« PreviousContinue »
and also of Alexander the sixt, his successor, until that the French king, Charles the eight, passing through the heart of Italy with a strong armie against Alphonsus, king of Naples, in the yeare 1495, and making his way through the citie of Rome, so terrified the great bishop, who altogether favoured and furthered the title of Alphonsus, that he was glad to yield to such articles and conditions as pleased the king; and amongst the rest to give in hostage unto the king his gracelesse sonne, Cæsar Borgia Valentinus, and also to deliver unto him Gemes his honourable prisoner. But Gemes, within three daies after he was delivered unto the French, dyed at Caieta, being before his deliverance poisoned (as it was thought) with a powder of wonderfull whitenesse and pleasant tast, whose power was not presently to kill, but by little and little dispersing the force thereof, did in short time bring most assured death : which pleasant poison, Alexander the bishop, skilfull in that practise, corrupted by Bajazet his gold, and envying so great a good unto the French, had caused to be cunningly mingled with the sugar wherewith Gemes used to temper the water which he commonly dranke. His dead bodie was not long after sent to Bajazet, by Mustapha, his ambassadour, who to the great contentment of his master, had thus contrived his death with the bishop. Not long after, this dead bodie so farre brought, was by the appointment of Bajazet, honourably enterred amongst his auncestors at Prusa”.
24. Alcoran, the Mahomedan Sacred Scriptures, more usually called the Koran, al being the Arabic definite article.
Averroes, an Arabian writer on medicine in the twelfth century.
run a fair course, i.e. deal openly and fairly. 27. impatronize, i.e. make himself patron and master. The Lat. uses potior.
28. litigious, which would involve him in disputes. His heir-pre. sumptive was the duke of Orleans, who had been the chief adviser of the late duke of Brittany in his latter days, and who was afterwards Lewis XII.
P. 85, line 25. By the book. The Latin explains this by Liturgia. This (says Mr Spedding) “must not be understood as referring to the French king's intention to marry the duchess himself, for that was not yet in question, but to the right which he claimed of disposing of her in marriage”.
29. to imprison their Prince first. See text, p. 75, 1. 5, seqq.
32. sent to the subjects of Scotland. Alluding to the events which preceded the death of James III of Scotland. See text, p. 67, l. 26.
P. 86, line 29. The King our master's title to France. This claim was made as Henry VI had been crowned king of France. It was not till the parliamentary union of Ireland with England in 1801, that the title “king of France” was omitted from the style of the English monarch.
P. 87, line 17. Thomas, earl of Ormond, This was Thomas Butler, the seventh earl.
20. Pope Alexander the sixth Roderick Borgia, who succeeded pope Innocent VIII in 1492 and sat on the papal throne till 1503. The moral degradation into which the papacy sank under this pope
has no parallel either in its earlier or later history. For the expenses of the profligate court, of the wars of Caesar Borgia (a son of the pope), and the establishment of his other children, Alexander was continually in need of money, and no means were too shameful to be employed in raising it. An epigram of the time accuses him of selling all that was most holy, and giving as his excuse that he had first bought it before he sold. 27. Borgia's hark.
In allusion to the family name of the pope, which was borne by his numerous children.
33. found the English ambassadors at Calais. Mr Spedding points out that Bacon has here confused an embassy from pope Innocent with some later embassy. For Alexander VI did not become pope till II August, 1492. The events in our text .precede the marriage of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany (see text, next page), and that event occurred in the Dec. of 1491. There is a notice of a papal embassy from pope Innocent soon after mid-lent in 1490.
P. 88, line 4. a good ominous name, being the bishop of Concord.
9. the prior. This is Robert Gagvien (see notes on p. 78). He is called the Prior of the Trinity (p. 79, I. 12).
16. Henry. Henry VIII, born 22nd June, 1491.
18. marriage between Charles, &c. They were married at the castle of Langeais in Touraine, 6th Dec., 1491.
P. 89, line 13. under his cloth of estate, the canopy over the royal throne. The Latin has merely solio suo.
another man's right, i.e. the duke of Brittany's. P.
4. a French king prisoner in England, i.e. King John of France, brought prisoner to England by the Black Prince in 1357.
5. a K’ing of England crowned in France, i. e. Henry VI, crowned in Paris in 1430.
14. Tramontanes, Transmontanes. To the pope the French king was Transmontane. In our own day (from a change in the point of view) the Italians are to us Transmontanes.
