Book 1

The First



I Sing the ciuill Warres, tumultuous Broyles,
And bloody factions of a mightie Land:
Whose people hautie, proud with forraine spoyles,
Vpon themselues turn-backe their conquering hand;
Whil'st Kin their Kin, Brother the Brother foyles;
Like Ensignes all against like Ensignes band;
Bowes against Bowes, the Crowne against the Crowne;
Whil'st all pretending right, all right's throwne downe.


 What / furie, ô what madnes held thee so,
Deare England (too too prodigall of blood)
To waste so much, and warre without a foe,
Whilst Fraunce , to see thy spoyles, at pleasure stood!
How much might'st thou haue purchast with lesse woe,
T'haue done thee honour and thy people good?
Thine might haue beene what-euer lies betweene
The Alps and vs, the Pyrenei and Rhene .


 Yet now what reason haue we to complaine?
Since hereby came the calme we did inioy;
The blisse of thee Eliza ; happie gaine
For all our losse: when-as no other way
The Heauens could finde, but to vnite againe
The fatall sev'red Families, that they
Might bring foorth thee: that in thy peace might growe
That glorie, which few Times could euer showe.


 Come sacred Virtue : I no Muse , but thee,
Inuoke, in this great labour I intend.
Doo thou inspire my thoughts, infuse in mee
A power to bring the same to happie end.
Rayse vp a worke, for later times to see,
That may thy glorie, and my paynes commend
Make me these tumults rightly to rehearse:
And giue peace to my life, life to my verse.


 And thou Charles Montioy (who didst once afford
Rest for my fortunes, on thy quiet shore;
And cheer'dst mee on, these measures to record
In grauer tones, then I had vs'd before)
Beholde: my gratitude makes good my word
Ingag'd to thee (although thou be no more)
That I, who heretofore haue liu'd by thee,
Doo giue thee now a roome to liue with me.


 And MEMORIE, preserv'resse of things done,
Come thou, vnfold the woundes, the wracke, the waste:
Reueale to me how all the strife begunne
Twixt Lancaster and Yorke , in ages past:
How causes, counsels, and euents did runne,
So long as these vnhappie times did last;
Vnintermixt with fiction's fantasies.
I versifie the troth, not Poetize.


 And to the ende wee may with better ease
Discerne the true discourse; vouchsafe to showe,
What were the times foregoing, neere to these,
That these we may with better profit knowe:
Tell, how the world fell into this disease,
And how so great distemperature did growe.
So shall we see, by what degrees it came,
“How things, at full, do soone wex out of frame.


 Ten Kings had, from the Norman Conqueror, raign'd,
With intermixt and variable fate,
When England to her greatest height attain'd
Of powre, dominion, glorie, wealth, and State;
After it had, with much adoo, sustain'd
The violence of Princes, with debate
For titles, and the often mutinies
Of Nobles, for their ancient liberties.


 For, first, the Norman , conquering all by might,
By might was forc't to keepe what he had got;
Mixing our Customes and the forme of Right
With foraine Constitutions he had brought:
Maistering the mightie, humbling the poorer wight
By all seuerest meanes that could be wrought:
And, making the succession oubtfull, rent
This new-got State, and left it turbulent.


  VVilliam his sonne, tracing his fathers wayes
(The great men spent in peace, or slaine in fight)
Vpon depressed weaknes onely preyes,
And makes his force maintaine his doubtfull right:
His elder brothers clayme, vexing his dayes,
His actions and exactions still incite:
And giuing Beastes, what did to Men pertaine
(Tooke for a Beast) himselfe in th'end was slaine.


 His brother Henrie next commands the State:
Who, Roberts title better to reiect,
Seekes to repacifie the peoples hate;
And with faire shewes, rather then in effect,
Allayes those grieuances that heauie sate:
Reformes the lawes, which soone hee did neglect;
And reft of sonnes, for whom he did prepare,
Leaues crowne and strife, to Maude his daughters care.


 Whom Stephen his nephew (falsifying his Oath)
Preuents; assayles the Realme; obtaines the Crowne;
Such tumults raysing as torment them both,
Whil'st both held nothing certainely their owne:
Th'afflicted State (diuided in their troth
And partiall faith) most miserable growne,
Endures the while, till peace, and Stephens death,
Gaue some calme leasure to recouer breath.


 When Henrie , sonne to Maude the Empresse, raignes,
And England into forme and greatnes brought,
Addes Ireland to this Scepter, and obtaines
Large Prouinces in Fraunce ; much treasure gote,
And from exactions here at home abstaynes:
And had not his rebellious children sought
T'imbroyle his age with tumults, he had beene
The happiest Monarch that this State had seene.


 Him, Richard followes in the gouernment:
Who much the glory of our Armes increast;
And all his fathers mighty treasure spent,
In that deuoutfull Action of the East :
Whereto, whiles he his forces wholly bent,
Despight and treason his designes opprest;
A faithlesse brother, and a fatall King,
Cut-off his growth of glory, in the spring.


