the city of Assyse, and was made a merchant | English history, which he called The Concordance of unto the 25th year of his age, and wasted his time by Stories, and which has been several times printed, living vainly, whom our Lord corrected by the scourge the last time in 1811, under the care of Sir Henry of sickness, and suddenly changed him into another Ellis. It is particularly minute with regard to what man ; so that he began to shine by the spirit of pro- would probably appear the most important of all phecy. For on a time, he, with other men of Peruse, things to the worthy alderman, the succession of was taken prisoner, and were put in & cruel prison, officers of all kinds serving in the city of London ; where all the other wailed and sorrowed, and he only and amongst other events of the reign of Henry V., was glad and enjoyed. And when they had repreved the author does not omit to note that a new weatherhim thereof, he answered, 'Know ye,' said he, that I cock was placed on the top of St Paul's steeple. am joyful: for I shall be worshipped as a saint Fabian repeats all the fabulous stories of early Engthroughout all the world.' * * *
lish history, which had first been circulated by On a time as this holy man was in prayer, the devil Geoffrey of Monmouth. called him thrice by his own name. And when the holy man had answered him, he said, none in this
[The Deposition of King Vortigern.] world is so great a sinner, but if he convert him, our Lord would pardon him ; but who that sleeth himself [Vortigern had lost much of the affections of his with hard penance, shall never find mercy. And anon, people by marriage with Queen Rowena.] Over that, this holy man knew by revelation the fallacy and an heresy, called Arian's heresy, began then to spring deceit of the fiend, how he would have withdrawn him up in Britain. For the which, two holy bishops, fro to do well. And when the devil saw that he named Germanus and Lupus, as of Gaufryde is witmight not prevail against him, he tempted him by nessed, came into Britain to reform the king, and grierous temptation of the flesh. And when this holy | all other that erred from the way of truth. servant of God felt that, he despoiled2 his cloaths, and of this holy man, St Germain, Vincent Historial beat himself right hard with an hard cord, saying, saith, that upon an evening when the weather was "Thus, brother ass, it behoveth thee to remain and passing cold, and the snow fell very fast, he axed to be beaten.' And when the temptation departed lodging of the king of Britain, for him and his coinnot, he went out and plunged himself in the snow, all peers, which was denied. Then he, after sitting under naked, and made seven great balls of snow, and pur- à bush in the field, the king's herdman passed by, posed to have taken them into3 his body, and said, and seeing this bishop with his company sitting in *This greatest is thy wife ; and these four, two ben the weather, desired him to his house to take there thy daughters, and two thy sons; and the other twain, such poor lodging as he had. Whereof the bishop that one thy chambrere, and that other thy varlet or being glad and fain, yodel unto the house of the said yeman; haste and clothe them: for they all die for herdman, the which received him with glad cheer. cold. And if thy business that thou hast about them, And for him and his company, willed his wife to kill grieve ye sore, then serve our Lord perfectly. And his only calf, and to dress it for his guest's supper ; anon, the devil departed from him all confused ; and the which was also done. When the holy man had St Francis returned again unto his cell glorifying supped, he called to him his hostess, willing and deGod. *
siring her, that she should diligently gather together He was enobled in his life by many miracles * all the bones of the dead calf; and them so gathered, and the very death, which is to all men horrible and to wrap together within the skin of the said calf. And hateful, he admonished them to praise it. And also then it lay in the stall before the rack near unto the he warned and admonished death to come to him, and dame. Which done according to the commandment said Death, my sister, welcome be you.' And when of the holy man, shortly after the calf was restored 1 Reproved. Took off. 8 Unto.
to life ; and forthwith ate hay with the dam at the from Greenwich to London, and there with his host rack. At which marvel all the house was greatly rested him a while. astonished, and yielded thanking unto Almighty God, And so soon as Jack Cade had thus overcome the and to that holy bishop.