19. of ourselves, we should say now by ourselves. Cf. Shaksp. 2 pt. Hen. VI. I. 1. 166 :
· Why should he then protect our sovereign,
He being of age to govern of himself? 32. make his son knight. Apparently pointing his hearers to a way in which they might raise money, as this was one of the three occasions on which aids might be demanded from feudal tenants.
P. 91, line 17. many years before, i. e. for many years before.
31. Russignon (inodern orthography Roussillon) was one of the provinces of France in the extreme south, bounded on the south by the Pyrenees. Its chief town was Perpignan. In 1462 Lewis XI acquired possession of this territory, and Cerdagne (a part of Spain adjoining Russignon), in pledge from John II of Aragon, father of Ferdinand, as security for a large sum of money advanced to that prince for the purpose of reducing his revolted subjects, the Catalans. See text, p. 101.
P. 92, line 32. benevolence. This illegal exaction was abolished by Richard III in his first parliament (1483).
P. 93, line 7. and better, i. e. and more. This, the original sense of the word, which implies something additional or to boot, has almost faded out of classical English. It does not occur in Shakespeare.
Scotland. The declaration of war against Scotland, of which no mention is made in our modern histories, is contained in the preamble of an Act (7 Hen. VII. c. 6), by which all Scots, not made denizens, were ordered out of the kingdom within forty days (Spedding). See infra line 29.
mort-pays, i.e. taking the King's pay for a larger number of soldiers than a captain had in service, or claiming for men who were dead (mortui) or discharged. The Act (7 Hen. VII. c. 1) says, “If any captain... hath not his whole and perfect number of men and soldiers, according as he shall be retained with the King, or give them not their full wages without shorting as he shall receive of the King for them... he shall for such default forfeit to the King all his goods and chattels and his body to prison.”
27. fines for alienation. These were due to the crown as feudal lord, but to encourage men to alienate, and thus raise money for the wars, the King remitted these fines.
30. standard of the exchequer, i. e. specimens of weights and mea. sures, according to the legal standard of the exchequer, that there might be uniformity of weight and measure in the land.
P. 94, line 8. Gaunt, i. e. Ghent. I have left Bacon's orthography. here, because the name is familiar in that form as having been the title of John, duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III. 17. avails, produce, value, profit. Cf. Shaks. All's Well, III.
“You know your places well When better fall, for your avails they fell.” 28. duke of Saxony. Albert, duke of Upper Saxony, a great friend of the King of the Romans, see Hall's Chronicle.
P. 95, line 4: bearing them in hand=making them believe. Cf. Tyndale's Exposition (Parker Soc.), p. 28: “Beware...of them that would bear thee in hand how that suffering should be satisfaction of thy
17. from their friends. The Latin explains this, adding, "from the French,” who knew that some new dangers were threatening the people of Dam.
24. to the king, i. e. to the King of England.
33. Sir Edward Poynings. One of Henry's most able officers, afterwards Lord Deputy of Ireland (1494), in which office he drew up the Statute of Drogheda, often called Poynings' Law. See text, p.127:
P. 96, line 10. brother of the Earl of Oxford's, Sir Richard (?) de Vere.
32. about this time. The ceremony in St Paul's took place, April 6th, 1492. See Hall (6th year of Hen. VII).
P. 97, line 1. conquest of Granada. Hall (as his manner is) gives
an elaborate account of all that took place on the entry of Ferdinand and Isabella (whom he always calls Elizabeth). The religious punctos (i. e. observances) seem to have been very numerous, and Hall's account of the conduct of the Moors at the raising of the cross is worth quoting : “The sayde crosse was iii times devoutly elevate, and at every exaltation, the Moores, beyng within the cytie, roared, howled and cryed prosternyng them selfes grovelynge on the grounde making dolorous noyes and piteful outcryes.'
9. greater tower, called Alhambra (Hail).
a psalm. It was the Benedictus, Luke i. 68 (Hall). P. 98, line 1. now cardınal. Archbishop Morton was made a Cardinal in 1493, with the title of St Anastasia (Hook's Lives, v. 462).
11. Kings. This word, applied to both King and Queen, may be compared with Shakespeare's use of Prince for both male and feniale. See King John, II. I. 445, “ These two princes if you marry them.” The first occurrence of the word kings thus used is p. 13. 33, then
27. in procession. Using the Te Deum as a processional hymn.
