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We continue the narrative of Hall :
“In the mean season King Richard (which was appointed now to finish his last labour by the very divine justice and providence of God, which called him to condign punishment for his scelerate merits and mischievous deserts) marched to a place meet for two battles to encounter, by a village called Bosworth, not far from Leicester, and there he pitched his field, refreshed his soldiers, and took his rest. The fame went that he had the same night a dreadful and a terrible dream ; for it seemed to him, being asleep, that he saw divers images like terrible devils, which pulled and hauled him, not suffering him to take any quiet or rest. The which strange vision not so suddenly strake his heart with a sudden fear, but it stuffed his head and troubled his mind with many dreadful and busy imaginations ; for incontinent after, his heart being almost damped, he prognosticated before the doubtful chance of the battle to come, not using the alacrity and mirth of mind and of countenance as he was accustomed to do before he came toward the battle. And lest that it might be suspected that he was abashed for fear of his enemies, and for that cause looked so piteously, he recited and declared to his familiar friends in the morning his wonderful vision and terrible dream."
The plan of the battle is minutely detailed in the narratives. According to the usual practice of the Chroniclers they give us long orations, by the respective leaders, previous to the battle being joined. The legend of 'Jocky of Norfolk' is told thus by Hall :—“Of the nobility were slain John Duke of Norfolk, which was warned by divers to refrain from the field, insomuch that the night before he should set forward toward the king one wrote on his gate,
“Jack of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dykon thy master is bought and sold.” The battle and the victory are thus described by Hall with the accustomed spirit of these old masters of our language :
“ He had scantly finished his saying but the one army espied the other. Lord ! how hastily the soldiers buckled their helms ! how quickly the archers bent their bows and frushed their feathers ! how readily the billmen shook their bills and proved their staves ! ready to approach and join when the terrible trumpet should sound the bloody blast to victory or death. Between both armies there was a great morass, which the Earl of Richmond left on his right hand, for this intent, that it should be on that side a defence for his part : and in so doing he had the sun at his back and in the faces of his enemies. When King Richard saw the earl's company was passed the morass, he commanded with all haste to set upon them; then the trumpets blew and the soldiers shouted, and the king's archers courageously let fly their arrows : the earl's bowmen stood not still, but paid them home again. The terrible shot once passed, the armies joined and came to handstrokes, where neither sword nor bill was spared ; at which encounter the Lord Stanley joined with the earl. The Earl of Oxford in the mean season, fearing lest while his company was fighting they should be compassed and circumvented with the multitude of his enemies, gave commandment in every rank that no man should be so hardy as go above ten foot from the standard ; which commandment once known, they knit themselves together, and ceased a little from fighting. The adversaries, suddenly abashed at the matter, and mistrusting some fraud or deceit, began also to pause, and left striking, and not against the wills of many, which had liefer had the king destroyed than saved, and therefore they fought very faintly or stood still. The Earl of Oxford, bringing all his band together on the one part, set on his enemies freshly. Again, the adversaries perceiving that, placed their men slender and thin before, and thick and broad behind, beginning again hardily the battle. While the two forwards thus mortally fought, each intending to vanquish
and convince the other, King Richard was admonished by his explorators and espials that the Earl of Richmond, accompanied with a small number of men of arms, was not far off ; and as he approached and marched toward him, he perfectly knew his personage by certain demonstrations and tokens which he had learnt and known of other ; and being inflamed with ire and vexed with outrageous malice, ho put his spurs to his horse and rode out of the side of the range of his battle, leaviny, the avant-gardes fighting, and like a hungry lion ran with spear in rest toward him. The Earl of Richmond perceived well the king furiously coming toward him, an 1, by cause the whole hope of his wealth and purpose was to be determined by battlu he gladly proffered to encounter with him body to body and man to man. King Richard set on so sharply at the first brunt that he overthrew the earl's standard and slew Sir William Brandon, his standard-bearer, (which was father to Sir Charles Brandon, by King Henry the Eighth created Duke of Suffolk,) and matched hand to hand with Sir John Cheinye, a man of great force and strength, which would have resisted him, and the said John was by him manfully overthrown, and so he making open passage by dint of sword as he went forward, the Earl of Richmond withstood his violence and kept him at the sword's point without advantage longer than his companions other thought or judged ; which, being almost in despair of victory, were suddenly recomforted by Sir William Stanley, which came to succours with iii thousand tall men, at which very instant King Richard's men were driven back and fled, and he himself, manfully fighting in the middle of his enemies, was slain and brought to his death as he worthily had deserved.
