Page 439

An. Reg. 3. RICHARD THE THIRD. 439

The lord Stanleie refuseth to set the earles men in battell raie.

and to helpe to set the souldiers in arraie. But he answered that the earle should set his owne men in good order of battell, while he would arraie his companie, and come to him in time conuenient. Which answer made otherwise than the earle thought or would haue iudged, considering the oportunitie of the time & the weight of the businesse. And although he was ther withall a little vexed, & began somewhat to hang the head; yet he without anie time delaieng, compelled of necessitie, after this maner instructed and ordered his men.

The earle setteth his men in order and appointeth cheefteins.

He made his fore ward somewhat single and slender, according to the small number of his people. In the front he placed the archers, of whome he made capteine Iohn earle of Oxenford. To the right wing of the battell he appointed sir Gilbert Talbot to be the leader. To the left wing, he assigned sir Iohn Sauage who had brought thither with him a crue of right able personages, clad in white coats and hoods, which mustered in the eies of their aduersaries right brimlie. The earle of Richmond himselfe, with aid of the lord Stanleie, gouerned the battell, accompanied with the earle of Penbroke, hauing a good companie of horssemen, and a small number of footmen. For all his whole number exceeded not fiue thousand men, beside the power of the Stanleies, wherof three thousand were in the field, vnder the standard of sir William Stanleie. The kings number was double so much and more. When both these armies were thus ordered, and all men readie to set forward, king Richard called his chiefteins togither, and to them said as followeth.

The oration of king Richard the third to the chiefteins of his armie.

King Richard iustifieth himselfe and his gouernement.

MY most faithfull and assured fellowes, most trustie & welbeloued freends, & elected capteins, by whose wisedome and policie I haue obteined the crowne, and type of this famous realme, and noble region: by whoe puissance & valiantnesse I haue inioid and possessed the state roiall & dignitie of the same, maugre the ill will and seditious attempts of all my cankered enimies, and insidious aduersaries : by whose prudent & politike counsell I haue so gouerned my realme, people, subiects, that I haue omitted nothing apperteining to the office of a iust prince: nor you haue pretermitted nothing belonging to the dutie of wise and sage councellors. So that I maie saie, and trulie affirme, that your approoued fidelitie & tried constancie, maketh me to beleeue firmelie, and thinke that I am an vndoubted king, and an indubitate prince.

And although in the adeption and obteining of the garland, I being seduced, and prouoked by sinister, councell, and diabolicall temptation, did commit a wicked and detestable act: yet I haue with streict penance and salt tears (as I trust) expiated & cleerelie purged the same offense: which abhominable crime I require you of frendship as cleerelie to forget, as I dailie remember to deplore and lament the same. If ye will euen now diligentlie call to remembrance in what case and perplexitie we doo stand; and in what doubtfull perill we be all intrapped; I doubt not but you in heart will thinke, and with mouth confesse, that if euer amitie and faith preuailed betweene prince and subiects, or betweene subiect and subiect; or if euer bond of alegiance obliged the vassall to loue and serue his naturall souereigne lord; or if anie obligation of dutie bound anie prince to aid & defend his subiects; all these loues, bonds, and duties of necessitie are now this day to be tried, shewed, and put in experience.

He speaketh opprobriouslie of the earle of Richmond.

For if wise men saie true (as they doo not lie) there is some policie in getting, but much more in keeping; the one being but fortunes chance, & the other high wit and policie. For which cause, I with you, and you with me, must needs this day take labour and paine, to keepe and defend with force, that preheminence and possession, which by your prudent deuises I haue gotten & obteined. I doubt not but you know how the diuell (continuall enimie to humane nature, disturber of concord, & sower of sedition