Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

he same. That is (q" he) yonder sorceress my brother's wife, and other with her ; meaning the queen. At these words 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 wearish withered arm, and small as it were 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. “Also, there was no man there but knew that his arm was ever sueh sith the day of his birth. Nevertheless the Lord Hastings, which from the death of King Edward kept Shore's wife, whom he somewhat doted in the king's life, saying, it is said, that he forbare her for reverence toward his king, or else of a certain kind of fidelity toward his friend; yet now 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 (q" 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, nue, my lord q" he Yea, thee, traitor, q" 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 shrank 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 other, which were bestowed in divers chambers, save the Lord Hastings (whom the protector commanded to speed and shrive him apace), For by Saint Paul (q. 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 murther 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. “Now flew the fame of this lord's death through the city and farther about, like a wind in every man's ear; but the protector immediately after dinner, intending to set some colour upon the matter, sent in all the haste for many substantial men out of the city into the Tower, and at their coming himself with the Duke of Buckingham, stood harnessed in old evil-favoured briganders, such as no man would ween that they would have vouchsafed to have put on their backs, except some sudden necessity had constrained them. Then the lord protector showed them that the Lord Hastings and other of his conspiracy had contrived to have suddenly destroyed him and the Duke of Buckingham there the same day in council, and what they intended farther was yet not well known; of which their treason he had never knowledge before x of the clock the same forenoon, which sudden fear drawe them to put on such harness as came next to their hands for their defence, and so God help them that the mischief turned upon them that would have done it, and thus he required them to report. Every man answered fair, as though no man mistrusted the matter, which of truth no man believed.”

142.--THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER. HEywoop.

[The tragic story of the murder of Richard's nephews is thus recorded by the Chronicler, on the authority of Sir Thomas More:– “And forasmuch as his mind gave him that, his nephews living, men would not reckon that he could have right to the realm, he thought therefore without delay to rid them, as though the killing of his kinsmen might end his cause and make him kindly king. Where. upon he sent John Green, whom he specially trusted, unto Sir Robert Brakenbury, constable of the Tower, with a letter and credence also, that the same Sir Robert in any wise should put the two children to death. This John Green did his errand to Brakenbury, kneeling before Our Lady in the Tower; who plainly answered that he would never put them to death to die therefore. With the which answer Green returned, recounting the same to king Richard at Warwick, yet on his journey; wherewith he took such displeasure and thought, that the same night he said to a secret page of his, Ah, whom shall a man trust? they that I have brought up myself, they that I woened would have most surely served me, even those fail me, and at my commandment will do nothing for me. Sir, quoth the page, there lieth one in the pallet chamber without, that I dare well say, to do your grace pleasure, the thing were right hard that he would refuse: meaning by this James Tyrrel. “James Tyrrel devised that they should be murthered in their beds, and no blood shed: to the execution whereof he appointed Miles Forest, one of the four that before kept them, a fellow flesh bred in murther beforetime; and to him he joined one John Dighton, his own horsekeeper, a big, broad, square, and strong knave. Then, all the other being removed from them, this Miles Forest and John Dighton about midnight, the sely children lying in their beds, came into the chamber, and suddenly lapped them up amongst the clothes, and so be wrapped them and entangled them, keeping down by force the feather-bed and pillows hard unto their mouths, that within a while they smothered and stifled them; and their breaths failing, they gave up to God their innocent souls into the joys of heaven, leaving to the tor mentors their bodies dead in the bed; which after the wretches perceived, first by the struggling with the pangs of death, and after long lying still, to be thoroughly dead, they laid the bodies out upon the bed, and fetched James Tyrrel to see them; which when he saw them perfectly dead, he caused the murtherers to bury them at the stair foot, meetly deep in the ground, under a great heap of stones. “Then rode James Tyrrel in great haste to king Richard, and showed him all the manner of the murther; who gave him great thanks, and, as men say, there made him

knight."] SCENE I.

Enter the two young princes, Edward and Richard, with Gloster, Catesby, Lovell, and Tyrrel.

P. Ed. Uncle, what gentleman is that ?
Glos. It is, sweet prince, lieutenant of the Tower.
P. Ed. Sir, we are come to be your guests to-night.
I pray you, tell me, did you ever know
Our father Edward lodge within this place
Bra. Never to lodge, my liege; but oftentimes,

On other occasions, I have seen him here.
P. R. Brother, last night, when you did send for me
My mother told me, hearing we should lodge
Within the Tower, that it was a prison,
And therefore marvell'd that my uncle Gloster,
Of all the houses for a king's receipt
Within this city, had appointed none
Where you might keep your court but only here.
Glos. Wile brats how they do descant on the Tower!
My gentle nephew, they were ill advised
To tutor you with such unfitting terms
(Who'er they were) against this royal mansion.
What if some part of it hath been reserv'd
To be a prison for nobility?
Follows it, therefore, that it cannot serve
To any other use ? Caesar himself,
That built the same, within it kept his court,
And many kings since him : the rooms are large,
The building stately, and for strength beside,
It is the safest and the surest hold you have.
P. Ed. Uncle of Gloster 1 if you think it so,
'Tis not for me to contradict your will;
We must allow it, and are well content.
Glos. On then, a God's name !
P. Ed. Yet before we go,
One question more with you, master Lieutenant:
We like you well; and, but we do perceive
More comfort in your looks than in these walls,
For all our uncle Gloster's friendly speech,
Our hearts would be as heavy still as lead. -
I pray you tell me, at which door or gate
Was it my uncle Clarence did go in,
When he was sent a pris'ner to this place
Bra. At this, my liege Why sighs your majesty 7
P. Ed. He went in here that ne'er came back again!
But as God hath decreed, so let it be
Come, brother, shall we go?
P. R. Yes, brother; any where with you.
[Ereunt the Princes, Gloster, and Lovell, Brackenbury
and Shore.
Tyr. (pulls Catesby by the sleeve.) Sir, were it best I did attend
the duke,
Or stay his leisure till his back return ?
Cat. I pray you, master Tyrrel, stay without :
It is not good you should be seen by day
Within the Tower, especially at this time;
I'll tell his honour of your being here,
And you shall know his pleasure presently.
Tyr. Even so, sir. Men would be glad by any means
To raise themselves, that have been overthrown
. By fortune's scorn; and I am one of them.

