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THE persecution of the Duke of Gloster, the banishment and death of Suffolk, the insurrection of Cade, were events that had long distracted and agitated the people, and prepared the way for the open claim of the house of York to the crown. The return of the Duke of York from Ireland, his demand for the removal of Somerset, and the subsequent dismissal of his forces upon learning that Somerset was a prisoner, are detailed by the chroniclers. The indignation of York upon finding Somerset at liberty is also related by them. The poet leaps over the subsequent committal of York as prisoner to the Tower, and his release under the terror which was produced by the approach of his son Edward towards London with a great army. The duke, previous to his release, solemnly submitted under oath to the king. The poet has preserved the unity of action by destroying the intervals between one event and the other, and bringing causes and consequences into closer union. It is scarcely necessary for us to trace the real course of events, but we transcribe Hall's narrative of the first battle of St. Alban's:
'The king, being credibly informed of the great army coming toward him, assembled an host, intending to meet with the duke in the north part, because he had too many friends about the city of London; and for that cause, with great speed and small luck, he, being accompanied with the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, the Earls of Staf ford, Northumberland, and Wiltshire, with the Lord Clifford and divers other barons, departed out of Westminster, the xx day of May, toward the town, of S. Albans: of whose doings the Duke of York being advertised by his espials, with all his power coasted the country, and came to the same town the third day next ensuing. The king, hearing of their approaching, sent to him messengers, straitly charging and commanding him, as an obedient subject, to keep the peace, and not, as an enemy to his natural country, to murder and slay his own countrymen and proper nation. While King Henry, more desirous of peace than of war, was sending forth his orators at the one end of the town, the Earl of Warwick, with the Marchmen, entered at the other gate of the town, and fiercely
set on the king's foreward, and them shortly discomfited. Then came the Duke of Somerset and all the other lords with the king's power, which fought a sore and cruel battle, in the which many a tall man lost his life: but the Duke of York sent ever fresh men to succour the weary, and put new men in the places of the hurt persons, by which policy the king's army was profligate and dispersed, and all the chieftains of the field almost slain and brought to confusion. For there died, under the sign of the Castle, Edmund Duke of Somerset, who long before was warned to eschew all castles; and beside him lay Henry the second Earl of Northumberland, Humphrey Earl of Stafford, son to the
Duke of Buckingham, John Lord Clifford, and viii M men and more.* Humphrey Duke of Buckingham, being wounded, and James Butler Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, seeing fortune's lowering chance, left the king post alone, and with a great number filed away. This was the end of the first battle at S. Albans, which was fought on the Thursday before the feast of Pentecost, being the xxiii day of May. In this xxxiii year of the king's reign, the bodies of the noble men were buried in the monastery, and the mean people in other places."
* Holinshed suggests this is an error for 800. The Paston Letters say "some six score" were slain.
FIRST PART OF THE CONTENTION
OF THE TWO FAMOUS HOUSES OF
YORK AND LANCASTER,
DEATH OF THE GOOD DUKE HUMPHREY.
Enter at one door, KING HENRY the Sixth, and Пumphrey Duke of GLOSTER, the Duke of SOMERSET, the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL BEAUFORT,
Enter at the other door, the Duke of YORK, and the Marquess of SUFFOLK, and Queen MARGARET, and the Earls of SALISBURY and WARWICK.
Suf. As by your high imperial majesty's command, I had in charge at my depart for France, As procurator for your excellence,
To marry princess Margaret for your grace;
So in the ancient famous city Tours,
In presence of the kings of France and Sicil,
The dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretaigne, and Alençon,
Seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend bishops,
I did perform my task, and was espous'd:
Unto your gracious excellence, that are the substance
The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
Welcome queen Margaret to English Henry's court:
Queen. Th' excessive love I bear unto your grace
Item. It is further agreed between them, that the duchies of Anjou and of Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her fa
[Duke HUMPHREY lets it fall. King. How now uncle, what's the matter that you stay so suddenly?
Hum. Pardon my lord, a sudden qualm came o'er my heart,
Which dims mine eyes that I can read no more.
York. Item, It is further agreed between them, that the duchies of Anjou and of Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father, and she sent over of the king of England's own proper cost and charges, without dowry.
King. They please us well, lord marquess kneel down:
We here create thee first duke of Suffolk,
We thank you for all this great favour done,
As if our king were bound unto your will,
Пum. Nay, my lord, 'tis not my words that trouble you,
But my presence, proud prelate as thou art:
I'll lay a plot to heave him from his seat.
Buck. But let us watch this haughty Cardinal. Cousin of Somerset, be ruled by me, We'll watch duke Humphrey and the Cardinal too, And put them from the mark they fain would hit. Som. Thanks, cousin Buckingham, join thou with
And both of us with the duke of Suffolk,
Buck. Content: come then, let us about it straight, For either thou or I will be protector.
[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and SOMERSET. Sal. Pride went before, ambition follows after. Whilst these do seck their own preferments thus, My lords, let us seek for our country's good: Oft have I seen this haughty Cardinal Swear, and forswear himself, and brave it out, More like a ruffian than a man of the church. Cousin York, the victories thou hast won, In Ireland, Normandy, and in France, Hath won thee immortal praise in England: And thou, bravo Warwick, my thrice valiant son, Thy simple plainness and thy house-keeping Hath won thee credit amongst the common sort: reverence of mine age, Nevil's name,
Cold news for me, for I had hope of France, Even as I have of fertile England.
A day will come when York shall claim his own,
And make a show of love to proud duke Hum. phrey :
And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
With his new bride and England's dear-bought
And Humphroy with the peers be fall'n at jars.
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum'd,
Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.
Enter Duke HUMPHREY, and Dame ELEANOR COBHAM, his Wife.
Eleanor. Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd
Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load?
Reach at it, and if thine arm be too short,
Then what shouldst thou lack that might content thy mind?
Ium. My lovely Nell, far be it from my heart
Eleanor. What dreamt my lord? Good Humphrey tell it me,
And I'll interpret it: and when that's done,
Ilum. This night, when I was laid in bed, I dreamt,
That this my staff, mine office-badge in court,