Capitulum vicesimum primum.
KYNGE Steven ded, Henricus the secunde, sonne of the em|presse and of Galfride Plantagenet, erle of Gascoigne, succedid. The maners, actes, vertues, and vices of whom Giralde off Wales describethe in his distincions, seyenge: "Hit is a drede|fulle thynge to allegate ageyne hym that may putte to exile, and to describe hym in mony wordes that may condempne a man with oon worde." But hit were a gracious thynge, and as excedynge my discrecion to wryte the trawthe of this prince in alle his condicions, and not to displease somme parties. This Henry kynge of Ynglonde was a corpulente man, large in hedde and breste, with yelowe eien, and with a grete voice; lytelle in meite and drynke to represse his fattenesse, vexenge Page 25, vol.8 his body with huntynge, walkynge, and stondenge; of a meane stature, eloquente and litterate. This kynge dredde also fortune in batells, more manly ageyne a dedde knyȝhte then ageyne a man beynge in lyfe; sorowenge dedde men and luffynge lytelle men in lyfe; and if he luffede a man or did hate hym, he scholde not be movede lyȝhtely to the contrary. This kynge was also a voluntary trangressor of his worde and promyse; luffer of ease and reste; the oppressor of nobilite, the seller of [folio 359a] ryȝhteuousnes, a open advouterer, unkynde alle tymes to God; luffynge discorde betwene his childer, supposynge þerby to Page 27, vol.8 have reste. Neverthelesse he flourede moche in chevallery of Mart and of Minerva singulerly, for he stablede in pease his londes longynge to hym by inheritaunce, subduynge Irlonde to hym, the realme of Scottelonde also, and toke William kynge of hit, concludynge his empire from the sowthe occean unto the northe yles of Orcades as under oon monarchye, whiche thynge was not seen from Iulius Cesar unto that tyme; also he subduede to hym in the partes behynde see Pictavia, Gascoigne, unto the hilles Pirene of Speyne and Alvernia, with other londes also by reason of his mariage. This kynge was wonte Page 29, vol.8 to say that alle the worlde were unnethe sufficiant to oon myȝty prince. In the firste he toke awey, ageyne the lawe of God, Elianor wife to Lodowicus kynge of Fraunce, and toke her to his wife ageyne the lawe, of whiche thynge he was prohibit by hys fader, in that he synnede with her when he was stuarde in the kynges courte of Fraunce. Neverthelesse this Henricus gate of her vj. noble sonnes, and iij. doȝhters, Matilda the eldeste, whom he maryede to the duke of Saxony; Alienore, the secunde doȝhter, to the kynge of Speyne; and he maryede also Iohan, the thrydde doȝhter, to the kynge of Sicille. And ij. of his sonnes dedde in theire yowthe, he was trowblede moche with the oþer iiij. sonnes unto the tyme of his dethe. Thritty yere of vj. lustres were ȝiffen to this kynge unto worldely glory, to the tolleraunce of conversion, to the ex|perience of devocion. And other v. yere was ȝiffen to hym by Godde to vengeaunce for his unkyndenesse and wickede lyfe. Page 31, vol.8 For in the xxxiij. yere of his reigne he loste Alvernia ageyne the kynge of Fraunce, whiche losede never grownde afore; and in the xxxiiijti yere he loste Bithurica, and in the nexte yere foloynge the cites Cenomanny and Turonense with mony other castells, and hym selfe also. This kynge usede to have reli|gious men moche of his cownsaille, and to use the cownsaile of theyme raþer then of oþer noble and discrete knyȝhtes, havynge theym in his cowrte that he myȝhte be more commendede of legates sende to hym from the pope or from other grete princes and estates. And also for an other cause, that he [folio 359b] myȝhte redeme and recure his fame whiche he hade loste in that he hade ȝiffen dignites of the churche to unworthy persons; whiche promotede Baldewyne, prior of the ordre Cisterciense, unto the seete off Lincoln. And that the reder of this processe Page 33, vol.8 scholde not mervayle of the unhappy departynge of this kynge and of his childer, the originalle of hym schalle be expressede bothe of the parte of his fader and of his moder. A cowntesse of Gascoigne, of the childe of whom Galfride Plantagenet, fader to this kynge, come, was maryede oonly for her beawte, whiche cowntesse used to comme but selde to the churche, and when sche come to the churche sche taryede unnethe to the secretes of the masse. That thynge perceyvede of the erle her lorde, he causede her to be holden in the church by iiij. knyȝhtes. But sche castynge awey here palle, and levynge ij. sonnes in that churche whom she noryschede in the ryȝhte parte of her mantell, toke with her ij. childer whom sche hade on the lyfte side of the palle, and did flye owte by a wyndowe of the churche, alle the peple in the churche seenge her, and appered not after. And Richarde kynge of Ynglonde was wonte to say that hit was not to be mervaylede that men and peple commen of that stokke scholde trowblede eiche oþer, as Page 35, vol.8 commynge from the develle and to goe to hym. Also a clerke sende from kynge Henricus to Gaufride his sonne, erle of Bri|teyne, for the reformacion of pease herde the seide erle seye to hym, "Whereto commes thow to putte me owte from my na|turalle enheritaunce? knoweste not thow that hit is naturalle to us and a properte by linialle descense that oon of us scholde trowble an other? þerfore laboure noo more to expelle nature." Also Matilda empresse was maryede to Galfride Plantagenet, Henricus themperoure here howsebond beynge an heremite and in lyve, by whiche Galfride this kynge was geten. Of whiche kynge beynge in tendre age in the kynges courte of Fraunce seynte Bernarde propheciede, seyenge afore the kynge, "He come from the devell, and he schalle goe to the develle," assignenge in that the cruellenesse of Gaufride where in he toke awey the stonys of the bischop Sagniense, and also the cruellenesse of this Henricus to comme, in that he scholde [folio 360a] schewe crudelite ageyne seynte Thomas of Caunterbery. Also the fader of this Alienor, the erle Pictavense, toke awey Page 37, vol.8 by myȝhte the wife of his shiref, and mariede here to his wife, here howsebonde beynge in lyfe. An holy man rebukynge hym and profitynge not his lyfe, seide in this wyse: "There schalle never oon of youre childer make an happy ende." Also hit happede a voide place as of picture to be lefte in the kynges chamber at Wynchestre, peyntede ryally in other places, where the kynge causede an eagle to be peyntede with iiij. bryddes, thre of whom did bete the egle with theire talauntes and wynges, and the iiijthe laborede moche to putte owte the eien of that egle. The kynge inquired what that thynge scholde portende, ansuered "These iiij. bryddes be my childer, whiche schalle not sease to trowble me unto my dethe, and specially my yongeste sonne Iohn, whom I luffe moste now, schalle laboure and intende my dethe and destruccion."