Page images

He spoke such tender words of love,

I could not turn away ;
Above, He promis'd me sweet rest,

I could not say Him nay.

He drew me, and I follow'd Him,

The tokens were so clear-
The wounds upon His sacred feet-

I could not, dared not fear.

He supped with me, my soul He fed

With more than angels' food,
For the high Banquet was to faith

Of His own Flesh and Blood.

Whene'er He calls I too must come,

His Word with magnet power
Draws upward still my hunger'd soul

To feast with Him an hour.

He draws me! I will follow Him

As long as lise remain ;
To Him I leave the rest; I know
I do not wait in vain.

E. H. E. C.





NEVER had John of Gaunt done a greater disservice to England than when he raised the sons of Katherine Swynford to the anomalous condition represented by the word “legitimated,' and acknowledged by their never assuming the royal surname of Plantagenet, but contenting themselves with that of Beaufort, from the castle where they were born.

When the deed thus accepting them was obtained from Richard II., John of Gaunt was the grandfather of a numerous and promising progeny; but of all those six gallant children of Henry of Bolingbroke, the only offspring was the sickly Henry VI. and one young prince in Germany, and as yet Henry was childless. Thus if the Beauforts were princes at all, they came next in succession to the throne, and of this neither they nor the populace, who had always hated them, were forgetful. Whether this hatred were reasonable, or merely the result of misunderstanding, prejudice, and intrigue, it is hardly possible to discover. The probability is that there was much haughtiness about them, and that the early ambition and avarice of Henry Beaufort, together with his devotion to the See of Rome, had given his nephew Glocester occasion both for his own dislike, and for that which he infused into the people, during the statesmanlike and patriotic old age of the Cardinal.

Though these chief actors were removed, Beaufort and Plantagenet were still the two contending parties. There was a claim to the succession not only better than that of any Beaufort, but better than that of the King himself; and though no one would have sought to disturb the pious tender-hearted Henry of Windsor, yet when the Beauforts paraded their grandeur, it was impossible not to recollect the rival.

Lionel Duke of Clarence, second son of Edward II., had left a daughter Philippa, whose son, Roger Mortimer Earl of March, was the acknowledged heir of England during the reign of Richard II., and whose death opened the way to the usurpation of Henry of Lancaster. His son, Edmund Earl of March, had patiently waived these rights; but when Anne, his sister, had married Richard Earl of Cambridge, the second son of Edmund Plantagenet Duke of York, youngest and dullest of the sons of Edward III., the claims of the House of Mortimer were asserted by her husband, and the plot cost him his life, at Southampton, in 1415. His only child, Richard, was then but three years old, and was at once committed to the Tower under the care of one Richard Waterton, probably to keep him out of the hands of designing persons. His paternal uncle, Edward Plantagenet Duke of York, was killed at Agincourt; his mother, Anne, died soon after, and his maternal uncle, Edmund Mortimer Earl of March, in 1424.

The next year the young King was knighted, and so likewise was the boy Richard Plantagenet, to whom then was granted his full inheritance from his father and uncles, as Duke of York, Earl of Cambridge, March, and Ulster. His wardship, that is the management of his estates and disposal of his hand in marriage, was granted to Ralph Nevil of Raby, Earl of Westmoreland, who, as husband to a sister of Cardinal Beaufort, had managed to secure most of the good things to be had among his twenty-two children. Among others was the marriage of his third son, Richard Nevil, to Alice, the daughter of that last Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, who was killed at Orleans. Of course Westmoreland gave

the young duke, his ward, in marriage to a daughter of his own, Cecily Nevil, a beautiful maiden, of lofty demeanour, called by her friends the Rose of Raby, by her enemies Proud Cis.' In spite of the Beaufort connection, however, the Nevils greatly disliked that whole family, and young York was put forward by the Duke of Glocester in opposition to them, as first prince of the blood. Even in 1435, when only seventeen, Glocester obtained his appointment to the regency in France; but his extreme youth and the Somerset opposition brought affairs to a dead lock, and he came home in 1437 with a tale of misfortune.

But in 1440, when he was sent out again for five years, he prospered fairly, keeping court at Rouen with his beautiful wife-and both being much admired for their grace and affability.

Duke Richard was small in stature and very slightly made, a true Plantagenet in fairness of skin and regularity of feature, but dark eyed and haired; and his manners were at once gracious and graceful, so that he exerted great fascination over all who approached him. When he went to Rouen he had already two children, Anne and Henry--the latter godson to the King; and three more were born at Rouen, Edward, Edmund, and Elizabeth.

He had just been re-appointed in 1448, after a short sojourn at Fotheringay, in the course of which the Duchess Cecily gave birth to three more children, Margaret, William, and John, when he was urgently requested to exchange the government for that of Ireland, much to the discontent of the army in France. He obtained extraordinary powers as Lord Deputy, and his Irish rule was excellent. He was one of the very few English who had any sympathy for the 'mere Irish,' and treated them with justice or kindness, and they loved him with all the fervour of their nature. When his next son was born, and baptized by the name of George, he invited the two great Irish earls, Ormond and Desmond, to be his sponsors, and the Irish notions of the close relation of 'gossipred' made them exceedingly proud of the request. Whether these friendly feelings would have borne the test of time was another question ; but York's badge, the white rose, was rapturously worn by the Irish, and has continued in favour ever since.

This same year, 1450, was chosen by Nicolas V. for sending to pious Henry one of those golden roses which are still consecrated yearly on Refreshing Sunday, and presented to the sovereign whom the Pope chiefly delights to honour. Was it an omen of the thornless roses of Paradise, to which the thorny path the earthly roses were strewing for him would conduct the gentle king ?