“When the carl had thus obtained victory, and slain his mortal enemy, he knelt down and rendered to Almighty Gor his hearty thanks, with devout and godly orisons, beseeching his goodness to send him grace to advance and defend the Catholic faith, and to maintain justice and concord amongst his subjects and people, by God now to his governance committed and assigned : which prayer finished, he replenished with incomparable gladness, ascended up to the top of a little mountain, where he not only praised and lauded his valiant soldiers, but also gave unto them his hearty thanks, with promise of condign recompense for their fidelity and valiant facts, willing and commanding all the hurt and wounded persons to be cured, and the dead carcases to be delivered to the sepulchre. Then the people rejoiced and clapped hands, crying up to heaven, king Henry, king Henry. When the Lord Stanley saw the good will and gratitude of the people, he took the crown of King Richard, which was found amongst the spoil in the field, and set it on the earl's head, as though he had been elected king by the voice of the people, as in antient times past in divers realms it hath been accustomed, and this was the first sign and token of his felicity.
LORD Bacon. There followed this year, being the second of the king's reign, a strange accident of state, whereof the relations which we have are so naked, as they leave it scarce credible ; not for the nature of it, for it hath fallen out often, but for the manner and circumstances of it, especially in the beginnings. Therefore we shall make our judgment upon the things themselves, as they give light one to another, and as we can dig truth out of the mine. The king was green in his estate ; and contrary to his own opinion and desert both, was not without much hatred throughout the realm. The root of all was the discountenancing of the House of York; which the general body of the realm still affected. This did alienate the hearts of the subjects from him daily more and more, especially when they saw, that after his
marriage, and after a son born, the king did, nevertheless, not so much as proceed to the coronation of the queen, not vouchsafing her the honour of a matrimonial crown ; for the coronation of her was not till almost two years after, when danger had taught him what to do. But much more when it was spread abroad, whether by error or the cunning of malcontents, that the king had a purpose to put to death Edward Plantagenet closely in the Tower : whose case was so nearly paralleled with that of Edward the Fourth's children, in respect of the blood, like age, and the very place of the Tower, as it did refresh and reflect upon the king a most odious resemblance, as if he would be another King Richard. And all this time it was still whispered everywhere, that at least one of the children of Edward the Fourth was living : which bruit was cunningly fomented by such as desired innovation. Neither was the king's nature and customs greatly fit to disperse these mists, but contrariwise, he had a fashion rather to create doubts than assurance. Thus was fuel prepared for the spark : the spark, that afterwards kindled such a fire and combustion, was at the first contemptible.
