The barrons vvars in the raigne of Edward the second. VVith Englands heroicall epistles. By Michael Drayton
Drayton, Michael, 1563-1631., Drayton, Michael, 1563-1631. England's heroical epistles. aut, Drayton, Michael, 1563-1631. Idea. aut, Drayton, Michael, 1563-1631. Mortimeriados.
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Elinor Cobham to Duke Humfrey.

The Argument.

Elinor Cobham, daughter to the Lord Cobham of Sterborough, and wife to Humfry Plantaginet Duke of Glocester, the son of Henry the fourth, King of England, sirnamed Bulling∣brooke. This noble Duke for his great wisedome and iustice called the good, was by King Henry the fift (brother to this Duke) at his death appointed Protector of the Land, during the nonage of Henry the sixt; this Elinor Duches of Gloce∣ster, a proud and ambitious woman, knowing that if young Henry died without issue, the duke her husband was the nee∣rest of the blood, conspired with one Bullenbrooke, (other∣wise called Onely, a great Magitian) Hun a priest, and Iourdane witch of Eye, by sorcery to make away the king, & by coniuration to know who should succeede. Of this beeing iustly conuicted, she was adiudged to do penance three seue∣rall times openly in London, & then to perpetuall banishment in the Ile of Man, from whence she writeth this Epistle.

