Page images
PDF
EPUB

'Tis strange those times which brought such hands “ It rests within your judgments to upright for blood,

Or else to ruin utterly the land : Had not bred tongues to make good any side; For this be sure, I must pursue my right And that no prostituted conscience stood, · Whilst I have breath, or I and mine can stand. Apy injustice to have justify'd;

Think whether this poor state, b'ing in this plight, (As men of the forlorn hope, only good

Stands not in need of some up-raising hand; In desperatest acts to be employd)

Or whether 't is not time we should have rest, And that none in th’assembly there was found, And this confusion and our wounds redress'd.” That would t'ambitious descant give a ground: That ev'n himself (forc'd of necessity)

This said, he turns aside, and out he goes; Must be the orator of his own cause.

Leaves them to counsel what was to be done : For having view'd them all, and could espy

Where though the most part gather'd were of those None proft”ring once to speak; (all in a pause)

Who with no opposition sure would run; On this friend looks with an inviting eye,

Yet some, more temp'rate, offer'd to propose And then on that, (as if he woo'd applause)

That which was fit to be consider'd on : Holding the cloth of state still in his hand;

Who, though they knew his claim was fair in sight, The sign which he would have them understand.

Yet thought it now lack'd the right face of right: But see'ng none move; with an imperial port Since for the space of threescore years, the crown Gath'ring his spir'ts, he rises from his seat; Had been in act possess'd, in three descents; Doth with such pow'r of words his cause support, Confirm'd by all the nobles of renown as, As seems all others' causes to defeat.

The people's suffrages, oaths, parli'ments; “ And sure, who works his greatness in that sort,

So many acts of state, both of our own, Must have more pow'rs than those that are born great. And of all other foreign governments: Such revolutions are not wrought, but when “ That wrong, by order, may grow right by this; Those spir'ts do work, which must be more than men.” Sith right th' observer but of order is, He argues first his right, so long withheld By th' usurpation of the Lancasters;

“ And then consid'ring first how Bolingbroke, “The right of a direct line, always held

Landing in Yorkshire but with threescore men, The sacred course of blood; our ancestors,

By the consent of all the kingdom, took Our laws, our rev'rent customs have upheld

The crown upon him, held for lawful then: With holy hands. Whence when disorder errs,

His uncle York, and all the peers betook What horrours, what confusion do we see;

Themselves to him, as to their sov'reigo; when Until it be reduc'd where it should be ?

King Richard's wrongs, and bis propinquity,

Did seem to make no distance in their eye. “ And how it prospers with this wretched land, Witness the universal misery,

“Nor was without example in those days; Wherein (as if accurs'd) the realm doth stand; Wherein (as in all ages) states do take Depriv'd of state, wealth, honour, dignity: The side of public peace, to counterpaise The church, and commons, underneath the hand The weight of wrong, which time may rightful make. Of violence, extortion, robbery.

No elderhood Rufus and Henry” stays No face of order, no respect of laws :

Th' imperial crown of England t undertake: And thus complains of what himself is cause; And John before his nephew Arthur speeds; “ Accusing others' insolence, that they

Whom, though depriv'd, Henry his son succeeds Exhausted the revenues of the crown; So that the king was forc'd only to prey

“ Edward the Third made sov'reign of the state Upon his subjects, poor and wretched grown:

Upon his father's deprivation was. And that they nos sought Ireland to betray,

All which, though seeming wrongs, yet fairly sat And Calais to the French; which he had known In their succeeders, and for right did pass.” By th' intercepted notes of their own hand, And if they could so work, t' accommodate Who were the only traitors of the land ;

And calm the peers, and please the populace;

They wish'd the crown might where it stood remain, " And yet procur'd th' attainders most unjust Succeeding inconvenience to restrain. Of others' guiltless and unspotted blood, Who evermore had labour'd in their trust,

Thas th' ancient fathers of the law advise, And faithful service for their country's good;

Grave baron Thorpe, and learned Fortescue ; And who with extreme violence were thrust

Who though they could not fashion otherwise Quite out of all, spoil'd of their livelihood,

Those strong-bent humours, which aversive grew; Expos’d to all the miseries of life;

Yet seem'd to qualify th' extremities, Which they endur'd, to put off blood and strife.

