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to hear what they would say, whilst the soldiers, with their looks cast down, consented, by their silence, to these verities. And most true it is, indeed, what hath been said, for never King, since the world's creation, was more wicked than that Henry I speak of, as who, counselled by or
one Cromwell of those times, either violated all divine and human laws, or gave the example to his successors of doing so. But as for Charles, who is so lately deceased, only abstracting from the blot of heresy, no King ever, not only of his time, nor private man, was either naturally more equitable, more holy, or endowed with greater virtues, who, not finding what he said opposed, in this manner followed on his narration. I was criminated for defending with arms, what peaceably, but in vain, I had endeavoured, those very laws, the which my ancestors had left to me, and which, sixteen, and upwards of years, I had uncontrouledly, ruled by and reigned. Hereupon were the judges appointed, by an usurped authority of parliament, who should sit and determine of my head; witnesses against me sworn, and examined, who had conspired to take away my life. The day set down, and forces brought, the which should carry me to be arraigned before their dire tribunal, and though I called both God and men to witness their violation, in this proceeding, of the laws; and that no power on earth was capable of judging me; as also, that I took not up arms before that arms had first been actually taken against me, yet judgment, or rather the shadow thereof, was given, by which I suffered the decollation of my head.
Hen. Oh! wickedness, even scared to impudence, and of which, as ages past are wholly ignorant, so those to come will hardly ever give credit to. We have heard perhaps of Kings and potentates, who have suddenly been oppressed by the fury of a raging and incensed multitude; but that any one, a prince of such high majesty, should be brought to death by the cruelty of his subjects, all of one and the self-same religion, under the colour even itself of justice, and be obtruncated by the publick hangman, but especially not found guilty of any crime, unless propugning his paternal rights, since Kings had being, was never yet heard of; for that Mary Queen of Scots, that niece of mine, was most cruelly and inhumanly beheaded, that Elisabeth, my unhappy daughter, Queen of England, and in hatred of religion, not the unnaturalness of her subjects brought to pass; and therefore all men have that Izabel, or rather Jezabel, in veneration, as though indeed a martyr.
Car. Lest I should seem too much to stand upon my innocence, I confess I was to blame, although not charged therewith, when I assented unto Strafford's dying (not in the least guilty on my knowledge of his charge) through the lenity of my nature, though unwilling. ly; wherefore, respecting that strict father of justice, whose dominion is juster over Kings than that of Kings over other mortals, I cannot bewail my blood so spilt unworthily, who, Pilate like, subscribed another's death, having declared him first wholly innocent, in my judgment.
Hen. Had this been the cause of thy calamity, those ofler, rather much, should have been punished with the loss, by heaven's just visie geance, of their heads, who, thee being innocent, made thus guilty by their prejudice, and, however against thy will and relucting, as by ile shoulders forced thee headlong forwar«ls, into that most borrid iniquity
of their judgment. Therefore some thing there must necessarily be more which hath caused this so execrable fate to thee; nor know I why thou shouldest here be more obtruded on me. Thou thyself cannot tell me any just cause why thou wert stripped out of this miserable life by so shameful and opprobrious a death; if thou camest, as such thou boastest thyself, of Kings, had it not been meeter thou hadst laid thy bones amongst thy ancestors, than trouble here my rest and quiet?
Car. I earnestly indeed, dying) desired to have been buried in the tomb of my father, but who spoiled me of my life denied that boon to me ; fearing, I believe, lest, lying so near them, that the voice of my blood would cry more loud to them. But in this they have not only been inhuman to me. Many other and most grievous indignities have I suffered in my shameful way of dying. At Westminster, where myself and my ancestors, the Kings of this nation, were inaugurated, was I forced to hear the sentence of my life from the mouth of a silly petty-fogger, when, according to the municipal laws, no nobleman can be judged but by his peers. At St. James's was I kept close prisoner, whilst my enemies did determine of my head, wholly cast upon their arbitrary judging me; a place above all others loved by me, through the memory of my past childhood there, where my youth also had been harmlesly entertained with many innocuous and most innocent oblectations. The scaffold for my death appointed, raised directly before the court of my house, unto which that I might come with more regret and also shame, even through those rooms they dragged me, where, to honour foreign states ambassadors, with royal pomp, I used, and masques to recreate them. I beheld also, but with what sense of indignation ? his head covered and eyes sternly fixed on me, Oliver Cromwell, one of ordinary extraction, and, abstracting from what fortune had reared him to, much more despicable than the meanest of my nobles (how much short then of the majesty of a King) sitting umpire of my life and death? But though these things were very grievous and deplorable, yet that one was even than death itself less tolerable to me, when my ears, the blood yet spinning out my veins, swallowed in that fatal mandate from the cryer, that it should be death to call my son the Prince of Wales, or destine him to be his father's successor. And then indeed it truly appeared, as conjectured by the wiser in the beginning, that not the King, so much as rule, displeased the rebels, who conspired so unanimously my death, to the end that that as well as I should be extirpated. Yet this one thing very much consolates my griefs, that, at least, I have been destined to this place, where I cannot doubt of your more courteous reception of me, as being nephew of your sister the princess Margaret; her I mean who, marrying James the Fourth of Scotland, bore that Mary of whom so lately you made mention, and she James my late father since deceased, unto whose scepter she gave both England and Scotland, unto which James, I Charles the First, as heir unto my father have succeeded.
