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BOSWORTH FIELD. — DEATH OF NORFOLK.
With a rancour sharpened at this moment by their very relationship, each singled out the other as an object worthy of his lance. With cool determined intrepidity they dashed forward to the rencontre; and shivering their spears at the first thrust, drew their swords and resumed the trial of strength and skill. Rushing in upon his antagonist's guard, Norfolk's powerful arm made a sweeping blow at the head of De Vere; but the blade glancing down from his polished helmet failed in its effect, and only wounded him in the left arm,
Quickly recovering his balance, and exasperated by the dread of discomfiture more than the pain of his wound, Oxford returned the blow with tremendous effect; hewed the visor from Norfolk's helmet, and thereby exposed his face to the missiles that were falling in showers around them. Oxford, like a generous knight, disdaining to take advantage of his gallant adversary, instantly dropped the point of his weapon. But his forbearance did not save his noble kinsman; for, at the same instant, struck in the forehead by a shaft which penetrated the brain, Norfolk made a convulsive spring in the saddle, and fell prostrate on the field. Oxford, deeply affected by his death, sadly exclaimed—“A better knight cannot die, though he might in a better cause !"
The result of this day needs not to be told; but the anecdote of the young Surrey, embarked in the same cause, and in fulfilment of the same oath of fidelity which bound his father to the standard of King Richard, is worth repeating in this place.
During the heat of the battle, conscious of his father's fall, and exhausted by extraordinary exertions of mind and body, he was surrounded by a powersul body of his antagonists, each of whom was ambitious to distinguish him
self by disabling or making him prisoner. Observing at this moment the brave Sir John Stanley in the last charge, Surrey presented to him the hill of his sword, and said, “ The day is your own, there is my sword; let me die by yours—but not by an ignoble hand!” “God forbid,” replied the generous Stanley—“live for new honours. Stanley will never shed the blood of so brave a youth. No fault attaches to you! the error was your father's !” “What !” rejoined Surrey, again recovering his sword; “ does the noble Talbot insult the vanquished ? Loyalty, Sir Knight, is the watchword of our house. My father revered the sacred authority of the king, though he lamented the errors of the man. Never shall I repent the choice I have made, seeing that it can leave no stain upon my honour. Whoever wears the crown, him will I fight for; nay, were it placed on nothing better than a stake in that hedge, I would draw my sword in its defence.”
The same frank and gallant bearing in the presence of Richmond after the oattle, secured for young Surrey the royal confidence.
The scene is thus described by Sir John Beaumont, in his “Bosworth Field"
Courageous Talbot had with SURREY met;
My weary soul; this favour I demand,
And the sincerity of his professions is fully attested by his subsequent conduct, both in the camp and the cabinet. He became Lord Treasurer of the Household, attended the Princess Margaret to Scotland on her marriage with James the Fourth—the most chivalrous prince of his age,—and, with his wife and daughter, was present at all the magnificent scenes, fêtes, banquets, and tournaments, which attended that ill-starred alliance.
On the accession of Henry the Eighth, he continued in the same high office—was elected a privy councillor, appointed earl marshal of the kingdom and his majesty's lieutenant for the north of England. His next appearance in the field was at the battle of Flodden, where, with his two sons, he had the chief command. The fortunes of that day are too well known to every reader to require any lengthened description in this place; but to connect the achievements with the subject of this brief memoir, it becomes necessary to take a cursory view
“Of the stern strife and carnage drear
On the morning of the battle the English army advanced in four
divisions. On the right, which first engaged, were the two sons of Earl Surrey: Thomas Howard, Admiral of England, and Sir Edmund, Knight Marshal of the Army. Their divisions were separated from each other; but at the request of Sir Edmund, his brother's battalion was drawn up very near to his own. The centre was commanded by Surrey in person; the left wing by Sir Edward Stanley, with the men of Lancashire and Cheshire. Lord Dacres, with a large body of horse, formed a reserve. When the smoke which the wind had driven between the armies was somewhat dispersed, they perceived that the Scots, after having set fire to their tents, had moved down the hill in a similar order of battle, and in profound silence.
“ Scarce could they see or hear their foes
Until at weapon-point they close-
And such a yell was there
And fiends in upper air
And triumph and despair !"
The Earls of Huntly and Home commanded the left wing of the Scots, and charged Sir Edmund Howard with such impetuosity and success as entirely discomfited his part of the right wing. Sir Edmund's banner was beaten down
Then fell the spotless banner white,
The Howard's Lion' fell
and he himself escaped with difficulty to his brother's division. The admiral, however, stood firm; and quickly advancing to his support with the reserve of cavalry, appears to have kept the victors in effectual check.
SURREY AT FLODDEN FIELD.
Then seizing the favourable moment and pushing forward, the admiral charged and routed a large division of the Scottish army in his front, commanded by the Earls of Crawford and Montrose, both of whom were slain on
The King and Surrey, who led the centres of their respective armies, were now engaged in close and doubtful conflict. James, surrounded by the flower of his kingdom, supported by the reserve under the Earl of Borthwick, but impatient and exasperated by the galling discharge of arrows from the English bowmen, made his attack with such impetuosity that the standard of Surrey was in imminent danger. But at that critical moment Stanley, who had routed the Scottish wing on the left, and was now pursuing his career of victory, arrived on the right flank in the rear of the king's division, which,
by throwing itself into a circle, disputed the battle till night closed in upon them. .
Surrey then drew back his forces; for the Scottish centre remaining unbroken, and their left wing being victorious, he yet doubted the event of the field, for in the words of the
Their dark impenetrable wood
The instant that he fell;
As fearlessly and well.” The Scottish army, however, dispirited by the loss of their king and his principal chiefs, abandoned the field before day-break, with a loss of between eight and ten thousand men-among whom were the very prime of their nobility, gentry, and even clergy.--Here the reader is referred to Pinkerton.
Surrey's loss was also very great; perhaps within one-third of the vanquished; but those who fell were only men of inferior note. According to the old ballad, there perished
“ Never a nobleman of fame
With worship great, as worthy was."