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In the main text, stanza numbers were added by the transcriber to aid in cross-references to the Notes. They are not present in the original. Stanzas 64-78 (pages 29-33) have labeled notes instead of the regular full-stanza sidenotes. The identifying letters are unchanged; the notes are placed at the end of each stanza, instead of at the beginning like the sidenotes.
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[The portrait of Michael Drayton given here as a frontispiece is from a picture, taken at the age of sixty-five (three years before he died), in the Cartwright Collection at the Dulwich Gallery. The name of the painter is not known, but the picture is signed "An^o 1628."]
THE BATTAILE OF AGINCOURT BY MICHAEL DRAYTON: WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY RICHARD GARNETT
LONDON PRINTED AND ISSUED BY CHARLES WHITTINGHAM & CO AT THE CHISWICK PRESS MDCCCXCIII
Introduction vii Drayton's Dedication 3 Upon the Battaile of Agincourt, by I. Vaughan 5 Sonnet to Michael Drayton, By John Reynolds 7 The Vision of Ben Jonson on the Muses of his Friend M. Drayton 9 The Battaile of Agincourt 13 To my Frinds the Camber-Britans and theyr Harp 93 Illustrative Notes 101
All civilized nations possessing a history which they contemplate with pride endeavour to present that history in an epic form. In their initial stages of culture the vehicles of expression are ballads like the constituents of the Spanish Romanceros and chronicles like Joinville's and Froissart's. With literary refinement comes the distinct literary purpose, and the poet appears who is also more or less of an artist. The number of Spanish and Portuguese national epics, from the Lusiad downwards, during the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries, is astonishing; and it was impossible that English authorship, rapidly acquiring a perception of literary form under classical and foreign influences, should not be powerfully affected by the example of its neighbours.
A remarkable circumstance, nevertheless, while encouraging this epical impulse, deprived its most important creations of the external epical form. The age of awakened national self-consciousness was also the age of drama. The greatest poetical genius of that or any age, and his associates, were playwrights first and poets afterwards. The torrent of inspiration rushed mainly to the stage. Hence the old experience was reversed, and whereas Aeschylus described himself and his fellow-dramatists as subsisting on scraps filched from the great banquet of Homer, our English epic poets could but follow humbly in the wake of the dramatists, the alchemy of whose genius had already turned the dross of ancient chronicles to gold. In the mighty series of Shakespeare's historical plays, including in the enumeration Marlowe's "Edward the Second" and the anonymous "Edward the Third," England possesses a national epic inferior to that of no country in the world, although the form be dramatic. In one respect, indeed, this epic is superior to any but the Homeric poems, standing one remove less apart from the poetry of the people. The impression of primitive force which the Homeric poems convey by their venerable language is equally well imparted by Shakespeare's spontaneity and his apparent and probably real innocence of all purely literary intention.
Epic poets, however gifted, could be but gleaners after such a harvest. Yet not every excellent poet, even of that dramatic age, was endowed with the dramatic faculty, and two of especial merit, singularly devoid of dramatic gift, but inferior to none in love of their country and self-consecration to its service, turned their attention to the epic. These were Samuel Daniel and Michael Drayton. The latter is our subject, but something should also be said of the former. Drayton not unfairly hit the blot in his successful rival when he said of him:
"His rimes were smooth, his meeters well did close, But yet his maner better fitted prose."
This is one way of putting it; from another point of view Daniel may be regarded as almost the most remarkable literary phenomenon of his time; he is so exceedingly modern. He outran the taste of his own period by a hundred years, and without teacher or example displayed the excellences which came to be preferred to all others in the eighteenth century. "These poems of his," says his editor in that age (1718), "having stood the test of above a century, and the language and the versification being still pure and elegant, it is to be hoped they will still shine among his countrymen and preserve his name." At this time, and for long afterwards, Drayton, save for an occasional reprint of his "Nimphidia" among miscellaneous collections, was utterly neglected. Even after the editions of 1748 and 1753 he is alluded to by Goldsmith as a type of the poet whose best title to fame is his tomb in Westminster Abbey.
The nineteenth century has reversed this with other critical verdicts of the eighteenth, and, with all due respect to Daniel, Drayton now stands higher. Yet, where the two poets come most directly and manifestly into competition, Drayton's superiority is not so evident. As a whole, Daniel's "Civil War" is a better poem than Drayton's "Barons' Wars." The superiority of the latter lies in particular passages, such as the description of the guilty happiness of Isabella and Mortimer, quoted in Mr. Arthur Bullen's admirable selection. This is to say that Drayton's genius was naturally not so much epical as lyrical and descriptive. In his own proper business as a narrative poet he fails as compared with Daniel, but he enriches history with all the ornaments of poetry; and it was his especial good fortune to discover a subject in which the union of dry fact with copious poetic illustration was as legitimate to the theme as advantageous to the writer. This was, of course, his "Polyolbion," where, doing for himself what no other poet ever did, he did for his country what was never done for any other. Greece and Rome, indeed, have left us versified topographies, but these advance no pretension to the poetical character except from the metrical point of view, though they may in a sense claim kinship with the Muses as the manifest offspring of Mnemosyne. If any modern language possesses a similar work, it has failed to inscribe itself on the roll of the world's literature. The difficulties of Drayton's unique undertaking were in a measure favourable to him. They compelled him to exert his fancy to the uttermost. The tremendous difficulty of making topography into poetry gave him unwonted energy. He never goes to sleep, as too often in the "Barons' Wars." The stiff practical obstacles attendant upon the poetical treatment of towns and rivers provoke even the dragging Alexandrine into animation; his stream is often all foam and eddy. The long sweeping line, of its wont so lumbering and tedious, is perfectly in place here. It rushes along like an impetuous torrent, bearing with it, indeed, no inconsiderable quantity of wood, hay, and stubble, but also precious pearls, and more than the dust of gold. Its "swelling and limitless billows" mate well with the amplitude of the subject, so varied and spacious that, as has been well said, the "Polyolbion" is not a poem to be read through, but to be read in. Nothing in our literature, perhaps, except the "Faery Queen," more perfectly satisfies Keats's desideratum: "Do not the lovers of poetry like to have a little region to wander in, where they may pick and choose, and in which the images are so numerous that many are forgotten and found new in a second reading: which may be food for a week's stroll in the summer? Do they not like this better than what they can read through before Mrs. Williams comes down stairs? a morning work at most?"
The "Polyolbion" was completed by 1619, though the concluding part was not published until 1623. "The Battaile of Agincourt," the poem now reprinted, appeared with others in 1627. As none of the pieces comprised in it had appeared in the collected edition of Drayton's works (the "Polyolbion" excepted) which he had published in 1620, it is reasonable to conclude that they had been composed between that date and 1627. They prove that his powers were by no means abated. "Nimphidia," in particular, though lacking the exquisite sweetness of some of his lyric pastorals, and the deep emotion of passages in his "Heroicall Epistles," excels all his other productions in airy fancy, and is perhaps the best known of any of his poems. Nor does the "Battaile" itself indicate any decay in poetical power, though we must agree with Mr. Bullen that it is in some parts fatiguing. This wearisomeness proceeds chiefly from Drayton's over-faithful adherence, not so much to the actual story, as to the method of the chronicler from whom his materials are principally drawn. It does not seem to have occurred to him to regard his theme in the light of potter's clay. Following his authority with servile deference, he makes at the beginning a slip which lowers the dignity of his hero, and consequently of his epic. He represents Henry the Fifth's expedition against France as originally prompted, not by the restless enterprise and fiery valour of the young king, much less by supernatural inspiration as the working out of a divine purpose, but by the craft of the clergy seeking to divert him from too nice inquiry into the source and application of their revenues. Henry, therefore, without, as modern investigators think, even sufficient historical authority, but in any case without poetical justification, appears at the very beginning of the poem that celebrates his exploits in the light of a dupe. Shakespeare avoids this awkwardness by boldly altering the date of Henry's embassy to France. His play opens, indeed, with the plots of the ecclesiastics to tempt the king into war, but it soon appears that the embassy claiming certain French dukedoms has been despatched before they had opened their lips, and that they are urging him to a course of action on which he is resolved already. Spenser or Dryden would have escaped from the difficulty in a manner more in accordance with epic precedent by representing Henry's action as the effect of a divine vision. Edward the Third or the Black Prince would have risen from the grave to urge him to renew and complete their interrupted and now almost undone work; or the ghosts of chiefs untimely slain would have reproached him with their abandoned conquests and neglected graves. Drayton has merely taken the story as he found it, without a thought of submitting its dross to the alchemy of the re-creative imagination of the poet. The same lack of selection is observable in his description of the battle itself. He minutely describes a series of episodes, in themselves often highly picturesque, but we are no better able to view the conflict as a whole than if we ourselves had fought in the ranks. As in painting, so in poetry, a true impression is not to be conveyed by microscopic accuracy in minutiae, but by a vigorous grasp of the entire subject.