 Which wicked brother, contrary to course,
False Iohn vsurpes his Nephew Arthurs right;
Gets to the Crowne by craft, by wrong, by force;
Rules it with lust, oppression, rigour, might;
Murders the lawfull heire without remorse:
Wherefore procuring all the worlds despight,
A Tyrant loath'd, a homicide conuented,
Poysoned he dyes, disgrac't and vnlamented.


  Henrie his sonne is chosen King, though young,
And Lewes of France (elected first) beguil'd;
After the mighty had debated long,
Doubtfull to choose a straunger or a child:
With him, the Barrons (in these times growne strong)
Warre for their auncient Lawes so long exil'd.
He graunts the Charter that pretended ease;
Yet kept his owne, and did his State appease.


  Edward , his sonne, a Martiall King, succeedes;
Iust, prudent, graue, religious, fortunate:
Whose happy ordered Raigne most fertile breedes,
Plenty of mighty spirits to strength his State:
And worthy mindes, to manage worthy deedes,
Th'experience of those times ingenerate:
For, euer great imployment, for the great,
Quickens the blood, and honour doth beget.


 And had not his mis-led lasciuious Sonne,
Edward the second, intermitted so
The course of glory happily begunne
(Which brought him and his fauorites to woe)
That happy current without stop had runne
Vnto the full of his sonne Edwards flowe:
But, who hath often seene, in such a State,
Father and Sonne like good, like fortunate?


 But now, this great Succeeder, all repaires,
And reinduc't that discontinued good:
He builds vp strength & greatnes, for his heires,
Out of the virtues that adornd his blood:
He makes his Subiects Lords of more then theirs;
And sets their bounds farre wider then they stood.
His powre, and fortune, had sufficient wrought,
Could but the State haue kept what he had got.


 And had his heire surviu'd him in due course,
What limits England hadst thou found? what barre?
What world could haue resisted so great force?
O more then men! (two thunderbolts of warre)
Why did not Time your ioyned worth diuorce,
T'haue made your seueral glories greater farre?
Too prodigall was Nature, thus to doe;
To spend in one Age, what should serue for two.


 But now the Scepter, in this glorious State,
Supported with strong powre and victorie,
Was left vnto a Child; ordain'd by fate
To stay the course of what might growe too hie:
Here was a stop, that Greatnesse did abate,
When powre vpon so weake a base did lie.
For, least great fortune should presume too farre,
Such oppositions interposed are.


 Neuer this Iland better peopled stood;
Neuer more men of might, and minds addrest:
Neuer more Princes of the royall blood,
(If not too many for the publique Rest)
Nor euer was more treasure, wealth and good;
Then when this Richard first, the Crowne possest;
The second of that name, in two accurst:
And well we might haue mist all, but the first.


 In this mans Raigne, began this fatal strife
(The bloudie argument whereof we treate)
That dearely cost so many'a Prince his life;
And spoyld the weake, and euen consum'd the great:
That, wherein all confusion was so rife,
As Memory euen grieues her to repeat,
And would that time might now this knowledge lose;
But that tis good to learne by others woes.


  Edward the third, being dead, had left this child,
(Sonne of his worthy sonne deceast of late)
The Crowne and Scepter of this Realme to wield:
Appointing the protectors of his State
Two of his sonnes, to be his better shield;
Supposing Vncles, free from guile or hate,
Would order all things for his better good,
In the respect and honour of their bloud.


 Of these, Iohn , Duke of Lancaster , was one,
(Too great a Subiect growne, for such a State.
The title of a King, and glorie wonne
In great exploits his mind did eleuate
Aboue proportion kingdomes stand vpon:
Which made him push at what his issue gate)
The other, Langley : whose mild temperatness
Did tend vnto a calmer quietnesse.


 With these, did Woodstock interpose his part;
A man, for action violently bent,
And of a spirit averse, and ouer-thwart;
Which could not sute a peace-full gouernment:
Whose euer-swelling, and tumultuous heart
Wrought his owne ill and others discontent.
And these had all the manage of affayres,
During the time the King was vnder yeares.


 And in the first yeares of his gouernment,
Things past, as first; the warres in France proceed,
Though not with that same fortune and euent,
Being now not followed with such carefull heed;
Our people here at home, growne discontent,
Through great exactions, insurrections breed:
Priuate respects hindred the Common-weale:
And idle ease doth on the mighty steale.


 Too many Kings breed factions in the Court:
The head too weake, the members growne too great.
Which euermore doth happen in this sort,
When Children rule; the plague which God doth threat
Vnto those Kingdomes which he will transport
To other Lynes, or vtterly defeat:
“For, the ambitious, once inur'd to raigne,
“Can neuer brook a priuate state againe.


 “And Kingdomes euer suffer this distresse,
“Where one, or many, guide the infant King:
“Which one or many (tasting this excesse
“Of greatnesse & command) can neuer bring
“Their thoughts againe t'obay, or to be lesse.
“From hence, these insolencies euer spring;
“Contempt of others, whom they seek to foyle:
“Then follow leagues, destruction, ruine, spoyle.


