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TO THE HIGH AND MOST ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE
RESENTS to gods were offered by the hands of Graces; and why not those to great princes, by those of the Muses? To you therefore, great prince of honour, and honour of princes, I jointly present poesy and musick; in the one, the service of my defunct brother; in the other, the duty of my self living; in both, the devotion of two brothers, your highness's humble servants. Your excellence then, who is of such recommendable fame with all nations, for the curiosity of your rare spirit to understand, and ability of knowledge to judge of all things, I humbly invite; leaving the songs of his Muse, who living so sweetly chanted the glory of your high name. Sacred is the fame of poets; sacred the name of princes: to which
humbly bows, and
vows himself ever
your highness seryant,
Come, sacred Virtue; 1 no Muse, but thee,
Invoke, in this great labour I intend.
A power to bring the same to happy end.
Raise up a work for later times to see,
Make me these tumults rightly to rehearse;
And give peace to my life, life to my verse. • 4
And thou, Charles Montjoy, who did'st once afford
And cheered'st me on these measures to record
The king from Ireland bastes, but did no good; Engag'd to thee, although thou be no more;
Do give thee now'a room to live with me.
And Memory, preserv'ress of things done,
Come thou, unfold the wounds, the wrack, the waste; Whose people haughty, proud with foreign spoils, Reveal to me how all the strife begun Upon themselves turn back their cong'ring hand:
'Twixt Lancaster and York, in ages past :-
Unintermix'd with fictions, fantasies :
Discern the true discourse, vouchsafe to show
What were the times foregoing, near to these,
And how so great distemperature did grow :
Ten kings had from the Norman conq'ror reign'd',
With iutermix'd and variable fate,
Of power, dominion, glory, wealth, and state;
After it had with much ado sustain'd
3 [grow Might bring forth thee: that in thy peace might That glory, which few times could ever show.
1 Which was in the space of 260 years.
For titles, and the often mutipies
Ti embroil his age with turnults, he had been
The happiest monarch that this state had seen.
And, making the succession doubtful, rent A faithless brother, and a fatal king, go This new-got state, and left it turbulent.
Cut off his growth of glory in the spring. 120
Gers to the crown by craft, by wrong, by force ;
Wherefore procuring all the world's despite,
Ayd Lewis of France (elected first) beguild;' 130 Seeks to repacify the people's hate;
After the mighty had debated long, And with fair shows, rather than in effect,
Doubtful to choose a stranger or a child : Allays those grievances that heavy sat;
With him the barons (in these times grown strong) Reforms the laws, which soon he did neglect: War for their ancient laws so long exild. • And 'reft of sons, for whom he did prepare, He grants the Charter, that pretended ease; Leaves crown and strife to Maud his daughter's care. Yet kept his own, and did his state appease. Whom Stephens, his nephew, (falsifying his oath) Edward , his son, a martial king, succeeds; Prevents; assails the realm, obtains the crown; Just, prudent, grave, religious, fortunate : Such tumults raising as torment them both, Whose happy-order'd reign møst fertile breeds Whilst both held nothing certainly their own : Plenty of mighty spirits, to strength his state ; -140 Th' afflicted state (divided in their troth,
And worthy minds, to manage worthy deeds, And partial faith) most miserable grown,
Th' experience of those times ingenerate : Endures the while; till peace, and Stephen's death, For, ever great employment for the great, Gave some calm leisure to recover breath. Quickens the blood, and honour doth beget. –
X Х When Henry 6, son to Maud the empress, reigns, And had not his misled, lascivious son, And England into form and greatness brought; Edward the Second", intermitted so Adds Ireland to this sceptre, and obtains
The course of glory happily begun, Large provinces in France; much treasure got, (Which brought him and his favourites to woe)
And from exactions here at home abstains: That happy current without stop had run i And had not his rebellious children sought Unto the full of his son Edward's flow: 15
But who bath often seen, in such a state, ? 1067. William I. surnamed the Conqueror, the Father and son like good, like fortunatebase son to Robert Vl. duke of Normandy, reigned twerty years and eight months; and left the crown his son Henry in the crown and government; which of England to William, his third son, contrary to turned to his great disturbance, and set all his the custom of succession.
