Page 408

408 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1483

not afraid my lord, all promises shall be kept, to morrow we will common more: let vs go to supper. So that night they communed no more, not a little to the disquieting of the bishop, which now was euen as desirous to know the dukes mind and intent, as the duke longed the daie before to know his opinion and meaning.

A new conferece betweene the bishop and the duke.

So the next daie, the duke sent for the bishop, and rehearsed to him in maner (for he was both wittie and eloquent) all the communication had betweene them before, and so paused a while, and after a little season, putting off his bonet, he said: O Lord God creator of all things, how much is this relme of England, and the people of the same, bounden vnto thy goodnesse! For where we now be in vexation and trouble with great stormes oppressed, sailing and tossing in a desperate ship, without good maister or gouernour : yet by thy helpe good Lord I trust yer long time passe, that we shall prouide for such a ruler, as shall be both to thy pleasure, and also to the securitie and safegard of this noble realme.

And then he put on his bonet, saieng to the bishop; My lord of Elie, whose true hart and sincere affection toward me at all times I haue euidentlie percciued and knowen, and now most of all in our last priuie communication and secret deuising; I must needs in hart thinke, and with mouth confesse and saie, that you be a sure freend, a trustie councellor, a vigilant foreseer, a verie louer of your countrie, and a naturall countrieman : for which kindnes for my part, I most louinglie render to you my hartie thanks now with words, hereafter trusting to recompense and remunerate you with deeds, if life and power shall serue.

The duke openeth himselfe and his secrets to the bishop.

And sith, at our last communication, you haue disclosed and opened the verie secrets and priuities of your stomach, touching the duke of Glocester now vsurper of the crowne; and also haue a little touched the aduancement of the two noble families of Yorke and Lancaster: I shall likewise not onelie declare and manifest vnto you all my open acts, attempts, and doings, but also my priuie intents, and secret cogitations. To the intent that as you haue vnbuckeled the bouget of your priuie meanings, and secret purposes to me: so shall all my cloudie workings, close deuises, and secret imaginations be (as cleere as the sunne) reuealed, opened, and made lightsome to you.

The duke complaineth of want of preferment in king Edwards daies.

And to begin, I declare, that when king Edward was deceassed, to whome I thought my selfe little or nothing beholden (although we two had maried two sisters) bicause he neither promoted, nor preferred me, as I thought I was worthie, and had deserued; neither fauoured nor regarded me, according to my degree and birth (for suerlie I had by him little authoritie, and lesse rule, and in effect nothing at all: which caused me lesse to fauour his children, bicause I found small humanitie, or none in their parent) I then began to studie, and with ripe deliberation to ponder and consider, how and in wha manner this realme should be ruled and gouerned. And first I remembred an old prouerbe worthie of memorie, that often rueth the realme where children rule, and women gouerne.

This old adage so sanke and settled in my head, that I thought it a great errour, and extreame mischiefe to the whole realme, either to suffer the yoong king to rule, or the queene his mother to be a gouernesse ouer him, considering that hir brethren, and hir first children (although they were not extract of high and noble linage) tooke more vpon them, and more exalted themselues, by reason of the queene, than did the kings brethren, or anie duke in his realme : which in conclusion turned to their confusion. Then I being persuaded with my selfe in this point, thought it necessarie both for the publike and profitable wealth of this realme, and also for mine owne commoditie and emolument, to take part with the duke of Glocester; whom (I assure you) I thought to be as cleane without dissimulation, as tractable without iniurie, as mercifull without crueltie; as now I know him perfectlie to be a dissembler without veritie, a tyrant without pitie, yea & worse than the tyrant Phalaris, destitute of all truth and clemencie.