Hen. What is that I hear? And art thou that Charles, then, the son of James, to whom from me, by Elisabeth, that kingdom is devolved by succession ? Art thou, I pray thee, the self-same Charles, and canst not sce how all these evils have oppressed thee : But it seems thy eyes yet
very well see not, newly come into this region of darkness. No! hadst thou remembered how long while ago I drew from out that yoke my neck, which in the church I had full twenty years drawn in, after first I was anointed King; aye, and defended with both sword and pen too, thou wouldest less wonder, that, after twenty years reign, thy subjects should have so departed from thee; thou canst not be ignorant, that, amongst all the Christian Kings, I was the first that ever arrogated the supremacy, and would be called the head of the church; which titles, that I might knit them to my crown, with a knot that should never be untyed, oh! what blood have I not shed of martyrs? This sin of mine, so long since committed, being to be expiated by the blood of a King, both this scepter and monstrous head together were at once to perish; this was long ago decreed by the fates, as we may judge, now it is come to pass. But more than all this I will tell you ; there was a person of great note, during my reign, of whom many things thou canst not chouse but have heard, whose name was called Thomas Moore. This man, adorned with virtues so transcendent many ages could not match his worth, from a pleader, at the bar, of the law, and having regard unto his merit and learning, I called to be lord chancellor of England. But I seemed only thither to have raised him, that I might depress him from the greater height; for when, following the dictates of his conscience, be would not own me the head of the church, I commanded forthwith, his to be cut off. So that, whilst playing Callisthenes, he fell into the hands of Alexander. Go thou then now, head of the church, and complain, that, by the sentence of a pitiful lawyer, thine is also cut off from thy shoulders. Or rather seest thou not plainly, in these prodigies, the tenor of God's admirable judgments? It was grievous to thee, to be a prisoner at St. James's, where thou hast so innocently, in thy youth, disported thyself; but thou mindest not, that I formerly, by violence and sacrilege, snatched those houses from the church, as not long after all the goods of the monks, the Carthusians, Bernardins, Cistersians, Canon Regulars, and so of all the rest; but more especially of those of St. Benedict, whose houses and estates I confiscated, being the most splendid and opulent of all the kingdon, by an injustice, till that time, not ever heard of. Wherefore, as I, for that they owned me not their head, cast in prison many innocent religious, and from their houses made them hye unto the gallows, so thou hadst for thy prison, where thou sufferedst, a house that had been heretofore religious. I hanged up several abbots at their doors, to give a terror, by their sufferings, to the monks. And what wonder, if, to the astonishment of Kings and kingdoms, thou hast suffered, at the doors of thy palace, an ignominious and opprubrious death? But knowest thou not over and above, that this very palace (the house of thy abode) was the dwelling-place of the bishops of York, which I extorted from Cardinal Wolsey, a man sometimes highly advanced by me, whilst serving my unbridled lust; but whom afterwards I utterly confounded, when I judged it for the avail of my avarice. Nor prophaned I only the episcopal houses to ungodly and nefarious uses, but com• pelled even themselves the bishops (from their obedience to the Roman see) into an acknowledgment of my jurisdiction in church affairs, unless only him who presided over Rochester, whom, when neither with fair
words, nor menaces, I could draw into the defection of the rest, I beheaded to compleat my sacrilege. Behold, therefore, if, or not, it were fatal and most agreeable to the heavenly justice, that this head of the church, so adventitious, should have been cut off before the doors of the bishop? To give promotion to the affairs of my primacy, I made me a vicar of one Cromwell of those times, a man of very mean extraction, unto whom (and he of lay condition) both the bishops and archbishops were as underlings. Now another of that name, and like descent, rules as absolute over all thy nobles, and guides the minutes of thy life and death. The very same, I made my principal instrument of keeping from their means the church's children, and of bringing on the bane of that religion, so long practised in the times of my ancestors, which I would call, “The reformation of the church. I entered to this kingdom (from my father) when it was blemishless, intire, and truly regal; nor in any thing unto any one obnoxious, only, as fitting in things that were spiri. tual, paying submission to the vicar of Christ. Thou receivedst it, when strengthless and wounded, rent, and torn from the yoke of St. Peter, so just, so sweet, and so amiable; and, wholly inslaved unto the vicars of the people, chuse to govern by the votes of the multitude.
