« PreviousContinue »
War. A thousand blessings guard our lawful
arms! A thousand horrors pierce our enemies' souls ! Pale fear unedge their weapons' sharpest points, And when they draw their arrows to the head, Numbness shall strike their sinews ! such advan
tage Hath majesty in its pursuit of justice, That on the proppers up of Truth's old throne, It both enlightens counsel, and gives heart To execution; whilst the throats of traitors Lie bare before our mercy. O divinity Of royal birth! how it strikes dumb the tongues Whose prodigality of breath is bribed By trains to greatness! Princes are but men, Distinguish'd in the fineness of their frailty; Yet not so gross in beauty of the mind; For there's a fire more sacred, purifies The dross of mixture. Herein stand the odds, Subjects are men on earth, kings men and gods.
St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall.
with one Servant.
Kath. It is decreed; and we must yield to fate, Whose angry justice, though it threaten ruin, Contempt, and poverty, is all but trial Of a weak woman's constancy in suffering. Here in a stranger's, and an enemy's land, Forsaken and unfurnish'd of all hopes, But such as wait on misery, I range To meet affliction wheresoe'er I tread. My train, and pomp of servants, is reduced To one kind gentlewoman, and this groom, Sweet Jane, now whither must we?
Jane. To your ships, Dear lady, and turn home.
Kath. Home! I have none. Fly thou to Scotland; thou hast friends will weep For joy to bid thee welcome; but, oh Jane, My Jane! my friends are desperate of comfort, As I must be of them: the common charity, Good people's alms, and prayers of the gentle, Is the revenue must support my state. As for my native country, since it once
8 St. Michael's Mount.] It appears that when Perkin marched on his ill-fated expedition, Lady Katherine was left at this place, from which she was now preparing to withdraw, on some rumours of her husband's want of success.
Saw me a princess in the height of greatness
Serv. Pardon, lady;
Kath. Oh, dear souls,
Enter DALYELL: Dal. I bring, Fair princess, news of further sadness yet, Than your sweet youth hath been acquainted with, Kath. Not more, my lord, than I can welcome;
speak it, The worst, the worst I look for.
Dal. All the Cornish, At Exeter were by the citizens Repulsed, encounter'd by the earl of Devonshire, And other worthy gentlemen of the country. Your husband march'd to Taunton, and was there Affronted by king Henry's chamberlain ;' The king himself in person, with his army Advancing nearer, to renew the fight On all occasions : but the night before The battles were to join, your husband privately, Accompanied with some few horse, departed From out the camp, and posted none knows whi
Dal. Fled, but follow'd
Kath. Oh, my sorrows !
9 Affronted by King Henry's chamberlain.] i.e. met directly in front by Dawbeney. It is sufficiently clear from the exulting language of this wily monarch in the scene with Urswick, p. 95. that he had made himself sure of the overthrow of Warbeck, whom he had, by this time, environed with his agents: hence the disgraceful flight of the usurper, the recourse to the sanctuary of Bewley, and subsequent surrender. Bacon shrewdly observes, on this occasion, that the king was grown to be such a partner with Fortune, as no body could tell what actions the one, and what the other owned. It was generally believed, he adds, that Perkin “was betrayed, and that the king led him, at the time of his flight, in a line;" a fact to which he does not seem disposed to give credit.
To Henry's tyranny, we had fall’n like princes,
Dal. Impute it not to faintness or to weakness
Kath. No, no, it cannot.
Kath. He shall not need ;
the Earl of Oxford Runs hot in your pursuit.] “ There were also sent (Lord Bacon says) with all speed some horse to St. Michael's Mount, in Cornwall, where the Lady Catharine Gordon was left by her husband, whom in all fortunes she intirely loved, adding the virtues of a wife to the virtues of her sex.”
The reader, in whose breast the extraordinary merits of this highborn lady can scarcely fail to have created some degree of interest, will not be displeased, perhaps, with the brief recital of her subsequent fortunes, as given by Sir R. Gordon, whom Douglas calls the Historian of the Family. After quoting the preceding passage from Bacon, Sir Robert adds—" shoe wes brought from St. Michael's Mount, in Cornuall, and delyvered to King Henrie the Seaventh, who intertayned her honorablie, and for her better mantenance, according to her birth and vertue, did assigne vnto her good lands and rents for all the dayes of her lyff. After the death of her husband Richard, shoe mareid Sir Mathie Cradock, (a man of great power at that tyme in Clamorganshyre, in Wales,) of the wbich mariage is descended this William, Earle of Pembroke, by his grandmother, and had some lands by inheritance from the Cradockes. Lady Katheren Gordon died in Wales, and was buried in a chappell at one of the Earle of Pembrok his dwelling-places in that cuntrey. The Englesh histories doe much commend her for her beauty, comliness, and chastetie.”
It would be a pity to omit the pretty passage with which Bacon winds up her eventful story. “ The name of the WhiteRose, which had been given to her husband's false title, was continued in common speech to her true beauty.”