The Por⁁traiture of Edward the Second King of England, Lord of Ireland. Having Raig⁁ned 19. Years and 7. Months, was Murdered at Barkley-Castle at 43. Yeare of Age.
The Life, Reign, and Death
Lord of Ireland.
The Riſe and Fall of his great Favourites,
Gaveston and the Spencers.
And Printed verbatim from the Original.
Printed by J.C. for Charles Harper, at the Flower-de-luce in
Fleet-ſtreet; Samuel Crouch, at the Princes Arms in
Popes-head-Alley in Cornhil; and Thomas Fox, at
the Angel in Weſtminſter-hall. 16801680.
The Publisher To the Reader.
Thou haſt here preſented to thy View the Life and Death of Edward the Second, one of the moſt Unfortunate Princes that ever ſwayed the Engliſh Scepter. What it was that made him ſo, is left to thee to judge, when thou haſt read his Story. But certainly the Falſneſs of his Queen, and the Flattery of thoſe Court-Paraſites, Gaveston and the Spencers, did contribute not a little thereto.
As for the Gentleman that wrote this Hiſtory, his own following Preface to the Reader will give ſome ſhort Account, as alſo of the Work it ſelf, together with the Deſigne and Time of its writing, which was above Fifty years ſince. And this we think we may ſay, (and perſwade our ſelves that upon the peruſal thou wilt be of the ſame opinion) that he was every way qualified for an Hiſtorian. And ’bating a few obſolete words,(which ſhew the Antiquity of the Work) we are apt to believe thoſe days produced very few who were able to expreſs their Conceptions in ſo Maſculine a Stile.
We might eaſily enlarge in our Commendations of this Excellent Hiſtory; but it needs not; and therefore we leave it to thee to read and judge.A2 The
The Author’s Preface To the Reader.
To out-run thoſe weary hours of a deep and ſad Paſsion, my melancholy Pen fell accidentally on this Historical Relation; which ſpeaks a King, our own, though one of the most Unfortunate; and ſhews the Pride and Fall of his Inglorious Minions.
I have not herein followed the dull Character of our Historians, nor amplified more than they infer, by Circumſtance. I ſtrive to pleaſe the Truth, not Time; nor fear I Cenſure, ſince at the worst, ’twas but one Month miſ-ſpended; which cannot promiſe ought in right Perfection.
If ſo you hap to view it, tax not my Errours; I my ſelf confeß them.
1627-02-2020 Feb. 1627.
The Raign and Death of Edward the Second.
Edward the Second, eldeſt Son of Edward the Firſt and Elenor the vertuous Siſter of the Caſtilian King, was born at Carnarvan; 1284-04-25April 25. 1284. and in the moſt reſplendant pride of his age, immediately after the deceaſe of his noble Father, crowned King of England. 1307-07July 1307. The principal Leaders of the Rebellious Welſhmen, Fluellen and Meredith, being taken and executed, the Combuſtions of the Cambro-Britains were quieted and ſettled in an uniform Obedience. The Scots, by the reſignation of Baliol, the execution of Wallis, and the expulſion of Bruce their pretended King, were reduced to their firſt Monarchy, and brought to an abſolute ſubjection, at ſuch time as he took upon him the Regiment of this then glorious Kingdom. If we may credit the moſt antient Hiſtorians that ſpeak of the Princes and Paſſages of thoſe times, this Royal Branch was of an Aſpect fair and lovely, carrying in his outward appearance many promiſing Predictions of a ſingular expectation. But the judgment, not the eye, muſt have the preheminence in point of Calculation and Cenſure. The ſmootheſt waters are for the moſt part moſt deep and dangerous; and the goodlieſt Bloſſoms nipt by an unkindly Froſt, wither, or produce their fruit ſowre or unwholſome: which may properly imply, That the viſible Calendar is not the true Character of inward Perfection; evidently proved in the Life, Raign, and Death B of 2 B1v 2 of this unfortunate Monarch. His Story ſpeaks the Morning fair, the Noon-tide eclipſed, and the ſad Evening of his Life more memorable by his untimely Death and Ruine. He could not have been ſo unworthy a Son of ſo noble a Father, nor ſo inglorious a Father of ſo excellent a Son, if either Vertue or Vice had been hereditary. Our Chronicles, as they parallel not him in his licentious Errours, ſo do they rarely equal the Wiſdom and Valour of the one that went before, and the other that immediately ſucceeded him. Neither was this degenerate Corruption in him tranſcendent from the womb that bare him, ſince all Writers agree his Mother to be one of the moſt pious and illuſtrious pieces of Female-goodneſs that is regiſtred in thoſe memorable Stories of all our Royal Wedlocks. But the divine Ordinances are inſcrutable, and not to be queſtioned; it may elſe ſeem juſtly worthy admiration, how ſo crooked a Plant ſhould ſpring from a Tree ſo great and glorious. His younger years diſcovered a ſoftly, ſweet, and milde temper, pliable enough to the impreſſions of Vertue; when he came to write Man, he was believ’d over-liberally wanton, but not extreamly vicious. The Royal honour of his Birthright was ſcarcely inveſted in his perſon, when Time (the Touchſtone of Truth) ſhews him to the world a meer Impoſture; in Converſation light, in Condition wayward, in Will violent, and in Paſſion furious and irreconciliable.
Edw.EdwardI’s care in educating his Son. Edward, his valiant and prudent Father, had, by the glory of his victorious Arms, and the excellency of his Wiſdom and Providence, laid him the ſure foundation of a happy Monarchy; making it his laſt and greateſt care to continue it ſo in his ſucceſſion. This caus’d him to employ his beſt underſtanding and labour for the enabling of his Son, that he might be powerful, fit, and worthy to perfect this great Work, and preſerve it. And from this Conſideration he leads him to the Scotch Wars, to teach him the right uſe of Arms, which are to be 3 B2r 3 be managed as well by diſcretion as valour, and the advantage of time and opportunity, which lead humane Actions by the hand to their perfection. Here he likewiſe inſtructs him with thoſe more excellent Rules of Knowledge and Diſcipline, that he might exactly know what it was, and how to obey before he came to command. Laſtly, he unlocks the Cloſet of his heart, and lays before him thoſe ſame Arcana Imperii and ſecret myſteries of State, which are onely proper to the Royal Operations, and lie not in the road of Vulgar knowledge; yet letting him withal know, that all theſe were too weak to ſupport the burthen of a Crown, if there be not a correſpondent worth in him that wears it. With theſe grave Principles the prudent Father opening the way, ſoon perceives he had a remaining task of a much harder temper; with an unwilling eye he beholds in his Son many ſad remonſtrances which intimate rather a natural vicious inclination, than the corruption of time, or want of ability to command it. Unleſs theſe might be taken off and cleanſed, he imagines all his other Cautions would be uſeleſs and to little purpoſe. The pruning of the Branches would improve the Fruit little, where the Tree was tainted in the root with ſo foul a Canker. Too well he knew how difficult a thing it was to invert the courſe of Nature, eſpecially being confirm’d by continuance of practice, and make habituary by cuſtom: yet he leaves no means unattempted; being confident that Wedlock, or the ſad weight of a Crown, would in the ſenſe of Honour call him in time off to thoughts more innocent and noble. Tenderneſs of Fatherly affection abus’d ſomewhat his belief, and made him give his diſorderly actions the beſt conſtruction, which ſuggeſts their progreſſion to flow from heat of Youth, want of Experience, and the wickedneſs of thoſe that fed him with ſo baſe impreſſions; which, with all thoſe ſweet and milde intreaties that ſpring from the heart of an eſſential love, he ſtrives to reclaim, intermixing withal as great a paternal ſeverity as might properly 4 B2v 4 properly ſute the condition of a judicious Father, and the dignity of the Heir apparent of ſo great and glorious a Kingdom. And to make him more apt and fit to receive and follow his inſtructions, he takes from him thoſe tainted humours of his Leproſie, that ſeduced the eaſineſs of his nature, and miſ-led his unripe knowledge, too green Baniſhes Gaveſton. to maſter ſuch ſweet and bewitching temptations. Gaveſton his Ganymede, a man as baſe in Birth as in Condition, Gaveſton’s Original and Character. he commandeth to perpetual Exile. This Syren (as ſome write) came out of Gaſcoign; but the Author whom I moſt credit and follow, ſpeaks him an Italian; not guilty of any drop of Noble blood; neither could he from the height of his Hereditary hope, challenge more than a bare ability to live; yet his thoughts were above meaſure ambitious and aſpiring, and his confidence far greater than became his Birthright. Nature in his outward parts had curiouſly expreſt her workmanſhip, giving him in ſhape and Beauty ſo perfect an excellence, that the moſt curious eye could not diſcover any manifeſt errour, unleſs it were in his Sex alone, ſince he had too much for a man, and Perfection enough to have equal’d the faireſt Female ſplendour that breath’d within the Confines of this Kingdom. Though in the abilities of the Brain he were ſhort of a deep and ſolid Knowledge, yet he had Underſtanding enough to manage his ways to their beſt advantage; having a ſmooth Tongue, an humble Look, and a winning Behaviour, which he could at all times faſhion and vary according to the condition of time and circumſtance, for the moſt advantage. The youthful Prince having fixed his wandring eye upon this pleaſing Object, and finding his amorous Glances entertained with ſo gentle and well-becoming a modeſty, begins dearly to cheriſh the growing Affections of this new Forraign Acquaintance; who applies himſelf wholly to win him to a deeper Engagement. A ſhort paſſage of time had ſo cemented their hearts, that they ſeem’d to beat with one and the ſelf-ſame motion; ſo that the one ſeem’d with- 5 C1r 5 without the other, like a Body without a Soul, or a shadow without a Subſtance. Gaveſton, the more to aſſure ſo gracious a Maſter, ſtrives to fit his humour, leaving his Honour to his own protection, ſeconding his wanton diſpoſition with all thoſe bewitching Vanities of licentious and unbridled Youth, which in ſhort time, by the frequencie of practice, begets ſuch a confidence, that they fall from that reſerved ſecrecy which ſhould ſhadow actions ſo unworthy, profeſſing freely a debaucht and diſſolute kind of behaviour, to the ſhame and ſorrow of the grieved King and Kingdom. This haſtened on the Sentence of his Baniſhment, that thought himſelf then moſt ſecure in the aſſurance of the Princes favour. The melancholy apparitions of their parting, gave the world a firm belief that this inchanting Mountebank had in the Cabinet of his Maſters heart, too dear a room and being. The King knowing ſuch impreſſions are eaſily won, but hardly loſt, ſtrives to take him off by degrees, and labours to make him wave the memory of that dotage which with a divining Spirit he foreſaw in time would be his ruine. But death overtakes him before he could bring this ſo good a Work to full perfection. The time was come that exacts the Tribute of Nature, commanding him to reſigne both his Eſtate and Kingdom. When he felt thoſe cold fore-running Harbingers of his nearly- approaching End, he thus intreats his Son and Lords, whoſe watry eyes ingirt his glorious Death-bed.
Edw. I’s Dying- Speech to the Prince & Barons. Edward, the time draws near that calls me to my Grave, you to enjoy this Kingdom. If you prove good, with happineß ’tis yours, and you will ſo preſerve it; if otherwiſe, my Pains and Glory will be your Diſhonour. To be a King, it is the gift of Nature; and Fortune makes him ſo that is by Conqueſt; but Royal Goodneſs is the gift of Heaven, that bleſſeth Crowns with an Immortal Glory. Believe not vainly that ſo great a Calling is given to man to warrant his diſorder. It is a Bleſſing, yet a weighty Burthen, which (if C abuſed) 6 C1v 6 abuſed) breaks his back that bears it. Your former Errours, now continued, are no more yours, they are the Kings, which will betray the Kingdom. The Soveraigns Vice begets the Subjects Errour, who practiſe good or ill by his Example. Can you in Juſtice puniſh them for that whereof your ſelf are guilty? But you, perhaps, may think your ſelf exempt, that are above the Law. Alas, miſtake not; there are Injunctions higher far than are your own, will crave a Reckoning. To be belov’d, ſecures a ſweet Obedience; but fear betrays the heart of true Subjection, and makes your People yours but by Compulſion. Majeſtick thoughts, like Elemental fire, ſhould tend ſtill upwards; when they ſink lower than their Sphere, they win Contempt and Hatred. Advance and cheriſh thoſe of ancient Bloud and Greatneſs: Upſtarts are rais’d with Envy, kept with Danger. You muſt preſerve a well-reſpected diſtance, as far from Pride, as from too looſe a Baſeneſs. Maſter your Paſſions with a noble temper; ſuch Triumphs makes the Victor conquer others. See here the Ruines of a dying Scepter, that once was, as you are, a youthful Bloſſom. I had not liv’d to ſee this ſnowy Winter, but that I wean’d my heart from vain Temptations; my Judgment, not my Eye, did ſteer my Compaſs, which gave my Youth this Age that ends in Glory. I will not ſay, you too too long have wander’d, though my ſad heart hath droopt to ſee your Errour. The time now fitly calls you home; embrace it: for this advantage loſt, is after hopeleſs. Your Firſt-fruit muſt make good your Worth; if that miſcarry, you wound your Subjects Hopes and your own Glory. Thoſe wanton Pleaſures of wild Youth unmaſter’d, may no more touch the verge of your affections. The Royal Actions muſt be grave and ſteady, ſince leſſer Lights are fed by their Example: ſo great a Glory muſt be pure tranſparent, that hand to hand encounters Time and Envy. Caſt off your former Conſorts; if they ſway you, ſuch an unnoble Preſident will ſhake your Peace, and wound your Honour. Your wanton Minion I ſo lately baniſht, call you not back, I charge you on my Bleſſing: for his return will haſten your deſtruction. Such Cankers may 7 C2r 7 may not taſte your ear or favour, but in a modeſt and chaſt proportion. Let true-born Greatneſs manage great Employments; they are moſt fit that have a native goodneſs. Muſhroms in State that are preferr’d by dotage, open the Gap to Hate and Civil Tumult. You cannot juſtly blame the Great ones Murmur, if they command that are ſcarce fit to ſerve them; ſuch ſudden leaps muſt break his neck that ventures, and ſhake that Crown which gives his Wings their motion. And you, my Lords, that witneſs this laſt Summons, you in whoſe Loyal hearts your Soveraign flouriſht, continue ſtill a ſweet and vertuous Concord; temper the heat of my youthful Succeſſor, that he may prove as good, as great in Title. Maintain the Sentence was by me pronounced; keep ſtill that Viper hence that harbours miſchief: if he return, I fear ’twill be your Ruine. It is my laſt Requeſt; I, dying, make it, which I do firmly hope you will not blemiſh. I would ſay more, but, ah, my Spirits fail me.
With this, he fainting, ſwoons; at length recovers, and ſadly ſilent, longs to hear their Anſwer. His weeping Son and heavy drooping Barons, do mutually proteſt a They ſwear not to recal Gaveſton. ſtrict Obſervance, and vow to keep, with truth, this grave Injunction. His jealous Spirit is not yet contented, until they binde it with an Oath, and ſwear performance. Scarce was it ended, when he mildly leaves the world more confident than he had cauſe; as a ſhort paſſage of time made plain and evident. Dead mens Preſcriptions ſeldom tie the living, where Conſcience awes not thoſe that are intruſted. Mortui non mordent, which gives to humane frailty a ſeeming uncontrouled power of ſuch Injuſtice. To truſt to Vows or Oaths, is equal hazard; he that will wound his Soul with one, can wave the other. If Vertue, Goodneſs, and Religion tye not, a Death-bed Charge and ſolemn Oaths are fruitleſs. Here you may ſee it inſtanc’d: This great King, as wiſe as fortunate, living, had the Obedience of a Father and a Soveraign; who, ſcarcely cold in his Mother Earth, was ſoon 8 C2v 8 ſoon loſt in the memory both of Son and Subject. His Funeral-tears (the fruits of form rather than truth) newly dryed up, and his Ceremonial Rites ended, his Heir aſſumes the Crown and Scepter; while all mens eyes were fixed to behold the firſt Virgin-works of his Greatneſs: ſo many glorious and brave victorious Conqueſts having given this Warlike Nation life and ſpirit fit for preſent Action. The youthful King being in the bravery of his years, won a belief in the active Souldier, that ſo apt a Scholar as he had ſhew’d himſelf in the Art Military during the Scotiſh Wars, would handſel the Maidenhead of his Crown with ſome Out-ringing Larum that might waken the Neighbour-Provinces, and make them know his Power. But his inglorious Aims were bent another way; neither to ſettle his own, or conquer others. He had within his breaſt an unnatural Civil War which gains the firſt preheminence in his Reſolution. His care is to quiet theſe in a Courſe wholly unjuſt, and moſt unworthy his proper goodneſs. Seeing himſelf now free and abſolute, he thinks it not enough, unleſs his Will as well as his Power, were equally obey’d. Being a Son and a Subject, his Conformity had witneſs’d his Obedience; being now a Soveraign and a King, he expects The young King troubled at his Oath. a Correſpondence of the ſelf-ſame nature. The ſad Reſtrictions of his dying Father, ſo contrarious to his aims, trouble his unquiet thoughts; where the Idea of his abſent love did hold ſo firm a footing. With eaſe he can diſpence with his own engagement; but fears the Lords, whom he conceits too firmly fixt to waver. He dares not Communicate the depth of his Reſolution, being a ſecret of too great weight to be divulged; he thinks intreaty an act too much beneath him; and to attempt at random, full of hazard. In theſe his reſtleſs paſſions, he out-runs the Honey-month of his Empire; looking aſquint upon the neceſſary Actions of State, that requir’d his more vigilant care and foreſight. This kind of reclus’d behaviour makes him unpleaſant to his Lords, and nothing plauſible 9 D1r 9 plauſible to the inferiour ſort of Subjects, who expect the beginning Acts of a Crown to be affable and gracious; which wins ground by degrees on vulgar Affections, making the way ſure to a willing Obedience. But he eſteems this as a work of Supererogation, believing the bare Tye of Duty was enough, without confirmation: all his thoughts are entirely fixt upon his Gaveſton; without him he cannot be, yet how to get him handſomly, without a Scar, is quite without his knowledge. He concludes it in his ſecret Revolutions, too great an Injuſtice, that confines the King from the free uſe and poſſeſſion of his neareſt and deareſt Affection; and cannot imagine it to be reaſon, that his private Appetite ſhould Falls into the height of melancholy. ſubſcribe to publick neceſſity. In theſe kind of imaginary Diſputations, he brings himſelf to the height of ſuch an inward agitation, that he falls into a ſad retired Melancholy; while all men (as they juſtly might) wonder’d, but few did know the reaſon: Amongſt theſe, a Page of his Chamber, one that had an oyly tongue (a fit inſtrument for ſuch a Phyſician) adventures the care of The Character and danger of Court-Paraſites. this diſeaſed Paſſion. This green States-man, with a foreright look, ſtrives rather to pleaſe, than to adviſe; caring not what ſucceeds, ſo he may make it the Stair of his Preferment. The Court-corruption ingenders a world of theſe Caterpillers, that, to work their own ends, value not at one blow to hazard both the King and Kingdom. The Errour is not ſo properly theirs, as their Maſters, who do countenance and advance ſuch Sycophants; leaving the integrity of hearts more honeſt (that would ſacrifice themſelves in his Service in the true way of Honour) wholly contemn’d and neglected: which hath begotten ſo many deſperate Convulſions, that have (as we may finde in our own Stories) depoſed divers glorious Kings from their proper Dignity, and lawful Inheritance. There are too many frequent Examples what miſchief ſuch Paraſitical Minions have wrought to thoſe ſeveral States they liv’d in; and certainly ſuch RevolutionsD tions 10 D1v 10 tions ſucceed by a neceſſary and inevitable Juſtice: for where the Royal Ear is ſo guided, there enſues a general Subverſion of all Law and Goodneſs; as you may behold here evidently in this unfortunate King, who willingly entertains this fawning Orator, that thus preſents his Counſel.
A Courtiers Speech to the King, to recal Gaveſton. Are you a King (Great Sir) and yet a Subject? can you Command, and yet muſt yield Obedience? Then leave your Scepter. The Law of Nature gives the pooreſt their Affections; are you reſtrained? It is your own Injuſtice that makes your Will admit this ſeparation: if you command, who dares controul your Actions, which ought to be obeyed, and not diſputed? Say that your wayward Lords do frown, or murmur, will you for this forebear your own Contentment? One rough Majeſtick glaunce will charm their anger. Admit great Edward did command Obedience, he then was King, your Sovereign, and your Father; he now is dead, and you enjoy his Power; will you let ſtill obey and ſerve his ſhadow? His Vigour dull’d with Age, could not give Laws to ſuit your Youth and Spirit; nor is it proper that the Regal Power be made a ſtranger to his own Contentment, or be debarr’d from inward Peace and Quiet. Did you but truely know what ’tis to be a Monarch, you’ld be ſo to your ſelf as well as others. What do you fear, or what is it reſtrains you? A ſeeming Danger, more in ſhew than ſubſtance. Wiſe men that finde their aims confin’d to hazard, ſecure the worſt before they give them action. You have a Kingdoms Power to back, a Will to guide it; Can private fear ſuggeſt to ſhake it? Alas, they cannot, if your ſelf were conſtant: Who dares oppoſe, if you command Obedience? I deny not, if you be faint or ſtagger, you may be croſt and curb’d by that advantage, that gives their moving-heart ſhew of Juſtice. You underſtand your ſelf, and feel your Paſſions; if they be ſuch as will not brook denial, why do you dally, or delay to right them? The more you paiſe your doubts, the more they double, and make things worſe 11 D2r 11 worſe than they or are, or can be: appearing like your ſelf, theſe clouds will vaniſh, and then you’ll ſee and know your proper errour. Will you vouchſafe my truſt, I’ll fetch him hither, whoſe abſence gives you ſuch a ſad diſtraction: You may the while ſecure his entertainment with ſuch a ſtrength, may warrant your proceedings. ’Twere madneſs to ask leave to act Transgreſſions, where Pardon may be had when they are acted. If you do ſeek conſent from your great Barons, they’ll dare deny; which is nor fault, nor Treaſon; and in that act you foil your hopes and action, which gives their oppoſition ſhew of Justice. But ’tis in vain to plead the grounds of Reaſon, ſince ’tis your Will muſt give the reſolution: If that be fixt, there needs no more diſputing, but ſuch as beſt may bring it to perfection.
When this ſmooth Phyſician had preſcribed ſo fit a Balſamum for ſo foul a Wound, the King ſeems infinitely pleaſed in his relation; he had hit his deſires in the Maſter-vein, and ſtruck his former Jealouſie between wind and water, ſo that it ſunk in the inſtant: his love- ſick Heart became more free and frolick; which ſudden mutation begat as great a wonder. The Operations of the Fancy tranſport ſometimes our Imagination to believe an actual poſſeſſion of thoſe things we moſt deſire and hope for; which gives ſuch a life to the dejected Spirits of the Body, that in the inſtant they ſeem cloathed in a new Habit. Such was the condition of this wanton King, that in this bare overture, conceits the fruition of his beloved Damon, and apprehends this Golden Dream to be an eſſential part of his fantaſtique Happineſs. He heaps a world of promiſes and thanks on the Relator, letting him know, he waits but a fitting opportunity to give this project life and action. It is a politique part of Court- wiſdome, to inſinuate and lay hold of all the befitting opportunities, that may claw the Prince’s humour that is naturally vain-glorious or vicious; there is not a more ready and certain way of advancement, if it do ſhake hands with 12 D2v 12 with Modeſty, and appear with an undaunted, impudent boldneſs. He that will be a Courtier, and contains himſelf within the modeſt temperance of pure Honeſty, and not intrude himſelf before he be called, may like a Sea- mark ſerve to teach other men to ſteer their Courſe, while he himſelf ſticks faſt, unmoved, unpitied. All the Abilities of Nature, Art, Education, are uſeleſs, if they be tyed to the links of Honeſty, which hath little or no ſociety in the Rules of State or Pleaſure, which as they are unlimited, walk in the by-way from all that is good or vertuous.
If this Butterfly had truly laid before his unhappy Maſter, what it had been to break the Injunctions of a dying Father, to falſifie ſuch Vows and Oaths ſo ſolemnly ſworn, and to irritate the greateſt Peers of the Kingdom with ſo unworthy an action, (which had been the Duty of a Servant of his Maſters Honour truely careful) he had felt the Reward of ſuch plain dealing, either with Scorn, Contempt, or Paſſion; whoſe flattering falſehood wins him ſpecial Grace and Favour, and gains the title of an able Agent.
Some few days paſs, which ſeem’d o’re long, before the King exacts a ſecond tryal. In the interim, to take away all jealouſie, he enters into the buſineſs of the Kingdom, and with a ſeeming ſerious care ſurveys each paſſage, and not ſo much as ſighs, or names his Gavaeſton; doubting if in his way he were diſcovered, there might be ſome croſs-work might blaſt his project: He knew how eaſie ’twas (if once ſuſpected) to take away the Cauſe might breed a difference: What could ſo poor a ſtranger do that might protect him againſt or publick Force, or private Miſchief, either of which he knew would be attempted, before the Lords would ſuffer his repriſal? When all was whiſht and quiet, and all mens The King ſends for Gaveſton. eyes were fixed upon the preſent, he calls his truſty Roger to his private preſence, and after ſome Inſtructions throws him his Purſe, and bids him haſte; he knew his Errand 13 E1r 13 Errand. The wily Servant knows his Maſters meaning, and leaves the Court, pretending juſt occaſion, proud of imployment poſting on his Journey. The king having thus far gone, muſt now go onward; he knew that long it could not be concealed; ſuch actions cannot reſt in ſleepy ſilence; which made him think it fit to be Acquaints his Council therewith; who labour to divert him. the firſt Reporter. This makes him ſend and call his Council, who ſoon are ready, and attend his Summons; where he makes known the fury of his Paſſions, and tells the way that he had taken to eaſe them. So ſtrange an act begets as great a wonder; they unâ voce labour to divert him, and humbly plead his Fathers laſt Injunction, to which their Faiths were tyed by deep Engagement. They urge the Law that could not be diſpens’d with, without a publick breach of his preſcription. They ſpeak the Vows and Oaths they all had taken, which in conſenting would make them falſe and perjur’d. This working nothing, they entreat him he would a while adjourn his reſolution; time might happily finde out a way might give him content, and yet might ſave their Honours. His jealous fear ſuſpects this modeſt anſwer; a temporizing muſt increaſe his ſorrow, while they ſo warned might work a ſure prevention. Being thus at plunge, he ſtrives to make it ſure, and win his Will, or looſe his Juriſdiction. Though he were naturally of a ſuſpicious and timerous Nature, yet ſeeing now the intereſt of his Power at ſtake on the ſucceſs of this Overture, he lays aſide his effeminate diſpoſition, and with angry Brow, and ſtern Majeſty, doth thus diſcourſe his pleaſure.
His angry Reply. Am I your King? If ſo, why then obey me; leſt while you teach me Law, I learn you Duty. Know, I am firmly bent, and will not vary. If you and all the Kingdome frown, I care not: You muſt enjoy your own affections, I not ſo much as queſtion or controul them; but I that am your Sovereign, muſt be tutor’d to love and like alone by your diſcretion. Do E not 14 E1v 14 not miſtake, I am not now in Wardſhip, nor will be chalkt out ways to guide my fancy. Tend you the Kingdoms and the publick Errours; I can prevent mine own without Protection. I ſhould be loth to let you feel my Power; but muſt and will, if you too much enforce me. If not Obedience, yet your Loves might tender a kind conſent, when ’tis your King that ſeeks it. But you perhaps conceit you ſhare my Power; you neither do nor ſhall, while I command it; I will be ſtill my ſelf, or leſs than nothing.
These words, and the manner of their delivery, bred a ſtrange diſtraction, in which he flings away with a kinde of looſe ſcorn; for their refuſal his valiant heart had yet his proper motions, which toſt it to and fro with doubtful hazard. They ſadly ſilent ſit, and view each other, wiſhing ſome one would ſhew undaunted Valour, to tye the Bell about the Cats neck that frights them; but none appears. They yet were ſtrangers to their own party, and the Kings conditions. Their late dead Maſter’s ways were ſmooth and harmleſs, as free from private Wrongs as publick Grievance; which had extinguiſht all pretence of Faction, and made them meet as Friends without aſſurance; this wrought them with more eaſe to treat the buſineſs; each one doth firſt ſurvey his own condition, which ſingle could do little, and yet expreſt might cauſe his proper ruine: next they meaſure the Kings Will and Power, with his Command; againſt which in vain were conteſtation, where wants united ſtrength to make it ſure. Laſtly, they examine what could at worſt enſue in their conſenting, ſince it was as poſſible to remove him being here, as ſtop his coming. The King advertiſed by a private Intelligencer (a fit inſtrument in the body of a State, in the Society and Body of a Council) of their ſtaggering irreſolution, and finding his Pills had ſo Kinde an Operation, lays hold of the advantage, and would not let the iron cool before he wrought it. This brings him back with a more familiar and 15 E2r 15 and mild look, and begets a diſcourſe leſs paſſionate, but more prevailing. Temperately he lays before them the extremity of his inward trouble, which had ſo engroſt his private thoughts, that he had been thereby enforced to eſtrange himſelf from them, and neglected the Rights due to his Crown and Dignity. He lets them know the depth of his engagement, which had no aim repugnant to the Publick Good, nor intention hurtful to their proper Honours; and to conclude, he intreats them, (if any of them had been truely touch’d with a diſeaſe of the ſame quality) that they would indifferently meaſure his Condition by their own Sufferings. So fair a Sunſhine The Council conſent to recal Gaveſton. following at the heels of ſo ſharp a Tempeſt, wrought a ſudden innovation; their yielding hearts ſeek to win Grace, rather than hazard his Diſpleaſure: yet to colour ſo apparent a breach of Faith to their dead Maſter, they capitulate certain Conditions, which might ſeem to extenuate (if not take off) the ſtain of their diſhonour; as if matter of circumſtance had been a ſufficient motive for the breach of an Oath ſo ſolemnly and authentically ſworn. The King reſolv’d to purchaſe his peace, (whoſe price was but verbal) is nothing ſparing to promiſe all and more than was demanded; which they credit over-haſtily, though they could not be ſo light of belief as to imagine, that he would keep his Word with the Subject, that wilfully incurs a Perjury againſt his own Father; yet in caſe of neceſſity it was by general conſent agreed, rather to ſubſcribe, than to endanger the Peace of the Kingdom, by ſo unkinde and unnatural a diviſion. The King giving to each of them particular thanks, (having thus plaid his Maſters prize) departs wondrouſly content and jocund: they ſeem outwardly not diſpleaſed, that had obtain’d as much as they could deſire; and hoped the end would be fair, if not fortunate. The eye of the world may be blinded, and the ſeverity of humane Conſtitutions removed; but ſo great a Perjury ſeldome eſcapes unpuniſhed by the Divinevine 16 E2v 16 vine Justice, who admits no dalliance with Oaths, even in the Caſe of Neceſſity, as it evidently appears in the ſequel of this Story; where you may behold the miſerable ruine that his principal and efficient cauſe had from this beginning. It had been far more honourable and advantageous to the State, if this young wanton King had point-blank found a flat denial, and been brought to have tugg’d at the arms end; the injuſtice of the quarrel, which might in time have recollected his ſenſes, and brought him to the true knowledge what a madneſs it was, for the looſe affection of ſo unworthy an Object, to hazard his own Dignity, and alien the Love of the whole Kingdom. But it is the general Diſeaſe of Greatneſs, and a kinde of Royal Fever, when they fall upon an indulgent Dotage, to patronize and advance the corrupt ends of their Minions, though the whole society of State and Body of the Kingdom run in a direct oppoſition; neither is Reaſon, Law, Religion, or the imminency of ſucceeding danger, weight enough to divert the ſtream of ſuch inordinate Affections, until a miſerable Concluſion give it a fatal and juſt Repentance. It were much better, if with a provident foreſight they would fear and prevent the blow before they feel it. But ſuch melancholy Meditations are deemed a fit food for Penitentials, rather than a neceſſary reflection for the full ſtomack of Regal Authority. The black clouds of former Suſpicion being thus vaniſh’d, nothing now wants to make perfect the Royal Deſires, but the fruition of this long-expected purchaſe. The ſmooth Servant that had ſo pleaſingly adviſed, was not leſs careful in the execution of his promiſe. He knew haſte would advance the opinion of his Merit; this makes him ſoon out-run his journey, and finde the Star of his directions, to whom he liberally relates the occaſion of his coming, which he confirms by the delivery of his Maſters Letter, wherein was drawn to the life the character of his Affection, and the aſſurance of his ſafety and 17 F1r 17 and intended promotion. Gaveſton being raviſh’d with ſo ſweet and welcome a relation, entertains it with as much joy, as the condemned Priſoner receives his Pardon at the place and hour of Execution. His long-dejected Spirits apprehend the advantage of ſo hopeful an opportunity, and ſpur him on with that haſte, that he hardly conſents to one nights intermiſſion for the repoſe of this weary Meſſenger. No ſooner had the Mornings- Watchman given his ſhrill ſummons of the approaching Day-light, but he forſakes his weary Bed, and haſtens ſtraight to Horſeback; and being not well aſſured of his reception in the Kingdom, being a baniſh’d man by ſo Juridical a Sentence, he eſteems it too weak an Adventure to expoſe himſelf to the hazard of the Road-way, where he might with eaſe be intercepted. This leads him to diſguiſe himſelf, and ſeek a ſecret paſſage; which he as readily findes; all things concurring to improve his happineſs, if he had had judgment and temper enough to have given it a right uſe. Every minute he eſteems ill loſt, till he might again be re-enfoulded in the ſweet and dear embraces of his Royal Maſter.
Gaveſton returns. Time, that out-runs proud Fate, brings him at laſt to the end of his deſires, where the interview was accompanied with as many mutual expreſſions, as might flow from the tongues, eyes, and hearts of long-divided Lovers. This pair thus again re-united, the Court puts on a general face of Gladneſs, while wiſer heads with cauſe ſuſpect the iſſue. They eſteem it full of danger, to have one man alone ſo fully poſſeſs the Kings Affections, who if he be not truely good, and deep enough to adviſe ſoundly, muſt often be the cauſe of Error and Diſorder. This ſtrange piece had neither Nobility of Birth, Ability of Brain, or any Moral Goodneſs, whereby they might juſtly hope he would be a ſtay to the unbridled youth of their Sovereign. A precedent experience during the Government of their dead Maſter, had given them a perfect knowledg, that he was more properly a fit inſtrumentF ment 18 F1v 18 ment for a Brothel, than to be the Steerſman of the Royal actions: yet there was now no prevention; they muſt hope the beſt, and attend the iſſue.
The King ſlights his Barons. Edward having thus regained his beloved Favourite, could not ſhadow or diſſemble his Affection, but makes it eminent by the neglects of the State-affairs, and the forgetfulneſs of the civil and ordinary Reſpect due to his great Barons. They wait contemn’d, and cannot gain the threſhold, while this new Upſtart’s courted in the Royal Chamber. This kinde of uſage won a ſudden murmur, which calls them off to cloſe and private Meetings; there they diſcourſe their Griefs, and means to right them; they ſift each way might break this fond inchantment, or leſſen this great light obſcured their luſtre. When they had canvaſt all the Stratagems of State, and private workings, they deem’d it the moſt innocent and fair way, to win the King to marry; the intereſt of a Wife was thought the moſt hopeful inducement to reclaim theſe looſe affections that were proſtituted without or ſenſe or honour; ſhe might become a fit counterpoiſe to qualifie the Pride of ſuch a ſwelling greatneſs.
They perſwade him to marry. The major part ſoon jump in this opinion; the reſt are quickly won, that fear’d the ſequel. On this they all together preſent themſelves and their requeſt, and ſhew the reaſons, but touch not the true ground why they deſired it. After ſome pawſe the King approves their motion, yet bids them well conſider it was the greateſt Action of his life, which as it principally concern’d his particular Contentment, ſo did equally reflect on the general Intereſt of the whole Kingdom. If they could find him out ſuch a Wedlock as might adde Strength and Honour to the Crown, and be withal ſuitable to his liking, he would readily embrace it, and value it as a bleſſing. So fair a beginning encourageth them to move for Iſabel the French Kings Daughter, one of the goodlieſt and faireſt Ladies of that time. The King readily inclines to have 19 F2r 19 have it treated; on which an honourable Embaſſage is ſent to make the motion. They are nobly receiv’d and willingly heard that bare this Meſſage, and the Conditions eaſily reconciled to a full Agreement. This brings them home with a like noble Company, full authorized to receive the Kings conſent and approbation.