There was a subtle priest called Richard Simon, that lived in Oxford, and had to his pupil a baker's son, named Lambert Simnell
, of the age of some fifteen years, a comely youth, and well favoured, not without some extraordinary dignity and grace of aspect. It came into this priest's fancy, hearing what men talked, and in hope to raise himself to some great bishopric, to cause this lad to counterfeit and personate the second son of Edward the Fourth, supposed to be murdered ; and afterwards, for he had changed his intention in the manage, the Lord Edward Plantagenet, then prisoner in the Tower, and accordingly to frame him and instruct him in the part he was to play. This is that which, as was touched before, seemeth scarcely credible ; not that a false person should be assumed to gain a kingdom, for it hath been seen in ancient and late times; nor that it should come into the mind of such an abject fellow to enterprise so great a matter ; for high conceits do sometimes come streaming into the imaginations of base persons, especially when they are drunk with news and talk of the people. But here is that which hath no appearance : that this priest being utterly unacquainted with the true person, according to whose pattern he should shape his counterfeit, should think it possible for him to instruct his player either in gesture or fashions, or in recounting past matters of his life and education ; or in fit answers to questions, or the like, any ways to come near the resemblance of him whom he was to represent. For this lad was not to personate one that had been long before taken out of his cradle, or conveyed away in his infancy, known to few; but a youth, that till the age almost of ten years had been brought up in a court where infinite eyes had been upon him. For King Edward, touched with remorse of his brother the Duke of Clarence's death, would not indeed restore his son, of whom we speak, to be Duke of Clarence, but yet created him Earl of Warwick, reviving his honour on the mother's side ; and used him honourably during his time, though Richard the Third afterwards confined him. So that it cannot be, but that some great person that knew particularly and familiarly Edward Plantagenet, had a hand in the business, from whom the priest might take his aim. That which is most probable, out of the precedent and subsequent acts is, that it was the queen-dowager from whom this action had the principal source and motion. For certain it is she was a busy negotiating woman, and in her withdrawing chamber had the fortunate conspiracy for the king against King Richard the Third been hatched ; which the king knew, and remembered perhaps but too well ; and was at this time extremely discontent with the king, thinking her daughter, as the king handled the matter, not advanced but depressed : and none could hold the book so well to prompt and instruct this stage-play as she could. Nevertheless it was not her meaning, nor no
more was it the meaning of any of the better and sager sort that favoured this enterprise, and knew the secret, that this disguised idol should possess the crown ; but at his peril to make way to the overthrow of the king; and that done they had their several hopes and ways. That which doth chiefly fortify this conjecture is, that as soon as the matter brake forth in any strength, it was one of the king's first acts to cloister the queen-dowager in the nunnery of Bermondsey, and to take away all her lands and estate ; and this by a close council, without any legal proceeding, upon far-fetched pretences, that she had delivered her two daughters out of sanctuary to King Richard, contrary to promise. Which proceeding being even at that time taxed for rigorous and undue, both in matter and manner, makes it very probable there was some greater matter against her, which the king upon reason of policy, and to avoid envy, would not publish. It is likewise no small argument that there was some secret in it, and some suppressing of examinations, for that the priest Simon himself, after he was taken, was never brought to execution; no, not so much as to public trial, as many clergymen were upon less treasons, but was only shut up close in a dungeon. Add to this, that after the Earl of Lincoln, a principal person in the House of York, was slain in Stoke-field, the king opened himself to some of his council, that he was sorry for the earl's death, because by him, he said, he might have known the bottom of his danger.
But to return to the narration itself: Simon did first instruct his scholar for the part of Richard, Duke of York, second son to King Edward the Fourth ; and this was at such time as it was voiced, that the king purposed to put to death Edward Plantagenet, prisoner in the Tower, whereat there was great murmur. But hearing soon after a general bruit that Plantagenet had escaped out of the Tower, and thereby finding him so much beloved amongst the people, and such rejoicing at his escape the cunning priest changed his copy, and chose now Plantagenet to be the subject his pupil should personate, because he was more in the present speech and votes of the people ; and it pieced better, and followed more close and handsomely, upon the bruit of Plantagenet's escape. But yet doubting that there would be too near looking, and too much perspective into his disguise, if he should show it here in England, he thought good, after the manner of scenes in stage plays and masks, to show it afar off; and therefore sailed with his scholar into Ireland, where the affection to the House of York was most in height. The king had been a little improvident in the matters of Ireland, and had not removed officers and counsellors, and put in their places, or at least intermingled, persons of whom he stood assured, as he should have done, since he knew the strong bent of that country towards the House of York; and that it was a ticklish and unsettled state, more easy to receive distempers and mutations than England was. But trusting to the reputation of his victories and successes in England, he thought he should have time enough to extend his cares afterwards to that second kingdom.