And some respect more to their sor'reigo drew; " But since,” saith he, “ their malice hath no end, That, during life, it was by all agreed But t' end us all, and to undo the land;

He should be king, and York should him succeed. (For which the hateful French gladly attend, And at this instant have their swords in hand) And that the God of Heav'n doth seem to bend

28. Non confirmatur tractu temporis, quod de Unto our cause, whereto the best men stand;

jure ab initio non subsistit: And that this blood of mine so long time sought, 29 William Rufus and Henry I. preferred before Reserved seems for something to be wrought: their elder brother.

Which presently enacted, was (beside)

But in the rise of his ont-springing lust, Proclaim'd throughout with all solemnities, Now in the last of hope receiv'd this fall; And intermutually there ratify'd

Now that his working pow'rs so far had thrust, With protestations, vows, and oaths likewise; That his desires had but this step to all. Built up with all the strength of form, t' abide When, so near home, he seem'd past all distrast, Whatever oppositions could arise ;

This unexpected wreck doth him befall: And might have seem'd sure and authentical, This successor th' inberitor foregoes; Had all this body of the state been all.

The play.game made of fortune, and his foes.

But Trent, thou kept'st a part ; Thames had not all: Whose young son, Rutland, (made the sacrifice The north divided honour with the south;

Por others' sins, ere he knew how to sin) And like.pow'r held like greatness several : Brought only but to see this exercise Where other right spake with another mouth; Of blood and wounds, ends ere he did begin: Another heir another prince they call,

Whose tears, whose moan, whose lamentable cries, Whom natural succession follow doth;

Could neither mercy nor compassion win. The branch of kings, the true son of the crown; The branch of such a tree, though tender now, To whom no father can but leave his own.

Was not thought fit should any longer grow.

[blocks in formation]

Warwick 33, with other genius than his own,
Had here to do: which made him see the face
Of sad misfortune in the self-same town,
Where prosp'rous winning lately gave him grace:
And Marg'ret here, this martial Amazon,
Was with the spir't of her self in place;
Whose labours fortune ev'n to pity stir,
And b'ing a woman, could but give it her.

But to another work is forc'd to go,
The last tarmoil lab'ring ambition bad;
Where pride and over-weening led him so,
(For fortunes past) as made the issue sad.
For whether safer counsel would or no,
His yet unfurnish'd troops he desp'rate led
From Sandall-Castle unto Wakefield Green,
Against far mightier forces of the queen.
Where round enclos'd by ambushments fore-laid 39,
Hard-working for his life, (but all in vain)
With number and confusion over-laid,
Himself and valiant Salisbury are slain;
With whom the most, and dearest blood decay'd
Of his courageous and advent'rous train :
So short a life had those long hopes of bis,
Born not to wear the crown he wrought for thus;

The reputation and encouragement
Of Wakefield glory waken'd them to this:
And this seems now the full accomplishment
Of all their travail, all their combrances.
Por what can more disturb this government,
When York extinct, and Warwick conquer'd is?
Directing Salsb’ry left without a head,
What rests there now that all's not finished ?

» The battle of Wakefield, where the duke of 31 The second battle at St. Albans. York is slain; the earl of Salisbury taken, and 32 The king is again recovered by the queen. beheaded at York; Edmund earl of Rutland, 33 The earl of Warwick, with the duke of Noryoungest son to the duke of York, murthered after folk, put to flight; and sir John Grey stain on the the battle, by the lord Clifford,

king's side.

Thus for the sick preserving Nature strives A reconcilement: which well entertain'd,
Against corruption and the loathsome grave, Was fairly now grown on, and nearly gain'd :
When out of Death's cold hand she back reprieves
Th'almost coufounded spir'ts she fain would save; When with a thousand tongues swift-wing'd Fame
And them cheers up, illightens, and revives, And tells of March's gallant victories ; (comes,
Making faint sickness words of health to have, Who what withstands subdues; all overcomes;
With looks of life, as if the worst were past; Making his way through fiercest enemies :
When straight comes dissolution, and his last. As having now to cast in greater sums

The reck’ning of his hopes, that mainly rise.
So fares it with this late revived queen;

His father's death gives more life unto wrath ; Whose victories thus fortunately won,

And vexed valour greater courage batb. Have but as only lightning motions been e Before th ruin that ensu'd thereon.