The King marries; This Concluſion thus made, ſends our new Lover into France, to fetch his Miſtriſs; where he is received like himſelf, feaſted, and married with a great deal of Joy and Pleaſure. The Solemnity ended, and a Farewel taken, he haſtens homewards, returning ſeiſed of a Jewel, which not being rightly valued, wrought his ruine. Inifinite was the joy of the Kingdom, evident in thoſe many goodly expreſſions of her Welcome. The excellency of ſo rare a Beauty could not ſo ſurprize the heart of this Royal Bridegroom, but that he was ſtill troubled with the pangs of his old Infirmity: It was in the firſt Præludium of his nuptials a very diſputable Queſtion, whether the Intereſt of the Wife, or Favourite, were moſt predominant in his Affections; but a ſhort time diſcovers that Gaveſton had the ſole poſſeſſion of his and marries Gaveſton to Margaret, Daughter of Gilb.Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Glouceſter, by his Wife Joan of Acres, Daughter to Edw.EdwardI. Creates him Earl of Cornwall. Heart, and Power to keep it. To level their conditions, and make the terms betwixt them more even, he tyes this fair bullock in a yoke of the ſame nature, marrying him to a lovely branch of the houſe of Glouceſter, whoſe noble heart ſtruggled infinitely, yet durſt not contradict the Kings Injuſtice. He holds his blood diſparag’d by ſo baſe commixtion. To take away that doubt, the new- married man is advanced to the Earldom of Cornwal, and hath in his Gift the goodly Caſtle and Lordſhip of Wallingford; ſo that now in Title he had no juſt exception; and for conditions, it muſt be thought enough his Maſter loved him. To ſhew himſelf thankful, and to ſeem worthy of ſuch gracious favour, Gaveston applies himſelf wholly to the Kings humour, feeding it with the variety of his proper appetite, without ſo much as queſtion or contradiction: Not a word fell from his Sovereign’s tongue, 20 F2v 20 tongue, but he applauds it as an Oracle, and makes it as a Law to guide his actions. This kinde of juggling behaviour had ſo glewed him to his Maſter, that their Affections, nay their very Intentions ſeem’d to go hand in hand; inſomuch that the Injuſtice of the one, never found rub in the conſent of the other. If the King maintain’d the party, the ſervant was ever fortunate, his voice was ever concurrent, and ſung the ſame Tune to a Crochet. The diſcourſe being in the commendation of Arms, the eccho ſtiles it an Heroick Vertue; if Peace, it was an Heavenly Bleſſing; unlawful Pleaſures, a noble Recreation; and Actions moſt unjuſt, a Royal Goodneſs. Theſe paraſitical Gloſes ſo betray’d the itching ear that heard them, that no Honour or Preferment is conceited And makes him chief Miniſter of State. great and good enough for the Relator. A ſhort time inveſts in his perſon or diſpoſure all the principal Offices and Dignities of the Kingdom; the Command of War, and all Military Proviſions, were committed ſolely to his care and cuſtody; all Treaties forraign and domeſtick, had, by his direction, ſucceſs or ruine; nothing is concluded touching the Government or Royal Prerogative, but by his conſent and approbation. In the view of theſe ſtrange paſſages, the King appear’d ſo little himſelf, that the Subjects thought him a Royal Shadow without a Real Subſtance. This Pageant, too weak a Jade for ſo weighty a burden, had not a brain in it ſelf able enough to manage ſuch great Actions; neither would he entertain thoſe of ability to guide him, whoſe honeſt freedom might have made him go through-ſtitch with more reputation. He eſteems it a groſs overſight, and too deep a diſparagement, to have any creature of his own thought wiſer than himſelf; he had rather his Greatneſs (than hazard ſuch a blemiſh) ſhould lie open to the malice of time and fortune. This made him chuſe his Servants as his Maſter choſe him, of a ſmooth fawning temper, ſuch as might cry ayme, and approve his actions, but not diſpute them. Hence flew a world of wilde diſorder; the ſacredcred 21 G1r 21 cred Rules of Juſtice were ſubverted, the Laws integrity abuſed, the Judge corrupted or inforc’d, and all the Types of Honour due to Vertue, Valour, Goodneſs, were like the Pedlers pack, made Ware for Chapmen. Neither was it conceiv’d enough thus to advance him beyond proportion, or his birth and merit, but he muſt carry all without diſputing. No one may ſtand in his way, but taſtes his power. Old quarrels are ript up, to make his ſpleen more extant.
Gaveſton impriſons the Biſhop of Cheſter. The grave Biſhop of Cheſter, a man reverend for years, and eminent for his Profeſſion and Dignity, is committed, and could be neither indifferently heard or releaſed, upon the meer ſuppoſition that he had been the cauſe of his firſt Baniſhment. Theſe inſolencies, carried with ſo great a height, and expreſt with ſo malicious a liberty, were accompanied with all the remonſtrances of a juſtly-grieved The Kingdom reſent it. Kingdom. The ancient Nobility, that diſdain’d ſuch an equal, accuſe the injuſtice of the time that makes him their Superiour. The grave Senators are griev’d to ſee the places, due to their worths, poſſeſs’d by thoſe unworthy and unable. The angry Souldier, that with his blood had purchas’d his experience, beholds with ſorrow, Buffoons preferr’d; while he, like the ruines of ſome goodly Building, is left to the wide world, without uſe or reparation. The Commons, in a more intemperate faſhion, make known their griefs, and exclaim againſt ſo many great and foul Oppreſſions. The new-made Earl both ſaw and knew the general diſcontent and hatred, yet ſeeks not how to cure or ſtop this miſchief; his proud heart would not ſtoop or ſink: his greatneſs, which might perhaps have qualified the fury, with an ill-adviſed confidence out-dares the worſt of his approaching danger, and is not ſqueamiſh to let the Kingdom know it. The ſlumbring Barons, ſtartled with the murmur that ecchoed nought but fear and quick confuſion, at length awake, and change their drowſie temper, condemning their long patience, that was ſo far unfit their Bloud and Greatneſs. G Lincoln, 22 G1v 22 Lincoln, Warwick, and Pembrooke, whoſe noble hearts diſdain’d to ſuffer baſely, reſolve to cure the State, or make the Quarrel fatal. This Muſhrome muſt be cropt, or Arms muſt right the Kingdom. Yet before they will attempt by force, they’ll feel their Soveraign’s pulſes; who, drown’d in ſenſual pleaſure, dreams not of their practice. This Reſolution leads them to the Court, where with ſome ſute they gain admittance; where to the King brave Lincoln thus diſcours’d their Grievance.
Lincoln’s Speech to the King. See here (my Liege) your faithful though dejected ſervants, that have too long cry’d ayme to our Afflictions; we know you in your ſelf are good, though now ſeduced; the height is ſuch, we fear a coming Ruine. Let it not taint your ear to hear our ſorrow, which is not ours alone, but all the Kingdoms, that groan and languiſh under this ſad burden. One man alone occaſions all this miſchief; ’tis one mans pride and vice that cruſheth thouſands: we hope you will not boulſter ſuch a foul diſorder, and for one poor worthleſs piece, betray a Kingdom. The Heavens forbid ſo great and fond injuſtice. You are your own, yet we believe you ours; if ſo, we may what you forget, remember. Kings that are born ſo, ſhould preſerve their Greatneſs; which Goodneſs makes, not all their other Titles. Your noble Father dying, bound our Honours; yet we ſubſcribed a breach at your intreaty: You promis’d then a fair and grave proceeding; but what ſucceeds? the worſt of baſe Oppreſſion. So long as we had hope, our tongues were ſilent; we ſate and ſighed out our peculiar Sufferings: But when we ſee ſo fond and lewd progreſſion, that ſeems to threaten You and all your Subjects, you cannot blame us if we ſeek to right it. Would your unpartial eye ſurvey the preſent State of this late glorious Kingdom, you there ſhall ſee the Face of Shame and Sorrow. No place is free; both Court and Country languiſh; all men complain, but none finde help or comfort. Will you for him, not worth your meaneſt favour, conſent the 23 G2r 23 the Ruine of ſo brave a Nation? Alas, Sir, if you would, we may not bear it; our Arms that guard your Life, ſhall keep your Honour. ’Tis not unjuſt, if you your ſelf enforce it; the time admits no reſpite: For God’s ſake, Sir, reſolve us; ſince you muſt part with him, or us, then chuſe you whether.
The King amazed with this ſtrange Petition, believes it backt with ſome more ſecret practice: He knew their Griefs were juſt, yet loath to right them; He hop’d this Tempeſt would o’reblow, he might adviſe his Anſwer: But when he ſaw them fixt to know his pleaſure, he then believes it was in vain to ſtruggle. He knew their ſtrength that had combin’d to ſeek it, and ſaw he was too weak for contradiction. This made him yield he ſhould be once more baniſht. Though his wretchleſs improvidence had laid him open to this advantage, yet he was ſtill Maſter of his antient King-craft, which made him ſmoothly ſeem to paſs it over, as if he well approv’d this Sequeſtration, which he reſolves to alter as he pleaſed, when he had made the party ſure might back his actions; till then, he ſlubbers o’re his private Paſſion. The Lords, whoſe innocent aims had no end but Reformation, depart content, yet wait upon the Gaveſton baniſhed the ſecond time, and ſent into Ireland. iſſue. A ſecond time this Monſter is ſent packing, and leaves the Kingdom free from his Infection. Ireland is made the Cage muſt mewe this Haggard, whither he goes as if to Execution. With a ſad heart he leaves his great Protector, vowing revenge if he may live to act it. This weak Stateſman here gives a ſure teſtimony of the poverty of his Brain, that in the time of his Proſperity and Height had not made ſure one forreign Friend, to whom he might have had a welcome acceſs in time of his expulſion. But he had handled matters ſo, that he was alike hateful here and abroad, inſomuch that he believes this barbarous Climate his ſureſt refuge. But he being gone, all things ſeem’d well reconciled; the State was quiet, 24 G2v 24 quiet, and mens hopes were ſuitable to their deſires, which ſeem’d to promiſe a quick and ſpeedy Reformation. But the vanity of this belief vaniſht away like a ſhadow, and the intermiſſion was little leſs intemperate than the former agitation. This wilie Serpent continues ſo his forreign Correſpondence, that the King was little better’d by his abſence; which made it evident, that Death alone would end his practis’d miſchief. Their Bodies were divided, but their Affections meet with a higher Inflammation. The intervacuum of their abſence hath many reciprocal paſſages, which interchangeably flie betwixt them. The King receives not a Syllable, but ſtraight returns with golden intereſt. Infinitely are they both troubled with their diviſion, but far more with the affront of the preſuming Barons, that had extorted it by force, yet with intreaty. The King eſteem’d this kinde of proceeding too great an indignity to be pocketted; yet ſince it had the pretence of his Safety and the general Good, there was not apparent Juſtice enough to call it to an after-reckoning. But alas, that needed not; for his effeminate weakneſs had left him naked of that Royal reſolution, that dares queſtion the leaſt diſorderly moving of the greateſt Subject. He was conſtant in nothing but his Paſſions, which led him to ſtudy more the return of his left-handed Servant, than how to make it good, effected. He lays aſide the Majeſty of a King, and thinks his Power too ſlender; his Sword ſleeps like a quiet harmleſs Beaſt, while his Tongue proves his better Champion. He ſends for thoſe that had been the principal Agents in the laſt Sentence, and treats with them ſeverally; knowing that Hairs are pluckt up one by one, that are not mov’d by handfuls; encountring them thus ſingle, hand to hand, what with his hypocritical Entreaties and mildew’d Promiſes, he ſoon gets from their relenting hearts a ſeveral Conſent anſwerable to his deſires. When by untying the Bundle he had 25 H1r 25 had diſunited the ſtrength of their Confederacy, he then with confidence makes it a general Propoſition; which Again recalled. takes ſo, that the repeal of Gaveſton’s baniſhment paſs’d currant without exception.
The Kings intent and the approbation of the Lords is ſcarcely known, before (like an Iriſh Hubbub, that needs nothing but noiſe to carry it) it arriv’d in Ireland. Upon the wings of Paſſion, made proud by the hope of Revenge and a ſecond Greatneſs, he flies ſwiftly back to the Fountain of his firſt Preferment. Once more the breach is ſoder’d, and this True-loves Knot enjoys his firſt Poſſeſſion. But there wanted yet that deep reach and provident foreſight that ſhould have given it aſſurance. The King had neither enabled himſelf to carry things in their former height by main ſtrength, neither had he wrought his diſorder’d Affections to a conformity, or a more ſtayed temper. His female Mercury leſſens not his former Ambition, but returns the ſelf-ſame man; onely improved with the deſire of revenge, which was naked of the means to act it: ſo that it was quickly perceiv’d that the Kingdom muſt feel another fit of her Convulſion. The mutual Corruptions of theſe two, went with an equal improvidence; which gave the Lords their advantage, and them too late a cauſe of repentance.
Immediately on his reception, the King falls into a more dangerous Relapſe of his former Dotage; which ſo fully ingroſs’d him, that all Diſcourſe and Company ſeem’d harſh and unpleaſant, but ſuch as came from the mellow tongue of his Minion, who invents many new Enchantments to feed and more engage his frenzie. All the diſſolute Actions of licentious Youth are acted Cum Privilegio. This bred ſuch a Grief and Diſtemper in the ſorrowing heart of the Subject, that a general Cloud of Sadneſs ſeem’d to ſhadow the whole Kingdom. Thoſe former ſtrict Admonitions were not powerful enough to bridle this Diſtemper, not ſo much as for a fair in-come; H the 26 H1v 26 the one becomes at the firſt daſh more fond, the other more inſolent: thoſe whom before he onely ſcorn’d, he now affronts with publick hatred, letting them know his ſpleen waits but advantage. He fills his Soveraigns ears with new ſuſpition, and whets him on to act in bloud and miſchief.
It is a Diſpute variouſly believ’d, what Climate hatch’d this Vulture. I cannot credit him to be an Italian, when I obſerve the map of his Actions ſo far different from the diſpoſition and practice of that politick Nation: They uſe not to vent publickly their ſpleens, till they do act them. He that will work in State, and thrive, muſt be reſerved; a downright way that hath not ſtrength to warrant it, is cruſht and breaks with his own weight, without diſcretion. Thoſe that are in this trade held their Crafts-maſters, do ſpeak thoſe faireſt whom they mean to ruine, and rather truſt cloſe work than publick practice. Wiſe men made great, diſguiſe their aims with Vizards, which ſee and are not ſeen, while they are plotting. Judge not by their ſmooth looks or words, which hath no kindred with the hearts of Machiavilian States-men. Who truſts more to his will than wit, may act his Paſſion; but this mans malice is within protection. Where miſchief harbours cloſe and undiſcovered, it ruines all her Rubs without ſuſpition; a Pill or Potion makes him ſure, that by plain force might have outliv’d an Army: ſuch ends thus wrought, if once ſuſpected, a neat State-lye can parget o’r with Juſtice. But thoſe antient times were more innocent, or this great Favorite more ignorant. He went on the plain way of corrupted fleſh and bloud, ſeeking to enchant his Maſter, in which he was a perfect Work-man; and the contempt of his Competitors, in which he was as wilful as fearleſs: but in the managing of his proper greatneſs, there he appears like himſelf, a meer Impoſture, going on with a full carreer, not ſo much as viewing the ground he went on.The 27 H2r 27
Abuſes the King and Kingdom. The Royal Treaſure he exhauſts in Pride and Riot; the Jewels of the Crown are in the Lumbard; that ſame goodly Golden Table and Treſsles of ſo great and rich a value, he ſurreptitiouſly embezzles; and nothing almoſt left, that might either make Money, or improve his Glory. No man may now have the Kings ear, hand, or Purſe, but he’s the Mediator; his Creatures are advanc’d, his Agents flouriſh, and pooreſt Grooms become great Men of Worſhip. The King hath nothing but the name, while his Vicegerent hath the benefit and execution. All that appertains unto the Crown and Royal Dignity are wholly in his Power, ſo that he might juſtly be thought the Leſſee, if not the Inheritor of the Prerogative and Revenue. The ſenſe of Grief and Duty that had long conteſted in the Lion-hearts of the Nobility, are now reconciled. Theſe ſtrange preſumptions had baniſh’d all poſſibility of a longer ſufferance; They vow to make this Monſter ſhrink, and let his Maſter know it. On this, well and ſtrongly attended, they wait upon the King, and not with mild or fair Intreaties, they boldly now make known their Wrongs, and call for preſent Juſtice. Edward with a ſteady eye beholds their looks, where he ſees regiſtred the Characters of a juſt Indignation, and the threatning furrows of enſuing danger. He ſtands not to diſpute the quarrel, leſt they ſhould tear the object of their anger from his elbow: without all ſhew of inward motion, he tells themſelves had power to act what was moſt fitting, to whom he had aſſign’d the care ſhould keep his Perſon, and aſſure the Kingdom. They beyond their expectation finding the wind in that door, give not his inconſtant thoughts time to vary, but command their Gaveſton baniſhed the third time; goes into Flanders. Antagoniſt off to a third Baniſhment. He deprived of heart and ſtrength, is enforced to obey, having not ſo much liberty, as to take a ſolemn Farewel. Now is he ſent for Flanders; the Juriſdiction of the Kings Dominions are eſteem’d no fit Sanctuary to protect ſo looſe a 28 H2v 28 a Liver. They leave him to prey and practice on the Dutch, whoſe Caps ſteel’d with Liquour, had reeling Craft enough to make him quiet.
This paſſage bred a ſuppoſition that he was now for ever loſt: the King made ſhew as he were well contented; and men were glad to ſee this ſtorm appeaſed, that ſeem’d to threaten an inteſtine ruine. This Happineſs was but imaginary, but it is made perfect by one Edward of Windſor, afterwards Edw.Edward the 3. Born, 1312-10-1313 Oct. 1312. more real; Windſor preſents the King an Heir apparent; which happy News flies ſwiftly through the Kingdom, which gives it welcome with a brave expreſſion. The Royal Father did not taſte this Bleſſing with ſuch a ſenſe of Joy as it deſerved: Whether ’twas his miſgiving Spirit, or the abſence of his loſt Jewel, he ſadly ſilent ſighs out the relation; ſuch a deſerving Joy could not win ſo much as a ſmile from his melancholy Brow, grown old with trouble. The appearance of his inward agitation was ſuch, that the greateſt enemies of his Dotage were the moſt compaſſionate of his Sufferings. Such a maſculine Affection and rapture was in thoſe times without preſident, where Love went in the natural ſtrain, fully as firm, yet far leſs violent. If the circumſtances of this paſſionate Humour, ſo predominant in this unfortunate King, be maturely conſidered, we ſhall finde them as far ſhort of poſſibility as reaſon; which have made many believe, that they had a ſupernatural operation and working, enforc’d by Art or Witchcraft. But let their beginning be what it will, never was man more immoderately tranſported, which took from him in this little time of his third abſence, the benefit of his Underſtanding and Spirits ſo fully, that he ſeems rather diſtracted than inamour’d, more properly without Reaſon, than ability to command it. In the circumference of his Brain he cannot finde a way to lead him out of this Labyrinth, but that which depended more of Power than Wiſdome. Bridle his Affections he could not, which were but bare embryons without 29 I1r 29 without poſſeſſion; alter them he cannot, where his eye meets not with a ſubject powerful enough to engage him: what then reſts to ſettle this civil diſcord, but reſtitution? which he attempts in ſpight of oppoſition. Gaveſton aagain returns. Gaveſton comes back; the King avows, and bids them ſtir that durſt, He would protect him. Princes that falſifie their Faiths, more by proper inclination than a neceſſary impulſion, grow not more hateful to forreign Nations, than fearful and ſuſpected to their own Subjects. If they be tainted with a known Guilt, and juſtifie it, ’tis a ſhrewd preſumption of a ſick State, where the Head is ſo diſeaſed. A habit of doing ill, and a daring Impudence to maintain it, makes all things in a Politique Wiſdome lawful. This Poſition in the end coſens the profeſſor, and leaves him in the field open to ſhame and infamy: And it ſtands with reaſon; for if Vertue be the Road-way to Perfection, the corruption of a falſe Heart muſt certainly be the path to an unpitied ruine.
The Barons take up Arms. The enraged Barons ſeeing great Cornwal return, are ſenſible of their diſhonour, and think it too great a wrong to be diſpens’d with; yet they will have the fruit of their revenge through-ripe, before they taſte it. He appears no Changeling, but ſtill purſues the ſtrains of his preſumption. The actions of Injuſtice ſeldom leſſen. Progreſſion is believ’d a moral Vertue. He that hath a Will to do ill, and doth it, cannot look back but on the Crown of miſchief. This makes him not diſguiſe his conceptions, but ſhew them fully; having withal this excellent Vertue, that would be never reconciled where he once hated. The Lords obſerving his behaviour, think time ill loſt in ſo weighty a buſineſs; they draw their forces together, before the King could have a time to prevent, or his abuſer to ſhun it.
The gathering together of ſo many threatning Clouds preſag’d the Storm was a coming: Gaveſton labours to provide a ſhelter, but ’twas too late; the time was loſt I that 30 I1v 30 that ſhould aſſure the danger: All that he could effect by his own ſtrength, or the Royal Authority, he calls to his aſſiſtance, (but ſuch was the general diſtaſte of the Kingdom, he could not gain a ſtrength might ſeem a party.) The Court he knew would be a weak Protection againſt their Arms, whoſe Tongues had twice expell’d him. This made him leave it, and with ſuch Proviſion as ſo ſhort a time could tender, commit himſelf Seize Gaveſton at Scarborough- Caſtle; to Scarborough-Caſtle. This Piece was ſtrong, and pretty well provided, but prov’d too weak againſt ſo juſt a Quarrel. His noble Enemies being inform’d where they ſhould finde him, follow the track, and ſoon begirt this Fortreſs. He ſeeks a Treaty; they deſpiſe Conditions, knowing he none would keep, that all had broken. All hope thus loſt, he falls into their power from whom he had no cauſe could hope for mercy. The Butterflies, companions of his Sun-ſhine, that were his fortunes friends, not his, forſake his Winter, and baſely leave him in his greateſt troubles. The tide of Greatneſs gain’d him many Servants; they were but hangers on, and meer Retainers, like Rats that left the houſe when it was falling. The Spring adorn’d him with a world of Bloſſoms, which dropt away when firſt they felt this Tempeſt. Forſaken thus, this Cedar is ſurpriz’d, and brought to know the end of ſuch ambition. The Prey thus tane, ſhort work concludes his ſtory, left that a Countermand might come to ſtop their Verdict: Gaverſeed is made and behead him. the fatal place that ſacrific’d his life to quench their fury.
Thus fell the firſt glorious Minion of Edward the Second; which appearing for a time like a Blazing-ſtar, fill’d the world with admiration, and gave the Engliſh cauſe to blame his fortune, that liv’d and died, nor lov’d, excus’d, or pitied. In the wanton Smiles of his lovely Miſtriſs, he remembers not that ſhe was blinde, a Giglet, and a Changeling; nor did he make himſelf in time a Refuge might be his Safeguard. If ſhe had prov’d unconſtant,conſtant, 31 I2r 31 conſtant, ſuch a Providence had made the End as fair as the Beginning. But theſe ſame towering Summer-birds fear not the Winter, till they feel it; and then benumb’d, they do confeſs their Errour. Height of Promotion breeds Self-love; Self-love, Opinion; which undervalues all that are beneath it. Hence it proceeds, that few men, truely honeſt, can hold firm Correſpondence with ſo great a Minion; his ends go not their ways, but with Croſs-capers, which cares not how, ſo theſe attain perfection. Servants that are confin’d to truth and goodneſs, may be in ſhew, but not in truſt, their Agents. He that will act what Pride and Luſt impoſeth, is a fit Page to ſerve ſo looſe a Maſter. Hence it proceeds, that ſtill they fall unpitied; and thoſe they chuſe for Friends, do moſt ſupplant them. To ſecure an ill-acquired Greatneſs that is begot with envy, grows in hatred; as it requires judgment, claims a goodneſs to keep it right, and grave direction. Thoſe that are truely wiſe, diſcreet, and vertuous, will make him ſo that purſues their counſel; upon which Rock he reſts ſecure untainted. But this is Country-Doctrine Courts reſent not, where ’tis no way to thrive, for them are honeſt. A Champion-Conſcience without bound or limit, a Tongue as ſmooth as Jet that ſings in ſeaſon, a bloudleſs Face that buries guilt in boldneſs; theſe Ornaments are fit to cloath a Courtier: he that wants theſe, ſtill wants a means to live, if he muſt make his Service his Revenue. He that a Child in Court grows old, a Servant expecting years or merit ſhould prefer him, and doth not by ſome by-way make his fortune, gains but a Beard for all his pains and travel; unleſs he’ll take a Purſe, and for reward, a Pardon. Though many riſe, it is not yet concluded they all are of ſo baſe corruption which would produce a ſudden Ruine. The greater Peers by birth inherit fit place in this Election. The Kings favour, or their interceſſion, may advance a deſerving Friend or Kinſman; extraordinary Gifts of Nature, or ſome Excellencycellency 32 I2v 32 cellency in knowledge may prefer him that enjoys them; all theſe beams may ſhine on men that are honeſt. But if you caſt your eye upon the groſs body of the Court, and examine the ordinary courſe of their gradation, it will plainly appear, that twenty creep in by the back- gate, while one walks up by the ſtreet-door. But leaving thoſe to their fortune, and that cunning conveyance muſt guide their Deſtiny; when the ſad tidings of this unhappy Tragedy came to the Kings ears, his vexations were as infinite as hopeleſs, and his Paſſion tranſports him beyond the height of ſorrow, which leads him to this bitter Exclamation.
The King’s Exclamation on the news, vowing revenge. Could they not ſpare his Life, O cruel Tygers? What had he done, or how ſo much offended? He never ſhed one drop of harmleſs blood, but ſaved thouſands. Muſt he be ſacrificed to calm their anger? ’Twas not his fault, but my affection cauſed it; which I’ll revenge, and not diſpute my ſorrow. They, if I live, ſhall taſte my juſt diſpleaſure, and dearly pay for this their cruel errour. Till now I kept my hand from blood and fatal actions; but henceforth I will act my Paſſions freely, and make them know I am too much provoked. Blood muſt have blood, and I will ſpend it fully, till they have paid his wandring Ghoſt their forfeit. And thou, O ſweet Friend, whom living I ſo loved, from thy ſad Urn ſhalt ſee thy wrong requited. Thy Life as I mine own did dearly value, which I will looſe, but I’ll repay their rigour.
This ſaid, he withdraws him to his melancholy Chamber, and makes himſelf a Recluſe from the Daylight. His manly tears bewray his inward ſorrow, and make him ſeem to melt with height of Paſſion; He could not ſleep, nor ſcarce would eat, or ſpeak but faintly; which makes him living dye with reſtleſs torment. His lovely Queen (not ſorry that this bar was taken away, which ſtopt the paſſage betwixt her Huſbandsbands 33 K1r 33 bands Love and her Affections) is truely penſive at this ſtrange diſtraction, which ſeem’d without the hope of reconcilement. His nearer Friends amazed to ſee his Paſſion, reſolve to ſet him free, or looſe his favour; boldly they preſs into his Cell of darkneſs, and freely let him know his proper errour. They lay before him, how vain a thing it was to mourn or ſorrow for things paſt help, or hope of all redemption: His greatneſs would be loſt in ſuch fond actions, and might endanger him and eke the Kingdom: If he but truely knew what deſperate murmurs were dayly whiſper’d by his vain diſtemper, he would himſelf appear to ſtay the danger, and to excuſe the Barons act, ſo hateful: they touch upon the Earls intemperate carriage, which threatned them and all the Kingdoms ruine: they ſhew his inſolence and misbehaviour, which having Honour ſo far above his birth, and Wealth above his merit, was ne’re contented. Laſtly, they tell him plainly, unleſs he would reſume more life and ſpirit, they fear’d the ſubject would make choice of one more able.
The unworthy touches of his Minion, though but ſparingly given, nipt him to the Soul; but when he heard the Tenour of their laſt Concluſion, it rows’d him up, for fear of Depoſition. This brings him forth in ſhew and look transformed, but yet reſolv’d not to forget this Treſpaſs. The Operations in his heart were not ſo great and weighty, but that his Lords were full as cloſe and wary. So fair a warning-piece gave them their Summons, in time to make a ſtrength might keep them ſure. They cannot now recoyl, or hope for favour; their Arms muſt make their Peace, or they muſt periſh. Theſe circumſtances made them preſerve ſo well a reſpected diſtance, that well the King might bark, but durſt not bite them: He was reſolv’d, ’tis true, but not provided, and therefore holds it wiſdome to be ſilent; the time he hop’d would change, and they grow careleſs; when they ſhould know ſuch wrongs are not K forgotten. 34 K1v 34 Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, dies, 13101310. forgotten. But now brave Lincoln, one of the principal Pillars of the Barons Faction, follows his adverſary to the grave, but with a milde and fairer fortune. This reverend piece of true Nobility was in Speech and Converſation ſweet and affable, in reſolution grave and weighty; his aged temper active and valiant above belief, and his Wiſdome more found and excellent in inward depth than outward appearance. When thoſe pale Harbingers had ſeized his vital Spirits, and he perceived the thought of Life was hopeleſs, he gives Thomas of Lancaſter, his Son-in-Law, this dying Legacy.
His dying- Speech to Tho.ThomasEarl of Lancaſter, his Son-in- Law. My son, (quoth he) for ſo your Wedlock makes you, hear and obſerve theſe my laſt dying Precepts. Truſt not the King; his Anger ſleeps, but dyes not; he waits but time, which you muſt likewiſe tender, elſe in the leaſt neglect be ſure you periſh. Make good my place among the Lords, and keep the Kingdom from foul Oppreſſion, which of late is frequent. Your Soveraign cares not how the State be guided, ſo he may ſtill enjoy his wanton Pleaſures; have you an eye to thoſe that ſeek to wrong him: be not deceived with his ſugar’d language; his heart is falſe, and harbours Blood and Miſchief. Keep your ſelves firm and cloſe; being well united you are ſecure, he will not dare to touch you. If he again fall on a ſecond Dotage, look to it in time, ’twill elſe be your confuſion. His Minions Death lies in his heart concealed, waiting but time to act revenge and terrour: he ſhadows o’re, but cannot hide his Malice, which fain would vent it ſelf, but yet it dares not. If I had lived, he muſt have changed his copy, or one of us had felt a bitter tryal; yet ſtill beware you take not light occaſion, or make the publick ends for private Paſſion. He is your Sovereign, you muſt ſo obey him, unleſs the Cauſe be juſt enforc’d your moving. If he himſelf do ſwerve or raiſe combuſtion, the Kingdoms good muſt give your Arms their warrant: ſhort time will let you know your own condition; however, do not truſt the ſleepy Lion. I knew his ways, 35 K2r 35 ways, and could as well foreſtal them; but now I muſt reſigne it to your wiſdom. Of this be ſure (remember my Prediction) if he relapſe, and make a new Vice-gerregent, which ſhall leap o’re your heads, and you endure it, The King, You, or the Kingdom muſt periſh. My wearied Soul would fain embrace his freedom, and now my Spirits yield to Death and Nature. Commend me to my noble Friends and Fellows, and ſay, Old Lincoln liv’d and died their Servant.
Lancaſter, whoſe noble heart was before-hand ſeaſon’d, receives willingly theſe grave Inſtructions, and like a good Steward, locks them up in the cloſet of his heart, till time call’d upon him to give them life and action; and yet he ſuffers not this goodly Tree to fall, before aſſured: He vows obſervance, and as truely keeps it; but erring in the time, it wrought his Downfall. Beginning Evils are eaſily ſuppreſt, which grown to ſtrength, if cleans’d, are cur’d with danger: Twigs may be broken, younger Plants removed; but if once they grow Trees, their Fall is fatal. Things ſtanding thus, and all mens minds in ſuſpence what would be the iſſue between the enraged King and jealous Lords, the indifferent friends of either Party that fear’d this unkinde Diviſion would ſhake the Peace and Tranquillity of the Kingdom, propounded divers Overtures of reconcilement; which are neither readily accepted, nor abſolutely refuſed. The Kings Meditations were more fixed on Revenge than Conference; yet ſeeing into the Quality of the time, and into the ſuſpected Affections of the Kingdom, is won at length to admit of a Treaty.
The Barons truely relliſhing the Tickle-terms they ſtood on, which were pinn’d to the mutability of popular Faction, were not eſtranged from the thoughts of Peace, though they would not ſeek it. Interceſſion and importunacy of the Mediators, brings it at length to the upſhot; where there was ſuch an inveterate ſpleen, and 36 K2v 36 and ſo great an antipathy in Wills, it is not thought fit to hazard this great Work on a private diſcuſſion, where Recapitulations of old Wrongs, or the apprehenſion of new Indignities, might ſhake the Foundation. The High Court of Parliament, the graveſt Senate of the Kingdom, that had an over-ruling Power to limit the King, and command the Subject, is deemed the moſt Honourable place of this Enterview, where a buſineſs of ſo great weight would be gravely diſcours’d; which might A Parliament called. aſſure the end, and make it more authentical. Whereupon it is immediately call’d, and in ſhort ſpace aſſembled at London; where, after many interchangeable Expoſtulations diverſly handled by the pregnant Wits and nimble Tongues of either Party, a ſettled Agreement is concluded, and many excellent Laws are enacted, which both the King and Peers are ſworn to maintain and keep inviolate. By theſe diſcreet means the violence of this great Fire is rak’d up in the Embers, which in aftertimes breaks out with greater rage and fury: whatſoever the hidden Reſolutions were, the Kingdom now ſeem’d in a fair way to ſettle Peace and Quiet. But a new and unexpected Accident varies this Conceit before it was cold, and calls them from private Actions, to maintain the Honour and Revenue of the Kingdom.
The Scots adhere to Bruce, 13131313. Edward the Firſt, that brave and valiant Monarch, had thrice with his victorious Arms run through the Bowels of Scotland, and brought that ſtubborn Nation (that deny’d him Fealty and Homage) into an abſolute Subjection. Their laſt precedent King, Robert le Bruce, had tryed the height of his fortune, and with a fruitleſs oppoſition won no more than the loſs of his Kingdom, and his own Expulſion. The Conqueror finding himſelf quitted of this Obſtacle, takes upon him the Regiment of this Kingdom, with a double ſtring to his Bow; the one of antient Title, the other of Conqueſt. The Nobility of Scotland, and all the inferiour Miniſters of State, ſeeing the great Effuſion of Bloud ſpent 37 L1r 37 ſpent in this Quarrel, which continued, ſeemed to threaten a general devaſtation of their Country, ſubmit themſelves to the Engliſh Government, and are all ſolemnly ſworn to obey it. Edward thus in poſſeſſion, confirms it, by ſeizing the property of all the Royal Juriſdiction into his own hand, removing ſuch Officers as were not agreeable to his will and liking, and giving many goodly Eſtates and Dignities to divers of his faithful Servants that had valiantly behaved themſelves in this Service. The Form of Government by him eſtabliſhed, was peaceably obey’d, and continued during his Life; neither was it queſtioned in the beginning Government of his unhappy Succeſſor. But the wary Scots, more naturally addicted to a Phoenix of their own Nation, ſeeing into the preſent diſſentions and diſorders of the Kingdom, thought it now a fit time to revolt to their old Maſter, who like a crafty Fox harbours himſelf under the French Kings protection (the antient receptacle and Patron for that Nation.) No ſooner is he advertiſed that the gate was open and unguarded, and that his well-affected Subjects wiſhed his return, but back he comes, and is received with a full applauſe and welcome. All Oaths, Obligements, and Courteſies of the Engliſh, are quite cancell’d and forgotten; and this long- loſt Lion is again re-inveſted in the Royal Dignity. Aſſoon as he had moor’d himſelf in a domeſtique aſſurance, he then like a provident Watchman begins to raiſe a ſtrength that might oppoſe all forreign Invaſion, which he foreſaw would thunder from the Borders. This Martial Preparation flyes ſwiftly to the King and Council of England, where it appears like a great Body upon a pair of Stilts, more in bulk than the proportion of the ſtrength that bare it. The Pillars of the State, which wiſely foreſaw how great an inconvenience it would be to ſuffer ſuch a Member to be diſſever’d, that in the conteſtation with France would make the War a Mattachine, or Song of three parts, perſwade L their 38 L1v 38 their Sovereign it was not proper for his Greatneſs to ſuffer ſuch an unworthy ſubverſion of his Fathers Conſtitutions, and to looſe the advantage of ſo fair a part of his Revenue.
Edward, that had outſlept his native glory, had yet a juſt compunction of this diſhonour, which ſeem’d to rob him of a portion of his Inheritance, purchaſed at too dear a value. He lays by his private rancour, and ſettles himſelf to ſuppreſs this ſudden and unlookt-for Commotion, waking from that ſenſual Dream, which had given him ſo large a cauſe of Sorrow. Scarcely would he give his intentions ſuch an intermiſſion, as might attend the levy of his Army, which he had ſummoned to be ready with all ſpeed and expedition. The jealous Lords ſtartled with this Alarum, conceiting it but ſome trick of State to catch them napping, they ſuſpect theſe Forces, under pretence of publick action, might be prepared to plot a private miſchief. The King they knew was crafty, cloſe, and cunning; and thought not fit to truſt too far to Rumour. This makes them ſtand upon their guard, and keep Aſſemblies, pleading for warrant the ſelf-ſame ground of riſing. But when their Spies in Court had given them knowledge that all was ſure, they need not fear their danger, and that they dayly heard the Northern clamour that ecchoed The King goes in perſon againſt the Scots, 13141314. loudly with the Scotiſh motions, they draw their Forces to the King’s; who thus united, in perſon leads them to this hopeful Conqueſt. But forehand-reckonings ever moſt miſcarry; he had thoſe hands, but not thoſe hearts which fought his Fathers fortune.
Scarce had he paſt and left the Engliſh Borders, but he beholds an Army ready to affront him, not of dejected Souls, or Bodies fainting, but Men reſolv’d to win, or dye with Honour. Their valiant Leader heartens on their Courage, and bids them fight for Life, Eſtate, and Freedome, all which were here at ſtake; which this day gains, or makes hereafter hopeleſs. Edward, 39 L2r 39 Edward, that expected rather ſubmiſſion, or ſome honeſt Terms of agreement, finding a Check given by a Pawn, unlook’d for, plays the beſt of his game, and hopes to win it. He contemns their condition and number, ſlighting their Power; and in the memory of his Father’s Conqueſts, thinks his own certain. But the ſucceſs of Battles runs not in a Bloud, neither is gained by Confidence, but Diſcretion and Valour. No one thing hurts more in a matter of Arms, than Preſumption: a Coward that expects no mercy, is deſperate by compulſion; and the moſt contemptible Enemy proves moſt dangerous, when he is too much undervalu’d. You may ſee it here inſtanc’d, The King defeated at Banocksbourn near Striveling. where a rabble multitude of deſpiſed Blue-caps, encounter, rout, and break the Flower of England: Eaſtriveline doth yet witneſs the fatal memory of this ſo great Diſaſter. There fell brave Clare the Earl of Glouceſter, the valiant Clifford, and ſtout Mawle, with above Fifty Knights and Barons. This bloudy day, which had ſpilt ſo great a ſhower of Noble bloud, and cropt the braveſt Bloſſoms of the Kingdom, ſends the King back to Barwick with a few ſtraggling Horſe, whoſe well-breath’d ſpeed out-run the purſuing danger. So near a Neighbourhood to ſo victorious an Enemy, is deemed indiſcretion, where the Prize was believ’d ſo richly worth the Venture. This ſends away the melancholy King jaded in his hopes, and dull with his misfortune. If we may judge by the Event, the Condition of this man was truely miſerable; all things at home, under his Government, were out of rule and order; and nothing ſucceſsful that he undertook by forraign Employment: but where the Ground is falſe, the Building cannot ſtand; He planted the foundation of his Monarchy on Sycophants and Favorites, whoſe diſoderly Proceedings dryed up all that ſap that ſhould have foſtered up the ſpringing Goodneſs of the Kingdome, and made him a meer ſtranger to thoſe Abilities that are proper to Rule and Government. Kings ought 40 L2v 40 ought to be their own Surveyors, and not to paſs over the whole care of their Affairs, by Letter of Atturney, to another mans Protection: ſuch inconſiderate actions beget a world of miſchief, when there are more Kings than one, in one and the ſelf-ſame Kingdom; it eclipſeth his Glory, and derogates from his Greatneſs; making the Subject groan under the unjuſt Tyranny of an inſolent oppreſſion. No man with ſuch propriety can manage the griefs and differences of the Subject, as the King, who by the Laws of God, Men, and Nature, hath an intereſt in their Heart, and a ſhare in their Affections. When they are guided by a ſecond hand, or heard by a Relator, Money or Favour corrupts the Integrity, and over-rules the courſe of Juſtice, followed at the heels with Complaint and Murmur, the Mother of Diſcontent and Miſchief.
