Page 406

406 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1483.

of good qualities ascribed to vs both (for the which I my selfe acknowledge and recognise to haue none, nor looke for no praise of anie creature for the same) maketh me not a little to muse, thinking that you haue some other priuie imagination, by loue or by grudge, ingrauen and imprinted in your heart, which for feare you dare not, or for childish shamefastnesse you be abashed to disclose and reueale; and speciallie to mee being your freend, which on my honor doo assure you, to be as secret in this case, as the deafe and dumbe person is to the singer, or the tree to the hunter.

Bishop Morton buildeth vpo the dukes ambition.

The bishop being somewhat bolder, considering the dukes promise, but most of all animated and incouraged bicause he knew the duke desirous to bee exalted and magnified; and also he perceiued the inward hatred and priuie rancor which he bare toward king Richard: was now boldened to open his stomach euen to the verie bottome, intending thereby to compasse how to destroie, and vtterlie confound king Richard, and to depriue him of his dignitie roiall; else to set the duke so on fire with the desire of ambition, that he himselfe might be safe and escape out of all danger and perill. Which thing he brought shortlie to conclusion, both to the kings destruction, and the dukes confusion, and to his owne safegard, and finallie to his high promotion.

And so (as I said before) vpon trust and confidence of the dukes promise, the bishop said: My singular good lord, since the time of my captiuitie, which being in your graces custodie, I may rather call it a liberall libertie, more than a streict imprisonment, in auoiding idlenesse, mother and nourisher of all vices, in reading bookes and ancient pamphlets I haue found this sentence written, that no man is borne free, and in libertie of himselfe onelie: for one part of dutie he oweth or should owe to his parents for his procreation, by a verie naturall instinct and filiall courtesie: another part to his freends and kinsfolke; for proximitie of bloud and naturall amitie dooth euerie dutie chalenge and demand: but the natiue countrie, in the which he tasted first the sweet aires of this pleasant and flattering world after his natiuitie, demandeth as a debt by a naturall bond, neither to be forgotten, nor yet to be put in obliuion.

The duke of Buckingham highlie commended.

Which saieng causeth me to consider in what case this realme my natiue countrie now standeth, and in what estate and assurance (before this time) it hath continued: what gouernour we now haue, and what ruler we might haue. For I plainelie perceiue the realme being in this case, must needs decaie, and be brought to vtter confusion, and finall extermination. But one hope I haue incorporat in my brest, that is, when I consider, and in my mind doo diligentlie remember, and dailie behold your noble personage, your iustice, and indifferencie, your feruent zeale, and ardent loue toward your naturall countrie, and in like manner, the loue of your countrie toward you, the great learning, pregnant wit, and goodlie eloquence, which so much dooth abound in the person of your grace, I must needs thinke this realme fortunate, yea twise more than fortunate, which hath such a prince in store, meet and apt to be a gouernour, in whose person (being indued with so manie princelie qualities) consisteth and resteth the verie vndoubted similitude and image of true honour.

Dispraise of the lord protector or king in esse.

But on the other side, when I call to memorie the good qualities of the late protector and now called king, so violated and subuerted by tyrannie, so changed and altered by vsurped authoritie, so clouded and shadowed by blind and insatiable ambition: yea, and so suddenlie (in manner by a metamorphosis) transformed from politike ciuilitie, to detestable tyrannie: I must needs saie, & iustlie affirme, that he is neither meet to be a king of so noble a realme, nor so famous a realme meet to be gouerned by such a tyrant [whose kingdome (if it were of more amplenesse than it is) could not long continue; neither would the Lord suffer him in his bloudthirstines to abuse the holie and diuine estate of a prince by the cruell title of tyrannie. For such he will ouerthrow, yea he will bring most horrible slaughter vpo them, as it is prophesied:

Impius ad summos quamuis ascendat honores
Aspice quas clades tempora saeua vehent.