Staffords, he anon apparelled him with the knight's Upon the morrow, this holy bishop took with him apparel, and did on him his bryganders set with gilt the herdman, and yode unto the presence of the king, nails, and his salet and gilt spurs; and after he had and axed of him in sharp wise, why that over-night | refreshed his people, he returned again to Black he had denied to him lodging. Wherewith the king Heath, and there pight again his field, as heretofore was so abashed, that he had no power to give unto he had done, and lay there from the 29th day of the holy man answer. Then, St Germain said to him : June, being St Peter's day, till the first day of I charge thee, in the name of the Lord God, that thou July. In which season came unto him the Archand thine depart from this palace, and resign it and bishop of Canterbury, and the Duke of Buckingham, the rule of thy land to him that is more worthy this with whom they had long communication, and found room than thou art. The which all thing by power him right discreet in his answers : how be it they divine was observed and done; and the said herdman, could not cause him to lay down his people, and to by the holy bishop's authority, was set into the same submit him unto the king's grace. dignity; of whom after descended all the kings of In this while, the king and the queen, hearing of Britain,
the increasing of his rebels, and also the lords fearing their own servants, lest they would take the Captain's
party, removed from London to Killingworth, leaving [Jack Cade's Insurrection.]
the city without aid, except only the Lord Scales,
which was left to keep the Tower, and with him a manly (Original Spelling. And in the moneth of Juny this yere,
€; and warly man named Matthew Gowth. Then the the comons of Kent assemblyd them in grete multytude, and
Captain of Kent thus hoving 2 at Blackheath, to the chase to them a capitayne, and named hym Mortymer, and cosyn to the Duke of Yorke; but of moste he was named
end to blind the more the people, and to bring him in Jack Cade. This kepte the people wondrouslie togader, and
fame that he kept good justice, beheaded there a petty made such ordenaunces amonge theym, that he brought a
Captain of his, named Paris, for so much as he had grete nombre of people of theym vnto the Blak Heth, where he
offended again’ such ordinance as he had stablished deuysed a bylle of petycions to the kynge and his coun. in his host. And hearing that the king and all his sayll, &c.]
lords were thus departed, drew him near unto the city,
so that upon the first day of July he entered the burgh And in the month of June this year (1450), the of Southwark, being then Wednesday, and lodged him commons of Kent assembled them in great multitude, there that night, for he might not be suffered to enter and chase to them a Captain, and named him Morti- that city. mer, and cousin to the Duke of York; but of most he And upon the same day the commons of Essex, in was named Jack Cade. This kept the people won- great number, pight them a field upon the plain at drously together, and made such ordinances among Miles End. Upon the second day of the said month, them, that he brought a great number of people of the mayor called a common council at the Guildhall, them unto the Black Heath, where he devised a bill for to purvey the withstanding of these rebels, and of petitions to the king and his council, and showed other matters, in which assembled were divers opinions, therein what injuries and oppressions the poor com- so that some thought good that the said rebels should mons suffered by such as were about the kiug, a few be received into the city, and some otherwise ; among persons in number, and all under colour to come to the which, Robert Horne, stock-fishmonger, then being his above. The king's council, seeing this bill, dis an alderman, spake sore again' them that would have allowed it, and counselled the king, which by the them enter. For the which sayings, the commons 7th day of June had gathered to him a strong host of were so amoved again' him, that they ceased not till people, to go again' his rebels, and to give unto them they had him committed to ward. battle. Then the king, after the said rebels had And the same afternoon, about five of the clock, the holden their field upon Black Heath seven days, Captain with his people entered by the bridge ; and made toward them. Whereof hearing, the Captain when he came upon the drawbridge, he hewed the drew back with his people to a village called Seven- ropes that drew the bridge in sunder with his sword, oaks, and there embattled.
and so passed into the city, and made in sundry places Then it was agreed by the king's council, that Sir thereof proclamations in the king's name, that no man, Huinphrey Statford, knight, with William his brother, upon pain of death, should rob or take anything per and other certain gentlemen should follow the chase, force without paying therefor. By reason whereof he and the king with his lords should return unto Green won many hearts of the commons of the city; but all wich, weening to them that the rebels were fled and was done to beguile the people, as after shall evidently gone. But, as before I have showed, when Sir Hum- appear. He rode through divers streets of the city, phrey with his company drew near unto Sevenoaks, and as he came by London Stone, he strake it with he was warned of the Captain, that there abode with his sword and said, "Now is Mortimer lord of this his people. And when he had counselled with the city. And when he had thus showed himself in other gentlemen, he, like a manful knight, set upon divers places of the city, and showed his mind to the the rebels and fought with them long; but in the mayor for the ordering of his people, he returned into end the Captain slew him and his brother, with many Southwark, and there abode as he before had done, other, and caused the rest to give back. All which his people coming and going at lawful hours when season, the king's host lay still upon Black Heath, they would. Then upon the morn, being the third being among them sundry opinions; so that some and day of July and Friday, the said Captain entered again many faroured the Captain. But, finally, when word the city, and caused the Lord Saye to be fette3 from came of the overthrow of the Staffords, they said the Tower, and led into the Guildhall, where he was plainly and boldly, that, except the Lord Saye and arraigned before the mayor and other of the king's other before rehearsed were coinmitted to ward, they justices. In which pastime he intended to have would take the Captain's party. For the appeasing of brought before the said justices the foresaid Robert which rumour the Lord Saye was put into the Tower ; Horne ; but his wife and friends made to him such but that other as then were not at hand. Then the instant labour, that finally, for five hundred marks, he king having knowledge of the sconfiture of his men and also of the rumour of his hosting people, removed | Pitched.