The unexpected return of the General of this ill- ſucceeding Enterprize, filled the Kingdom with a well- deſerved Sorrow, and is welcom’d with a News as Poydras of Exeter pretends himſelf King, and the King a Changling. ſtrange, though not ſo full of danger. Poydras, a famous Impoſtor, a Tanners Son, and born at Exeter, pretends himſelf, with a new ſtrain of Lip-couſenage, to be the Heir of Edward the Firſt, by a falſe Nurſe chang’d in his Cradle for the King now reigning. All Novelties take in the itching ears of the Vulgar, and win either belief or admiration. This Tale, as weak in truth as probability, was fortunate in neither, only it exalts this imaginary King to his Inſtalment on Northampton-Gallows, where he ends the hour of his melancholy Government His ſtrange Confeſſion. with as ſtrange a Relation, which ſuggeſts, That for two years ſpace, a Spirit, in the likeneſs of a Cat, had attended him as the chief Groom of his Chamber, from whom in many ſecret Conferences he had received the truth and information of this Myſtery, with aſſurance it would bring him to the Crown of England. It was as great a fault in the Maſter to believe, as for the ſervant to abuſe; yet the deſire of the one 41 M1r 41 one to change his Tanfat for a Kingdom, was not much out of ſquare; nor the Lying of the other, ſince he continued but his trade which he had practis’d from the beginning. It is a foul offence and overſight in them that have not Devils of their own, to hunt abroad and ſeek where they may gain them by purchaſe. If it be a myſtery of State to know things by Prediction of ſuch vertuous Miniſters, methinks they were much better kept, as this Tanner kept his, rather as an houſhold-Servant, than a Retainer; which may in time bring them to a like Preferment: Such Agents may ſeem Lambs, but in the end they will be found as ſavage as Tygers, and as falſe as the Camelions. Till now our wanton King had never felt the true touch of a juſt grief; but mens misfortunes alter their impreſſions; he inwardly and heartily laments his own diſhonour, yet ſtrives to hide and conceal his Sorrow, leſt thoſe about him might be quite dejected. It was a bitter Corroſive to think, how oft his Royal Father had diſplaid his victorious Colours, which knew not how to fight unleſs to conquer: How often had he over-run this Neighbour-Nation, and made them take ſuch Laws as he impoſed? How many times had he overthrown their greateſt Armies, and made them ſue they might become his Subjects? The memory of this doth vex his Spirits, and makes him vow Revenge and utter Ruine. He calls to Council all his Lords and Leaders, and lays before them the antient Glory of the Kingdom, the late Misfortune, and his proper Errours, and laſtly his deſire to right his Honour. They glad to hear the King in the ſenſe of ſo general a diſgrace touch’d with ſo noble a ſtrain, do ſpur it on before it cool’d, or the Scots ſhould grow too proud of their new Glory. The former Loſs had toucht ſo near the quick, that there is now a more wary Reſolution: Diſpatches are ſent out for a more exact and full proviſion; a mature Conſideration is thought neceſſary before it come to action: M York 42 M1v 42 York is made the Cabinet for this grave Council, there The King goes a ſecond time againſt the Scots. the King ſoon appears, attended by all the braveſt and ableſt Spirits of the Kingdom. The act of the firſt conference tends to the ſecurity of Berwick, the ſtreet-door of the North, and principal Key of the borders. This care with a full proviſion is committed to the Fidelity Sir Peter Spalden made Governour of Barwick. and Valour of Sir Peter Spalden; who undertakes the charge, being plentifully furniſht, and promiſeth defence againſt the united Power of Scotland. This unfortunate King was as unhappy in Councel as in Action. A ſhort time ſhews this unworthy Knight to the world falſe and perfidious. Robert le Bruce, that had this Strength as a mote in his eye, conceived it by force almoſt impregnable; this made him ſeek to undermine it by corruption, Who betrays it to the Scots, 13181318. and aloof off to taſte the palate of this new Governour. The Hook was no ſooner baited, but the Trout falls a nibbling; ready Money, and a ſpecious promiſe of an expectant Preferment, makes this Conſpiracy perfect, which at one blow fells the Town, with all its warlike Proviſions, and the treacherous Keeper’s Reputation and The Pope ſends over two Cardinals, to mediate a Peace. Honour. The Pope, who with a pious and a truely compaſſionate eye beheld the miſery of this Diſſention, and the unnatural effuſion of ſo much Chriſtian Bloud, ſeeks to reform it; and to this effect, ſends over two of his Cardinals to mediate a Peace, and to compoſe, if it might be, the differences in queſtion. They being arrived in England, come down into the North to the King, by whom they are with great Ceremony, according to the faſhion of thoſe Religious Times, received and welcomed. They diſcourſe to him the occaſion of their Employment, and encline him with many excellent and vertuous motives to embrace a Peace with Scotland. The greenneſs of the Diſgrace, and the late Wound yet bleeding new, kept him in a long demurrer. Yet the holy and milde proſecution of theſe holy Fathers won him at length to their Mediation, with a proviſo that he were not too far prejudiced in 43 M2r 43 in Intereſt and Honour. With this Anſwer they take their leave, and proſecute their Journey for Scotland; Who atre robbed at Derlington. but with an example full of barbarous Inhumanity, they are in the way ſurpriz’d and robbed. Infinitely is the King incens’d with this audacious act, which threw ſo foul a ſtain upon the whole Nation; which cauſeth a ſtrict inquiſition for the diſcovery of theſe Malefactors, Sir Gilbert de Middleton and Sir Walter de Selby executed for the ſame. which are ſoon known and taken. Middleton and Selby, both Knights, expiate the offence with their ſhameful Execution. The perſons of Embaſſadours amongſt the moſt ſavage Nations are free from rapine; but being cloathed in the habit of Religion and ſuch a Greatneſs, and going in a work ſo good and glorious, certainly it was an act deſerv’d ſo ſevere a puniſhment. Immediately at the heels of this, follows another Example leſs infamous, Sir Joſline Denvile with certain Ruffians infeſt the North. but far more full of danger. Sir Joſline Denvile, having waſted his eſtate, and not able to leſſen the height of his former expences, gets into his ſociety a Regiment of Ruffians, terming themſelves Out-laws: with theſe he infeſts the North with many outragious Riots; inſomuch that no man that had anything to looſe, could be ſecure in his own houſe from Murder, Theft and Rapine. A little time had brought this little Army, rowling like a Snow-ball, to the number of 200; all the diſeaſed flux of the corrupted humours of thoſe parts flye to this Impoſthume. An Attempt ſo impudent and daring flyes ſwiftly to the Kings knowledg. Report, that ſeldom leſſens, makes the danger far greater than it deſerv’d: The Royal ear conceits it little better than a flat Rebellion, whoſe apprehenſion felt it ſelf guilty of matter enough to work on. This made an inſtant levy, and as ready a diſpatch for the ſuppreſſion of the flame, while it but burnt the ſuburbs. Experience ſoon returns, the Fear is found greater than the Cauſe; the principal Heads and Props of this Commotion are ſurprized, and fall under the ſeverity of that Law, whoſe protection they in this enterprize had abſolutely diſclaimed.claimed. 44 M2v 44 claimed. Thoſe that more narrowly examin’d the depth of this Convention, believ’d it but a maſque for a deſigne more perillous. The intemperate and indiſcreet Government had alien’d the hearts of this People; there was a general face of Diſcontent over the whole Kingdome; the Ulcers feſter’d dayly more and more; the Scotiſh diſaſter is aſcribed to the Regal weakneſs, and all things ſeem’d to tend to quick confuſion. If this unadviſed and ill-grounded diſorder had taſted the general inclination in a more innocent and juſtifiable way, it was conſtantly believed the King had ſooner felt the publick Revolt of the whole Kingdom: But this work was reſerved till a farther time, and the operation of thoſe that had the opportunity of effecting it with more power, and a fairer pretence of Juſtice. It is a very dangerous thing when the Head is ill, and all the Members ſuffer by his infirmity. Kings are but men, and Man is prone to Errour; yet if they manage their diſtempers with Wiſdome or Diſcretion, ſo that they lye not open to publick view and cenſure, they may be counted faults, but not predictions: but when the heart is gangren’d, and the world perceives it, it is the fatal mark of that infection, which doth betoken ruine and The Cardinals return. deſtruction. The Cardinals are now come back, the hopes of Peace are deſperate; the Scots are on the Sunny- ſide of the hedge, and will have no Conditions but ſuch as may not be with Honour granted. Edward inflam’d, will have no farther Treaty; this makes them take their leave, and haſten homeward. Their Loſſes liberally are requited, and many goodly Gifts beſtow’d at parting. Being come to Rome, they inform his Holineſs of the ſucceſs of their journey; who takes ill the contumacy The Pope Excommunicates the Scotch King and Kingdom. of the perfidious Scots, and excommunicates both that King and Kingdom. But this thunderbolt wrought a ſmall effect; where Honeſty had ſo little an acquaintance, Religion muſt needs be a great ſtranger. The loſs of Barwick, and the diſgrace of his firſt Overthrow, calls 45 N1r 45 calls the King to adventure a Revenge, which he thinks he had too long adjourned. He makes it a diſputable queſtion, whether he ſhould beſiege Barwick, or invade Scotland; but the conſideration thereof is referr’d till the moving of the Army, which is advanc’d with all ſpeed poſſible. Men, Arms, and Money, with all ſuch other Proviſions as were as well fit to continue the War as begin it, are ſuddenly ready in full proportion. The Army attends nothing but the King’s Perſon, or ſome more lucky General to lead it. In the knowledg he looſeth no time, but appears in the Head of his Troops, and leads them on, making an armed hedge about KingEdw.Edward beſieges Barwick. Barwick, before his enemies had full knowledg of his moving. The Council of War thought it not expedient to leave ſuch a thorn in the heel of ſo glorious an Army. The Scots thought it too great a hazard to attempt the breach of ſo ſtrong a body, ſo excellently intrencht and guarded; the memory of former paſſages made them entertain this War with leſs heat, but with a more ſolid judgment. Barwick they knew was ſtrong by Art and Nature, and fully provided to hold the Engliſh play, till Want and the Seaſon of the Year did make them weary. This made them leave the road- way, and continue the War more by Diſcretion than Valour. But during theſe paſſages, the Divine Juſtice ſends down the other three fatal executioners of his A great Dearth, which laſted three years. wrath, Plague, Dearth, and Famine; no part is free, but hath his portion of one or all of theſe ſo cruel Siſters. To make this miſery more perfect, the wylie Scots taking the advantage of the King’s fruitleſs encamping The Scotch over-run the Borders. before Barwick, like a land-flood over-run the naked Borders, and boldly march forward into the Country, with Fury, Blood, and Rapine. The ſtuff that ſhould ſtop this breach, was abſent with the King, The ArchBiſhop of York oppoſeth them. ſo that they finde no rub in their eruption. The ArchBiſhop of York, a Reverend Old man, but a young Souldier; able enough in his element, but ignorant in the N Rules 46 N1v 46 Rules of Martial Diſcipline, reſolves to oppoſe this unruly devaſtation; he ſtraightways muſters up his Congregations, and gives them Arms, that knew ſcarce uſe of Iron. Soon had his example collected up a multitude, in number hopeful; but it was compoſed of men fitter to pray for the ſucceſs of a Battle, than to fight it. and is beaten at Milton upon Swale. With theſe, and an undaunted Spirit, he affronts his Enemies, and gives them an encounter, making Milton upon Swale more memorable by the blood of this Diſaſter. His Victorious and Triumphing Enemies chriſtned this unhappy Conflict in deriſion, The white Battle. Many Religious-men, with loſs of their Lives, purchas’d here their firſt Apprentiſhip in Arms, and found that there was a dangerous difference betwixt fighting and praying. The intent of this grave Biſhop was certainly noble and worthy; but the act was inconſiderate, weak, and ill-adviſed. It was not proper to his Profeſſion, to undertake a Military Function, in which his hope in reaſon anſwer’d his experience; neiſ ther did it agree with the Innocency and Piety of his Calling, to be an actor in the effuſion of Blood, though the quarrel were defenſive, but by compulſion. But queſtionleſs he meant well, which muſt excuſe his action. Too great a care improperly expreſt, doth often looſe the cauſe it ſtrives to advantage. In all deliberations of this nature, where ſo many Lives are at ſtake, there ſhould be a deep foreſight even in matter of circumſtance; and the quality as well of our own, as of our adverſaries, duely conſidered; elſe with a dangerous errour we leave the ſucceſs to the will of Fortune, who in nothing is more tickle and wanton, than in the event of Battles, which are ſeldom gain’d by multitude, the Mother of Confuſion. To be a General, is an act of greatneſs, and doth require a great and perfect Knowledge, ripe by Experience, and made full by Practice. It is not enough to dare to fight, which is but Valour; but to know how and when, which makes it perfect. Diſcretion 47 N2r 47 Diſcretion and Judgment ſometimes teach advantage, which make (the weight being light) the ſcale more even. I will not deny, but the moſt expert Leader may have all theſe, and yet may looſe a Battle; ſince (as all things are) this great deſigne is guided by a Divine Providence; and many Accidents may happen betwixt the Cup and the Lip, while things are in action. But he that hath a well-grounded and warrantable reaſon for his Engagement, may loſe the day, and yet preſerve his Honour. Wiſe-men do cenſure Errours, not Events of Actions, which ſhew them good or bad, as they be grounded. The News of the Defeat of this Spiritual The King leaves Barwick. Army, like the voice of a Night-raven, had no ſooner croakt his ſad eccho in the King’s ear, but he ſtraight raiſeth his Army, weaken’d with Famine, and leſſen’d with Sickneſs. The prigging Scots ſeeing his going off, judge his Retreat little better than a plain flight; which gave them heart to ſet upon the fag-end of his Troops, which they rout and break, to the aſtoniſhment of the whole Army. This done, they return, and think it honour enough they had done the work they came for. The King doubles his pace homewards; inſtead of Triumph, glad he had got looſe from ſo imminent a danger. This blank return fill’d the Kingdom with a fretting murmur, and forreign Nations thought their Valour chang’d, who had ſo oft before o’recome this Nation. Mated with grief, oppreſt with ſhame and ſorrow, Edward exclaims againſt his wayward Fortune, that made his Greatneſs, like the Crab, go backward; while he ſeeks to improve, the opinion of his worth he impairs, and grows ſtill leaner; and when he ſhuns a taint, he findes a miſchief. Sadly he now reſolves no more to tempt her; he lays aſide his Arms, for harms to feed his humour. His Vanities (companions of his Greatneſs) had ſlept out the night of theſe combuſtions; he now awakes them, with a new aſſurance they ſhould poſſeſs their former manſion. His wandring eyes now ravage through 48 N2v 48 through the confines of his great Court, made looſe by King ſeeks a new Favorite. his example. Here he ſeeks out ſome Piece, or Copper- metal, whom by his Royal ſtamp he might make currant. He findes a ſpacious choice, being well-attended, but ’twas by ſuch as made their tongues their fortunes; Vain-glory here found none to cure it, and the ſick heart ne’re felt the touch of Wormwood. The Agents were compos’d of the juſt temper, as was the ſpring that gave their tongues their motion; ſuch an harmonious Conſort fits the Organ, that lov’d no flats nor ſharps, or forc’d diviſion. No language pleas’d the King, (the Servants know it) but that which was as ſmooth as Gold new burniſht. Old antient truth was, like a thread-bare Garment, eſteem’d a foul diſgrace to cloath a Courtier. Sincerity was no fit Maſter for theſe Revels, nor honeſt Plainneſs for a ſeat in Council. This made this King, this Court, and glorious Kingdom, fall by degrees into a ſtrange confuſion. The Infidelity of Servants cloathed in hypocriſie, betrayes the Maſter, and makes his miſery greater or leſs dangerous, according to the qualities of their employments. It is an excellent conſideration for the Majeſty of a King, in election, to reflect on Goodneſs, Truth, and Ability, for his attendance, more than the natural parts, or thoſe that are by Art and Cunning made pliable to his Diſpoſition. The firſt prove the props of Greatneſs, the other the inſtruments of Danger and Diſorder; which makes the Maſter at beſt pitied, but moſt commonly hated and ſuſpected. Neither is it ſafe for the Royal ear to be principally open to one mans information, or to rely ſolely on his judgment. Multiplicity of able Servants that are indifferently (if not equally) countenanced, are the ſtrength and ſafety of a Crown, which gives it glory and luſtre. When one man alone acts all parts, it begets a world or errour, and endangers not only the Head, but all the members.
Edward could not but know, that a new Preſident over 49 O1r 49 over his Royal actions, muſt make his Subjects his but at a ſecond hand; yet he is reſolv’d of a new choice, of ſuch a Favourite as might ſupply and make good the room of his loſt beloved Gaveſton; hence ſprung that fatal fire which ſcorcht the Kingdom with inteſtine Ruine. He was put to no great trouble to ſeek a forreign Climate; he had variety of his own, that might be eaſily made capable enough for ſuch a looſe employment. He had a ſwarm of Sycophants that gap’d after greatneſs, and cared not to pawn their Souls to gain Spencer taken into favour. promotion; amongſt theſe his eye fixt on Spencer, a man till then believ’d a naked States-man; he was young, and had a pleaſing aſpect; a perſonage though not ſuper-excellent, yet well enough to make a formal Minion.
The Ladder by which he made his aſcent, was principally thus: he had been always conformable to the King’s Will, and never denied to ſerve his appetite in every his ways and occaſions; which was vertue enough to give him wealth and title. Some others think this feat was wrought by Witchcraft, and by the Spells of a grave Matron, that was ſuſpected to have a Journey- man Devil to be her Loadſtone: which is not altogether improbable, if we behold the progreſſion; for never was Servant more inſolently fortunate, nor Maſter unreaſonably indulgent. Their paſſages are as much beyond belief, as contrary to the Rules of Reaſon. But leaving the diſcourſe of the Cauſe, the King applauds his own Workmanſhip, and doats infinitely on the Non-age of this Impoſture, which ſeeing the advantage, labours to advance it; and though in his own nature he were proud, harſh, and tyrannous, yet he cloaths himſelf in the habit of Humility, as obſequious to his Maſter, as ſmooth and winning to his Acquaintance; knowing that a Rub might make the Bowl fall ſhort while it was running: Heat of Blood, and height of Spirit, conſult more with Paſſion than Judgment; O where 50 O1v 50 where all ſides are agreed, quick ends the bargain. Spencer muſt riſe, the King himſelf avows it; and who was there durſt croſs their Sovereigns pleaſure? The reſolution known, like flocks of Wild-geeſe, the ſpawn of Court-corruption fly to claw him. The great ones that till now ſcarce knew his Off-ſpring, think it an honour to become his Kinſmen: The Officers of State, to win his favour, forget their Oaths, and make his Will their Juſtice. Lord, how the Vermin creep to this warm Sun-ſhine, and count each Beam of his a ſpecial Favour! Such a thing is the Prologue of a beginning Greatneſs, that it can Metamorphoſe all but thoſe that hate it.
The King, though he were pleaſed with this new ſtructure, yet his inward revolutions were not altogether free from agitation. He beheld the Lords and Kingdom now quiet, and the Scotch Tragedy worn out of memory; he was not without cauſe doubtful, whether this new Act might not cauſe a new Diſtraction: He calls to minde the ground of his firſt troubles, and found it had with this a near reſemblance; He looks upon the ſullied State ſcarce cleanſed, and fear’d this leap might cauſe a new pollution. Theſe thoughts, like miſty vapours, ſoon diſſolved, and ſeem’d too dull to feed his Love-ſick fancy. His hatred to the Barons bids him freely venture; that in their moving he might ſo oppreſs them, which on cool blood might ſeem too great Injuſtice. Gaveſton’s Death lay in his heart impoſtum’d, not to be cur’d, but by a bloody iſſue. From this falſe ground he draws his proper ruine, making Phantaſms ſeem as deeds were acted. Such Caſtles in the Air are poor Conceptions, that fell the Skin before the Beaſt be killed. The Barons were no children, he well knew it; the hope was little might be got with ſtriving, where all the Kingdom was ſo much diſtaſted; but he priz’d high his own, contemning theirs, which wrought their Death, and after his Misfortune. Being reſolv’d to countenance his Will with more haſte than adviſement, He honours 51 O2r 51 honours the ſubject of his choice with the Lord Chamberlain’s place, profeſſing freely he thought him worthy, and would maintain him in it. This foreright jump going ſo high, made all men wonder, and ſoon ſuſpect him guilty of ſome ſecret vertue. Scarce had this new great Lord poſſeſſion of the White-ſtaff, but he forgets his former being, and ſings the right Night-crow’s tune of upſtart Greatneſs, and follows his Predeceſſors pattern to the life, but with a far more ſtrength and cunning. He was not born a ſtranger or an alien, but had his Birth and breeding here, where he is exalted; and though he had not ſo much depth to know the Secrets, yet underſtands the plain-Song of the State, and her progreſſions, which taught him his firſt Leſſon, That Infant-greatneſs falls where none ſupport it: From this principle, his firſt work is employ’d to win and to preſerve an able party. To work this ſure, he makes a Spencers policy. Monopoly of the Kings ear, no man may gain it but by his permiſſion; eſtabliſhing a ſure intelligence within the Royal Chamber; not truſting one, but having ſundry Agents, who muſt ſucceſſively attend all motions. By this he wedgeth in his Sentinels at ſuch a diſtance, that none can move, but he receives the Larum. The firſt requeſt he makes his Sovereign (who ne’re denied him) was, that he would not paſs a Grant, till he ſurvey’d it; for this he makes a zealous care the cover, leſt by ſuch Gift the Subject might be grieved, the King abuſed. This ſtratagem unmaskt, gave perfect knowledge, who ever leapt the Horſe he held the Bridle, which rein’d his foes up ſhort, while friends unhors’d them; and raiſed as he pleaſed all ſuch as brib’d or ſought him. To mix theſe ſerious ſtrains with lighter objects, he feeds the current of his Sovereign’s Vices with ſtore of full delights, to keep him buſied, whilſt he might act his part with more attention. He quarrels thoſe whom he ſuſpects too honeſt, or at the leaſt not his more than their Maſters, and quickly puts them off, that 52 O2v 52 that there may be entry for ſuch as he prefers, his proper creatures; ſo that a ſhort time makes the Court all of a piece at his Commandment. Thoſe whom he fear’d in State would croſs his workings, he ſeeks to win by favour or alliance; if they both fail, he tenders fairly to lift them higher by ſome new promotion, ſo he may have them ſure on all occaſions; and with theſe baits he catcht the hungry Planets. Such as he findes too faithful for ſurpriſal, theſe he ſequeſters, mounting his Kindred up to fill their places. The Queen, that had no great cauſe to like thoſe Syrens, that caus’d her grief, and did ſeduce her Husband, he yet preſumes to court with ſtrong profeſſions, vowing to ſerve her as a faithful Servant. She ſeeing into the quality of the time, where he was powerful, and ſhe in name a Wife, in truth a Hand-maid, doth not oppoſe, but more increaſe his Greatneſs, by letting all men know that ſhe receiv’d him. To win a nearer place in her opinion, he gains his Kindred places next her perſon; and thoſe that were her own, he bribes to back him. The Court thus faſhion’d, he levels at the Country, whence he muſt gain his ſtrength, if need enforc’d it. Here he muſt have an eſtate, and ſome ſure refuge; this he contrives, by begging the Cuſtody of divers of the principal Honours and Strength of the Kingdom. But theſe were no inheritance which might perpetuate his Memory, or continue his Succeſſion. He makes a Salve for this Sore; and to be able to be a fit Purchaſer of Lands, by the benefit of the Prerogative he falls a ſelling of Titles, in which it was believ’d he thriv’d well, though he ſold many more Lordſhips than he bought Mannors; by this means yet he got many pretty retiring places for a younger Brother, within the moſt fertil Counties of the Kingdom. This for the Private, now to the Publick; he makes ſure the principal Heads of Juſtice, that by them his credit might pleaſure an old Friend, or make a new at his pleaſure. If in this number any one held him at too 53 P1r 53 too ſmart a diſtance, prizing his integrity and honour before ſo baſe a traffique, he was an ill Member of State, and either ſilenced, or ſent to an Iriſh or Welſh Employment. It is enough to be believ’d faulty, where a diſputation is not admitted. The Hare knows her ears be not horns, yet dares not venture a Tryal, where things muſt not be ſentenc’d as they are, but as they are taken. The Commanders that ſway moſt in Popular Faction, as far as he durſt or might without combuſtion, he cauſeth to be conferr’d on his Friends and Kindred; and above all things, he ſettles a ſure Correſpondence of Intelligence in all the quarters of the Kingdome, as a neceſſary leading preſident: he fills the peoples ears with rumour of forreign danger, to buſie their brains from diſcourſing Domeſtick Errours; and ſends out a rabble of ſpying Mercuries, who are inſtructed to talk liberally, to taſte other mens inclinanations, and feel the pulſes of thoſe that had moſt cauſe to be diſcontented. For the antient Nobility, which was a more difficult work to reduce to conformity, laying aſide the punctilio’s of his greatneſs, he ſtrives to gain them as he won his Maſter; but when he found them ſhy and nice to make his party, he ſlights them more and more, to ſhew his Power, and make them ſeek to entertain his favour. And to eclipſe their Power by birth and number, he findes the means to make a new Creation, which gave the Rabble-Gentry upſtart Honours, as Children do give Nuts away by handfuls; yet ſtill he hath ſome feeling of the buſineſs. Laſtly, he wins the King to call his Father to the Court, who with the ſhoal of all his Kin are ſoon exalted, while he makes all things lawful that correſpond his Will, or Maſters Humour. He thus aſſuming the adminiſtration of the Royal affairs, his Maſter giving way The Barons incenſed. to all his actions, the incenſed Lords grown out of patience, appoint the rendevouz of a ſecret Meeting at Sharborough, where they might deſcant their griefs with P more 54 P1v 54 more freedom, yet with ſuch a cautelous Secrecy, that this Harpy with his Lyncean eyes could not perceive their anger. Aſſoon as they were met, Thomas of Lancaſter, the moſt eminent of this Confederacy, in a grave diſcourſe lays before them the Iniquity of the time, the Inſolency of this new Ganymede, and the Kings intemperate wretchleſneſs, which made the Kingdom a prey to all manner of Injuſtice. Hereford adviſeth, that they ſhould all together petition the King, that he would be pleaſed to look into the Diſorders, and grant a Reformation. Mowbray, Mortimer, and the reſt, ſoar a higher pitch, which Clifford thus expreſſeth.
Clifford’s Speech. My Lords, It is not now as when brave Lincoln lived, whom Edward fear’d, and all the Kingdom honoured. Nor is this new Lord a Gaveſton, or naked Stranger, that only talkt, and durſt not act his Paſſions. We now muſt have to do with one of our own Country, which knows our ways, and how to intercept them: See you not how he weaves his webs in Court and Country, leaving no means untryed may fence his greatneſs? And can you think a verbal Blaſt will ſhake him, or a ſet Speech will ſink his daring Spirit? No, he is no fantaſtick Frenchman, but knows as well as we where we can hurt him: his Pride is ſuch, he’ll ne’re go leſs a farding; but he muſt fall a key, or we muſt ruine. Women and Children make their tongues their Weapons; true Valour needs no words, our wrongs no wrangling. Say this unconſtant King hear our Petition, admit he promiſe to redreſs our Grievance; this ſends us home ſecure and well-contented, until the Plot be ripe for our deſtruction. If you will needs diſcourſe your cauſe of Grievance, be yet provided to make good your errour; a wiſe man gets his guard, then treats Conditions, which works a Peace with eaſe and more aſſurance. All Treaties vain, our Swords muſt be our warrant, which we may draw by ſuch a juſt compulſion: thoſe ready, then attempt your pleaſure, and ſee if words can work a Reformation. I 55 P2r 55 I am no tongue-man, nor can move with language; but if we come to act, I’ll not be idle: Then let us fall to Arms without diſputing; We’ll make this Minion ſtoop, or dye with honour.
The Barons take Arms. This rough Speech, uttered with a Souldier-like liberty, by one ſo truly noble and valiant, inflam’d the hearts of ſuch as heard them. They concur all in a general approbation, and thereupon they fall to preſent Levies. Mortimer, a brave young active Spirit, with his Retinue, gains the maiden-head of this great Action. He enters Mortimer ſpoils Spencer ’s Poſſeſſion. furiouſly upon the poſſeſſion of the Spencers, ſpoiling and waſting like a profeſt enemy. This outrage flies ſwiftly to the owners, and appears before them like Scoggins crow, multipli’d in carriage. They aſſoon make the King the ſharer of their intelligence, and increaſe it to their beſt advantage. Edward ſenſible of ſo audacious an affront, thought it did yet rather proceed from private ſpleen than publick practice; which made him in the The Kings Proclamatition thereon. tenderneſs of the one, and malice to the other, by Proclamation thus make known his pleaſure, That the Actors of this miſdemeanour ſhould immediately appear perſonally, and ſhew cauſe, whereby they might juſtifie their Actions, or forthwith to depart the Kingdom, and not to return without his ſpecial Licenſe. When the tenour of this Sentence was divulged, and come to the knowledge of the Confederate Lords, they ſaw their intereſt was too deeply at ſtake to be long ſhadow’d. In the obedience of ſuch a doom, the primitiæ of their Plot muſt receive a deſperate blemiſh. They therefore reſolve, as they had begun, ſo to make good and maintain the quarrel; they reinforce their Forces, and draw them into a body ſtrong enough to boulſter out their doings, and to bid a baſe to the irreſolute wanton King and his inglorious Favourite, whoſe Platforms were not yet ſo compleat, as that they durſt adventure the Tryal of ſo ſtrong a Battery. Yet the more to juſtifie their Arms (which 56 P2v 56 (which in the beſt conſtruction ſeem’d to ſmatch of Rebellion) they ſend unto the King a fair and humble Meſſage, the Tenor whereof lets him know, that The Barons Meſſage to the King. Their intentions were fair and honeſt; and that the Arms thus levied, were to defend his Honour, and not offend his Perſon. The Sufferings of the Kingdom were ſo deep and weighty, that all was like to run to preſent ruine, unleſs he would be pleas’d to cure this Feaver. In all humility they deſire he would ſequeſter from his preſence, and their uſurpt authority, thoſe Inſtruments which acted this diſorder, and that their doings might receive a teſt by a fair Tryal. To this if he give way, they would attend him with all the expreſſions of a Loyal Duty; but if his heart were hardned for denial, they then intreat his pardon that would not be Spectators of the general miſchief which drew too ſwiftly on by this Diſtemper. The King receiving ſo peremptory a Meſſage, thinks this fair gloſs a kind of By-your-leave in ſpight of your teeth. He ſaw readily how the Game went, and was loath to ſtrike the Hive, for fear the Swarm ſhould ſting him. Dearly he doted on his Minion, yet conceiv’d it fitter he ſhould a little ſuffer, than they both ſhould ruine, which probably might ſoon enſue if they prevailed. He had no power provided to withſtand them, nor was he ſure that time would make it ſtronger; the Lords were well belov’d, their quarrel pleaſing, while he had nothing but the name of King, might hope aſſiſtance. Now he condemns bitterly his improvidence, that had not ſecur’d his work before he acts it. Spencer, that ſaw himſelf thus quite foreſtalled, and his great foreſight in a manner uſeleſs, ſince thoſe whom he had made were but a handful, and thoſe of the poorer ſort of weaker ſpirits, that ſtow themſelves in tempeſts under Hatches, knew ’twas too late to think of oppoſition; and therefore perſwades his irreſolute Maſter to ſubſcribe to the preſent neceſſity: yet ſo, that theſe angry Hornets might not be their own Carvers. He knew, or at leaſt believ’d, his faults were not 57 Q1r 57 not yet Capital, yet could not tell what conſtruction might be given, if thoſe which were his enemies were admitted to be his ſole Judges; and therefore made rather choice to be at the mercy of a Parliament, than at their diſpoſing. He was not without hope to be able to make an able party in this Aſſembly, where at worſt he knew he ſhould be ſentenc’d, rather by ſpleen than fury. This reſolution by the King approved, an anſwer The Kings Anſwer. is return’d to the Lords: That his Majeſty having examin’d the contents of their Petition, found therein a fair pretext of Juſtice and reaſon; and that if their allegations were ſuch as were by them pretended, himſelf would with as much willingneſs as they could deſire, joyn in the act of Reformation. But for as much as private Paſſion maskt it ſelf ſometimes under the vail of publike grievance, and particular ends had the pretext of general Reformation, he thought it expedient to make this rather a Parliamentary work than the act of his Prerogative, or their inforcement; which was more ſfor their proper Honours, and the good of the whole Kingdom: which reſolution if they thought fit to entertain, he wiſht them to lay down their Arms, which were the marks rather of an intended violence, than a real deſire of Juſtice; that done, in the knowledg of their approbation, he would ſpeedily cauſe his Summons to be ſent out for the calling together of this great Aſſembly. The reception of this anſwer was not diſpleaſing to the Barons, who deſir’d thoſe might be the Judges that had equally ſmarted with the ſtripes of this affliction; yet they conceiv’d it not wiſdom to disband their Forces on a bare ſuppoſition; which could not be yet continued, without too much charge, and too great jealouſie. To reconcile this, they divide themſelves, every one retaining to himſelf a guard ſufficient to aſſure his Perſon; and ſo diſpoſe the reſt, that they might be ready on the leaſt Item. Things ſtanding thus, the Writs and Proclamations for Election are ſent out, in which there was as much time won as might be taken without ſuſpition. Now is there ſtiff Q labouring 58 Q1v 58 labouring on all ſides (though not viſibly, yet with underhand working) to cauſe a major part in this Election; which the Lords wiſely foreſeeing (as the main ſpring that muſt keep all the wheels in their right motion) had beforehand ſo provided for, that the engines of the adverſe Party ſerv’d rather to fright, than make a breach in the rule and truth of this Election. The ſubjects ſenſible of the diſorders of the Kingdom, and ſeeing into the advantage which promis’d a liberty of Reformation, make choice of ſuch as for their wiſdome and integrity deſerv’d it; rejecting ſuch as ſought it by corruption, or might be in reaſon ſuſpected. This made the undertakers fall ſhort and wide of the Bow-hand.
The Barons appear with a ſtrong Guard. The day of appearance being come, the jealous Lords would not rely ſo much on the King’s good Nature, but that they come up like themſelves, bravely attended with ſeveral Crews of luſty Yeomen, that knew no other way to win their Landlords favour, but with Fidelity and Valour. Theſe, for diſtinction, and that they might be known all Birds of a feather, are ſuited in Caſſocks with a white guard athwart; which gave this the name of the Parliament of white Bends. Spencer ſeeing the Retinue of his Adverſaries, makes himſelf a Rampire of all his Servants, Friends and Kindred. The jealous Citizens, that ſometime look beyond their Shop-board, ſeeing ſuch a confluence from all parts of the Kingdom, and ſo ill-inclin’d, had a kinde of ſhivering phantaſie, left while theſe ſtrong Workmen fell a hammering, the Corporation might become the Anvil. The Mayor, to prevent the worſt, doubleth the Guards, and plants a ſtrong Watch to keep the Gates and Suburbs. Now according to the uſual Cuſtome, the Speaker is preſented, and the King himſelf doth thus diſcourſe his pleaſure, which they attend e’re they begun this Seſſion.The King’s Speech to the Parliament.
My Lords, and you the Commons of the Nether-Houſe! I 59 Q2r 59 I have at this time call’d you hither, to crave your aid, advice, and beſt aſſiſtance. I am inform’d my Subjects are abus’d, and that the Kingdoms welfare dayly ſuffers; ſuch actions I maintain not, nor will ſuffer. Sift out the depth of this, and finde the Authors; which found, I’ll puniſh as your ſelves think fitting. A Kingdomes weight depreſſeth ſo his Owner, that many faults may ſcape his eye unqueſtion’d; your Body is the Perſpicil that ſhews him what errours be, and how he may prevent them; which leads both King and Subject to a ſettled quiet. Be not too curious in your inquiſition, which waſtes but time, and feeds diſeaſed Paſſion; nor may you make thoſe faults that are not, which ſavours more of Envy than of Juſtice. Actions of State you may not touch but nicely, they walk not in the Road of vulgar Knowledge; theſe are high Myſteries of private workings, which fore-right eyes can never ſee exactly: You cannot blindfold judge their form or ſubſtance. As all times are believ’d, theſe may be guilty; yet let your Judgments make them ſo, not private Fancy, which is the Nurſe that ſuckles up confuſion. So grave a Senate ſhould not be the meeting where men do hunt for News to feed their malice. Nor may you trench too near your Soveraigns actions, if they be ſuch as not concern the Publick: You would not be reſtrain’d that proper freedom, which all men challenge in their private dwellings: My Servants are mine own, I’ll ſift their errours, and in your juſt complaint correct their Vices. Seek not to bar me of a free election, ſince that alone doth fully ſpeak my Power: I may in that endure no touch or cavil, which makes a King ſeem leſſer than a Subject. I know thoſe I affect are more obſerved, and Envy waits their actions, if not Hatred; ’twere yet Injuſtice they for this ſhould ſuffer, or for my Love, not their own Errours, periſh. What one among you would not be exalted, or be to me as he whom now you aim at? Reaſon and Nature tye me to their limits, elſe might you ſhare it in a like proportion.
