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METIS, OR COUNSEL.
to intimate in this place, when they report that like the grapes ill pressed; from which, though this one only sprig was found among infinite other some liquor were drawn, yet the best was left betrees in a huge and thick wood, which they feign-hind. These Sirens are said to be the daughters ed to be of gold, because gold is the badge of of Achelous and Terpsichore one of the muses, perpetuity, and to be artificially as it were insert- who in their first being were winged, but after ed, because this effect is to be rather hoped for rashly entering into contention with the muses, from art, than from any medicine, or simple or na- were by them vanquished and deprived of their tural means. wings: of whose plucked out feathers the muses made themselves coronets, so as ever since that time all the muses have attired themselves with plumed heads, except Terpsichore only, that was mother to the Sirens. The habitation of the Sirens was in certain pleasant islands, from whence as soon as out of their watch-tower they discovered any ships approaching, with their sweet tunes they would first entice and stay them, and having them in their power would destroy them. Neither was their song plain and single, but consisting of such variety of melodious tunes, so fitting and delighting the ears that heard them, as that it ravished and betrayed all passengers: and so great were the mischiefs they did, that these isles of the Sirens, even as far off as man can ken them, appeared all over white with the bones of unburied carcasses. For the remedying of this misery a double means was at last found out, the
THE ancient poets report that Jupiter took Metis to wife, whose name doth plainly signify counsel, and that she by him conceived. Which when he found, not tarrying the time of her deliverance, devours both her and that which she went withal, by which means Jupiter himself became with child, and was delivered of a wondrous birth; for out of his head or brain came forth Pallas armed.
to make experiment of his device, caused all the ears of his company to be stopped with wax, and made himself to be bound to the mainmast, with special commandment to his mariners not to be loosed, albeit himself should require them so to do. But Orpheus neglected and disdained to be so bound, with a shrill and sweet voice singing praises of the gods to his harp, suppressed the songs of the Sirens, and so freed himself from their danger.
The sense of this fable, which at first apprehension may seem monstrous and absurd, contains in it a secret of state, to wit, with what policy kings are wont to carry themselves towards their counsellors, whereby they may not only preserve their authority and majesty free and entire, but also that it may be the more extolled and dig-one by Ulysses, the other by Orpheus. Ulysses, nified of the people: for kings being as it were tied and coupled in a nuptial bond to their counsellors, do truly conceive that communicating with them about the affairs of greatest importance, do yet detract nothing from their own majesty. But when any matter comes to be censured or decreed, which is a birth, there do they confine and restrain the liberty of their counsellors; lest that which is done should seem to be hatched by their wisdom and judgment. So as at last kings, except it be in such matters as are distasteful and maligned, which they always will be sure to put off from themselves, do assume the honour and praise of all matters that are ruminated in council, and as it were, formed in the womb, whereby the resolution and execution, which, because it proceeds from power and implies necessity, is elegantly shadowed under the figure of Pallas armed, shall seem to proceed wholly from themselves. Neither sufficeth it, that it is done by the authority of the king, by his mere will and free applause, except withal, this be added and appropriated as to issue out of his own head or brain, intimating, that out of his own judgment, wisdom, and ordinance, it was only invented and derived.
This fable hath relation to men's manners, and contains in it a manifest and most excellent parable for pleasures do for the most proceed out of the abundance and superfluity of all things, and also out of the delights and jovial contentments of the mind: the which are wont suddenly, as it were with winged enticements to ravish and rap mortal men. But learning and education brings it so to pass, as that it restrains and bridles man's mind, making it so to consider the ends and events of things, as that it clips the wings of plea sure. And this was greatly to the honour and renown of the muses; for after that, by some example, it was made manifest that by the power of philosophy vain pleasures might grow contempt ible; it presently grew to great esteem, as a thing that could raise and elevate the mind aloft, that THE SIRENS, OR PLEASURES. seemed to be base and fixed to the earth, make the THE fable of the Sirens seems rightly to have cogitations of the men, which do ever reside in the been applied to the pernicious allurements of plea- head, to be æthereal, and as it were winged. But sure, but in a very vulgar and gross manner. that the mother of the Sirens was left to her And, therefore, to me it appears, that the wisdom feet, and without wings, that no doubt is no otherof the ancients have, with a farther reach or in-wise meant than of light and superficial learning, sight, strained deeper matter out of them, not un-appropriated and defined only to pleasures, as
were those which Petronius devoted himself unto | philosophy, and one from religion. The first after he had received his fatal sentence; and, means to shun these inordinate pleasures is, to having his foot as it were upon the threshold of withstand and resist them in their beginnings, death, sought to give himself all delightful con- and seriously to shun all occasions that are offertentments; insomuch, as when he had caused con-ed to debauch and entice the mind, which is signisolatory letters to be sent him, he would peruse none of them, as Tacitus reports, that should give him courage and constancy, but only read fantastical verses such as these are.
"Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
My Lesbia, let us live and love:
And this also:
"Jura senes norint, et quid sit fasque nefasque,
fied in that stopping of the ears; and that remedy
"Sapientia quoque perseverabat mecum."
Therefore these heroes and spirits of this excellent temper, even in the midst of these enticing pleasures, can show themselves constant and invincible, and are able to support their own virtuous inclination against all heady and forcible persuasions whatsoever; as by the example of Ulysses, that so peremptorily interdicted all pestilent counsels and flatteries of his companions, as the most dangerous and pernicious poisons to captivate the mind. But of all other remedies in this case that of Orpheus is most predominant; for they that chaunt and resound the praises of the gods confound and dissipate the voices and incan
This kind of doctrine would easily persuade to take these plumed coronets from the muses, and to restore the wings again to the Sirens. These Sirens are said to dwell in remote isles, for that pleasures love privacy and retired places, shunning always too much company of people. The Sirens' songs are so vulgarly understood, together with the deceits and danger of them, as that they need no exposition. But that of the bones appearing like white cliffs, and decried afar off, hath more acuteness in it: for thereby is signified, that albeit the examples of afflictions be manifest and eminent, yet do they not sufficiently deter us from the wicked enticements of pleasures. As for the remainder of this parable, though it be not over-mystical, yet it is very grave and ex-tation of the Sirens; for divine meditations do not cellent for in it are set out three remedies for this violent enticing mischief; to wit, two from
only in power subdue all sensual pleasures, but also far exceed them in sweetness and delight.
HISTORY OF THE REIGN OF KING HENRY VII.
To the Most Illustrious and Most Excellent PRINCE CHARLES, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester, &c.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HIGHNESS,
In part of my acknowledgment to your highness, I have endeavoured to do honour to the memory of the last King of England that was ancestor to the king your father and yourself: and was that king to whom both unions may in a sort refer, that of the roses being in him consummate, and that of the kingdoms by him begun: besides, his times deserve it. For he was a wise man and an excellent king and yet the times were rough, and full of mutations, and rare accidents. And it is with times as it is with ways; some are more up-hill and down-hill, and some are more flat and plain; and the one is better for the liver, and the other for the writer. I have not flattered him, but took him to life as well as I could, sitting so far off, and having no better light. It is true your highness hath a living pattern, incomparable, of the king your father: but it is not amiss for you also to see one of these ancient pieces. God preserve your highness. Your highness's most humble and devoted servant,
FRANCIS ST. ALBAN.
AFTER that Richard, the third of that name, king in fact only, but tyrant both in title and regiment, and so commonly termed and reputed in all times since, was, by the divine revenge favouring the design of an exiled man, overthrown and slain at Bosworthfield; there succeeded in the kingdom the Earl of Richmond, thenceforth styled Henry the Seventh. The king, immediately after the victory, as one that had been bred under a devout mother, and was in his nature a great observer of religious forms, caused "Te Deum laudamus" to be solemnly sung in the presence of the whole army upon the place, and was himself, with general applause and great cries of joy, in a kind of military election or recognition, saluted king. Meanwhile the body of Richard, after many indignities and reproaches, the "diriges" and obsequies of the common people towards tyrants, was obscurely buried. For though the king of his nobleness gave charge unto the friars of Leicester to see an honourable interment to be given to it, yet the religious people themselves, being not free from the humours of the vulgar, neglected it; wherein nevertheless they did not then incur any man's blame or censure: no man thinking any
ignominy or contumely unworthy of him that had been the executioner of King Henry the Sixth, that innocent prince, with his own hands; the contriver of the death of the Duke of Clarence, his brother; the murderer of his two nephews, one of them his lawful king in the present, and the other in the future, failing of him; and vehemently sus pected to have been the impoisoner of his wife, thereby to make vacant his bed, for a marriage within the degrees forbidden. And although he were a prince in military virtue approved, jealous of the honour of the English nation, and likewise : a good law-maker, for the ease and solace of the common people; yet his cruelties and parricide, in the opinion of all men, weighed down his virtues and merits; and, in the opinion of wise men, even those virtues themselves were conceived to be rather feigned and affected things to serve his ambition, than true qualities ingenerate in his judgment or nature. And therefore it was noted by men of great understanding, who seeing his afteracts looked back upon his former proceedings, that even in the time of King Edward his brother, he was not without secret trains and mines to turn envy and hatred upon his brother's govern
