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spelling, from the conclusion of his translation of he came at the last hour, he slept in our Lord; of The Golden Legend.
whom a friar saw the soul, in manner of a star, like to the moon in quantity, and the sun in clearness.
[Legend of St Francis.]
Francis, servant and friend of Almighty God, was born in the city of Assyse, and was made a merchant unto the 25th year of his age, and wasted his time by living vainly, whom our Lord corrected by the scourge of sickness, and suddenly changed him into another man; so that he began to shine by the spirit of prophecy. For on a time, he, with other men of Peruse, was taken prisoner, and were put in a cruel prison, where all the other wailed and sorrowed, and he only was glad and enjoyed. And when they had repreved him thereof, he answered, 'Know ye,' said he, that I am joyful: for I shall be worshipped as a saint throughout all the world.'
On a time as this holy man was in prayer, the devil called him thrice by his own name. And when the holy man had answered him, he said, none in this world is so great a sinner, but if he convert him, our Lord would pardon him; but who that sleeth himself with hard penance, shall never find mercy. And anon, this holy man knew by revelation the fallacy and deceit of the fiend, how he would have withdrawn him fro to do well. And when the devil saw that he might not prevail against him, he tempted him by grievous temptation of the flesh. And when this holy servant of God felt that, he despoiled his cloaths, and beat himself right hard with an hard cord, saying, 'Thus, brother ass, it behoveth thee to remain and to be beaten.' And when the temptation departed not, he went out and plunged himself in the snow, all naked, and made seven great balls of snow, and purposed to have taken them into his body, and said, This greatest is thy wife; and these four, two ben hy daughters, and two thy sons; and the other twain, that one thy chambrere, and that other thy varlet or yeman; haste and clothe them: for they all die for cold. And if thy business that thou hast about them, grieve ye sore, then serve our Lord perfectly.' And anon, the devil departed from him all confused; and St Francis returned again unto his cell glorifying God.
He was enobled in his life by many miracles and the very death, which is to all men horrible and hateful, he admonished them to praise it. And also he warned and admonished death to come to him, and said Death, my sister, welcome be you.' And when 1 Reproved.
2 Took off.
Prose history may be said to have taken its rise in the reigns of Henry VII. and VIII.; but its first examples are of a very homely character. ROBERT FABIAN and EDWARD HALL may be regarded as the first writers in this department of our national lite rature. They aimed at no literary excellence, nor at any arrangement calculated to make their writings more useful. Their sole object was to narrate minutely, and as far as their opportunities allowed. faithfully, the events of the history of their country. Written in a dull and tedious manner, without any exercise of taste or judgment, with an absolute want of discrimination as to the comparative importance of facts, and no attempt to penetrate the motives of the actors, or to describe more than the external features of even the greatest of transactions, the Chronicles, as they are called, form masses of matter which only a modern reader of a peculiar taste, curiosity, or a writer in quest of materials, would now willingly peruse. Yet it must be admitted, that to their minuteness and indiscrimination we are indebted for the preservation of many curious facts and illustrations of manners, which would have otherwise been lost.
Fabian, who was an alderman and sheriff of London, and died in 1512, wrote a general chronicle of English history, which he called The Concordance of Stories, and which has been several times printed, the last time in 1811, under the care of Sir Henry Ellis. It is particularly minute with regard to what would probably appear the most important of all things to the worthy alderman, the succession of officers of all kinds serving in the city of London; and amongst other events of the reign of Henry V., the author does not omit to note that a new weathercock was placed on the top of St Paul's steeple. Fabian repeats all the fabulous stories of early English history, which had first been circulated by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
[The Deposition of King Vortigern.]
[Vortigern had lost much of the affections f his people by marriage with Queen Rowena.] Over that, an heresy, called Arian's heresy, began then to spring up in Britain. For the which, two holy bishops, named Germanus and Lupus, as of Gaufryde is witnessed, came into Britain to reform the king, and all other that erred from the way of truth.