ME thinks not knowing, who these lines should send,
Thou straight turn'st ouer to the latter end,
VVhere thou my name no sooner hast espi'd,
But in disdaine my letters casts aside;
VVhy if thou wilt, I will my selfe denie,
Nay, I'le affirme and sweare I am not I,
Page  50 Or if in that thy shame thou doost perceiue,
Ile leaue that name, that name my selfe shall leaue,
And yet me thinks, amaz'd thou shouldst not stand,
Nor seeme so much appauled at my hand,
For my misfortunes haue inur'd thine eye
(Long before this) to sights of misery;
No, no, read on, tis I the very same,
All thou canst read, is but to reade my shame.
Be not dismaid, nor let my name afright,
The worst it can, is but t'offend thy sight;
It cannot wound, nor doe thee deadly harme,
It is no dreadfull spell, nor magique charme;
If shee that sent it, loue Duke Humfrey so,
Ist possible her name should be his foe?
Yes, I am Elnor, I am very shee,
vvho brought for dower, a virgins bed to thee,
Though enuious Beuford slaunder'd me before,
To be Duke Humfreys wanton Paramore,
And though indeed, I can it not denie,
To magique once I did my selfe apply,
I won thee not, as there be many thinke,
vvith poysoning Philters, and betwitching drinke,
Nor on thy person did I euer proue,
Those wicked potions, so procuring loue,
I cannot boast to be rich Hollands heyre,
Nor of the blood and greatnes of Bauier,
Yet Elnor, brought no forraine Armies in,
To fetch her backe, as did thy Iacomin;
Nor clamorous husbands folowed me that fled,
Exclaiming Humfrey to defile his bed,
Nor wast thou forc'd the slaunder to suppresse,
Page  [unnumbered] To send me backe as an adulteresse;
Brabant, nor Burgoyne, claimed me by force,
Nor su'd to Rome to hasten my deuorce,
Nor Belgias pompe, defac'd with Belgias fire,
The iust reward of her vniust desire,
Nor Bedfords spouse, your noble sister Anne,
That princely-issued great Burgunnian;
Should stand with me, to moue a womans strife,
To yeeld the place to the Protectors wife.
If Cobhams name, my birth can dignifie,
Or Sterborough, renowne my familie,
VVhere's Greenewich now, thy Elnors Court of late?
vvhere she with Humfrey held a princely state.
That pleasant Kent, when I abroade should ride,
That to my pleasure, layd forth all her pride;
The Thames, by water when I tooke the ayre,
Daunc'd with my Barge in lanching from the stayre,
The anchoring ships, that when I pass'd the roade
vvere wont to hang their chequered tops abroad;
How could it be, those that were wont to stand,
To see my pompe, so goddesse-like on land,
Should after see mee mayld vp in a sheete,
Doe shamefull penance, three times in the streete?
Rung with a bell, a Taper in my hand,
Bare-foote to trudge before a Beedles wand;
That little babes, not hauing vse of tongue,
Stoode poynting at me as I came along.
VVher's Humfreys power, where was his great command,
vvast thou not Lord-protector of the Land?
Or for thy iustice, who can thee denie,
The title of the good Duke Humfrey?
Page  51 Hast thou not at thy life, and in thy looke,
The seale of Gaunt, the hand of Bullingbrooke?
VVhat blood extract from famous Edwards line,
Can boast it selfe to be so pure as thine?
vvho else next Henry should the Realme prefer?
If it allow of famous Lancaster?
But Rayners daughter must from Fraunce be fet,
And with a vengeance on our throne be set;
Mauns, Maine, and Aniou, on that begger cast,
To bring her home to England in such hast,
And what for Henry thou hast laboured there,
To ioyne the King with Arminacks rich heyre,
Must all be dash'd, as no such thing had been,
Poole needs must haue his darling made a Queen
How should he with our Princes else be plac'd,
To haue his Earleship with a Dukedome grac'd?
And raise the ofspring of his blood so hie,
As Lords of vs, and our posteritie.
O that by Sea when he to Fraunce was sent,
The ship had sunck wherein the traytor went;
Or that the sands, had swallowed her before
Shee ere set foote vpon the English shore.
But all is well, nay we haue store to giue,
vvhat need we more, we by her lookes can liue?
All that great Henries conquests euer heap'd,
That famous Bedford to his glory kept,
Be giuen backe, to Rayner all in post,
And by this meanes, rich Normandy be lost;
Those which haue comen as Mistresses of ours,
Haue into England brought their goodly dowers
vvhich to our Coffers, yeerely tribute brings,
Page  [unnumbered] The life of subiects, and the strength of Kings;
The meanes whereby faire England euer might
Raise power in Fraunce, to back our auncient right,
But she brings ruine, heere to make aboad,
And cancels all our lawfull claime abroade,
And shee must recapitulate my shame,
And giue a thousand by-words to my name,
And call me Beldam, Gib, VVitch, Night-mare, Trot,
vvith all despight that may a woman spot:
O that I were a VVitch but for her sake,
I fayth her Queeneship little rest should take,
I would scratch that face that may not feele the ayre,
And knit whole ropes of vvitch-knots in her hayre,
O I would hag her nightly in her bed,
And on her breast sit like a lumpe of led,