 And whether they, which vnder-went this charge,
Permit the King to take a youthfull vaine,
That they their priuate better might inlarge:
Or whether he himselfe would farther straine
(Thinking his yeeres sufficient to discharge
The gouernment) and so assum'd the raine:
Or howsoeuer, now his eare he lends
To youthfull counsell, and his lustes attends.


 And Courts were neuer barren yet of those
Which could with subtile traine, and apt aduice,
Worke on the Princes weakenesse, and dispose
Of feeble frailtie, easie to entice.
And such, no doubt, about this King arose,
Whose flatterie (the dangerous nurse of vice)
Got hand vpon his youth, to pleasures bent:
Which, led by them, did others discontent.


 For, now his Vncles grew much to mislike
These ill proceedings; were it that they saw
That others, fauour'd, did aspiring seeke
Their Nephew from their counsels to withdraw,
(Seeing him of nature flexible, and weake)
Because they onely would keepe all in awe;
Or that indeede they found the King and State
Abus'd by such as now in office sate.


 Or rather else, they all were in the fault;
Th'ambitious Vncles, th'indiscreete young King,
The greedie Councell, and the Minions naught;
And altogether did this tempest bring:
Besides, the times, with all iniustice fraught,
Concurr'd, with such confus'd misgouerning,
That wee may truely say, This spoyld the State,
“Youthfull Counsaile, priuate Gaine, partiall Hate.


 And then the King, besides his iealousies
Which nourisht were, had reason to be led
To doubt his Vncles for their loyalties;
Since Iohn of Gaunt (as was discouered)
Had practised his death in secret wise;
And Gloster openly becomes the head
Vnto a league, who all in armes were bent
T'oppose against the present gouernement;


 Pretending to remoue such men as were
Accounted to abuse the king, and State.
Of whome, the chiefe they did accuse, was Veere ,
Made Duke of Ireland , with great grace of late;
And diuers else, who for the place they beare
Obnoxious are, and subiect vnto hate.
And these must be sequestred with all speed:
Or else they vow'd, their swordes should doo the deed.


 The King was forc't in that next Parliament,
To grant them what he durst not well refuse.
For, thither arm'd they came, and fully bent
To suffer no repulse, nor no excuse:
And here they did accomplish their intent;
Where Iustice did her sword, not Ballance, vse.
For, euen that sacred place they violate,
Arresting all the Iudges as they sate.


 And here had many worthy men their ende,
Without all forme, or any course of Right.
“For, still these broyles, that publike good pretend,
“Worke most iniustice, being done-through spight.
“For, those aggrieued euermore do bend
“Against such as they see of greatest might:
“Who, though they cannot helpe what will go ill;
“Yet, since they may doo wrong, are thought they will.


 And yet herein I meane not to excuse
The Iustices, and Minions of the King
(Who might their office and their grace abuse)
But blame the course held in the managing:
“For, great-men, ouer-grac't, much rigor vse;
“Presuming fauorits discontentment bring:
“And disproportions harmonie do breake;
“Minions, too great, argue a king too weake.


 Now, that so much was granted, as was sought;
A reconcilement made, although not ment,
Appeas'd them all in shewe, but not in thought,
Whilst euery one seem'd outwardly content:
Though hereby king, nor peeres, nor people got
More loue, more strength, or easier gouernment;
But euery day, things still succeeded worse.
“For good from Kings is seldome drawne by force.


 And thus it loe continued, till by chaunce
The Queene (which was the Emperours daughter) di'de:
When-as the King, t'establish peace with Fraunce ,
And better for home-quiet to prouide,
Sought by contracting marriage to aduance
His owne affayres, against his Vncles pride;
Tooke the young daughter of King Charles to wife:
Which after, in the end, rays'd greater strife.


For, now his vncle Gloster much repin'd,
Against this French alliance and this peace:
As either out of a tumultuous minde;
(Which neuer was content the warres should cease:)
Or that he did dishonorable finde
Those articles which did our State decrease;
And therefore storm'd because the Crowne had wrong:
Or that he fear'd, the King would growe too strong.


 But whatsoeuer mou'd him; this is sure,
Hereby he wrought his ruine in the end;
And was a fatall cause, that did procure
The swift approching mischiefes that attend.
For loe, the King no longer could indure
Thus to be crost in what he did intend;
And therefore watcht but some occasion fit
T'attache the Duke, when he thought least of it.


 And Fortune, to set forward this intent,
The Cont S. Paule , from France , doth hither bring:
Whom Charles the sixt imploy'd in complement,
To see the Queene, and to salute the King.
To whom he shewes his Vncles discontent,
And of his secret dangerous practising,
How he his Subiectes sought to sulleuate,
And breake the league with Fraunce concluded late.


 To whom the Cont, most cunningly replies;
“Great Prince, it is within your power, with ease
“To remedy such feares, such iealousies,
“And rid you of such mutiners as these;
“By cutting off that, which might greater rise,
“And now at first, preuenting this disease,
“And that before he shall your wrath disclose;
“For, who threats first, meanes of reuenge doth lose.