As for conquest, notwithstanding Sir William Stanley, after some acclamations of the soldiers in the field, had put a crown of ornament, which Richard wore in the battle, and was found amongst the spoils, upon King Henry's head, as if there were his chief title; yet he remembered well upon what conditions and agreements he was brought in; and that to claim as conqueror was to put as well his own party, as the rest, into terror and fear; as that which gave him power of disannulling of laws, and disposing of men's fortunes and estates, and the like points of abso
ment; as having an expectation and a kind of di- | that time secret rumours and whisperings, which vination, that the king, by reason of his many afterwards gathered strength and turned to great disorders, should not be of long life, but was like troubles, that the two young sons of King Edward to leave his sons of tender years; and then he the Fourth, or one of them, which were said to be knew well how easy a step it was, from the place destroyed in the Tower, were not indeed murdered, of a protector, and first prince of the blood, to the but conveyed secretly away, and were yet living: And that out of this deep root of ambition which, if it had been true, had prevented the title it sprang, that as well at the treaty of peace that of the Lady Elizabeth. On the other side, if he passed between Edward the Fourth and Lewis the stood upon his own title of the House of LancasEleventh of France, concluded by interview of ter, inherent in his person, he knew it was a title both kings at Piqueny, as upon all other occasions, condemned by parliament, and generally preRichard, then Duke of Gloucester, stood ever judged in the common opinion of the realm, and upon the side of honour, raising his own reputa- that it tended directly to the disinherison of the tion to the disadvantage of the king his brother, line of York, held then the indubitate heirs of the and drawing the eyes of all, especially of the no- crown. So that if he should have no issue by bles and soldiers, upon himself; as if the king, by the Lady Elizabeth, which should be descendants his voluptuous life and mean marriage, were be- of the double line, then the ancient flames of discome effeminate and less sensible of honour and cord and intestine wars, upon the competition of reason of state than was fit for a king. And as both houses, would again return and revive. for the politic and wholesome laws which were enacted in his time, they were interpreted to be but the brocage of an usurper, thereby to woo and win the hearts of the people, as being conscious to himself, that the true obligations of sovereignty in him failed, and were wanting. But King Henry, in the very entrance of his reign, and the instant of time when the kingdom was cast into his arms, met with a point of great difficulty, and knotty to solve, able to trouble and confound the wisest king in the newness of his estate; and so much the more, because it could not endure a deliberation, but must be at once deliberated and de-lute power, being in themselves so harsh and termined. There were fallen to his lot, and concurrent in his person, three several titles to the imperial crown. The first, the title of the Lady Elizabeth, with whom, by precedent pact with the party that brought him in, he was to marry. The second, the ancient and long disputed title, both by plea and arms, of the house of Lancaster, to which he was inheritor in his own person. The third, the title of the sword or conquest, for that he came in by victory of battle, and that the king in possession was slain in the field. The first of these was fairest, and most like to give content ment to the people, who by two and twenty years reign of King Edward the Fourth had been fully made capable of the clearness of the title of the white rose, or house of York; and by the mild and plausible reign of the same king towards his latter time, were become affectionate to that line. But then it lay plain before his eyes, that if he relied upon that title, he could be but a king at courtesy, and have rather a matrimonial than a regal power: the right remaining in his queen, upon whose deeither with issue, or without issue, he was to give place and be removed. And though he should obtain by parliament to be continued, yet he knew there was a very great difference between a king that holdeth his crown by a civil act of estates, and one that holdeth it originally by the law of nature and descent of blood. Neither wanted there even at
odious, as that William himself, commonly called the Conqueror, howsoever he used and exercised the power of a conqueror to reward his Normans, yet he forbore to use that claim in the beginning, but mixed it with a titulary pretence, grounded upon the will and designation of Edward the Confessor. But the king, out of the greatness of his own mind, presently cast the die; and the inconveniences appearing unto him in all parts, and knowing there could not be any interreign, or suspension of title, and preferring his affection to his own line and blood, and liking that title best which made him independent; and being in his nature and constitution of mind not very apprehensive or forecasting of future events afar off, but an entertainer of fortune by the day; resolved to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the main, and to use the other two, that of marriage and that of battle, but as supporters, the one to appease secret discontents, and the other to beat down open murmur and dispute: not forgetting that the same title of Lancaster had formerly maintained a possession of three descents in the crown; and might have proved a perpetuity, had it not ended in the weakness and inability of the last prince. Whereupon the king presently that very day, being the two and twentieth of August, assumen the style of king in his own name, without men tion of the Lady Elizabeth at all, or any relation
thereunto. In which course he ever after persist- | after upon memory and fancy, he accounted and chose as a day prosperous unto him.
