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91.--THE DEATH OF JOHN. SHARspERE,
SCENE I-An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.
Jsub. Of the part of England.
Why may I not demand of thine affairs,
These Lincoln washes have devoured them ;
ScENE II.-The Orchard of Swinstead Abbey.
Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief, That being brought into the open air It would allay the burning quality Of that fell poison which assaileth him. P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here.— Doth he still rage 7 - Erit Bigot. Pem. He is more patient Than when you left him; even now he sung. P. Hen. O vanity of sickness fierce extremes, In their continuance, will not feel themselves. Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts, Leaves them invisible; and his siege is now Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds With many legions of strange fantasies; Which, in their throng and press to that last hold, Confound themselves. T is strange, that death should sing, I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan, Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death; And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings His soul and body to their lasting rest. Sal. Be of good comfort, prince ; for you are born To set a form upon that indigest Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
Re-enter Bigot and Attendants, who bring in King John in a Chair.
K. John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;
P. Hen. How fares your majesty?
K. John. Poison'd, ill fare;—dead, forsook, cast off:
Through my burn'd bosom ; nor entreat the north
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence. o
Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already;
92.--THE ANNALS OF HENRY III.
From the “Penny Cyclopaedia."
Henry III, surnamed of Winchester, from the place of his birth, was the eldest son of king John, by his queen Isabella of Angoulême, and was born 1st October, 1206. His father having died 18th October, 1216, the boy was chiefly through the influence of the earl of Pembroke, lord marshal, acknowledged heir to the throne by those of the barons who were opposed to the French party; and on the 28th he was solemnly crowned in the abbey-church of St. Peter, at Gloucester, by the papal legate Gualo. His reign is reckoned from that day.
On the 11th November following, at a great council held at Bristol, Pembroke was appointed protector or governor of the king and kingdom (Rector Regis et Regni); and this able and excellent nobleman continued at the head of affairs till his death in May, 1219; long before which event the dauphin Louis and the French had been compelled to quit the country, their evacuation having been finally arranged in a conference held at Kingston 11th September, 1217. After the death of Pembroke the administration of the government fell into the hands of Hubert de Burgh, who had greatly distinguished himself in the expulsion of the foreigners, and Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester. De Burgh however and the bishop, who was
not an Englishman, but a native of Poitou, from coadjutors soon became rivals, and their attempts to throw each other down at length led, in 1224, to the resignation of Des Roches and his retirement from the kingdom. Meanwhile, on the 17th May, 1220, Henry, in consequence of some doubts being entertained about the efficacy of the former ceremony, had been crowned a second time at Westminster, by Langton, archbishop of Canterbury. In 1221 the relations of peace and alliance with Scotland, which had subsisted ever since the departure of the French, were made closer and firmer by the marriages of Alexander II, the king of that country, with Jane, Henry's eldest sister, and of De Burgh with the Princess Margaret, the eldest sister of Alexander. About the same time Pandulf, who had succeeded Gualo as papal legate, left the country, which was thus practically freed from the domination of Rome, although that power still persisted in asserting theoretically the vassalage of the crown which had been originally conceded by John, and which had also been acknowledged at his accession by the present king. In 1222 Henry had been declared of age to exercise at least certain of the functions of government; but his feeble character was already become sufficiently apparent, and this formality gave him no real power. It only served to enable De Burgh the more easily to get rid of his colleague. That minister, now left alone at the head of affairs, conducted the government with ability and success on the whole, though in a spirit of severity, which, whether necessary or not, could not fail to make him many enemies. A war broke out with France in 1225, which however was carried on with little spirit on either side, and produced no events of note, although Henry, in May, 1230, conducted in person an expedition to the Continent, from which great things were expected by himself and his subjects; but he returned home in the following October, without having done anything. At this time France was suffering under the usual weakness and distraction of a regal minority, Louis IX., afterwards designated St. Louis, having, while yet only in his twelfth year, succeeded his father in 1226. A growing opposition to De Burgh was at length headed by Richard, earl of Cornwall, the king's brother, who possessed very great influence, not only from his nearness to the throne, but from his immense wealth; and the consequence was the sudden expulsion of that minister from all his offices, and his consignment to prison, with the loss of all his honours and estates, in the latter part of the year 1232. Des Roches, the bishop of Winchester, who had returned to the country some time before this crisis, was now placed at the head of affairs; but his administration, a course of insulting preference for his countrymen and other foreigners, and of open hostility to the great charter and the whole body of the national liberties, speedily proved unbearably distasteful to both barons and commons; and a confederacy of the laity and the clergy, with Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, at its head, compelled his dismissal within little more than a year after his restoration to power. The archbishop now became chief minister. In 1236 Henry, being now in his thirtieth year, married Eleanor, the daughter of Raymond, count of Provence; and this connection soon gave new and great umbrage to the nation, in consequence of the numbers of her relations and countrymen who came over with or followed the queen, and with whom she surrounded her weak husband, besides inducing him to gratify their rapacity with pensions, estates, honours, and the most lucrative offices in the kingdom. In the midst of the contests thus occasioned between the crown and the nobility, whose meetings for deliberation on national affairs were now commonly called parliaments, a renewal of active hostilities with France was brought about through a private resentment of Henry's mother Isabella, who, after the death of John, had returned and been re-married to Hugh, count of La Marche, to whom she had been espoused before she gave her hand to John: she had instigated La Marche