Of this holy man, St Germain, Vincent Historial saith, that upon an evening when the weather was passing cold, and the snow fell very fast, he axed lodging of the king of Britain, for him and his compeers, which was denied. Then he, after sitting under a bush in the field, the king's herdman passed by, and seeing this bishop with his company sitting in the weather, desired him to his house to take there such poor lodging as he had. Whereof the bishop being glad and fain, yodel unto the house of the said herdman, the which received him with glad cheer. And for him and his company, willed his wife to kill his only calf, and to dress it for his guest's supper; the which was also done. When the holy man had supped, he called to him his hostess, willing and desiring her, that she should diligently gather together all the bones of the dead calf; and them so gathered, to rap together within the skin of the said calf. And then it lay in the stall before the rack near unto the dame. Which done according to the commandment of the holy man, shortly after the calf was restored
to life; and forthwith ate hay with the dam at the rack. At which marvel all the house was greatly astonished, and yielded thanking unto Almighty God, and to that holy bishop.
Upon the morrow, this holy bishop took with him the herdman, and yode unto the presence of the king, and axed of him in sharp wise, why that over-night he had denied to him lodging. Wherewith the king was so abashed, that he had no power to give unto the holy man answer. Then, St Germain said to him: I charge thee, in the name of the Lord God, that thou and thine depart from this palace, and resign it and the rule of thy land to him that is more worthy this room than thou art. The which all thing by power divine was observed and done; and the said herdman, by the holy bishop's authority, was set into the same dignity; of whom after descended all the kings of Britain.
[Jack Cade's Insurrection.]
[Original Spelling. And in the moneth of Juny this yere, the comons of Kent assemblyd them in grete multytude, and chase to them a capitayne, and named hym Mortymer, and
cosyn to the Duke of Yorke; but of moste he was named
Jack Cade. This kepte the people wondrouslie togader, and made such ordenaunces amonge theym, that he brought a grete nombre of people of theym vnto the Blak Heth, where he deuysed a bylle of petycions to the kynge and his counsayll, &c.]
And in the month of June this year (1450), the commons of Kent assembled them in great multitude, and chase to them a Captain, and named him Mortimer, and cousin to the Duke of York; but of most he was named Jack Cade. This kept the people wondrously together, and made such ordinances among them, that he brought a great number of people of them unto the Black Heath, where he devised a bill of petitions to the king and his council, and showed therein what injuries and oppressions the poor commons suffered by such as were about the king, a few persons in number, and all under colour to come to his above. The king's council, seeing this bill, disallowed it, and counselled the king, which by the 7th day of June had gathered to him a strong host of people, to go again' his rebels, and to give unto them battle. Then the king, after the said rebels had holden their field upon Black Heath seven days, made toward them. Whereof hearing, the Captain drew back with his people to a village called Sevenoaks, and there embattled.
Then it was agreed by the king's council, that Sir Humphrey Stafford, knight, with William his brother, and other certain gentlemen should follow the chase, and the king with his lords should return unto Greenwich, weening to them that the rebels were fled and gone. But, as before I have showed, when Sir Humphrey with his company drew near unto Sevenoaks, he was warned of the Captain, that there abode with his people. And when he had counselled with the other gentlemen, he, like a manful knight, set upon the rebels and fought with them long; but in the end the Captain slew him and his brother, with many other, and caused the rest to give back. All which season, the king's host lay still upon Black Heath, being among them sundry opinions; so that some and many favoured the Captain. But, finally, when word came of the overthrow of the Staffords, they said plainly and boldly, that, except the Lord Saye and other before rehearsed were committed to ward, they would take the Captain's party. For the appeasing of which rumour the Lord Saye was put into the Tower; but that other as then were not at hand. Then the king having knowledge of the scomfiture of his men and also of the rumour of his hosting people, removed
from Greenwich to London, and there with his host rested him a while.
And so soon as Jack Cade had thus overcome the Staffords, he anon apparelled him with the knight's apparel, and did on him his bryganders set with gilt nails, and his salet and gilt spurs ; and after he had refreshed his people, he returned again to Black Heath, and there pight again his field, as heretofore he had done, and lay there from the 29th day of June, being St Peter's day, till the first day of July. In which season came unto him the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Duke of Buckingham, with whom they had long communication, and found him right discreet in his answers: how be it they could not cause him to lay down his people, and to submit him unto the king's grace.