Wherefore, through this neglect, upon the coming of Simon with his pretended Plantagenet into Ireland, all things were prepared for revolt and sedition, almost as if they had been set and plotted beforehand. Simon's first address was to the Lord Thomas Fitz-Gerard, Earl of Kildare, and deputy of Ireland ; before whose eyes he did cast such a mist, by his own insinuation, and by the carriage of his, youth that expressed a natural princely behaviour, as joined perhaps with some inward vapours of ambition and affection in the earl's own mind, left him fully possessed, that it was the true Plantagenet. The earl presently communicated the matter with some of the nobles, and others there, at the first secretly ; but finding them of like affection to himself, he suffered it of purpose to vent and pass abroad; because they thought it not safe to resolve till they had a taste of the people's inclination. But if the great ones. were in forwardness, the people were in fuw..
entertaining this airy body or phantasm with incredible affection ; partiy out of their great devotion to the House of York ; partly out of a proud humour in the nation to give a king to the realm of England. Neither did the party in this heat of affection, much trouble themselves with the attainder of George, Duke of Clarence ; having newly learned by the king's example, that attainders do not interrupt the conveying of title to the crown. And as for the daughters of King Edward the Fourth, they thought King Richard had said enough for them ; and took them to be but as of the king's party, because they were in his power and at his disposing. So that with marvellous consent and applause, this counterfeit Plantagenet was brought with great solemnity to the castle of Dublin, and there saluted, served, and honoured as king ; the boy becoming it well, and doing nothing that did bewray the baseness of his condition. And within a few days after he was proclaimed king in Dublin, by the name of King Edward the Sixth ; there being not a sword drawn in King Henry his quarrel.
[The cause of the Pretender had been taken up in England, most probably with a view to alterior objects of his own, by John, Earl of Lincoln, son of John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and of Elizabeth, King Edward the Fourth's eldest sister, a man of great wit and courage; two thousand Germans had come over under the command of Martin Swart, a valiant and experienced captain ; and the rebels in these circumstances determined to leave Ireland, and to strike their great blow in England. “The king, in the mean time, who at the first when he heard wbat was done in Ireland, though it troubled him, yet thought he should be well enough able to scatter the Irish as a flight of birds, and rattle away this swarm of bees with their king; when he heard afterwards that the Earl of Lincoln was embarked in the action, and that the Lady Margaret was declared for it, he apprehended the danger in a trne degree as it was, and saw plainly that his kingdom must again be put to the stake, and that he must fight for it." And here is the narrative of the bloody issue as it was determined near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, on the 16th of June, 1487 :-)
The earl, nothing dismayed, came forward that day unto a little village called Stoke, and there encamped that night, upon the brow or hanging of a hill. The king next day presented him battle upon the plain, the fields there being open and champain. The earl courageously came down and joined battle with him. Concerning which battle the relations that are left unto us are so naked and negligent, though it be an action of so recent memory, as they rather declare the success of the day than the manner of the fight. They say that the king divided his army into three battails, whereof the vant-guard only, well strengthened with wings, came to fight : that the fight was fierce and obstinate, and lasted three hours before the victory inclined either way, save that judgment might be made by that the king's vant-guard of itself maintained fight against the whole power of the enemies (the other two battails remaining out of action), what the success was likely to be in the end—that Martin Swart with his Germans performed bravely, and so did those few English that were on that side : neither did the Irish fail in courage or fierceness, but, being almost naked men, only armed with darts and skeins, it was rather an execution than a fight upon them, insomuch as the furious slaughter of them was a great discouragement and appalment to the rest : that there died upon the place all the chieftains, that is, the Earl of Lincoln, the Earl of Kildare, Francis Lord Lovel, Martin Swart, and Sir Thomas Broughton, all making good the fight without any ground given. Only of the Lord Lovel there went a report that he fled, and swam over Trent on horseback, but could not recover the farther side by reason of the steepness of the bank, and so was drowned in the river. But another report leaves him not there, but that he lived long after in a cave or vault. The number that was slain in the field was, of the enemy's part, four thousand at the least, and of the king's part, one half his vant-guard, besides many hurt, but none of name. There were taken prisoners, amongst others.