was set at his liberty. Then the Lord Saye, being as Then upon the 5th day of July, the Captain being before is said, at Guildhall, desired that he might be in Southwark, caused a man to be beheaded, for cause judged by his peers. Whereof hearing, the Captain of displeasure to him done, as the fame went; and so sent a company of his unto the hall, the which per he kept him in Southwark all that day ; how be it he force took him from his officers, and so brought him might have entered the city if he had wold. unto the standard in Cheap, where, or he were half And when night was coming, the mayor and citizens, shriven, they strake off his head ; and that done, with Matthew Gowth, like to their former appointpight it upon a long pole, and so bare it about with ment, kept the passage of the bridge, being Sunday, them.
and defended the Kentishmen, which made great In this time and season had the Captain caused a force to re-enter the city. Then the Captain, seeing gentleman to be taken, named William Crowmer, this bickering begun, yode to harness, and called which before had been sheriff of Kent, and used, as his people about him, and set so fiercely upon the they said, some extortions. For which cause, or for citizens, that he drave them back from the stulpes he had favoured the Lord Saye, by reason that he had in Southwark, or bridge foot, unto the drawbridge. married his daughter, he was hurried to Miles End, Then the Kentishmen set fire upon the drawbridge. In and there, in the Captain's presence, beheaded. And defending whereof many a man was drowned and the same time was there also beheaded another man, slain, among the which, of men of name was John called Baillie, the cause of whose death was this, as I Sutton, alderman, Matthew Gowth, gentleman, and have beard some men report. This Baillie was of the Roger Heysand, citizen. And thus continued this familiar and old acquaintance of Jack Cade, where-skirmish all night, till 9 of the clock upon the morn; fore, so soon as he espied him coming to him-ward, he so that sometime the citizens had the better, and thus cast in his mind that he would discover his living and soon the Kentishmen were upon the better side ; but old manners, and show off his vile kin and lineage. ever they kept them upon the bridge, so that the Wherefore, knowing that the said Baillie used to bear citizens passed never much the bulwark at the bridge scrows, and prophesy about him, showing to his com- foot, nor the Kentishmen much farther than the drawpany that he was an enchanter and of ill disposition, bridge. Thus continuing this cruel fight, to the de and that they should well know by such books as he struction of much people on both sides ; lastly, after bare upon him, and bade them search, and if they the Kentishmen were put to the worse, a trewl was found not as he said, that then they should put him agreed for certain hours; during the which trew, the to death, which all was done according to his com Archbishop of Canterbury, then chancellor of England, mandment.
sent a general pardon to the Captain for himself, and When they had thus beheaded these two men, they another for his people : by reason whereof he and his took the head of Crowmer and pight it upon a pole, company departed the same night out of Southwark, and so entered again the city with the heads of the and so returned every man to his own. Lords Saye and of Crowmer; and as they passed the But it was not long after that the Captain with his streets, joined the poles together, and caused either company was thus departed, that proclamations were dead mouth to kiss other diverse and many times. made in divers places of Kent, of Sussex, and Sow
And the Captain the self-same day went unto the therey, that who might take the foresaid Jack Cade, house of Philip Malpas, draper and alderman, and either alive or dead, should have a thousand mark for robbed and spoiled his house, and took thence a great his travail. After which proclamation thus published, substance; but he was before warned, and thereby a gentleman of Kent, named Alexander Iden, awaited conveyed much of his money and plate, or else he had so his time, that he took him in a garden in Sussex, been undone. At which spoiling were present manywhere in the taking of him the said Jack was slain : poor men of the city, which at such times been ever and so being dead, was brought into Southwark the ready in all places to do harm, when such riots been day of the month of September, and then left in the done.