In this while, the king and the queen, hearing of the increasing of his rebels, and also the lords fearing their own servants, lest they would take the Captain's party, removed from London to Killingworth, leaving the city without aid, except only the Lord Scales, which was left to keep the Tower, and with him a manly and warly man named Matthew Gowth. Then the Captain of Kent thus hoving2 at Blackheath, to the end to blind the more the people, and to bring him in fame that he kept good justice, beheaded there a petty Captain of his, named Paris, for so much as he had offended again' such ordinance as he had stablished in his host. And hearing that the king and all his lords were thus departed, drew him near unto the city, so that upon the first day of July he entered the burgh of Southwark, being then Wednesday, and lodged him there that night, for he might not be suffered to enter that city.
And upon the same day the commons of Essex, in great number, pight them a field upon the plain at Miles End. Upon the second day of the said month, the mayor called a common council at the Guildhall, for to purvey the withstanding of these rebels, and other matters, in which assembled were divers opinions, so that some thought good that the said rebels should be received into the city, and some otherwise; among the which, Robert Horne, stock-fishmonger, then being an alderman, spake sore again' them that would have them enter. For the which sayings, the commons were so amoved again' him, that they ceased not till they had him committed to ward.
And the same afternoon, about five of the clock, the Captain with his people entered by the bridge; and when he came upon the drawbridge, he hewed the ropes that drew the bridge in sunder with his sword, and so passed into the city, and made in sundry places thereof proclamations in the king's name, that no man, upon pain of death, should rob or take anything per force without paying therefor. By reason whereof he won many hearts of the commons of the city; but all was done to beguile the people, as after shall evidently appear. He rode through divers streets of the city, and as he came by London Stone, he strake it with his sword and said, 'Now is Mortimer lord of this city.' And when he had thus showed himself in divers places of the city, and showed his mind to the mayor for the ordering of his people, he returned into Southwark, and there abode as he before had done, his people coming and going at lawful hours when they would. Then upon the morn, being the third day of July and Friday, the said Captain entered again the city, and caused the Lord Saye to be fette3 from the Tower, and led into the Guildhall, where he was arraigned before the mayor and other of the king's justices. In which pastime he intended to have brought before the said justices the foresaid Robert Horne; but his wife and friends made to him such instant labour, that finally, for five hundred marks, he
was set at his liberty. Then the Lord Saye, being as before is said, at Guildhall, desired that he might be judged by his peers. Whereof hearing, the Captain sent a company of his unto the hall, the which per force took him from his officers, and so brought him unto the standard in Cheap, where, orl he were half shriven, they strake off his head; and that done, pight it upon a long pole, and so bare it about with them.
In this time and season had the Captain caused a gentleman to be taken, named William Crowmer, which before had been sheriff of Kent, and used, as they said, some extortions. For which cause, or for he had favoured the Lord Saye, by reason that he had married his daughter, he was hurried to Miles End, and there, in the Captain's presence, beheaded. And the same time was there also beheaded another man, called Baillie, the cause of whose death was this, as I have heard some men report. This Baillie was of the familiar and old acquaintance of Jack Cade, wherefore, so soon as he espied him coming to him-ward, he cast in his mind that he would discover his living and old manners, and show off his vile kin and lineage. Wherefore, knowing that the said Baillie used to bear scrows, and prophesy about him, showing to his company that he was an enchanter and of ill disposition, and that they should well know by such books as he bare upon him, and bade them search, and if they found not as he said, that then they should put him to death, which all was done according to his commandment.
When they had thus beheaded these two men, they took the head of Crowmer and pight it upon a pole, and so entered again the city with the heads of the Lords Saye and of Crowmer; and as they passed the streets, joined the poles together, and caused either dead mouth to kiss other diverse and many times.
And the Captain the self-same day went unto the house of Philip Malpas, draper and alderman, and robbed and spoiled his house, and took thence a great substance; but he was before warned, and thereby conveyed much of his money and plate, or else he had been undone. At which spoiling were present many poor men of the city, which at such times been ever ready in all places to do harm, when such riots been done.