Notwithstanding these defects, which one might have thought would have been avoided even by a poet endowed with less of the bright and sprightly invention which Drayton manifests in so many of his pieces, "The Battaile of Agincourt" is a fine poem, and well deserving the honour of reprint. It is above all things patriotic, pervaded throughout by a manly and honourable preference for England and all things English, yet devoid of bitterness towards the enemy, whose valour is frankly acknowledged, and whose overweening pride, the cause of their disasters, is never made the object of ill-natured sarcasm. It may almost be said that if Drayton had been in some respects a worse man, he might on this occasion have been a better poet. He is so sedulously regardful of the truth of history, or what he takes to be such, that he neglects the poet's prerogative of making history, and rises and falls with his model like a moored vessel pitching in a flowing tide. When his historical authority inspires, Drayton is inspired accordingly; when it is dignified, so is he; with it he soars and sings, with it he also sinks and creeps. Happily the subject is usually picturesque, and old Holinshed at his worst was no contemptible writer. Drayton's heart too was in his work, as he had proved long before by the noble ballad on King Harry reprinted in this volume. If he has not shown himself an artist in the selection and arrangement of his topics, he deserves the name from another point of view by the excellent metrical structure of his octaves, and the easy fluency of his narrative. One annoying defect, the frequent occurrence of flat single lines not far remote from bathos, must be attributed to the low standard of the most refined poetry in an age when "the judges and police of literature" had hardly begun either to make laws or to enforce them. It is a fault which he shared with most others, and of which he has himself given more offensive instances. It is still more conspicuous in the most generally acceptable of his poems, the "Nimphidia." The pity is not so much the occasional occurrence of such lapses in "The Battaile of Agincourt," as the want of those delightful touches in the other delightful poems which give more pleasure the more evidently they are embellishments rather springing out of the author's fancy than naturally prompted by his subject. Such are the lines, as inappropriate in the mouth of the speaker as genuine from the heart of the writer, near the beginning of Queen Margaret's epistle to the Duke of Suffolk ("England's Heroicall Epistles"):
"The little bird yet to salute the morn Upon the naked branches sets her foot, The leaves then lying on the mossy root, And there a silly chirruping doth keep, As if she fain would sing, yet fain would weep; Praising fair summer that too soon is gone, Or sad for winter too soon coming on."
On a more exact comparison of Drayton with Holinshed we find him omitting some circumstances which he might have been expected to have retained, and adding others with good judgment and in general with good effect, but which by some fatality usually tend in his hands to excessive prolixity. This is certainly not the case with his dignified and spirited exordium, but in the fourth stanza he begins to copy history, and his muse's wing immediately flags. No more striking example of the superiority of dramatic to narrative poetry in vividness of delineation could be found than the contrast between Shakespeare's scene representing the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely in actual conversation, and Drayton's tame exposition of the outcome of their deliberations. In his report of the session of Parliament where the French war is discussed he closely follows Holinshed, so closely as to omit Shakespeare's masterly embellishment of Henry's solemn appeal to the Archbishop to pronounce on the justice of his cause as in the sight of God. Drayton must assuredly have perceived how greatly such an appeal tended to exalt his hero's character, and what an opening it afforded for impressive rhetoric. Nor could the incident have escaped his notice, for there is abundant internal evidence of his acquaintance with Shakespeare's drama in the closet as well as on the stage. It can only be concluded that he did not choose to be indebted to Shakespeare, or despaired of rivalling him. His notice of his great contemporary in the "Epistle to Reynolds" is surprisingly cold; but the legend, however unauthentic, of Shakespeare's death from a fever contracted at a merry-making in Drayton's company, seems incompatible with any serious estrangement, and Shakespeare's son-in-law was Drayton's physician when the latter revisited his native Warwickshire. The same jealousy of obligation must have influenced his treatment of the incident of the Dauphin's derisive present of tennis balls, which both Shakespeare and he have adopted from Holinshed or his authorities, but of which the former has made everything and the latter nothing. Nor can the omission of the highly dramatic incident of the conspiracy of Scroop and Cambridge, found in Holinshed, be otherwise well accounted for. In compensation, Drayton introduces two episodes entirely his own, the catalogue of Henry's ships, and that of the armorial ensigns of the British counties. Ben Jonson may be suspected of a sneer when he congratulates Drayton on thus outdoing Homer, as he had previously outdone, or at least rivalled, Virgil, Theocritus, Ovid, Orpheus, and Lucan. Ben might have said with perfect sincerity that Drayton's descriptions are fine pieces of work, showing great command of language, and only open to criticism from some want of proportion between them and the poem of which they are but subordinate episodes. This censure would have been by no means just if the whole piece had been executed on the scale of the description of the siege of Harfleur. It is difficult to imagine what could have tempted Drayton to spend so much time upon an episode treated by Holinshed with comparative brevity. Some of the stanzas are exceedingly spirited, but as a whole the description certainly fatigues. If the same is to some extent the case with the description of the Battle of Agincourt itself, the cause is not so much prolixity as the multitude of separate episodes, not always derived from the chroniclers, and the consequent want of unity which has been already adverted to. The result is probably more true to the actual impression of a battle than if Drayton had surveyed the field with the eye of a tactician, but here as elsewhere the poet should rather aim at an exalted and in some measure idealized representation of the object or circumstance described than at a faithful reproduction of minor details. Even the Battle of the Frogs and Mice in Homer is an orderly whole; while Drayton's battle seems always ending and always beginning anew, a Sisyphian epic. What, however, really kindles and vivifies the unequal composition into one glowing mass is the noble spirit of enthusiastic patriotism which pervades the poet's mind, and, like sunlight in a mountainous tract, illuminates his heights, veils his depressions, and steeps the whole in glory.
Of the literary history of "The Battaile of Agincourt" there is little to be said. It was first published in 1627, along with "Nimphidia," "The Shepheard's Sirena," and others of Drayton's best pieces. It was accompanied by three copies of congratulatory verse, reprinted here, the most remarkable of which is that proceeding from the pen of Ben Jonson, who admits that some had accounted him no friend to Drayton, and whose encomiums are to our apprehension largely flavoured with irony. Drayton, in his "Epistle to Reynolds," which Jonson must have seen, had compared him to Seneca and Plautus,[*] and Jonson seems to burlesque the compliment by comparing Drayton himself to every poet whom he had ever imitated, until his single person seems an epitome of all Parnassus. The poem and its companions had another edition in 1631, since which time it has been included in every edition of Drayton's works, but has never till now been published by itself. Even here it is graced with a satellite, the splendid Ballad of Agincourt ("To my Frinds the Camber-Britans and theyr Harp"), originally published in "Poemes lyric and pastoral," probably about 1605. This stirring strain, always admired, has attracted additional notice in the present day as the metrical prototype of Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade," which, in our estimation, fails to rival its model. The lapses of both poets may well be excused on the ground of the difficulty of the metre, but Drayton has the additional apology of the "brave neglect" which so correct a writer as Pope accounted a virtue in Homer, but which Tennyson never had the nerve to permit himself.
[Footnote: Pope's celebrated verse,— "Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,"— is "conveyed" from this passage of Drayton.]
Comparisons between modern and ancient poets must necessarily be very imperfect; yet our Drayton might not inaptly be termed the English Theocritus. If not so distinctly superior to every other English pastoral poet as Theocritus was to every other Greek, he yet stands in the front rank. He is utterly free from affectation, the great vice of pastoral poetry; his love of the country is sincere; his perception of natural phenomena exquisite; his shepherds and shepherdesses real swains and lasses; he has happily varied the conventional form of the pastoral by a felicitous lyrical treatment. Paradoxical as it may appear, Drayton was partly enabled to approach Theocritus so nearly by knowing him so imperfectly. Had he been acquainted with him otherwise than through Virgil, he would probably have been unable to refrain from direct imitation; but as matters stand, instead of a poet striving to write as Theocritus wrote in Greek, we have one actually writing as Theocritus would have written in English. But the most remarkable point of contact between Drayton and Theocritus is that both are epical as well as pastoral poets. Two of the Idylls of Theocritus are believed to be fragments of an epic on the exploits of Hercules; and in the enumeration of his lost works, amid others of the same description, mention is made of the "Heroines," a curious counterpart of Drayton's "Heroicall Epistles." Had these works survived, we might not improbably have found Drayton surpassing his prototype in epic as much as he falls below him in pastoral; for the more exquisite art of the Sicilian could hardly have made amends for the lack of that national pride and enthusiastic patriotism which had died out of his age, but which ennobled the strength and upbore the weakness of the author of "The Battaile of Agincourt."
Lux Hareshulla tibi Warwici villa, tenebris, Ante tuas Cunas, obsita Prima fuit. Arma, Viros, Veneres, Patriam modulamine dixti: Te Patriae resonant Arma, Viri, Veneres.]
THE BATTAILE OF AGINCOVRT.
FOVGHT BY HENRY THE fift of that name, King of England, against the whole power of the French: vnder the Raigne of their CHARLES the sixt, Anno Dom. 1415.
The Miseries of Queene MARGARITE, the infortunate VVife, of that most infortunate King Henry the sixt.
NIMPHIDIA, the Court of Fayrie.
The Quest of CINTHIA.
The Shepheards SIRENA.
Elegies vpon sundry occasions.
By MICHAELL DRAYTON Esquire.
Printed for WILLIAM LEE, at the Turkes Head in Fleete-Streete, next to the Miter and Phaenix. 1627.