P. 99, line 14. Sir John Riseley. One of the early trusted servants of Henry VII. In a grant of offices made to him, 22 Sept. 1485, it is said to be made “in consideration of the true heart and service that our servant and true liegeman Sir John Riseley, knight, hath borne and done unto us in sundry wise herebefore, as well beyond the sea as at our late victorious field within this realm to his great charge labour and jeopardy and he faithfully intendeth to continue his truth and service unto us during his life.” 18.
Countebalt, described by Hall (6 Hen. VII) as “ James Contibald, a man of great gravity.”
27. His mother in law. i. e. Margaret duchess of Burgundy.
P. 100, line 1. So as the formal part, &c. So that as far as all the forms of an embassy were concerned they might seem to have a good reason for remaining. They had not received an answer, but an ample one was promised.
13. Thomas earl of Arundel. In his first summons to parliament (22 Edw. IV) he is named Thomas Arundal de Matravers. He married a daughter of Richard Wydville, Lord Rivers, and one of his daughters was wife of John, Earl of Lincoln, who fell at Stokefield.
14. George earl of Shrewsbury, son of John, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury. His mother was a daughter of Humphrey, Earl of Stafford. This nobleman had fought for Henry at Stoke-field.
Edmond earl of Suffolk, Edmund de la Pole, brother of the Earl of Lincoln.
15. George earl of Kant. George Grey had succeeded his father Edmund in the Earldom in 4 Hen. VII. His mother was a daughter of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, killed in the subsidy-riot in Yorkshire (see p. 66). George, Earl of Kent, took an active part in the suppression of the Cornish rebellion. See Dugdale, I. 718.
The earl of Essex. Henry Bourchier. He also took part in the suppression of the Cornish rebellion, Dugdale, II. 130.
16. Thomas earl of Ormond. This was Thomas Bullen, he was afterwards created (1495) an English peer as Baron Rochford of Rochford in Essex.
P. 101, line 7. The hotter he was, &c. Cf. p. 77. ro for an example of this heat. 3!. so potent a confederate, i.e. Ferdinand of Spain.
line 2. Bishop of Exeter. This was Fox. 9. Sir John Savage. He had gone (says Hall) privily out of his pavilion with Sir John Riseley, and was suddenly intercepted and taken of the enemy, and he being inflamed with ire, althogh he were captain, of his high courage disdained to be taken of such villains, defended his life to the uttermost, and was manfully (I will not say wilfully) slain.
15. a peace, known as the Peace of Estaples. It was concluded there Nov. 30, 1492. For the articles thereof, see Molinet (Buchon), IV. 328 seqq. The sums mentioned by Molinet are not in accordance with those given below in the text.
20. ducat, here apparently used vaguely=crown. King Henry's letter, read in the Guildhall, Nov. 9, calls the sum “745,000 scutis, which amounteth in sterling money to £ 127,666. 135. 4d.” The sum was to be paid in consideration of the expenses incurred by the English King in the defence of Brittany, which Henry estimated at 620,00 crowns, and to clear off the sum remaining due upon the pension granted to Edward IV by Lewis XI (at the peace of Picquigny), which was estimated at 125,000 crowns. Henry agreed now to accept a pay: ment of 25,000 francs every half-year till the whole should be cleared off. These half yearly payments continued to be made down to the year 1514, when further claims on the part of the English led to a new treaty with Lewis XII. See Rymer, XIII. 428.
in present (line 20) is a mistake. The large sum was to be paid by instalments. See Spedding, Vol. VI. p. 103 note.
24. alteration of the hand, i. e. making another person rather than Maximilian responsible for this payment. This Henry counted to be worth as much as the whole sum.
P. 103, line 6. under their hands, i. e. in a written document signed by them.
16. to plume, here=to strip off the feathers, a meaning very different from the usual sense of the verb.
32. Alphonso, duke of Calabria, who in 1494, succeeded his father as King of Naples and Sicily by the title of Alphonso II.
P. 105, line 12. Turk's commissioners for children of tribute. The Lat. version explains this as “those agents of the Turks who exact children as a tribute," i. e. demand from the subject races so many children annually as a tributary payment, and pick out the most promising.
31. to have made somewhut to the matter, i. e. to have contributed to, or helped on, the proceeding.
P. 106, line i. Gossip, godfather. The last syllable is common, in the Lowlands of Scotland, in the form sib=related to, akin.