And now, as for his last, his lab'ring worth For now another springing pow'r is seen,

Works on the coast wbich on fair Severn lies; Whereto (as to the new-arising Sun)

Whereto his father (passing to the north) All turn their faces, leaving those low rays Sent him to levy other fresh supplies : Of setting fortune, which no climber weighs. But hearing now what Wakefield had brought forth,

Imploring aid against these injuries, Now is young March more than a duke of York: Obtains from Gloc'ster, Worc'ster, Shrewsbury, For youth, love, grace, and courage, make him more; Important pow'rs to work his remedy. All which for Fortune's favour now do work, Who graceth freshest actors evermore;

Which he against Pembroke and Ormond ** bends; Making the first attempt the chiefest work Whom Marg'ret (now upon her victory) Of any man's designs that strives therefore. With all speed possible from Wakefield sends, “ The after-seasons are not so well bless'd ; With hope to have surpris'd him suddenly, For those first spir'ts make their first actions best." Wherein though she all means, all wit extends,

To th' utmost reach of wary policy; Now as the Lybian lion, when with pain

Yet nothing her avails—po plots succeed, The weary hunter hath pursu'd his prey

Tavert those mischiefs which the Heav'ns decreed. From rocks to brakes, from thickets to the plain, And at the point thereon his hands to lay

For near the Cross 35 ally'd unto his name, Hard by his hopes, his eye upon his gain,

He cross'd those mighty forces of bis foes, Out-rushing from his den, rapts all away;

And with a spir't ordain'd for deeds of fame So comes young March their ends to disappoint, Their eager-fighting army overthrows; Who now were grown so near unto the point. Making all clear behind from whence be came,

Bearing down wholly what before him rose, The love of these important southern parts,

Like to an all-confounding torrent seems; Of Essex, Surrey, Middlesex, and Kent,

And was made more by Warwick's mighty streams. The queen had wholly lost ; as they whose hearts Grew ill affected to her government,

With th' inundation of which greatness, be * Upon th' uncivil and presumptuous parts,

(Having no bounds of pow'r to keep him back)

March'd to the city: at whose entrance free, Play'd by the northern troops grown insolent ; Whom though she could not govern otherwise,

No signs of joy, nor no applauding lack. Yet th' ill that 's wrought for her, upon her lies.

Whose near approach when this sad queen did see,

(To avoid these rocks of her near threat'ning wreck) " So wretched is this execrable war,

With her griev'd troops northward she hence de This civil sword—wherein though all we sce

parts, Be foul, and all things miserable are,

And leaves to youth and fortune these south parts. Yet most distressfull is the victory; Which is not only th' éxtreme ruiner Of others, but her own calamity :

** Jasper earl of Pembroke, and James Butler, Where who obtains, what he would cannot do: earl of Ormond and Wiltshire. Their pow'r hath part, who help him thereunto.”

36 The battle of Mortimer's Cross, where Owen

Tudor, father to the earl of Pembroke, who had The city », whose good-will they most desire, married king Henry's mother, was taken and be. (Yet thereunto durst not commit their state) headed. Sends them not those provisions they require ;

36 The earl of Warwick, after his overthrow at Which seem'd restrained by the people's hate :

St. Alban's, retires with all the forces he could Yet March's help far off, and near this fire

make, and joins with the young duke of York; (To win them time) forc'd them to mediate

who coming to London, and received with all joy, a great council was presently called of the lords

spiritual and temporal; where king Henry was 33 The queen, after the battle of St. Alban's, sent adjudged insufficient for the government of the to the mayor of London for certain provisions: realm, and to be deprived of all regal authority; who, willing to furnish her therewithal, the com- and the duke of York elected for king, and after mons of the city stayed the same, and would not proclaimed by the name of Edward IV. March 4, permit the carts to pass. Whereupon the lord 1460, at the age of eighteen. And so Henry VI. mayor sent to excuse himself, and to appease the after he had reigned thirty-eight years, eight displeasure of the queen.

months, was deposed.