[The preceding page is a reduced reproduction of the title-page of the first edition, which contains, as will be seen, several poems besides "The Battaile of Agincourt" which are not included in the present reprint.]
To you those Noblest of Gentlemen, of these Renowned Kingdomes of Great Britaine: who in these declining times, haue yet in your braue bosomes the sparkes of that sprightly fire, of your couragious Ancestors; and to this houre retaine the seedes of their magnanimitie and Greatnesse, who out of the vertue of your mindes, loue and cherish neglected Poesie, the delight of Blessed soules, and the language of Angels. To you are these my Poems dedicated,
By your truly affectioned Seruant,
VPON THE BATTAILE OF AGINCOVRT, WRITTEN BY HIS DEARE FRIEND MICHAEL DRAYTON ESQVIRE.
Had Henryes name beene onely met in Prose, Recorded by the humble wit of those, Who write of lesse then Kings: who victory, As calmely mention, as a Pedigree, The French, alike with vs, might view his name His actions too, and not confesse a shame: Nay, grow at length, so boldly troublesome, As, to dispute if they were ouercome. But thou hast wakte their feares: thy fiercer hand Hath made their shame as lasting, as their land. By thee againe they are compeld to knowe How much of Fate is in an English foe. They bleede afresh by thee, and thinke the harme Such; they could rather wish, t'were Henryes arme: Who thankes thy painfull quill; and holds it more To be thy Subiect now, then King before. By thee he conquers yet; when eu'ry word Yeelds him a fuller honour, then his sword. Strengthens his action against time: by thee, Hee victory, and France, doth hold in fee. So well obseru'd he is, that eu'ry thing Speakes him not onely English, but a King. And France, in this, may boast her fortunate That shee was worthy of so braue a hate. Her suffring is her gayne. How well we see The Battaile labour'd worthy him, and thee, Where, wee may Death discouer with delight, And entertaine a pleasure from a fight. Where wee may see how well it doth become The brau'ry of a Prince to ouercome. What Power is a Poet: that can add A life to Kings, more glorious, then they had. For what of Henry, is vnsung by thee, Henry doth want of his Eternity.
TO MY WORTHY FRIEND MR. MICHAELL DRAYTON VPON THESE HIS POEMS.
What lofty Trophyes of eternall Fame, England may vaunt thou do'st erect to her, Yet forced to confesse, (yea blush for shame,) That she no Honour doth on thee confer. How it would become her, would she learne to knowe Once to requite thy Heauen-borne Art and Zeale, Or at the least her selfe but thankfull showe Her ancient Glories that do'st still reueale: Sing thou of Loue, thy straines (like powerfull Charmes) Enrage the bosome with an amorous fire, And when againe thou lik'st to sing of Armes The Coward thou with Courage do'st inspire: But when thou com'st to touch our Sinfull Times, Then Heauen far more then Earth speakes in thy Rimes.
THE VISION OF BEN. IONSON, ON THE MVSES OF HIS FRIEND M. DRAYTON.
It hath beene question'd, Michael, if I bee A Friend at all; or, if at all, to thee: Because, who make the question, haue not seene Those ambling visits, passe in verse, betweene Thy Muse, and mine, as they expect. 'Tis true: You haue not writ to me, nor I to you; And, though I now begin, 'tis not to rub Hanch against Hanch, or raise a riming Club About the towne: this reck'ning I will pay, Without conferring symboles. This 's my day. It was no Dreame! I was awake, and saw! Lend me thy voyce, O Fame, that I may draw Wonder to truth! and haue my Vision hoorld, Hot from thy trumpet, round, about the world. I saw a Beauty from the Sea to rise, That all Earth look'd on; and that earth, all Eyes! It cast a beame as when the chear-full Sun Is fayre got vp, and day some houres begun! And fill'd an Orbe as circular, as heauen! The Orbe was cut forth into Regions seauen. And those so sweet, and well proportion'd parts, As it had beene the circle of the Arts! When, by thy bright Ideas standing by, I found it pure, and perfect Poesy, There read I, streight, thy learned Legends three, Heard the soft ayres, between our Swaynes & thee, Which made me thinke, the old Theocritus, Or Rurall Virgil come, to pipe to vs! But then, thy'epistolar Heroick Songs, Their loues, their quarrels, iealousies, and wrongs Did all so strike me, as I cry'd, who can With vs be call'd, the Naso, but this man? And looking vp, I saw Mineruas fowle, Pearch'd ouer head, the wise Athenian Owle: I thought thee then our Orpheus, that wouldst try Like him, to make the ayre, one volary: And I had stil'd thee, Orpheus, but before My lippes could forme the voyce, I heard that Rore, And Rouze, the Marching of a mighty force, Drums against Drums, the neighing of the Horse, The Fights, the Cryes, and wondring at the Iarres I saw, and read, it was thy Barons Warres! O, how in those, dost thou instruct these times, That Rebells actions, are but valiant crimes! And caried, though with shoute, and noyse, confesse A wild, and an authoriz'd wickednesse! Sayst thou so, Lucan? But thou scornst to stay Vnder one title. Thou hast made thy way And flight about the Ile, well neare, by this, In thy admired Periegesis, Or vniuersall circumduction Of all that reade thy Poly-Olbyon. That reade it? that are rauish'd! such was I With euery song, I sweare, and so would dye: But that I heare, againe, thy Drum to beate A better cause, and strike the brauest heate That euer yet did fire the English blood! Our right in France! if ritely vnderstood. There, thou art Homer! Pray thee vse the stile Thou hast deseru'd: And let me reade the while Thy Catalogue of Ships, exceeding his, Thy list of aydes, and force, for so it is: The Poets act! and for his Country's sake Braue are the Musters, that the Muse will make. And when he ships them where to vse their Armes, How do his trumpets breath! What loud alarmes! Looke, how we read the Spartans were inflam'd With bold Tyrtaeus verse, when thou art nam'd, So shall our English Youth vrge on, and cry An Agincourt, an Agincourt, or dye. This booke! it is a Catechisme to fight, And will be bought of euery Lord, and Knight, That can but reade; who cannot, may in prose Get broken peeces, and fight well by those. The miseries of Margaret the Queene Of tender eyes will more be wept, then seene: I feele it by mine owne, that ouer flow, And stop my sight, in euery line I goe. But then refreshed, with thy Fayerie Court, I looke on Cynthia, and Sirenas sport, As, on two flowry Carpets, that did rise, And with their grassie greene restor'd mine eyes. Yet giue mee leaue, to wonder at the birth Of thy strange Moon-Calfe, both thy straine of mirth, And Gossip-got acquaintance, as, to vs Thou hadst brought Lapland, or old Cobalus, Empusa, Lamia, or some Monster, more Then Affricke knew, or the full Grecian shore! I gratulate it to thee, and thy Ends, To all thy vertuous, and well chosen Friends, Onely my losse is, that I am not there: And, till I worthy am to wish I were, I call the world, that enuies mee, to see If I can be a Friend, and Friend to thee.
THE BATTAILE OF AGINCOVRT.
[Stanza 1: The law Salique was, that women should not inherite; which law, Edward the third, by his right to the Crowne by his mother, cancelled with his sword: for so much as at that time made way to his clayme, though in France that law bee inuiolable.]
Ceas'd was the Thunder, of those Drummes which wak'd Th'affrighted French their miseries to view, At Edwards name, which to that houre still quak'd, Their Salique Tables to the ground that threw, Yet were the English courages not slak'd, But the same Bowes, and the same Blades they drew, With the same Armes, those weapons to aduance, Which lately lopt the Flower de liz of France.
[Stanza 2: Henry the 4. so named of a Town in Lincolne Shiere, where he was borne.]
Henry the fift, that man made out of fire, Th'Imperiall Wreath plac'd on his Princely browe; His Lyons courage stands not to enquire Which way olde Henry came by it; or howe At Pomfret Castell Richard should expire: What's that to him? He hath the Garland now; Let Bullingbrook beware how he it wan, For Munmouth meanes to keepe it, if he can.
[Stanza 3: Henry the fift borne at Munmouth in Wales. Dowglas in that battaile slew three in the Kings coat Armour.]
That glorious day, which his great Father got, Vpon the Percyes; calling to their ayde The valiant Dowglass, that Herculian Scot, When for his Crowne at Shrewsbury they playde, Had quite dishartned eu'ry other plot, And all those Tempests quietly had layde, That not a cloud did to this Prince appeare, No former King had seene a skye so cleere.
[Stanza 4: Wickliffe a learned Diuine, and the greatest Protestant of those times.]
Yet the rich Clergy felt a fearefull Rent, In the full Bosome of their Church (whilst she A Monarchesse, immeasurably spent, Lesse then she was, and thought she might not be:) By Wickclif and his followers; to preuent The growth of whose opinions, and to free That foule Aspersion, which on her they layde, She her strongst witts must stirre vp to her ayde.
[Stanza 5: A Parliament at Leicester.]
When presently a Parliament is calld To sett things steddy, that stood not so right, But that thereby the poore might be inthral'd, Should they be vrged by those that were of might, That in his Empire, equitie enstauld, It should continue in that perfect plight; Wherefore to Lester, he th'Assembly drawes, There to Inact those necessary Lawes.