Then toward night he returned into Southwark, and upon the morn re-entered the city, and dined that day at a place in St Margaret Patyn parish, called Gherstis House; and when he had dined, like an uncurteous guest, robbed him, as the day before he had Malpas. For which two robberies, albeit that the porail and needy people drew unto him, and were partners of that ill, the honest and thrifty commoners cast in their minds the sequel of this matter, and feared lest they should be dealt with in like manner, by means whereof he lost the people's favour and hearts. For it was to be thought, if he had not executed that robbery, he migh have gone fair and brought his purpose to good effect, if he had intended well; but it is to deem and presuppose that the intent of him was not good, wherefore it might not come to any good conclusion. Then the mayor and aldermen, with assistance of the worshipful commoners, seeing this misdemeanour of the Captain, in safeguarding of themself and of the city, took their counsels, how they might drive the Captain and his adherents from the city, wherein their fear was the more, for so much as the king and his lords with their powers were far from them. But yet in avoiding of apparent peril, they condescended that they would withstand his any more entry into the city. For the performance whereof, the mayor sent unto the Lord Scales and Matthew Gowth, then having the Tower in guiding, and had of them assent to perform the same. 2 Scrolls of paper.
Then upon the 5th day of July, the Captain being in Southwark, caused a man to be beheaded, for cause of displeasure to him done, as the fame went; and so he kept him in Southwark all that day; how be it he might have entered the city if he had wold.
And when night was coming, the mayor and citizens, with Matthew Gowth, like to their former appointment, kept the passage of the bridge, being Sunday, and defended the Kentishmen, which made great force to re-enter the city. Then the Captain, seeing this bickering begun, yode to harness, and called his people about him, and set so fiercely upon the citizens, that he drave them back from the stulpes in Southwark, or bridge foot, unto the drawbridge. Then the Kentishmen set fire upon the drawbridge. In defending whereof many a man was drowned and slain, among the which, of men of name was John Sutton, alderman, Matthew Gowth, gentleman, and Roger Heysand, citizen. And thus continued this skirmish all night, till 9 of the clock upon the morn; so that sometime the citizens had the better, and thus soon the Kentishmen were upon the better side; but ever they kept them upon the bridge, so that the citizens passed never much the bulwark at the bridge foot, nor the Kentishmen much farther than the drawbridge. Thus continuing this cruel fight, to the de struction of much people on both sides; lastly, after the Kentishmen were put to the worse, a trew was agreed for certain hours; during the which trew, the Archbishop of Canterbury, then chancellor of England, sent a general pardon to the Captain for himself, and another for his people: by reason whereof he and his company departed the same night out of Southwark, and so returned every man to his own.
But it was not long after that the Captain with his company was thus departed, that proclamations were made in divers places of Kent, of Sussex, and Sowtherey, that who might take the foresaid Jack Cade, either alive or dead, should have a thousand mark for his travail. After which proclamation thus published, a gentleman of Kent, named Alexander Iden, awaited so his time, that he took him in a garden in Sussex, where in the taking of him the said Jack was slain : and so being dead, was brought into Southwark the day of the month of September, and then left in the King's Bench for that night. And upon the morrow the dead corpse was drawn through the high streets of the city unto Newgate, and there headed and quartered, whose head was then sent to London Bridge, and his four quarters were sent to four sundry towns of Kent.
And this done, the king sent his commissions into Kent, and rode after himself, and caused enquiry to be made of this riot in Canterbury; wherefore the same eight men were judged and put to death; and in other good towns of Kent and Sussex, divers other were put in execution for the same riot.
Hall, who was a lawyer and a judge in the sheriff's court of London, and died at an advanced age in 1547, compiled a copious chronicle of English history during the reigns of the houses of Lancaster and York, and those of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., which was first printed by Grafton in 1548, under the title of The Union of the two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancastre and Yorke, with all the Actes done in both the tymes of the Princes both of the one linage and the other, &c. Hall is very minute in his notices of the fashions of the time: altogether, his work is of a superior character to that of Fabian, as might perhaps be expected from his better education and condition in life. Considered as the only compilations of English history at the command of the wits of Elizabeth's reign, and as furnishing the foundations of many scenes and even whole plays by one of the
most illustrious of these, the Chronicles have a value in our eyes beyond that which properly helongs to them. In the following extract, the matter of a remarkable scene in Richard III. is found, and it is worthy of notice, how well the prose narration reads beside the poetical one.
[Scene in the Council-Room of the Protector Gloucester.]
