Imatges de pàgina

no small prejudice.” The march lasted from sun to sun-impeded by the wretched cross-roads, and in continual skirmishes with the enemy.

“In weary march the night had pass'd,

And Lancaster with joy espied
Fair Tewkesbury's hoary towers at last
Reflected in Sabrina's tide.
Gloster had closed her gates, and sent
Loud insults from each battlement:
Nor did the rebel town make known
Her enmity in scoffs alone;
For many a mile, from copse and dell,
As onward passed the arméd train,
An arrowy shower around them fell,
And many a gallant form was slain-
Unseen the hand that brought his bane.
Bold Beaufort, who the vaward held,
As morning's dewy mists dispellid,
And Tewkesbury's turrets tipt with light
Rose on his view—a welcome sight-
Through all his host the signal pass’d.”

Here, after their harassing night march, the troops were permitted to halt for some slight rest and refreshment; and, drawn up close to the banks of the Severn, could scan during their hasty repast the verdant field, now bright with the morning sun, over which the angel of destruction was hovering with outstretched but invisible wings. But full of hope, and encouraged by the words and presence of the Queen and her son Prince Edward, who had both shared with them the terrors of the night, and now anticipated a triumphant day, no thoughts of discomfiture once crossed the soldier's mind.

“On Severn's banks, in gladsome groups,

In thoughtless mirth, the scatter'd troops
Waste the free hour; some cast aside
Their heavy harness; some divide
With vigorous arm the opposing tide.
Nor did the crested CHIEFTAINS scorn

Their cumbrous helms aside to throw,
And woo the freshness of the morn

To fan each gallèd brow.
And many a richly blazon'd shield
Lay scatter'd on the dewy field.
But the loud laugh, the song, the jest,
Blithe echoes of the careless breast-
Rose from the humbler swarm; the rest,
Though thrown aside their outward gear,
Did still their bosom-burthens bear!"

“When the Queen,” continues the chronicle," was come to Tewkesbury, and knew that Kinge Edward followed her with his horsemen at the very backe, she was sore abashed, and wonderfully amazed, and determined in




herselfe to flie into Wales, to Jasper, Earle of Pembroke. But the Duke of Somerset willyng in no wise to flie backward, for doubts that he casted might chaunce by the way, determined there to tarrye to take suche fortune as God woulde sende.” When Oxford advised that, for another day at least, and until Pembroke's reinforcements should have arrived, the Queen should not hazard a battle, where in point of numbers the chances were so much against her,--and added that if she did, her advisers would “think of it ere night,”—

“Not fight to-day !" cried Somerset:
“Thy words would tempt me to forget
That I have seen thee play a part
Which vouches for thy manly heart.
"Think on't ere night! Why, what care I?
'Tis now we're call’d by Destiny!
Yes, Oxford, I do hope thy sword,

Ere this bright morn has pass'd away,
Shall proudly contradict thy word

Yes, Oxford, we must fight to-day!"

This resolution having been confirmed by the sanction of the Queen; the Prince, her son, exclaims, in bitter remembrance of the field of Barnet, in which both the Nevils had perished

“ Is't not time
To close the scene of woe and crime!

This hour shall close it! Ne'er again
Will I turn back from battle-plain
A beaten fugitive! Ere Even

With parting smile shall gild the west,

This sword shall triumph win, or rest-
Victory on earth, or-peace in heaven."

Hereupon the Duke of Somerset, like a pollitike warriour, trenched hys campe round about of such an altitude, and so strongly, that his enemyes by no means easily could make any entry; and further, perceiuyng that his part could neuer escape without battaile, determined there to see the ende of hys goode or yll chaunce; wherefore he marshalled his hoste after this maner : he and the lord Iohn of Somerset, his brother, led the forewarde; the middle warde was gouerned by the Prince, under the conduyte of the Lord of Saint Iohns and Lorde Wenlocke, whome King Edward had highly before preferred, and promoted to the degree of a baron.” [This fact the chronicler mentions in order, probably, to account for his subsequent conduct, and to justify the suspicion that he was not a hearty partisan in the queen's cause.] “The rere-warde was put in the rule of the Earle of Deuonshire. When all these battayles were thus ordered and placed, the Queene and her sonne, Prince Edwarde, rode about the fielde encouraging their souldiors, promisyng to them,

if theye did shew themselves valiaunt against their enemyes, great rewardes and high promocions, innumerable gaine of the spoyle and bootye of their adversaryes, and, above all other, fame and renoune through the whole realme.”

“Give me earth's triumphs,” Margaret cries,

“This nether world concludes my schemes:
Ne'er could I teach my soul to prize

The moping beadsman's dreams.
l'ictory on Earth!' - Friends ! to this hour

A whole life's energies are due!
Whatc'er of ardour, skill, or power,

Your noble breasts imbue,
Call to the conflict ! loudly call,
This grasping hour demands them all
'Tis a vast moment! 'tis the goal
Toward which, through years of strife, the soul
With untied vigour bent its force-
And now we touch the limits of the course!"

