Page 438

438 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1485

and hope of fortunate successe in all their affaires and dooings. Afterward they consulted togither how to giue battell to king Richard if he would abide, whome they knew not to be faire off with an huge host.

The principals of K. Richards power fall from him.

In the euening of the same day, sir lohn Sauage, sir Brian Sanford, sir Simon Digbie, and manie other, leauing king Richard, turned and came to the part of the earle of Richmond, with an elect companie of men. Which refusall of king Richards part, by men of such experience, did augment and increase both the good hope, and the puissance of the earle of Richmond. In the meane season, king Richard which was appointed now to finish his last labor by the very diuine iustice & prouidence of God (which called him to condigne punishment for his mischiefous deserts) marched to a place meet for two battels to incounter, by a village called Bosworth, not farre from Leicester: and there he pitched his field on a hill called Anne Beame, refreshed his souldiers, and tooke his rest.

The dreame of king Richard the third foretelling him of his end.

The fame went, that he had the same night a dreadfull and terrible dreame : for it seemed to him being asleepe, that he did see diuerse images like terrible diuels, which pulled and haled him, not suffering him to take anie quiet or rest. The which strange vision not so suddenlie strake his heart with a sudden feare, but it stuffed his head and troubled his mind with manie busie and dreadfull imaginations. For incontinent after, his heart being almost damped, he prognosticated before the doubtfull chance of the battell to come; not vsing the alacritie and mirth of mind and countenance as he was accustomed to doo before he came toward the battell. And least that it might be suspected that he was abashed for feare of his enimies, and for that cause looked so pitiouslie; he recited and declared to his familiar freends in the morning his wonderfull vision and fearefull dreame.

But I thinke this was no dreame, but a punction and pricke of his sinfull conscience: for the conscience is so much more charged and aggreeued, as the offense is greater & more heinous in degree. [So that king Richard, by this reckoning, must needs haue a woonderfull troubled mind, because the deeds that he had doone, as they were heinous and vnnaturall, so did they excite and stirre vp extraordinarie motions of trouble and vexations in his conscience.] Which sting of conscience, although it strike not alwaie; yet at the last daie of extreame life, it is woont to shew and represent to vs our faults and offenses, and the paines and punishments which hang ouer our heads for the committing of the same, to the intent that at that instant, we for our deserts being penitent and repentant, maie be compelled (lamenting and bewailing our sinnes like forsakers of this world) iocund to depart out of this mischeefe life.

King Richard bringeth all his men into the plaine.

The duke of Norffolke and the earle of Surrie on K. Richards side.

Now to returne againe to our purpose. The next daie after, king Richard being furnished with men & all ablements of warre, bringing all his, men out of their campe into the plaine, ordered his fore ward in a maruellous length, in which he appointed both horsmen and footmen, to the intent to imprint in the hearts of them that looked a farre off, a sudden terror and deadlie feare, for the great multitude of the armed souldiers: and in the fore-front he placed the archers like a strong fortified trench or bulworke. Ouer this battell was capteine, Iohn duke of Norffolke, with whome was Thomas earle of Surrie his sonne. After this long vant gard, followed king Richard himselfe with a strong companie of chosen and approoued men of warre, hauing horssemen for wings on both sides of his battell.

After that the earle of Richmond was departed from the communication of his freends (as you haue heard before) he began to be of a better stomach, and of a more valiant courage, and with all diligence pitched his field iust by the campe of his enimies, and there he lodged that night. In the morning betimes, he caused his men to put on their armour, and apparell themselues readie to fight and giue battell; and sent vnto the lord Stanleie (which was now come with his band into a place indifferent betweene both the armies) requiring him with his men to approch neere to his armie,