The mayor and companies of the city received him at Shoreditch; whence with great and honourable attendance, and troops of noblemen and persons of quality, he entered the city; himself
throne, but in a close chariot, as one that having been sometimes an enemy to the whole state, and a proscribed person, chose rather to keep state, and strike a reverence into the people, than to fawn upon them.
ed: which did spin him a thread of many seditions and troubles. The king, full of these thoughts, before his departure from Leicester, despatched Sir Robert Willoughby to the castle of Sheriff Hutton, in Yorkshire, where were kept in safe custody, by King Richard's command-not being on horseback, or in any open chair or ment, both the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward, and Edward Plantagenet, son and heir to George, Duke of Clarence. This Edward was, by the king's warrant, delivered from the constable of the castle to the hand of Sir Robert Willoughby and by him, with all safety and diligence conveyed to the Tower of London, where he was shut up close prisoner. Which act of the king's, being an act merely of policy and power, proceeded not so much from any apprehension he had of Doctor Shaw's tale at Paul's cross for the bastarding of Edward the Fourth's issues, in which case this young gentle- During his abode there, he assembled his counman was to succeed, for that fable was ever ex-cil and other principal persons, in presence of ploded, but upon a settled disposition to depress all eminent persons of the line of York. Wherein still the king out of strength of will, or weakness of judgment, did use to show a little more of the party than of the king.
For the Lady Elizabeth, she received also a direction to repair with all convenient speed to London, and there to remain with the queendowager, her mother; which, accordingly, she soon after did, accompanied with many noblemen and ladies of honour. In the mean season, the king set forwards, by easy journeys, to the city of London, receiving the acclamations and applauses of the people as he went, which, indeed, were true and unfeigned, as might well appear in | the very demonstrations and fulness of the cry. For they thought generally, that he was a prince, as ordained and sent down from heaven, to unite and put to an end the long dissensions of the two houses; which, although they had had, in the times of Henry the Fourth, Henry the Fifth, and a part of Henry the Sixth, on the one side, and the times of Edward the Fourth on the other, lucid intervals and happy pauses; yet they did ever hang over the kingdom, ready to break forth into new perturbations and calamities. And as his victory gave him the knee, so his purpose of marriage with the Lady Elizabeth gave him the heart; so that both knee and heart did truly bow before him.
He on the other side with great wisdom, not ignorant of the affections and fears of the people, to disperse the conceit and terror of a conquest, had given order, that there should be nothing in his journey like unto a warlike march or manner; but rather like unto the progress of a king in full peace and assurance.
He entered the city upon a Saturday, as he had also obtained the victory upon a Saturday; which day of the week, first upon an observation, and
He went first into St. Paul's church, where, not meaning that the people should forget too soon that he came in by battle, he made offertory of his standards, and had orisons and "Te Deum" again sung; and went to his lodging prepared in the Bishop of London's palace, where he stayed for a time.
whom, he did renew again his promise to marry with the Lady Elizabeth. This he did the rather, because having at his coming out of Britain given artificially, for serving of his own turn, some hopes, in case he obtained the kingdom, to marry Anne, inheritress to the Duchy of Britain, whom Charles the Eighth of France soon after married, it bred some doubt and suspicion amongst divers that he was not sincere, or at least not fixed in going on with the match of England so much desired: which conceit also, though it were but talk and discourse, did much afflict the poor Lady Elizabeth herself. But howsoever he both truly intended it, and desired also it should be so believed, the better to extinguish envy and contradiction to his other purposes, yet was he resolved in himself not to proceed to the consummation thereof, till his coronation and a parliament were past. The one, lest a joint coronation of himself and his queen might give any countenance of participation of title; the other, lest in the entailing of the crown to himself, which he hoped to obtain by parliament, the votes of the parliament might any ways reflect upon her.
About this time in autumn, towards the end of September, there began and reigned in the city, and other parts of the kingdom, a disease then new: which by the accidents and manner thereof they called the sweating sickness. This disease had a swift course, both in the sick body, and in the time and period of the lasting thereof; for they that were taken with it, upon four and twenty hours escaping, were thought almost assured. And as to the time of the malice and reign of the disease ere it ceased; it began about the one and twentieth of September, and cleared up before the end of October, insomuch as it was no hinderance to the king's coronation, which was the last of October; nor, which was more, to the holding of the parliament, which began but seven