The Lord Protector caused a council to be set at the Tower, on Friday the thirteen day of June, where there was much communing for the honourable solemnity of the coronation, of the which the time appointed approached so near, that the pageants were a making day and night at Westminster, and victual killed, which afterward was cast away.
These lords thus sitting, communing of this matter, the Protector came in among them, about nine of the clock, saluting them courteously, excusing himself that he had been from them so long, saying merrily that he had been a sleeper that day. And after a little talking with him, he said to the Bishop of Ely, My Lord, you have very good strawberries in your garden a Holborn; I require you let us have a mess of them.' Gadly, my Lord,' quoth he; I would I had some better thing, as ready to your pleasure as that;' and with that in all haste he sent his servant for a dish of strawberries. The Protector set the lords fast in communing, and thereupon prayed them to spare him a little; and so he departed, and came again between ten and eleven of the clock in to the chamber, all changed, with a sour angry countenance, knitting the brows, frowning and fretting, and gnawing on his lips; and so set him down in his place. All the lords were dismayed, and sore marvelled of this manner and sudden change, and what thing should him ail. When he had sitten a while, thus he began: What were they worthy to have, that compass and imagine the destruction of me, being so near of blood to the king, and protector of this his royal realin? At which question, all the lords sat sore astonished, musing much by whom the question should be meant, of which every man knew himself clear.
Then the Lord Hastings, as he that, for the familiarity that was between them, thought he might be boldest with him, answered and said, that they were worthy to be punished as heinous traitors, whatsoever they were; and all the other affirmed the same. That is, quoth he, yonder sorceress, my brother's wife, and other with her;' meaning the queen. Many of the lords were sore abashed which favoured her; but the Lord Hastings was better content in his mind, that it was moved by her than by any other that he loved better; albeit his heart grudged that he was not afore made of counsel of this matter, as well as he was of the taking of her kindred, and of their putting to death, which were by his assent before devised to be beheaded at Pomfret, this self same day; in the which he was not ware, that it was by other devised that he himself should the same day be beheaded at London. Then,' said the Protector, in what wise that sorceress and other of her counsel, as Shore's wife, with her affinity, have by their sorcery and witchcraft thus wasted my body!" and therewith plucked up his doublet sleeve to his elbow, on his left arm, where he showed a very withered arm, and small, as it was never other.' And thereupon every man's mind misgave them, well perceiving that this matter was but a quarrel; for well they wist that the queen was both too wise to go about any such folly, and also, if she would, yet would she of all folk make Shore's wife least of her counsel, whom of all women she most hated, as that concubine whom the king, her husband, most loved.
theless, the Lord Hastings, which from the death of King Edward kept Shore's wife, his heart somewhat grudged to have her whom he loved so highly accused, and that as he knew well untruly; therefore he answered and said, 'Certainly, my Lord, if they have so done, they be worthy of heinous punishment.' "What!' quoth the Protector, 'thou servest me, I ween, with if and with and; I tell thee, they have done it, and that will I make good on thy body, traitor! And therewith, as in a great anger, he clapped his fist on the board a great rap, at which token given, one cried treason without the chamber, and therewith a door clapped, and in came rushing men in harness, as many as the chamber could hold. And anon the Protector said to the Lord Hastings, I arrest thee, traitor! What! me! my Lord,' quoth he. Yea, the traitor,' quoth the Protector. And one let fly at the Lord Stanley, which shrunk at the stroke, and fell under the table, or else his head had been cleft to the teeth; for as shortly as he shrunk, yet ran the blood about his ears. Then was the Archbishop of York, and Doctor Morton, Bishop of Ely, and the Lord Stanley taken, and divers others which were bestowed in divers chambers, save the Lord Hastings, whom the Protector commanded to speed and shrive him apace. For, by Saint Poule,' quoth he, I will not dine till I see thy head off.' It booted him not to ask why, but heavily he took a priest at a venture, and made a short shrift, for a longer would not be suffered, the Protector made so much haste to his dinner, which might not go to it till this murder were done, for saving of his ungracious oath. So was he brought forth into the green, beside the chapel within the Tower, and his head laid down on a log of timber, that lay there for building of the chapel, and there tyrannously stricken off, and after his body and head were interred at Windsor, by his master, King Edward the Fourth; whose souls Jesu pardon. Amen.
