Page 440

440 RICHARD THE THIRD An. Dom. 1485.

hath entered into the heart of an vnknowne Welshman (whose father I neuer knew, nor him personallie saw) exciting him to aspire and couet our realme, crowne, and dignitie, and thereof cleerelie to depriue and spoile vs and our posteritie. Ye see further, how a companie of traitors, theeues, outlawes, and runnagates of our owne nation, be aiders and partakers of his feat and enterprise, readie at hand to ouercome and oppresse vs.
You see also, what a number of beggerlie Britans and faint hearted Frenchmen be with him arriued to destroie vs, our wiues and children. Which imminent mischeefs and apparant inconueniences, if we will withstand & refell, we must liue togither as brethren, fight togither like lions, & feare not to die togither like men. And obseruing and keeping this rule and precept, beleeue me, the fearefull hare neuer fled faster before the greedie greihound, nor the sillie larke before the sparrowhawke, nor yet the simple sheepe before the rauenous woolfe; than your proud bragging aduersaries, astonied and amazed with the onelie sight of your manlie visages, will flee, run, and skir out of the field. For if you consider and wiselie ponder all things in your mind, you shall perceiue, that we haue manifest causes, and apparant tokens of triumph and victorie.

The K. would persuade his capteins that the earle of Richmond is no warrior.

And to begin with the erle of Richmond capteine of this rebellion, he is a Welsh milkesop, a man of small courage, and of lesse experience in martiall acts and feats of warre, brought vp by my moothers meanes, and mine, like a captiue in a close cage in the court of Francis duke of Britaine; and neuer saw armie, nor was exercised in martiall affaires : by reason wherof he neither can, nor is able by his owne will or experience to guide or rule an hoast. For in the wit and policie of the capteine consisteth the cheefe adeption of the victorie, and ouerthrow of the enimies. Secondarilie feare not, but put awaie all doubts; for when the traitors and runnagates of our realme, shall see vs with banner displaied come against them, remembring their oth, promise, and fidelitie made vnto vs, as to their souereigne lord and annointed king; they shall be so pricked and stoong in the bottome of their scrupulous consciences, that they for verie remorse and dread of the diuine plague, will either shamefullie flee, or humblie submit themselues to our grace and mercie.

Frenchmen & Britans great bosters small solders.

And as for the Frenchmen and Britans, their valiantnesse is such, that our noble progenitors, and your valiant parts haue them oftener vanquished and ouercome in one moneth, than they in the beginning imagined possiblie to compasse and finish in a whole yeare. What will you make of them? braggers without audacitie, drunckards without discretion, ribalds without reason, cowards without resisting, and in conclusion, the most effeminate and lasciuious people that euer shewed themselves in front of battell; ten times more couragious to flee & escape, than once to assault the breast of our strong & populous armie. Wherefore considering all these aduantages, expell out of your thoughts all douts, auoid out of your minds all feare; and like valiant champions aduance foorth your standards, & assaie whether your enimies can decide and trie the title of battell by dint of sword. Aduance (I say againe) forward my capteines, in whome lacketh neither policie, wisedome, nor yet puissance. Euerie one giue but one sure stripe, & suerlie the iournie is ours. What preuaileth a handfull to a whole realme?

K. Richards vaine confidence and bootlesse courage.

Desiring you (for the loue that you beare to me) and the affection that you haue to your natiue and naturall countrie, and to the safegard of your prince & your selues, that you will this daie take to you your accustomed courage and couragious spirits, for the defense and safegard of vs all. And as for me, I assure you, this dale I will triumph by glorious victorie, or suffer death for immortall fame. For they be maimed and out of the palace of fame disgraded, dieng without renowme, which doo not asmuch prefer and exalt the perpetuall honour of their natiue countrie, as their owne mortall and transitorie life. Now saint George to borow, let vs set forward, and remember well, that I am he which shall with high aduancements reward and preferre the