Page 407

An. Reg. 1. RICHARD THE THIRD. 407

Was not his first enterprise to obteine the crowne begun and incepted by the murther of diuerse noble, valiant true, and vertuous, personages? O holie beginning to come to a mischeeuous ending! Did he not secondarilie proceed (contrarie to all lawes of honestie) shamefullie against his owne naturall mother, being a woman of much honour and more vertue, declaring hir openlie to be a woman giuen to carnall affection, and dissolute liuing? Which thing if it had beene true, as it was not indeed, euerie good & naturall child would haue rather mummed at it, than haue blasted it abroad, and especiallie she being aliue. Declaring furthermore his two brethren, and his two nephues to be bastards, and to be borne in adulterie: yet was he not with all this content.

Suspicion in a prince how mischeefous it is.

After that he had obteined the garland, for the which he so long thirsted, he caused the two poore innocents his nephues, committed to him for especiall trust, to be murthered and shamefullie to be killed. The bloud of which seelie and litle babes dailie crie to God from the earth for vengeance. Alas, my hart sobbeth, to remember this bloudie butcher, and cruell monster. What suertie, shall be in this realme to anie person, either for life or goods vnder such a cruell prince, which regardeth not the destruction of his owne bloud, and then lesse the losse of other? And most especiallie (as often times it chanceth) where a couetous or a cruell prince taketh suspicion, the smallest swaruing that is possible (if the thing be misconstrued) may be the cause of the destruction of manie guiltlesse persons: and in especiall of noble and wealthie personages, hauing great possessions and riches: such a lord is Lucifer when he is entered into the hart of a proud prince, giuen to couetousnesse and crueltie.

But now my lord to conclude what I meane toward your noble person, I saie and affirme, if you loue God, your linage, or your natiue countrie, you must your selfe take vpon you the crowne and imperiall diademe of this noble empire, both for the maintenance of the honour of the same (which so long hath flourished in fame and renowme) as also for the deliuerance of your naturall countrimen, from the bondage and thraldome (woorse than the captiuitie of Aegypt) of so cruell a tyrant and arrogant oppressor. For thus I dare saie, if anie forren prince or potentate, yea the Turke himselfe would take vpon him the regiment here, and the crowne, the commons would rather admit and obeie him, than to liue vnder such a bloudsucker and child-killer. But how much more ioifull and glad would they be to liue vnder your grace, whome they all know to be a ruler meet and conuenient for them, and they to be louing and obedient subiects, meet to liue vnder such a gouernour? Despise not, nor forsake not so manifest an occasion so louinglie offered.

The bishop adiureth the duke to release the realme by some deuise from the present euill state

And if you your selfe, knowing the paine and trauell that appterteineth to the office of a king, or for any other consideration, will refuse to take vpon you the crowne and scepter of this realme: then I adiure you, by the faith that you owe to God, by your honor and by your oth made to saint George, patrone of the noble order of the garter (whereof you be a companion) and by the loue and affection that you beare to your natiue countrie, and the people of the same; to deuise some waie, how this realme (now being in miserie) may by your high discretion and princelie policie, be brought and reduced to some suertie and conuenient regiment, vnder some good gouernour by you to be appointed: for you are the verie patrone, the onelie helpe, refuge and comfort for the poore amazed and desolate commons of this realme.

For if you could either deuise to set vp againe the linage of Lancaster, or aduance the eldest daughter of king Edward to some high and puissant prince, not onelie the new crowned king shall small time inioy the glorie of his dignitie; but also all ciuill war should ceasse, all domesticall discord should sleepe, and peace, profit and quietnesse should be set foorth and imbraced. When the bishop had thus ended his saieng, the duke sighed, and spake not of a great while. Which sore abashed the bishop, and made him change colour. Which thing when the duke perceiued, he said;