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death of Edward she experienced a great reverse of fortune. She first became the mistress of Lord Hastings, and owing to her connection with that nobleman, during the protectorship of the Duke of Gloucester, she was accused of sorcery and witchcraft, and having, in conjunction with Hastings, attempted by her ineantations to destroy the life of that bloody tyrant. This charge was too ridiculous even for that age; besides which the protector adduced nothing in its support except his shrivelled arm, an infirmity it was notorious he had borne from his birth. He was resolved, however, on her punishment. He next accused her of lewdness, of having been guilty of leaving her husband and living with other men ; this charge could not be denied, accordingly she was sentenced to do penance on the Sunday following in St. Paul's church in a white sheet, with a wax taper in her hand, before all the people. The ceremony is thus described by a contemporary writer : “She was brought clothed in a white sheet by way of procession, with the cross carried before her, and a wax taper in her hand to St. Paul's church, from the bishop's palace adjoining. In all this action she behaved with so much modesty and decency, that such as respected her beauty more than her fault, never were in greater admiration of her than now."
After doing penance, this unfortunate woman was entirely abandoned, and languished out the remainder of her days in solitude and indigence. No one among the great multitude she had obliged, had the humanity to bring her consolation or relief, and in her old age she experienced all the evils of poverty and shame, and the ingratitude of those courtiers, who during her prosperity had anxiously solicited her friendship, and been supported by her bounty. She was seen by Sir Thomas More so late as the reign of Henry VIII., poor, decrepid, and shrivelled, without the least trace of that beauty which once commanded the admiration of the court. It is said she perished from hunger in a ditch, now called after her Shoreditch.*
Kings of England, p. 75.
* Sir Thomas More, in his history of Richard the Third, gives the following minute and interesting account of her:-“Proper she was, and faire : nothing in her body that you would have changed, but if you would have wished her somewhat higher. Thus say thei that knew her in her youthe. Albeit some that nou see her (for she yet liveth), deme her never to have bene wel visaged—whose judgment seemeth me somewhat like, as though men should gesse the bewty of one longe before departed, by her scalpe taken out of the charnel-louse; for now is she old lene, withered and dried up, nothing left but ryvilde skin and hard bone-and yet, being even such who so wel adorse her visage, might gesse and devise which partes how filled would make it a faire face. Yet delighted not men so much in her bewty, as in her pleasant behaviour, for a proper wit had she, and could both rede wel and write ; merry in company, redy and quick of answer, neither mute nor ful of bable; sometimes taunting without displeasure and not without disport. She never abused her favour with the kyng to any man's hurt, but to many a man's comfort and relief. Where the kyng toke displeasure she would mitigate and appease his mind. Were men out of favour, she would bring them in his grace: for many, that had highly offended, shee obtained pardon: of great forfeitures she gate men remission; and finally in many weighty sutes she stode men in gret stede, either for none or very smal rewardes, and those rather gay than rich:
DEATH OF THE DUKE OF CLARENCE. In 1478 the Tower was the scene of another event, the interest of which, like that attached to the death of Henry VI., is rather enhanced than diminished by the obscurity in which it is enveloped -the imprisonment, and extraordinary end of George, Duke of Clarence, the king's brother; who, according to popular report, terminated his days within the Tower, by drowning in a butt of Malm- i sey.* The vaulted room in the Bowyer Tower is the place where the supposed assassination is said to have taken place, and if the perpetrators of the foul deed considered it necessary to choose a spot more dismal and secluded than another for the scene of such a tragedy, the story derives a probability from the situation and character of the place in question; but it is unsupported by any historical evidence.
Bayley's History of the Tower, p. 176.
DEATH OF EDWARD IV. Edward died on the 9th April, 1483, in the forty-second year of his age. The cause of his death is variously reported; some accuse the Duke of Gloucester of poisoning him. Philip de Commines, pretends Edward died of grief and vexation to see himself baffled and deceived by Louis XI.; the most probable opinion is, that he died of a surfeit, being used to divert his cares with excessive eating and drinking.