Re-enter the Duke of Gloster. Here comes the duke Glos. Catesby, is this the man? Cat. It is, if't like your excellency. Glos. Come near. Thy name, I hear, is Tyrrel, is it not ? Tyr. James Tyrrel is my name, my gracious lord Glos. Welcome : it should appear that thou hast been In better state than now it seems thou art, Tyr. I have been, by my fay, my lord ' though now depress d And clouded over with adversity. Glos. Be rul’d by me, and thou shalt rise again, And prove more happy than thou ever wast There is but only two degrees by which It shall be needful for thee to ascend, And that is, faith and taciturnity. Tyr. If ever I prove false unto your grace, Convert your favour to afflictions. Glos. But can'st thou too be secret 1 Tyr. Try me, my lord. This tongue was never known to be a blab. Glos. Thy countenance hath, like a silver key, Open'd the closet of my heart. Read there; If, scholar-like, thou can'st expound those lines, Thou art the man ordain'd to serve my turn. Tyr. So far as my capacity will reach, The sense, my lord, is this. This night, you say, The two young princes both must suffer death. Glos. Thourhast my meaning. Wilt thou do it? speak. Tyr. It shall be done. Glos. Enough 1 come, follow me, For thy direction, and for gold to fee Such as must aid thee in their tragedy. [Ersukt.

ScENE II.-A Bed-room in the Tower.
Enter the two young Princes, Edward and Richard, in their
bedgowns and caps.

Ric. How does your lordship !
Ed. Well, good brother Richard.
How does yourself? you told me your head ached.

Ric. Indeed it does, my lord' feel with your hands
How hot it is

Ed. Indeed you have caught cold,
With sitting yesternight to hear me read.
I pray thee go to bed, sweet Dick poor little heart.

Ric. You'll give me leave to wait upon your lordship.

Ed. I had more need, brother, to wait on you, For you are sick; and so am not I.

Ric. Oh, lord 1 methinks this going to our bed, How like it is to going to our grave.

Ed. I pray thee, do not speak of graves, sweet heart,
Indeed thou frightest me.
Ric. Why, my lord brother, did not our tutor teach us,
That when at night we went unto our bed,
We still should think we went unto our grave.
Ed. Yes, that's true,
If we should do as ev'ry Christian ought,
To be prepar'd to die at ev'ry hour.
But I am heavy.
Ric. Indeed, and so am I.
Ed. Then let us say our prayers and go to bed.
[They kneel, and solemn music within. It ceases and they rise.
Ric. What, bleeds your grace
Ed. Ay, two drops and no more.
Ric. God bless us both ; and I desire no more.
Ed. Brother, see here what David says, and so say I:
Lord in thee will I trust, although I die. [Exeunt.

143.-BOSWORTH FIELD. HALL. “Tidings came that the Earl of Richmond was passed Severn, and come to Shrewsbury without any detriment or encumbrance. At which message he (Richard) was sore moved and broiled with melancholy and dolour; and cried out, asking vengeance of them that contrary to their oath and promise had fraudulently deceived him.” But with his wonted energy “he determined himself out of hand the same day to occur and resist his adversaries.” He was then “keeping his house in the castle of Nottingham.” The Chronicler proceeds: “Then he, environed with his satellites and yeomen of the crown, with a frowning countenance and truculent aspect, mounted on a great white courser, followed with his footmen, the wings of horsemen coasting and ranging on every side. And keeping this array, he with great pomp entered the town of Leicester after the sunset.” At Leicester Richard slept at a house which still remains. Hutton, in his ‘Battle of Bosworth Field,’ thus describes the old house and its appurtenances:—“In the Northgate Street yet stands a large handsome half-timber house, with one story projecting over the other, formerly an inn, the Blue Boar; hence an adjoining street derived its name, now corrupted into Blubber-lane. In one of the apartments Richard rested that night. The room seems to have been once elegant, though now in disuse. He brought his own bedstead, of wood, large, and in some places gilt. It continued there 200 years after he left the place, and its remains are now in the possession of Alderman Drake. It had a wooden bottom, and under that a false one, of the same materials, like a floor and its under ceiling. Between these two bottoms was concealed a quantity of gold coin, worth about 300l. of our present money, but then worth many times that sum. Thus he personally watched his treasure, and slept on his military chest.” “The Earl of Richmond,” says the Chronicler, “raised his camp, and departed from Lichfield to the town of Tamworth.” Shakspere carefully follows the localities of the historians:— “This foul swine Lies now even in the centre of this isle, Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn: From Tamworth thither is but one day's march."

« ForrigeFortsett »