Car. Too true, by the loss of my head, have I found those very things, which thou hast said to me, and now lately, unless, by others allowance, that I had nothing either of life or kingdoms, which was not wholly in the hands of the parliament, since puffed up with fond pride and contumacy, by thy example, I have swerved from the church; yet feared I not the publick hatchet would have struck me by the hands of rebels, with such pomp and seared impudence at my death, but much more dreaded secret counsels and impoisonings.
Hen. But of that thou shouldest the least have been afraid; for the punishment would not have answered the offence. Publick sins must have publick expiations, nor sought I corners in which tu perpetrate my wickednesses but sinned boldly after once I had begun, only I drew indeed the mask of justice upon the face of my iniquities. The supremacy, as though my due, of the church, unto myself I arrogated, calling a parliament, by a decree whereof, I quite abolished the Roman see's authurity. I repudiated (by pretence of right) the woman that was my lawful wife; the possessions, likewise, wholly of the clergy, under the same colour, I occasioned to be confiscated; whosoever was averse to my supremacy, as though guilty of high treason, I put to death. Wherefore, when our sins for which we worthily are punished, are covered over with the veil of justice, no wonder, if the self-same vizard likewise veil us, when ourselves, at last we come to suffer.
Car. But these audacities, from their subjects unto Kings, are the effects of most unheard of wickedness.
Hen. I confess it, but with how much greater wickedness are those insolencies by ourselves deserved ? Such sin only against a mortal prince, but we princes against an eternal Deity. But you, Sir, unless a marked out sacrifice, God so willing, for your sins enormities, could you not have mocked that arrest of popular judgment, by your prerogative in dissolving of the parliament? VOL. VI.
Car. I did what I could to dissolve it, but I pray hear what followed after my so doing. The Scotchmen, my natural subjects, in hostile sort, invaded England with their armies, whom opposing in their march at York, an humble book came to my hands by Kymbolton, underwritten by certain noblemen of my kingdom.
Hon. King Henry hearing Kymbolton named, after fetching first a very deep sigh: Oh, Catharine, says he, the wife of Kymbolton, that woman of all other most dear to me, as excelling all her sex in virtue, whom I banished, heaven forgive me, from my bed, to make place therein for that strumpet Anne of Bullen, afterwards publickly beheaded for adultery, hath exchanged this so hated life! This divorce, against both heaven's and human laws, to the end that I might make it firm, made me usurp unto me the authority of the church, when (unless with so horrid a sacrilege) I could not uphold the impiety of that villainy. Hence broke upon ourselves, and both our kingdoms, the inundation of all these pressing miseries.
Car. When, holding forth Kymbolton's book, from this, says he, as by one wave of a deluge. hath also flowed the total sea of my disasters; for unadvisedly, O my grief, I condescended, they so craving, to a treaty with the Scots, in which I bound myself firmly to make good what, in my name, should by my delegates be agreed upon. These deputed, O impudent drones, or rather indeed perfidious traytors, gave concessions to the insidiating Scots to take strong holds into their hands within my kingdom, till such time, as, by my kingly authority, the parliament, then dissolved, should be revoked. Writs, therefore, I accordingly issued forth; the Scots are most liberally gratified, nor do they suffer them sooner to leave England, than that first I had engaged my princely faith, by a writing under my hand and seal; this Hamilton also unhappily counselled me, that unfortunate kinsman of mine, not to annull the said new sessions of parliament, till such time as they should all thereto assent.
Hen. O stupidity, or rather extremest madness! Didst thou not see, when to thy stiff-necked people thou grantedst this, that thou puttedst a final period to the sway of thy kingly authority? This was one and the self-same thing, as if thou hadst given into the hands of the parliament thy scepter and thy princely diadem, on condition not to have them again, until such time, as they should please to restore them thee; but much otherwise should I have handled mine. Though now it is as clear as noon-day, that the measure of my sins hath been made up in thee, by thy unhappy participation of my schisms; and that, by blinding the eyes of thy mind, in propitiation of the offended Deity, God's just vengeance hath brought on thee destruction: Whom God will destroy, he taketh away their right understanding. But, when once it was come to that pass, thou shouldest have gained at least, the parliament's votes unto thee, by giving honours to them, and other vast largitions.
Car. Even that, in what I could, I attempted. But much otherwise, God he knows, it came about; for my catholick nobility and bishops, whose votes I most relied on, in parliament, were ejected by the adverse faction. They were both indeed very passionate for my good; the catholicks, as hoping I would mitigate the asperity of the laws, in force