Glory with admiration entring now,

Steals into England; is discovered ; Open'd that easy door to his intent,

Brought pris'ner to the Tow'r disgracefully. As that there needs not long time to allow

And Edward, whilst great Warwick doth assay The right he had unto the government;

A match in France, marries the lady Grey. Nor Henry's injuries to disavow, Against his oath, and th'act of parliament. For here the speedi'st way he takes t accord Diff'rence in law, that pleads it with the sword.” On yet, sad Verse—though those bright stars from

whence Gather'd to see his muster'd companies,

Thon had'st thy light, are set for evermore;
Stood all the flocking troops of London streets, And that these times do not like grace dispense
When Falconbridge (with gentle feeling) tries To our endeavours, as those did before:
How strong the pulse of their affection beats; Yet on-since she, whose beams do re-incense
And reck’ning up the grievous miseries,

This sacred fire, seems as reserv'd in store
And desolation which the country threats, [king; To raise this work, and here to have my last,
Ask'd them, “ whom they would have to be their Who had the first of all my labours past.
To lead those troops, and state in form to bring ?"

On, with her blessed favour, and relate
Whereto, with such an universal shout,

With what new bloodshed this new-chosen lord “ The earl of March," the multitude replies, Made his first entry to th' afflicted state; As the rebounding echo straight throughout Pass'd his first act of public with the sword; (From tow'r to tow'r reverberated) fies

Engor'd his new-worn crown; and how he gat To th'ears of those great lords, who sat about Possession of affliction, and restor'd The consultation for this enterprise.

His right unto a royal misery, Whose care is sav'd, which most they stood upon; Maintained with as bloody dignity. For what they counsel how to do, is done.

Show how our great Pharsalian field was fought And nothing now, but to confirm him king, At Towton' in the north; the greatest day Remains (wbich must not long remain) to do: Of ruin that dissention ever brought The present beat doth straight dispatch the thing, Unto this kingdom. Where two crowns did sway With all those solemn rites that 'long thereto: The work of slaughter--two kings causes wrought So that what York, with all his travailing,

Destruction to one people, by the way Force and intrusion, could not get unto;

Of their affections, and their loyalties; Is now thus freely laid upon his son,

As if one for these ills could not suffice. Who must make fair what foully was begun.

Where Lancaster, and that courageous side, Whose end attain'd, had it here made an end (That noble constant part) came furnished Of foul destruction, and had stay'd the blood

With such a pow'r, as might have terrify'd Which Towton, Exham, Tewksbury did spend

And over-run the Earth; had they bcen led With desp'rate hands, and deeper wounds withstood; The way of glory, where they might have try'd And that none other crown brought to contend

For th’empire of all Europe, as those did
With that of his, bad made his seem less good ;

The Macedonian led into the east;
How had this long-afflicted land been bless'd! Their number being double at the least.
Our sighs had ended, and my Muse had rest.

And where brave York comes as completely mann'd

With courage, valour, and with equal might; Which now (but little past half her long way),

Prepar'd to try with a resolved hand Stands trembling at the horrours that succeed ;

The metal of his crown, and of his right: Weary with these embroilments, fain would stay

Attended with his fatal fire-brand Her further course, unwilling to proceed:

Of war, Warwick, that blazing star of fight! And fain to see that glorious holiday

The comet of destruction ! that portends
Of union which this discord re-agreed,

Confusion and distress, what way he tends.
Knows not as yet what to resolve upon,
Whether to leave off here, or else go on.

What rage, what madness, England, do we see?
That this brave people, in such multitude
Run to confound themselves! and all to be
Thus mad for lords, and for mere servitude!
What might have been, if (Roman like, and free)

These gallant spirits had nobler ends pursu'd,
HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR.

Edward being proclaimed and ackuowledged BOOK VIII.

for king, presently sets forward towards the north, to encounter with king Henry VI. who, in Yorka shire had assembled a puissant army of near sixty

thousand men; and at a place called Towton, THE ARGUMENT.

about four miles from York, both their powers King Edward pow'r against king Henry led, met; where was fought the greatest battle our And hath at Towton-field the victory :

stories mention in all these civil wars: where both From whence king Henry into Scotland fled, the armies consisted of above one hundred thousand Where he attempts his state's recovery:

men, and all of our own nation.

THE

| And strain'd to points of glory and renown, It was upon the twilight of that day, For good of the republic, and their own ?

That peaceful day when the religious bear

The olive branches as they go to pray, But here no Cato with a senate stood

(And we, in lieu, the blooming palm use here) For commonwealth-nor here were any sought

When both the armies, ready in array T'emancipate the state for public good,

For th' early sacrifice of blood, appear But only head-long for their faction wrought. Prepar'd for mischief, ere they had full light Here er'ry man runs on to spend his blood, To see to do it, and to do it right. To get but what he had already got. For whether Pompey, or a Cæsar won,

Th' advantage of the time, and of the wind, Their state was ever sure to be all one.