Ambition, that betrays poor Mans Affections, ſtares alwaysways 60 Q2v 60 ways upwards, ſees nothing beneath it, till ſtriving to o’rethrow ſome lofty Steeple, it ſtumbling falls in ſome foul Saw-pit. Perhaps the Court is guilty of ſome Errours, the Countrey is not free from worſe Oppreſſions; yet theſe are wav’d, as acts unfit your knowledge, which rob and tear the poor diſtreſſed Commons, who muſt be ſtill poſſeſt; my greater Agents are the contrivers of this publick miſchief, while you by theſe make good your proper greatneſs. This ſhould not be, if you conceit it rightly; ’tis far from Juſtice and a due Proportion, one man ſhould fall, and thouſands ſtay unpuniſht, that are more guilty far of foul tranſgreſſion. If you would ſift, and with unpartial dealing ſweep from the Kingdom ſuch unjuſt Oppreſſors, it were a work of goodneſs worth your labour, would leave to after-times a brave Example. But theſe Aſſemblies think thoſe acts improper, which may reflect upon the proper freehold of thoſe that are moſt nice, and apt to cenſure. I now deſire (it is your Soveraign ſpeaks it) you will reform this kinde of ſtrange proceeding; prejudicate not any till you finde him faulty, nor ſhoot your darts at one, where more are guilty. In ſuch a number diverſly affected, there are, I fear, too many thus affected, that this advantage fits their private rancour, making the Publick Good the ſtale and ſubject, which aims unvail’d at nought but Innovation. Theſe buſie-brains, unfit to be Law-makers, let graver Heads reſtrain by their diſcretions; elſe I muſt make them know and feel my Power. I will ſupport and ſtill aſſiſt your Juſtice, but may not ſuffer ſuch a fond diſtemper. Your Priviledge gives warrant, ſpeak in freedome; yet let your words be ſuch as may become you; if they flye out to taint my Peace or Honour, this Sanctuary may not ſerve to give Protection; if ſo, ſome diſcontent, or ill-affected Spirit may challenge Power to vent a Covert Treaſon. But your own Wiſdomes, I preſume, will guide you to make this ſuch, that I may often call you. What more is fit, or doth remain untouch’d, you ſtill ſhall underſtand in your progreſſion, wherein 61 R1r 61 wherein let Vertue lead, and Wiſdome rule your temper.
The king having ended, the ſeveral Members of this goodly Body draw together; where notwithſtanding this grave admonition full of implicite direction, they fall roundly to their buſineſs. For forms-ſake, they a while diſcourſe the petty Miſdemeanors of the Kingdom, to make a fairer introduction into the main end of their Aſſembly. A few Balls being toſt and bandied to and fro, they begin to crack the Nut where the Worm lay that eat the Kernel. No ſooner was the Vote of the Houſe diſcover’d, but informations fly in like Points, by dozens; no buſineſs is diſcours’d which toucht the diſhonour of the King, the grief of the Kingdom, or the oppreſſion of the Subject, but ſtraight flies upward, and makes a noiſe that all had one beginning. The general thus far queſtioned, the particulars come to a reckoning, The Commons Charge againſt Spencer. wherein Spencer is pointblanck charg’d with Inſolency, Injuſtice, Corruption, Oppreſſion, neglect of the publick and immoderate advancement of his own particular. Those few faint friends he had gotten into this number, more to expreſs their own abilities, than with a hope of prevailing, hearing theſe thundering aſperſions, riſe up to juſtifie, or if that fall ſhort, to extenuate the faults of their glorious Patron; but their Oratory prov’d, juſt like the Cauſe they ſtrive to defend, full of apparent falſhood. Thoſe nimbler ſpirits that haunt the Ghoſts of corrupted greatneſs, ſeek not to Undermine this great Building, whoſe ſtructure had ſo haſty and rotten a Foundation, but prove in reaſon, juſtice, and neceſſity, that it ought to be Demoliſhed, ſince it was the Spring that polluted all the leſſer Fountains. The places of Judicature being ſtill marted, the Purchaſer must ſell his Judgements; which was a commerce fit for thoſe that had the worſt, and were moſt diffident. The Simoniacal trading for Spiritual promotions, as it diſhonoured the dignity, ſo it muſt R exalt 62 R1v 62 exalt ſuch as knew better how to ſhare their Flocks than feed them. Bartring of Honour for private lucre, would ruine the glory of antiquity in blood, and in another age, as prodigal as this, make Lords as common as Drovers. Poſſeſſion of ſo many great offices, as it was an injury to thoſe of more deſerving, ſo might it in time become a Monopoly for every new-made Upſtart. Setling the ſtrengths and Military Proviſion in the command of One ſo much inſufficient, muſt open the way to foraign loſs, or domeſtick miſchief. Planting of the principal Officers of the Common-wealth by one mans corrupt diſtribution, muſt bring all to his guidance, and the Kingdom to confuſion. Admiſſion of the Royal ear to one Tongue only, ties all the reſt, and reſembles the Councel-chamber to a School where Boys repeat their Leſſons. Theſe paſſages diſcours’d and Aphoriſm’d at large in the Houſe; at the private Committee, divers fouler ſuſpitions and aggravations are treated with a greater freedom; which being again with their ſeveral proofs reported before the whole Body, by the general doom he is pronounced guilty. This daring favourite ſeeing the violence of the Tide, begins to fear it; and letting his Anchor fall, hulls out the full Sea in the Royal Harbour; he ſtrikes his top-ſail, yet contemns the Winds that cauſe the Tempeſt, and quarrels with their Power muſt be his Judges. This takes away all hope of reconcilement, and more inflam’d their hearts that did purſue him. They know he now muſt fall, or they muſt ruine. Lions may not be toucht, till they be ſure, leſt breaking looſe, they tear thoſe Gins that catch them. This conſideration begets a ſolemn Meſſenger, well attended with divers Seconds, to make a full relation both of their Verdict and whole Proceedings.
The Spencers baniſhed. The Lords being prepoſſeſt by their own knowledg, of all the actions of this falſe Impoſter, after a Conference and grave diſcuſſion, pronounce their Sentence, That the Spencers, Father and Son, ſhould both be forthwith ſent to live in Exile. This done, a grave Declaration is made 63 R2r 63 made by both Houſes, and preſented to the King, expreſſing the Tenour of their doom, and reaſons moved them to it. The King, as weak in his diſtractions, as wilful in advantage, ſees now there was no ſtriving, unleſs he would adventure his own hazard by ſuch denial. No time is now left for diſpute; he ratifies the Sentence, and preſent execution ſwiftly follows Judgment. Immediately are theſe two great Courtiers carryed with more attendants than they car’d for, unto the Port of Dover, and ſtraightways ſhipt, to ſeek ſome other Fortune. The Son is no whit dejected, but bears up bravely: He knew his Maſter’s Love, and ſcorn’d their Malice. Parting, he takes a ſilent farewell full of rancour, which vows revenge, and hopes to live to act it. The aged Father, whoſe Guilt was leſs, and ſorrow greater, deſerv’d in Juſtice Pity and Compaſſion; his ſnowie Winter melts in tears, and ſhews his inward grievance; bitterly he taxeth his Sons Pride, and his own Vanity, exclaiming againſt the rigour of his fortune, that had in the laſt act of his age caſt him ſo cruelly from his Inheritance, and at the very brink of the grave eſtrang’d him from his Birth-right. He confeſſeth the improvidence of his errour, which being rais’d by by-ways, ſought to keep it. Laſtly, he wiſheth his behaviour had been ſuch, that in this change might give him help or pity; but it is the inſeparable companion of Greatneſs fraudulently gotten, not by Deſert or Vertue, it prefers falſhood, and a kinde of ſhifting juggling, before a winning truth of goodneſs, which draws with it a firm aſſurance. Of all others, it is the moſt erroneous fond opinion, which conceits Affections may be won and continued in a ſubordinate way. They are the proper Operations of the Soul, which move alone in their own courſe, without a forc’d compulſion. Other ways may ſerve as temporary proviſions, but he that by a juſt deſert, and credit of his own worth, hath won the Love of good men, hath laid himſelf a ſure foundation:tion: 64 R2v 64 tion: This makes his Honour his own, and the Succeſſion permanent to his continuing praiſe and glory. Theſe imperious Servants thus removed, the elder, in obedience of his Doom, makes a forreign Climate witneſs The Son turns Pirate. his Submiſſion. The younger, of a more impatient and turbulent ſpirit, makes the ſpacious Sea the centre of his dwelling. He would not truſt to any other Nation, ſince his own Climate ſo unkindly left him. The King, yet ſcarcely weaned from his ſorrow, makes yet fair weather to the parting Barons; He thanks them for their care and great diſcretion, which he would ſtill acknowledge and remember. Thus Kings can play their parts, and hide their Secrets, making the Tongue the inſtrument of ſweetneſs, when that the Heart is full of bitter Gall and Wormwood. They knew he juggled, yet applaud his Goodneſs, and give him back an Anſwer juſtly ſuiting; their Tongues ſeem’d twins, their Hearts had both one temper, which at the length occaſioned all their ruine. And thus with the Enacting of ſome few ragged Laws, He diſſolves this Meeting. Now is the Loſt Chamberlain furrowing up the watery ſides of angry Neptune, wafting about the skirts of his firſt dwelling: falling ſhort in the poſſibility of revenge of thoſe he hated, he vows to make the harmleſs Merchant feel it. What by ſurprize, and what by purchaſe, he had made himſelf ſtrong at Sea, and well provided; with which he ſcowres the Coaſt, and robs all comers, making a prize of all he rifled. Sometimes he ſlips into the private Harbours, and thence brings out the Ships were newly laden: ſuch work to thoſe that trade by Sea, breeds ſtrange amazement. A Piracy ſo ſtrong and daring, ſoon makes the terrour great, the clamour greater: the Councel-table’s covered with Petitions, the Royal ear is cloy’d with exclamations; all ſtill enforce that Trade muſt ſink and founder, unleſs the King the ſooner did prevent it. Edward well knew their griefs, and did believe them; but ſaw withal it was his Spencer cauſed 65 S1r 65 cauſed them, whom he too well affected to purſue with danger. He thinks it reaſon to eaſe his grievance ere he right the Subject; let them expect and bite upon the bridle, that they may taſte the errour of their Judgment. Neceſſity in time would make them ſeek their quiet, the means whereof he thinks not fit to motion; yet ſtill he thunders out his ſhew of anger, and gives directions that ſhipping ſhould be rigg’d and mann’d, well-furniſh’d to bang this Pyrate off from his oppreſſion, whom he would take, or loſe the Royal Navy; yet under-hand he countermands theſe Precepts, pretending preſent want for ſuch proviſion as might make good at full this Expedition; which ſhould be done ſecurely, though delay’d. While thus the rage grows out of this diſorder, all Plaints prove fruitleſs, there was no The Merchants petition the King againſt him. proviſion. The flock of Merchants all appear before him, letting him know the ſtate they ſtood in; Their Stocks, his Cuſtome muſt impair and miniſh, unleſs ſome preſent courſe repreſs this Pyrate. The King gave Anſwer, The Kings Anſwer. He laments and pitied their Loſs, his Wants, and private Dangers, which in the inſtant was of ſuch a nature, that he had cauſe to fear his proper ſafety. The Malecontents, that fiſh in troubled waters, were plotting new Combuſtions to act their malice; he underſtood their workings ſtrong and cunning, which he was forc’d to ſtop with haſte, or looſe the Garland. This was the cauſe he could not yet go onward to help their griefs, which ſhortly he intended; till which, he wiſht their grave Deliberations could fall upon ſome way might ſtop the current, and take off Spencer from ſo curſt proceeding, which he believ’d he acted by enforcement, rather than Will to wrong his fellowSubjects. The Citizens, as naturally talkative as ſuſpicious, parting from the King forget their Loſſes, and fall to a liberal diſcourſing upon the King’s words, what the Plot of this great Treaſon might be. They were not without a kinde of jealous ſuſpicion, leſt the City might ſhare in the ſufferance, if it came to be acted. S A 66 S1v 66 A little time brought this news to be the common diſcourſe of every Barbers ſhop and Conduit. To make the ſuſpition more authentical, the King makes a ſtrong Guard about his Perſon, ſending forth directions to his friends and all his well-affected ſubjects, that they ſhould enable themſelves with the beſt ſtrength they could, and to be ready on occaſion upon an hours warning. To The King writes to the Lords. lull the watchful Lords aſleep, he addreſſes unto them his particular Letters, full of humanity and gentleneſs, deſiring as he moſt repoſed on their loves and fidelity, ſo that they would (if the neceſſity required) be ready to aſſiſt him againſt a crew of diſordered perſons, who were ſecretly contriving both the ruine of Himſelf, the antient Nobility, and the Kingdom; their Plot was not yet ripe, and he conceiv’d it in the reaſon of State, fit to have the Birds fluſh before he caught them. The Lords, that in the firſt rumour ſuſpected it had ſome reflection on their particular, or a meer noiſe without ground or ſubſtance; on the receipt of this Letter alter their opinion, and believe there was ſome real cauſe of this ſuſpition. They knew the King was wretchleſs, dull, and ſleepy, and did not uſe to wake but when it thunder’d; they think him ſhort in depth of ſo much judgment, as with a Jigg of State might catch them naked. His Letter ſeem’d a character of truth, but not of cunning; this kept them free from bdoubt, but not from danger.The Barons Anſwer.
They ſend back an anſwer graciouſly received; themſelves, their ſtrengths and ſtates ſhould wait his Pleaſure. Theſe paſſages thus ſpent, the Citizens, that like no laws but thoſe of profit, do lay their heads together, to finde out a way how to diſpoſe things, ſo that they might trade with ſafety. A cunning Enginier (one of the Kings own making) avows there was no means but one to make things ſure, which was, to move the King to call the Spencers home, and reconcile them. The ſequel was not fearful, ſince this Tryal would make them know themſelves, and be more quiet; if not, they yet might be 67 S2r 67 be in diſtance where they might be ſurpriz’d if they offended. This Propoſition findes conſent and liking in the grave Brain of the deep Corporation: in ſtead of puniſhment ſo well deſerved, the Thief muſt be preferred, to free the paſſage; yet to excuſe their errour, they ſaw the King had an itching inclination that way, and were not without a hope that Spencer being by their means recalled, would, of a profeſt enemy, become a The Londoners Petition for Spencers return. ſure friend to the City. This gave them heart to draw up their Petition, and immediately to preſent it to the King; who having that he lookt for, in outward ſhew ſeem’d nothing well contented. He bids them examine well the nature of their Petition, which run in a direct line in oppoſition againſt a Parliamental ſentence, and would incenſe the reconciled Barons, againſt whoſe ſtrength he could not well oppoſe, but it muſt hazard him and all the Kingdom. Yet if their wiſdomes did think fit, in their aſſur’d aſſiſtance he would venture, ſince he prefer’d their good before his private. Though Spencer had tranſgreſt his will and pleaſure, yet their intreaty ſhould diſpenſe his errour, in hope he would become a new-made Subject. They cry God bleſs your Grace; revoke your Judgment, you ſhall command our lives to back your goodneſs. Edward thus far on his way, cauſeth a Declaration to be made, containing the requeſt of his faithful ſubjects, and beloved Royal Chamber of London, at whoſe importunate intreaty he thought fit, out of his grace, and tenderneſs of the general good, to recal the Spencers, who had given ſufficient caution for their future good abearing. The Spencers return. This known, ſoon brings them back to grace and favour: their petty thefts at Sea muſt have a ſure way to trade in; they muſt return to ſhave and rob the Kingdom, ’twas thought more fit, than they ſhould rob the Merchants. ’Tis ſtrange to ſee what ſhift this poor King made to work his own undoing. But when Religion’s loſt, and Virtue baniſht, and men begin to trade with ſlights and falſhood, the end proves fatal, and doth lead them blind- 68 S2v 68 blindfold into the ways that work their own deſtruſction. The actions of a Crown are exemplar, and muſt be perfect, clean, upright, and honeſt; their errours die not with them, but are regiſter’d in the ſtory of their Lives with Infamy or Honour: which conſideration may in juſtice beget a ſincerity and cautelous reſpect from acting under the pretence of policy, thoſe ſtratagems which ſeem, but are not fruit of Royal goodneſs. A like care muſt be had in the limitation of affections, ſo that they enforce him not to thoſe ways, which at one blow take from him his Judgment and his Honour. The power Majeſtick is or ſhould be bounded; and there is a reciprocal correſpondence, which gives the King the obedience, the ſubject equal right and perfect juſtice, by which they claim a property in his actions; if either of theſe fall ſhort, or prove defective by wilful errour, or by ſecret practice, the State’s in danger of a following miſchief. The Spencers thus return’d, are reinveſted into their former high and wonted greatneſs: the burnt Child fears the Fire; they know their danger, and not attend the Storm until they feel it. Their Maſters Plot they ſecond, and cloſely gain a ſtrength for preſent Action: That done, they appear with confidence, and by main ſtrength ſeek to cruſh thoſe of the adverſe Sir Barthol.Bartholomew Baldſmere’s Caſtle ſeiſed. faction. Sir Bartholomew Baldſmere is the firſt that taſts the Prologue; they ſeize upon his Caſtle of Leedes without or Law or Title; he ſues to have his own, but is rejected. Their peremptory return, and the abrogation of that Law that ſent them packing, was provocation enough; there needed not a ſecond motive to enflame the angry Barons: but when they underſtood the unjuſt oppreſſion of their confederate, and the daily levies that were underhand made, they then conceive it time to look about them. They finde the fruit of dalliance, and viſibly ſee into the Kings Plot, which had abus’d them; condemning their credulity and coldneſs, that had not ſpoil’d the brood while it was hatching. The King, who 69 T1r 69 who had ſo oft been catcht, was now more wary; and reſolving to be aforehand with his buſineſs, prepares his Forces. He knew his Arms, not Tongue, muſt plead his Quarrel; another errour in his Guard, he ſuſpects, would make him liable to a more curſt proceeding. His Favourite, that had his Spies in every corner, is ſoon inform’d the Potion was a brewing would give him Phyſick, if he did not prevent it: the gathering Clouds portend a ſudden Darkneſs, which threaten ſhowers of Bloud and Civil Miſchief. He thinks his Guilt above the Rate of Favour, and vows to wade in Bloud, or die, or vanquiſh. To ſuffer ſtill, and not to act, he counts it weakneſs; The King takes Arms. which makes him ſtrive to be the firſt Invader. He wins the King to march with thoſe ſtrong Forces their foreſight had prepar’d, being ſoon united. The firſt Seizes the two Mortimers. Exploit ſeizeth the two Mortimers, that with an unadviſed ſecurity had plaid over their old Game anew on his Poſſeſſions. Their Strength was great enough for an Incurſion, but far too weak to cope with ſuch an Army. Their Reſolution was to give the Larum, and then retreat to knit with their Confederates; but they were intercepted ere they fear’d it, and made the Tower the Prize of their Adventure.
Thus ſometimes it falls out, who acts Injuſtice, is catcht in the ſame Net himſelf was weaving. The Lords with this Report are ſtrangely ſtartl’d; they ſee themſelves foreſtall’d in their own Working; Arms now they know muſt be their Warrant, or elſe their Lives muſt pay a bitter Forfeit. Their Forces were not yet The Barons riſe. fully ready, yet they march on, reſolv’d to wait the Kings approach at Burton. Time, that runs ſwift to Miſchief, ſlow to Goodneſs, at length conjoyns their Strength and ſeveral Levies; which were not great, and yet believ’d ſufficient to give a Canvas to the Royal Army; which, as their Curriers told them, was not mighty. Soon are they brought to view each others Countenance; where Friend againſt Friend, and Son againſt the Father, BrotherT ther 70 T1v 70 ther againſt the Brother, ſtood embattl’d: ſuch miſchief follows ſtill a Civil Diſcord. The Kings Force far exceeds in ſtrength and number, which made the Terms of hazard far unequal. The adverſe part perceiving well the danger which they were in, if they abide the Tryal, condemn their own belief, and Servants falſhood, who had ſo far fallen ſhort in their diſcovery. But now a ſecond Deliberation is entertain’d, which adviſeth them to decline the Battle, and to make a Retreat, till they were re-enforced. This Reſolution taken from the preſent ſuſpition, was not more diſhonourable than dangerous: it gave confidence to their Enemies, and dejected their own Party, willing rather to try their hands than their heels, where the peril ſeem’d indifferent: But the Reaſons given in excuſe were grave and weighty. The Earl of Lancaſter had ſent Sir Thomas Holland to raiſe his Northern Friends and Tenants; who was marching up ſtrongly and well provided; ſo that if they could have adjourned the Battle off to his arrival, it would have made the Terms more hopeful, if not equal. It is in the Rule of War eſteem’d a weakneſs to affront an Enemy for a ſet Battle, with too great diſproportion in number; but to recoyl without a marvelous, diſcreet, and orderly proceeding, is no more than laying the diſheartned Troops to a preſent ſlaughter; the Experiment whereof was here apparent. The Lords riſe, but ill, and in diſorder, more like a Flight than a diſcreet Retiring. Valence Earl of Pembrooke, that did command in chief under the King, ſees this Confuſion, and ſtraight lays hold of ſuch a fair advantage. He chargeth hotly on the Reer, which ſtraight was routed; the Barons make a head, but are forſaken; which makes them flie to ſeek their proper ſafeguard: With much ado they get The Barons beaten, fly to Pontfrect. to Pontefret, whither the broken Troops at length repair for ſuccour. Holland intruſted, performs the work he went for, and marcht with ſpeed, hoping to give a Reſcue; but when he ſaw that their Affairs were deſperate,rate, 71 T2r 71 rate, he thinks it his beſt play to change his Maſter, and leads his Troops to get the Kings Protection. As it deſerv’d, it gains a gracious welcome. Thus all things tend to their Confuſion; one miſchief ſeldom comes, but many thunder. The deſpairing Barons finding themſelves hotly purſu’d, repair to Council, where many ways are mov’d, and none embraced, ſave that ſame fatal one which wrought their Ruine. They leap, like Fiſhes, from the Pan that ſcorcht them, into the raging Flames that ſoon conſum’d them. The Caſtle of Donſtauborough was believed a ſtrength tenable, until their Friends do raiſe a ſecond Army, or they at worſt might treat ſome fair Conditions: they march to gain this hold, but are prevented. Sir Andrew Harcklaye meets them at Borough-briggs, and guards the Paſſage; Hereford and Clifford ſeek to force it, and like inraged Lions here act Wonders: twice had their angry Swords made the way open, but freſh Supplies oppreſt them ſtill with number, till wearied, not o’ercome, they yield to Fortune, and by a glorious Death preſerve their Honour. When theſe brave Arches fell, the Building totter’d; though Mowbray made a while a brave reſiſtance, till his Heroick Bloud, not Valour, fail’d him. The ſurprizal of Lancaſter, and many other noble Knights and Barons, perfects this Overthrow, and ends theſe Civil Tumults.
The Prey thus ſeiz’d, the Spencers long to taſte it; and, like to furious Tygers, act their Paſſions: They give not their incensed Maſter time to deliberate on that Work which was ſo weighty, which had the Lives of ſuch great Peers in balance. They whet on, and exaſperate the Kings Revenge, that needs no inſtigation. Soon is the Work reſolv’d, where deep Revenge hath maſter’d humane Judgment, and Reaſon doth ſubſcribe to private Malice.Valens’s Speech in favour of the Lords.
Valence, a Stout and noble Gentleman, hating ſuch a barbarous Cruelty, ſeeks to divert it, and mildly thus intreats the Royal favour.To 72 T2v 72
To win a Battle (Sir) it is glory; to uſe it well, a far more glorious Bleſſing. In heat of Blood to kill, may taſte of Valour, which yet on cooler terms may touch of Murder. Laws were not made to catch offences, but to judge them; which are diſpens’d with where the cauſe is weighty, elſe none may live where many are delinquent.
Celeſtial Powers have bleſt you with a conqueſt, and do expect to ſee how you will uſe it. For your own Goodneſs ſake, make known your Vertue; be like to him that gave you this great Bleſſing, and then your Mercy will exceed your Juſtice. The ſavage beaſts but kill, to kill their hunger; and will you act in blood to pleaſe your fancy? The Heavens forbid the Royal Heart ſhould harbour a thought that juſtly may be deemed cruel. Your sword victorious is imbrew’d with Honour, let it not ravage where is no reſiſtance: to ſpill where you may ſave, obſcures your Glory; to ſave where you may ſpill, proclaims your Goodneſs. I’ll not excuſe their faults, or plead their merits, which both are leſſer far than is your Mercy; let not ſuch branches ſo untimely wither, which may in time be your defence and ſhelter. Kings are but men, that have their fates attend them, which measure out to them, what they to others. Blood is a crying Sin that cries for vengeance, which follows ſwiftly thoſe that vainly ſhed it. Black Apparitions, fearful Dreams, affright them whoſe guilty Souls are ſtain’d with deeds of darkneſs. Oh let your purer thoughts be unpolluted, that they may live to ſhew your Grace and Vertue, and After-ages ſpeak your worth in Glory.
The King had ſcarce the patience to hear out the Concluſion of a Theme ſo contrarious to his reſolution and humour; yet weighing the Integrity and well-deſerving of the man that ſpake it, to juſtifie himſelf, and to give him ſatisfaction, with an angry brow he makes The Kings Reply. this ſudden Anſwer. Valence, but that I know you truely love me, your words do touch me too near your Soveraigns Honour. Shall I, ſeduced by a female pity, compaſſion thoſe that 73 V1r 73 that do attempt my ruine? ſuch actions may be goodneſs, no diſcretion: how many times have I declin’d my Power, to win them home by mercy, not by juſtice? what hath my mildneſs won but flat Rebellion, which had it took, where then had been their virtue? Say I ſhould ſpare their Lives and give them freedom, each ſlight occaſion colours new eruption, and I may then too late repent my kindneſs. When my poor Gaveſton was tane, where was their mercy? They made their Arms their Law, their Swords their Juſtice. He had no guilt of Treason or Rebellion, his greateſt fault was this, his Soveraign lov’d him; and ſhall I ſpare thoſe that for my ſake wrought his ruine? No, blood muſt have blood, their own Law be their Tryal; let juſtice take her courſe, Ile not oppoſe it. The deeds of Charity muſt ſo be acted, that he that gives be not abus’d by giving. Who ſaves a Viper that attempts to ſting him, if after ſtung deſerves nor help nor pity. What could they more have done than they have acted, unleſs to kill the King they ſo much hated; and ſhall I pardon theſe ſought my deſtruction, and make them fit to act a new Rebellion? If it be virtue, ’tis a poor diſcretion. No, I will make them ſure, that their example may others teach the juſt reward of Treaſon. Dead men do neither bark nor bite the Living.
Inſtantly he flings away, and to the general grief of the whole Army ſigneth a diſpatch for preſent execution, without ſo much as the exception of any one particular of all the great ones whom this laſt conflict had thrown Lancaſter beheaded, and 22 more. at his mercy. Lancaſter is beheaded at Pontefret, and two and twenty others, of noble blood and great eminency, in other places of the Kingdom; ſo that there was ſcarce a City of any note, but was guilty of this bloody Maſſacre. So many excellent lives, ſo ingloriouſly loſt, had been able to have commanded a victorious Army while it had triumpht in ſome forrain conqueſt. Thomas of Lancaſter, a man good and virtuous, though unfortunate, kept faithfully the death-bed promiſe he made V his 74 V1v 74 his father Lincoln; but erring in the time and manner, he taſted his prediction. The King, that was before ſo apparently guilty of many puny vices, by this act loſeth all their memory, and dyes himſelf in grain with the true colour of a cruel Tyrant. The reaking blood of ſo many brave ſubjects ſo untimely ſpilt, had a quick and bitter reckoning, to the final deſtruction of him and all the Actors. In the operations of ſo great a weight, though the colour of juſtice ſeem a Warranty, yet mercy ſhould have preceded rigour, ſince they were not all alike guilty. In point of extremity, it is more ſafe and Honorable to do leſs than we may, rather than all we may; the one makes known our goodneſs, the other the cruelty of our nature, which with a loathed fear thruſts a zealous and true love out of poſſeſſion in the hearts of thoſe that behold and obſerve our actions. Had theſe Lords been of a diſpoſition equally cruel, Spencer had not liv’d to triumph in their miſery, nor they to taſte his malice; for it is clear, when they had him at their mercy, that they ſought not blood, but reformation; and aſſuredly in this their laſt act, which was rather defenſive than otherwaies, their intentions towards the Crown were innocent. In all reſpects (ſaving the levy of their Arms, which was done onely to ſupport it with more Honour) as things fell out afterwards, it had been happy for the King if he had loſt this Battel, and they had prevailed; for winning it was the beginning of all his enſuing miſery, of which the fundamental cauſe (as appeareth in the ſequel) originally ſprung; that this bridle being taken away, he fell to thoſe diſſolute actions, and injurious kind of oppreſſion, that his Government became hateful, and his Name odious; which wrought in time the general revolt of the whole Kingdom. Fear, and the ſuſpition of the following danger, kept both him and his familiars in a better temper: for though they were fully as vicious, yet they were leſs confident, and more reſerved, 75 V2r 75 reſerved; which, this barricado taken off, finds neither bound nor limit.
Good Policy to maintain a divided Faction in Court and Councel. Certainly, in the Regiment of a Kingdom, it is a diſcreet and wiſe conſideration in Court and Councel to maintain a divided faction, yea, and interchangeably ſo to countenance them, that the one may be ſtill a fit Counterpoiſe to the other. The King by this means ſhall be ſerved with more ſincerity and diligence, and informed with more truth and plainneſs. Where one particular man or faction is alone exalted and onely truſted, his words, be they never ſo erronious, finde ſeldom contradiction, and his unjuſt actions paſs unqueſtion’d; all men under him ſeeking to riſe by him, ſing the ſame tune; the Flock ever bleats after the voice of the Bell- weather; which ſtands with a politic wiſdome, ſince in oppoſition they purchaſe but diſgrace and ruine. By theſe means the Royal ear is abuſed, and the Minions acts are more daring and inſolent, who cares ever more how to conceal cleanly, than to be ſparing in doing the actions of injuſtice; by this the judgment of the King is impaired, the Honour of the Crown abuſed, the Common-wealth ſuffers daily more and more, which by degrees aliens and eſtrangeth the heart of the ſubject. The greater the heighth is, the ſtronger is the working to preſerve it, which for the moſt part is attended with thoſe ſame State-actions of impiety and injuſtice; hence ſpring murmur and hatred, exaſperated by a continuing Oppreſſion which ends for the moſt part in a deſperate concluſion. Though the fury of this victorious King had ſo fully acted his Tragedy, yet the Mortimers were ſpared; but it was rather out of forgetfulneſs than pity, whoſe deaths had been more available than all thoſe which in ſo great haſte had taſted his fury. Some think that the Queens interceſſion got the reſpite of their execution, mainly followed by Spencer, who in that act irreconciliably loſt her favour; by the ſubſequent effect it ſeems probable enough; but howſoever it was wrought, it appears he was reſervedſerved 76 V2v 76 ſerved to be one of the fatal executioners of the divine juſtice, which taught his perſecutor that ſame antient Roman Law of Talionis, and gave his unfortunate Maſter ſo ſad a cauſe of a juſt Repentance. The Kingdom after theſe bloody Hurly-burlies and ſtrong Convulſions, begins now to be a little ſetled, onely it was fill’d with grief and expectation where theſe aims would end that ran on with ſuch violence. The principal Pillars of the common good being taken away, and thoſe that remain’d being frighted and diſheartned, gave ſuch a liberty to the now great Officers, that the whole intereſt of the State was believed little better than the fruits of an abſolute Conqueſt. All men ſuffer baſely, yet no man dares oppoſe or queſtion’t. The King ſecur’d, approves his Spencers actions, and makes the Regal Power the Servants warrant: Hence ſprings the inſolency of unjuſt oppreſſions, and thoſe unlawful ways to drain the ſubject, which leave no means might fill the Royal Coffers. The grieved Kingdom languiſht with theſe burdens; the great Ones ſuffer baſely, courting his vices, which like a tree oregrown, of immenſe greatneſs, ſhadow’d their growth, and did ſuppreſs their merit. They fawn upon the time, and view each other as Ships ſalute at Sea, whoſe Voyage differs; they were become ſtrangers to themſelves and to their fellows, which ſtop the paſſage to ſo juſt a quarrel. The private end was now the thing in faſhion, the publique was forſaken as a monſter. The Commons, whose home-bred looks are the true Index of all that dwells within, and honeſt plainneſs, do more than murmure out theſe oppreſſions. They gape to catch the turning tide, and would have moved, but find no one would give them heart or leading. Oft do they make attempts, but yet diſcreetly, to try if they could finde a ſtaff to lean to; but ’twas in vain, the Law was ſuch a terrour, that he that ſtirs and ſticks was ſure of drowning. Now do the Learned Sages ſee their errour, that hung themſelves in 77 X1r 77 in Chains ſo great and many, making a Lime-twig for each ſeveral feather; now do they blame thoſe Laws themſelves enacted, not like a Watch, but as a PaperArmy, to keep the good ſtill in the worſt condition; as if the multiplicity had been the glory, where Laws are made to catch, not eaſe the ſubject. If that great volume of the Law draw forth his engines, what ſubject can untoucht eſcape his rigour?
Spencer, that knew himſelf thus hated, and that the general cry proclaim’d his baſeneſs, ſinks not his height, nor would go leſs a farding; but makes his miſchief like himſelf, ſtill foul, but greater; with reaſon yet ſuſpects and fears the ſequel. His Miſtris ſate on thorns, which made her ſtartle; he knows the Wheel would turn, almoſt with touching. This calls his Wits together, and puts them on the rack for a Confeſſion, what Spencer’s Policy. was the way might beſt aſſure this danger. The King’s weak humour, naturally wanton, he makes more vicious, and apparent guilty, hoping to make him alike hateful, that in the Change they both might run one fortune. A pretty Policy, that makes it lawful to wound his Maſter, that thereby he may ſcape the hand of juſtice, or at the leaſt may make the hazard equal! The King he knew was too indulgent, but not tender, or of a heart enough to work the ſafety of his Servants, as he obſerv’d in the Caſe of his Predeceſſor Gaveſton, and his own late experience. To give him a more real engagement, and pin himſelf faſt by neceſſity, he egges him on to all thoſe actions that were more than moſt odious in practice, and hateful in the eye of the ſubject; feeding him in the mean time with a vain belief that the Kingdom was generally ill-affected, and ſought his depoſition; which there was no better way to repreſs, than by holding them ſhort, and making ſeverity rather than paternal love the Hand-maid of his Scepter. In all the actions of State, whatſoever carried a fair gloſs, or prov’d well, he takes it upon his proper X care 78 X1v 78 care and diligence; if the ſucceſs were ill, or not proſperous, it muſt be eſteemed either the will, weak advice, or fortune of his Maſter; in all complaints that ſpake unjuſt oppreſſion, he ſeemed to ſhare the grief, but made the cauſe the Kings, not his which muſt obey him; he guilds his proper actions o’re with ſhews of kindneſs, ſullying the Royal with his groſſeſt errours, who ſat and ſlept, or winkt at theſe diſorders. This was the ſubſtance of his firſt conceptions; but yet this was too weak to make a ground-work on which he might rely his falſe proceedings. Time daily chang’d, and new occurrents happen might win another faction to purſue him; for to prevent this fear, he fetcht a Compaſs, and leaves the beaten way of blood and malice; ſuch of the great ones as were yet remaining, and out of reaſon might be moſt ſuſpected, or did but croſs his way, by private practice he ſends to feed the Worms and kiſs their Mother, who knew not her own Children ſo transformed. When that the Bloſſomes dropt away (the Gardens glory) the ſeaſon being ſweet, and mildly pleaſant, all men admir’d, but quickly knew the reaſon; ſome unkind hand had tainted that which fed them. This was too much, but yet he wades in deeper. His Brain is ſubtle, cunning, wary; an active ſtirring Wit, a quick invention, an heart grown proud in miſchief, full of falſhood, that dwelt within a conſcience knew no bounder; from theſe he hammers out another project that works upon the King as well as ſubject. This hath two forms, though of a different temper, yet both resembl’d nearly in dependance. The firſt muſt keep the Crown in fear, the Kingdom buſied with forraign danger or domeſtick trouble; The ſecond holds it ſtill in want, the Coffers empty, to keep the ſubject poor as they ſupply it; ſecurity in one might keep him careleſs, and peace with plenty make the other wanton. From theſe, being marſhal’d with a ſound diſcretion, he thinks the way was eaſie to aſſure his greatneſs; within his 79 X2r 79 his breſt alone was lockt the ſecrets of the prime Plots of State and waighty buſineſs; the Councellors, that were but meerly Cyphers, knew but the ſtrains of ſlight and vulgar motions; he ſat alone at Helm, and ſteer’d the Compaſs, which fancies in his thoughts a vain impulſion; he muſt be ſtill employ’d, or all would ruine; if in the agitations of the King or Kingdom puzzl’d with motions of the preſent danger, he could aſſure each party from theſe Harpyes, it needs muſt adde much to his faith and wiſdome, and make his ſtation far more ſtrong and ſure; the reſty mindes that kick at preſent greatneſs, may then turn Craven, and approve his judgment: he that conceits he could command the Planets, doubts not to make ſuch trifles light and eaſie. His principles thus laid, he falls to action; with a looſe ſcorn he continues the French correſpondence, ſlighting their Treaties and deſire of Friendſhip; the Marriage of a Siſter was not powerful to ſet things right betwixt theſe Warlike Nations; there was no open War, but private grudges, which made the State uncertain, robb’d the Merchant; heart-burning on all ſides, while both ſtrain courteſie who ſhould begin to ſet the balance even. The Scots that were not ſure, but yet were quiet, he irritates afreſh for new combuſtions; but this was done with ſuch a neat conveyance, that all men ſee the Smoke, yet feel no Fire. And to the Lords at home that ſtood ſpectators, he pares off from his greatneſs ſome few chippings, and gives them here and there to feed their longings; that they might thus be ſtill, if not contented, he gives away his female Kindred for new Friendſhip, and makes the Portion great, though nothing yet in Title; which turn’d the world backward in appearance, while January and June were dancing Trenchmore. Those fixed ſtars that mov’d not with this Comet, but kept aloof, and did preſerve their diſtance, theſe he contemns and ſcorns with ſuch proud uſage, that they may ſeek his grace, or ſeem to 80 X2v 80 to threaten ſome jealous danger to his fearful Maſter.
