Page 436

436 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1485

which yet vtterlie did not put in him diffidence and mistrust, would put to some cruell death his sonne and heire apparant George lord Strange, whome king Richard (as you haue heard before) kept with him as a pledge or hostage, to the intent that the lord Stanleie his father should attempt nothing preiudiciall to him. King Richard at this season keeping his house in the castle of Notingham, was informed that the earle of Richmond, with such banished men as were fled out of England to him, were now arriued in Wales, and that all things necessarie to his enterprise were vnprouided vnpurueied, and verie weake, nothing meet to withstand the power of such as the king had appointed to meet him.

K. Richard contemneth the earle and his power.

This rumor so inflated his mind, that in maner disdeining to heare speake of so small a companie, he determined at the first to take little or no regard to this so small a sparkle, declaring the earle to be innocent and vnwise, bicause that he rashly attempted such a great enterprise with so small and thin a number of warlike persons: and therefore he gaue a definitiue sentence, that when he came to that point that he should be compelled to fight against his will, hee either should be apprehended aliue, or else by all likelihood he should of necessitie come to a shamefull confusion: and that he trusted to be shortlie doone by sir Walter Herbert, and Rice ap Thomas, which then ruled Wales with equall power and like authoritie.

But yet reuoluing and casting in his mind, that a small war begun and winked at, and not regarded, maie turne to a great broile and trouble; and that it was prudent policie not to contemne and disdeine the little power and small weakenesse of the enimie (be it neuer so small) thought it necessarie to prouide for afterclaps that might happen & chance. [For victorie dooth not alwaies follow the greatest multitude, neither is it a necessarie consequent, that the biggest bodie is indued with most force. For we see that the small viper is the huge buls deadlie bane, and a little curre dooth catch a bore boisterous and big; as the poet properlie (and to the purpose) verie well saith

Parua necat morsu spatiosum vipera taurum,
A cane non magno saepe tenetur aper.

The king sendeth to his friends for a chosen power of men.

Wherefore he sent to Iohn duke of Norffolke, Henrie earle of Northumberland, Thomas earle of Surrie, and to other of his especiall & trustie friends of the nobilitie, which he iudged more to preferre and esteeme his wealth and honour, than their owne riches and priuate commoditie; willing them to muster and view all their seruants and tenants, and to elect and choose the most couragious and actiue persons of the whole number, and with them to repaire to his presence with all speed and diligence. Also hee wrote to Robert Brakenberie lieutenant of the Tower, commanding him with his power to come to his armie, and to bring with him (as fellowes in armes) sir Thomas Bourchier, & sir Walter Hungerford, and diuers other knights and esquiers, in whom he cast no small suspicion.

The earle is incamped at Litchfield.

Now while he was thus ordering his affaires, tidings came that the earle of Richmond was passed Seuerne, & come to Shrewesburie without anie detriment or incumbrance. At which message, he was sore mooued and broiled with melancholie and dolor, crieng out, & asking vengeance of them that (against their oth and promise) had so deceiued him. For which cause he began to haue diffidence in other, insomuch that he determined himselfe out of hand the same daie to meet with and resist his aduersaries : and in all haste sent out espials to view and espie what waie his enimies kept and passed. They diligentlie dooing their dutie, shortlie after returned, declaring to the king that the earle was incamped at the towne of Lichfield.
When he had perfect knowledge where the earle with his armie was soiourning, he hauing continuall repaire of his subiects to him, began incontinentlie without delaie to marshall and put in order his battels (like a valiant capteine and politike leder) and first he made his battels to set forward, fiue and fiue in a ranke, marching toward that