In which one Bill (mongst many) there was red, Against the generall, and superfluous waste Of temporall Lands, (the Laity that had fed) Vpon the Houses of Religion caste, Which for defence might stand the Realme in sted, Where it most needed were it rightly plac't; Which made those Church-men generally to feare, For all this calme, some tempest might be neare.
And being right skilfull, quickly they forsawe, No shallow braines this bus'nesse went about: Therefore with cunning they must cure this flawe; For of the King they greatly stood in doubt, Lest him to them, their opposites should drawe, Some thing must be thrust in, to thrust that out: And to this end they wisely must prouide One, this great Engine, Clearkly that could guide.
[Stanza 8: Henry Chichley succeeding Arundell (late deceased) in that See.]
Chichley, that sate on Canterburies See, A man well spoken, grauely stout, and wise, The most select, (then thought of that could be,) To act what all the Prelacie diuise; (For well they knew, that in this bus'nesse, he Would to the vtmost straine his faculties;) Him lift they vp, with their maine strength, to proue By some cleane slight this Lybell to remoue.
[Stanza 9: So they termed it as not worthy of a better tytle.]
His braine in labour, gladly foorth would bring Somewhat, that at this needfull time might fit, The sprightly humor of this youthfull King, If his inuention could but light of it; His working soule proiecteth many a thing, Vntill at length out of the strength of wit, He found a warre with France, must be the way To dash this Bill, else threatning their decay.
Whilst vacant mindes sate in their breasts at ease, And the remembrance of their Conquests past, Vpon their fansies doth so strongly sease, As in their teeth, their Cowardise it cast Rehearsing to them those victorious daies, The deeds of which, beyond their names should last, That after ages, reading what was theirs, Shall hardly thinke, those men had any Heires.
And to this point, premeditating well, A speech, (which chanc'd, the very pinne to cleaue) Aym'd, whatsoeuer the successe befell That it no roomth should for a second leaue, More of this Title then in hand to tell, If so his skill him did not much deceaue, And gainst the King in publike should appeare; Thus frames his speech to the Assembly there.
[Stanza 12: The Archbishop of Canterburies Oration, to the King & Parliament at Lecester, in the Eleuen following Stanzas.]
Pardon my boldnesse, my Liedge Soueraine Lord, Nor your Dread presence let my speech offend, Your milde attention, fauourably affoord, Which, such cleere vigour to my spirit shall lend, That it shall set an edge vpon your Sword, To my demand, and make you to attend, Asking you, why, men train'd to Armes you keepe, Your right in France yet suffering still to sleepe.
Can such a Prince be in an Iland pent, And poorely thus shutt vp within a Sea. When as your right includes that large extent, To th'either Alpes your Empire forth to lay, Can he be English borne, and is not bent To follow you, appoint you but the way, Weele wade if we want ships, the waues or climme, In one hand hold our swords, with th'other swim.
[Stanza 14: The Crowne of France descended vpon Edward the third, from Isabell his Mother, Daughter and suruiuing heyre, to King Philippe of France named the fayre.]
What time controules, your braue great Grandsires claim, To th'Realme of France, from Philip nam'd the faire, Which to King Edward by his mother came, Queene Isabel; that Philips onely heire, Which this short intermission doth not maime, But if it did, as he, so yours repaire; That where his Right in bloud preuailed not, In spight of hell, yet by his Sword he got.
What set that Conqueror, by their Salique Lawes, Those poore decrees their Parliaments could make, He entred on the iustnesse of his Cause, To make good, what he dar'd to vndertake, And once in Action, he stood not to pause, But in vpon them like a Tempest brake, And downe their buildings with such fury bare, That they from mists dissolued were to ayre.
As those braue Edwards, Father, and the Sonne, At Conquer'd Cressy, with successefull lucke, Where first all France (as at one game) they wonne, Neuer two Warriours, such a Battaile strucke, That when the bloudy dismall fight was done, Here in one heape, there in another Rucke Princes and Peasants lay together mixt, The English Swords, no difference knew betwixt.
[Stanza 17: Iames, Daulphine of Viennoies. The Dukes of Lorraine, and Burbon. The Earles of Aumerle, Sauoye, Mountbilliard, Flaunders, Neuers & Harecourt.]
There Lewes King of Beame was ouerthrowne With valient Charles, of France the younger Brother, A Daulphine, and two Dukes, in pieces hewen; To them six Earles lay slaine by one another; There the grand Prior of France, fetcht his last groane, Two Archbishops the boystrous Croud doth smother, There fifteene thousand of their Gentrie dy'de With each two Souldiers, slaughtered by his side.
[Stanza 18: King Iohn of France and Philip his Son taken by the Black Prince at the Battaile of Poyteers, brought Prisoners to England.]
[Iohn of Cleumount.]
[Peter of Burbon.]
Nor the Blacke Prince, at Poyteers battaile fought; Short of his Father, and himselfe before, Her King and Prince, that prisoners hither brought From forty thousand weltring in their gore, That in the Worlds opinion it was thought, France from that instant could subsist no more, The Marshall, and the Constable, there slaine Vnder the Standard, in that Battaile ta'ne.
[Stanza 19: Examples of such as haue aduanced theselues to the Crowne of France against the strict letter of the lawe Salique, in the two following Stanzas.]
Nor is this clayme for women to succeede, (Gainst which they would your right to France debarre) A thing so new, that it so much should neede Such opposition, as though fetcht from farre, By Pepin this is prou'd, as by a deede, Deposing Cheldrick, by a fatall warre, By Blythild dar'd his title to aduance, Daughter to Clothar, first so nam'd of France.
Hugh Capet, who from Charles of Lorayne tooke The Crowne of France, that he in peace might raigne, As heire to Lingard to her title stooke, Who was the daughter of King Charlemaine, So holy Lewes poring on his booke, Whom that Hugh Capet made his heire againe, From Ermingard his Grandame, claim'd the Crowne, Duke Charles his daughter, wrongfully put downe.
Nor thinke my Leege a fitter time then this, You could haue found your Title to aduance, At the full height when now the faction is, T'wixt Burgoyne, and the house of Orleance, Your purpose you not possibly can misse, It for my Lord so luckily doth chance, That whilst these two in opposition stand, You may haue time, your Army there to land.
And if my fancy doe not ouerpresse, My visuall sence, me thinkes in euery eye I see such cheere, as of our good successe In France hereafter seemes to Prophecie; Thinke not my Soueraigne, my Alegeance lesse Quoth he; my Lords nor doe you misaply My words: thus long vpon this subiect spent, Who humbly here submit to your assent.
This speech of his, that powerfull Engine prou'd, Then e'r our Fathers got, which rais'd vs hier, The Clergies feare that quietly remou'd, And into France transferd our Hostile fier, It made the English through the world belou'd, That durst to those so mighty things aspire, And gaue so cleere a luster to our fame, That neighbouring Nations trembled at our name.
When through the house, this rumor scarcely ran, That warre with France propounded was againe, In all th'Assembly there was not a man, But put the proiect on with might and maine, So great applause it generally wan, That else no bus'nesse they would entertaine, As though their honour vtterly were lost, If this designe should any way be crost.
So much mens mindes, now vpon France were set That euery one doth with himselfe forecast, What might fall out this enterprize to let, As what againe might giue it wings of hast, And for they knew, the French did still abet The Scot against vs, (which we vsde to tast) It question'd was if it were fit or no, To Conquer them, ere we to France should goe.
[Stanza 26: Ralph Neuill then Warden of the Marches betwixt England and Scotland.]
[An old adage, He that will France winne: must with Scotland first beginne.]
Which Ralph then Earle of Westmorland propos'd, Quoth he, with Scotland let vs first begin, By which we are vpon the North inclos'd, And lockt with vs, one Continent within, Then first let Scotland be by vs dispos'd, And with more ease, yee spatious France may winne, Else of our selues, ere we our Ships can cleere, To land in France; they will inuade vs here.
[Stanza 27: The Duke of Excester the Kings own vnckle.]
Not so braue Neuill, Excester replies, For that of one two labours were to make, For Scotland wholly vpon France relies; First, Conquer France, and Scotland yee may take, Tis the French pay, the Scot to them that tyes, That stopt, asunder quickly yee shall shake The French and Scots; to France then first say I, First, first, to France, then all the Commons cry.
[Stanza 28: The first breach with France.]
And instantly an Embassy is sent, To Charles of France, to will him to restore Those Territories, of whose large extent, The English Kings were owners of before; Which if he did not, and incontinent, The King would set those English on his Shore, That in despight of him, and all his might, Should leaue their liues there, or redeeme his right.
[Stanza 29: The Countries demanded by the King of England.]
First Normandy, in his demand he makes, With Aquitane, a Dutchy no lesse great, Aniou, and Mayne, with Gascoyne which he takes Cleerely his owne, as any English seat; With these proud France, he first of all awakes, For their deliuery, giuing power to treat; For well he knew, if Charles should these restore, No King of France was euer left so poore.
[Stanza 30: The King and Daulphine of France, deriding the King of England.]
