Page 443

An. Reg. 3. RICHARD THE THIRD. 443

that before vs be our enimies; and on either side of vs be such, as I neither suerlie trust, nor greatlie beleeue; backeward we cannot flee; so that heere we stand like sheepe in a fold, circumuented and compassed betweene our enimies and our doutfull friends.

Victorie consisteth not in multitude but in manlinesse.

Wherefore let all feare be set aside, and like sworne brethren let vs ioine in one; for this daie shall be the end of our trauell, and the gaine of our labour, either by honorable death or famous victorie : and as I trust, the battell shall not be so sowre, as the profit shall be sweet. Remember that victorie is not gotten with the multitudes of men, but with the courages of hearts, and valiantnesse of minds. The smaller that our number is, the more glorie is to vs if we vanquish: if we be ouercome, yet no laud is to be attributed to the victors, considering that ten men fought against one. And if we die so glorious a death in so good a quarell, neither fretting time, nor cancarding obliuion, shall be able to darken or rase out of the booke of fame either our names, or our godlie attempt. And this one thing I assure you, that in so iust and good a cause, and so notable a quarrell, you shall find me this daie rather a dead carrion vpon the cold ground, than a free prisoner on a carpet in a ladies chamber.

Let vs therefore fight like inuincible giants, and set on our enimies like vntimorous tigers, & banish all feare like ramping lions. And now aduance forward true men against traitors, pitifull persons against murtherers, true inheritors against vsurpers, the scourges of God against tyrants. Displaie my banner with a good courage, march foorth like strong and robustious champions, and begin the battell like hardie conquerors. The battell is at hand, and the victorie approcheth; and if we shamefullie recule, or cowardlie flee; we and all our sequele be destroied, and dishonored for euer. This is the daie of gaine, and this is the time of losse; get this daie victorie, and be conquerors: and leese this daies battell, and be villaines. And therefore in the name of God and S. George, let euerie man couragiouslie aduance foorth his standard.

The battell betweene king Richard, and king Henrie the seuenth, called Bosworth field.

The policie of the earle.

These cheerefull words he set foorth with such gesture of his bodie, & smilling countenance as though alreadie he had vanquished his enimies, and gotten the spoile. He had scantlie finished his saieng, but the one armie spied the other. Lord how hastilie the soldiers buckled their healmes, how quicklie the archers bent their bowes and frushed their feathers, how readilie the bilmen shooke their billes, and prooued their staues, readie to approach and ioine, when the terrible trumpet should sound the bloudie blast to victorie or death! Betweene both armies there was a great marish then (but at this present, by reason of diches cast, it is growne to be firme ground) which the earle of Richmond left on his right hand; for this intent, that it should be on that side a defense for his part, and in so dooing he had the sunne at his backe, and in the faces of his enimies. When king Richard saw the earles companie was passed the marish ; he did command with all hast to set vpon them. Then the trumpets sounded, and the souldiers shouted, and the kings archers couragiouslie let flie their arrowes. The earles bowmen stood not still, but paied them home againe.

The earle of Oxfords charge to this band of men.

The terrible shot once passed, the armies ioined and came to hand strokes, where neither sword nor bill was spared. At which incounter, the lord Stanleie ioined with the earle. The earle of Oxford in the meane season, fearing least while his companie was fighting, they should be compassed and circumuented with the multitude of the enimies, gaue commandement in euerie ranke, that no man should be so hardie, as to go aboue ten foot from the standard. Which commandment once knowne, they knit themselues togither, and ceassed a little from fighting. The aduersaries suddenlie abashed at the matter, and mistrusting some fraud and deceit, began also to pause and left striking; and not against the wils of manie, which had rather had the king destroied, than saued, and therefore they fought verie faintlie, or stood still.