Great Impoſitions daily are divulged, and ſome impoſed are not fully levied, to make the Commons fear, not feel their ruine. No circumſtance is left, that but induced, to make the Soveraign fear, the ſubject hate him. The King, whoſe Arms ne’er thriv’d but in the conflict which winning loſt his Honour, cauſed his downfal, was in the memory of his former unfortunate proceedings ſufficiently aw’d; and being now given over to the ſenſuality of his delights, entertains quickly the leaſt apprehension of fear, if his ſuperviſor did preſent it ſo that this part of his work was no great difficulty; and the ſecond was not more uneaſie. The Royal Treaſure is profuſely ſpent without Accompt or Honour, being but the fountain that ſerved to water the drought of himſelf, his herd of hungry Kindred, and the ſwarm of Fleſh-flies that became his creatures. The antient Plate is without the art of Arithmetick multiplied into a world of little pieces; the Jewels of the crown do leap beyond the Sea, and are ta’n Priſoners till they pay their ranſome; the Revenue Royal being now grown weary, by Proclamation would exchange his Landlord; the Prerogative, the type of Soveraignty, forgets his Patron, and cleaves to the fingers of ſome muſty Farmor. This want was great in ſhew, but more in ſubſtance; which made the Surgeon ſeek to gain a plaiſter: the Poverty of theſe Inſtitutions anſwer not the Work-mans expectation, for the Remedy began to ſeem as fearful as the Diſeaſe; Theſe profuſe prodigalities, in ſtead of a counterfeit, brought in ſuch a real neceſſity of ſuch a height, that without a ſpeedy ſupply it muſt beget a deſperate hazard. Many ſeveral projections are made, but they fall wholly ſhort, and like Piſtols charg’d with Powder, make a noiſe, but hit not that they aim at; the hope was dead, unleſs the old and right way Parliamental did give it life and ſpirit. Spencer knew well enough that ſuch Aſſem- 81 Y1r 81 Aſſemblies was like a Ringworm on the neck of greatneſs; a Court that in the bulk of high Corruption would breed a Palſie, or a Hectick Feaver; the ſubject here he knew would ſee his inſide, which ſingle durſt not quinch, much leſs encounter. He doubts the King would hardly be ſupply’d, unleſs he were expos’d to try their mercy; yet there’s no other means, he muſt adventure. This thus reſolv’d, he leaves it not at random, or doth reſign his ſtate alone to Fortune, but wiſely makes the way before he run it. With a reſerved ſecrecy he hides the Platform, till that his practice might receive perfection. He hurries forth ſtrange news of forraign dangers, to draw the peoples eyes from private workings; he makes a ſhew as if all things went currant, and ſhadows o’re the Royal wants with plenty, yet cloſely wills his friends and thoſe his creatures to get them place betimes in this great Meeting. All ſuch as were the Kings entirely, theſe he inſtructeth with the ſelf- ſame Counſel, and courts all ſuch as he believes are Powerful to advance his ends, or elſe procure him danger; and to let all the world know he ſtood right in his Maſters affections, he gets his Father, himſelf, and Sir Andrew Harclay, a Chip of the ſame Block, made Earls of Wincheſter, Briſtow, and Carlile; Baldock a mean man altogether unworthy, unleſs it were for being a diſciple of ſo virtuous a Patron, is made Lord Chancellour of England. The ſolemnity of this goodly Creation ended, and the Plot now ripe for execution.
A Parliament called. The bruit of a Parliament flies through the Kingdom, and is follow’d at the heels with Writs for preſent Election. The time limited for appearance was ſhort, which ſpeedily drew this great Body together, bleeding with the freſh memory of the loſs of ſo many of his brave and glorious Members. All Ceremonies are laid aſide, or handled briefly, ſo that the time now ſerves to fall upon the buſineſs. Their pulſes being felt aloof off, and their temper tryed, there was a full diſcovery Y that 82 Y1v 82 that the major part was ſure, the reſt were heartleſs. Then comes the King’s Demand, with fair pretences, which pleads the greatneſs of his charge and preſent uſes; and ſhews he had on the ſtrength of his Revenue maintain’d the Scotiſh Wars without aſſiſtance, which had exhauſted ſo the Royal Treaſure, that now He is enforc’d to try his Subjects. This motion is ſoon ſeconded by ſuch apt Scholars as learnt to get the King’s or Spencer’s favour; others that had a hope to ſhare the booty, ſpeak it great reaſon to aſſiſt their Sovereign. The Commons juſtly grieved with their Oppreſſions, would fain have made a head to ſtop this current; but ’twas in vain, here was too weak a Party, and wants a They give the King the ſixth Peny. heart to put it to a tryal; this ſwayed the King the ſixth peny of the Temporalty, and ends this Meeting. When the knowledge of this Grant came into the Country, it bred a general Murmur, and quite eſtrang’d their loves from their ſubjection, curſing thoſe times that cauſed ſo ſad a burden. Upon the neck of this (if we may give credit to thoſe Hiſtorians, that all agree and publiſh this relation) were many fearful and prodigious Prodigious Sights. Sights, which maz’d the people; amongſt which this one was moſt remarkable; the Sun for ſix hours ſpace ſhew’d himſelf in perfect Blood, and ſanguin’d over. The enſuing times that retain’d it in their Memory, and applied it as a Prediction of the ſequel, believ’d it did foreſhew the King’s deſtruction, which followed ſwiftly; others conceit it as a Wonder ſhew’d from Heaven, as a ſure Token of the juſt Diſpleaſure for the loſs of the Noble Earl of Lancaſter and his Adherents, whoſe Blood implored Juſtice and ſharp Vengeance. Thus in amazement Man becomes a Prophet.The Scotch invade the Engliſh Borders and Ireland.
The Scots, that love not reſt, delight in prigging; and conſidering the Diſtractions of the Engliſh, thought it a fit time to fall to action, and with a double blow to vent their malice; one ſtrikes upon the Borders, which they 83 Y2r 83 Are repulſt. they boldly enter, but are repuls’d with little loſs or damage; the other doth invade their Neighbour-Iriſh, where they receive with grief a worſer welcome. Their General ſlain. Bruce, the Kings Brother, General of this Army, and all his Troops, are killed and broken; ſcarce one was left to carry back the News of this Diſaſter. The King, reſenting this new provocation, and all the former miſchiefs they had wrought him, reſolves once more to tempt his froward Fortune; but ’twas not his own Valour, Spencer mov’d it, that had his aim beyond his Maſter’s meaning; he knew this was the way to waſte that Treaſure, which elſe might breed a fearleſs fulneſs: if it ſucceeded well, the gain and honour would be his ſhare, as well as his that won it, ſince his advice had father’d firſt the action: admit it ſhould prove ill, he then was guiltleſs, it muſt be deem’d alone his Soveraign’s Fortune, whoſe Deſtiny was ſuch to be ſtill luckleſs; however yet, ’t would keep him ſo in action, he might at all times yield the groaning Subjects a ſhort account how he had ſpent their Money. Upon this, a Summons is ſent out to call together all the Captains and Men of war; Proviſions are dayly made to wait upon ſo conſtantly a reſolved Journey: The former Misfortune had taught him to undertake this action ſtrong and ſoundly; the black Ox had trod upon his foot, that well he knew the danger. The King’s intentions known, brings him together all the remaining bravery of the Kingdom; they knew that there was Money ſtore to pay the Souldier, which gives him life to fight, and ſeek occaſion. The cream of all this ſtrength muſt guard his Perſon, the other fill the Rere, and make the Vantguard; with these he marcheth forward The King invades Scotland. and invadeth Scotland, making that Nation juſtly fear the ſequel. But whether it were the Infidelity of thoſe about him, the Will of him that is the Guide of Battles, or the proper deſtiny of this unfortunate King, this great Preparation produced no effect anſwerable to the 84 Y2v 84 the general expectation; he is enforc’d to retire without doing any one act worthy his Memory, or the greatneſs of ſuch an Expedition. The wary Scots, that had kept themſelves in their Strengths and places of Advantage, ſeeing the Storm almoſt paſt, follow aloof off, and in a watch’d opportunity ſet upon the tail of his The Scotch ſeize the K.Kings Treaſure. Army, ſurprizing all his Stuff and Treaſure. This loſs ſends him home to entertain a defenſive War, which came from the Coaſt he leaſt expected; whether juſtly, or to transfer the guilt of his own unhappineſs upon the treachery or falſhood of another. The new-made Earl of Carlile Executed. Earl of Carlile is accuſed, condemned, and put to a ſhameful execution. The grounds againſt him were probable, not certain; howſoever, he was believed to have attempted, like Judas, the ſale of his Maſter, which muſt be taken a ſole motive of the inglorious retreat of this ſo brave an Army. The principal reaſon that may lead us to the opinion that he was guilty, may be taken from the ſolemnity of his Tryal, and the ſeverity of the Sentence, which upon ſo grave and full a hearing depriv’d him both of Life and Honour in a ceremonious way, whereof till this there appears no former preſident. His old friend Spencer, whoſe ends he had faithfully ſerved, left him at plunge, being as it seems well content now he had (as he thought) rooted his own greatneſs, to be free of his Ambition, which he fear’d might rather ſupplant than ſupport it. A common courſe of ſuch as riſe by their own or other mens corruption; they love a while their props, but after fear them; when with ſome Dog-trick they pick ſome fain’d occaſion, private or publick, for to ſend them packing. If you ſurvey it well, it ſtands with reaſon: for ſuch as to ſerve their ends would act in baſeneſs, in the leaſt change may do ſo for another that in appearance muſt ſucceed his fortune: beſides, where the reward ſeems ſhorter than the merit, fills one with grief, the other with ſuſpition; which two can never long hold correſpondence; and Kings them- 85 Z1r 85 themſelves that do abet the Treaſon, do ſeldome love, but always fear the Traytour. But now old quarrels ſleep, here comes a new one that uſher’d on the way to Edwards ruine.
The French King Lewis being dead, John next ſucceeds him; a Prince youthful and hot, full ripe for action. He privately informed of the ill uſage of his Siſter, and that the King was wholly led by his proud Minion, whoſe actions witneſs’d he was ill-affected to hold firm Peace but with his own conditions, thinks it fit time to break the League which had ſo weak aſſurance. On this he makes an attempt upon the Frontiers of Guien, and ſends a ſolemn Meſſage he would no The French King breaks his Peace with England. more continue Peace with England. Edward, that had not yet digeſted his Scotiſh Pills, was much diſpleaſed to hear ſo curſt a Declaration from a Brother. Spencer, the ſpring that gave this difference motion, did little dream it would be his deſtruction; he wiſht theſe Princes might fall out and quarrel, but yet not ſo, that it ſhould come to action. He deem’d it not amiſs his Soveraign Maſter ſhould hear of War from France, but not to feel it. The French were of another minde; they ſaw us beaten, and diſcontent within our ſelves, full of confuſion; which gave them hope the time would fitly ſerve them to reunite this Piece to her firſt Honour. Thus Kings play faſt and looſe with their advantage; affinity and Oaths are weak reſtrictions; where Profit holds the Plough, Ambition drives it.
Edward piercing narrowly into the danger, taxeth bitterly the infidelity of his Brother, and begins to examine his own condition, whereby he might accordingly order his affairs, either to entertain the War, or embrace Peace, the hopes whereof were not yet deſperate. He findes himſelf in the affections of his own fear’d and hated; his Coffers emptied by the Scotiſh ſurprizal, and the ſinews of his late Parliamentary ſupplying ſhrunk in his Proviſion and prodigality; a ſecond ſupply, unleſs Z con- 86 Z1v 86 conditional, was doubtful; the Kingdom was grown too wiſe, to be again anticipated in election: and laſtly, he calls to minde the ſeverity of that misfortune that waited ſo his Military actions, that the ſubjects were diffident of ſucceſs where he was either General, or a party. In this diſtraction, while he remains irreſolute, he ſeeks the advice of his Cabinet Councel, the Cloſet of his ſecrets; he thinks him alone worthy to communicate the depth of his miſery, and to give the reſolution. The King adviſeth with Spencer. Spencer, that had his underhand aims, out of a virtuous modeſty appears not till he is call’d; which ſucceeding as he knew out of courſe and neceſſity it muſt, pleads his own diſability in an affair ſo great and weighty, deſiring Spencer’s Anſwer. his Majeſty that his Father and the Chancellour might be admitted into this deliberation, whoſe maturity of years and ripeneſs in knowledg might be rely’d on with more aſſurance. The reaſon of this reply, in ſhew full of wiſdom and care, had a Plot with two faces, like the old deſcription of Janus; the one lookt upon his father and faithful Friend, whom by this means he thought to advance in credit; the other was more to countenance his own particular, which had a part to play, that muſt be (as he thought) his Maſter-piece. No word of his ſounds harſhly, nor found contradiction in his Soveraigns ear, who made his tongue a guide to lead his actions; they are freely admited, and fall to conſultation, where the condition of the preſent affairs is fully open’d, and ſundry propoſitions made to reconcile them: but theſe all prove defective in ſome material point or other, that according to the pack, Spencer might hit the nail on the head, and by their applauſe make his project more ſolid and authentical.
Ever ſince the breach that hapned between him and the Queen concerning Mortimer, there had been a ſtrong heart-burning, and many diſtaſtful expreſſions of the ill inclination ſhe bare him. He knew her to be a Woman of a ſtrong Brain, and ſtout Stomack, apt on all occaſionsſions 87 Z2r 87 ſions to trip up his heels, if once ſhe found him reeling; and was not without ſome diſcreet ſuſpicion, that ſhe was as well contriving inward practice, as ſhe had been cloſely forward in the inſtigation of her Brother. To make her ſure, and to pare her nails before ſhe ſcratcht him, he thinks occaſion had preſented him with a fit opportunity, which he intended not to looſe without a tryal; from which ground he thus expreſſeth his conceptions.
Things ſtanding as they do (Royal Sir) there is but one way left to right them; but how that way may like you, that I know not. You are not fit for War, if you conſider your proper weakneſs, bare of Strength or Money: to ſeek, not ſue for Peace, is no diſhonour, but ſhews a pious Will to perfect Goodneſs. A Servants care, I not deny, may work it; but this will ask Inſtruction, Time and Leaſure, which your condition cannot fitly limit. Such Treaties, for the moſt part, ſo are ſettled; but ’tis with long diſpute, and many windings, by which we muſt grow worſe, and they ſtill ſtronger. If they once finde that we purſue it hotly, they’ll raiſe their height to win their own conditions, He adviſeth the Queen be ſent to France. which may be far unfit your ſtate and greatneſs. I know you love the Queen too much to ſpare her, and I am loath to touch the ſtring ſhould cauſe it: But ſince great Works are fitteſt for great Actors, I wiſh to her alone this brave employment: her Wiſdome and her Love ſo well united, will work (I doubt not) Peace as you deſire; ſo fair a Pleader cannot be denied in that requeſt, which chiefly made her Wedlock. And ſince I am all yours, vouchſafe your Pardon, if I in reaſon diſcourſe it farther: Admit that he deny, her journey ſort not, you ſtill are where you were, with ſome advantage: If he refuſe your Love, you may his Siſter, which is then with him, where he ſo may keep her till things are reconcil’d, and quarrels ended. Reaſon of State muſt maſter your Affections, which in this act will tell you, ’tis unfitting ſhe ſhould be here, that may inform 88 Z2v 88 inform her Brother from time to time of all your ſecret Counſels. Say that your Love and her Obedience tye her, and keep the Scale ſtill even, ’tis a hazard which wiſe men dare not truſt in female weakneſs: admitting that her Goodneſs do aſſure it, this cannot warrant yet her ſilent Servants, who may be ſent with her perhaps of purpoſe, or after brib’d to ſift and ſhew your workings. Councels are ſeldome ſo reſerv’d, but that they glimmer ſome little light that leads to their intentions; which if they fly to thoſe they touch unacted, finde ſwift prevention, ere their worth be valued. Theſe things conſider’d, I do ſpeak it freely, ’tis fit the Queen alone ſhould undertake it; which leſſens well the charge of your great Houſhold, and brings you Peace, or makes you elſe a Freeman from thoſe domestick Cares that ſhake your quiet.
This Act ended, Baldocke the Chorus, who equally hated the Queen, ſeconds it with a learned approbation; and the old Rooſt-cock in his Country-language, which was the only tongue he was guilty of, tells the King briefly, he ſhould be ſure of Peace at home or abroad. The King with an attentive ear hears this relation, and could not but believe his Spencer ſpake it; nor did he dote ſo much upon his Wedlock, but he could be contented well to ſpare her, whoſe eyes did look too far into his Pleaſures. But yet his wandring Soul had ſtrange impreſſions, which ſtruck him deeply with a ſad prediction, and made him faintly yield, but yet delay it.
This Overture being come to the Queens ear, and withal the knowledge how this Gipſie had marſhall’d his cunning practice, and had preſcrib’d the way for her eſcape, which ſhe herſelf intended, and in her private thoughts had laboured with the beſt powers of She offers to go. her underſtanding; ſhe ſeem’d wondrouſly well-pleas’d, and offers to undertake, and to aſſure the buſineſs. Their ſeveral ends, far wide of one another, do kindly meet 89 Aa1r 89 meet and knit in the firſt Prologue; where Craft encounters Cunning, it ſometimes happens one and the ſelf-ſame Hood doth fit the head-piece of divers Actors, diverſly affected; hence it proceeds the Plot’s more ſurely acted, when each ſide doth believe his proper iſſue: There is not ſuch a Cut-throat for a Coz’ner, as that which in his own trade doth croſs-bite him: The Bee gets Honey where the Spider Poyſon; and that may kill Phyſicians, cures their Patients. Such are the qualities of Stateſmens actions, that labour to contrive anothers miſchief, and in their own way finde their own deſtruction. Love and Jealouſie, that equally poſſeſt the Queen, being intermixed with a ſtronger deſire of Revenge, ſpurs her on to haſten on this Journey. She ſaw the King a ſtranger to her bed, and revelling in the wanton embraces of his ſtoln pleaſures, without a glance on her deſerving Beauty. This contempt had begot a like change in her, though in a more modeſt nature, her youthful Affections wanting a fit ſubject to work on, and being debarr’d of that warmth that She caſts a wandering eye on Mortimer. ſhould have ſtill preſerv’d their temper, ſhe had caſt her wandering eye upon the gallant Mortimer, a piece of maſculine Bravery without exception; had thoſe his inward Gifts been like his outſide, he had not been behinde-hand in reception, but with a Courtly, brave reſpect, full meets her Glances. A ſilent Rhetorick, ſparkling Love, findes quick admittance; ſuch private trading needs few words or brokage: but his laſt Act Mortimer in the Tower. had mew’d him in the Tower, where he was faſt from ſight of his great Miſtriſs Love, that makes ſome men fools, makes others wary: Had Mortimer’s deſigne been known, his head had paid for’t; which Spencer’s malice long and ſtrongly aim’d at, but that the Queen had begg’d a ſolemn reſpite, which Edward would not break at his intreaty. The Cage of his reſtraint was ſtrong, and guarded; yet ’twas too weak to cloyſter his Ambition, which did ſuſpect, but never fear’d his Aa Free- 90 Aa1v 90 Freedome; which he attempts, but yet was not ſo ſure, that he durſt truſt it. In the mean time, with a ſweet Correſpondencie, and the interchange of many amorous Letters, their hearts are brought together, and their ſeveral intents perfectly known; hers, to proſecute her Journey; his, to purchaſe his Freedome, and to wait upon her, or elſe to looſe his Life if it miſcarry. It was a ſtrange Adventure in the Queen, in this inquiſitive and dangerous time, to hazard her Honour under the fidelity of a Meſſenger; but ſhe was well belov’d, paid liberally, and was not more careful in her election, than wary in the employment; which makes things difficult in themſelves, prove facile and eaſie. No ſooner had ſhe knowledg of the Plot for his eſcape, but by all her beſt means ſhe confirms and ſtrengthens it, and in the mean time advances her own affairs by all ways poſſible: She courts her Adverſary with all the ſhews of perfect reconcilement. But new delays interpoſe; the King had certainly ſome inward motive that preſag’d his ruine, and that this Wife of his muſt be the Actor; which brought him ſlowly on to ſet her forward. Spencer, that by his own could judge her Cunning, ſuſpects her plea of haſte and ſudden kindneſs, and now begins to grow a little colder, till he had better ſounded her intentions; which by his Spies he could not ſo diſcover, but that ſhe ſeem’d as pure and clear as Cryſtal.
The King will not conſent to her going. Yet Edward would not give conſent ſhe ſhould be a gadding; time paſt away; ſhe labours hard, but fruitleſs, till at length ſhe found ſhe was abuſed. Guien muſt be rather loſt, than ſhe ſhould wander. Her heart ſo ſtrongly fix’d upon this Journey, was torn as much with anger as with ſorrow: Reaſon at length o’recame her Sexes weakneſs, and bids her rather cure, than vent her Paſſion. The opportunity thus ſnatch’d from her hopes, ſhe ſeems well pleaſed, and glad to ſtay at home; no inward motion ſeem’d to appear, that might 91 Aa2r 91 might beget ſuſpicion. Spencer, that was as cunning as a Serpent, findes here a female Wit that went beyond him, one that with his own Weapons wounds his Wiſdome, and taught him not to truſt a Womans Lip-ſalve, when that he knew her breaſt was fill’d with rancour. When the nap of this Project was fallen off, and Spencer with the King were ſeeking for ſome other buſh to ſtop this gap, her judgment was ſo fortunate Pretending a Journey of Devotion, as to pretend a Journey of Devotion to St Thomas of Canterbury; which by her jealous Overſeers (being a Work of Piety) is wholly unſuſpected. All things prepared, by a faithful Meſſenger ſhe gives her beloved Servant Mortimer knowledge of the time, and her intention. Then, with the Prince her Son and Comfort, that muſt be made the Stale of this great action, ſhe fearleſs ventures on this holy Journey. The King was well content that ſhe ſhould be abſent, and pray to whom ſhe would within the Kingdom; Her jealous eyes ſo watchful, had enforc’d him to take by ſtealth, what now he gets in freedom. Spencer is not diſpleaſed, but well contented, that wiſht ſhe would remain an abſent Pilgrim. A ſhort time bringing her to the Shrine of her pretenſions, ſhe makes as ſhort a ſtay, but haſteth forward. Mortimer inform’d the Plot was now in action, puts on his practice for a preſent tryal. Some ſay that with a Sleeping-drink he charm’d his Keepers; I rather think it Drink that made them ſleepy: Whatever ’twas, by this he ſtole his Freedom, and ſlylie ſcapes away unſeen, untaken. At the Sea-ſide he findes his Royal Miſtriſs and the young Prince prepar’d to go a Ship-board; the Earl of Cane and Biſhop of Hereford ready to attend them; and he now comes, to She embarques for France with Mortimer. make the Conſort perfect. All things ſucceeding thus fortunately, they looſe no time, but embarque, and weigh their Anchor. Winchelſey had the honour of their laſt farewel, that did provide them ſhipping. Their Sails hoiſt up, the Heavens they finde propitious, the 92 Aa2v 92 the bluſtering winds were quiet, and Neptune bears them without a rugged brow of angry billows; a pleaſing foreright Gale (as kept of purpoſe) fills up their Sails, and brings them ſafe to Bulloigne. Thus did our Pilgrims ſcape the pride and malice of him which little dream’d of this Adventure: his Craft and Care, that taught him all thoſe leſſons of Cunning Greatneſs, here fell apparent ſhort of all Diſcretion, to be thus over-reach’d by one weak Woman. For her Eſcape, it skill’d not, nor could hurt him: it was the riſing Son with cauſe he feared; which who would have truſted with a Mother, juſtly mov’d by their diſorder? Where now were all his Spies, his fawning Agents that fed his ear with every little motion that did but crack within the Kingdom? Now it Thunder’d, they were aſleep, as was their Minion-Maſter, elſe he would ſure have ſeen, and ſoon prevented ſo lame a Project, that pac’d afoot ſo long a walk, ſo ſoftly. But when the glorious power of Heaven is pleaſed to puniſh Man for his tranſgreſſion, he takes away the ſenſe and proper power by which he ſhould foreſee and ſtop his danger.
The King ſad at the News. This news flies ſwiftly to the King, who entertains it with a ſad heart, as juſtly it deſerved. The Spencers, with the Crue of their dependants, are nettl’d with a tale that ſtarts their greatneſs; they think the Plot was ſurely laid, that took ſo rightly; and in the makers Wit, condemn their Judgment, that led them by the hand to what they acted. Mortimer, whom Spencer deadly hated, was well ally’d, and ſtrong in Friends and Kindred; he had a Cauſe in hand would win aſſiſtance, when that a Queen and an heir apparent back’d it. But now ’twas paſt prevention; ’tis a vertue to make the beſt of that we cannot fly from.
Edward, whoſe yielding heart at firſt miſgave him, grows ſadly dull, and ſeems to read his Fortune; his melancholy thoughts have no impreſſions but ſuch as were engrav’d within his conſcience. To take him off, Spen- 93 Bb1r 93 Spencer contemns the danger, extenuating their beſt hopes, which were but fixed upon the French, a nation light and inconſtant, whom Money would take off, if Spencer encourageth him. Force ſhould fail him: he tells him he had cauſe to ſmile, not mourn, that was ſo freed of ſuch a Chamber- miſchief, that was more to be fear’d at home, than with her Brother. Laſtly, he prays him to be like himſelf, a Monarch, that well might bend, and yet not yield to Fortune; ’twas now high time to order ſo his buſineſs, that there might be no farther fear of danger. Baldock the Chancellour ſets to a helping hand to revive his Spirits, which ſeemed ſo much dejected; and briefly thus diſcours’d his better judgment.
Sir, if you now ſhould droop, or ſhew a faintneſs, when your occaſions do expect your Valour, your ſubjects will believe you know more danger than they or ſee or fear; which muſt be followed with a dull coldneſs over the whole Kingdom; which what it may enforce, you may conſider. ’Tis eaſie to o’recome a weak reſiſtance, which yielding, fears the ſtroke before ’tis coming; but nobler hearts are ever moſt triumphant, when they are round beſet with greateſt perils. Alas, what can the Queen a wandring Woman compaſs, that hath nor Arms, nor Means, nor Men, nor Money? Think you her Brother will ſo back her paſſion, as to expoſe himſelf to ſuch a hazard? France knows our Arms too well, too much, to tempt them, or come within our diſtance in our dwellings: admit he ſhould, what can he do to England, which hath a wooden wall will wet his courage? Lewis, that had made him a ſure Party within the Kingdom long before he landed, when civil tumults had embroil’d our Forces, found here ſo ſharp and hotly curſt a welcome, as left your Predeceſſor ſoon his firſt poſſeſſion: he came in his own right, and yet forſook it; can you then fear they’ll venture for another, or hazard War that look for no advantage? Put caſe they do, have you your Forces ready, you need not fear the French Bb or 94 Bb1v 94 or any other: but you muſt then by your own ſprightful carriage give life and courage to the Valiant Souldier, that fights your Quarrel, and his proper Honour; like to a careful Steward, ſtill provided to give the new-come Guest a handſome Welcome. And, if I erre not, ’tis not much improper you let the Kingdom know the Queens departure, how far it ſwerves from duty, love, or reaſon. Dangers that be far off, may be prevented, with time, advice, and with a better leaſure; yet ’tis diſcretion to catch the foretop of a growing evil: look to your Ports: your Navie well provided, no forraign Force can wrong your Peace or Quiet. For thoſe within-door that may breed ſuſpition, the ways are eaſie to ſecure their moving. Yet all this is too little, if you ſtagger, or with a drowzie coldneſs ſeem diſheartned: ’tis life and action gives your People metal. For Gods ſake then (great Sir) leave off this Paſſion, which wrongs your Greatneſs, and doth maze your ſervants, that ſee no cauſe but meerly your Opinion.
This Speech thus ended, the King forceth himſelf againſt his diſpoſition, and cloaths his cheeks with ſmiles, his brow with gladneſs: with a more freedom he diſcourſeth plainly the preſent ſtate of his entangled buſineſs: a Declaration is ſent out to all the Kingdom, that The Queen is tainted. The Ports are ſtopt, taints the Honour of the Queen, but more his Judgement. The Ports are all ſtopt up, that none ſhould follow: a Medicine much too late; a help improper, to ſhut the Stable-door, the Steed being ſtoln: but ’tis the nature of a bought Experience, to come a day too late, the Navie ſent out, and Watch and Ward every where. the Market ended. The Navie is ſent out to guard the Frontier, and Watch and Ward is kept throughout the Kingdom. Theſe and many other grave Inſtructions are recommended to the Spencers wiſdom, whom it concern’d as deeply as their welfare: they think not fit to truſt the Care to others, but do become themſelves the Superviſors; which for a time of force enforc’d their abſence; in which ſhort intermiſs, the King relapſeth to his 95 Bb2r 95 his former errour, which gave him many ſad and deep impreſſions: he thinks the breach of Wedlock a foul treſpaſs; but to contemn her he ſo much had wronged, deſerv’d as much as they could lay upon him: But he was guilty in a higher nature; he had upheld his Paraſites to brave her with too too fond a baſe preſumptuous daring: he fear’d his cruel actions, ſtain’d with bloud, would chalenge a quick and ſad requital, equal vengeance: he saw the Subjects full of grief and paſſion, apt and deſirous to embrace Rebellion; and few or none declar’d themſelves to aid him, unleſs ’twere ſuch as ſtirr’d by meer compulſion, or pirvate intereſt of their own ſafety. Such dull conceits did ſo ingroſs his fancie, that he almoſt deſpair’d of his own fortune. His Minions, now return’d from their employment, had much ado to level theſe deep reckonings, which lay ſo heavie on his guilty Conſcience: yet at the length he gain’d his wonted temper, and acteth o’er afreſh his former Errours.
The cuſtomary habit of tranſgreſſion is like a Corn that doth infeſt his owner; though it be par’d and cut, yet it reneweth, unleſs the Core be rooted out that feeds his tumour. The guilty Conſcience feels ſome inward motions, which flaſhing lightly, ſhave the hair of Miſchief; the ſcalp being naked, yet the roots remaining, they ſoon grow up again, and hide their baldneſs: the operations of the ſoul of true Repentance, grubs up the very depth of ſuch vile Monſters, and leaves alone the ſcars of their abuſes.
The French King having notice of his Siſter’s arrival, The Queen entertain’d in France with ſeeming gladneſs. entertains it with a wondrous plauſible and ſeeming ſhew of gladneſs. After ſhe had well refreſh’d her ſelf and her little Son, (as yet a ſtranger to the riding of ſo long a journey upon a wooden horſe) with an Honorable attendance, befitting more her Eſtate, Birth and Dignity, than the preſent miſerable condition ſhe was in, ſhe is waited on to Paris: all the great ones and bravery 96 Bb2v 96 Bravery of that Kingdom are ſent to give her welcome, and to bring her to the King’s preſence. When ſhe beheld the Sanctuary of her hopes, her deareſt Refuge, ſhe falls upon her knee, and with a ſweetly-becoming modeſtie, ſhe thus begins her Story. Her Royal Brother unwilling to ſuffer ſuch an Idolatry from her, that had a Father, Brother, Husband, ſo great and glorious, takes her up in his arms, when thus ſhe ſpeaks her ſorrow.
The Queens Addreſs. Behold in me (dear Sir) your moſt unhappie Sister, the true picture of a dejected Greatneſs, that bears the grief of a deſpiſed Wedlock, which makes me flie to you for help and ſuccour. I have, with a ſufferance beyond the belief of my Sex, outrun a world of tryals: time leſſens not, but addes to my afflictions; my burthen is grown greater than my patience: yet ’tis not I alone unjustly ſuffer; my tears ſpeak thoſe of a diſtreſſed Kingdom, which, long time glorious, now is almost ruin’d. My bluſhing cheek may give a ſilent knowledge, I too much love and honour the cauſe of my afflictions, to expreſs it. Yet this in modeſtie I may diſcover; my Royal Husband is too much abuſed; his will, his ear, his heart is too too open to thoſe which make his errours their advantage: the hope of his return is lost; he ſtill must wander, while ſuch bewitching Syrens are his leaders. But why do I include them as a number? ’tis onely one; the rest are but his creatures. How many of his brave and nobler Subjects have ſold their lives to purchaſe him his Freedom? All expectation fails; domeſtick Quarrels have ta’en away their lives, that ſtrove to help it: unleſs you pleaſe your Arms ſhall diſinchant him, he ſtill muſt be abuſed, his Kingdom grieved. I had not elſe thus ſtoln to crave your favour. Made to your hand, you have a way is glorious, to let the world behold and know your vertue; Fortune preſents you with a just occaſion to crown your Glory with an equal Goodneſs: would you diſpute it, can there be a motive more weighty, than to ſuccour theſe poor Ruines which elſe must loſe their portions, being Birthright?right? 97 Cc1r 97 right? See here, and view but with a juſt compaſſion, two Royal Plants depreſs’d, and like to wither, both Branches of the Flower-de-luce, the Root you ſprang from; which, but in you, have neither hope nor comfort. Would your impartial wiſdom but conſider how good a work it is to help distreſſes, a wronged Sister cannot be forſaken, and an Heir of ſuch a Crown be left unpitied. In ſuch an act of Goodneſs and of Justice, both heaven and earth will witneſs your true Valour, and your poor Handmaid joy in ſuch a Brother. Let it not breed ſuſpicion, that I ſeek you with ſuch a weak, forſaken, poor attendance: I was enforc’d to ſteal away at randome, and durst not by my number be diſtrusted, by thoſe with Argus eyes obſerv’d my actions. Though I am here, and thoſe behinde that love me, beſides the Justice of my Cauſe, the ſtrongest motive, I bring the hearts of a diſtreſſed Kingdom, that, if you ſet me right, will fight my Quarrel: their Truth needs no ſuſpect; you have for Warrant their Queen and Mistris, with their King that must be. Then, gracious Sir, extend your Royal vertue. I challenge by that purer Bloud, aſſiſtance, whereof my Birth-right gives me equal portion: let not ſucceeding Ages in your Story read ſuch a taint, that you forſook a Sister, a Sister juſtly griev’d, that ſought your Succour.
Her willing tongue would fain have moved farther; but here the fountain of her eyes poured forth their treaſure; a ſhowre of Chryſtal tears enforc’d her ſilence; which kinde of Rhetorick won a Noble pitie: the Paſſions of the minde being ſweetly mov’d, the heart grows great, and ſeems to ſympathize their agitations; which produceth a ready willingneſs, that calls to action the foot, the hand, the eye, the tongue, the body, till that the Engines ſlack that cauſe this vigour; and then The King and his Peers moved at her diſcourſe. they all revert to their firſt temper. The Queens diſcourſe and tears ſo far prevail’d, the King and all his Peers are deeply moved; their longing hearts beat Cc ſtrong- 98 Cc1v 98 ſtrongly for expreſſion, which might aſſure her, they embrac’d her quarrel, and with their Lives would venture ſoon a tryal: Her Brother bids her caſt her cares to his Protection, which would make Edward know and feel his errours; his greater Subjects offer her their Service, and vow to be Companions of her fortune. The general voice of France proclaim’d a fury ſtrain’d to the height, to puniſh her Oppreſſors. This overture for a while is ſo hotly purſued, that ſhe (poor Queen) with an abuſed confidence believ’d things as they ſeemed in ſhew, true, perfect, real. ’Tis not alone her errour, but a diſeaſe all fleſh and blood embraceth; with eaſe we credit what we wiſh and hope for: yet where ſo great a Conſequence waits on the action, there is juſt cauſe to fear and doubt the ſequel. Though that our aims be juſt, diſcreet, and hopeful, yet if they be confined to certain hazard, or do reflect upon the private danger; of that ſame ſecond hand that is engaged, reaſon in juſtice ſtrengthens the ſuſpicion. To right the Queen, and to reſtore her Heir; to eaſe the Subject, puniſh the Oppreſſor; all theſe are works thus far ſeem good and eaſie: but theſe, not Will, but Power and Strength muſt compaſs, againſt a potent King in his own Kingdom; which if it fell out well, return’d with honour; if ill, endanger’d France with an Invaſion, which might perhaps prove fatal and unhappie. Wiſe men are mov’d in Paſſion, not in Judgment, which ſifts the depth and core of ſuch great actions, weighing the danger and advantage, with the hazard and dependance; which if they turn the Scale, or make them even, takes off the edge of their propenſe affections, which Cauſe aſſwag’d the heat of this employment.
Spencer eyes the French, Spencer, whoſe watchful eye was fixt on Paris, by his Perſpectives ſees the glorious welcome that waits upon the Queen and her attendants; he hears no other News, but what proviſions were made in France to ſerve for but fears them not. War in England: he is not frighted, or a whit diſtempered;pered 99 Cc2r 99 pered; he knew the French were giddy, light, inconſtant, apter for Civil Broyls than Forraign Triumphs; beginning more than Men, but in concluſion weaker and more uncertain far than Women: he taxeth yet his own improvidence, that gave the angry Queen ſo fair advantage; ’twas not the Power of France he feared, nor all their threatnings, but the inteſtine danger, which ſeemed fearful: He knew the Subjects hearts were quite eſtranged, which did expecting long for ſome Combuſtion: ſeverity of Laws had kept them under; ’twas not in duty, but by meer compulſion, which backt by Forraign aid, and ſuch brave Leaders, would break their Chains upon the leaſt Alarum.
