Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

UNPOPULARITY OF RICHARD II. Though Richard occasionally evinced traits of courage and understanding, he was upon the whole a weak, tyrannical, and incapable prince. His taste for pomp and magnificence had become extremely burdensome to his people; and though a terrible plague and famine ravaged the country, he made no abatement in his ridiculous and expensive pleasures. It is said he daily entertained ten thousand persons. In his kitchen alone three hundred domestics were employed, and the queen had the like number of women in her service. He valued himself upon surpassing in splendour all the sovereigns in Europe, which foolish vanity being very chargeable to his subjects, necessarily drew upon him their aversion; the chief cause, however, of his downfall was the violent seizure of the estates of Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, then an exile in France. Such a flagrant act of injustice excited the indignation of all classes against the king, and compassion for the banished duke. Whilst these discontents were raging, Richard had the imprudence to undertake an expedition to Ireland, to revenge the death of Mortimer, Earl of Marche, and thus left the kingdom at the mercy of the mal-contents.

Rapin, vol. iv., p. 32. DUKE OF LANCASTER'S INVASION. The Duke of Lancaster hearing of Richard's baseness, and having received invitations from many powerful barons, determined to invade England, and recover by force the rights of which he had been unjustly deprived. He landed at Ravenspur, in Yorkshire, July 4th, 1399, and was immediately joined by the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, and many other powerful noblemen and their followers. He marched southward, giving out that he was only going to recover possession of his inheritance, which brought such immense multitudes to his standard, that they soon amounted to sixty thousand men. Shortly after he was joined by the regent of the kingdom, the Duke of York, with a considerable army. Every thing was now lost. Richard on landing from Ireland, instead of finding the regent at the head of an army for the support of his authority, found him ranged on the side of his rival. He then disbanded his small army, and retired to Conway castle. Being almost alone, he saw no other alternative than throwing himself on the mercy of his enemy. He sent one of his attendants to the duke, desiring a conference, and offering on condition his life was secured, and an honourable pension granted to himself and eight persons whom he should name, to resign the crown. The king then repaired to Flint, about ten miles from Chester, where the duke was now arrived. Next day the duke being come to Flint, went to the king, who said to him, with a

Bench, that more than 1,500 of these unbygy men were condemned and executed is traitors.

Dr. Henry's History, vol. ii., p. 315.

cheerful countenance, “ Cousin' of Lancaster, you are welcome.” Then the duke bowing thrice to the ground, replied, “ My lord the king, I am come sooner than you appointed me; because the common fame of your people is, that you have for this one and twenty years governed very ill and rigorously, with which they are not all satisfied; but if it please God I will help you to govern them better for the future.” To which the king returned,

“ Fair cousin, since it pleases you, it pleases us also.'

In a few days the duke set out with his royal captive for London, the unfortunate king was mounted on a sorry jade of a horse, and in the course of the journey had the mortification to hear the very dregs of the people add insults to his misery, and heap curses on his government.*

Kings of England, p. 63. DEPOSITION OF RICHARD II. Richard being now in the power of his enemies, the remaindex of his history is very brief. A parliament being summoned, thirty five articles were prepared, in which he was accused of various crimes and misdemeanors ; and no one, with the exception of the Bishop of Carlisle, venturing to say any thing in his defence, he was solemnly deposed. The throne being thus declared vacant, the Duke of Lancaster, though not the nearest heir to the late possessor, rose from his seat, and having with great appearance of devotion invoked the name of Christ, and crossed himself on the breast and forehead, claimed the crown, in the following words: “In the name of Fadher, Son, and Holy Ghost, I, Henry of Lancaster, challenge this rewme of Ynglonde, and the crowne with all the members and the upurtenances, als I that am decendit by ryght lyne of the blode, cumynge fra the good lord King Henry Thirde, and throughe that ryght God of his grace hath sent me, whith helpe of my kyn, and of my frendas to recover it; which rewme was in poynt to be ondone for defaute of governance