| King's Bench for that night. And upon the morrow Then toward night he returned into Southwark, and the dead corpse was drawn through the high streets of upon the morn re-entered the city, and dined that day the city unto Newgate, and there headed and quarat a place in St Margaret Patyn parish, called Gherstis tered, whose head was then sent to London Bridge, House ; and when he had dined, like an uncurteous and his four quarters were sent to four sundry towns guest, robbed him, as the day before he had Malpas. of Kent. For which two robberies, albeit that the porail and needy | And this done, the king sent his commissions into people drew unto him, and were partners of that ill, Kent, and rode after himself, and caused enquiry to the honest and thrifty commoners cast in their minds be made of this riot in Canterbury ; wherefore the the sequel of this matter, and feared lest they should same eight men were judged and put to death; and in be dealt with in like manner, by means whereof he other good towns of Kent and Sussex, divers other lost the people's favour and hearts. For it was to be were put in execution for the same riot. thought, if he had not executed that robbery, he might have gone fair and brought his purpose to good effect, Hall, who was a lawyer and a judge in the sheriff's if he had intended well ; but it is to deem and pre-court of London, and died at an advanced age in suppose that the intent of him was not good, where- 1547, compiled a copious chronicle of English hisfore it might not come to any good conclusion. Then tory during the reigns of the houses of Lancaster the mayor and aldermen, with assistance of the wor- and York, and those of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., shipful commoners, seeing this misdemeanour of the which was first printed by Grafton in 1548, under Captain, in safeguarding of themself and of the city, the title of The Union of the two Noble and Illustre took their counsels, how they might drive the Captain Families of Lancastre and Yorke, with all the Actes done and his adherents from the city, wherein their fear in both the tymes of the Princes both of the one linage and was the more, for so much as the king and his lords the other, &c. Hall is very minute in his notices of with their powers were far from them. But yet in the fashions of the time : altogether, his work is of a avoiding of apparent peril, they condescended that superior character to that of Fabian, as might perthey would withstand his any more entry into the haps be expected from his better education and condicity. For the performance whereof, the mayor senttion in life. Considered as the only compilations of unto the Lord Scales and Matthew Gowth, then having English history at the command of the wits of Elizathe Tower in guiding, and had of them assent to per- beth's reign, and as furnishing the foundations of form the same.
many scenes and even whole plays by one of the 1 Ere. 8 Scrolls of paper.
most illustrious of these, the Chronicles have a value theless, the Lord Hastings, which from the death of in our eyes beyond that which properly belongs to King Edward kept Shore's wife, his heart somewhat them. In the following extract, the matter of a re- grudged to have her whom he loved so highly acmarkable scene in Richard III. is found, and it is cused, and that as he knew well untruly; thereworthy of notice, how well the prose narration reads fore he answered and said, “Certainly, my Lord, beside the poetical one.
if they have 80 done, they be worthy of heinous punishment.' "What! quoth the Protector, thou
servest me, I ween, with if and with and; I tell [Scene in the Council-Room of the Protector Gloucester.]
thee, they have done it, and that will I make good The Lord Protector caused a council to be set at on thy body, traitor !' And therewith, as in a great the Tower, on Friday the thirteen day of June, anger, he clapped his fist on the board a great rap, where there was much communing for the honourable at which token given, one cried treason without the solemnity of the coronation, of the which the time chamber, and therewith a door clapped, and in came appointed approached so near, that the pageants were rushing men in harness, as many as the chamber could a making day and night at Westminster, and victual hold. And anon the Protector said to the Lord killed, which afterward was cast away.