To take off France, he ſtraight ſelects his Agents, ſuch as well knew the ways of theſe employments, and He bribes them. lades them o’er with Gold, and ſound Inſtructions; bidding them freely bribe, and promiſe mountains, till they had undermin’d and croſs’d the Queens proceedings: he bids them charily obſerve the quality of time, and place, and perſon, proportioning their Rates with ſuch diſcretion, that thoſe which moſt could hurt were deepeſt laden. Theſe Pinaces of State thus fraighted, arrive at Paris, where the heat was almoſt cool’d before their coming; yet they go on to make the buſineſs ſurer: they ſet upon the Pillars of the State, and feel their Pulſes; who wrought like Wax againſt the glorious Sunſhine of brighter Angels, which came ſhowring downwards, and ſtruck them dumb and deaf for oppoſition: Gold in an inſtant chang’d the Council’s temper, and conquer’d without blowes their valiant anger. The Queens diſtreſſed tears are now forgotten; they gave impreſſions, theſe a real feeling: words are but wind, but here’s a ſolid ſubſtance, that pierc’d not the ear, but hearts of her aſſiſtants.
The Plot full-ripe, to make it yet more perfect, they ſet upon the King, and ſhew the danger. To force by Sea a paſſage into England, was a deſigne as truely weak as 100 Cc2v 100 as hopeleſs, where wants a Navie, and the full proviſion might give a ſure Retreat, or certain Landing. To cope at home with ſuch a potent Kingdom, requir’d an Army full of ſtrength, and mighty, which muſt be ſtill ſupply’d with Men and Money; which not ready here in ſuch abundance, a Womans paſſion was too weak a motive to levie Arms alone on that occaſion, which brings no other gains but merely Honour. The Engliſh Nation were not ſo affected unto their Miſtris Quarrel, as to venture legal revenge, or elſe inteſtine rapine; which they muſt hazard, if they looſe, or vanquiſh. Laſtly, a bare relation of a female paſſion enforc’d the Cauſe; which whether true or falſe, was yet in queſtion; the Plaintiff had been heard, but no Defendant. Theſe were the Reaſons which are daily tender’d to take the French King off from his intentions; which lov’d to talk of War, but not to act it. A ſmall perſwaſion quickly fills his ſtomack, that could not well digeſt a War with England. Young Kings that want Experience, have not Judgment to touch the marrow of their proper buſineſs, and ſound the depths of Councels: For Adviſers may be abuſed, and bought and ſold to miſchief, while Servants raiſe their gain from their diſhonour. This being ſo frequent, ’tis a Royal Virtue, that hears, and ſees, but gives no reſolution in things of weight, till he have reconciled his own with judgment to the Councils reaſons: if that it be above his reach that is in queſtion, let him not ſo rely upon the great ones, that their words prove a Law, which have their workings, that aim more at their ends, than his advancement. As Kings have Councellors of State to eaſe their Burden, ſo ſhould they have a ſecond help to guard their Honour; a leſſer body of ſelected good ones, whoſe wiſdomes privately inform him rightly of what in goodneſs is moſt fit his judgment. State- actions fill the Purſe, but foul the Conſcience; and Policy may bloom the Profit, blights the Honour, which 101 Dd1r 101 which Kings ſhould keep as tender as their Eyeſight.
Though thus the ſquares that fed her hopes were altered, the Queen is ſtill led on with promis’d Succours, which at the upſhot meet with new excuſes. She ſeeing theſe delays, and vain protractions, begins to doubt and fear there was ſome juggling; yet bears it ſtrongly with a noble Patience, ſhewing no Diſcontent or leaſt Suſpicion; hoping at worſt that here in fſafety ſhe and her Son might anchor out their troubles. The Poſts that daily fly ’twixt France and England, had liberally inform’d the ſtate of French Occurrents. Spencer inform’d the gap was ſtopt on that ſide, provides to quiet all at home if he could work it: he ſets upon the diſcontented Barons, that hated him, and envied more his Fortunes: he courts their favour, and imparts Promotions that might betray them, more with ſhew than profit: he makes the Gentry proud, by giving Titles that feed ambitious mindes, but not content them; and takes off from the People light Oppreſſions, but keeps afoot the greateſt Grievance, that kept them down from hope to ſhake his Greatneſs. All ſides do entertain it with a ſeeming gladneſs, though well they knew it was enforced kindneſs.
While each part thus diſſembles their intentions, the Navie was call’d home; a Charge was uſeleſs, where was no fear might cauſe a forraign danger: the Ports were open’d, and the Watch ſurceaſed that day and night attended on the Frontier. This haſte, as ’twas too ſudden, wants aſſurance: the riſing Son was abſent, and ſtill lookt for, while the declining dipt his cheeks in darkneſs. To eaſe this care, the Queen is ſtrongly tempted by ſuch as ſeem’d her friends, but were his Agents, to reconcile her ſelf unto her Husband, whom henceforth ſhe might rule as ſhe thought fitting. When this fell ſhort, ſhe is at leaſt intreated to ſend back her young Son, the Kingdoms comfort; which took it ill he ſhould be made a Stranger, or in the power of a forraign Nation.Dd tion. 102 Dd1v 102 tion. Theſe ſweet enchantments move no whit her yielding, that too well knew the Serpent that begat them; her Son ſent back, they had the prey they lookt for, and ſhe muſt lack the prop muſt keep her upright.
This Project failing, they fall upon a new one. King Edward complains to the Pope. The King frames a Letter to his Holineſs, full of humility and fair obedience, yet craving help, and bitterly complaining that Iſabel his Wife had fled his Kingdom, pretending a meer Voyage of Devotion, and had ſtoln away his Son, his only comfort, attended by a Crue of trayterous Rebels, that ſtrove to break the Peace of Chriſtian Princes; amongſt which one being tane in actual Treaſon, had eſcap’d his Priſon by a lewd Inchantment, whom he had cauſe to fear abus’d his Wedlock. Laſtly, the French King, his Alley and Brother, received and kept them, being often ſummon’d to deſiſt and leave them. The Pack of this complaint ſo well contrived, was not oppoſed by the French King’s Council, who could be well content, that by commandment, their importuning Gueſts were fairly quitted; Neceſſity would colour actions of unkindneſs, if Houſhold-Laws were broke, or thoſe of Nature. This Letter runs from hence to Paris, from thence to Rome, by that ſame practick Agent, that in this Interlude had won the Garland; he bears a Picklock with him, that muſt open the gates that were faſt ſhut to guard the Conclave: his firſt Arrival finds a fair reception: Where Money makes the Mart, the Market’s eaſie. Theſe goodly gloſes guilded o’re with ſhadows, muſt win belief where there was none to anſwer: Had they been juſt and true, the fact was odious, and might in Juſtice challenge reformation; it was enough that here it is believed ſo, the Fact was fully proved, the Reaſon ſmother’d. The Cardinals, that freely felt the Engliſh Bounty, perſwade the Pope it was both juſt and pious, ſo great a Miſdemeanour ſhould be queſtion’d,ſtion’d, 103 Dd2r 103 ſtion’d, that gave the Chriſtian word ſo lewd Example. The Pope admoniſhes the French King to quit the Queen. On this flies out a preſent Admonition to the French King, that ſtraight he free his Kingdome of this his Siſter-Queen and her Adherents, on pain of diſobedience, Interdiction.
She is enticed to return into England. While this Device was moulding, out of England the Queen receives a large, but ſecret Summons, that all her friends were ready to attend her with all things fitting on her firſt arrival: more than the plagues of Egypt did oppreſs them, which they nor could nor would endure longer: they bid her haſten her return; though her proviſion were not enough, their Swords ſhould fight her Quarrel. She with a joyful heart receives this offer, which like a precious Balm, clos’d up the wounds of her ſad thoughts, made dull with her ſuſpicion. She tells the French King. More to advance this weighty work declining, ſhe tells the King the tenour of this tender. His clouded brow, the character of Paſſion, diſcover’d ſoon the ſignes of alteration, which yet ſeem’d more of Pitie than of Anger: he had but then read his Italian Summons, which he He ſhews her the Popes Sentence. plucks forth, and caſts his drooping Siſter, bidding her view, and wiſely there conſider, what danger he was in by her protection. The amazed Queen, when ſhe beheld the Sentence, in ſtead of help, would rob her of her refuge, ſhe falls upon her knee imploring pitie, if not to give her Aid, to right her Honour, which was eclipſed with ſo foul a Slander. A ſhowre of mellow tears, as milde as April’s, thrill down her lovely cheeks, made red with anger: dearly ſhe begs at leaſt but ſo much reſpite until his Holineſs might be informed, her innocence was ſuch ſought no favour, but that the Law ſhould give upon full hearing. She doth implore him that he would compare her adverſaries malice with his cunning, who not contented with her deep oppreſſion, ſought to betray at once her Hope and Honour, wrought with ſuch art, and ſuch a cloſe conveyance, that here her Judgement had outrun her Tryal.He 104 Dd2v 104
He nothing ſorry for ſo fair a warrant that took him off from charge and future hazard, and yet withal would cover ſuch Unkindneſs, ſeems to lament the cauſe, and his condition, that of neceſſity muſt yeeld obedience: he could not for her ſake at one blow hazard the danger of himſelf and his whole Kingdom. Not to Perſwades her to Peace. forſake her wholly, he perſwades her to entertain a Peace; the King her Husband ſhould yeeld to her Conditions: he’ll effect it, that had a power to force it in his denyal; which he would venture, if the World gainſaid it. Let him (quoth he) then uſe you ill, or not receive you, I’ll make him know I can and will revenge it: ſmall time is left you to conſider or diſpute it; adviſe with ſpeed, and let me know your anſwer.
She relates it to the Biſhop, Cane, and Mortimer. The amazed Queen abandoned and forſaken, relates at full this far unlookt-for paſſage unto the Biſhop, Cane, and Mortimer: their valiant hearts make good their Miſtris ſorrows, and tell her they would ſet her right without Who adviſe her not to return. the French-men; bidding her not conſent to her returning, though it were ſoder’d up with ſhowers of kindneſs: ſhe well enough did know her Husbands humour, which would obſerve no Vow, no Oath, no Promiſe: if Spencer once more ſeiz’d her in his clutches, ſhe Mortimer ſtorms. ſhould be ſurely mew’d, and kept from Gadding. Mortimer contains not in this ſtrain his Paſſion, but breaks into the bitterneſs of Anger, taxing the French as baſe, unkinde, perfidious, that knew not what belong’d to The Queen moderates. love, or valour. The Queen, that knew the danger, mildly calms him, letting him truely underſtand his weakneſs, that in ſuch provocation might beget ſurpriſal, when they muſt be ſent back without prevention. Though that her heart were fir’d, and ſwoln with anger, ſhe temporizeth ſo, ’twas undiſcovered: a whiſpering murmur, mutter’d from the Courtiers, ſays, that ſhe ſhould be ſent with ſpeed for England: ſhe feigns to make proviſion for her Journey, yet unreſolved which way to ſcape, or whither; yet with this preparation ſhe be- 105 Ee1r 105 beguil’d the French that had cozen’d her; for they had bargain’d to ſee her ſafe at home, and re-deliver’d. Being thus irreſolute, of means, of friends, of ſuccour unprovided; the Maſter failing, ſhe attempts the Servants, who ſing their Maſters tune by rote verbatim; they cannot give her ſingle help or comfort. Declining miſery that once is ſinking, findes it ſelf ſhunn’d like ſome infectious Fever, and goes alone in ſhades and ſilent darkneſs. Fortune’s bright Sun-ſhine walks with more profeſſors, than her reſplendence hath or beams or ſtreamers; but if her glory ſink, or be eclipſed, they ſhun her fall, as children do a Serpent: and yet ſuch tryals guide not wretched Man’s election. Affection, (that forſakes in choice the Judgement) is led alone by form, and not by ſubſtance; which doth betray with eaſe where it is truſted: if Vertue guide the chooſer, the beginning is mutual goodneſs, which ſtill ends in glory. The very height and depth of all Affliction cannot corrupt the worth of ſuch a Friendſhip, that loves the Man more than it loves his Fortunes. The raging Storms and Winds may blow and batter, yet ſtill this goodly Rock makes good his Station. The correſpondencie of firm Affections is purely innocent, ſincerely grounded: if Private ends or Worldly aims o’er-weigh them, they then are but a meer Commerce and Traffick, which hold no longer than the Bargain is driving. Where Truth apparently doth warrant Love and Friendſhip, it lives and dies, but never changeth Colour. But to proceed: the Queen in this Diſtraction findes, paſt her hope, an unexpected Comfort; this Heaven can do, when fleſh and Robert of Artois. bloud’s at weakeſt. Robert of Arthois, a man both wiſe and valiant, that loved Goodneſs for her own sake, not for faſhion, at her firſt coming tender’d her his Service: he was a well-reſolved ſteady States-man, not led by Complement, or feign’d profeſſions: he had been abſent during all this paſſage; returning, hears and pities her Condition, blaming her Nations falſhood, and her Ee miſ- 106 Ee1v 106 miſfortune, which he reſolves to help out with his beſt Counſel: he ſeeks and findes the Queen, whom, ſadly muſing, he interrupts, and thus revives her ſpirits.
His Speech. Great Queen, It is the more excellent part of Wiſdome, with an equal Vertue to entertain the different kindes of Fortune; this Peregrination of ours is a meer compoſition of Troubles, which ſeem greater or leſs, as is the quality of that heart that bears them: I muſt confeſs, you have too great a portion, the Juſtice of your Grief doth truely ſpeak it; but Tears and Sorrow are not means to right them. Juſt Heaven doth graciouſly behold and pity thoſe that do with an active Hope implore it, and work as well as pray, the deeds of Goodneſs: your tender Sex, and former great Condition, have been a ſtranger to theſe bitter tryals; a little time will make them more familiar, and then you will confeſs your Paſſions errour. They ſooneſt periſh yield to their Afflictions, and ſee no journeys end that tire with burden. For your own Vertues ſake, reſume your ſpirits; your Sorrows are not ſuch as you believe them. Behold in me, your true and faithful Servant, a reſolution fixt to run your fortune; you may no longer hazard your abode or being in this unworthy and unthank-ful Climate, paved o’re and cloſely made to your deſtruction. Wherefore if my advice my ſway your judgment, let ſpeed and care prevent ſo ſure and great a danger. Near to this place the Empire hath his Confines, where many Princes are may yield you Succour; at worſt, you there may finde a ſure Protection, which in your Native Soil is more than doubtful. I will not yet preſume to teach your judgment, that can much better ſway your own Condition: Only I lay before you truly my Conceptions, which have no other aim than for your Safety. Your Wiſdome may direct your beſt advantage, which I will ſecond with my Life and Fortunes.
Which infinitely joys the Queen. Infinitely was the Queen joy’d with his Relation, which weighing the quality of the man that ſpake it, ſeem’d 107 Ee2r 107 ſeem’d juſtly worth embracing: She findes it was ſincere, not light or verbal, which makes it ſelf a partner of her Sorrows; ſhe doubles many Thanks, and gentle Proffers of true requital, which her Son performed when he himſelf was forced to leave his Country. Straight ſhe provides to follow his directions, and with a wary and ſecret carriage, ſettles her ſelf for her intended Journey; yet ſtill gives out ſhe meant to go for England, whither ſhe ſends a Poſt to treat Conditions, with Letters ſmoothly writ in all ſubmiſſion; and courting Spencer with a world of kindneſs, ſhe lets him know that ſhe relyed ſolely upon his Love to be the Mediator. Unto her Royal Brother ſhe diſcourſeth, that now ſhe underſtood the Peace was finiſht, which made her firſt a ſtranger to her Husband, who now would haſten home to make it perfect. And to the Council, which well ſhe knew were bribed to ſend her back perforce, if ſhe deny’d it, ſhe more and more extols and praiſeth Spencer, as if ’twere he alone had wrought her Welfare. The Engliſh thus abus’d, the French deluded, both are ſecure; ſhe was providing homewards, which made the one remiſs, the other careleſs; elſe ſhe, foreſtall’d, had found her Project harder. In this her courſe ſhe ſees but ſmall appearance, and few ſuch Hopes as might induce Aſſurance; yet ſhe reſolves to hazard all, and wander, rather than to return thus unprovided. Could ſhe in reaſon look for any aſſiſtance from Strangers, when her Brother had denyed it? or could ſhe think the Germans would be faithful, when her own Birthright had for gain betray’d her? Alas, ſhe could not; yet enforc’d, muſt venture that in her Hopes, could finde no other Refuge. Neceſſity, the Law of laws, makes Cowards valiant, and him content that hath no Choice to guide him; which from the Barren’ſt ground expects ſome Harveſt, that elſe in danger would deſpair and periſh. All things prepar’d, and her Attendants ready, ſhe takes a ſolemn Leave, and thanks her Brother, aſſuring him ſhe nothing more 108 Ee2v 108 more deſired, than that ſhe might but live to quite his Kindneſs. His Anſwer, like his Gifts, was ſhort and little. And thus ſhe leaves the Court, in ſhew contented: with a ſad heart, a watry eye, a paſſion highly inflam’d, ſhe journeys forward till ſhe came nearer where the Bounders parted. The limits of ingrateful France ſhe then forſaking, gives them this parting Blow, to eaſe her Sorrow.
Her Farewel to France. Farewel (quoth ſhe) farewel, thou glorious Climate, where I firſt ſaw the World, and firſt did hate it; thou gaveſt me Birth, and yet denyest me Being; and Royal Kinred, but no Friends were real. Would I had never ſought thy Help or Succour, I might have ſtill believ’d thee kinde, not cruel: but thou to me art like a graceleß mother, that ſuckles not, but baſely ſells her children. Alas! what have I done, or how offended, thou ſhouldst deny my life her native Harbour? Was’t not enough for thee in my Diſtreſſes to yeeld no Comfort, but thou must Expel me, and, which was worſe, Betray me to my Ruine? The poorest ſoul that claims in thee a dwelling, is far more happie than thy Royal Iſſue: but time will come thou wilt repent this Errour, if thou remember this my just Prediction; my Off-ſpring will revenge a Mothers Quarrel, a Mothers Quarrel just and fit for Vengeance. Then ſhalt thou ſeek and ſue, yet finde more favour from him thy Foe, than I could win, a Sister.
With this ſhe weeping ends, and paceth forward, the Wheel of Fortune turning: Grief grown greater, few real Friends attend it, falſe forſake it: Infidelity, the Plague of Greatneſs, is commonly at full, when Hope doth leſſen; and ſtrives to make the Tide of The Biſhop of Exeter forſakes the Queen. Sorrow greater. Stapleton, Biſhop of Exeter, who till now had faithfully follow’d the Queens party, and made himſelf a ſharer of her action, with an unnoble preſident doth now forſake her, ſeeing the French hopes vaniſh’d, and thoſe remaining hopeleſs; examiningning 109 Ff1r 109 ning the grounds of her adventure, almoſt as ſhort in hope as in aſſurance, he ſlily ſteals away to his old Maſter, which wins him Grace, but loſt his Life and Honour. Some think him from the firſt not ſound or real, but a meer ſtalking-horſe for Spencer’s Cunning: but this hath no congruity with Reaſon. The Queens departure unknown and unſuſpected, in which he was a prime and private Actor, had he at firſt been falſe, had been prevented, at leaſt the Prince’s; which had marr’d the project. Neither can I believe ſo mean or baſely of that ſame Reverend Honour of his Calling, that it would be a Conduit-pipe to feed the ſtomack of ſuch a tainted, foul, polluted Ciſtern. By this Treachery the reſolutions of the Queen are fully diſcover’d; the Landskip of her Travels ſoon ſurvey’d, begets a more contempt than fear of danger. The coldneſs of the French King being underſtood, their flat denial yet contents not Spencer, who did expect his bargain for his Money: Had he had but the Prince, they had dealt fairly, while he was being in their proper power. But they, to juſtifie themſelves, profeſs it freely the Queen had gone beyond them with their Cunning; They thought ſhe had been homeward bound, as ſhe divulged. Thus Womens Wit ſometimes can cozen Stateſmen. Now are the German Natures ſifted, and their Motions, who fight but ill for words, and worſe for nothing. Their Conſtitutions dull and ſlow, were fitter to guard a Fort, than to invade a Kingdom. The Queen was bare of Money, void of Credit; which might beget them Valour, her aſſiſtance. Theſe were conceptions pleas’d our Minions fancy.
Time, that at length outſtrips the longeſt journey, hath brought our Engliſh Pilgrims into Henault. The Earl, a man was truely good and noble, reſolv’d Is bravely welcomed by the Earl. ſo Royal Gueſts deſerv’d as brave a Welcome, eſteeming it a Vertue fit his greatneſs, to be the Patron Ff of 110 Ff1v 110 of Majeſtick Ruines: He had a Brother youthful, ſtrong, and valiant, one that lov’d Arms, and made His Brother pities the Queen, them his profeſſion; this man obſerv’d the Queen, and ſees her ſorrow, which deeply ſunk, and mov’d a ſwift Compaſſion: when he beheld a Miſery ſo great and glorious, a ſtructure of ſuch worth, ſo fair and lovely, forſaken, unfrequented, and unfurniſht, by the curſt hand of an unworthy Landlord, he vows within himſelf to help repair it: He tells her, he pitied her Miſfortune; his heart as well as eye did bear him and promiſes his Service. witneſs: He promis’d her his Service and Aſſiſtance, which he would both engage in this her quarrel; and ſeems right glad of ſuch a fair occaſion to ſhew his Valour in ſo brave a Quarrel.
So fair a Morning made the Evening hopeful: By thoſe ſweet looks of her diſtreſſed Beauty, and the beſt language of ſo rich a Pleader, ſhe doth confirm his well-diſpoſed Affection, whoſe willing offer ſeem’d more than Courtſhip. The gallant Henaulder engag’d, He makes preparation. makes preparation to ſet upon this glorious Work, this great Employment. Pity, that ſtrains the Nerves of vertuous Paſſions, moves faſter far, when that which gives it motion doth reliſh Beauty, Juſtice, Goodneſs. The Tongue that harſhly pleads his own compaſſion, is for the moſt part entertain’d with like reſpondence; when humble Sweetneſs, cloath’d in truth and plainneſs, invites the ear to hear, the heart to pity. Who by a crooked fortune is forced to try and to implore the help of Strangers, muſt file his words to ſuch a winning Smoothneſs, that they betray not him that hears or ſpeaks them; yet muſt they not be varniſht o’re with Falſhood, or painted with the terms of Art or Rhetorick; this bait may catch ſome Gudgeons, but hardly him that hath a ſolid Judgment. ’Tis more improper where we ſue for favour, to ruſsle boyſterouſly, or grumbling murmur ſome unſavoury Prayers; which ſeems to threaten rather a kinde of force, than hope of 111 Ff2r 111 of pity: So begging Souldiers fright a Country-Farmer.
The Earl condemns his haſte. The Earl being a man well broken in the affairs of State, having a knowledge of this his Brothers reſolution, thinks it taſted more of Heat than ſound Diſcretion; he condemns his haſte, and blames his promiſe; and ſending for him, with a grave, yet mild diſcourſe, doth thus preſent the danger:
To undertake a War, is far more weighty, than hand to hand to fight a ſingle Combat; the one needs many ſtrengths, the other skill and valour. Who thinks with his own arm to gain a Conqueſt, may ſell his Life, and yet not purchaſe Honour. I pity, as you do, this Royal Lady, and would aſſiſt her too, if I were able; but to attempt where is no hope to vanquiſh, makes Foes of Friends, and Friends far more unhappy. France has refus’d, a ſtrong and warlike Nation; that King, a Brother, wiſely waves the quarrel; he knows the Engliſh Strength, and ſo digeſts it, that he’ll not undertake a War ſo hopeleſs. Think you your ſelf more prudent, ſtrong, or able, than is the Power and Strength of France united? Or can you dream the Engliſh may be conquered by a few forward Youths that long for action? Do not miſtake the work of your Adventure, which is too ſad and great for greater Princes. I do commend your forward Valour, noble Pity; it ſhewes a vertuous Zeal and Will to Goodneſs: but meaſure well the act ere you begin it; your Valour elſe muſt have a lame Repentance. Where is the Sinew of the War that muſt maintain it? Nor ſhe nor you have Arms, or Means, or Money; and ſure Words will not conquer ſuch a Kingdom. Yet if you will be fixt, on God’s Name venture, I’ll help you what I can: I’ll be no Party. True Valour dwells not with an overdaring, but lives with thoſe that fight by juſt diſcretion, where there is Hope at leaſt, if not Advantage. Could you but credit the beginning, that in reaſon the world might think it 112 Ff2v 112 it had a touch of Judgment, I muſt confeſs I ſhould approve your Valour; but you can only countenance your firſt motion with confidence beyond the Moon or Planets: Then leave betimes, before you be engaged, which after must much more impair your Honour. We’ll both aſſiſt her with our Purſe and Forces, yet do it ſo, the quarrel ſeem not ours.
Sir John with a quiet and attentive patience hears out his Brother, knowing his admonitions ſprung from an honeſt Heart and grave Experience, yet thinks rob’d by Age of youthful Vigour; from which belief he draws this ſudden Anſwer.
His Anſwer. Sir, If all the world forſake this Noble Lady, my ſingle arm alone ſhall fight her quarrel; I have engag’d my Faith, and will preſerve it, or leave my Bones within the Bed of Honour: No After-age ſhall taint me with ſuch baſeneß, I gave a Queen my Vows, and after broke them. Such preſidents as theſe we ſeldom meet with, nor ſhould they be ſo ſlenderly regarded. The Mother and her Son, the Heir apparent of ſuch a Kingdom, plead in Juſtice Pity; Nor ſhall She baſely be by me forſaken. Reaſons of State I know, not your own Nature, do take you off from ſuch a glorious Action, which your own Vertue tells you is full of Goodneſs. Then ſit you ſtill, cry ayme: I’ll do the buſineſs. Inglorious France may ſhame in his refuſal; nor will I follow ſuch a ſtrain of baſeneſs. Although no Siſter, ’tis a Queen that ſeeks it; a Queen that juſtly merits Love and Pity. I have ſome Followers, Means, and ſome Friends and State to ſtick too; I’ll pawn them all ere ſhe ſhall be forſaken. I know I can in ſafety bring her thither, and ſhe hath there her Friends will bid her welcome. That King hath loſt his Subjects hearts, grown ſore with grievance; his Minions hatred will be our advantage: Admit the worſt, her expectations fail her, we then can make retreat without diſhonour. But Edward 113 Gg1r 113 Edward then may chance revenge the quarrel; we have thoſe pawns will make our own Conditions; the King in the remainder being ours, they’ll buy our Peace, and not incenſe our Anger. I’ll not deny, ’tis good to weigh the hazard; but he that fears each danger, ſhall do nothing, ſince every humane Action hath Suſpicion. I am reſolv’d your Love ſhall ſtill command me; yet give me leave to be mine own elector. I cannot blaunch this act which I am tyed to, without the taint of ſhame and foul diſhonour, which I will rather dye than once conſent to, although your ſelf and all the world perſwade me.
Theſe words ſpoken ſo full home, with ſuch a brave reſolution, ſtopt all reply, and farther contradiction. The Queen jealous of Treachery. The Queen, who had already a French and an Italian trick, was jealous leſt ſhe here ſhould taſte a Flemiſh one. The Earl’s Speech had given her a doubtful belief that he had been tamper’d withal, ſeeing his firſt temper ſo much cooled: She knew well enough, if Money could prevail, it would be tender’d freely; and she muſt then be bought and ſold to miſchief. Many of her Domeſtick Spies were here attending, as Spencer’s Agents fruſtrated. ſhe well knew and ſaw, to work her ruine. Spencer ’tis true had ſent his Agents hither with like Inſtructions, and their Bills of lading; but here they finde their pains and labour fruitleſs. The Earl was himſelf, not led by Counſel; and had a heart of ſteel againſt corruption, though he was loath to back alone this quarrel; which did proceed from Want, not Will to help her: yet he abhorr’d the very thought of ſelling his Fame and Honour by ſo foul Injuſtice. Yet thoſe that had the charge were not ſo hopeleſs, but that a little time might hap to work it: As all Courts have, his had a kinde of people, and theſe were great ones too, that boldly warrant and undertake to undermine their Maſter; which dayly fed them more and more with Money, while they give only words inſtead of payment. The Briber trades but on poor advantage,Gg vantage, 114 Gg1v 114 vantage, that buys but Hope, and that at beſt uncertain; which often fails, although ’tis dearly purchas’d: And reaſon good, ſince this may be a Maxime; Corrupted mindes, that to do the actions of Injuſtice will prejudice the Soul and Conſcience, by the contracting of a wicked enterpriſe for gain or lucre, will never refuſe, in hope of a greater advantage, to ſell themſelves to a ſecond miſchief.
The Queens doubts increaſing, ſhe importunes the haſtning her journey: But now the Queens doubts increaſing, and her longing grown to the height of her expectation, ſhe is enforced with more importunity to haſten on the advancement of her Journey: ſhe makes her winning looks (the handmaids of her Hopes) expreſs their beſt ability, But without need. more to enflame the heart of her Protector. But alas! theſe motives need not; ambition of Glory, the natural operations of Pitie, and the honeſt care of his engagement, had made him ſo truely hers, and careful of this deſigne, that he leaves no means or opportunity unattempted, that might ſet it forward. Already had he gotten together Three hundred well-reſolved Gallants, that vow to live and dye in this fair Quarrel. Here was the body of this preparation, the pillar that this Enterprize muſt ſtick to. Confidence is certainly, in the actions of this nature, a ſingular Vertue, and can work Wonders; elſe we cannot but believe this little Army ſcarce ſtrong enough to conquer ſuch a Kingdom. The Queens hopes muſt in reaſon have been very deſperate, if her Domeſtick expectation had not been greater than her forreign Levy: But more could not be had, without ſome doubt, more hazard, and a longer protraction; and theſe are believed ſufficient to try their fortune, if not to maſter it. They ſtay not therefore to attend the gaining of a multitude, which might at their arrival rather beget ſuſpicion, than win aſſiſtance. If the intelligence kept touch, they were ſure of Men enough, and they had Leaders.
Spencer’s purloyning Brokers ſeeing the flood coming, which 115 Gg2r 115 which yet would, as they thought, at beſt prove but a Neap-tide, ſince they fail’d in the deepeſt Myſtery of their employment (for here was room for no corruption) reſolve yet not to make their labour altogether fruitleſs, but to give their great Maſter a true touch of their willingneſs and ability; the remainder of that Money which fell ſhort in the Maſter-piece, they employ to gain a true and full underſtanding of the height and quality of this Army, and principally to what part it was directed. Gold, that makes all things eaſie, fails not in this his forcible Operation; which brings unto them the information of the Men, Arms, and number, with the quality of the Navy that was to waft them, and the very Haven intended for their place of landing. Though, the Circumſtances duely conſider’d, the bulk of this Enterprize was in it ſelf contemptible enough; yet to improve their own diligence, they extenuate and leſſen it in their advertiſement; they ſend away a forerunning Poſt, to anticipate the doubt, and foreſtal the danger. But now all proviſions are ready, and attend the moving of theſe hopeful Adventurers. The Queen with a lively look, the Preſager of her future fortune, takes a ſolemn leave of her kinde Hoſt with many hearty thanks, which muſt ſtand for payment till ſhe had recover’d the ability to free the reckoning; which after ſhe as truely performed, by matching the King her Son to a Daughter of the Houſe of Heinault.
The Queen embarques at Dort. At Dordrecht the Prince and She with their Retinue are led a ſhipboard, whence they depart and ſteer their Courſe for Dongport-haven, which was the place reſolv’d on for their Landing; that part being held the fitteſt and the readieſt to give them ſuccour. The Heaven, that favour’d their deſigne, was more propitious, and from their preſent Fear procures their Safety. Spencer being largely inform’d of their intentions, had made a ſound proviſion, to give them a hotter welcome than 116 Gg2v 116 than they could withſtand or look for, had their directions held as they had meant them. Scarce had they run the Mornings-Watch, the Skies grew cloudy, a ſullen darkneſs ſpread all o’re the Welkin; the bluſtering Winds break looſe with hollow roaring, and angry Neptune makes his Level Mountains: The watry Element had no Green-ſickneſs, but curled banks of ſnow that ſparkle fury. Theſe Callenders at once aſſail the Veſſel, whoſe Lading was the Hope and Glory of a Kingdom; the wooden Houſe doth like a Mew triumphing, beſtride the angry Billow; and as a Horſe well-mannag’d, doth beat his Corvet bravely, without the hazard of his careful Rider.
She is frighted at Sea. The Queen, that knew no Flouds, no Tempeſts, but thoſe which ſprung from Sighs and Tears of Paſſion, grows deeply frighted, and amaz’d with danger: The little Prince, that ne’re had felt ſuch motions as made him deadly ſick without diſorder, takes it unkindly, and with ſick tears laments the hanſel of his firſt profeſſion to be a Souldier. All are confus’d; the Mariners dejected, do ſpeak their tears in language ſeem’d to conjure. Three days together toſt and tumbled, they float it out in hope without aſſurance; in all which time the poor diſtreſſed Veſſel durſt neither wear a Band, or bear a Bonnet. The violence at length being ſomewhat ſwaged, and the bright Sun appearing, ſmiling ſweetly, they finde themſelves in view of Land, but where they knew not, nor thought it fit by landing to diſcover. While thus irreſolute they reſt debating, a ſecond doubt enforc’d their reſolution; their Victual was too ſhort to feed their number till they could tack about for ſome new Harbour; a fault without excuſe in ſuch employments; this made She lands at Harwich. them venture forth at Harwich to try their fortune: Unſhipping of their Men, their Arms, their Luggage, was long in action, and with much diſorder; three days are ſpent in this, while they are forced to make the 117 Hh1r 117 the naked Sands their ſtrength and bulwark. This made great Spencer’s errour moſt apparent; the leaſt reſiſtance here, or ſhew, or larum, had ſent them back to Sea, or elſe ſurpriz’d them; a little ſtrength at Sea had ſtopt their paſſage, or made them lawful prize by ſuch a purchaſe: But After-wits can help precedent Errours, if they may be undone, and then new acted. Yet to excuſe this overſight, in ſhew ſo wretchleſs, ’twas his Intelligence, not Judgment fail’d him: knowing the weakneſs, he eſteem’d his vantage in ſuffering them to land ſecure and certain: He would not blaunch the Deer, the Toyl ſo near, which he was confident would give poſſeſſion of thoſe he had ſo long purſued and ſought for. To raiſe a Guard to wait upon each quarter, if it were Wiſdome, might be no Diſcretion, as his affairs then ſtood; ſuch motions promis’d rather a Guard to bid them welcome, than reſiſt them: as it would cauſe a fear, ſo ’twas a Summons to ſuch as were reſolved to back their Party: He made that place alone ſecure, where he expected, and they themſelves reſolv’d to make their landing; the reſt he leaves at random, and to Fortune, rather than make things worſe by more Commotion.
But now this weather-beaten Troop march’d boldly forward, finding as yet few friends, but no reſiſtance: Marching forward. She is refreſh’d at St. Hamonds Abbey. Whoſo had ſeen their Body, might have deemed they had been come to rob ſome Neighbour-Village, rather than bent to bid the King to ſuch a Breakfaſt. St. Hamondes, an Abbey of black Monks, had the honour to give their long-loſt Miſtriſs the firſt Welcome: Here She receives a fair and free refreſhing, and yet but a faint hope of preſent ſuccour, without the which ſhe knew her caſe was deſperate. The bruit of this ſtrange Novelty was here divulged; which like a Thunder-ſhower, or ſome Land-water that had drown’d the Marſhes, and o’reflown the Level, doth make the Cattle run to ſeek for ſuccour: But when they knew the bent of her intentionsHh tentions 118 Hh1v 118 tentions not fixt to rifle, but reform the Kingdom, they come like Pigeons by whole flocks to her aſſiſtance. Soon flew the News unto the grieved Barons, whoſe itching ears attentive, long’d to meet it: It doubled as it flew; and ere it toucht them, three hundred Henaults were ten thouſand Souldiers. They loſe no Lancaſter firſt joyns her. time, for fear of ſome prevention. Henry of Lancaſter, whoſe Brothers Death and proper grievance inflam’d his heart with Grief, his hand for Vengeance, with a ſtrong troop of Friends and ſtout Attendants, was the firſt great one that encreas’d her Party; while many other brave and noble Spirits do ſecond him themſelves, and all their Forces. By theſe Supplies the Queen and her great Strangers are quickly cured, and freed from their firſt Quartane that ſhak’d their hopes with ſo much agitation.
The ſlumbring King had ſlept out all the Prologue of this ſad Tragedy, which he ſuſpects would end in blood and miſchief: As in his pleaſures, in this weighty buſineſs he had rely’d ſecure on Spencer’s Wiſdome; but now the hollow murmur of his danger thunder’d ſo loud, that The King is deſpairingly ſorrowful: his Council ſtartled. he enforc’d, awakes, and ſees nought but the face of a deſpairing Sorrow: each day brings news of new revolt, each hour a Larum, that threatned guilty Souls with Blood and Vengeance: His ſtartled Council frighted, fainting, hopeleſs, fall to ſurvey the ſtrength of their purſuers; but while they are a regiſtring their Forces, they are inform’d the Storm grows ſtrong and greater, and like a Ball of Snow increas’d by motion. Their proper Weakneſs, and the Ill-affection of thoſe which ſhould defend their Soveraigns quarrel, makes action doubtful, and the end as hopeleſs; ſo that no certain way remain’d to ſtop the current. Now is the Errour tax’d, and Judgment blamed, that neither barr’d the Gates, nor ſtopt the Entry, ſince in the Houſe itſelf was no aſſurance. Now is the Cruelty that judg’d the Barons dearly repented, which was come 119 Hh2r 119 come for vengeance. Now is the Tyranny of all that Grievance which had abus’d the King, and robb’d the Kingdom, condemn’d by his own Actors, as a motive in Juſtice fit to be reform’d and puniſh’d. Laſtly, the purchaſe gain’d by ſuch corruption as ſold Promotions, Places, Juſtice, Honour, yields no aſſiſtance, but doth prove a burden, which bruis’d the hearts and thoughts of them that bare it. Affliction, fitteſt Phyſick, ſole Commandreſs for all diſeaſed Minds, polluted Bodies, when ſhe doth ſharply touch the ſenſe of our tranſgreſſions, begets a Sorrow, and a ſad Repentance; making us know our ſelves and our own weakneſs, which were meer ſtangers to our own Conditions: This ſhe effects in all; though full Repentance be a work proper to a true Contrition, which by amendment makes her Power more perfect. A Minde that’s prepoſſeſt, by Cuſtome hardned, with a reſolved Will that acts Injuſtice, obſerves the firſt part of her Precepts; ſadly ſorry, yet ’tis not for his actions, but thoſe errours laid him open to ſo curſt a tryal: The point of Satiſfaction or Amendment it thinks too deep a ranſome, hard a ſentence, which eaſeth not, but addes to his misfortune. If here might end the end of mans Creation, this had ſome colour for ſuch crafty Wiſdome; but where Eternity of Bliſs or Torment doth wait upon the Soul, that leaves the Body a prey to Death, and to a baſe Corruption, it is an act of madneſs to betray it with humane Policy, without Religion. Actions of goodneſs muſt be truely acted; not ſacrificing part, but all the Offering, obſerving every point that is requir’d to make up a Repentance full and perfect. This Leſſon is too hard for thoſe great Babies that ſuck the milk of Greatneſs, not Religion. The Fundamental part being fixt to get unjuſtly, believes a reſtitution more improper, which makes their cares and former labours fruitleſs, and in an inſtant blights an age of gleanings: Theſe be the Meditations of a Stateſman, grown 120 Hh2v 120 grown plump and fat from other mens Oppreſſions; they live in doubtful pleaſures, dye in terrour; what follows after, they do feel for ever.