 “First take his head, then tell the reason why:
“Stand not to finde him guiltie by your lawes;
“You easier shall with him your quarrell trie
“Dead then aliue, who hath the better cause.
“For, in the murmuring vulgar, vsually
“This publique course of yours compassion drawes;
“Especially in cases of the great:
“Which worke much pitty, in the vndiscreat.


 “And this is sure, though his offence be such:
“Yet doth calamitie attract commorse:
“And men repine at Princes blood-shed much,
“(How iust-soeuer) iudging tis by force.
“I know not how their death giues such a tuch,
“In those that reach not to a true discourse;
“As so shall you, obseruing formall right,
“Be held still as vniust, and win more spight.


 “And, oft, the cause may come preuented so:
“And therefore when tis done, let it be heard.
“For, thereby shall you scape your priuate wo.
“And satisfie the world too, afterward.
“What neede you weigh the rumors that shall go?
“What is that breath, being with your life compar'd?
“And therefore, if you will be rul'd by me,
“In secret sort, let him dispatched bee.


 And then arraigne the chiefe of those you finde
Were of his faction secretly compact:
Who may so well be handled in their kinde;
As their confessions, which you shall exact,
May both appease the aggrieued peoples minde,
And make their death to aggrauate their fact.
So shall you rid your selfe of dangers quite;
And shew the world, that you haue done but right.


 This counsell, vttred vnto such an eare
As willing listens to the safest wayes,
Workes on the yeelding matter of his feare;
Which easily to any course obayes.
For, euery Prince, seeing his daunger neere,
By any meanes his quiet peace assaies.
“And still the greatest wrongs, that euer were,
“Haue then been wrought, when Kings were put in feare.


 Call'd in with publique pardon, and release,
The Duke of Gloster , with his complices;
All tumults, all contentions seem to cease,
The land rich, people pleas'd, all in happinesse:
When sodainely Gloster came caught, with peace;
VVarwicke , with profered loue and promises:
And Arundell was in, with cunning brought:
Who else abrode, his safetie might haue wrought.


 Long was it not, ere Gloster was conuayd
To Calice , and there strangled secretly:
VVarwicke and Arundell close prisoners laid,
Th'especiall men of his confederacie:
Yet VVarwickes teares and base confessions staide
The doome of death; and came confin'd thereby,
And so prolongs this not long base-begg'd breath:
But Arundell was put to publique death.


 Which publique death (receiu'd with such a cheare,
As not a sigh, a looke, a shrink bewrayes
The least felt touch of a degenerous feare)
Gaue life to Enuie, to his courage prayse;
And made his stout-defended cause appeare
With such a face of Right, as that it layes
The side of wrong t'wards him, who had long since
By Parliament forgiuen this offence:


 And in the vnconceiuing vulgar sort,
Such an impression of his goodnes gaue
As Sainted him, and rays'd a strange report
Of miracles effected on his Graue:
Although the Wise (whome zeale did not transport)
“Knew, how each great example still must haue
“Something of wrong, a taste of violence;
“Wherewith, the publique quiet doth dispense.


 The King foorth-with prouides him of a Guard;
A thousand Archers daily to attend:
Which now vpon the act he had prepar'd,
As th'argument his actions to defend:
But yet the world hereof conceiu'd so hard,
That all this nought auaild him in the end.
“In vaine, with terror is he fortified,
“That is not guarded with firme loue beside.


 Now storme his grieued Vncles, though in vaine;
Not able better courses to aduise.
They might their grieuance inwardly complaine;
But outwardly they needes must temporise.
The King was great; and they should nothing gaine
T'attempt reuenge, or offer once to rise:
This league with Fraunce had made him now so strong,
That they must needes as yet indure this wrong.


 For, like a Lion that escapes his boundes,
Hauing beene long restrain'd his vse to stray,
Ranges the restless woods, stayes on no groũd,
Riots with blood-shed, wantons on his praie;
Seekes not for neede, but in his pride to wound,
Glorying to see his strength and what he may:
So this vnbridled King (freed of his feares)
In liberty, himself thus wildely beares.


 For, standing now alone, he sees his might
Out of the compasse of respectiue awe;
And now beginnes to violate all right,
While no restraining feare at hand he saw.
Now he exacts of all, wastes in delight,
Riots in pleasure, and neglects the law:
He thinkes his Crowne is licenst to do ill.
“That lesse should list, that may do what it wil.


 Thus b'ing transported in this sensuall course,
No friend to warne, no counsell to withstand,
He still proceedeth on from bad to worse;
Sooth'd in all actions that he tooke in hand,
By such as all impietie did nurse,
Commending euer what hee did command.
“Vnhappie Kings! that neuer may be taught
“To know themselues, or to discerne their fault.


 And whilst this course did much the kingdome daunt,
The Duke of Herford being of courage bolde,
As sonne and heire to mighty Iohn of Gaunt ,
Vtters the passion which he could not holde
Concerning these oppressions, and the want
Of gouernment: which he to Norfolke told;
To th'end, he (being great about the king)
Might do some good, by better counselling.


 Hereof doth Norfolke presently take hold,
And to the king the whole discourse relate:
Who, not conceipting it, as it was told,
But iudging it proceeded out of hate;
Disdeigning deepely to be so controwl'd,
That others should his Rule preiudicate,
Charg'd Herford therewithall: who re-accus'd
Norfolke , for words of treason he had vs'd.