The King, and Daulphin, to his proud demand, That he might see they no such matter ment, As a thing fitter for his youthfull hand; A Tunne of Paris Tennis balls him sent, Better himselfe to make him vnderstand, Deriding his ridiculous intent: And that was all the answere he could get, Which more, the King doth to this Conquest whet.
[Stanza 31: Henry the fift answered for the Tennis Balls.]
[The language of Tennis.]
That answering the Ambassadour, quoth he, Thanks for my Balls, to Charles your Soueraigne giue, And thus assure him, and his sonne from me, I'le send him Balls and Rackets if I liue, That they such Racket shall in Paris see, When ouer lyne with Bandies I shall driue, As that before the Set be fully done, France may (perhaps) into the Hazard runne.
So little doth luxurious France fore-see By her disdaine, what shee vpon her drew: In her most brauery seeming then to be, The punishment that shortly should ensue, Which so incenst the English King, that he For full reuenge into that fury grew: That those three horrors, Famine, Sword, and Fire, Could not suffice to satisfie his ire.
In all mens mouthes now was no word but warre, As though no thing had any other name; And folke would aske of them ariu'd from farre, What forces were preparing whence they came? 'Gainst any bus'nesse 'twas a lawfull barre To say for France they were; and 'twas a shame For any man to take in hand to doe Ought, but some thing that did belong thereto.
[Stanza 34: Blades accounted of the best temper.]
Olde Armours are drest vp, and new are made; Iacks are in working, and strong shirts of Male, He scowers an olde Fox, he a Bilbowe blade, Now Shields and Targets onely are for sale; Who works for warre, now thriueth by his Trade, The browne Bill, and the Battell-Axe preuaile: The curious Fletcher fits his well-strung Bowe, And his barb'd Arrow which he sets to showe.
Tents and Pauillions in the fields are pitcht, (E'r full wrought vp their Roomthynesse to try) Windowes, and Towers, with Ensignes are inricht, With ruffling Banners, that doe braue the sky, Wherewith the wearied Labourer bewitcht To see them thus hang wauing in his eye: His toylsome burthen from his back doth throwe, And bids them worke that will, to France hee'll goe.
[Stanza 36: Armed at all points.]
[Armings for the thigh and legge.]
[Armings for the arme and shoulder.]
Rich Saddles for the Light-horse and the Bard For to be brau'st there's not a man but plyes, Plumes, Bandroules, and Caparizons prepar'd; Whether of two, and men at Armes diuise The Greaues, or Guyses were the surer guard, The Vambrasse, or the Pouldron, they should prize; And where a stand of Pykes plac't close, or large, Which way to take aduantage in the Charge.
One traynes his Horse, another trayles his Pyke, He with his Pole-Axe, practiseth the fight, The Bowe-man (which no Country hath the like) With his sheafe Arrow, proueth by his might, How many score off, he his Foe can strike, Yet not to draw aboue his bosomes hight: The Trumpets sound the Charge and the Retreat, The bellowing Drumme, the Martch againe doth beat.
[Stanza 38: Great Ordnance then but newly in vse.]
Cannons vpon their Caridge mounted are, Whose Battery France must feele vpon her Walls, The Engineer prouiding the Petar, To breake the strong Percullice, and the Balls, Of Wild-fire deuis'd to throw from farre, To burne to ground their Pallaces and Halls: Some studying are, the scale which they had got, Thereby to take the Leuell of their Shot.
The man in yeares preacht to his youthfull sonne Prest to this Warre, as they sate by the fire, What deedes in France were by his Father done, To this attempt to worke him to aspire, And told him, there how he an Ensigne wonne, Which many a yeare was hung vp in the Quire: And in the Battell, where he made his way, How many French men he struck downe that day.
The good old man, with teares of ioy would tell, In Cressy field what prizes Edward play'd, As what at Poycteers the Black Prince befell, How like a Lyon, he about him layd: In deedes of Armes how Awdley did excell, For their olde sinnes, how they the French men payd: How brauely Basset did behaue him there: How Oxford charg'd the Van, Warwick the Reare.
And Boy, quoth he, I haue heard thy Grandsire say, That once he did an English Archer see, Who shooting at a French twelue score away, Quite through the body, stuck him to a Tree; Vpon their strengths a King his Crowne might lay: Such were the men of that braue age, quoth he, When with his Axe he at his Foe let driue, Murriain and scalpe downe to the teeth did riue.
The scarlet Iudge might now set vp his Mule, With neighing Steeds the Streetes so pestred are; For where he wont in Westminster to rule, On his Tribunal sate the man of Warre, The Lawyer to his Chamber doth recule, For be hath now no bus'nesse at the Barre: But to make Wills and Testaments for those That were for France, their substance to dispose.
By this, the Counsell of this Warre had met, And had at large of eu'ry thing discust; And the graue Clergie had with them beene set: To warrant what they vndertook was iust, And as for monies that to be no let, They bad the King for that to them to trust: The Church to pawne, would see her Challice layde, E'r shee would leaue one Pyoner vnpayde.
[Stanza 44: Halfe the circuit of the Island, from the Spanish to the German Ocean.]
[Edward the third.]
From Milford Hauen, to the mouth of Tweed, Ships of all burthen to Southampton brought, For there the King the Rendeuous decreed To beare aboard his most victorious fraught: The place from whence he with the greatest speed Might land in France, (of any that was thought) And with successe vpon that lucky shore, Where his great Grandsire landed had before.
But, for he found those vessels were to fewe, That into France his Army should conuay: He sent to Belgia, whose great store he knewe, Might now at neede supply him euery way. His bounty ample, as the windes that blewe, Such Barkes for Portage out of eu'ry bay In Holland, Zealand, and in Flanders, brings; As spred the wide sleeue with their canuase wings.
[Stanza 46: The Sea betwixt France and England so called.]
[A Catalogue of the Ships in 12 Stanzas.]
But first seauen Ships from Rochester are sent, The narrow Seas, of all the French to sweepe: All men of Warre with scripts of Mart that went, And had command, the Coast of France to keepe: The comming of a Nauie to preuent, And view what strength, was in the Bay of Deepe: And if they found it like to come abroad, To doe their best to fire it in the Road.
[Stanza 47: The names of the Kings 7 Ships of War.]
[An Indian Bird so great, that she is able to carry an Elephant.]
The Bonauenture, George, and the Expence, Three as tall Ships, as e'r did Cable tewe, The Henry Royall, at her parting thence, Like the huge Ruck from Gillingham that flewe: The Antilop, the Elephant, Defence, Bottoms as good as euer spread a clue: All hauing charge, their voyage hauing bin, Before Southampton to take Souldiers in.
Twelue Merchants Ships, of mighty burthen all, New off the Stocks, that had beene rig'd for Stoad, Riding in Thames by Lymehouse and Blackwall That ready were their Merchandize to load, Straitly commanded by the Admirall, At the same Port to settle their aboad: And each of these a Pinnis at command, To put her fraught conueniently to land.
Eight goodly Ships, so Bristow ready made, Which to the King they bountifully lent, With Spanish Wines which they for Ballast lade, In happy speed of his braue Voyage ment, Hoping his Conquest should enlarge their Trade, And there-withall a rich and spacious Tent: And as, this Fleet the Seuerne Seas doth stem, Fiue more from Padstowe came along with them.
The Hare of Loo, a right good Ship well knowne, The yeare before that twice the Strayts had past, Two wealthy Spanish Merchants did her owne, Who then but lately had repair'd her wast; For from her Deck a Pyrate she had blowne, After a long Fight, and him tooke at last: And from Mounts Bay sixe more, that still in sight, Wayted with her before the Ile of Wight.
[Stanza 51: The Bay of Portugall one of the highest working Seas that is known.]
From Plymmouth next came in the Blazing Starre, And fiery Dragon to take in their fraught; With other foure, especiall men of Warre, That in the Bay of Portugall had fought; And though returning from a Voyage farre, Stem'd that rough Sea, when at the high'st it wrought: With these, of Dertmouth seau'n good Ships there were, The golden Cressant in their tops that beare.
So Lyme, three Ships into the Nauy sent, Of which the Sampson scarse a mon'th before, Had sprung a Planke, and her mayne Mast had spent, With extreame perill that she got to shore; With them fiue other out of Waymouth went, Which by Southampton, were made vp a score: With those that rode (at pleasure) in the Bay, And that at Anchor before Portsmouth lay.
[Stanza 53: A Country lying upon the east Sea bordring upon Poland.]
[Famous for Herring fishing.]
Next these, Newcastle furnisheth the Fleet With nine good Hoyes of necessary vse; The Danish Pyrats, valiantly that beet, Offring to Sack them as they sayl'd for Sluce: Six Hulks from Hull at Humbers mouth them meet, Which had them oft accompanied to Pruce. Fiue more from Yarmouth falling them among, That had for Fishing beene prepared long.
The Cowe of Harwich, neuer put to flight, For Hides, and Furres, late to Muscouia bound, Of the same Port, another nam'd the Spight, That in her comming lately through the Sound, After a two-dayes-still-continued fight, Had made three Flemings runne themselues a ground; With three neat Flee-boats which with them doe take, Six Ships of Sandwich vp the Fleet to make.
[Stanza 55: Aydes to the King by the Nobility.]