Our Councellors, though they were deeply toucht with cauſe, had yet no leaſure but to deliberate their proper ſafety, which findes a poor protection, dull, and hopeleſs. Their Enemies rejoyce, their Friends turn craven, and all forſake the pit before the battle. Neceſſity, that treads upon their heels, admits no reſpite; they muſt reſolve to fight, or flye, or ſuffer: This makes them chuſe that courſe which ſeem’d moſt hopeful, to temporize, which might beget advantage; the fury of this ſtorm in time would leſſen; the giddy motions of the Vulgar ſeldome laſted, which throng to all that tends to Innovation: A Kings diſtreſs once truely known, would win him ſuccour, ſince thoſe which break his peace not ſeek his ruine. With theſe vain hopes he ſeeks to guard the City, and make the Tower ſtrong of all Proviſion; knowing that he which hath but London ſure, though all the reſt be loſt, may yet recover.
The King ſuſpects the City of London. But Edward will not hear to keep the City; their multitude he fear’d would firſt betray him: He knew they were a crew of weaker Spirits, for fear would ſell their fathers, or for profit; they never ſift the Juſtice, or the quarrel, but ſtill adhere and ſtick to him that’s ſtrongeſt: had he ſtill kept this Hold, and took the Tower, but with the ſtrength he had, and might have levied, he then had bridled up the wavering City, and kept his Adverſaries at a bay too long and doubtful for their affairs, which were but yet uncertain. The guard of this place he commends to Stapleton Biſhop of Exeter: This Charge did not properly ſuit with his profeſſion, unleſs ’twere thought his tongue could charm Obedience: but he already had been falſe, betray’d his Miſtriſs, and with more reaſon might be now ſuſpected. It ſeems they had no choice, and ſtrong preſum- 121 Ii1r 121 preſumptions the City would not long remain obedient: if ſo, the fact was worſe and more unworthy, to leave ſo good a friend in ſuch a hazard. The King, with Arundel and both the Spencers, with ſmall attendance Betakes himſelf to Briſtow. get them hence to Briſtow: His Army was much leſs in his own Kingdom, than thoſe the Queen had rais’d by forreign pity. This Town was ſtrong and able, well provided, and had a Haven, whence in occaſion they might venture further: But yet the King might have the ſame ſuſpicion, which made him leave and quit the ſtrength of London. Arundel and Wincheſter do undertake the City, Edward and Briſtow would make good the Caſtle; here was the refuge they reſolve to ſtick to, which in the Citizens aſſurance ſeem’d defenſive.
The Queen underſtanding the Royal Chamber was forſaken, and left to the cuſtody of the Biſhop her old Servant, that had given her the ſlip in her Travels, quickly apprehends the advantage; addreſſing a fair, but The Queen ſends a mandatory Letter to the Mayor of London, to keep the City for her and the Prince. mandatory Letter from her ſelf and her Son to Chickwell, then Lord Mayor, to charge him ſo to reſerve and keep the City to their uſe, as he expected favour, or would anſwer the contrary at his peril. Upon the receipt of this Letter, he aſſembles the Common-Council; and by a cunning-couch’d Oration, the Recorder makes known the Contents; which is no ſooner underſtood, but the general Cry, that obſerv’d the Tide turning, proclaim it reaſon to embrace the Queens Party, who was ſo ſtrongly provided to reform the Diſorders of the Kingdom. Stapleton having gotten the knowledge of this paſſage, ſends to the Mayor for the keys of the Gates, for the Kings aſſurance, and his proper ſafety; who being incens’d Biſhop Stapleton beheaded by the Multitude. with the affront of this inconſiderate Biſhop, apprehends him, and delivers him to the fury of the enraged multitude; who neither reſpecting the Gravity of his Years, or the Dignity of his Profeſſion, ſtrike off his Head, without either Arraignment, Tryal, or Condemnation: This brain-ſick and heady act had too Ii far 122 Ii1v 122 far engag’d them to reconcile them; they muſt now either adhere ſolely to the Queen, or to taſte a bitter Penance. The King had an ill Memory in point of deſert; but the actions of ſo unjuſt a Diſorder he kept regiſtred in braſs, until he gain’d the opportunity of Revenge; then he never fail’d it. It was a mad part, on ſo poor an occaſſion, to act ſo bloody a Tragedy, which took away all hope of Reconciliation, if the Wheel had turned: However the ſquares had went, they were upon terms good enough, ſo long as they contain’d themſelves in any temperate condition: But this was a way which incens’d the one part, and not aſſur’d the other. But the actions of this ſame heady monſter Multitude never examine the Juſtice, or the dependance, but are led by Paſſion and Opinion; which in fury leaves no Diſorder unacted, and no Villany unattempted. But certainly this was a meer cunning practice of the Mayor, who being underhand made ſure to the adverſe Party, reſolv’d to make it of a double uſe; the one, to help on the opinion of his devotion to the Queen, in the puniſhment of him that betraid her; the other, by this action to make the Citizens deſperate of favour, and ſo more reſolute; who elſe, being mutable as Weather-cocks, might alter on the leaſt occaſion. Let the conſideration be what it will, the Fact was inhumane and barbarous, that ſpilt, without Deſert or Juſtice, the Blood of ſuch a Reverend Prelate; who yet had ſo much happineſs as to leave to his Honour in the Univerſity of Oxford, a remarkable Memorial of his Charity and Goodneſs. But now to ſeek out the reward of this vertuous Service, four of the principal and moſt eminent Burghers are ſelected to make known their proceedings and devotion; who are graciouſly received, entertain’d, and highly thanked, for their lawleſs bloody Fact, which was ſtiled an excellent piece of Juſtice. Though the deed had been countenanced, in that it ran with the ſway 123 Ii2r 123 ſway of the time, and the Queens humour; yet certainly no great cauſe of commendation appears; which is ſo more properly due to the Hangman, which performeth the grave Ceremonies of his Office by Warrant, and the actual part on none but ſuch as the Law hath made ready for his Fingers.
The Queen ſets out for Briſtol. Now is the Queen ſettling her remove for Briſtow, where the Prey remain’d her Haggard-fancy long’d for: She was unwilling to give them ſo much advantage, though ſhe believ’d it almoſt impoſſible, as to hazard the raiſing of an Army, or ſo to enable their Proviſions and Defences, that it might adjourn the hope of making her Victory perfect. She ſaw ſhe had a great and Royal Army, well provided; but how long it would hold ſo, ſhe knew not; the principal ſtrength and number conſiſting of the giddy Commons, who like Land-floods, riſe and fall in an inſtant: they had never yet ſeen the face of an Enemy, nor did rightly underſtand what it was to bear Arms againſt the King, whom they muſt here behold a party. Theſe conſiderations haſten her on with more expedition. All the way as ſhe went; ſhe is entertain’d with joyful Acclamations: Her Army ſtill grows greater, like a beginning Cloud that doth fore-run a Shower. When ſhe was come before this goodly City, and ſaw his ſtrength, and the Maiden-Bravery of their oppoſition, Whence a hot Salley upon her. which gave her by a hot Salley, led by the valiant Arundel, a teſtimony of her Welcome, ſhe then thinks that in the Art of War there was ſomewhat more than meer Imagination; and juſtly fear’d leſt the Royal Miſery would beget a ſwift Compaſſion; which was more to be doubted of him in his own Kingdom, ſince ſhe herſelf had found it in a forreign Country. But ſmiling Fortune, now become her Servant, ſcarce gives her time to think ſhe might be hinder’d. The Townsmen, that knew no Wars but at their Muſters, ſeeing themſelves begirt, the Market hinder’d, which was their 124 Ii2v 124 their chiefeſt and beſt Revenue, begin among themſelves to examine the buſineſs; They ſaw no likelihood of any to relieve them, and daily in danger of ſome ſad ſurprizal. They ſaw their Lives, Wives, Children and ſtate at ſtake for the defence of thoſe that had oppreſs’d them, and wrong’d the Kingdome by their foul Injuſtice: they meaſur’d the event of an unruly Conqueſt, where many look for Booty, all for Pillage. This did ſo cramp their valiant hearts, that the Convulſion ſeeks A treaty deſired by that City: a preſent Treaty. The Queen ſeeing a Puſillanimity beyond her hopes, and a taint unlook’d for, makes the uſe, and hits them on the blind ſide, and anſwers plainly, She will have no Imparleance, no diſcourſing; if they deſir’d their own Peace, and her aſſured Favour, they then muſt entertain and follow her Conditions: which if they but delay’d, the next day following Which being rejected, the Queen gives them a peremptory Summons. they ſhould abide their Chance, ſhe would her Fortune. This doom (as it ſounds harſhly) was deem’d too heavy; but no intreaty could prevail, ſhe would not alter. They yet deſire to know what ſhe requir’d; and that ſhe grants, and thus unfoldeth: Your Lives and Goods (quoth ſhe) ſhall reſt untouched, nor ſhall you taſte your ſelves the leaſt Affliction, ſo you deliver up with ſpeed your Captains, and in the time prefixt reſign the City. A choice ſo ſhort, ſo ſharp, ſo peremptory, being related in the ſtaggering City, breeds ſtraight a ſuppoſition, not without reaſon, ſhe had ſome certain practis’d Plot within them, or elſe ſome way aſſured for to force the City. They could have been content ſhe had their Captains, ſince it would ſet them free from fear and danger; but to be Actors in ſo foul a Treaſon, or ſacrifice their Gueſts that came for ſuccour, this they conceit too falſe and poor a baſeneſs. No more Imparleance is allow’d, or will be heard, no ſecond motion; the breach in their faint hearts is ſo well known, that nothing is allow’d but preſent Anſwer: This ſmart proceeding melts their leaden Valour, which 125 Kk1r 125 It is yielded. which at the firſt had made ſo brave a flouriſh, and brings Arundel, Wincheſter, and the Town to her poſſeſſion.
When mans own proper portion is in queſtion, and all he hath at ſtake, be it but doubtful, his eye doth more reflect on his own danger, than on the Laws of Juſtice, Friendſhip, Honour. Charity, ’tis true, begins at home; but ſhe’s a Vertue hath no ſociety with Fraud or Falſhood; neither is the breach of Faith, or touch of Treaſon, allow’d within the verge of her rich Precepts. I do confeſs, Neceſſity may drive him to ſuch a bitter choice, that one muſt periſh; but this ſhould be, when things are ſo near hopeleſs, that there be more than words to give it juſtice. A wiſe and noble minde adviſeth ſoundly upon the act, before it is engaged; but being ſo, it rather ſleeps with Honour, than lives to be the map of his thus tainted Conſcience. The intereſt of Friends, of Gueſts, of poor oppreſſed, (though diverſly they touch the Patrons credit) yet all agree in this one point of Vertue, Not to betray, where they have vow’d aſſiſtance. Had theſe faint Citizens not given aſſurance, had they not vow’d to keep their Faiths untainted, the other had not truſted nor incloſed themſelves within ſo weak and falſe a Safeguard. But they were moſt to blame, that would ſo venture their Lives within the power of ſuch a Berry, where they might know were none but ſuckling Rabbets, that would ſuſpect each Mouſe to be a Ferret. Had they but had a guard, ſecur’d their perſons, they might have awed them, or themſelves have ſcaped.
Part of the prey thus gotten, no time is loſt to call them to a reckoning. Sir Thomas Wage, Marſhal of the Army, draws up a ſhort Information of many large offences, which are ſolemnly read to the attentive Army, with a Comment of all the harſh aggravations might make them more odious. The confuſed clamour of the Multitude, ſerves for Judge, Jury, and Verdict; Kk which 126 Kk1v 126 which brings them to a ſharp Sentence to be forthwith hang’d, and their Bodies to remain upon the Gallows. Old Spencer Executed. Revenge brooks no delay, no leiſure Malice. Old Spencer feels inſtantly the rigour of this Judgment: The Green before the Caſtle is made the place of Execution. Nature that gave him Life, had almoſt left him; her Vigour was near ſpent, her Beauty wither’d; he could not long have liv’d, if they had ſpar’d him. Ninety cold Winters he had paſt in freedom, and findes untimely Death to end his Story: He parts without complaint or long diſcourſing; he ſpeaks theſe few words only, free from paſſion: God grant the Queen may finde a milder Sentence, when in the other world ſhe makes The King and young Spencer amaz’d. her Audit. The King, and his unhappy Son, the ſad Spectators of this Heart-bleeding Tragedy ſo full of horrour, are with his dying farewel ſo amazed, that ſcarcely they had ſpeech, or breath, or motion; ſo bitter a Preludium made them cenſure their own conditions were as nearly fatal. The King, a Sovereign, Father, and a Husband, did hope theſe Titles would be yet ſufficient to guard his Life, if not preſerve his Greatneſs; but theſe prov’d all too weak: Where Crowns are gain’d by Blood and Treaſon, they are ſo ſecured. Spencer had not a grain of hope for mercy: the Barons Deaths prejudg’d his coming fortune. The Queen uſed not to jeſt where ſhe was angry; his Fathers end aſſur’d her inclination, and bade him rather venture any hazard, than that which muſt rely on female pity. With a world of Melancholy thoughts he caſts the danger, yet could not finde a way that might prevent it. The Caſtle in it ſelf was ſtrong, but weakly furniſht. Time now he ſees could promiſe no aſſiſtance; their Adverſaries were full bent to work their ruine, either by publick Force, or private Famine; ſo that in their abode was ſure deſtruction. The King in this declar’d himſelf a Noble Maſter; he priz’d his Servants Life as his own Safety, which won them both to try their utmoſt hazard.The 127 Kk2r 127
The Queen batters the Caſtle. The Queen impatient to ſurprize this Fortreſs, doth batter, undermine, and ſtill aſſail it; but theſe were all in vain, and proved fruitleſs; the Rampiers were too ſtrong, too well defended: She threatens and intreats, but to ſmall purpoſe; here were no Citizens that might betray it: Alas, there needed none, as it ſucceeded; the proper Owners wrought their own confuſion; they leave their ſtrength, and cloſely try their fortune, The King and Spencer betake to a Bark, but are beaten back by Weather. which made them board a Bark rode in the Harbour, in hope to get away undeſcryed: This was the Plot, or none, muſt work their freedome. But all things thrive alike with him that’s falling. The Gale averſe, they ſoftly tide her onwards; the Wind will not conſent to give them paſſage, but rudely hurls them back to their firſt Harbour. Thrice had they paſt St. Vincents Rock, famous for Briſtow Diamonds; but in that Reach are hurryed back with fury: The Elements of Earth, of Air, of Water, conſpir’d all at once to make them hopeleſs.
Sir Henry Beaumonde quartered next the Haven, being inform’d that this gadding Pinnace had often attempted paſſage without reaſon, the wind contrarious, and the weather doubtful, ſuſpects that her deſigne was great The Bark ſeized. and haſty; on this he ſeiz’d her, and ſurveys her lading, which prov’d a prize beyond his expectation: within her hollow bulk, a Cell of darkneſs, he findes this pair obſcur’d, not undiſcover’d. The King hath gracious words, and all due reverence; but Spencer is contemned, and uſed with rigour. This ends the War, and gave the work perfection. Fortune, that triumphs in the Fall of Princes, like a Stepmother, reſts not where ſhe frowneth, till ſhe have wholly ruin’d and o’rethrown their Power, that do precede or elſe oppoſe her Darlings.
The Queen having thus attained to the full of her deſire, reſolves to uſe it to the beſt advantage: Ambition ſeis’d her ſtrongly, yet reſigneth to her incenſed Paſſion 128 Kk2v 128 Paſſion the precedence; her own good nature (though ſhe might adventure) ſhe would not truſt ſo far, to ſee her Husband; nor did ſhe think it fit thoſe valiant ſtrangers begun the work, ſhould view or ſee the Captive; ſuch ſights ſometimes beget as ſtrange impreſſions; The King ſent to Berkly Caſtle. inſtantly he is convey’d to Berklay-Caſtle, there to remain reſtrained, but well attended. Spencer is hardly kept, but often viſited; ’twas not with pity, which befits Spencer inſulted over. a Priſoner, but with inſulting joy, and baſe deriſion. Their eyes with ſight, and tongues with rayling glutted, the act muſt follow that may ſtop the rancour, which gives him to the Marſhal lockt in Irons: He here receives the ſelf-ſame entertainment his aged Father found; alone the difference, he had a longer time, and ſharper Sentence. All things thus order’d, the Queen removes for London, meaning to make Hereford her way, and the laſt Journey of her condemned Priſoner, that attends her each place ſhe paſſeth by. A world of people do ſtrain their wider throats to bid her welcome, with yelping cries that ecchoed with confuſion. While She thus paſſeth on with a kinde of inſulting Tyranny, far ſhort of the belief of her former Vertue and Goodneſs, ſhe makes this poor unhappy man attend her Progreſs, not as the antient Romans did their vanquiſh’d Priſoners, for oſtentation, to increaſe their Triumph; but merely for Revenge, Deſpite, and private Rancour; mounted upon a poor, lean, ugly Jade, as baſely furniſht; cloath’d in a painted Taberd, which was then a Garment worn by condemned Thieves alone; and tatter’d raſcally, he is led through each Town behinde the Carriage, with Reeds and Pipes that ſound the ſummons to call the wondering Crue together might abuſe him; all the bitter’ſt actions of diſgrace were thrown upon him. Certainly this man was infinitely vicious, and deſerv’d as much as could be laid upon him, for thoſe many great and inſolent Oppreſſions, acted with Injuſtice, Cruelty, and Blood; yet it had been 129 Ll1r 129 been much more to the Queens Honour, if ſhe had given him a quicker Death, and a more honourable Tryal, free from theſe opprobrious and barbarous Diſgraces, which ſavour’d more of a ſavage, tyrannical diſpoſition, than a judgment fit to command, or ſway the Sword of Juſtice.
Though not by Birth, yet by Creation he was a Peer of the Kingdom, and by the Dignity of his place one of the moſt eminent; which might (if not to him in his particular, yet in the Rights due to Nobility and Greatneſs) have found ſome more honourable a diſtinction, than to be made more infamous and contemptible than The Queens Cruelty. the baſeſt Rogue, or moſt notorious Cutpurſe. It is aſſuredly (give it what title you will) an argument of a Villanous Diſpoſition, and a Deviliſh Nature, to tyrannize and abuſe thoſe wretched ruines which are under the Mercy of the Law, whoſe Severity is bitter enough without aggravation. A Noble Minde doth out of native Goodneſs ſhew a kinde of Sweetneſs in the diſpoſition, which, if not the Man, doth pity his Miſfortune; but never doth increaſe his ſorrow by baſer uſage than becomes his Juſtice. In Chriſtian Piety, which is the Day-ſtar that ſhould direct and guide all humane Actions, the heart ſhould be as free from all that’s cruel, as being too remiſs in point of Juſtice. The Life of Man is all that can be taken; ’tis that muſt expiate his worſt Offences; the Law muſt guide the way; Juſtice, not Fury, muſt be his Judge; ſo far there is no Errour. But when a flux of Torment follows Judgment, which may be done in Speech as well as Action, it gives too many Deaths to one Offender, and ſtains the Actors with a foul diſhonour. To ſee ſuch a Monſter ſo monſtrouſly uſed, no queſtion pleaſed the giddy Multitude, who ſcarcely know the civil grounds of Reaſon: the recollected Judgment that beheld it, cenſur’d it was at beſt too great and deep a blemiſh to ſuit a Queen, a Woman, and a Victor. Ll Whether 130 Ll1v 130 Whether her Impoſition, or his patient Suffering were Spencer hanged. greater, or became firſt weary, he now is brought to give them both an ending, upon a Gallows highly built of purpoſe; he now receives the end of all his Torments; the Cruelty was ſuch, unfit to be recorded. Whether it were the greatneſs of his heart, or it were broken, he leaves the world with ſuch a conſtant parting, as ſeem’d as free from fear, as fruitleſs plaining.
Arundel the like. Four days are ſcarcely ended, ere Arundel doth taſte the ſelf-ſame fortune. Until the laſt Combuſtion, I finde no mention in the Story of this Noble Gentleman, neither could I ever read any juſt cauſe why his Life was thus taken from him, unleſs it were a Capital Offence not to forſake his Maſter: It was then a very hard caſe, if it muſt be adjudged Treaſon to labour to defend his King and Soveraign, to whom he had ſworn Faith and Obedience, ſuffering for preſerving that Truth and Oath, which they had all treacherouſly broken, that were his Judges. If it were deemed a fault deep enough to be taken in company with thoſe that were corrupt and wicked, I ſee yet no reaſon why he alone ſhould ſuffer, and thoſe their other Creatures were permitted many of them unqueſtion’d, ſome preferr’d, and none executed. But we may not properly expect Reaſon in Womens actions: It was enough the incenſed Queen would have it ſo, againſt which was no diſputing.
The Queen comes to London. Her buſineſs thus diſpatcht, ſhe comes to London, where ſhe hath all the Royal Entertainment due to her Greatneſs. The Citizens do run and crowd to ſee her, that if the Wheel ſhould turn, would be as forward to make the ſelf-ſame ſpeed to ſee her ruine. Aſſoon as here ſhe had ſettled her affairs, and made things ready, She calls a Parliament. ſhe calls a Parliament, and ſends forth Summons for the appearance, which as ſoon enſued; herein ſhe makes her Husband ſeal the Warrant, who God knows ſcarcely knew what ſhe was doing, but lived a Recluſe, well 131 Ll2r 131 well and ſurely guarded. When this grave Aſſembly was come together, the Errours and the Abuſes of the Kingdom are laid full open; which touch’d the King with a more inſolent liberty than might well become the tongues of thoſe which muſt yet be his Subjects. Many ways of Reformation for forms ſake are diſcuſſed, but the intended courſe was fully before reſolved; yet it was fit there ſhould be a handſome Introduction. The iſſue at length falls upon the point of Neceſſity, ſhewing, that Edward, by the imbecillity of his judgment, and the corruption of his nature, was unfit longer to continue the Government, which was ſo diſeaſed and ſick, that it required a King more careful and active: as if the conferring it upon a green Youth, little more than an Infant, had been Warranty enough for theſe Allegations; but they ſerv’d turn well enough, where all were agreed; and there was not ſo much as a juſt fear of oppoſition: It ne’er was toucht or expreſt by what Law, Divine or Humane, the Subject might Depoſe, not an Elective King, but one that Lineally and Juſtly had inherited, and ſo long enjoy’d it: this was too deep a Myſtery, and altogether improper for their reſolution. A ſhort time at length brings them all to one Minde, which in a true conſtruction was no more than a mere Politick Treaſon, not more dangerous in They conclude to depoſe the King. the Act than in the Example. The three Eſtates unâ voce conclude the Father muſt be Depoſed, and his unripe Son muſt be Inveſted in the Royal Dignity. Not a Lord, Biſhop, Knight, Judge, or Burgeſs, but that day left his Memory behinde him; they could not elſe ſo generally have forgot the Oaths of their Allegiance, ſo ſolemnly ſworn to their old Maſter, whom they had juſt cauſe to reſtrain from his Errours, but no ground or colour to deprive him of his Kingdom; who that day found neither Kinſman, Friend, Servant, or Subject to defend his Intereſt. It is probable he could not be ſo generally forſaken, and not unlikely but that he had 132 Ll2v 132 had ſome in this Aſſembly well-affected, which ſeeing the violence and ſtrength of the Current, knew their conteſtation might endanger themſelves, and not advantage him in his poſſeſſion. But this juſtifies them not, neither in their Oaths, Love, or Duty, which ſhould have been ſincere and eminent: He that had here really expreſs’d himſelf, had left to Poſterity an honourable Memorial of his Faith, Worth, and Valour. Never will the remembrance of that ſtout and reverend Biſhop dye; who in the Caſe of Richard the Second expreſt himſelf ſo honeſtly and bravely. Civil reſpects, though they deeply touch in particular, warrant not the breach of publick engagements; neither is it properly Wiſdome, but Craft, infringeth the Laws of Duty or Honeſty: If that may be admitted, what Perjury may not finde an excuſe, what Rebellion not a juſtifiable anſwer? But it is clear, there may not be a wilful violation of Oaths, though it tend deeply to our own loſs and prejudice.
The Reſolution being now fully concluded, that muſt uncrown this unhappy King, divers of both Houſes are The Speaker makes a reſignation of Homage, & reads the Sentence. ſent unto him to make the Declaration; who being come into his preſence, Truſſel the Speaker of the lower Houſe, in the Name of the whole Kingdom, makes a Reſignation of all Homage and Fealty, and then doth read the Sentence. Edward, that had been aforehand informed, the better to prepare him, had arm’d himſelf with as much Patience, as his Neceſſity could give him; with an attentive ear hears all full out; which The King anſwers not a word. done, he turns away without anſwering a word. He knew it was in vain to ſpend time in Diſcourſe or Conteſtation, which muſt be the ready way to endanger his Life; and in his conſenting with a dangerous example to his Succeſſours, he had both their Power and his own Guilt made evident to Poſterity; which might have made the practice more frequent and familiar. He had ſtill a kinde of Hope that his Adverſaries would 133 Mm1r 137133 would run themſelves out of breath, when there would be both room and time to alter his condition. Thus this unfortunate King, after he had with a perpetual agitation governed this Kingdome eighteen years, odde months and days, loſt it partly by his own Diſorder and Improvidence, but principally by the treacherous Infidelity of his Wife, Servants, and Subjects. And it is moſt memorable, an Army of three hundred Strangers entred his Dominion, and took from him the Rule and Governance, without ſo much as blow given, or the loſs of any one man, more than ſuch as periſhed by the hand of Juſtice.
Though in a ſinking Greatneſs all things conſpire to work a fatal ruine, yet in our Story this is the firſt preſident of this nature, or where a King fell with ſo little Honour, and ſo great an Infidelity, that found neither Sword or Tongue to plead his quarrel. But what could be expected, when for his own private Vanities and Paſſion, he had been a continual lover and abetter of unjuſt actions, and had conſented to the Oppreſſion of the whole Kingdom, and the untimely Death of ſo many Noble Subjects? It is certainly no leſs honourable than juſt, that the Majeſty of a King have that ſame full and free uſe of his Affections, without Envy or Hatred, which every private man hath in his œconomick Government: Yet as his Calling is the greateſt, ſuch muſt his Care be, to ſquare them out by thoſe ſame ſacred Rules of Equity and Juſtice; if they once transcend, or exceed, falling upon an extremity of Dotage or Indulgence, it then occaſions thoſe Errours that are the certain Predictions of an enſuing Trouble, which many times proves fatal and dangerous. Let the Favourite taſte the King’s Bounty, not devour it; let him enjoy his ear, but not ingroſs it; let him participate his love, but not enchant it. In the eye of the Commonwealth if he muſt be a Moat, let him not be a Monſter. And laſtly, if he muſt practiſe on Mm the 134 Mm1v 138134 the Subject, let it be with moderation, and not with rapine. If in either of theſe there be an exceſs, which makes the King a Monarchy to his Will, and the Kingdom a prey to his Paſſion, and the world take notice it be done by the Royal Indulgencie, it begets not more hatred than multiplicity of errour, which draw with them dangerous Convulſions, if not a deſperate ruine to that State where it hath his allowance and practice. As there ought to be a limitation in the Affection of the one, ſo ought there to be a Like Curioſity in the quality of the other: Perſons of meaner condition and birth exalted above proportion, as it taxeth the Kings Judgment, impaireth both his Safety and Honour. Neither is it proper, that the principal Strengths and Dignities ſhould be committed to the care and fidelity of one man onely; ſuch unworthy and unequal diſtribution wins a diſcontent from the more capable in ability and blood, and carries with it a kinde of neceſſary impulſion ſtill to continue his greatneſs; elſe having the keys of the Kingdom in his hand, he may at all times open the gates to a domeſtick Danger, or a forreign Miſchief. The number of Servants is the Maſters honour; their truth and faculties his glory and ſafety; which being ſeverally employ’d and countenanced, make it at one and the ſelf-ſame time perſpicuous in many; and being indifferently heard, do, both in advice and action, give a more ſecure, diſcreet, and ſafe form of proceeding. Kings in their deliberations ſhould be ſerved with a Council of State, and a Council of particular Intereſt and Honour; the one to ſurvey the Policy, the other the Goodneſs of all matters in queſtion; both compoſed out of Integrity, not Corruption: theſe delivering truely their Opinions and Judgments, it is more eaſie for him to reconcile and elect: But when one man alone ſupplies both theſe places in private and publick, all the reſt follow the voice of the Drone, though it be againſt their own Conſcience and Judgment.ment. 135 Mm2r 139135 ment. The Royal Glory ſhould be pure, and yet tranſparent, ſuffering not the leaſt eclipſe or ſhadow; which appears viſibly defective, when it is wholly led by a ſingle advice never ſo grave and weighty: let the projection, if it be entertained, have the teſte of a Council; but let the act and glory be ſolely the Kings, which addes to the belief of his ability, and more aſſures his greatneſs. If the heart of Majeſty be given over to the ſenſuality of Pleaſure, or betray’d by his proper Weakneſs, or the cunning of him he truſteth; yet let him not neglect the neceſſary affairs of a Kingdom, or paſs them over by Bills of Exchange to the providence of another: In ſuch an act he loſeth the Prerogative of an abſolute King, and is but ſo at ſecond- hand and by direction. It is the Practique, not the Theorique of State, that wins and aſſures the Subject: If the ability of that be confined or doubtful, it eſtrangeth the will of Obedience, and gives a belief of liberty to the actions of Diſorder and Injuſtice. Such an Errour is not more prejudicial in the Imbecillity, than in the Example. Royal Vanities finde a ready imitation, ſo that it becomes a hazard that a careleſs King makes a diſſolute Kingdom. Mans nature is propenſive to the worſer part; which it embraceth with more facility and willingneſs, when it wins the advantage of the time, and is led by ſo eminent a preſident. From this conſideration, natural Weakneſs, or temporary Imperfection, ſhould be always masked, and never appear in publick, ſince the Court, State, and Kingdom, practiſe generally by his Example. As in Affection, ſo in Paſſion, there are many things equally conſiderable. I muſt confeſs, and do believe, that King worthy of an Angelical Title, that could maſter theſe rebellious Monſters, which rob him of his Peace and Happineſs: But this in a true perfection, is to Fleſh and Blood moſt impoſſible; yet both in Divinity and Moral Wiſdome, it is the moſt excellent Maſter-pieceſter- 136 Mm2v 140136 ſter-piece of this our peregrination, ſo to diſpoſe them, that they wait upon the Operations of the Soul rather as obedient Servants, than looſe and uncontrouled Vagabonds. Where the Royal Paſſions are rebellious and maſterleſs, having ſo unlimited a Power, his Will becomes the Law; his hand the executioner of actions unjuſt and diſorderly, which end ſometimes in Blood, commonly in Oppreſſion, and evermore in a confuſed perturbation of the Kingdome. The Warranty of the Law wrought to his temper, not that it is ſo, but that he muſt have it ſo, juſtifies him not, though he make a Legal Proceeding the juſtification of his Tyranny; ſince the Innocency of the Subject ſeldome findes protection, where the fury of a King reſolves his ruine. The rigour of humane Conſtitutions are to the Delinquent weighty enough; let them not be wreſted or inverted; which makes the King equally guilty, and the actor of his own Paſſions, rather than thoſe of Juſtice or Integrity. He ſhould on earth order his proceedings in imitation after the Divine Nature, which evermore inclines more to Mercy than Juſtice. Lives cannot, being taken away, be redeemed; there ought then to be a tender conſideration how they be taken, leſt the Injuſtice of the act, challenge a Vengeance of the ſame nature. As the quality of the act, ſo is the condition of the agent conſiderable in point of Judicature; wherein there may be ſometimes thoſe dependencies, that it may be more honourable and advantageous to pardon, or delay execution, than to advance and haſten it: howſoever, it is the more excellent and innocent way, to fall ſhort of the better hand, and to ſuffer the Severity of the Law rather ſeem defective, than an apparent taint in the ſuffering diſpoſition and goodneſs. The actions of Repentance are regiſtred in the table of our Tranſgreſſions, where none to the guilty Conſcience appears more horrid and fearful, than thoſe which by an inconſiderate haſte or corruption of the Will have been acted in Blood 137 Nn1r 141137 Blood and Paſſion. So great a height as the Majeſty of a King, ſhould be cloathed with as ſweet a temper, neither too precipitate, or too ſlow; neither too violent, or too remiſs; but like the beating of a healthy Pulſe, with a ſteady and well-adviſed motion, which preſerves a juſt Obedience and Fear in thoſe which are vicious, and begets a Love and Admiration in all, eſpecially ſuch as ſo graciouſly taſte his Goodneſs.
I have dwelt too long in this digreſſion; yet I muſt (though it a little delay the concluding part of this Hiſtory) ſpeak ſomewhat that is no leſs proper for him that ſhall have the happineſs to enjoy ſo fair and large a room in the Royal affections. There muſt be in him a correſpondent worth, as well of Wiſdome and Obedience, as of Sincerity and Truth; which makes no other uſe of this ſo great a bleſſing, but to his Soveraigns Honour, and his own credit; and not to advantage himſelf by the oppreſſion of others, or improving the particular by the ruine of a Kingdome. If the Maſters actions be never ſo pure and innocent, yet if out of affection he become the Patron of the Servants miſdemeanours and inſolencies, by protecting or not puniſhing, he makes himſelf guilty, and ſhares both in the grievance and hatred of the poor diſtreſſed Subject. The general cry ſeeing the ſtream polluted, aſcribe it to the Fountain-head, where is the Spring that may reform and cleanſe it. By this one particular errour of Protection, he that will read the Hiſtory of our own, or thoſe of Forreign Nations, ſhall finde a number of memorable Examples, which have produced Depoſition of Kings, Ruine of Kingdoms, the Effuſion of Chriſtian Blood, and the general Diſtemper of that part of the world, all grounded on this occaſion. Let him then that out of his Maſters Love, more than his own Deſert, hath made himſelf a fortune, be preciſely careful, that by his diſorder he endanger not the ſtair and prop of his Preferment; which he ſhall make firm and Nn per- 138 Nn1v 142138 permanent, in making Humility and Goodneſs the Adamant to draw the love both of his equals and inferiours: Such a winning Sweetneſs aſſures their hearts, which in the leaſt contempt or inſolence are apt and ready to receive the impreſſions of Envy and Hatred; which if they once take root, end not in Speculation, but Actions either publickly violent, or privately malicious; both tending to his ruine and confuſion. If he ſtray from this Principle, ſtriving to make an imperious height beget fear, and the opinion of that fear the rock whereon he builds his Greatneſs; let him then know, that the firſt is the Companion of Truſt and Safety, the other a Slave, that will break looſe with opportunity and advantage. Neither hath it any touch of Diſcretion, or Society with Wiſdome, or Moral Policy, to glorifie his new-acquired Greatneſs with unneceſſary amplifications, either in multiplicity of Attendants, vanity of Apparel, ſuperfluity of Diet, ſumptuouſneſs of Structures, or any other ridiculous eminency, that may demonſtrate his Pride or Ambition: Wiſe men deride it, Fools applaud it, his Equals envy it, and his Inferiours hate it. All jumping at length in one concluſion, that his Fortune is above his Merit, and his Pride much greater than his Worth and Judgment. But this preſuming Impudence ends not here: Kings themſelves may ſuffer for a time, but in the end they will rather change their Affections, than to be dazled and outſhin’d in their own Sphere and Element.