  Norfolke denies them peremptorily.
Herford recharg'd, and supplicates the king,
To haue the combate of his enemie;
That by his sword hee might approue the thing.
Norfolke desires the same, as earnestly:
And both with equall courage menacing
Reuenge of wrong; that none knew which was free:
For, times of faction, times of slaunder bee.


 The combate granted, and the day assign'd,
They both in order of the field appeare,
Most richly furnisht in all Martiall kinde,
And at the point of intercombate were;
When (lo) the king chang'd sodainely his minde,
Casts downe his warder to arrest them there;
As being aduis'd a better way to take,
Which might for his more certaine safetie make.


 For, now considering (as it likely might)
The victorie should hap on Herfords side
(A man most valiant and of noble sprite,
Belou'd of all, and euer worthy tri'd)
How much he might be grac't in publique sight,
By such an act, as might aduance his pride,
And so become more popular by this;
Which he feares, too much he already is.


 And therefore he resolues to banish both,
Though th'one in chiefest fauour with him stood,
A man he dearely lou'd; and might be loth
To leaue him, that had done him so much good:
Yet hauing cause to do as now he doth,
To mitigate the enuie of his blood,
Thought best to lose a friend, to rid a foe;
And such a one, as now he doubted so.


 And therefore to perpetuall exile hee
Mowbray condemnes; Herford but for ten yeares:
Thinking (for that the wrong of this decree,
Compar'd with greater rigour, lesse appeares)
It might of all the better liked bee:
But yet such murmuring of the fact he heares,
That he is faine foure of the ten forgiue,
And iudg'd him sixe yeares in exile to liue.


 At whose departure hence out of the Land,
How did the open multitude reueale
The wondrous loue they bare him vnder-hand!
Which now, in this hote passion of their zeale,
They plainely shew'd; that all might vnderstand
How deare he was vnto the common weale.
They feard not to exclaime against the King;
As one, that sought all good mens ruining.


 Vnto the shore, with teares, with sighes, with mone,
They him conduct; cursing the bounds that stay
Their willing feete, that would haue further gone,
Had not the fearefull Ocean stopt their way:
“Why Neptune , Hast thou made vs stand alone
“Diuided from the world, for this, say they?
“Hemd-in, to be a spoyle to tyrannie,
“Leauing affliction hence no way to flie?


 “Are we lockt vp, poore soules, heere to abide
“Within the waterie prison of thy waues,
“As in a fold, where subiect to the pride
“And lust of Rulers we remaine as slaues?
“Here in the reach of might, where none can hide
“From th'eye of wrath, but onely in their Graues?
“Happie confiners you of other landes,
“That shift your soyle, and oft scape tyrants hands.


 “And must we leaue him here, whom here were fit
“We should retaine, the pillar of our State?
“Whose vertues well deserue to gouerne it,
“And not this wanton young effeminate.
“Why should not he in Regall honour sit,
“That best knowes how a Realme to ordinate?
“But, one day yet, we hope thou shalt bring backe
“(Deare Bullingbrooke ) the Iustice that we lacke.


 “Thus muttred, loe, the malecontented sort;
“That loue Kings best, before they haue them, still;
“And neuer can the present State comport,
“But would as often change, as they change will.
For, this good Duke had wonne them in this sort
By succ'ring them, and pittying of their ill,
That they supposed streight it was one thing,
To be both a good Man, and a good King.


 When-as the grauer sort that saw the course,
And knew that Princes may not be controld,
Lik't well to suffer this, for feare of worse;
“Since, many great, one Kingdome cannot hold.
For, now they saw, intestine strife, of force,
The apt-diuided State intangle would,
If he should stay whom they would make their head,
By whom the vulgar body might be led.


 “They saw likewise, that Princes oft are faine
“To buy their quiet, with the price of wrong:
And better 'twere that now a few complaine,
Then all should mourne, aswell the weake as strong:
Seeing still how little Realmes by chaunge do gaine;
And therefore learned by obseruing long,
“T'admire times past, follow the present will,
“Wish for good Princes, but t'indure the ill.


 For, when it nought auailes, what folly then
To striue against the current of the time?
Who will throwe downe himselfe, for other men,
That make a ladder by his fall to clime?
Or who would seeke t'imbroyle his Country, when
He might haue rest; suffering but others crime?
“Since wise men euer haue preferred farre
“Th'vniustest peace, before the iustest warre.


 Thus they considered, that in quiet sate,
Rich or content, or else vnfit to striue:
Peace-louer wealth, hating a troublous State,
Doth willing reasons for their rest contriue:
But, if that all were thus considerate,
How should in Court, the great, the fauour'd thriue?
Factions must be, and these varieties:
And some must fall, that other-some may rise.


 But, long the Duke remain'd not in exile,
Before that Iohn of Gaunt , his father, dies:
Vpon whose state the king seis'd now, this while,
Disposing of it, as his enemies.
This open wrong no longer could beguile
The world, that saw these great indignities.
Which so exasperates the mindes of all,
That they resolu'd, him home againe to call.