When the unfortunate summer of 1450 saw the commons of Kent in insurrection, and the followers of Cade on their trial spoke of instigations from the Duke of York, he declared his resolution of going to justify himself, made over the deputyship to Ormond, and embarking in haste, landed in Wales; and set out for London with four thousand men, who came to meet him on his summons. One person to whom he wrote as he passed through Northamptonshire was a certain William Tresham, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who had shewn such determination in hunting Suffolk to death. Just as this man set out from home, he was set upon by one hundred and sixty armed men, belonging to Lord Grey of Ruthyn, and murdered—apparently in revenge for Suffolk's persecution.

Talbot's son, Lord Lisle, was sent with some troops to stop York's advance, but missed him, and in the end of September arrived at Westminster, where he came attended by his armed men into the King's presence, beating down the spears and walls in the chamber,' (whatever that may mean,) and forcing his way to the King. So say the rolls of parliament; and they add that Henry spoke to him as if inspired by the Spirit of God, so that he remained abashed and confounded. Indeed nothing is more probable than that, after having worked himself up for years past to look upon Henry as a fool and a tyrant, and having burst into his presence with violence, the serene dignity and perfect gentleness of the King, ever placid, mild, and just, would have embarrassed him, nor could it have been easy to make any reply when he was asked what were his grievances or why he had hurried away from Ireland. Blustering having fallen flat, he had little to say, but that a parliament ought to be summoned ; and to this Henry agreed.

He then held a family council with the chief malcontents, who were John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, Richard Nevil Earl of Salisbury, and his eldest son, another Richard Nevil, whose wife was the daughter of the good Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.* On the death of her infant niece and namesake Anne, daughter to the King of the Isle of Wight, in 1449, she had carried to him the mighty possessions and the title of Earl of Warwick; and her descent from Edmund of Langley was another link with York. Cecily of Raby also connected her husband closely with this powerful Nevil family, and they were all resolved to maintain his pretensions against those of Somerset. For the present, however, it was agreed that he should retreat to Fotheringay Castle and wait there for the meeting of parliament, writing a letter about his complaints beforehand.

The Queen wished to have taken severe measures at once, but the Duke of Buckingham interfered, and she waited eagerly for the arrival of the Duke of Somerset from France; but unhappily his hot temper, and the losses he had just met with in France, made him exceedingly unpopular ; and besides the old rivalry between him and York, he had given recent personal offence by the surrender of Caen, which was the

* We cannot but give Dugdale's quaint history of this worthy :- Richard Beauchamp in 9 Henry IV. went on pilgrimage, jousted at Verona, set up his arms on the north side of the Temple at Jerusalem. At the time of his being thus at Jerusalem, a noble person called Baldredam, (the Soldan's lieutenant,) hearing that he was descended from the famous Sir Guy of Warwick of whose story they had books in their own language, invited him to his palace, and royally feasting him, presented him with three precious stones of great value, besides divers cloths of silk and gold given to his servants. Where this Baldredam told him privately that he faithfully believed as he did, though he durst not discover himself, and rehearsed the Articles of the Creed. But on the morrow he feasted Sir Baldredam's servants, and gave them scarlet with other English cloath. Which being shewed to Sir Baldredam, he returned again to him, and said he would wear his livery, and be marshal of his hall ; whereupon he gave Sir Baldredam a gown of black peak furrel, and had much discourse with him, for he was skilful in sundry languages.

individual government of York, and though hard necessity had left no choice to Somerset, it was the custom to say he had only yielded it because his duchess was frightened by the mangonels of the besiegers.

As if to bind the Court more closely to the House of Beaufort, Edmund Tudor, the son of the King's mother, Queen Catherine, received the hand of Margaret Beaufort, daughter of Somerset's elder brother, and nearest of kin to the King, and there was much in this to excite York's jealousy. Queen Margaret, used to see the court of France ruled by turns by whoever could get the mastery, did not perceive that the true duty of the King was to hold the balance; and Henry, in his extreme gentleness, and at this time, moreover, becoming partly affected by the insanity he had inherited from his grandfather, left affairs far more in her hands than was seemly in the eyes of a prejudiced nation.

The Parliament met on the 30th of November, and the conflict of parties was plainly indicated by the white roses that the Yorkists wore and the red roses of the adherents of Somerset. Tradition and Shakespeare have attributed these badges to a dispute between the two leaders in the Temple Gardens, when York exclaims

Let him that is a true-born gentleman,
And stands upon the honour of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,

From off this briar pluck a white rose with me;' and Somerset :

· Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.'

But in effect both had long used these cognizances. The red rose had been one of the many badges adopted by John of Gaunt, Somerset's great-grandfather, and the 'pale and angry rose,' of the other house, had been adopted by Edmund of Langley, grandfather of the present York. Shakespeare places the plucking of the rival flowers at an earlier period, when Suffolk was alive to 'pluck this red rose with young Somerset ;' but though November was no favourable moment for gathering the natural flower, the rose of snow' and 'her blushing foe' do not seem to have come into direct collision till this autumn, when everyone was wearing one or the other, made in ribbon or silk, and the Queen very imprudently identifying herself with Somerset, by shewing herself and the King adorned with the crimson rose.

York came with a large force to Westminster, and the stormy session began. Somerset was impeached for treason in the loss of Normandy, and for having left the Earl of Shrewsbury a prisoner ; and upon this the mob hunted him, upset his barge on the Thames, and would have drowned him had he not been picked up by the Earl of Devonshire, a Yorkist, when they wreaked their fury on his house at Blackfriars, which they completely plundered. The commons likewise demanded that the

« PreviousContinue »