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“ In the meantime," says the chronicler, “King Edward, which the day before had come within a mile of Tewkesbury, put his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, in the forewarde, and himselfe in the middlewarde; the Lorde Marques and the Lorde Hastyngs led the rere garde. The Duke of Gloucester, which lacked no pollicy, valiauntly with his battayle assaulted the trenche of the Queene's campe, whome the Duke of Somerset with no less courage defended. Then the Duke of Gloucester, for a very pollitik purpose, with all his men reculed backe, the which Somerset perceiuying, like a knight more couragious than circumspect, came out of his trenche with his whole battayle and followed the chase, not doubting but the Prince and the Lorde Wenlocke, with the middlewarde, had followed just at his backe. But whether the Lorde Wenlocke dissimulated the matter for King Edward's sake, or whether his harte serued him not, still he stoode lookyng on. The Duke of Gloucester, takyng the advantage that he adventured for, turned again face to face to the Duke of Somerset's battayle; which, nothyng lesse thinkyng on than of the returne, were within a small space shamefully discomfited. Somerset, seeyng hys unfortunate chaunce, returned to the middlewarde, where, seeyng the Lorde Wenlocke standyng still, and after having reuyled and called hym traytor, with hys axe strake the braynes out of his heade.

“ The Duke of Gloucester entered the trench, and after him the King, where, after no long conflict, the Queene's part went almost all to wrecke, for the most part were slaine. Some fled for succour in the thicke of the Parke, some into the Monastarye, some into other places. The Queene was founde in her chariot almost dead for sorow, the Prince was apprehended




and kept close by Sir Richard Croftes. The Duke of Somerset and the Lorde Prior of St. Johns were by force taken prisoners, and many other also. In the field and chase were slaine John, Lord Somerset, the Earle of Deuonshire,


Sir John Delues, Sir Edward Hampden, Sir Robert Wychingham, Sir John Lewkenor, and three thousand other.” In this battle the last blood and strength of the House of Lancaster being spent, Edward was established

-"On England's royal throne,
Repurchased by the blood of enemies.-
What valiant foemen, like to autumn's corn,
Have we mow'd down, in tops of all their pride!
Three Dukes of Somerset, threefold renown'd
For hardy and undoubted champions:
Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,
And two Northumberlands; two braver men
Ne'er spurr'd their coursers to the trumpet's sound.
With them the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague,
That in their chains fetter'd the Kingly Lion,
And made the forest tremble when they roard.

Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat.” The chronicle then proceeds with the sad detail as follows:-“ After the field ended, King Edward made a proclamation that whosoever could bring Prince Edward to him alive or dead should have an annuitie of an hundred pound duryng his lyfe, and the Prince's lyfe to be saved. Sir Richard Croftes, a wise and a valiaunt knight, nothing mistrustyng the king's former promise, brought forth his prisoner, Prince Edward, beyng a goodly feminine and a well-featured young gentleman, whome when King Edward had well advised, he demanded of him howe he durst so presumptuouslye enter into his

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realme with banner displayed. The Prince beyng bold of stomack, and of a : good courage, answered, saying, "To recover my father's kingdome and

enheritage, from his father and grandfather to him, and from him, after him, to me lineally descended.' At these wordes King Edward sayde nothing, but with his hand thrust him from him, or as some say stroke him with his gauntlet, whom incontinent they yt stoode aboute, which were George, Duke of Clarence, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Thomas, Marques Dorset, and William, Lord Hastyngs, sodainly stroke and cruelly murthered him. The

bitternesse of which murder some of the doers after in their latter dayes tasted and assayed by the very rod of justice and punishment of God”—each of them, the king excepted, having met with a tragical and untimely death. “ His bodye was homelye interred with the other simple corses in the churche of the Monastarye of Blacke Monkes, in Tewkesbury,"

This interview between the king and the prince is powerfully drawn by Shakspeare, -in scene fifth of the

third Part of “King Henry the Sixth”—who takes the old chronicles of his day as his authority for the death of Prince Edward, who received the daggers of the King, Gloucester, and Clarence, in quick succession :

K. Edw. Take that, the likeness of this railer here. (Stabs him.)
Glo. Sprawl'st thou ? take that to end thy agony.
Clar. And there's for twitting me with perjury. (Each stabs him in turn.)

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It is supposed that, when the queen was found and introduced into the presence of the conqueror, she was not aware of the extent of her misery. She believed that her son at least had escaped the carnage of the field, and believing this, all her agony was assuaged. But when the dreadful truth flashed upon her, and she beheld in the looks of those around her a ferocious exultation which could not be mistaken,

“She look'd upon their weapons red,

She guess'd what blood their points had shed
•Where is my child ? Mine only one !
Oh God-oh God! Is this my son ?
Monsters! a mother's curse lie strong
And heavy on ye! May the tongue-
The ceaseless tongue—which well I ween
Lives in the murderer's murky breast-
With goading whispers, fell and keen,
Make havoc of your rest!
For ever in your midnight dream,
May the wan smile, which yet delays
On yon cold lips, appal your gaze-

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