SIR THOMAS MORE.
Passing over Fortescue, the first prose-writer who mingled just and striking thought with his language, and was entitled to the appellation of a man of genius, was unquestionably the celebrated chancellor of Henry VIII., SIR THOMAS MORE (1480-1535). Born the son of a judge of the King's Bench, and educated at Oxford, More entered life with all external advantages, and soon reached a distinguished situation in the law and in state employments. He was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1529, being the first layman who ever held the office. At all periods of his life, he was a zealous professor of the Catholic faith, insomuch that he was at one time with difficulty restrained from becoming a monk. When Henry wished to divorce Catherine, he was opposed by the conscientious More, who accordingly incurred his displeasure, and perished on the scaffold. The cheerful, or rather mirthful, disposition of the learned chancellor forsook him not at the last, and he jested even when about to lay his head upon the block. The character of More was most benignant, as the letter to his wife, who was ill-tempered, written after the burning of some of his property, expressively shows, at the same time that it is a good specimen of his English prose. The domestic circle at his house in Chelsea, where the profoundly learned statesman at once paid reverence to his parents and sported with his children, has been made the subject of an interesting picture by the great artist of that age, Holbein.
The literary productions of More are partly in Also, there was no man there, but knew that his Latin and partly in English: he adopted the former arm was ever such, sith the day of his birth. Never-language probably from taste, the latter for the pur
ment founded on theoretical views being since then termed Utopian. The most of the English writings of More are pamphlets on the religious controversies of his day, and the only one which is now of value is A History of Edward V., and of his Brother, and of Richard III., which Mr Hallam considers as the first English prose work free of vulgarisms and pedantry.
The intention of Sir Thomas More in his Utopia is to set forth his idea of those social arrangements whereby the happiness and improvement of the people may be secured to the utmost extent of which human nature is susceptible; though, probably, he has pictured more than he really conceived it possible to effect. Experience proves that many of his suggestions are indeed Utopian. In his imaginary island, for instance, all are contented with the necessaries of life; all are employed in useful labour; no man desires, in clothing, any other quality besides durability; and since wants are few, and every individual engages in labour, there is no need for working more than six hours a-day. Neither laziness nor avarice finds a place in this happy region; for why should the people be indolent when they have so little toil, or greedy when they know that there is abundance for each? All this, it is evident, is incompatible with qualities inherent in human nature: man requires the stimulus of self-interest to render him industrious and persevering; he loves not utility merely, but ornament; he possesses a spirit of emulation which makes him endeavour to outstrip his fellows, and a desire to accumulate property even for its own sake. With much that is Utopian, however, the work contains many sound suggestions. Thus, instead of severe punishment of theft, the author would improve the morals and condition of the people, so as to take away the temptation to crime; for, says he, if you suffer your people to be illeducated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves, and then punish them?' In Utopia, we are told, war is never entered on but for some gross injury done to themselves, or, more especially, to their allies; and the glory of a general is in proportion, not to the number, but to the fewness of the enemies, whom he slays in gaining a victory. Criminals are generally punished with slavery, even for the greatest misdeeds, since servitude is no less terrible than death itself; and, by making slaves of malefactors, not only does the public get the benefit of their labour, but the continual sight of their misery is more effectual than their death to deter other men from crime. It is one of the oldest laws of the Utopians, that no man ought to be punished for his religion; it being a fundamental opinion among them, that a man cannot make himself believe anything he pleases; nor do they drive any to dissemble their thoughts by threatenings, so that men are not tempted to lie or disguise their opinions among them; which, being a sort of fraud, is abhorred by the Utopians.' Every man may endeavour to convert others to his views by the force of amicable and modest argument, without bitterness against those of other opinions; but whoever adds reproach and violence to persuasion, is to be condemned to banishment or slavery. Such tolerant views were extremely rare in the days of Sir Thomas More, and in later life were lamentably departed from by himself in practice; for in persecuting the Protestants, he displayed a degree of intolerance and severity which were strangely at variance both with the opinions of his youth and the general mildness of his disposition.
His money cleane away;
Pletyng the lawe for every stray
Shall prove a thrifty man,
I cannot tell you whan.
Whan an hatter will smatter
Or a pedlar waxe a medlar