* Froissart, vol. ii., p. 892, speaking of Richard's departure from Flint Castle, in the custody of the Duke of Lancaster, says :-“I heard of a singular circumstance that happened which I must mention. King Richard had a greyhound called Math, beautiful beyond measure, who would not notice nor follow any one but the king. Whenever the king rode abroad the greyhound was loosed by the person who had him in charge, and ran instantly to caress him, by placing his two fore-feet on his shoulders. It fell out that as the king and the Duke of Lancaster were conversing in the court of the castle, their horses being ready for them to mount, the greyhound was untied ; but, instead of running as usual to the king, he left him, and leaped to the Duke of Lancaster's shoulders, paying him every court, and caressing him as he was formerly used to caress the king. The duke, not acquainted with this greyhound, asked the king the meaning of this fondness, saying, “What does this mean?' 'Cousin,' replied the king, it means a great deal for you and very little for me.' 'How ?! said the duke; ‘pray explain it.' 'I understand by it,' answered the king, that this greyhound fondles and pays his court to you this day as King of England, which you will surely be, and I shall be deposed, for the natural instinct of the dog shows it to him; keep him, therefore, by your side, for he will now leave me and follow you.' The Duke of Lancaster treasured up what the king had said, and paid attention to the greyhound, who would never more tollow Richard of Bordeaux, but kept by the side of the Duke of Lancaster, as was witnessed by thirty thousand med

"

[ocr errors]

and undoying of the gude lawes." After this harangue the Archa bishop of Canterbury took Henry by the right hand and conducted him towards the empty throne, and with the assistance of the Archbishop of York placed him upon it amidst the acclamations of the assembly. As soon as silence could be obtained, the primate preached a sermon, and endeavoured to represent this unprincipled usurpation as the will of God, and Henry the Lord's anointed. His text was well chosen for his purpose ; it was taken from 1 Samuel, ix. 17. “Behold the man whom I spake to thee, of: this same shall reign over my people.”

Kings of England, p. 64.1 MURDER OF RICHARD II. When Richard was deposed, the Earl of Northumberland made a motion in the House of Peers, demanding the advice of parlia. ment with regard to the future treatment of the deposed king. To this they replied, that he should be imprisoned in some secure place, where his friends and partizans should not be able to find him. This was accordingly put in practice, but while he still continued alive the usurper could not remain in safety. Indeed, some conspiracies and commotions, which followed soon after, induced Henry to wish for Richard's

death, in consequence of which one of those assassins (Sir Piers Exton) that are found in every court, ready to commit the most horrid crimes for reward, went down to the place of this unfortunate monarch's confinement, in the castle of Pomfret, and with eight followers rushed into his apartment. The king concluding their design was to take away his life, resolved not to fall unavenged, but to sell it as dearly as he could; wherefore, wresting a pole-axe from one of his mur. derers, he soon laid four of their number dead at his feet; but he was at length overpowered, and struck dead by the blow of a pole-axe, although some assert that he was starved in prison.*

Goldsmith, p. 92. PERSON AND CHARACTER. He was tall and eminently handsome, and doth not seem to be naturally defective cither in courage or understanding ; for on some occasions, particularly in the dangerous insurrections of the

* The death of Richard the Second is one of those historical mysteries which, perhaps, will never be cleared up. The story which Shakspeare has adopted, of his assassination by Piers of Eston, and his followers, is related by Caxton, in his addition to Hygden's Polycronicon, was copied by Fabyan, and of course found its ways into Holinshed. The honest old compiler, however, notices the other stories-that he died either by compulsory famine or by voluntary pining. It is a remarkable contirmation of the belief that Richard did not die by the wounds of a battle-axe, that when his tomb was opened in Westminster Abbey, some years since, his skull was found qninjured. Thomas of Walsingham, who was living at the time of Zichard's death, relates that the unhappy captive voluntary starved himself. His body was removed to the Tower, where it was publicly exhibited. There is another story, that Richard escaped, and lived nineteen years in Scotland; but this has been much disputed.

Note to Knight's Edition of Shakspeare's Richard U.

crown, he acted with a degree of spirit and prudence superior to his years; and if he had received a proper education might have proved a great and good king.

Dr. Henry's History, vol. iii., p. 320.