Nine Ships for the Nobility there went, Of able men, the enterprize to ayde, Which to the King most liberally they lent, At their owne charge, and bountifully payde, Northumberland, and Westmerland in sent Fourescore at Armes a peece, themselues and layde At six score Archers each, as Suffolke showes, Twenty tall men at Armes, with forty Bowes.
Warwick and Stafford leauied at no lesse Then noble Suffolke, nor doe offer more Of men at Armes, and Archers which they presse, Of their owne Tenants, Arm'd with their owne store: Their forwardnesse fore-showes their good successe In such a Warre, as had not beene before: And other Barrons vnder Earles that were, Yet dar'd with them an equall charge to beare.
Darcy and Camois, zealous for the King, Louell, Fitzwater, Willoughby, and Rosse, Berckley, Powis, Burrell, fast together cling; Seymer, and Saint Iohn for the bus'nesse closse, Each twenty Horse, and forty foote doe bring More, to nine hundred mounting in the grosse In those nine Ships, and fitly them bestow'd, Which with the other fall into the Road.
From Holland, Zeland, and from Flanders wonne By weekely pay, threescore twelue Bottoms came, From fifty vpward, to fiue hundred Tunne; For eu'ry vse a Marriner could name, Whose glittering Flags against the Radient Sunne, Show'd as the Sea had all beene of a flame; For Skiffes, Crayes, Scallops, and the like, why these From eu'ry small Creeke, cou'red all the Seas.
The man whose way from London hap'd to lye, By those he met might guesse the generall force, Daily encountred as he passed by, Now with a Troupe of Foote, and then of Horse, To whom the people still themselues apply, Bringing them victuals as in mere remorce: And still the acclamation of the presse, Saint George for England, to your good successe.
There might a man haue seene in eu'ry Streete, The Father bidding farewell to his Sonne: Small Children kneeling at their Fathers feete: The Wife with her deare Husband ne'r had done: Brother, his Brother, with adieu to greete: One Friend to take leaue of another runne: The Mayden with her best belou'd to part, Gaue him her hand, who tooke away her heart.
The nobler Youth the common ranke aboue, On their coruetting Coursers mounted faire, One ware his Mistris Garter, one her Gloue; And he a lock of his deare Ladies haire; And he her Colours, whom he most did loue; There was not one but did some Fauour weare: And each one tooke it, on his happy speede, To make it famous by some Knightly deede.
The cloudes of dust, that from the wayes arose, Which in their martch, the trampling Troupes doe reare: When as the Sunne their thicknesse doth oppose In his descending, shining wondrous cleare, To the beholder farre off standing showes Like some besieged Towne, that were on fire: As though fore-telling e'r they should returne, That many a Citie yet secure must burne.
The well-rig'd Nauie falne into the Road, For this short Cut with victuall fully stor'd, The King impatient of their long aboad, Commands his Army instantly aboard, Casting to haue each Company bestow'd, As then the time conuenience could afford; The Ships appointed wherein they should goe, And Boats prepar'd for waftage to and fro.
To be imbarqu'd when euery Band comes downe, Each in their order as they mustred were, Or by the difference of their [a]Armings knowne, Or by their Colours; for in Ensignes there, Some wore the Armes of their most ancient Towne, Others againe their owne Diuises beare, There was not any, but that more or lesse, Something had got, that something should expresse.
[Note a: A Blazon of the Ensignes of the seuerall Shires, in 14 Stanzas following.]
First, in the [b]Kentish Stremer was a Wood, Out of whose top an arme that held a Sword, As their right Embleme; and to make it good, They aboue other onely had a Word, Which was; Vnconquer'd; as that freest had stood. [c]Sussex the next that was to come Aboard Bore a Blacke Lyon Rampant, sore that bled, With a Field-Arrow darted through the head.
[Note b: Expressing their freedom, as still retaining their ancient liberties, by surprising the Conqueror like a mouing Wood.]
[Note c: An expressio of King Harolds death, slaine with an Arrow in the head, at the Battaile of Hastings, fighting against the Conqueror.]
The men of [d]Surrey, Cheeky Blew and gold, (Which for braue Warren their first Earle they wore, In many a Field that honour'd was of olde:) And Hamshere next in the same Colours bore, Three Lions Passant, th' Armes of Beuis bould, Who through the World so famous was of yore; A siluer[e] Tower, Dorsets Red Banner beares; The Cornishmen two Wrestlers had for theirs.
[Note d: The first famous Earle of that Countrey.]
[Note e: Expressing the pleasantnesse of the scituation of that County, lying vpon the French sea.]
The [f]Deuonshire Band, a Beacon set on fire, Sommerset [g]a Virgine bathing in a Spring, Their Cities Armes, the men of Glostershire, In Gold three [h]Bloudy Cheuernells doe bring; Wiltshire a Crowned[a] Piramed; As nigher Then any other to martch to the King; Barkshire a [b]Stag, vnder an Oake that stood, Oxford a White Bull wading in a Flood.
[Note f: As lying the fittest to expell or forwarne Inuasion.]
[Note g: Expressing the delicacy of the Bath, their chiefe Citty.]
[Note h: The Armes of the ancient Family of Clare Earle of Gloster borne by the City.]
[Note a: Stonidge being the first wonder of England, standing in Wiltshire.]
[Note b: An old Embleme of Berech, or Berkshire.]
The mustred men for [c]Buckingham, are gone Vnder the Swan, the Armes of that olde Towne, The Londoners, and Middlesex as one, Are by the Red Crosse, and the Dagger knowne; The Men of [d]Essex ouermatch'd by none, Vnder Queene Hellens Image Martching downe; [e]Suffolke a Sunne halfe risen from the brack, [f]Norfolke a Triton on a Dolphines backe.
[Note c: A Badge of the ancient family of the Staffords Dukes of that place.]
[Note d: Queene Helen Founder of the Crosse, wife to Constantine, and Daughter to King Coell, builder of Colchester in Essex.]
[Note e: Suffolke the most Easterly of the English shieres.]
[Note f: For the braue prospect to the Germaine Ocean.]
The Souldiers sent from [g]Cambridgshire, a Bay Vpon a Mountaine watred with a shower: Hartford[h] two Harts that in a Riuer play; Bedfords an Eagle pearcht vpon a Tower, And [i]Huntington a People proud as they, Not giuing place to any for their power, A youthfull Hunter, with a Chaplet Crown'd, In a pyde Lyam leading forth his Hound.
[Note g: Hauing relation to that famous Vniuersitie their Shiere Towne.]
[Note h: The Armes of the Towne somewhat alluding to the name.]
[Note i: The Armes of the towne of Huntingdon, first so named of a place where Hunters met.]
Northampton[k] with a Castle seated high, Supported by two Lyons thither came; The men of [l]Rutland, to them marching nie, In their rich Ensigne beare an Ermine Ram, And [m]Lestershire that on their strength relye, A Bull and Mastiue fighting for the game. Lincolne[n] a Ship most neatly that was lim'd In all her Sailes with Flags and Pennons trim'd.
[Note k: The armes of the towne.]
[Note l: From the aboundance of wooll in that tract.]
[Note m: A sport more vsed in that Shiere from ancient time, then in any other.]
[Note n: For the length that it hath vpon the Germane Ocean.]
Stout[a] Warwickshire, her ancient badge the Beare, Worster[b] a Peare-Tree laden with the Fruit, A Golden Fleece and[c] Hereford doth weare, Stafford[d] a Hermet in his homely sute, Shropshire[e] a Falcon towring in the Ayre, And for the Shiere whose surface seems most brute, Darby, an Eagle sitting on a Roote, A swathed Infant holding in her foote.
[Note a: The Beare and ragged Staffe, the ancient Armes of that Earledome.]
[Note b: For the aboundance of fruit more there then in any other tract.]
[Note c: The finenesse of the wooll of Lemster in that Shiere.]
[Note d: Many Hermites liued there in the woods in times past, it being all forrestie.]
[Note e: Expressing the loftinesse of the mountaines in that Shiere, on which many Hawkes were wont to airy.]
Olde[f] Nottingham, an Archer clad in greene, Vnder a Tree with his drawne Bowe that stood, Which in a checkquer'd Flagge farre off was seene: It was the Picture of olde Robin Hood, And[g] Lancashire not as the least I weene, Thorough three Crownes, three Arrowes smear'd with blood: Cheshiere a Banner very square and broad, Wherein a man vpon a Lyon rode.
[Note f: That famous out-law liued much in that Country, and is yet by many places there celebrated.]
[Note g: Accounted euer the best Archers in England.]
A flaming Lance, the[h] Yorkshiere men for them, As those for Durham neere againe at hand, A Myter crowned with a Diadem: An Armed man, the men of[i] Cumberland: So[k] Westmerland link'd with it in one Stem, A Ship that wrackt lay fierd vpon the sand: Northumberland[l] with these com'n as a Brother, Two Lyons fighting tearing one another.
[Note h: For their agillity with the Speare, and swiftnesse of their Naggs.]
[Note i: Being ready stil in Armes against the Scots.]
[Note k: Expressing the scite therof iuting out into those dangerous Seas, betwixt England and Ireland.]
[Note l: Their terrible conflicts (many times) with the Scots, expressed in the fight between the golden and red Lyons.]