sons (Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John) against 3 1087. William II. had wars with his elder bro- him. He reigned thirty-four years and seven months. ther, Robert duke of Normandy; with whom his 7 1189. Richard went to the holy wars, was king uncle Otho, and many of the nobility of England, of Jerusalem ; whilst his brother John, by the help took part. He was slain hunting in the New of the king of France, usurped the crown of England. Forest, by sir Walter Tyrrell shooting at a deer, He was detained prisoner in Austria, redeemed, when he had reigned thirteen years.
and reigned nine years and nine months. 4 1100. Henry I. the youngest son of William 8 1199. King John usurps the right of Arthar, the Conqueror, reigned thirty-five years and four son to Geoffrey, his elder brother; and reigns semonths; whose sons (William and Richard) being venteen years. He had wars with his barons; who drowned in the seas, he leaves the crown to Maud, elected Lewis, son to the king of France. first married to the emperor Henry IV. and after 9 1216. Henry III. at nine years of age was to Geoffrey Plantagenet, earl of Anjou.
crowned king, and reigned fifty-six years. 5 1135. Stephen, son to the earl of Blois and 10 1272. Edward I. had the dominion over this Adela, daughter to William the Conqueror, invades whole island of Britain ; and reigned gloriously the kingdom, contends with Maud the empress for thirty-four years, seven months. the succession, and reigned tumultuarily eighteen "1 1307. Edward II. abused by his minions, and years and ten months.
debauched by his own weakness, was deposed from 6 1154. Henry II. son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, his government, when he had reigned nineteen years earl of Anjou, and Maud the empress, associated and six months; and was murthered in prison.
But now this great succeeder '2 all repairs, The other, Langley '7; whose mild temperateness
Did tend unto a calmer quietness.
With these did Woodstock 18 interpose his part;
His pow'r and fortune had sufficient wrought, Which could not suit a peaceful government: 100 Could but the state have kept what he had got. Whose ever-swelling and tumultuous heart
Wrought his own ill, and others discontent. And had his heir 13 surviv'd him in due course, And these bad all the manage of affairs, What limits, England, had'st thou found ? What During the time the king was under years.
bar? What world could have resisted so great force? And in the first years of his government, O more than men! (two thunderbolts of war)
Things pass'd at first: the wars in France proceed, Why did not time your joined worth divorce, Though not with that same fortune and event, T have made your several glories greater far ? Being now not follow'd with such careful heed : Too prodigal was Nature thus to do,
Our people here at home grown discontent,
Through great exactions insurrections breed :
Private respects hinder'd the common-weal ;
And idle ease doth on the mighty steal. 170 Supported with strong pow'r and victory,
Was left unto a child 14; ordain'd by Pate
Too many kings breed factions in the court;
The head too weak, the members grown too great :
Which evermore doth happen in this sort (threat
When children rule; the plague which God doth Such oppositions interposed are.
Unto those kingdoms, which he will transport
To other lines, or utterly defeat. 230 Never this island better peopled stood ;
“ For, the ambitious once inur'd to reign, Never more men of might, and minds address'd;
Can never brook a private state again. Never more princes of the royal blood, 180 (If not too many for the public rest)
“ And kingdoins ever suffer this distress,
Where one, or many, guide the infant king;
Which one, or many, (tasting this excess
Of greatness and command) can never bring
Their thoughts again t' obey, or to be less :
From hence these insolencies ever spring,
Contempt of others, whom they seek to foil;
Permit the king to take a youthful vein, 140 As Memory ex'n grieves her to repeat:
That they their private better might enlarge :
The government) and so assum'd the rein.
Or howsoever, now his ear he lends
To youthful counsel, and his lusts attends.
And courts were never barren yet of those,
Which could with subtle train, and apt advice, 250
Work on the prince's weakness, and dispose
Of feeble frailty, easy to entice. 2 B In the respect and honour of their blood.
And such no doubt about this king arose,
Whose fattery (the dang'rous nurse of vice)
Got hand upon his youth, to pleasures bent,
Which, led by them, did others discontent.
For now his uncles grew much to mislike
These ill proceedings: were it that they saw
Their nephew from their counsels to withdraw, 12 1326. Edward III.
(Seeing him of a nature flexible and weak)
Or that indeed they found the king and state
17 Edmund Langley, earl of Cambridge, after