And like a Fayerie, pinch that daintie skin,
Her wanton blood is now so cockerd in,
Or take me some such knowne familiar shape,
As she my vengeance neuer should escape;
vvere I a garment, none should neede the more
To sprinkle me with Nessus poysned gore,
It were enough if she once put me on,
To teare both flesh and sinewes from the bone,
vvere I a flower that might her smell delight,
Though I were not the poysning Aconite,
I would send such a fume into her brow,
Should make her mad, as mad as I am now.
They say the Druides, once liu'd in this Ile,
This fatall Man, the place of my exile,
vvhose powerfull charmes, such dreadfull wonders wrought
vvhich in the gothish Island tongue were taught,
Page  52 O that theyr spels to me they had resign'd,
vvherewith they raisd and calm'd both sea and wind,
And made the Moone pause in her palid spheare,
vvhilst her grim Dragons drew them through the ayre,
Theyr hellish power to kill the plow mans seede,
Or to forespeake the flocks as they did feede,
To nurse a damned spirit with humaine blood,
To carry them through earth, ayre, fire, and flood;
Had I this skill that time hath almost lost,
How like a Goblin, I would haunt her ghost.
O pardon, pardon my misgouern'd tongue,
A womans strength cannot endure my wrong.
Did not the heauens her comming in withstand,
As though affrighted when she came to land,
The earth did quake, her comming to abide,
The goodly Thames did twice keepe backe her tyde,
Paules shooke with tempests, and that mounting spire,
vvith lightning sent from heauen was set on fire,
Our stately buildings to the ground were blowne,
Her pride by these prodigious signes were showne;
More fearefull visions on the English earth,
Than euer were at any death or birth.
Ah Humfrey, Humfrey, if I should not speake,
My breast would split, my very hart would breake.
I that was wont so many to commaund,
vvorse now then with a clapdish in my hand;
A simple mantle, couering me withall,
A very leaper of Cares hospitall,
That from my state, a presence held in awe,
Glad heere to kennell in a pad of straw;
And like an Owle by night to goe abrode,
Page  [unnumbered] Roosted all day within an Iuy tod,
Amongst the sea cliffes, in the dampie caues,
In charnell houses, or among the graues;
Saw'st thou those eyes, in whose sweet cheerfull looke,
Duke Humfrey once, such ioy and pleasure tooke;
Sorrow hath so dispoyl'd me of all grace,
Thou couldst not say, this was my Elnors face,
Like a foule Gorgon, whose disheuel'd hayre
vvith euery blast flies glaring in the ayre;
Some standing vp, like hornes vpon my head,
Euen like those women, that in Coos are bred:
My lanke breasts hang like bladders left vnblowne,
My skinne with lothsome Iaundize ouer-growne;
So pin'd away, that if thou long'st to see
Ruins true picture, onely looke on mee,
Sometime in thinking of what I haue had,
Euen in a suddaine extasie am mad;
Then like a Bedlam, forth thy Elnor runs,
Like one of Bacchus raging frantick Nuns,
Or like a Tartar, when in strange disguise,
Prepar'd vnto a dismall sacrifice.
That Prelate Beford, a foule ill befall him,
Prelate said I, nay deuill I should call him;
Ah God forgiue me, if I thinke amisse,
His very name me thinks my poyson is,
Ah that vile Iudas, our professed foe,
My curse pursue him where so ere he goe;
That to my iudgement when I did appeare,
Layd to my charge those things which neuer were,
I should pertake with Bullenbrookes intents,
The hallowing of his magique instruments,
Page  53 That I procured Southwell to assist,
vvhich was by order consecrate a Priest,
That it was I should couer all they did,
That but for him, had to this day beene hid.
Ah that vile bastard, that himselfe dare vaunt
To be the sonne of thy braue Grandsire Gaunt,
vvhom he but fatherd of meere charitie,
To rid his mother of that infamie,
vvho if report of Elder times be true,
Vnto this day, his father neuer knew.
He that by murthers blacke and odious crime,
To Henries throne attempted once to clime;
Hauing procur'd by hope of golden gaine,
A fatall hand his soueraigne to haue slaine;
vvho to his chamber closely he conuaid,
And for that purpose fitly there had layd,
Vpon whose sword that famous Prince had died,
If by a dogge he had not beene discried.
But now the Queene, her Minion, Poole, and he,
As it please them, so now must all things be,
England's no place for any one beside,
All is too little to maintaine their pride:
Henry alas, thou but a Kings name art,
For of thy selfe, thou art the lesser part;
And I pray God, I doe not liue the day
To see thy ruine, and thy Realmes decay,
And yet as sure, as Humfrey seemes to stand,
He be preseru'd from that vile Traytors hand;
From Glosters seate, I would thou wert estrang'd,
Or would to God that Dukedoms name were chang'd,
For it portends no goodnes vnto vs,
Page  [unnumbered] Ah Humfrey, Humfrey, it is ominous;
Yet rather then thy hap so hard should be,
I would thou wert heere banished with me;
Humfrey adue, farewell true noble Lord,
My wish is all thy Elnor can afford.

