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ing the court in great number: whom he did not only content with courtesy, reward, and privateness; but, upon such conferences as passed with them, put them in admiration, to
find his universal insight into the affairs of the world : which 5 though he did suck chiefly from themselves, yet that which he had gathered from them all, seemed admirable to every
So that they did write ever to their superiors in high terms, considering his wisdom and art of rule: nay, when
they were returned, they did commonly maintain intelligence 10 with him. Such a dexterity he had to impropriate to himself all foreign instruments.
He was careful and liberal to obtain good intelligence from all parts abroad : wherein he did not only use his interest in
the liegers here, and his pensioners, which he had both in the 15 court of Rome, and other the courts of Christendom; but the
industry and vigilance of his own ambassadors in foreign parts.
For which purpose his instructions were ever extreme, curious and articulate ; and in them more articles
touching inquisition, than touching negotiation : requiring 20 likewise from his ambassadors an answer, in particular distinct articles, respectively to his questions.
As for his secret spials, which he did employ both at home and abroad, by them to discover what practices and
conspiracies were against him, surely his case required it; 25 he had such moles perpetually working and casting to
undermine him. Neither can it be reprehended; for if spials be lawful against lawful enemies, much more against conspirators and traitors. But indeed to give them cre
dence by oaths or curses, that cannot be well maintained; 30
for those are too holy vestments for a disguise. Yet surely there was this farther good in his employing of these flies, and familiars; that as the use of them was cause that many conspiracies were revealed, so the fame and suspicion of
them kept, no doubt, many conspiracies from being attempted.
Towards his Queen he was nothing uxorious, nor scarce indulgent; but companiable and respective, and without jealousy. Towards his children he was full of paternal : 5 affection, careful of their education, aspiring to their high advancement, regular to see that they should not want of any due honour and respect, but not greatly willing to cast any popular lustre upon them.
To his council he did refer much, and sat oft in person ; 10 knowing it to be the way to assist his power, and inform his judgment. In which respect also he was fairly patient of liberty, both of advice, and of vote, till himself were declared. He kept a strait hand on his nobility, and chose rather to advance clergymen and lawyers, which were more 15 obsequious to him, but had less interest in the people; which made for his absoluteness, but not for his safety.
Insomuch as, I am persuaded, it was one of the causes of · his troublesome reign ; for that his nobles, though they were
loyal and obedient, yet did not co-operate with him, but let 20 every man go his own way. He was not afraid of an able man, as Lewis the eleventh was : but contrariwise, he was served by the ablest men that were to be found; without which his affairs could not have prospered as they did. For war, Bedford, Oxford, Surrey, Daubeney, Brook, Poynings : 25 for other affairs, Morton, Fox, Bray, the prior of Lanthony, Warham, Urswick, Hussey, Frowick, and others. Neither did he care how cunning they were that he did employ; for he thought himself to have the master-reach. And as he chose well, so he held them up well; for it is a strange 30 thing, that though he were a dark prince, and infinitely suspicious, and his times full of secret conspiracies and troubles; yet in twenty-four years' reign, he never put down, or dis
composed counsellor, or near servant, save only Stanley the lord chamberlain. As for the disposition of his subjects in general towards him, it stood thus with him ; that of the
three affections which naturally tie the hearts of the subjects 5 to their sovereigns, love, fear, and reverence; he had the
last in height, the second in good measure, and so little of the first, as he was beholden to the other two.
He was a Prince, sad, serious, and full of thoughts, and secret observations, and full of notes and memorials of his 10 own hand, especially touching persons. As, whom to em
ploy, whom to reward, whom to inquire of, whom to beware of, what were the dependencies, what were the factions, and the like; keeping, as it were, a journal of his thoughts.
There is to this day a merry tale; that his monkey, set on as 15 it was thought by one of his chamber, tore his principal note
book all to pieces, when by chance it lay forth : whereat the court, which liked not those pensive accounts, was almost tickled with sport.
He was indeed full of apprehensions and suspicions: 20 but as he did easily take them, so he did easily check them
and master them; whereby they were not dangerous, but troubled himself more than others. It is true, his thoughts were so many, as they could not well always stand together;
but that which did good one way, did hurt another. Neither 25 did he at some times weigh them aright in their proportions.
Certainly, that rumour which did him so much mischief, that the duke of York should be saved, and alive, was, at the first, of his own nourishing ; because he would have
more reason not to reign in the right of his wife. He was 30 affable, and both well and fair-spoken ; and would use
strange sweetness and blandishments of words, where he desired to effect or persuade any thing that he took to heart. He was rather studious than learned; reading most books
that were of any worth, in the French tongue, yet he understood the Latin, as appeareth in that cardinal Adrian and others, who could very well have written French, did use to write to him in Latin.
For his pleasures, there is no news of them : and yet by 5 his instructions to Marsin and Stile, touching the Queen of Naples, it seemeth he could interrogate well touching beauty. He did by pleasures, as great Princes do by banquets, come and look a little upon them, and turn away. For never Prince was more wholly given to his affairs, nor in them 10 more of himself: insomuch as in triumphs of jousts and tourneys, and balls, and masks, which they then called disguises, he was rather a princely and gentle spectator, than seemed much to be delighted.
No doubt, in him, as in all men, and most of all in 15 Kings, his fortune wrought upon his nature, and his nature upon his fortune. He attained to the crown, not only from a private fortune, which might endow him with moderation; but also from the fortune of an exiled man, which had quickened in him all seeds of observation and industry. And his times 20 being rather prosperous than calm, had raised his confidence by success, but almost marred his nature by troubles. His wisdom, by often evading from perils, was turned rather into a dexterity to deliver himself from dangers, when they pressed him, than into a providence to prevent and remove 25 them afar off. And even in nature, the sight of his mind was like some sights of eyes; rather strong at hand, than to Carry afar off.
For his wit increased upon the occasion ;. and so much the more, if the occasion were sharpened by danger. Again, whether it were the shortness of his fore- 30 sight, or the strength of his will, or the dazzling of his suspicions, or what it was; certain it is, that the perpetual troubles of his fortunes, there being no more matter out of
which they grew, could not have been without some great defects and main errors in his nature, customs, and proceedings, which he had enough to do to save and help with
a thousand little industries and watches. But those do best 5 appear in the story itself. Yet take him with all his defects,
if a man should compare him with the Kings his concurrents in France and Spain, he shall find him more politic than Lewis the twelfth of France, and more entire and sin
cere than Ferdinando of Spain. But if you shall change 10 Lewis the twelfth for Lewis the eleventh, who lived a little
before, then the consort is more perfect. For that Lewis the eleventh, Ferdinando, and Henry may be esteemed for the tres magi of Kings of those ages. To conclude, if this
King did no greater matters, it was long of himself; for what 15 he minded he compassed.
He was a comely personage, a little above just stature, well and straight limbed, but slender. His countenance was reverend, and a little like a churchman: and as it was not
strange or dark, so neither was it winning or pleasing, but 20 as the face of one well disposed. But it was to the disadvantage of the painter, for it was best when he spake.
His worth may bear a tale or two, that may put upon him somewhat that may seem divine. When the lady
Margaret his mother had divers great suitors for marriage, 25 she dreamed one night, that one in the likeness of a bishop
in pontifical habit did tender her Edmund earl of Richmond, the King's father, for her husband, neither had she ever any child but the King, though she had three husbands. One
day when King Henry the sixth, whose innocency gave him 30 holiness, was washing his hands at a great feast, and cast his
eye upon King Henry, then a young youth, he said; “This “is the lad that shall possess quietly that, that we now strive for.” But that, that was truly divine in him, was that he