Thus as themselues the English men had show'd Vnder the Ensigne of each seu'rall Shiere, The Natiue Welch who no lesse honour ow'd To their owne King, nor yet lesse valiant were, In one strong Reg'ment had themselues bestow'd, And of the rest, resumed had the Reare: To their owne Quarter marching as the rest, As neatly Arm'd, and brauely as the best.
[a]Pembrooke, a Boat wherein a Lady stood, Rowing her selfe within a quiet Bay; Those men of South-Wales of the [b]mixed blood, Had of the Welch the leading of the way: Caermardin[c] in her Colours beare a Rood, Whereon an olde man lean'd himselfe to stay At a Starre pointing; which of great renowne, Was skilfull Merlin, namer of that Towne.
[Note a: Milford Hauen in Pembrookeshiere, one of the brauest harbours in the knowne world, therefore not vnaptly so expressed.]
[Note b: Partly Dutch, partly English, partly Welch.]
[Note c: Merlin, by whose birth and knowledge that towne is made famous.]
[d]Clamorgan men, a Castell great and hie, From which, out of the Battlement aboue, A flame shot vp it selfe into the skye: The men of [e]Munmouth (for the ancient loue To that deare Country; neighbouring them so nie) Next after them in Equipage that moue, Three Crownes Imperiall which supported were, With three Arm'd Armes, in their proud Ensigne beare.
[Note d: A Watch Tower or Pharus, hauing the scituation where Seuerne beginneth to widden, as when Pirats haue come in to giue warning to the other Maratyne Countries.]
[Note e: For the glory it hath attained, to be the Kings birth-place, and to expresse his principalities.]
The men of [f]Brecknock brought a Warlick Tent, Vpon whose top there sate a watchfull Cock, Radnor,[g] a mountaine of a high assent, Thereon a Shepheard keeping of his Flock, As [h]Cardigan the next to them that went, Came with a Mermayde sitting on a Rock, And [i]Merioneth beares (as these had done) Three dancing Goates against the rising Sunne.
[Note f: The Armes of Brecknock.]
[Note g: Lying towards the midst of Wales, and for aboundance of Sheepe, liuing on those high Mountaines.]
[Note h: Expressing the scituation of that Shiere, lying on the Maratine part vpon the Irish Sea.]
[Note i: For the aboundance of Goates, being on those inaccessible Mountaines.]
Those of [a]Montgomery, beare a prancing Steed, Denbigh[b] a Neptune with his three-fork'd Mace: Flintshiere[c] a Workmayd in her Summers weed, With Sheafe and Sickle (with a warlick pace) Those of Caernaruon not the least in speed, Though marching last (in the mayne Armies face) Three golden Eagles in their Ensigne brought, Vnder which oft braue Owen Guyneth fought.
[Note a: The Shiere breeding the best Horses of Wales.]
[Note b: As opening it selfe to the great North or Deucalidonian Sea.]
[Note c: Expressing the abundance of Corn and grasse, in that little Tract.]
The Seas amazed at the fearefull sight, Of Armes, and Ensignes, that aboard were brought, Of Streamers, Banners, Pennons, Ensignes pight, Vpon each Pup and Prowe; and at the fraught, So full of terror, that it hardly might Into a naturall course againe be brought, As the vaste Nauie which at Anchor rides, Proudly presumes to shoulder out the Tides.
[Stanza 80: A Simile of the Nauy.]
The Fleet then full, and floating on the Maine, The numerous Masts, with their braue Topsailes spred, When as the Winde a little doth them straine, Seeme like a Forrest bearing her proud head Against some rough flawe, that forerunns a raine; So do they looke from euery loftie sted, Which with the Surges tumbled too and fro, Seeme (euen) to bend, as trees are seene to doe.
[Stanza 81: The braue solemnity at the departing of the Fleet.]
From euery Ship when as the Ordnance rore, Of their depart, that all might vnderstand, When as the zealous people from the shore, Againe with fires salute them from the Land, For so was order left with them before, To watch the Beacons, with a carefull hand, Which being once fierd, the people more or lesse, Should all to Church, and pray for their successe.
[Stanza 82: The Nauy Landing in the mouth of Seyne.]
They shape their Course into the Month of Seyne, That destin'd Flood those Nauies to receiue, Before whose fraught her France had prostrate laine, As now she must this, that shall neuer leaue, Vntill the Engines that it doth containe, Into the ayre her heightned walls shall heaue; Whose stubborne Turrets had refus'd to bow, To that braue Nation that shall shake them now.
Long Boates with Scouts are put to land before, Vpon light Naggs the Countrey to discry, (Whilst the braue Army setting is on shore,) To view what strength the enemy had nie, Pressing the bosome of large France so sore, That her pale Genius, in affright doth flye To all her Townes and warnes them to awake, And for her safety vp their Armes to take.
At Paris, Roan, and Orleance, she calls, And at their gates with gronings doth complaine: Then cries she out, O get vp to your walls: The English Armies are return'd againe, Which in two Battailes gaue those fatall falls, At Cressie, and at Poyteers, where lay slaine Our conquered Fathers, which with very feare Quake in their Graues to feele them landed here.
The King of France now hauing vnderstood, Of Henries entrance, (but too well improu'd,) He cleerly saw that deere must be the blood, That it must cost, e'r he could be remou'd; He sends to make his other Sea Townes good, Neuer before so much it him behou'd; In eu'ry one a Garison to lay, Fearing fresh powers from England eu'ry day.
[Stanza 86: The braue encouragement of a couragious King.]
To the high'st earth whilst awfull Henry gets, From whence strong Harflew he might easl'est see, With sprightly words, and thus their courage whets, In yonder walls be Mynes of gold (quoth he) He's a poore Slaue, that thinkes of any debts; Harflew shall pay for all, it ours shall be: This ayre of France doth like me wondrous well, Lets burne our Ships, for here we meane to dwell.
[Stanza 87: A charitable Proclamation made by the King.]
But through his Hoast, he first of all proclaim'd In paine of death, no English man should take From the Religious, aged, or the maym'd, Or women that could no resistance make: To gaine his owne for that he onely aym'd; Nor would haue such to suffer for his sake: Which in the French (when they the same did heare) Bred of this braue King, a religious feare.
[Stanza 88: The Kings mayne Standard (for the ponderousnes thereof,) euer borne vpon a Carriage.]
His Army rang'd, in order fitting warre, Each with some greene thing doth his Murrian crowne, With his mayne standard fixt vpon the Carre; Comes the great King before th'intrenched Towne, Whilst from the walls the people gazing are, In all their sights he sets his Army downe; Nor for their shot he careth not a pin, But seekes where he his Battery may begin.
[Stanza 89: The King makes his approches on three parts.]
And into three, his Army doth diuide, His strong aproaches on three parts to make; Himselfe on th'one, Clarence on th'other side, To Yorke and Suffolke he the third doth take, The Mines the Duke of Glocester doth guide; Then caus'd his Ships the Riuer vp to Stake, That none with Victuall should the Towne relieue Should the Sword faile, with Famine them to grieue.
[Stanza 90: The King summons Harflew.]
From his Pauillion where he sate in State, Arm'd for the Siedge, and buckling on his Shield, Braue Henry sends his Herault to the Gate, By Trumpets sound, to summon them to yeeld, And to accept his Mercy, ere to late, Or else to say ere he forsooke the field, Harflew should be but a meere heape of Stones, Her buildings buried with her Owners bones.
France on this sudaine put into a fright, With the sad newes of Harflew in distresse, Whose inexpected, miserable plight, She on the suddaine, knew not to redresse, But vrg'd to doe the vtmost that she might, The peoples feares and clamours to suppresse, Raiseth a power with all the speede she could, Somewhat thereby, to loose King Henries hold.
[Stanza 92: Charles de Alibert, and Iohn Bowcequalt.]
The Marshall, and the Constable of France, Leading those Forces levied for the turne, By which they thought their Titles to aduance, And of their Countrey endlesse praise to earne, But it with them farre otherwise doth chance, For when they saw the Villages to burne, And high-towr'd Harflew round ingirt with fires, They with their powers to Cawdebeck retire.
[Stanza 93: A Simile of the French powers.]
Like as a Hinde when shee her Calfe doth see, Lighted by chance into a Lions pawes, From which should shee aduenture it to free, Shee must her selfe fill his deuouring Iawes, And yet her young one, still his prey must be, (Shee so instructed is by Natures Lawes:) With them so fares it, which must needs goe downe If they would fight; and yet must loose the Towne:
[Stanza 94: A description of the siege of Harflewe, in the 19 following Stanzaes.]
Now doe they mount their Ordnance for the day, Their scaling Ladders rearing to the walls, Their battering Rammes against the gates they lay, Their brazen slings send in the wilde-fire balls, Baskets of twigs now carie stones and clay, And to th'assault who furiously not falls; The Spade and Pickax working are belowe, Which then vnfelt, yet gaue the greatest blowe.
Rampiers of earth the painefull Pyoners raise With the walls equall, close vpon the Dike, To passe by which the Souldier that assayes, On Planks thrust ouer, one him downe doth strike: Him with a mall a second English payes, A second French transpearc'd him with a Pyke: That from the height of the embattel'd Towers, Their mixed blood ranne downe the walls in showers.