The young King crowned. Now is this young King Crowned with a great deal of Triumphant Honour, but with a more expectation of what would become of this giddy world, which ſeem’d to run upon wheels, by reaſon of ſo ſudden and ſo The Queen and Mortimer bear ſway. great a revolution. The Queen and Mortimer in this his Minority take upon them the whole Sway and Government of the Kingdome. The Act wherein they expreſs’d themſelves and their new Authority firſt, was the Commitment of Baldock, the quondam Lord Chancellor,cellor, 139 Nn2r 143139 They commit Baldock to Newgate. cellor, who hath the Great Seal taken from him, and was ſent to Newgate. It may be wonder’d why he was ſo long ſpared; they had uſe of his Place, though not of his Perſon; and had no Power, if they had thruſt him out, to have brought in another, or to have executed it by Commiſſion, unleſs they would admit it as an act of the old King, until the new were Crowned. This Cage was fit for ſuch a Coyſterel; but yet his place being ſo eminent, it was believed ſomewhat unworthy; Treſilian Lord Chief- Juſtice hanged. yet ſucceeding time made it not much out of ſquare, when Triſilian Lord Chief Juſtice was hang’d, for interpreting the Law againſt Law and his own Conſcience, for the Kings advantage. Now the recollected ſpirits begin to parallel time preſent with that precedent, and to meditate upon that act which had diſrobed and put down an anointed King, that had ſo long ſway’d the Scepter, to whom they had ſo ſolemnly ſworn Faith and Obedience: They finde the State little altered, onely things are thought more handſomly carried, and the Actors were ſomewhat more warrantable; yet the Multitude, according to the vanity of their changeable hearts, begin already to be crop-ſick, wiſhing for their old Maſter, and ready to attempt any new Innovation: ſuch is the mutability of the inconſtant Vulgar, deſirous of new things, but never contented; deſpiſing the time being, extolling that of their Forefathers, and ready to act any miſchief to try by alteration the ſuccedent; like Æſops Frogs, if they might have their own fancy, each Week ſhould give them a new King, though it were to their own deſtruction. This occaſions many unpleaſing Petitions and Suits tender’d to the new King and his Protectors, for the releaſement of Edward’s Impriſonment, or at leaſt for more freedom, or a more noble uſage. But theſe touch too near the quick, to beget a ſudden anſwer. As things ſtood, they neither grant nor deny, either of them carrying with it ſo dangerous a hazard: If he were free, they muſt ſhake hands 140 Nn2v 144140 hands with their greatneſs; and a flat denial would have endanger’d a ſudden tumult. They give good words, and promiſe more than ever they meant to perform, yielding many reaſons why they could not yet give a definitive reſolution; this for the preſent ſatiſfies.
The black Monks impatient of the King’s reſtraint. The black Monks are more importunate, and take not this delay for an anſwer; but being ſtill adjourn’d over with protraction, they labour to bring that about by Conſpiracy, which they could not do by Intreaty: in their publick Exhortations they inveigh againſt the ſeverity of the King’s uſage, and invite their Auditory to ſet to a helping hand to the procurement of his Freedom; they extenuate his Faults, and transfer them to them that had the guidance of his affairs, and not to his own natural Diſpoſition; they tax the impropriety of the time, when the Kingdom was under the Government of a Child and a Woman; and ſpare no point that might advance compaſſion for the one, or procure They not only incite the people, but make Donhead their Captain; a diſlike of the other. Neither are they content with a verbal incitation, but fall to matter of fact, that others might move by their example: They make one of their number, named Donhead, their Captain; a good, ſtout, bold, and factious Fellow; one that was daring enough, but knew better what belong’d to Church-Ornaments, than the handſome carriage of a Conſpiracy, that was to be managed by Armes, and Who is clapt by the heels, and dies. not by the liberty of the Tongue; whoſe liberality claps him by the heels, where he not long after dyes, before he had ſo much as muſter’d his Covent.
This gathering Cloud thus diſpers’d without a ſhower, the Queen and Mortimer, to take off the people from harping farther upon this ſtring, ſend forth divers plauſible Proclamations, intimating a ſtrict charge for the reformation of divers petty Grievances; and withal are divulged ſundry probabilities of Forreign dangers from France and Scotland: which were preſentlyſently 141 Oo1r 145141 ſently underſtood to be but mere fictions, in reſpect at the ſame inſtant ſhe frees herſelf of her forreign Aid, which in ſuch an occaſion might have as well ſerved to defend the Kingdome, as to invade it. They made, it is true, an earneſt ſuit to be gone, having well feather’d their neſts; but if the fear had been ſuch as was bruited, I think the Queen both might and would have retain’d them. It may be their addiction to Arms was weary of ſo long a Vacation, or they were deſirous to ſhew themſelves at home with honour, whence they had parted with ſo poor an expectation; and peradventure ſhe was unwilling they ſhould be witneſs of that unnatural Tragedy, which ſhe ſaw then broyling in Mortimer’s breaſt, though not reſolved on; which muſt have wounded her reputation in that Climate, where ſhe had won ſo great a belief of her Wiſdome, Vertue, and Goodneſs. Liberally and nobly ſhe requites every man, according to his Merit and Condition; Sir John of Heynault and the reſt rewarded. but to Sir John of Heynault, whoſe Heroick Spirit gave the firſt life to this action; and to the Oracle of her recovery, and all thoſe of the better ſort, ſhe preſents many rich Jewels, and Annuities of yearly Revenue, according to the quality of the time in being. They depart the Kingdom. They hold themſelves Royally requited; and taking a ſolemn leave, are honourably accompanied to Dover, where they take their Farwel of the Kingdom, with a much merrier eye than when they firſt beheld it.
Whoſo ſhall wiſely conſider the deſperate attempt of this little handful of Adventurers, and their fortunate iſſue, may juſtly eſteem it one of the moſt memorable Paſſages of our time, ſince it was merely guided by pity and compaſſion; without pay, without proviſion, to attempt an act not more dangerous than hopeleſs; yet they gave it perfection, without ſo much as the loſs of any one man; and returned home glorious in honour, rich in purchaſe; not gained by pillage, robbery, or unjuſt rapine (the hope and revenue of a War;) but by Oo the 142 Oo1v 146142 the juſt reward due to their Valour and Vertue. The cauſe of ſo fair a progreſſion, and ſo ſucceſsful an end, may have divers probabilities likely enough to ground our judgment; As the ſincerity of the Intention, the goodneſs of the Work, and many other, which may be alledged: but the moſt eſſential may be drawn from this; they were (though but a ſmall one) yet an entire body, compoſed of ſuch as knew what appertain’d to Arms and Breeding; Men that were vertuouſly inclin’d, and aw’d with the true ſenſe of Religion (in the Wars of late years become a mere ſtranger) where no Victory is eſteem’d diſhonourable, no Purchaſe unlawful. Certainly our Wars and our Plantations nearly reſemble, being both uſed as a Broom to ſweep the Kingdome, rather than an enterprize to adorn it; which makes the event ſo unfortuante in War; which alone falls properly within the compaſs of this Treatie, it being the greateſt and moſt weighty work, that either gives honour or ſafety to a Kingdom: They ſhould be begun with Juſtice, and managed as well with Wiſdome as Valour; their beginning ſhould be with a choice care, which makes the ending fortunate. The number of bodies is not the Strength, their fury not the Bulwork; it is the Piety and true Valour of an Army, which gives them Heart and Victory; which how it can be expected out of Ruffians and Goal-birds, that are the ſcum of the Commonwealth, I leave to your conſideration. I commend his Curioſity, that would not buy a piece of Plate ſtoln from Orphans, though he might have had it at an under-value, lawfully enough; but more his reaſon, which would not commix it with his own, for fear leſt it might occaſion a puniſhment upon his which were innocent, and not toucht with a Guilt that might in Juſtice challenge Vengeance. But in the Military Practice it is believed, ſo a man have ſhape and limbs, ’tis no matter though he have murder’d his own Father, or committed Inceſt with his Mother; 143 Oo2r 147143 Mother; it is his metal, not his conditions, gives him admittance: Hence ſpring Treachery, that forſakes his Colours; Treason, that betrays the Captain; and at the beſt, thoſe actions of Bloud and Murder, that cry rather for Vengeance, than promiſe Victory. A General, it is true, that hath his Army made to his hand, cannot diſtinguiſh their conditions; the firſt act is the errour of thoſe entruſted; yet if he in the knowledge continue, and not puniſh the practice of ſo barbarous actions, though it be againſt an enemy, it muſt wound his Honour, and endanger his Safety, liable to the accompt of thoſe tranſgreſſions, which are acted by thoſe that are under his charge without a juſt puniſhment. It is an Obſervation remarkable, that a Preſs coming into the Country, there is a great deal of ſhift made in every Town and Village to lay hold of all the moſt notorious debauch’d Raſcals, to fill up the number; theſe clear the Coaſt, and are believed fit Champions to fight for their Sovereigns Honour, and the Kingdoms Safety; and the rather, becauſe in want of Pay (the ruine of an Army) they are beſt able to live by their Trade. But what follows? They are either led to the Slaughter, or by the Divine Juſtice prove the ruine of the Enterpriſe; or returning, practiſe private Villanies with more confidence; or publick Mutinies, under pretence of want of Wages.
The King taken from the Earl of Lancaſter, & delivered to Sir Morrice Berkley and Sir John Matravas. But I will leave them to a reformation, and proceed to the Tragedy of this unfortunate King, who is now taken from the Earl of Lancaſter, and delivered over by Indenture to Sir Morrice Berkley and Sir John Matravas. They lead him back to the Cage of his firſt Impriſonment; carrying him cloſely, and with a reſerved Secrecy, leſt his Friends in the knowledge of his Remove They remove him in diſguiſe. might attempt his Freedome. And to make his Diſcovery more difficult, they disfigure him, by cutting off his Hair, and ſhaving of his Beard. Edward, that had been formerly honourably uſed, and tenderly ſerved,ved, 144 Oo2v 148144 The King grieved with Indignities. ved, is bitterly grieved with this Indignity; and one day among the reſt, when they came to ſhave him, which was attempted without fire, and a cold liquor, his eyes pour forth a ſtream of Tears in ſenſe of his Misfortune, which to the inquiſitive Actors gives this anſwer, He would have ſome warm water, in ſpight of all their malice. Another time, in the preſence of two or three of thoſe that were as well ſet to be Spies over him, as to guard him, in a deep Melancholy Paſſion His Complaint. he thus diſcours’d his Sorrow. Is mine offence (quoth he) ſo great and grievous, that it deſerves nor pity nor aſſiſtance? Is Chriſtian Charity, all Goodneſs loſt; and nothing left in Subject, Child, or Servant, that taſtes of Duty? Is Wedlock-love forgotten ſo fully, all at once forſake me? Admit my errours fit for reformation; I will not juſtifie my ſelf, or cenſure others: Is’t not enough that it hath taken from me my Crown, the Glory of my former being, but it muſt leave me void of native comfort? I yet remain a Father, and a Husband; a Soveraign and a Maſter loſt, cannot deprive me of that which is mine own, till Death diſſolve me: Where then is filial Love? Where that Affection that waits upon the Laws of God and Nature? My wretched Cares have not ſo much transform’d me, that I am turn’d to Baſilisk, or Monſter. What can they fear, that they refuſe to ſee me? unleſs they doubt mine eyes can dart deſtruction. I have no other Weapons that may fright them; and theſe (God wot) have only tears to drown them. Can they believe or once ſuſpect a danger in viſit of a poor diſtreſſed Captive? Their hardned hearts I know are not ſo noble, or apt to take a gentler milde impreſſion, by ſeeing theſe poor ruines thus forſaken; What then occaſions this ſo great a ſtrangeneſs, or makes them jealous of ſo poor a venture? Are they not yet content in the poſſeſſion of all that once was mine, now theirs? But by what title, their Arms can better tell, than can their Conſcience. My miſled harmleſs Children are not guilty; my Wife betrays them, and falſe Mortimer; who elſe 145 Pp1r 149145 elſe I know would run to ſee their Father. Juſtly I pay the price of former folly, that let him ſcape to work mine own confuſion: Had he had his deſert, the price of Treaſon, he had not liv’d to work me this diſhonour. But time will come my wrongs will be revenged, when he ſhall fall with his own weight unpitied. Thou wretched ſtate of Greatneß, painted Glory, that falling find’ſt thine own the moſt perfidious; muſt thou ſtill live, and yet not worthy of one poor look? It is a meer Injuſtice: Would they would take my Life, ’tis that they aim at. I will eſteem it as an act of pity, that, as I live, but hate mine own Condition.
Here with a deep ſigh of ſcalding Paſſions, his tears break looſe afreſh, to cool their fury. All ſadly ſilent while he reſts perplexed, a ſtander by makes this uncivil anſwer, whom Mortimer had placed to increaſe his ſorrow. The King is uncivilly upbraided. Moſt gracious Sir, the Queen your Wife, and Children, are juſtly jealous of your cruel nature; they know too well your heat and former fury, to come too near ſo great and ſure a danger; beſides, they are aſſur’d that your intentions are bent to work them hurt, or ſome foul miſchief, if they adventure to approach your preſence.His Anſwer.
The Queen my Wife (quoth he) hath ſhe that Title, while I that made her ſo am leſs than nothing? Alas poor wretched woman, can her invention, apt for miſchief, faſhion no one excuſe but this ſo void of reaſon? Is there a poſſibility in her Suſpition? Can I, being ſo reſolved, act a Murder, or can their falſe hearts dream me ſo ill- minded? I am, thou ſeeſt, a poor forſaken Priſoner, as far from ſuch a Power, as Will to act it; they too well know it, to ſuſpect my nature. But let them wonder on, and ſcorn my ſorrow; I muſt endure, and they will taſte their errour. But fellow, thou that tak’ſt ſuch ſawcy boldneß to character and ſpeak thy Sovereigns errours, which thou ſhouldst cover, not preſume to queſtion; Know, Edward’s heart is as free from thine aſperſions, as thou or they from Truth or Moral Goodneß. When he had ended theſe words, he retires himſelf to his Chamber, ſad and Pp melan- 146 Pp1v 150146 melancholy; thinking his Caſe was hard and deſperate, when ſuch a paultry Groom durſt ſo affront him.
The Queen and Mortimer revelling in the height of their Ambition, had yet a wary eye to the main, which they knew principally conſiſted in the ſure keeping of their Priſoner. They ſee their plauſible income was but dully continued, there being a whiſpering murmur not ſo cloſely mutter’d, but that it came to their ears, which ſhew’d an abſolute diſlike of the manner of their The Queen and Mortimer unquiet ſtill. proceedings: Though they had all the marks and eſſential parts of Sovereignty, the name alone excepted, yet they had unquiet and troubled thoughts: What they wiſh’d they had obtain’d, yet there was ſtill ſomething wanting to give it perfection. Such is the vanity of our imagination, which faſhions out a period to our deſires, that being obtain’d, are yet as looſe and reſtleſs. Ambition hath no end, but ſtill goes upward, never content or fully ſatisfied. If man had all that Earth could give, and were ſole Monarch of the world, he yet would farther; and as the Giants did make War with Heaven, rather than loſe thoſe Symptomes of his Nature. Fear to preſerve what is unjuſtly gotten, doth give the new-made great one agitation, which ſomething limits his immenſe affections, that do believe he muſt ſtill mount up higher, and elſe would ſwallow all within his compaſs. This made this pair ſtop here a while, to ſtrengthen and more aſſure what was already gotten: They know the people giddy, falſe, inconſtant; a feather wagg’d would blow them to commotion. They ſee the Lords, that were their prime Supporters, ſeeming content, in heart not ſatisfied; the bough was lopt that ſhadow’d ore their greatneſs; another was ſprung up as large and fearful; which though more noble, yet no leſs aſpiring. The drooping tongue of the dejected Kingdom doth grumble out his expectations cozen’d.
The Grievance ſtill continues great and heavy, not chang’d 147 Pp2r 151147 chang’d in ſubſtance, but alone in habit; a juſt compaſſion aggravates the clamour, to ſee their former King ſo hardly uſed, ſhort of his Honour, Merit, Birth, Mortimer’s ears tingle. and Calling. Theſe paſſages related, tingled the ears of our great Mortimer; he knew that all was now at ſtake, which unprevented muſt hurl them back again with worſe conditions. No longer can he mince his He tells the Queen, the King muſt die. own Conceptions, but plainly tells the Queen the cauſe muſt periſh, Edward muſt dye; this is the only refuge muſt make all ſure, and cleanse this ſad ſuſpicion; ſo long as he remain’d, their fear continues, as would the hope of them attempt their ruine. The Warranty of Arms had a fair colour; that ſhould be levied to attempt his reſcue, which had a Royal ſtamp to raiſe and make them current. If ſuch a Project ſhould be once in action, it would be then too late to ſeek to croſs it. All men are apt to pity ſo great a King oppreſſed; and not ſo much look on what he had been, as what he is, and being reſtor’d he might be.
She ſeems diſcontented. The Queen, whoſe heart was yet believed innocent of ſuch foul Murther, is, or at leaſt ſeems, highly diſcontented; She acknowledges his preſent Sufferings greater than his Offences, or might become the King, her Lord and Husband; and holds this act of too too foul Injuſtice, which ſtiles her Son a Homicide, and her a Monſter: The crimſon Guilt of ſuch a crying action could not eſcape the cruel hand of Vengeance: If it might be concealed from humane Knowledge, the Allknowing Power of Heaven would lay it open. She thinks it more than an act of Bloud, to kill a Husband, and a King, that ſometimes loved her: She thinks her Son not of ſo ill a nature, as to ſlip o’re his Fathers Death untouch’d, unpuniſh’d, when that he was grown up in power to ſift it. Theſe motives made her thus return her Anſwer.
She returns her Anſwer. Let us reſolve (dear Friend) to run all hazards, rather than this that is ſo foul and cruel; let us not ſtain our Souls a148 Pp2v 152148 Souls with Royal Bloud and Murder, which ſeldome ſcapes unſeen, but never unpuniſh’d, eſpecially for ſuch a fear as is but caſual: while we are innocent, at worſt our danger is but privation of this glorious ſhadow, which Death can take, when we believe it ſureſt; but if we taint the inward part with ſuch a tincture, our proper Guilt will bring continual terrour, a fear that never dyes, but lives ſtill dying. If Edward do get looſe, what need we fear him, that pull’d him down when he was great, at higheſt? Why ſhould we then reſolve his Death or Murder? this Help may ſerve when we are deſperate of other Remedies, which yet appears not. To act ſo great a ſin without compulſion, addes to the deed, and makes it far more odious; nor can it plead excuſe if after queſtion’d, that hath no cauſe but merely Suppoſition. Say that he were a dead man, gone and hopeleſs, neither our fears or dangers are more leſſen’d; we are ſtill ſubject to the ſelf ſame hazard, and have to boot our proper Guilt to cauſe it. Thoſe that do hate or envy us, can faſhion other pretexts, as fair as this, to ſhake us; which we ſhall better cruſh, while we are guiltleſs. Then think upon ſome other courſe as ſure, more harmleſs; ne’re can my heart conſent to kill my Huſband.
Mortimer nettled. Mortimer being nettled with this Reply, ſo far wide of the aim which in his bloudy thoughts he had ſo conſtantly reſolved on, thought he would return the Queen as bitter a Pill, as ſhe had given him to bite on; which makes him thus reply in anger.
His Reply. Madam, who hath the time to friend, and doth neglect it, is juſtly falling ſcorn’d, and ſinks unpitied. Have you for this endur’d ſo bitter tryals, to be at length a foe to your own ſafety? Did you outrun your Troubles, ſuffering meanly, but to return unto your firſt condition? If it be ſo, I muſt approve your Reaſons, and ſay your grounds were like your project, hopeful; You ſee your glorious Morning now turn’d cloudy; the Kingdom doth repine to ſee our Greatneß, yet have no hope but in the King depoſed; who taken 149 Qq1r 153149 taken away, what fear can juſtly move us? Your youthful Son we’ll rule till he grows older, and in that time eſtabliſh ſuch a Greatneſs, as he ſhall hardly touch or dare to queſtion. To caſt a world of doubts is vain and ſenſeleß, where we enforc’d muſt either act or periſh; and to be nice in that hath no election, doth waſte out time, and not prevent the errour: If you ſtick faſt in this your tender pity, I muſt in juſtice then accuſe my fortune, that gave my heart to ſuch a female Weakneſs. Is there a diſproportion in this action, to keep the Crown with bloud, that was ſo gotten? Is there a more reſtraint to keep than get by Treaſon? If ſo, I yield, and will ſit ſtill and ruine. Had Edward known or fear’d, he had prevented, nor you nor I had had the Power to hurt him: But he neglected time, and now repents it; and ſo muſt we, if we embrace his errour. Fear is far leſs in ſenſe than apparition, and makes the ſhadow greater than the ſubject, which makes a faintneſs as the Fancy leads it, where is ſmall reaſon to be ſo affected. You urge it cannot be concealed or hidden. I not deny but it may be diſcovered; ſuch deeds may yet be ſo contrived and acted, that they prevent all proof, if not ſuſpicion. But why do I ſpend time in this perſwaſion? let him get free, whom we ſo much have wronged, let him examine our proceedings, ſift our actions, perhaps he will forget, forgive, be reeconciled: and ſpare your tears, leſt that your mighty Brother ſhould chance grow angry: if you loſe your Greatneß, you may if you be pleaſed abide the tryal. Mortimer’s reſolv’d, ſince you refuſe his judgment, you neither prize his ſafety, nor his ſervice; and therefore he will ſeek ſome other refuge before it be too late, and too far hopeleß.
Mortimer flings away. With this he flings away in diſcontentment, as if he meant with ſpeed to quit the Kingdom. The amazed Queen purſues and overtakes him, who ſeem’d unwilling The Queens expoſtulation. to prolong the treaty: Stay, gentle Mortimer, (quoth ſhe) I am a Woman, fitter to hear and take advice, than give it; think not I prize thee in ſo mean a faſhion, as to deſpiſe thy Safety or thy Council. Muſt EdwardQq ward 150 Qq1v 154150 ward dye, and is there no prevention? Oh wretched ſtate of Greatneß, frail Condition, that is preſerv’d by Bloud, She unwillingly conſents to the Kings Death. ſecur’d by Murder! I dare not ſay I yield, or yet deny it; Shame ſtops the one, the other Fear forbiddeth: only I beg I be not made partaker, or privy to the time, the means, the manner. With this ſhe weeps, and fain would have recanted, but ſhe ſaw in that courſe a double danger.
Mortimer, that had now what he lookt for, aſſures her he would undergo the act and hazard; which would not have moved, if not inforced by thoſe ſtrong motives of their certain danger. He requeſts alone the The Kings Keepers changed. King might ſeal a Warrant, that he may change anew his former Keepers. Sir Morice Barcklaye, as it ſeems, had been aloof off treated with, but was not pliable, or apt to faſten; he was both careful of his Charge, and Maſters Safety; this takes him ſuddenly from his cuſtody. Sir Thomas Towurlie ſupplies his place, with his old partner; they having received their new Warrant, He is removed to Corf Caſtle. and their Royal Priſoner, carry him by ſudden and haſty Journeys to Cork-Caſtle, the place that in all the world he moſt hated. Some ſay that he was foretold by a certain Magician, who as it ſeems was his Craftsmaſter, that this place was to him both fatal and ominous. ’Twas ill in him to ſeek by ſuch ill and unlawful means the knowledge of that, which being known did but augment his ſorrow. Whatſoever the cauſe was, his arrival here makes him deeply heavy, ſad and melancholy: his Keepers, to repel this humour, and to take him off from all fear and ſuſpicion, feed him with new hopes and pleaſant diſcourſe, improving his former entertainment both in his Diet and Attendance; while his miſgiving ſpirit ſuſpects the iſſue: Though he would fain have faſhion’d his belief to give them credit, yet he had ſuch a dull cloud about his heart, it could receive no comfort.
The fatal Night in which he ſuffer’d ſhipwrack, he eats a hearty Supper, but ſtays not to digeſt it; immediatelydiately 151 Qq2r 155151 diately he goes to Bed, with ſorrow heavy; aſſoon he takes his Reſt, and ſleeps ſecurely, not dreaming of his end ſo near approaching. Midnight the Patron of this horrid Murder being newly come, this Crew of perjur’d He is murdered. Traitors ſteal ſoftly to his Chamber, finding him in a ſweet and quiet Sleep, taking away his Life in that advantage.
The Hiſtorians of theſe Times differ both in the time, place, and manner of his Death; yet all agree, that he was foully and inhumanly murther’d, yet ſo, that there was no viſible or apparent ſigne which way ’twas acted. A ſmall tract of time diſcovers the Actors, and ſhews evidently that it was done by an extremity of Violence: they long eſcape not: though Mortimer’s greatneſs for the preſent time keep them both from queſtion and puniſhment, yet by the Divine Juſtice they all meet with a miſerable and unpitied Death; and the Maſter-work-man himſelf in a few years after ſuffered an ignominious Execution.
The Queen, who was guilty but in circumſtance, and but an acceſſory to the Intention, not the Fact, taſted with a bitter time of Repentance, what it was but to be quoted in the Margent of ſuch a Story; the ſeveral relations ſo variouſly expreſt of their Confeſſions, that were the Actors and Conſenters to this deed, differ ſo mainly, that it may be better paſt over in ſilence, than ſo much as touch’d; eſpecially ſince if it were in that cruel manner, as is by the major part agreed on, it was one of the moſt inhumane and barbarous acts that ever fell within the expreſſion of all our Engliſh Stories; fitter rather to be paſs’d over in ſilence, than to be diſcours’d, ſince it both diſhonoureth our Nation, and is in the Example ſo dangerous. It ſeems Mortimer was yet a Novice to Spencer’s Art, of that ſame Italian trick of Poyſoning, which queſtionleſs had wrought this work as ſurely, with a leſs noiſe, and fewer agents: It had been happy if ſuch a Villany had never gain’d knowledgeledge 152 Qq2v 156a152 ledge or imitation in the World: ſince it came to be entertain’d as a neceſſary ſervant of State, no man that runs in oppoſition, or ſtands in the way of Greatneſs, is almoſt ſecure in his own houſe, or among his Friends or Servants. I would to God we had not freſh in our Memory ſo many bleeding Examples, or that this Diabolical Practice might ſtop his career with the Miſchief it hath already done: But ſo long as the cloſe conveyance is deemed a Politick Vertue, and the Inſtruments by Power and Favour are protected, what can be expected, but that in ſhort time it muſt fall under the compaſs of a Trade or Myſtery, as fit for private Murtherers as Stateſmen?
But leaving the profeſſors of this execrable practice to their deſerts, and that guilt which ſtill torments them; Thus fell that unfortunate King Edward the Second, who by the courſe of Age and Nature might have outrun many years, had not his own Diſorder, the Infidelity of his Subjects, and the Treachery of thoſe that had deprived him of his Kingdome, ſent him to an untimely Death and Ruine. Many Reaſons are given, probable enough, to inſtance the neceſſity of his Fall, which queſtionleſs may be the ſecondary means; but his Doom was regiſter’d by the inſcrutable Providence of Heaven, which with the ſelf-ſame Sentence puniſh’d both him and Richard the Second his great Grandchild, who was coequally guilty of the ſame Errours, that both betrayed them and the Peace of their Kingdome. Henry the Sixth, though he taſted of the ſame Cup of Depoſition, yet there was more reaſon to induce it : Henry the Fourth his Grandfather was an Uſurper, and had unjuſtly got the Crown by pulling down the Houſe of York, and exalting that of Lancaſter, which in Juſtice brings it back again to the right Inheritour; yet were not thoſe times innocent of thoſe enormities which occaſion’d their confuſion. It is moſt true, that Henry himſelf was a ſweet harmleſs condition’d Man, religious, and 153 Rr1r 157153 and full of Moral Goodneſs; but he was fitter for a Cloiſter than a Crown, being tranſported with a Divine Rapture of Contemplation, that took him off from the care of all Worldly Affairs; while Margaret his Wife, Daughter of Reynard that ſtil’d himſelf King of Naples and Jeruſalem, acted her part with a like imitation; though ſhe had not a Gaveſton, a Spencer, or a Duke of Ireland, yet ſhe had a Suffolk, and a Somerſet, that could teach the ſame way to the Deſtruction and Depoſition of her Husband.
Theſe three ſympathized in their Royal Inheritance, in their Depoſitions, Deaths, and Fortunes; and theſe alone, ſince the Conqueſt of the Normans, unleſs we rank into the number Edward the Fifth, which muſt be with an impropriety, ſince he was by Richard his Tyrannical Uncle murdered before he was Crowned: If we example him with them, we may it is true conclude his caſe moſt miſerable, that loſt the Crown before he enjoy’d it, or had the perfection of years to make known his Inclination. The event that followed the others, eſpecially the two precedent, may be fitly a Caution and Admonition to Poſterity, and teach them what it is to hazard a Kingdome, and their own Lives, by the continuing of a wilful Errour. Certainly we have had other Kings fully as vicious, that have out-liv’d their Vices, not dying by a violent hand, but by the ordinary and eaſie courſe of Nature; they were more cautelous and flexible, and were content in the more moderate uſe of their own Vices.
The Condition of this our Edward, the ſubject of this Story, was not in it ſelf more hurtful, than dangerous to the Peace and Tranquility of the whole Kingdome. If by Heat of Youth, Height of Fortune, or the Corruptions of Nature, the Royal Affections flie looſely and at random; yet if it extend no farther than the ſatiſfaction of the private Appetite, it may obſcure the glory, but not ſupplant the ſtrength and ſafety of a Rr Scepter. 154 Rr1v 158154 Scepter. But when it is not only vicious in it ſelf, but doth patronize it in others, not bluſhing or ſhrinking in the juſtification, it is a fore-running and preſaging Evidence, that threatens danger, if not deſtruction. It is much in a King, that hath ſo great a Charge deliver’d over to his care and cuſtody, to be himſelf diſſolute, licentious, and ill-affected; but when he falls into a ſecond errour, making more delinquents Kings, where one is too much, be brings all into diſorder, and makes his Kingdome rather a Stage of Oppreſſion, than the Theater of Juſtice, which opens the ready way to an enſuing Miſery. The heart of the Subject as it is obliged, ſo it is continued by the Majeſty and Goodneſs of the King: if either prove proſtitute, it unties the links of Affection; thoſe loſt, the breach of Duty ſucceeds, which hunts after nothing but Change and Innovation. The bridle of the Laws is too weak a reſtriction, eſpecially when it is infring’d by him, that is moſt bound to protect it. Neither can the King in Juſtice blame or puniſh the breach, when he himſelf goes the way of ſubverſion of thoſe Precepts, which ſhould preſerve his Peace and Obedience. It is ſo ſingular and ſo weighty a Conſideration, that a Burthen ſhould never be impoſed upon the Subject by extent of the Prerogative; that may beget a juſt Grievance, beſides the grief in payment; the novelty of the act, incites to a tumultuous oppoſition. Where there is neither Law to warrant, nor fit preſident to induce the Injuſtice of the demand, ſuch actions begin in Complaint, which unredreſſed fall into an extremity, which draws with it a deſperate hazard. If the tye of Duty and Allegeance preſerve the Obedience to the Crown inviolate, let him beware that is the Prime Inſtrument, or Seducer; for he muſt be perſecuted with implacable hatred, which ends not until he be made a Sacrifice to expiate and quench the fury, or the endangering of his Maſter by his unjuſt Protection. It is no leſs proper for the Majeſtyjeſty 155 Rr2r 159155 jeſty and Goodneſs of a King, in caſe of a general Complaint, to leave thoſe great Cedars to the trial of the Law, and their own purgation; this makes known the integrity and equality of his Juſtice, which ſhould not be extended to the grubbing up of Brambles and Shrubs, while monſtrous Enormities of a greater height and danger ſcape unlopped. The accumulation of his Favour, though it be a property of his own Power, yet ought it in ſome meaſure to be ſatisfactory, as well in the preſent worth of him elected, as in his future progreſſion; elſe in the continuance he windes himſelf into the danger of participating his hatred, as well as protection of his Errour. The eye of the Subject waits curiouſly upon their Sovereigns actions, which if they ſeem to degenerate from his Wiſdome and Greatneſs, and preferring a private Inconvenience before the redreſs of a publick Grievance, it by degrees varies the integrity of the heart, and begets a liberty of Speech; which fall often on the actions of Revolt and Tumult. Neither is it proper (if there muſt be a Dotage in the Royal Affections) that the object of their weakneſs ſhould ſway and manage the Affairs of State; ſuch an Intermixture begets Confuſion, and Diſorder, accompanied with Envy, Hatred, and a world of Errours: If the King be never ſo innocent, yet in this courſe he cannot avoid the actions of Injuſtice. Experience tells the right uſe of a Favourite. A good Cauſe in the integrity of time warrants it ſelf, and needs no ſupporter: But Imperfection, Fraud, Diſhoneſty, and Weakneſs in true Worth, fly to his protection, that by his ſtrength they may prevail, which in Equity and Juſtice are meerly corrupt and counterfeit: Money, Friends, or Favour engageth him, and he his Maſter; hence proceed all manner of Oppreſſion and Diſorder. Let the Spring-head be never ſo pure and unpolluted, yet ſuch a Diver makes it foul and muddy. A ſmooth Tongue finding a favourable hearing, ſets a fair gloſs upon 156 Rr2v 160156 upon the blackeſt Overture; Love and a ſeeming Goodneſs leads, where all ſeems currant; which hatches daily broods of grief and miſchief: Thus doth the Kingdome ſuffer, ſo miſguided. Had this unhappy ſubject of this Story not been thus abuſed, had he been worſer far, he had ſubſiſted; but when for his inglorious Minions, Gaveſton and Spencer, who ſucceſſively enjoy’d him, he made the Kingdom a prey to their Inſolence, he found both Heaven and Earth conſpir’d his ruine. So great a Fall theſe latter times produce not; a King in a potent Kingdome of his own, depoſed by a handful of Strangers, who principally occaſioned it, without ſo much as any Kinſman, Friend, or Subject that either with his Tongue or Sword declar’d himſelf in his Quarrel. But you may object, He fell by Infidelity and Treaſon, as have many other that went before and followed him. ’Tis true; but yet withal obſerve, here was no ſecond Pretendents, but thoſe of his own, a Wife, and a Son, which were the greateſt Traytors: had he not indeed been a Traytor to himſelf, they could not all have wronged him. But my weary Pen doth now deſire a reſpite; wherefore leaving the perfection of this, to thoſe better Abilities that are worthy to give it a more full expreſſion; I reſt, until ſome more fortunate Subject invite a new Relation.The
An Alphabetical Table.
- Barons, the Kings Speech to them 5
- They ſwear not to recall Gaveſton 7
- Are ſlighted by the King 18
- Perſwade him to Marry Ibid.
- Take up Arms 29
- Seize Gaveſton, and behead him 30
- They are incenſed 53
- Take Arms again 55
- Their Meſſage to the King 56
- Appear with a Guard 58
- King writes to them 66
- Their Anſwer Ibid.
- They riſe 69
- Are beaten, and fly to Pontfract 70
- Are purſued, and repair to Councel 71
- Speech in favour of them Ibid.
- Sir Barth.Bartholomew Baldeſmere’s Caſtle ſeized 68
- Gaveſton Baniſhed 4
- His Character Ibid.
- Re -called home again 12
- He returns 17 Sſ And 158 Ss1v
- And is Married 19
- Created Earl of Cornwal Ibid.
- Chief Miniſter of State 20
- Impriſons the Biſhop of Cheſter 21
- Is Baniſht a ſecond time 23
- Re-called again 25
- Is Baniſht a third time 27
- Returns again 29
- Is ſeized by the Barons, and Beheaded 30
- King Edward II. his Birth and Character 1
- Swears not to re-call Gaveſton 7
- Is troubled at his Oath 8
- Falls into Melancholy 9
- Sends for Gaveſton 12
- Acquaints his Councel therewith 13
- Their Anſwer Ibid.
- His Angry Reply Ibid.
- His Marriage 19
- His son Edward of Windſor born 28
- He vows revenge for the Death of Gaveſton 32
- His Speech to Lancaſter 34
- Calls a Parliament 36
- Goes againſt the Scots38
- Is defeated 39
- Goes againſt them again 42
- Is angry they refuſe a Peace 44
- Requires two Cardinals, and ſends them home Ibid.
- Beſieges Barwick 45
- Leaves it again 47
- Seeks a new Favorite 48
- Takes Spencer 49
- Barons take Arms againſt him 55
- His Proclamation againſt Mortimer Ibid.
- Anſwers their Meſſage 57
- His Speech to the Parliament58
- His Anſwer to the Merchants Petition againſt Spencer 65
- Oppoſes the Barons 69
- Seizes the two Mortimers Ibid.
- Beats the Barons 70
- Kills Hereford, Clifford and Mowbray 71
- Takes Lancaſter and others Ibid.
- Is moved for revenge Ibid.
- His Reply upon it 72
- Beheads Lancaſter and twenty two more 73
- Calls a Parliament81
- Repulſes the Scots, and invades Scotland 83
- Looſeth his Treaſure 84
- Adviſes with Spencer 86
- Will not conſent to the Queens going 90
- Sad at her departure 92
- Complains to the Pope 102
- He ſuſpects the City of London 120
- Removes to Briſtol 121
- Gets into the Caſtle 127
- Betakes to a Bark and is ſeized Ibid.
- Sent to Berkley Caſtle 128
- Is removed in Diſguiſe 147
- His Complaint 148
- Is upbraided 149
- His Keepers changed 154
- He is removed to Corf Caſtle Ibid.
- He is Murdered 155
- The young King Crowned 142
- Kingdomes reſentment of the Biſhop of Cheſters Impriſonment 21
- Sir Gilbert de Middleton Executed 43
- Merchants Petition 65
- Mowbray killed 71
- Prodigious ſights Ibid.
- Ports ſtopt 94
- Queen offers to go for France 88
- Favours Mortimer 89
- Pretends a journey of Devotion 91
- Embarks for France Ibid.
- Is Tainted 94
- Entertain’d in France 95
- Her Addreſs 96
- Enticed to return 103
- Tells the French King of it Ibid.
- Adviſes on the ſame 104
- Joyful at Artois Council 106
- Her farewell to France 108
- Her welcome to Heynault 109
- Jealous of Treachery 113
- Embarks at Dort 115
- Frighted at Sea 116
- Lands at Harwich Ibid.
- Joyns Lancaſter 118
- Writes to the Mayor of London 121
- Is received into the City Ibid.
- She goes for Briſtol 123
- Refuſes a Treaty, and gives summons 124
- Takes that City 125
- Batters the Caſtle 127
- Takes the King Ibid.
- Sends him to Berkley-Caſtle 128
- Her Cruelty 129
- Comes to London 130
- Calls a ParliamentIbid.
- Her Speech to Mortimer 151
- Her Expoſtulation 153
- She unwillingly conſents to the Kings death 154
- Scotland Invaded by the King 83
- Biſhop Stapleton Beheaded 121
- Sir Walter de Selby Executed 43
Cottoni Poſthuma: Divers Choice Pieces, wherein are diſcuſſed ſeveral Important Queſtions, concerning the Right and Power of the Lords and Commons in Parliament. By the Renowned Antiquary Sir Robert Cotton Baronet. London: Printed by M. C. for C. Harper, and are to be Sold in Fleet-ſtreet, the Exchange, and Weſtminſter.