Rapin, vol i., p. 627. Immediately after his death he was exposed on a board, naked from the waist upwards, during ten hours, that he might be seen by all the lords, spiritual and temporal, and by the mayor and aldermen of London. He was buried in the new chapel at Wind
Sandford, p. 13. PERSON AND CHARACTER. In his person he was one of the handsomest men in England, and perhaps in Europe; his noble mien, his free air, his affable
either for that she was content with the dede selfe well done, or for that she delited to be sued unto, and to show what she was able to do wyth the kyng. I doubt no some shal think too sleight a thing to be written of, and set amonge the resemblances of great matters: which thei shal specially think, and happely shal esteeme her only by that thei now see her. But me seemeth the chaunce, so much the more worthy to be remembered, in how much she is now in the more beggarly condicion, unfrended, and worne out of acquaintance, after good substance, after as grete favour with the prince, after as grete sate and seeking to with al those, that in those days had busynes to spede, as many other men were in their times, which be now famouse only by the infamy of their il dedes. Her doinges were not much leesse, albeit thei be much leesse remembered because thei were not so evil. For men use if they have an evil tourne, to write it in marble; and whoso doth us a good tourne, we write it in daste, which is not worst proved by her ; at this daye she beggeth of many at this daye living, that at this daye had begged if she had not bene.” There is an original picture of her preserved in the provost's lodgings at Eton, and another in the provost's lodge, King's College, Cambridge. Her portrait is thus drawn by Drayton, in his poetic epistle:-“Her stature was meane, her haire of a dark yellow, her face round and full, her eye grey, delicate harmony being betwixt each part's proportion, and each proportion's colour, her body fat white, and smooth, her countenance cheerful and like to her conditon.”
* It is said that, being condemned to die, his partiality for Malmsey caused him to select this strange mode of execution.
carriage, prepossessed every one in his favour ; these qualities, joined to an undaunted courage, rendered him extremely popular. He had, however, many vices; he was false, cruel, and vindictive, a slave to his pleasures, and wholly insensible to pity and generosity; indeed, in the words of a contemporary chronicler, “ He had no good qualities but courage and beauty."
Kings of England, p. 77.
CHRONICLE. 1461. A tradesman of the city of London beheaded for saying he would make his son heir to the crown, alluding to the sign of his house. 1472. A plague in England this year carried off more than the fifteen years' war. 1473. Printing introduced into England by William Caxton, a mercer, and one of the most worthy and ingenious men of his time; assisted by Thomas Milling, abbot of Westminster, he set up a printing press in the Almonry of the Abbey, and in March, 1474, produced a small book, translated by himself out of French, called " The Game of Chess," which is the first book known with certainty to be printed in England. The royal chapel at Windsor founded this year by Edward. 1478. A great plague in England this year, which began in September and ended in November. 1481. Thomas Parr born this year, noted for his extraordinary great age. He lived till he was upwards of 152 years old; in the year 1635 he was brought to London by Lord Arundel, and introduced to Charles I. During the Scottish campaign posts were first established in England; horsemen were placed at the distance of twenty miles from each other on the road from Scotland to England ; they delivered the dispatches from one to another at the rate of 100 miles a day. In this reign acts of parliament were issued for restraining the excess of apparel, prescribing what every class of men should wear, and prohibiting The wearing of shoes with long piked toes.
REIGN OF EDWARD V. FROM 9TH APRIL, 1483, TO 22ND JUNE, 1483—2 MONTHS, 13 DAYS.
INTRIGUES OF THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER. The young King Edward, being then in his thirteenth year, coming to London from Ludlow immediately after his father's death, was met by his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, who was named protector, and conducted, under pretence of the better securing his safety, to the Tower, where shortly afterwards he was joined by his brother Richard, Duke of York, who, by the persuasions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, had been given up by the queen, his mother, who, since her husband's death, had taken refuge in the sanctuary at Westminster. No sooner were the two unfortunate children in the power of the duke protector, than his dark schemes of ambition began to develop themselves. He first caused reports to be spread of the king's illegitimacy, and thereby delayed his coronation; he next contrived the arrest and execution of Lord Hastings, whose influence with the people in favour of the young princes stood greatly in the way of his treasonable designs. He then, by the aid of the Duke of Buckingham, cajoled the Lord Mayor and citizens to offer him the crown, which, after first refusing with much hypocritical humility, he at length, by dint of great pressing, and with well-feigned reluctance, was prevailed on to accept. The doom of the unfortunate princes was now sealed, their sojourn in the Tower was no longer, as was at first pretended, a royal visit while the preparations for the coronation were perfecting, but an openly-acknowledged state imprisonment, on the termination of which sinister forebodings and dark whispers were rife on every hand. The people already began to distrust their crook-backed king, and it wanted but the death of his nephews to confirm their hatred of him. The long-premeditated murder was but too soon accomplished, and the blood-stained tyrant being thereby securely fixed on the throne, continued his career of cruelty and violence, and by his many evil deeds earned for his memory the execration of posterity.
