Page 432

432 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1484.

Why king Richard gaue licence to all in the castell to depart in safetie with bag and baggage.

The souldiers within greatlie incouraged, & much comforted by this new succour and aid, grieued the enimies, by shooting from the walles more than they were accustomed to doo. Then they of the castell vexed their enemies on the fore part: and the earle of Oxford no lesse molested & vnquieted them on the other part. Which was the occasion that king Richards men offered (of their owne meere motion) licence to all being within the castell to depart in safetie, with bag and baggage, nothing excepted.

Which condition the earle of Oxford, comming onelie for that purpose to deliuer his louing freends out of all perill and danger, and chieflie of all, his old hostesse Iane Blunt, wife to Iames Blunt the capteine, would in no wise forsake or refuse: and so leauing the castell bare and vngarnished both of vittels and artillerie, came safelie to the earle of Richmond soiourning in Paris. During this time, king Richard was crediblie informed of his inquisitors and espials, that the earle of Richmond was with long sute in the court of France sore wearied; and desiring great aid, could obteine small reliefe : in somuch that all things went so farre backwards, that such things as were with great diligence (and no lesse deliberation) purposed and determined to be set forward, were now dashed and ouerthrowne to the ground.

K. Richard calleth home his ships of warre from the narrow seas.

King Richard either being too light of credence, or seduced and deluded by his craftie taletellers, greatlie reioised, as though he had obteined the ouer hand of his enimies with triumphant victorie, and thought himselfe neuer so suerlie deliuered of all feare and dreadfull imaginations: so that he needed now no more once for that cause either to wake, or to breake his golden sleepe. Wherefore he called home againe his ships of warre, which he had appointed to keepe the narrow seas, and dispatched all such souldiers as he had deputed to keepe certeine garrisons, and to stop certeine passages (as you haue heard before.) Yet least he might for lacke of prouision be suddenlie trapped, he streightlie charged and gaue in commandement to all noblemen, and especiallie such as inhabited neere the sea coast, and on the frontiers of Wales, that (according to the vsage of the countrie) they should keepe diligent watch and strong ward, to the intent that his aduersaries in no wise should haue anie place opportune easilie to take land, without defense or rebutting back.

The vse of beacons in countries neere the sea coasts.

For the custome of the countries adioining neere to the sea is (especiallie in the time of warre) on euerie hill or high place to erect a beacon with a great lanterne in the top, which may be scene and discerned a great space off. And when the noise is once bruted that the enemies approch neere the land, they suddenlie put fire in the lanternes, and make shouts and outcries from towne to towne, and front village to village. Some run in post from place to place, admonishing the people to be readie to resist the ieopardie, and defend the perill. And by this policie the fame is soone blowne to euerie citie and towne, in somuch that aswell the citizens as the rurall people be in short space assembled and armed to repell and put backe the new arnued enemies. [Whereas if the necessarie vse of this visible warning were neglected, the policie of the enimie might priuilie so preuaile, as that the people should sooner fall into perill irrecouerable, than they could thinke on (much lesse prouide) meanes to auoid it.]

But now to returne to our purpose. King Richard thus somewhat eased of his accustomed pensiuenesse, began to be a little more merrie, & tooke lesse thought and care for outward enimies than he was woont to doo; as who say, that he with politike prouision should withstand the destinie which hoong ouer his head, and was ordeined in briefe time suddenlie to fall. Such is the force and puissance of diuine iustice, that euerie man shall lesse regard, lesse prouide, lesse be in doubt of all things, when he is most neerest punishment, and next to his mischance for his offenses & crimes. [For though God did forbeare him a while, yet was that forbearance no acquittance, but rather a time of preparing & making vp that which wanted of the plagues that God