CHRONICLE. 1382. John Wycliffe dies of apoplexy while assisting at mass at his rectory of Lutterworth. His body was dug up forty years afterwards, and burnt for a heretic. 1397. Richard rebuilt Westminster Hall. In this reign was brought in a fashion of wearing peaked shoes, tied to the knees with chains of silver. Ladies used high-horned head dresses, with long trained gowns, and rode on side saddles, a fashion newly brought into the kingdom by Anne of Bohemia (the queen). At this time, there being no poor-laws, a table was provided in the hall of every nobleman and gentleman, for the refreshment of travellers, and every day a distribution was made at the gate to the poor of the neighbourhood of such food as remained after the household had been fed.

REIGN OF HENRY IV.
FRCA 1399 to 1413--13 YEARS, 5 MONTHS, 20 DAYS.

CORONATION OF HENRY IV.

The Duke of Lancaster left the Tower this Sunday, the 12th day of October, 1399, after dinner, on his return to Westininster; he was bareheaded, and had round his neck the order of the King of France. The Prince of Wales, six dukes, six earls, and eighteen barons accompanied him ; and there were of knights and other nobility from eight to nine hundred horse in the procession. The duke was dressed in a jacket, after the German fashion, of cloth of gold, mounted on a white courser, with a blue garter on his left leg. He passed through the streets of London, which were all handsomely decorated with tapestries, and other rich hangings. There were nine fountains in Cheapside, and other streets he passed through, which perpetually ran with white and red wines. He was escorted by prodigious numbers of gentlemen, with their servants in liveries and badges; and the different companies of London were led by their wardens, clothed in their proper livery, and with ensigns of their trade. The whole cavalcade amounted to six thousand horse, which escorted the duke from the Tower to Westminster. That same night the duke bathed, and on the morrow confessed himself, as he had good need to do, and according to his custom heard three masses. The prelates and clergy who had been assembled then came in a large body in procession from Westminster Abbey to conduct the duke thither, and returned in the same manner, the duke and his lords foLowing them. The

K

dukes, earls, and barons, wore long scarlet robes, with mantles trimmed with ermine, and large hoods of the same. The dukes: and earls had three bars of ermine on the left arm a quarter of a . yard long, the barons had but two. All the squires and knights had uniform cloaks of scarlet lined with minever. In the procession to the church the duke had borne over his head a rich canopy of blue silk, supported on silver staves, with four golden bells that rang at the corners, by four burgesses of Dover, who claimed it as their right. On each side of him were the sword of mercy and the sword of justice; the first was borne by the Prince of Wales, and the other by the Earl of Northumberland, constable of England, for the Earl of Rutland had been dismissed. The procession entered the church about nine o'clock, in the middle of which was erected a scaffold, covered with crimson cloth, and in the centre a royal throne of cloth of gold. When the duke entered the church, he seated himself on the throne, and was thus in règal state, except having the crown on his head. The Archishop of Canterbury proclaimed from the four corners of the scaffold how God had given them a man for their lord and sovereign, and then asked the people if they were consenting to his being consecrated and crowned king. They unanimously shouted out, " Ay!” and held up their hands, promising fealty and homage. After this the duke descended from his throne, and advanced to the altar to be consecrated. This ceremony was performed by two archbishops and ten bishops : he was stripped of all his royal state before the altar, naked to his shirt, and was then anointed and consecrated at six places, that is to say, on the head, the breast, the two shoulders, before and behind, on the back and hands; they then placed a bonnet on his head; and while this was doing the clergy chanted the litany, or the service that is performed to hallow a font.

The king was

now dressed in churchman's clothes like a deacon, and they put on him shoes of crimson velvet, after the manner of a prelate; then they added spurs with a point, but no rowel, and the sword of justice was drawn, blessed, and delivered to the king, who put it in the scabbard, when the Archbishop of Canterbury girded it about him. The crown of Saint Edward, which is arched over like a cross, was next brought and blessed, and placed by the archbishop on the king's head. When mass was over the king left the church, and returned to the palace in the same state as before. There was in the court-yard a fountain that constantly ran with white and red wine from various mouths. The king then went to the hall to dinner. At the first table sat the king, at the second the five great peers of England, at the third the principal citizens of London, at the fourth the new-created knighis, at the fifth all knights and squires of honour. The king was served by the Prince of Wales, who carried the sword of mercy, and on the opposite side by the constable, who bore the sword of justice. At the bottom of the table was the Earl of Westmoreland with the sceptre. There were only at the king's

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »