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expedition, the which was graunted him, by the emperor ; so that the next day he was clearly dispatched, with all the kinges requests fully accomplished and graunted. At which time he made no further delay or tariaunce, but tooke post horses that night, and rode incontinent towarde Calais againe, conducted thither with such persons as the emperor had appointed. And at the opening of the gates of Calaise, he came thither, where the passengers were as ready to retourne into Englande as they were before at his journey forewarde; insomuch that he arrived at Dover by tenne or eleven of the clocke before noone; and having post horses in a readiness, came to the court at Richmond that same night. Where he taking some rest untill the morning, repaired to the kinge at his first coming out of his bed chamber, to his closet to masse. Whom (when he saw) he checked him for that he was not on his journey. “Sir,” quoth he, “if it may please your highness, I have already been with the emperor, and depeched youre affaires, I trust with your grace's contentation.” And with that he presented the kinge his letters of credence from the emperor. The kinge, being in great confuse and wonder of his hasty speede and retourne with such furniture of all his proceedings, dissimuled all his wonder and imagination in the matter, and demanded of him, whether he encountered not his pursevant, the which he sente unto him (supposing him not to be scantly out of London) with letters concerning a very necessary matter, neglected in their consultation, the which the king much desired to have dispatched among the other matters of ambassade. “Yes forsoothe,” quoth he, “ I met him yesterday by the way: and having no understanding by your graces letters of your pleasure, notwithstanding I have been so boulde, upon mine own discretion (perceiving that matter to be very necessary in that behalf) to dispatch the same. And for as much as I have exceeded your graces commission, I most humbly require your graces remission and pardon.” The kinge rejoicing inwardly not a little, saide againe, “ We do not only pardon you thereof, but also give you our owne princely thanks bothe for your proceedings therein, and also for your good and speedy exploit,” commanding him for that time to take his rest, and to repaire againe to him after dinner, for the farther relation of his ambassage. The kinge then went to masse ; nd after at convenient time he went to dinner.
It is not to be doubted but that this ambassador hath in all
this time bene with his great friends the bishop, and sir Thomas Lovell, to whome he hath declared the effect of all his speede; nor yet what joye they have received thereof. And after his departure from the kinge, his highness sent for the bishop of Winchester, and for sir Thomas Lovell; to whom he declared the wonderful expedition of his ambassador, commending therewith his excellent witt, and in especiall the invention and avauncing of the matter lefte out in their consultation, and the ambassadors commission. The kinges wordes rejoiced not a little these worthy counsaillors, for as much as he was of their preferment.
Then when this ambassador remembered the kings commandment, and sawe the time drawe fast on of his repaire before the kinge, and his counsaile, he prepared him in a readinesse, and resorted unto the place assigned by the kinge, to declare his ambassage. Without all doubt he reported the effect of all his affaires and proceedings so exactly, with such gravity and eloquence', that all the counsaile that heard him could doe no less but commend him, esteeming his expedition to be almost beyond the capacity of man. The kinge of his mere motion, and gracious
, consideration, gave him at that time for his diligent service, the deanery of Lincolne', which was at that time one of the worthiest promotions, that he gave under the degree of a bishopricke. And thus from thenceforth he grewe more and more into estimation and authority, and after was promoted by the kinge to be his almoner. Here may all men note the chaunces of fortune, that followethe some whome she intendeth to promote, and to some her favour is cleane contrary, though they travaille never so much, with all the painfull diligence that they can devise or imagine: whereof, for my part, I have tasted of the experience.
Now you shall understande that all this tale that I have declared of the good expedition of the king's ambassadour, I had of the reporte of his owne mouthe, after his fall, lying at that time in the great parke at Richmonde', he being then my lord and
8 Eloquence.] See note at p. 476.
1 Deanery of Lincolne.] He was collated Feb. 2. A.D. 1508. Le Neve's Fasti, p. 146.
Experience.] Cavendish's rewards for his services appear to have been limited to the six cart horses, the cart, and the thirty pounds mentioned at the end of this life.
3 At Richmonde.] Therefore between Feb. 2 and April 3, 1530.
master, and I his poore servant and gentleman usher, taking then an occasion upon diverse communications, to tell me this journey, with all the circumstances, as I have here before declared.
When deathe (that favoureth none estate, king ne keiser“) had taken the wise and sage kinge Henry the seventh out of this present life' (on whose soule Jesu have mercy !) who for his wisdome was called the second Solomon, it was wonder to see what practices and compasses was then used about young kinge Henry the eighth, and the great provision made for the funerales of the one, and the costly devices for the coronation of the other, with the new queene, queene Catherine, and mother afterwards of the queenes highness, that now is, (whose virtuous life and godly disposition Jesu long preserve, and continue against the malignity of her corrupt enemies ;)—But I omit and leave all the circumstances of this solemn triumphe unto such as take upon them to write the stories of princes in chronicles, which is no parte of my intendment.
After the finishing of all these solemnizations and costly triumphes, our naturalle young and lusty courageous prince and sovereigne lorde kinge Henry the eighth entering into the flower of lusty youth", took upon him the regal scepter and the imperiall
* King ne keiser.) Perhaps Cavendish alludes to the lines in Longlande's Vision of Pierce Ploughman, written about 1350.
“Death came driving after and al to dust pashed
Kings and Kaisars, Knights and Popes." Before Cavendish wrote there had been also numerous editions of the Dance of Macabre, in the Hore of the Paris printers and elsewhere, and the celebrated designs of the Dance of Death attributed to Holbein had been engraved and printed at Lyons in 1538. Of all these there were numerous copies.
5 Present life.] April 21, 1509.
6 Flower of lusty youth ] The following character is from the pen of William Thomas, clerk of the Privy Council in the reign of king Edward the Sixth :
“To come unto a conclusion of oure kynge, whose wisdome, vertue, and bountye, my wittes suffiseth not to declare. One, of personage, he was one of the godlyest men that lyved in his tyme, verye highe of stature, in maner more then a man, and proporcioned in all his membres unto that height; of countenance he was most amiable; curteous and beninge in gesture unto all persons, and specyally unto straungers; seldome or never offended with any thinge, and of so constaunt a nature in hymselfe, that I beleve there be few can say that ever he chaunged his chere for any noveltie, how contrary or sodayne so ever it were. Prudent he was in counsell, and farre castyng ; most liberall in rewardyng his faithfull servauntes, and ever unto his ennemies
diadem of this fertile and fruitful realme, which at that time flourished in all aboundance and riches (whereof the king was inestimably furnished), called then the golden world, such grace reigned then within this realme. Now the almoner (of whome I have taken upon me to write) having a head full of subtile wit, perceiving a plaine pathe to walk in towards his journey to promotion, handled himself so politickly, that he found the meanes to be made one of the kings counsaille, and to growe in favour and good estimation with the kinge, to whome the kinge gave an house at Bridewell in Fleet-street, sometime sir Richard Empson's', where he kept house for his family, and so daily attended upon the kinge, and in his especiall favour, having great sute made unto him, as counsaillors in favour most commonly have. His sentences and witty persuasions amongst the counsaillors in the counsaile chamber,
as it behoveth a prince to be. He was learned in all sciences, and had the gyft of many tongues. He was a perfect theologien, a good philosopher, and a stronge man of arms, a jueller, a perfect buylder, as well of fortresses as of pleasaunt palacyes, and from one to another, there was no kynde of necessary knowledge, from a kynges degre to a carters, butt that he had an honest sight in it.—What wold you I should say of hym? He was undoubtedly the rarest man that lyved in his tyme. Butt I say not this to make hym a god; nor in all his doynges I wyll not saye he hath bene a saynte; for I beleve
I with the prophet, that non est justus quisquam, non est requirens Deum ; omnes declinaverunt, simul inutiles facti sumus, non est qui facit bonum, non est usque ad unum.
I wyll confesse that he dyd many evil thinges, as the publican synner, butt not as a cruel tyraunt, or as a pharisaicall hypocrite; for all his doynges were open unto the whole world, wherein he governed hymselfe with so much reason, prudence, courage and circumspection, that I wote not where, in all the histories I have red, to fynde one private kynge equall unto hym, who in the space of 38 yeres reigne, never receyved notable displeasure. However that at one selfe tyme, he hath had open warre on three sydes, not onely hath he lyved most happely, butt also hath quietly died in the armes of his dearest frendes, leavyng for wytnesse of his most glorious fame, the fruite of such an heyre, as the erth is scarcely worthy to nourish, who I trust shall with no lesse perfection perfaurme the true church of Christ, not permitted by his sayde father to be finished, then as Solomon dyd the Temple of Hierusalem, not graunted to David in the tyme of hys life. For, who wolde speke agaynst the deade? Kynge Henry myght much better say, he dyd se butt with one eye, and so accuse hym for lack of puttyng an end unto the reformacion of the wycked church, then for doyng of the thinges that he hath done agaynst the apostolicall romayne sea.” P. 122–5. A.D. 1774.
7 Sir Richard Empson's.] Who had been attainted with Dudley, and by whose attainder, soon after Henry's accession, it had been forfeited to the
were alwaies so pithy, that they, as occasion moved them, continually assigned him for his filed tongue and excellent eloquence to be the expositor unto the kinge in all their proceedings. In whome the kinge conceived such a loving fansy, and in especiall for that he was most earnest and readiest in all the counsaile to avaunce the king's only will ® and pleasure, having no respect to the cause; the king therefore, perceiving him to be a mete instrument for the accomplishing of his devised pleasures, called him more neare unto him, and esteemed him so highly, that the estimation and favour of him put all other auncient counsaillors out of high favour, that they before were in ; insomuch that the king committed all his will unto his disposition and order. Who wrought so all his matters, that his endeavour was alwaies only to satisfy the kings pleasure, knowing right well, that it was the very vaine and right course to bring him to high promotion. The kinge was young and lusty, and disposed all to pleasure, and to followe his princely appetite and desire, nothing minding to travell in the affaires of this realme. Which the almoner perceiving very well, tooke upon him therefore to discharge the king of the burthen of so weighty and troublesome busines, putting the kinge in comforte that he should not neede to spare any time of his pleasure, for any business that should happen in the counsaile, as long as he, being there and having his graces authority, and by his commandment, doubted not so to see all things well and sufficiently perfected; making his grace privy first of all such matters before, or he would proceede to the accomplishing of the same, whose minde and pleasure he would have, and followe to the uttermost of his power ; wherewith the kinge was wonderfully pleased. And whereas the other auncient counsaillors would, according to the office of good counsaillors, diverse times persuade the kinge to have some time a recourse unto the counsaile, there to heare what was done in weighty matters, the which pleased the kinge nothing at all, for he loved nothing worse than to be constrained to doe any thing contrary to his pleasure ; that knew the almoner very well, having a secret intelligence of the kings naturall inclination, and so fast as the other counsaillors counselled the kinge to leave his pleasure, and to attend to his affaires, so busily did the almoner persuade him to the contrary;
8 King's only will.] The best comment on this passage are Wolsey's memorable last words, “ But if I had served God,” &c. See the end of this life.