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“Of the works of Sir Thomas More it was necessary to give a speci. men, both because our language was then in a great degree formed and settled, and because it appears from Ben Jonson, that his works were considered as models of pure and elegant style."
Johnson's History of the English Language.
RICHARD THE THIRDE.
RICHARDE, the thirde sonne of Richarde, Duke of York, was in witte and courage egall with his two brothers, in bodye and prowesse farre vnder them bothe, little of stature, ill fetured of limmes, croke backed, his left shoulder much higher than his right, hard fauoured of visageand such as is in states called warlye, in other menne otherwise, the was malicious, wrathfull, enuious, and from afore his birth, euer frowarde.) It is for trouth reported, that the duches his mother had so much a doe in her trauaile, that shee coulde not bee deliuered of hym vncutte: and that hee came into the worlde with the feete forwarde, as menne bee borne outwarde, and (as the fame runneth) also not vntothed, whither menne of hatred reporte aboue the trouthe, or elles that nature chaunged her course in hys beginninge, whiche in the course of his lyfe many thinges vnnaturallye committed. None euill captaine was hee in the warre, as to whiche his disposicion was more metely then for peace. Sundrye victories hadde hee, and sommetime ouerthrowes, but neuer in defaulte as for his owne parsone, either of
hardinesse or polytike order, free was hee called of dyspence, and sommewhat aboue hys power liberall, with large giftes bee get him vnstedfaste frendeshippe, for whiche hee was fain to pil and spoyle in other places, and get him stedfast hatred. (Hee was close and secrete, a deepe dissimuler, lowlye of counteynaunce, arrogant of heart, outwardly coumpinable where he inwardely hated, not letting to kisse whome hee thoughte to kyll: dispitious and cruell, not for euill will alway, but after for ambicion, and either for the suretie or encrease of his estate. Frende and foo was muche what indifferent, where his aduauntage grew, he spared no mans deathe, whose life withstoode his purpose. He slewe with his owne handes king Henry the sixt, being prisoner in the Tower, as menne constantly saye, and that without commaundement or knoweledge of the king, whiche woulde vndoubtedly yf he had entended that thinge, haue appointed that boocherly office, to some other then his owne borne brother.
Somme wise menne also weene, that his drift couertly conuayde, lacked not in helping furth his brother of Clarence to his death: whiche hee resisted openly, howbeit somwhat (as menne deme) more faintly then he that wer hartely minded to his welth. And they that thus deme, think that he long time in king Edwardes life, forethought to be king in that case the king his brother (whose life hee looked that euill dyete shoulde shorten) shoulde happen to decease (as in dede he did) while his children wer yonge. And thei deme, that for thys intente he was gladde of his brothers
death the duke of Clarence, whose life must nedes haue hindered hym so entendynge, whither the same duke of Clarence hadde kepte him true to his nephew the yonge king, or enterprised to be kyng himselfe. But of al this pointe, is there no certaintie, and whoso diuineth vppon coniectures, maye as wel shote to farre as to short. Howbeit this haue I by credible informacion learned, that the selfe nighte in whiche kynge Edwarde died, one Mystlebrooke longe ere mornynge, came in greate haste to the house of one Pottyer dwellyng in Reddécrosse strete without Crepulgate: and when he was with hastye rappyng quickly letten in, hee shewed vnto Pottyer that kynge Edwarde was departed. By my trouthe manne quod Pottyer then wyll my mayster the duke of Gloucester bee kynge. What cause hee hadde soo to thynke harde it is to saye, whyther hee being toward him, anye thinge knewe that hee suche thynge purposed, or otherwyse had anye inkelynge thereof: for bee was not likelye to speake it of noughte.
But nowe to returne to the course of this hystorye, were it that the duke of Gloucester hadde of old foreminded this conclusion, or was nowe at erste thereunto moued, and putte in hope by the occasion of the tender age of the younge princes, his nepheues (as opportunitye and lykelyhoode of spede, putteth a manne in courage of that hee neuer entended) certayn is it that hee contriued theyr destruccion, with the vsurpacion of the regal dignitye vppon hymselfe. And for as muche as hee well wiste and holpe to mayntayn, a long con