Notes of the Chronicle Historie.

I sought that dreadfull Sorceresse of Eye.

ELinor Cobham was accused by some that sought to withstand, and mislik'd her marriage with Duke Humfrey, that shee practised to giue him Philters and such poysoning potions, to make him loue her, as she was slandered by Cardinall Beuford, to haue liued as the Dukes Lemmon, against the which Cardinall she exelaimeth in this Epistle in the verse before.

Though enuious Beuford slaundered me before,

Noting the extreame hate he euer bore her.

Nor Elnor brought thee forraine Armies in,
To fetch her backe as did thy Iacomin.

This was the chiefe and onely thing that euer tuched the reputation of this good Duke; that dotingly he marred Iacomin, or as some call her Iaquet, daughter and heire to William Bauier Duke of Holland, married before, and lawfull wife to Iohn Duke of Brabant then liuing; which after as it is shewed in this verse following.

Brabant nor Burgoyne claimed me by force,
Nor su'd to Rome to hasten my deuorce.

Caused great warres, by reason that the Duke of Burgoyne tooke part with Brabant, against the Duke of Glocester; which being ar∣bittated by the Pope, the Ladie was adiudged to be deliuered backe, to her former husband.

Nor Bedfords spouse, your noble sister Anne,
That Princely issued braue Burgunian.

Iohn Duke of Bedford, that scourge of Fraunce, and the glory of Page  54 the Englishmen, married Anne, sister to the Duke of Burgundy, a vertuous and beautifull Ladie, by which marriage, as also by his vic∣tories attained in Fraunce; he brought great strength to the English nation.

Where's Greenewich now, thy Elnors Court of late?

That faire and goodly Pallace of Greenewich, was first builded by that famous Duke, whose rich and pleasant situation might remaine an assured monument of his wisedome, if there were no other memo∣rie of the same.

They say the Druides once liued in this Ile,

It would seeme that there were two Ilands, both of them called Mona, though now distinquished the one by the name of Man, the other by the name of Anglesey, both which were full of many infer∣nall ceremonies, as may appeare by Agricolaes voyage, made into the hither most Man, described by his sonne in law Cornelius Tacitus. And as superstition the daughter of bararisme and ignorance, so amongst these northerly nations, like as in America Magicke was most estee∣med. Druidae were the publique ministers of their religion, as through∣ly taught in all rites thereof; their doctrine concerned the immorta∣litie of the soule, the contempt of death, and all other points which may conduce to resolution, fortitude, and magnanimitie: their abode was in Groues and Woods, whereupon they haue their name; their power extended it selfe to maister the soules of men diseased, and to confer with Ghosts, and other spirits, about the successe of things. Plutarch in his profound and learned discourse of the defect of Ora∣les, reporteth that the outmost Brittish Iles were the prison of I wote not what Demigods, but it shall not need to speake any farther of the Druidae, then that which Lucan doth.

Et vos barbaricus ritus, morem{que} sinestrum,
Sacrorum, Druidae positis repetistis ab armis.
Did not the heauens, her comming in withstand.

Noting the prodigious and fearefull signes that were seene in Eng∣land, a little before her comming in: which Elinor expresseth in this Epistle, as fore-shewing the dangers which should casue vpon this vn∣lucky marriage.

Page  [unnumbered] The hallowing of the magique instruments.

The instruments which Bullenbrooke vsed in his coniurations, ac∣cording to the deuillish ceremonies and customes of these vnlawfull Artes, were dedicated at a Masse in the Lodge in Harnsey Parke, by Southwell, Priest of Westminster.

Hauing procur'd by hopes of golden gaine,

This was one of the Articles that Duke Humfrey vrg'd against the Cardinall Beuford, that conspired the death of Henry the fift, by con∣uaying a villaine into his chamber, which in the night should haue murthered him: but what ground of truth he had for the same, I leaue to dispute.

Duke Humfrey to Elinor Cobham.