A French man back into the Towne doth fall, With a sheafe Arrow shot into the head; An English man in scaling of the wall, From the same place is by a stone struck dead; Tumbling vpon them logs of wood, and all, That any way for their defence might sted: The hills at hand re-ecchoing with the din Of shouts without, and fearefull shrickes within.
[Stanza 97: Crosbowe Arrowes.]
When all at once the English men assaile, The French within all valiantly defend, And in a first assault, if any faile, They by a second striue it to amend: Out of the Towne come quarries thick as haile; As thick againe their Shafts the English send: The bellowing Canon from both sides doth rore, With such a noyse as makes the Thunder pore.
Now vpon one side you should heare a cry, And all that Quarter clowded with a smother; The like from that against it by and by; As though the one were eccho to the other, The King and Clarence so their turnes can ply: And valiant Gloster showes himselfe their brother; Whose Mynes to the besieg'd more mischiefe doe, Then with th'assaults aboue, the other two.
An olde man sitting by the fier side, Decrepit with extreamity of Age, Stilling his little Grand-childe when it cride, Almost distracted with the Batteries rage: Sometimes doth speake it faire, sometimes doth chide, As thus he seekes its mourning to asswage, By chance a Bullet doth the chimney hit, Which falling in, doth kill both him and it.
Whilst the sad weeping Mother sits her downe, To giue her little new-borne Babe the Pap: A lucklesse quarry leueld at the Towne, Kills the sweet Baby sleeping in her lap, That with the fright shee falls into a swoone, From which awak'd, and mad with the mishap; As vp a Rampire shreeking she doth clim, Comes a great Shot, and strikes her lim from lim.
Whilst a sort runne confusedly to quench, Some Pallace burning, or some fired Street, Call'd from where they were fighting in the Trench; They in their way with Balls of Wilde-fire meet, So plagued are the miserable French, Not aboue head, but also vnder feet: For the fierce English vowe the Towne to take, Or of it soone a heape of stones to make.
Hot is the Siege the English comming on, As men so long to be kept out that scorne, Carelesse of wounds as they were made of stone; As with their teeth the walls they would haue torne: Into a Breach who quickly is not gone; Is by the next behind him ouer-borne: So that they found a place that gaue them way, They neuer car'd what danger therein lay.
From eu'ry Quarter they their course must plye, As't pleas'd the King them to th'assault to call: Now on the Duke of Yorke the charge doth lye: To Kent and Cornwall then the turne doth fall: Then Huntingdon vp to the walls they crye: Then Suffolke, and then Excester; which all In their meane Souldiers habits vs'd to goe, Taking such part as those that own'd them doe.
The men of Harflew rough excursions make, Vpon the English watchfull in their Tent, Whose courages they to their cost awake, With many a wound that often back them sent, So proud a Sally that durst vndertake, And in the Chase pell mell amongst them went, For on the way such ground of them they win, That some French are shut out, some English in.
Nor idely sit our Men at Armes the while, Foure thousand Horse that eu'ry day goe out; And of the Field are Masters many a mile, By putting the Rebellious French to rout; No Peasants them with promises beguile: Another bus'nesse they were come about; For him they take, his Ransome must redeeme, Onely French Crownes, the English men esteeme.
Whilst English Henry lastly meanes to trye: By three vast Mynes, the walls to ouerthrowe. The French men their approches that espye, By Countermynes doe meete with them belowe, And as opposed in the Workes they lye: Vp the Besieged the Besiegers blowe, That stifled quite, with powder as with dust, Longer to walls they found it vaine to trust.
Till Gaucourt then, and Tuttivile that were The Townes Commanders, (with much perill) finde The Resolution that the English beare; As how their owne to yeelding were enclinde, Summon to parly, off'ring frankly there; If that ayde came not by a day assignde, To giue the Towne vp, might their liues stand free: As for their goods, at Henries will to be.
And hauing wonne their conduct to the King, Those hardy Chiefes on whom the charge had layne: Thither those well-fed Burgesses doe bring, What they had off'red strongly to maintaine In such a case, although a dang'rous thing, Yet they so long vpon their knees remaine: That fiue dayes respight from his Grant they haue, Which was the most, they (for their liues) durst craue.
The time perfixed comming to expire, And their reliefe ingloriously delay'd: Nothing within their sight but sword, and fire; And bloody Ensignes eu'ry where display'd: The English still within themselues entire, When all these things they seriously had way'd, To Henries mercy found that they must trust, For they perceiu'd their owne to be iniust.
The Ports are opened, weapons layd aside, And from the walls th'Artillary displac'd: The Armes of England are aduanc'd in pride: The watch Tower, with Saint Georges Banner grac'd: Liue Englands Henry, all the people cride: Into the Streetes their women runne in hast, Bearing their little Children, for whose sake They hop'd the King would the more mercy take.
[Stanza 111: The King of England entreth Harflew in triumph.]
The gates thus widened with the breath of Warre; Their ample entrance to the English gaue: There was no dore that then had any barre; For of their owne not any thing they haue: When Henry comes on his Emperiall Carre: To whom they kneele their liues alone to saue. Strucken with wonder, when that face they sawe, Wherein such mercy was, with so much awe.
And first themselues the English to secure, Doubting what danger might be yet within; The strongest Forts, and Citadell make sure, To showe that they could keepe as well as win, And though the spoyles them wondrously alure, To fall to pillage e'r they will begin, They shut each passage, by which any power Might be brought on to hinder, but an hower.
That Conquering King which entring at the gate, Borne by the presse as in the ayre he swamme: Vpon the suddaine layes aside his state, And of a Lyon is become a Lambe: He is not now what he was but of late: But on his bare feete to the Church he came: By his example, as did all the presse, To giue God thankes, for his first good successe.
[Stanza 114: King Henry offereth to decide his right by single combat.]
And sends his Herauld to King Charles to say, That though he thus was setled on his shore, Yet he his Armes was ready downe to lay, His ancient right if so he would restore: But if the same he wilfully denay, To stop th'effusion of their Subiects gore; He frankly off'reth in a single fight, With the young Daulphine to decide his right.
Eight dayes at Harflew he doth stay to heare, What answere back, his Herauld him would bring: But when he found that he was ne'r the neere; And that the Daulphine meaneth no such thing, As to fight single; nor that any were To deale for composition from the King: He casts for Callice to make forth his way, And takes such Townes, as in his Iourneyes lay.
But first his bus'nesse he doth so contriue, To curbe the Townes-men, should they chance to stirre Of Armes, and Office he doth them depriue, And to their roomes the English doth preferre: Out of the Ports all Vagrants he doth driue, And therein sets his Vnckle Excester: This done, to martch he bids the thundring Drummes, To scourge proud France whe now her Coqueror comes.
The King and Daulphine hauing vnderstood, How on his way this haughty Henry was Ouer the Soame, which is a dangerous flood; Pluckt downe the Bridges that might giue him passe; And eu'ry thing, if fit for humane food, Caus'd to be forrag'd; (to a wondrous masse) And more then this, his Iourneyes to fore-slowe, He scarce one day vnskirmish'd with, doth goe.
But on his march, in midst of all his foes; He like a Lyon keepes them all at bay, And when they seeme him strictly to enclose; Yet through the thick'st he hewes him out a way: Nor the proud Daulphine dare him to oppose; Though off'ring oft his Army to fore-lay: Nor all the power the enuious French can make, Force him one foote, his path (but) to forsake.
[Stanza 119: A ford found in the Riuer of Soame.]
And each day as his Army doth remoue, Marching along vpon Soames Marshy side, His men at Armes on their tall Horses proue, To finde some shallow, ouer where to ryde, But all in vaine against the Streame they stroue, Till by the helpe of a laborious guide, A Ford was found to set his Army ore Which neuer had discouered beene before.
The newes divulg'd that he had waded Soame, And safe to shore his Caridges had brought, Into the Daulphins bosome strooke so home, And one the weakenesse of King Charles so wrought; That like the troubled Sea, when it doth Foame, As in a rage, to beate the Rocks to nought; So doe they storme, and curse on curse they heapt Gainst those which should the passages haue kept.
[Stanza 121: A Counsell held at Roan against the King of England.]
And at that time, both resident in Roan, Thither for this assembling all the Peeres, Whose Counsailes now must vnderprop their Throne Against the Foe; which, not a man but feares; Yet in a moment confident are growne, When with fresh hopes, each one his fellow cheeres, That ere the English to their Callis got, Some for this spoile should pay a bloudy shot.
Therfore they both in solemne Counsaile satt, With Berry and with Britaine their Alies; Now speake they of this course, and then of that, As to insnare him how they might diuise; Something they faine would doe, but know not what, At length the Duke Alanzon vp doth rise, And crauing silence of the King and Lords, Against the English, brake into these words.
[Stanza 123: A speech of the Duke Alanzon against the English.]
Had this vnbridled youth an Army led, That any way were worthy of your feare, Against our Nation, that durst turne the head, Such as the former English forces were, This care of yours, your Countrey then might sted, To tell you then, who longer can forbeare, That into question, you our valour bring, To call a Counsaile for so poore a thing.