For, now they faw, t'was malice in the King
(Transported in his ill-conceiued thought)
That made him so to prosecute the thing
Against all law, and in a course so naught.
And this aduantage to the Duke did bring
More fit occasions; whereupon he wrought.
“For, to a man so strong, and of such might,
“He giues him more, that takes away his right.


 The King in this meane time (I know not how)
Was drawne into some actions, foorth the Land,
T'appease the Irish , that reuolted now:
And, there attending what he had in hand,
Neglects those parts from whence worse dangers growe;
As ignorant, how his affayres did stand:
Whether the plot was wrought it should be so,
Or that his fate did draw him on to go.


 Most sure it is, that hee committed here
An ignorant and idle ouersight;
Not looking to the Dukes proceedings there,
Being in the Court of Fraunce , where best he might;
Where both the King and all assured were
T'haue stopt his course, being within their right;
But now he was exil'd, he thought him sure;
And, free from farther doubting, liv'd fecure.


 So blindes the sharpest counsels of the wise
This ouershadowing Prouidence on hie;
And dazleth all their clearest sighted eyes,
That they see not how nakedly they lie.
There where they little thinke, the storme doth rise,
And ouercasts their cleare securitie:
When man hath stopt all wayes saue onely that,
Which (as least doubted) Ruine enters at.


 And now was all disorder in th'excesse,
And whatsoeuer doth a change portend;
As, idle luxurie, and wantonnesse,
Proteus -like varying Pride, vaine without ende:
Wrong-worker Riot (motiue to oppresse)
Endless Exactions, which the idle spend;
Consuming Vsurie, and credits crackt,
Call'd-on this purging Warre, that many lackt.


 Then Ill-perswading want, in Martiall mindes,
And wronged patience (long opprest with might)
Loosenes in all (which no religion bindes)
Commaunding force (the measure made of Right )
Gaue suell to this fire, that easie findes
The way t'inflame the whole indangerd quite:
These were the publique breeders of this Warre;
By which, still greatest States confounded are.


 For, now this peace with Fraunce had shut in here
The ouergrowing humours Warres do spend.
For, where t'euacuate no imployments were,
Wider th'vnwieldy burthen doth distend,
Men, wholly vs'd to warre, peace could not beare;
As knowing no other course, whereto to bend:
For, brought vp in the broyles of these two Reames,
They thought best fishing still, in troubled streames.


 Like to a Riuer, that is stopt his course,
Doth violate his bankes, breakes his owne bed,
Destroyes his bounds, and ouer-runs, by force,
The neighbour-fieldes, irregularly spred:
Euen so this sodaine stop of Warre doth nurse
Home broyles, within it selfe, from others led:
So dangerous the change hereof is tri'd
Ere mindes 'come soft, or otherwife imploid.


 But, all this makes for thee, ô Bullingbrooke ,
To worke a way vnto thy Soueraintie.
This care, the Heauens, Fate, and Fortune tooke,
To bring thee to thy Scepter easily.
Vpon thee fall's that hap, which him forsooke,
Who, crownd a King, a King yet must not die.
Thou wert ordaind, by Prouidence, to rayse
A quarrell, lasting longer then thy dayes.


 For, now this absent Lord, out of his Land
(Where though he shew'd great sprite and valor then;
Being attended with a worthy band
Of valiant Peeres, and most couragious men)
Gaue time to them at home, that had in hand
Th'vngodly worke, and knew the season when:
Who faile not to aduise the Duke with speed;
Solliciting to what hee soone agreed.


 Who presently, vpon so good report,
Relying on his friends fidelitie,
Conueyes himselfe out of the French Kings Court,
Vnder pretence to go to Britannie :
And, with his followers, that to him resort,
Landed in England : Welcom'd ioyfully
Of th'altring vulgar, apt for changes still;
As headlong carried with a present will.


 And com'n to quiet shore, but not to rest;
The first night of his ioyfull landing here,
A fearefull vision doth his thoughts molest:
Seeming to see in reuerent forme appeare
A faire and goodly woman all distrest;
Which, with full-weeping eyes and rented haire,
Wringing her hands (as one that griev'd and prayd)
With sighes commixt with words, vnto him said;


 “O! whither dost thou tend, my vnkinde Sonne?
“What mischiefe dost thou go-about to bring
“To her, whose Genius thou here lookst vpon,
“Thy Mother-countrey, whence thy selfe didst spring?
“Whither thus dost thou, in ambition, run,
“To change due course, by foule disordering?
“What bloodshed, what turmoyles dost thou commence,
“To last for many wofull ages hence?


 “Stay here thy foote, thy yet vnguilty foote,
“That canst not stay when thou art farther in,
“Retire thee yet vnstain'd, whil'st it doth boote;
“The end, is spoyle, of what thou dost begin:
“Iniustice neuer yet tooke lasting roote,
“Nor held that long, Impietie did win.
“The babes, vnborne, shall (ô) be borne to bleed
“In this thy quarrell, if thou do proceede.


