Page 411

An. Reg. 1. RICHARD THE THIRD 411

The office of a king verie hard to discharge.

hatred and abhorred of this whole realme; or to take it by power, which, standeth in fortunes chance, and difficile to be atchiued and brought to passe. Thus tumbling and tossing in the waues of ambiguitie, betweene the stone and the sacrifice, I considered first, the office, dutie, and paine of a king, which suerlie thinke I that no mortall man can iustlie and trulie obserue, except he be called, elected, and speciallie appointed by God as K. Dauid, and diuerse other haue beene.

But further, I remembred that if I once tooke on me the scepter, and the gouernance of the realme; that of two extreame enimies I was dailie sure, but of one trustie friend (which now a daies be gone a pilgrimage) I was neither assured nor crediblie ascerteined; such is the worlds mutation. For I manifestlie perceiued, that the daughters of king Edward, and their alies and freends, which be no small number, being both for his sake much beloued, and also for the great iniurie & manifest tyrannie doone to them by the new vsurper, much lamented and pitied, would neuer ceasse to barke if they cannot bite at the one side of me. Semblablie, my coosine the earle of Richmond, his aids and kinsfolks, which be not of little power, will suerlie attempt like a fierce greihound, either to bite or to pearse me on the other side. So that my life and rule should euer hang by a haire, neuer in quiet, but euer in doubt of death, or deposition.

The dukes resolution not to medle in seeking to obteine the crowne

And if the said two linages of Yorke and Lancaster, which so long haue striued for the imperiall diadem, should ioine in one against me, then were I suerlie mated, and the game gotten. Wherefore I haue cleerelie determined, and with my selfe concluded, vtterle to relinquish all such fantasticall imaginations, concerning the obteining of the crowne. But all such plagues, calamities and troubles, which I feared and suspected might haue chanced on me if I had taken the rule and regiment of this realme, I shall with a reredemaine so make them rebound to our common enimie that calleth himselfe king, that the best stopper that he hath at tenice shall not well stop without a fault.

For (as I told you before) the countesse of Richmond in my returne from the new named king, meeting me in the high waie, praied me first for kinred sake, secondarilie for the loue that I bare to my grandfather duke Humfrie, which was sworne brother to hir father, to mooue the king to be good to hir sonne Henrie earle of Richmond, and to licence him with his fauour to returne againe into England. And if it were his pleasure so to doo, she promised that the earle hir sonne should marrie one of king Edwards daughters, at the appointment of the king, without anie thing to be taken or demanded for the said espousals, but onelie the kings fauour: which request I soone ouerpassed, and gaue hir faire words, and so departed.
But after in my lodging, when I called to memorie with a deliberate studie, and did circumspectlie ponder them, I fullie adiudged, that the Holie ghost caused hir to mooue a thing (the end whereof she could not consider) both for the securitie of the realme, as also for the preferment of hir child, and the destruction and finall confusion of the common enimie king Richard. Which thing, she neither then thought (I am sure) as I by hir words could make coniecture, nor I myselfe cast not hir desire to be so profitable to the realme as I now doo perceiue. But such a Lord is God, that with a little sparkle he kindleth a great fire, and (to the admiration of the world) of impossibilities he maketh possibilities, of small beginnings mightie increasings, of drops great floods.

And so finallie to declare to you the verie conclusion to the which I am both bent and set, my mind is, and my power and pursse shall helpe, that the earle of Richmond, verie heire of the house of caster (in the quarrell of the which linage, both my father and grandfather lost their liues in battell) shall take to wife ladie Elizabeth eldest daughter to king Edward, by the which mariage both the houses of Yorke and Lancaster may be ioined and vnited in one, to the cleere establishment of the title