(Which both with York seem as retaiud in pay)

Brave Palconbridgetakes bold on, and assign'd And first, before these fatal armies met,

The archers their flight-shafts to shoot away : Had forward Warwick laid the passage free, Which th'adverse side (with sleet and dimness blind, At Ferry-Briggs; where the lord Clifford ?

(set

Mistaken in the distance of the way) With an advent'rous, gallant company,

Answer with their sheaf arrows, that came short To guard that strait, York's further march to let) Of their intended aim, and did no hurt. Began the scene to this great tragedy; Made the first entrance on the stage of blood; But gather'd by th' on-marching enemy, Which now set wide for wounds, all open stood. Returned were like clouds of steel : wbich pour

Destruction down, and did new-night the sky, When Edward to exhort his men began,

As if the day had failed to keep his hour.
With words, whereto both spir't and majesty Whereat the ranged horse break out, deny
His pers’nage gave: for that he was a man Obedience to the riders, scorn their pow'r;
(Besides a king) whose crown sat gracefully. Disrank the troops, set all in disarray,
« Com'n is the day,” said he, “ wherein who can To make th' assailant owner of the day.
Obtain the best, is best. This day must try
Who hath the wrong; and whence ourills have been: Thas thou peculiar engine of our land !
And 't is our swords must make us honest men.

(Weapon of conquest ! master of the field !)

Renowned bow! (that mad'st this crown command « For though our cause (by God and men allow'd) The tow'rs of France, and all their pow'rs to yield) Hath in it honour, right, and honesty ;

Art made at home to have th' especial hand Yet all as nothing is to be avow'd,

In our dissentions, by thy work upbeld: Unless withal we have the victory.

Thou first did'st conquer us; then rais'd our skill For justice is (we see) a virtue proud,

To vanquish others; bere ourselves to spill.
And cleaves to pow'r, and leaves weak misery :
And therefore seeing the case we now stand in,
We must resolve either to die or win.

And now how com’st thou to be out of date,

And all-neglected leav'st us, and art gone; “ So that if any here doth find his heart

And with thee th' ancient strength, the manly state To fail him for this noble work, or stands

Of valour and of worth, that glory won? Irresolute this day; let him depart,

Or else stay'st thou till new-priz'd shot abate And leave his arms behind, for worthier hands.

(That never shall affect what thou hast done). I know enow will stay to do their part;

And only but attend'st some blessed reign, Here to redeem themselves, wives, children, lands, When thou and virtue shall be grac'd again. And have the glory that thereby shall rise, To free their country from these miseries.” But this short tempest drave Northumberland

(Who led the van-guard of king Henry's side). But here what needed words to blow the fire, With eager heat join battle out of hand, In flame already, and enkindl'd so,

And this disorder with their swords to bide. As when it was proclaim'd they might retire, Where twice five hours these furious armies stand, Who found unwillingness to undergo

And Fortune's balance weigh'd on neither side; That vent'rous work; they all did so conspire Nor either did but equal bloodshed gain, To stand out fortune, that not one would go, Till Henry's chiefest leaders all were slain. To bear away a band from blood; not one Defraud the field of th' evil might be done? Where Warwicks'too (producing in their sight

* William Nevil, lord Falconbridge, after cre

ated earl of Kent. An argument whereby he did conclude There was no hope of safety, but by fight)

$ In this battle of Towton, on king Henry's side Doth sacrifice his horse to fortitude;

were slain, Henry Piercy earl of Northumberland; And thereby did the least conceit of light, the earls of Shrewsbury and Devonshire; John Or any succour by escape exclude;

lord Clifford ; the lords Beaumont, Nevil, WilSeeing in the streight of a pecessity,

loughby, Wells, Roos, Grey, Dacres, Fitz-Hugh, The means to win, is t' have no means to fly." Molineux, Buckingham: knights, the two base

sons of Henry Holland, duke of Exeter; Richard

Piercy, Gervase Clifton, Andrew Trollop, &c. 2. The lord Clifford slain at Ferry-Briggs.

The whole number slain were accounted by some • The earl of Warwick, before the battle began, thirty-three thousand, by others thirty-five thouwith his own hands killed his horse.

sand and ninety-one.

« PreviousContinue »