 This said, she ceast: when he in troubled thought
Griev'd at this tale and sigh't, and thus replies;
“Deare Countrey, ô I haue not hither brought
“These Armes to spoyle, but for thy liberties:
“The sinne be on their head, that this haue wrought;
“Who wrongd me first, and thee do tyrannise.
“I am thy Champion, and I seeke my right:
“Prouok't I am to this, by others spight.


 “This, this pretence, saith shee, th'ambitious finde
“To smooth iniustice, and to flatter wrong.
“Thou dost not know what then will be thy minde,
“When thou shalt see thy selfe aduanc't and strong.
“When thou hast shak't off that, which others binde;
“Thou soone forgettest what thou learnedst long.
“Men do not know what then themselues will bee,
“When-as, more then themselues, themselues they see.


 And herewithall, turning about he wakes,
Lab'ring in spirit, troubled with this strange sight:
And mus'd a while, waking aduisement takes
Of what had past in sleepe and silent night:
Yet hereof no important reck'ning makes,
But as a dreame that vanisht with the light:
The day designes, and what he had in hand
Left it to his diuerted thoughts vnscand.


 Doubtfull at first, he warie doth proceed;
Seemes not t'affect that, which he did effect;
Or else perhaps seemes, as he meant indeed,
Sought but his owne, and did no more expect.
Then, Fortune, thou art guiltie of his deed:
That didst his state aboue his hopes erect:
And thou must beare some blame of his great sinne;
That leftst him worse, then when he did beginne.


 Thou didst conspire with Pride, and with the Time,
To make so easie an ascent to wrong,
That he who had no thought so hie to clime
(With fauouring comfort still allur'd along)
Was with occasion thrust into the crime;
Seeing others weakenes and his part so strong.
“And who is there, in such a case that will
“Do good, and feare, that may liue free with ill?


 We will not say nor thinke, O Lancaster ,
But that thou then didst meane as thou didst sweare
Vpon th'Euangelists at Doncaster ,
In th'eye of heauen, and that assembly theare,
That thou but as an vpright orderer,
Sought'st to reforme th'abused Kingdome here,
And get thy right, and what was thine before;
And this was all; thou would'st attempt no more:


 Though we might say, and thinke, that this pretence
Was but a shadow to the intended act;
Because th'euent doth argue the offence,
And plainely seemes to manifest the fact:
For that hereby thou mightst win confidence
With those, whom else thy course might hap distract,
And all suspicion of thy drift remoue;
“Since easily men credit whom they loue.


 But, God forbid wee should so neerly pry
Into the lowe-deepe-buried sinnes long past,
T'examine and conferre iniquitie,
Whereof faith would no memorie should last:
That our times might not haue t'exemplifie
With aged staines, but, with our owne shame cast,
Might thinke our blot the first, not done before;
That new-made sinnes might make vs blush the more.


 And let vnwresting Charitie beleeue
That then thy oath with thy intent agreed;
And others faith, thy faith did first deceiue;
Thy after-fortune forc't thee to this deed.
And let no man this idle censure giue,
Because th'euent proues so, 'twas so decreed.
“For, oft our counsels sort to other end,
“Then that which frailtie did at first intend.


 Whil'st those that are but outward lookers on
(Who sildome sound these mysteries of State)
Deeme things were so contriv'd as they are done,
And hold that policie, which was but fate;
Imagining, all former acts did run
Vnto that course they see th'effects relate;
Whil'st still too short they come, or cast too far,
“And make these great men wiser then they ar.


 But, by degrees he ventures now on blood;
And sacrifiz'd, vnto the peoples loue,
The death of those that chiefe in enuie stood:
As, th'Officers (who first these dangers proue)
The Treasurer, and those whom they thought good,
Busby and Greene , by death he must remoue:
These were the men, the people thought, did cause
Those great exactions, and abus'd the lawes.


 This done, his cause was preacht with learned skill,
By Arundel , th'Archbishop: who there show'd
A Pardon sent from Rome , to all that will
Take part with him, and quit the faith they ow'd
To Richard ; as a Prince vnfit and ill:
On whom the Crowne was fatally bestow'd.
And easie-yeelding zeale was quickly caught,
With what the mouth of grauity had taught.


 O that this power, from euerlasting giuen
(The great alliance made twixt God and vs;
Th'intelligence that earth doth hold with heauen)
Sacred Religion; ô that thou must thus
Be made to smooth our wayes vniust, vneuen;
Brought from aboue, earth-quarrels to discusse!
Must men beguile our soules, to winne our wils,
And make our Zeale the furtherer of ils?


 But, the ambitious, to aduance their might,
Dispense with heauen, and what Religion would.
“The armed will finde right, or els make right;
If this meanes wrought not, yet an other should
And this and other now do all incite
To strength the faction that the Duke doth hold:
Who easily obtained what he sought;
His vertues and his loue so greatly wrought.


 The King, still busied in this Irish warre
(Which by his valour there did well succeed)
Had newes, how here his Lords reuolted are,
And how the Duke of Herford doth proceede:
In these, affaires he feares are growne too farre;
Hastes his returne from thence with greatest speed:
But was by tempests, windes, and seas debarr'd;
As if they likewise had against him warr'd.