Hastings, I arrest thee, traitor ! • What ! me! my These lords thus sitting, communing of this matter, Lord,' quoth he. "Yea, the traitor,' quoth the Prothe Protector came in among them, about nine of the tector. And one let fly at the Lord Stanley, which clock, saluting them courteously, excusing himself that
shrunk at the stroke, and fell under the table, or else he had been from them so long, saying merrily that his head had been cleft to the teeth ; for as shortly he had been a sleeper that day. And after a little as he shrunk, yet ran the blood about his ears. Then talking with him, he said to the Bishop of Ely, My was the Archbishop of York, and Doctor Morton, Lord, you have very good strawberries in your garden Bishop of Ely, and the Lord Stanley taken, and divers at Holborn ; I require you let us have a mess of them.'| others which were bestowed in divers chambers, save
Gladly, my Lord,' quoth he ; ‘I would I had some the Lord Hastings, whom the Protector coinmanded better thing, as ready to your pleasure as that ;' and to speed and shrive him apace. For, by Saint Poule, with that in all haste he sent his servant for a dish quoth he, I will not dine till I see thy head off.' of strawberries. The Protector set the lords fast in It booted him not to ask why, but heavily he took a communing, and thereupon prayed them to spare him priest at a venture, and made a short shrift, for a a little ; and so he departed, and came again between longer would not be suffered, the Protector made so ten and eleven of the clock in to the chamber, all much haste to his dinner, which might not go to it changed, with a sour angry countenance, knitting the till this murder were done, for saving of his ungrabrows, frowning and fretting, and gnawing on his cious oath. So was he brought forth into the green, lips ; and so set him down in his place. All the lords | beside the chapel within the Tower, and his head laid were dismayed, and sore marrelled of this manner down on a log of timber, that lay there for building and sudden change, and what thing should him ail. of the chapel, and there tyrannously stricken off, and When he had sitten a while, thus he began : What after his body and head were interred at Windsor, by were they worthy to have, that compass and imagine his master, King Edward the Fourth; whose souls the destruction of me, being so near of blood to the Jesu pardon. Amen. king, and protector of this his royal realm ? At which question, all the lords sat sore astonished, musing much by whom the question should be meant, of which
SIR THOMAS MORE. every man knew himself clear.
Passing over Fortescue, the first prose-writer who Then the Lord Hastings, as he that, for the fami- | liarity that was between them, thought he might be
mingled just and striking thought with his language, boldest with him, answered and said, that they were
and was entitled to the appellation of a man of worthy to be punished as heinous traitors, whatsoever
genius, was unquestionably the celebrated chancellor they were ; and all the other affirmed the same. "That
of Henry VIII., Sir THOMAS MORE (1480-1535). is,' quoth he, yonder sorceress, my brother's wife,
Born the son of a judge of the King's Bench, and and other with her :' meaning the queen. Many of educated at Oxford, More entered life with all exthe lords were sore abashed which favoured her ; but
| ternal advantages, and soon reached a distinguished the Lord Hastings was better content in his mind,
situation in the law and in state employments. that it was moved by her than by any other that he
He was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1529, being loved better ; albeit his heart grudged that he was
ced that he was the first layman who ever held the office. At all I not afore made of counsel of this matter, as well as periods of his life, he was a zealous professor of the
he was of the taking of her kindred, and of their put-Catholic faith, insomuch that he was at one time ting to death, which were by his assent before devised with difficulty restrained from becoming a monk. to be beheaded at Pomfret, this self same day ; in the When Henry wished to divorce Catherine, he was which he was not ware, that it was by other devised opposed by the conscientious More, who accordingly
that he himself should the same day be beheaded at incurred his displeasure, and perished on the scaffold. | London. Then,' said the Protector, in what wise | The cheerful, or rather mirthful, disposition of the
that sorceress and other of her counsel, as Shore's wife, / learned chancellor forsook him not at the last, and with her affinity, have by their sorcery and witchcraft he jested even when about to lay his head upon the thus wasted my body! and therewith plucked up block. The character of More was most benignant, his doublet sleeve to his elbow, on his left arm, where as the letter to his wife, who was ill-tempered, he showed a very withered arm, and small, as it was written after the burning of some of his property, never other.' And thereupon every man's mind mis- expressively shows, at the same time that it is a gave them, well perceiving that this matter was but good specimen of his English prose. The domestic & quarrel ; for well they wist that the queen was circle at his house in Chelsea, where the profoundly both too wise to go about any such folly, and also, if learned statesman at once paid reverence to his she would, yet would she of all folk make Shore's wife parents and sported with his children, has been least of her counsel, whom of all women she most made the subject of an interesting picture by the hated, as that concubinc whom the king, her husband, great artist of that age, Holbein. most loved.
The literary productions of More are partly in Also, there was no man there, but knew that his Latin and partly in English: he adopted the former arm was ever such, sith the day of his birth. Never- | language probably from taste, the latter for the pur