ME thinks thou should'st not doubt, I could forget
Her whom so many doe remember yet;
No, no, our ioyes away like shadowes slide,
But sorrowes firme, in memory abide;
Nay I durst answere, thou doo'st nothing lesse,
But moou'd with passion, vrg'd by thy distresse;
No Elnor no, thy wooes, thy greefe, thy wrong,
Haue in my breast beene resident too long;
Oh when report in euery place had spred,
My Elnor was to sanctuarie fled,
with cursed Onley, and the vvitch of Eye,
As guilty, of their vile conspiracie;
The dreadfull spirits, when they did inuocate,
Page  55 For the succession,, and the Realmes estate;
vvhen Henries Image, they in waxe had wrought,
By which he should vnto his death be brought;
That as his picture did consume away,
His person so, by sicknes should decay;
Griefe that before, could nere my thoughts controule,
That instant tooke possession of my soule.
Ah would to God I could forget thine ill,
As for mine owne, let that instruct me still;
But that before hath taken too sure hold,
Forget it said I; would to God I could.
Of any woe, if thou hast but one part,
I haue the whole remaining in my hart;
I haue no neede of others cares to borrow,
For all I haue, is nothing else but sorrow.
No my sweet Nell, thou took'st not all away,
Though thou went'st hence, here still thy woes doe stay,
Though from thy husband thou wert forst to goe,
Those still remaine, they will not leaue me so;
No eye bewailes my ill, moanes my distresse,
Our greefe is more, but yet our debt is lesse;
vve owe no teares, no mourning daies are kept;
For those that yet for vs haue neuer wept;
vve hold no obijts, no sad exequies
Vpon the death-daies of vnweeping eyes.
Alas good Nell, what should thy patience moue,
T'vpbraid thy kind Lord, with a forraine loue;
Thou might'st haue bidd all former ils adue,
Forgot the old, we haue such store of new.
Did I omit thy loue to entertaine
vvith mutuall griefe to answere griefe againe?
Page  [unnumbered]Or think'st thou I vnkindly did forbeare,
To bandy woe for woe, and teare for teare?
Did I omit, or carelesly neglect,
Those shewes of loue, that Ladies so respect?
In mournefull blacke, was I not seene to goe?
By outward shewes to tell my inward woe:
Nor drerie words, were wasted in lament,
Nor clowdy brow, bewraid my discontent,
Is this the cause, if this be it, know then,
One griefe conceal'd, more grieuous is then ten?
If in my breast those sorrowes sometimes were,
And neuer vtter'd, still they must be there,
And if thou know'st, they many were before,
By time increasing, they must needs be more;
England to me, can challenge nothing lent,
Let her cast vp, what is receiu'd, what spent,
If I her owne, can she from blame be free,
If she but proue, a stepdame vnto me?
That if I should, with that proud bastard striue,
To plead my birth-right and prerogatiue;
If birth alow, I should not need to feare it,
For then my true nobility should beare it;
If counsell ayde, that, Fraunce will tell (I know)
vvhose townes lie wast before the English foe;
vvhen thrice we gaue the conquered French the foyle,
At Agincourt, at Crauant, and Vernoyle,
If faith auaile, these armes did Henry hold,
To claime his crowne, yet scarcely nine month's old.
If Countries care haue leaue to speake for me,
Gray haires in youth, my witnes then may be,
If peoples tongues giue splendor to my fame,
Page  56 They adde a title to Duke Humfreys name;
If toyle at home, French treason, English hate,
Shall tell my skill in managing the state,
If forraine trauell my successe may try,
In Flaunders, Almaine, Boheme, Burgundy,
That Robe of Rome, proud Beuford now doth weare,
In euery place such sway should neuer beare.
The crosier staffe, in his imperious hand,
To be the Scepter that controules the land;
That home to England, despensations drawes,
vvhich are of power to abrogate our lawes,
That for those sums, the wealthy Church should pay,
Vpon the needie Commentie to lay,
His ghostly counsels onely doe aduise,
The meanes how Langleys progenie may rise,
Pathing young Henries vnaduised waies,
A Duke of Yorke from Cambridge house to raise,
vvhich after may our title vndermine,
Grafted since Edward, in Gaunts famous line
Vs of succession falfely to depriue,
vvhich they from Clarence, fainedly deriue,
Knowing the will old Cambridge euer bore,
To catch the wreath that famous Henrie wore.
VVith Gray, and Scroope, when first he laid the plot
From vs, and ours, the garland to haue got,
As from the march-borne Mortimer to raigne,
vvhose title Glendour stoutly did maintaine,
vvhen the proud Percies, haughtie March and he,
Had shar'd the Land by equall parts in three.
His Priesthood now sterne Mowbray doth restore,
To stir the fire that kindled was before;
Page  [unnumbered] Against the Yorkists shall their claime aduaunce,
To steele the poynt of Norfolks sturdie Launce,
Vpon the brest of Herfords issue bent,
In iust reuenge of auncient banishment.
He doth aduise to let our prisoner goe,
And doth enlarge the faithlesse Scottish foe,
Giuing our heires in marriage, that their dowres
May bring inuasion vpon vs and ours.
Ambitious Suffolke so the helme doth guide,
vvith Beufords damned policies supplide
He and the Queene in counsell still confer,
How to raise him who hath aduanced her;
But my deare hart, how vainely do I dreame,
And flie from thee, whose sorrowes are my theam
My loue to thee, and England thus deuided,
vvhich the most part, how hard to be decided,
Or thee, or that, to whether I am loth,
So neere are you, so deere vnto me both,
Twixt that and thee, for equall loue I finde,
England ingratefull, and my Elnor kinde.
But though my Country, iustly I reproue,
For Countries sake, vnkinde vnto my loue,
Yet is thy Humfrey to his Elnor, now
As when fresh beautie triumph'd on thy brow,
As when thy graces I admired most,
Or of thy fauours might the frankli'st boast;
Those beauties were so infinite before,
That in abundance I was onely poore,
Or which though time hath taken some againe,
I aske no more but what doth yet remaine,
Be patient gentle hart, in thy distresse,
Page  57 Thou art a Princesse, not a whit the lesse.
VVhilst in these breasts we beare about this life,
I am thy husband, and thou art my wife;
Cast not thine eye on such as mounted be,
But looke on those cast downe as low as we;
For some of them which proudly pearch so hie,
Ere long shall come as low as thou or I.
They weepe for ioy, and let vs laugh in woe,
vve shall exchange when heauen will haue it so.
VVe mourne, and they in after time may mourne,
vvoe past, may once laugh present woe to scorne,
And worse then hath beene, we can neer ast,
vvorse cannot come, then is already past.
In all extreames, the onely depth of ill,
Is that which comforts the afflicted still;
Ah would to God thou would'st thy grie••s denie,
And on my backe let all the burthen lie.
Or if thou canst resigne, make thine mine owne,
Both in one carridge to be vndergone,
Till we againe our former hopes recouer,
And prosperous times, blow these misfortunes ouer,
For in the thought of those forepassed yeeres,
Some new resemblance of old ioy appeares.
Mutuall our care, so mutuall be our loue,
That our affliction neuer can remoue,
So rest in peace, where peace hath hope to liue,
vvishing thee more, then I my selfe can giue.
Page  [unnumbered]