 But, at the length (though late) in Wales he lands:
Where, thoroughly inform'd of Henries force,
And well aduertis'd how his owne case stands
(Which to his griefe he sees tends to the worse)
He leaues t' Aumarle , at Milford , all those bandes
He brought from Ireland : taking thence his course
To Conway (all disguis'd) with fourteene more,
To th'Earle of Salisburie , thither sent before:


 Thinking, the Earle had rays'd some Armie there;
Whom there he findes forsaken all alone:
The forces, in those parts which leuied were,
Were closely shrunke away, disperst and gone.
The king had stayd too long; and they, in feare,
Resolued euerie man to shift for one.
At this amas'd, such fortune he laments;
Foresees his fall, whereto each thing consents.


 In this disturb'd tumultuous broken State,
Whil'st yet th'euent stood doubtfull what should bee;
Whilst nought but headlong running to debate,
And glittering troupes and armor, men might see:
Furie, and feare, compassion, wrath, and hate,
Confus'd through all the land, no corner free;
The strong, all mad, to strife, to ruine bent;
The weaker waild: the aged they lament,


 And blame their many yeeres that liue so long,
To see the horrour of these miseries.
Why had not we (said they) di'd with the strong,
In forraine fieldes, in honourable wise,
In iust exployts, and noble without wrong,
And by the valiant hand of enemies?
And not thus now reserued, in our age,
To home-confusion, and disordered rage.


 Vnto the Temples flocke the weake, deuout,
Sad wayling Women; there to vow and pray
For husbands, brothers, or their sonnes gone out
To blood-shed: whom nor teares, nor loue could stay.
Here, graue religious Fathers (which much doubt
The sad euents these broyles procure them may)
As Prophets warne, exclaime, disswade these crimes,
By the examples fresh of other times.


 And (ô!) what, do you now prepare, said they,
Another Conquest, by these fatall wayes?
What, must your owne hands make your selues a pray
To desolation, which these tumults rayse?
What Dane , what Norman , shall prepare his way
To triumph on the spoyle of your decayes?
That, which nor Fraunce , nor all the world, could do
In vnion, shall your discord bring you to?


 Conspire against vs, neighbour nations all,
That enuie at the height whereto w'are growne:
Coniure the barbarous North, and let them call
Strange furie from farre distant shores vnknowne;
And let them altogether on vs fall,
So to diuert the ruine of our owne:
That we, forgetting what doth so incense,
May turne the hand of malice, to defence.


 Calme these tempestuous spirits, O mighty Lord;
This threatning storme that ouer-hangs the Land.
Make them consider, ere they 'vnsheath the sword,
How vaine is th'earth, this point whereon they stand;
And with what sad calamities is stor'd
The best of that, for which th'Ambitious band:
“Labor the ende of labor, strife of strife;
“Terror in death, and horrour after life.


 Thus they in zeale, whose humbled thoughts were good,
Whil'st in this wide-spread volume of the skies,
The booke of Prouidence disclosed stood;
Warnings of wrath, foregoing miseries
In lines of fire and characters of blood,
Their fearefull formes in dreadfull flames arise;
Amazing Comets, threatning Monarchs might,
And new-seene Starres, vnknowne vnto the night.


 Red fierie Dragons in the ayre do flye,
And burning Meteors, pointed-streaming lightes:
Bright Starres in midst of day appeare in skie,
Prodigious monsters, ghastly fearefull sights:
Strange Ghostes, and apparitions terrifie:
The wofull mother her owne birth affrightes;
Seeing a wrong deformed infant borne,
Grieues in her paines, deceiv'd in shame doth mourne.


 The earth, as if afeard of blood and wounds,
Trembles in terrour of these falling bloes:
The hollow concaues giue out groning sounds,
And sighing murmures, to lament our woes:
The Ocean, all at discord with his boundes,
Reiterates his strange vntimely flowes:
Nature all out of course, to checke our course,
Neglects her worke, to worke in vs remorse.


 So great a wracke vnto it selfe doth, lo,
Disorder'd proud mortalitie prepare,
That this whole frame doth euen labour so
Her ruine vnto frailty to declare:
And trauailes to fore-signifie the wo
That weake improuidence could not beware.
“For heauen and earth, and ayre and seas and all,
“Taught men to see, but not to shun their fall.


 Is man so deare vnto the heauens, that they
Respect the wayes of earth, the workes of sinne?
Doth this great All, this Vniuersall , weigh
The vaine designes that weakenesse doth begin?
Or doth our feare , father of zeale, giue way
Vnto this errour ignorance liues in?
And deeme our faults the cause that moue these powres,
That haue their cause from other cause then ours?


 But, these beginnings had this impious Warre,
Th'vngodly blood-shed that did so defile
The beautie of thy fields, and euen did marre
The flowre of thy chiefe pride, thou fairest Ile:
These were the causes that incenst so farre
The ciuill wounding hand inrag'd with spoyle;
That now the liuing, with afflicted eye,
Looke backe with griefe on such calamitie.
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