Page 444

444 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1485

The earle of Oxfords valiantnesse
The earle of Richmond proffereth to incounter K. Richard bodie to bodie.

The earle of Oxford, bringing all his band togither on the one part, set on his enimies freshlie againe. The aduersaries perceiuing that, placed their men slender and thin before, but thicke and broad behind, beginning againe hardilie the battell. While the two fore wards thus mortallie fought, ech intending to vanquish and conuince the other; king Richard was admonished by his explorators and espials, that the earle of Richmond (accompanied with a small number of men of armes) was not far off. And as he approched and marched toward him, he perfectlie knew his personage by certeine demonstrations and tokens, which he had learned and knowen of others that were able to giue him full information. Now being inflamed with ire, nd vexed with outragious malice, he put his spurres to his horsse, and rode out of the side of the range of his battell, leauing the vant-gard fighting; and like a hungrie lion ran with speare in rest toward him. The earle of Richmond perceiued well the king furiouslie comming toward him, and bicause the whole hope of his wealth and purpose was to be determined by battell, he gladlie proferred to incounter with him bodie to bodie, and man to man.

Sir William Brandon slaine.
The kings armie flieth.

King Richard set on so sharplie at the first brunt, that he ouerthrew the earles standard, and slue sir William Brandon his standard bearer (which was father to sir Charles Brandon by king Henrie the eight created duke of Suffolke) and matched hand to hand with sir Iohn Cheinie, a man of great force and strength, which would haue resisted him: but the said Iohn was by him manfullie ouerthrowen. And so he making open passage by dint of sword as he went forward, the earle of Richmond withstood his violence, and kept him at the swords point without aduantage, longer than his companions either thought or iudged : which being almost in despaire of victorie, were suddenlie recomforted by sir William Stanleie, which came to his succors with three thousand tall men. At which verie instant, king Richards men were driuen backe and fled, & he himselfe manfullie fighting in the middle of his enimies, was slaine, and (as he worthilie had deserued) came to a bloudie death, as he had lead a bloudie life.

Duke of Norffolke slaine in the field.

In the meane season, the earle of Oxford with the aid of the lord Stanieie, after no long fight, discomfited the fore ward of king Richard, whereof a great number were slaine in the chase and fight: but the greatest number which (compelled by feare of the king, and not of their meere voluntarie motion) came to the field, gaue neuer a stroke, and hauing no harme nor damage, safelie departed, which came not thither in hope to see the king prosper and preuaile, but to heare that he should be shamefullie confounded and brought to ruine. In this battell died few aboue the number of a thousand persons: and of the nobilitie were slaine Iohn duke of Norffolke, which was warned by diuerse to refraine from the field, in so much that the night before he should set forward toward the king, one wrote this rime vpon his gate:

Iacke of Norffolke be not too bold,
For * Dikon thy maister is bought and sold.

Yet all this notwithstanding, he regarded more his oth, his honor, and promise made to king Richard, like a gentleman; and as a faithfull subiect to his prince, absented not himselfe from his maister; but as he faithfullie liued vnder him, so he manfullie died with him, to his great fame and laud. [And therfore, though his seruice was ill imploied in aid of a tyrant (whome it had beene more honorable to haue suppressed than supported) yet because he had vpon his fealtie vndertaken to fight in his quarell, he thought it lesse losse of life and liuing than of glorie & honour: so that he might haue said, in respect of his loialtie & promised truth testified with constancie to the death

Est mihi supplicium causa fuisse pium.