Notes of the Chronicle Historie.

At Agincourt, at Crauant, and Vernoyle,

THe three famous battels, fought by the English men in Fraunce: Agincourt by Henry the fift, against the whole power of Fraunce, Grauant fought by Mountacute, Earle of Salisburie, and the Duke of Burgoyne, against the Dolphine of Fraunce, & William Stuart, Con∣stable of Scotland: Vernoyle, fought by Iohn Duke of Bedford, a∣gainst the Duke of Alanson, and with him most of the Nobilitie of Fraunce, Duke Humfry an especiall Counsellour in all these expedi∣tions.

In Flaunders, Almaine, Boheme, Burgundie.

Heere remembring the auncient amitie which in his Embassics he concluded betwixt the King of England and Sigismond Emperour of Almaine, drawing the Duke of Burgoyne into the same league, gy∣uing himselfe as an hostage for the Duke of Saint Omers, while the Duke came to Calice to confirme the league. With his many othe imployments to forraine kingdoms.

That crosier staffe in his imperious hand.

Henry Beuford, Cardinall of Winchester, that proude and haughty Prelate, receiued his Cardinals hate at Calice by the Popes Legate, which dignitie, Henry the fift his nephewe, forbad him to take vpon him, knowing his haughtie and malicious spirit vnfit for that robe and calling.

The meanes how Langleys progenie may rise.

As willing to shew the house of Cambridge to bee descended of Edmund Langley Duke of York, a yonger brother to Iohn of Gaunt, his Grandfather (as much as in him lay) to smother the title that the Yorkists made to the crowne (from Lonell of Clarence, Gauntsl∣der brother) by the daughter of Mortimer.

Page  58 His priesthood now; sterne Mowbray doth restore.

Noting the ancient grudge betweene the house of Lancaster and Norfolke, euer since Mowbray Duke of Norfolke was banished for the accusation of Henry Duke of Herford, (after the King of Eng∣land Father to Duke Humfry,) which accusation he came as a Com∣batant, to haue made good in the Lists at Couentry.

And giues our heiresin marriage that their dowers.

Iames Stuart, King of Scots, hauing beene long prisoner in Eng∣land, was released, and tooke to wife the daughter of Iohn Duke of Sommerset, sister to Iohn Duke of Somerset, neee to the Cardinall and the Duke of Excester, and Cosin germaine remou'd to the king, this King broke the oath he had taken, and became after a great ene∣mie to England.