Kings of England, p. 78.
REIGN OF RICHARD III.
FROM 1483 to 1485—2 YEARS, 2 MONTHS.
MURDER OF THE YOUNG PRINCES. King Richard, after his coronation, taking his way to Gloucester, devised, as he rode, to fulfil that thing which he had before intended. As his mind gave him that, his nephews living, men would not reckon that he could have right to the realm, he thought, therefore, without delay, to rid them ; whereupon he sent John Grene, whom he specially trusted, unto Sir Robert Brackenbury, constable of the Tower, with a letter, that the same Sir Robert in any wise should put the two children to death. This John Grene did his errand to Brackenbury, who plainly answered that he would never put them to death to die therefore; with which answer Grene returned, recounting the same to King Richard, wherewith he took such displeasure and thought, that on the same night he said to a secret page of his : " Ah, whom shall a man trust? They that I have brought up myself, they that I thought would have mostly, surely served me, even those fail, and at my commandment will do nothing for me.” “Sir,” quoth the page,
“there lieth one in the palet chamber without, that I dare well say,
to do your grace pleasure, the thing were right hard he would refuse !" meaning Sir James Tyrell, who was a man of goodly personage, and for the gifts of nature worthy to have served a better prince, if he had well served God, and, by grace, obtained as much truth and good will as he had strength and wit. The man had a high heart and sore longed upward, not rising yet as fast as he had hoped, being hindered and kept under by Sir Richard Ratcliffe and Sir William Catesby. Whereupon King Richardrose and came out into the palet chamber, where he found Sir James a bed, and calling him up, brake to him secretly his mind in this mischievous matter, in which he found him to his purpose nothing strange. Wherefore on the morrow he sent him to Brackenbury with a letter, by which he was commanded to deliver to Sir James all the keys of the Tower for a night, to the end that he might there accomplish the king's pleasure in such things as he had given him commandment. Forthwith on the protector assuming the title of king, the two young princes were both shut up, and all their people removed but only one, called Black Will, or Will Slaughter, who was set to serve them, and four keepers to guard them. The young king was heard to say, sighingly, “ Would mine uncle would let me have my life, though he taketh my crown. After which time the prince never tied his points, nor anything thought of himself, but with that young babe his brother lingered in thought and heaviness till this traitorous deed delivered them from their wretchedness. Sir James Tyrell devised that they should be murdered in their beds, and no blood shed, to the execution whereof he appointed Miles Forest, one of the four that before kept them, a fellow, flesh bred in murder before time; and to him he joined one John Dighton, his own horse-keeper, a big, broad, square and strong knave. Then all the other attendants being removed from them this Miles Forest and John Dighton, about midnight, came into the chamber, and suddenly wrapped them up amongst the clothes, keeping down by force the feather-bed and pillows hard upon their mouths, that within awhile they smothered and stifled them ; and their breaths failing, they gave up to God their innocent souls unto the joys.of Heaven, leaving to their tormentors their bodies dead in bed ; after which the wretches laid them out upon the bed and fetched Tyrell to see them, and when he was satisfied of their death, he caused the murderers to bury themat the stair-foot, meetly deep in the ground, under a great heap of stones. Sir James having fulfilled his task, rode in great haste to King Richard, and shewed him all the manner of the murder, who gave him great thanks, and, as men say, there made him knight; but he allowed not their burial in so vile a comer, saying he would have them buried in a better place, because they were a king's sons; whereupon a priest of Sir Robert Brackenbury's took them up and buried them in such secrecy as by the occasion of his death, which was very shortly after, no one knew it. * Sir Thomas More.
* In 1674, a new stair was made to this chapel (on the south side of the White Tower), and as the workmen were digging at the foot of an old staircase, they found some bones, the proportion of which being answerable to the ages of the royal youths, King Charles the Second was so well satisfied that these must be those princes bones, that he caused them to be translated and decently and honourably interred in Henry the Seventh's chapel, among their royal ancestors.
Kennet, unl. i., p. 551. This fact must go far to confute the speculations of Horace Walpole, and other