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And, as he comes along, he still proclaims
The duke of Somerset, whom he terms a traitor. [K. Henry.] Was ever king that joy'd an earthly throne,
And could command no more content than I ?
-Come, wife, let's in, and learn to govern better ;
MEMORANDA SUPPLEMENTARY TO THE FOREGOING SCENES.
It was in 1452 that the duke of York first appeared in arms with hostile demonstrations toward the reigning house, but under pretence that his sole object was the removal of the duke of Somerset from the king's councils. Buckingham, going to meet him, persuaded him to an interview; at which York found that he had allowed himself to be entrapped: in consequence of which, he moderated even his ostensible pretensions, and, agreeing to dismiss his forces, retired for a time to his seat at Wigmore on the borders of Wales. But two years after, when circumstances had strengthened the hands of his party, the Lancastrians were obliged to send Somerset to the Tower, and to make York protector of England, on the occasion of a sickness which befel the king, and reduced him for a time to total incapacity. On the recovery of the king, the Lancastrians endeavoured to annul these acts; to maintain the effect of which, York collected an army, and successfully fought the first battle of St. Albans, namely, in 1455,
when Somerset was killed. Still the two parties were able to maintain their struggles with no decisive advantage to either. In 1458 a reconciliation was outwardly effected; but this was soon broken ; and toward the end of the following year was fought the battle of Bloreheath on the borders of Staffordshire. This proved in favour of the Yorkists; but some desertions from their side obliged their leaders to retreat for a season, till the parties again faced each other, in 1460 at Northampton. Here some of the leaders on both sides were slain, among whom were Shrewsbury and Buckingham ; but the Yorkists were victorious and the king was taken prisoner. In the same year a parliament was held at Westminster, in which the claims of the rival houses were discussed. The result was, that while the crown was confirmed to Henry for his life, he was obliged to resign the succession to the house of York, and thus to prejudice the claim of his son. with her infant son, had, in the mean time, fled from the lost field of Northampton; and, collecting a large army in the north, she marched southward to recover her son's right. York, with an inferior force, hastened to stop her; and the battle of Wakefield was the consequence, which was fought at the close of the same year.
EFFECTS OF THE BATTLE OF WAKEFIELD; THE CRUELTY OF
THE PARTISANS OF BOTH HOUSES IN CONTRAST WITH THE
In the battle of Wakefield, Dec. 24, 1460, the duke of York was slain, and three thousand of the Yorkists fell. Clifford, the queen's general, murdered with his own hands, in cold blood, the youthful earl of Rutland, the second of York's four sons, in revenge for the death of the elder Clifford, his father, who perished at St. Alban’s. The earl of Salisbury, and other noblemen, were beheaded when the battle was over, by what they called martial law. After this success the queen divided her army; of which the smaller division, commanded by Pembroke, was defeated at Mortimer's Cross by young Edward, now become duke of York; but the larger division, which she herself accompanied, was successful against Warwick at the second battle of St. Alban's, where the king again fell into the hands of his own party. The queen was, however, obliged to retreat again to the north, where she increased her army. The Yorkists followed her, and
gained the battle of Towton, on the 29th March, 1461. In the mean time, the young Edward, duke of York, had secured the suffrage of the Londoners, and mounted the throne as Edward IV.
Edward and Richard, the eldest and youngest sons of Richard duke of York, have made their way successfully to a plain near Mortimer's Cross, in Herefordshire, thus far in ignorance of their father's fate at Wakefield. A messenger has arrived from thence, and we are to imagine the young men listening to him,--Edward with head averted to hide his tears,—Richard with a stern fierce countenance in which the traits of grief are quite obliterated by the emotions of stronger revenge : the messenger speaks : [Messenger.] My lords, I was a woful looker-on,
What time the noble duke of York was slain.
Of York, the saddest sight that e’er I view'd. [Edward.] Alas! our prop to lean upon is gone!
Our staff, our stay! 0 Clifford, thou hast slain
O never henceforth shall I joy again!
Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart:
Show thy descent by gazing 'gainst the sun.
The earl of Warwick and other noblemen of the York party here make their appearance in advance of their forces : Richard continues speaking:
Great lord of Warwick, if we should recount
The wounds would give less anguish than our words. [Warwick.] I know your news; the duke of York is slain. Ten days ago I drown'd it in my tears.
to add more measure to your woes,
[Rich.) 'Twas odds, methinks, when valiant Warwick fled :
Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
But ne'er till now his scandal in retiring. [Warwick.] Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear.
For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine
Were he as bold in war as fam’d for praying. [Richard.] I know it well, lord Warwick : blame me not;
'Tis love I bear thy glories makes me speak.
Tell our devotions by the blows we sound ? [Warwick.] Why therefore Warwick came to seek you out. The queen,
I think, is thirty thousand strong:
But sound the trumpets, and about our task. The
queen retires northward : our thoughts must anticipate her; and, taking stand at the gates of the city of York, we must imagine the approach of King Henry, Margaret, the young prince, Clifford, Northumberland, and others. The queen, pointing to the summit of the gates, addresses her husband : [Q. Marg.] Behold, my lord, the welcome gates of York,
Surmounted by the head of that arch-enemy,