An. Reg. 1. RICHARD THE THIRD. 405
praise and boast the king, and shew how much profit the realme should take by his reigne : my lord Morton answered thus.
Suerlie, my lord, follie were it for me to lie, for if I would sweare the contrarie, your lordship would not (I weene) beleeue; but that if the world would haue gone as I would haue wished, king Henries sonne had had the crowne, and not king Edward. But after that God had ordered him to leese it, and king Edward to reigne, I was neuer so mad that I would with a dead man striue against the quicke. So was I to king Edward a faithfull chapleine, & glad would haue beene that his child had succeeded him. Howbeit, if the secret iudgment of God haue otherwise prouided, I purpose not to spurne against a pricke, nor labour to set vp that God pulleth downe. And as for the late protector and now king. And euen there he left, saieng that he had alreadie medled too much with the world, and would from that daie meddle with his booke and his beads, and no further.
Princes matters perillous to meddle in.
Then longed the duke sore to heare what he would haue said, bicause he ended with the king, and there so suddenlie stopped, and exhorted him so familiarlie betweene them twaine to be bold to saie whatsoeuer he thought; whereof he faithfullie promised there should neuer come hurt, and peraduenture more good than he would weene; and that himselfe intended to vse his faithfull secret aduise & counsell, which (he said) was the onelie cause for which he procured of the king to haue him in his custodie, where he might reckon himselfe at home, and else had he beene put in the hands of them with whome he should not haue found the like fauour. The bishop right humblie thanked him, and said: In good faith my lord, I loue not to talke much of princes, as a thing not all out of perill, though the word be without fault: forsomuch as it shall not be taken as the partie ment it, but as it pleaseth the prince to construe it.
And euer I thinke on Aesops tale, that when the lion had proclaimed that (on paine of death) there should no horned beast abide in that wood: one that had in his forehed a bunce of flesh, fled awaie a great pace. The fox that saw him run so fast, asked him whither he made all that hast? And he answered, In faith I neither wote, nor recke, so I were once hence, bicause of this proclamation made of horned beasts. What foole (quoth the fox) thou maiest abide well inough : the lion ment not by thee, for it is no horne that is in thine head. No marie (quoth he) that wote I well inough. But what and he call it an horne, where am I then? The duke laughed merilie at the tale, and said; My lord, I warrant you, neither the lion nor the bore shall pike anie matter at anie thing heere spoken: for it shall neuer come neere their eare.
In good faith sir (said the bishop) if it did, the thing that I was about to say, taken as well as (afore God) I ment it, could deserue but thanke : and yet taken as I weene it would, might happen to turne me to little good, and you to lesser. Then longed the duke yet much more to wit what it was. Wherevpon the bishop said; In good faith (my lord) as for the late protector, sith he is now king in possession, I purpose not to dispute his title; but for the weale of this realme, whereof his grace hath now the gouernance, and whereof I am my selfe one poore member, I was about to wish, that to those good habilities whereof he hath alreadie right manie, little needing my praise, it might yet haue pleased God, for the better store, to haue giuen him some of such other excellent vertues, meet for the rule of a realme, as our Lord hath planted in the person of your grace: and there left againe.
Here endeth sir Thomas Moore, & this that followeth is taken out of master Hall.
The duke somewhat maruelling at his sudden pauses, as though they were but arentheses, with a high countenance said: My lord, I euidentlie perceiue, and no lesse note your often breathing, and sudden stopping in your communication; so that to my intelligence, your words neither come to anie direct or perfect sentence in conclusion, whereby either I might perceiue and haue knowledge, what your inward intent is now toward the king, or what affection you beare toward me. For the comparison of