Polydore Vergil.

Polydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum online

. (page 23 of 30)
Online LibraryPolydore VergilPolydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum → online text (page 23 of 30)
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combred with other matters* The tutors or gardens of the childe



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THE SIXTH BOOK. 237

mervayled muche at the pietie and jentilnes of the kinge^ in con-
sideracion whearof they entertayned him lovinglie. When the
kinge perceavid his crafte and subtiltee to bee unspied of the Nor-
mans^ he was then in full hope to have his purpose, and immedi-
allie reqidred to have the yonge Richard to bee fostered in his
pallace; but forasmuche as in conclusion hee was fayne to use
menaces and thretens in the case, (as it is harde by one meanes or
other not to bewraye falshoode,) hee beegan sumwhat to fawle in
suspicion with the people, who murmured that hee camm not so
muche to assiste the yonge prince as to bringe Normandie under
his subjection, as indeade his meaninge was. Hereof arose an ex-
ceadinge uprore emonge them, and they prepared treason for the
kinge, for indeade they weare all readie preste in armes to defende
theyr Uberties, if enie mann showld goe abowte to abridge them
theirof. The kinge, supposinge it necessarie to prevente this
daunger, for the quietinge of this generall evil and displeasure,
commawnded the childe to bee browght foorthe ; and when the
multitude was allmost now enraged, hee sayde to them, ^ Goodd
people, heere is youre lorde and duke, whose charge and govern-
ance I take on mee, in no other respect but that hee may bee fos-
tered in good manners/ With this fayre speeche hee perverted
their former opinion, minedinge neverthelesse to goe forward in
his owlde attempte, and consequentlie treted with everie lorde in
loving language that it mighte bee lawfuU to leade yonge Richard
with him into Fraunce ; still keeping in his herte full intente to bee
avenged of suche injuries as hee had receaved of the Normans,
awayting his time for the purpose ; which thinge leaste it showlde
comm to lyght, hee browght upp the childe verie well and princelie.
Amulphus earl of Flawnders was not a littell dismayde with thease
doengs, who not longe before hadd slayne bie treason the father ot
Richarde, thinckinge now that in that deade hee hadd deceaved him
selfe; wherfore with aU celeritee hee toke his voyage towards the
Frenche kinge, to make his purgation ; and with a large somm of
monnie hee made; or at the leastwise dissembled) satisfaction of bis



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238 HISTORY OF ENOI4AND.

crime unto him who was as false a foxe as himselfe. After thisj the
kinge having his wicked devices in his hedd^ somtimes privelie,
somtimes in open audience, spake verie evel and opprobriuslie
of yonge Richard^ that bie suohe continewall revylinge hee might
lavishe owte his conceaved mallice, and cawse him therbie as one
of nowghtie nature to be odius to all the Normans ; that if after-
warde it shoulde chawnce him to bee slaine bie eni fortune they
might take the matter the more easelye : and in this poUtike tawnt-
inge hee wente so farre that hee openlie oawled him bastardy
threatening to dispossesse him of all his honors and goodds, Thus^
in conclusion, the matter semed to drawe to extremitee and rigoure^
in so muche that Osmundus the instructor of Richarde^ detesting
the intollerable creweltie of the kinge, whearas before hee hadd ver-
tuuslie trayned him uppe, hee now cawsed him like a poppet to be
dressed in sege and reedes, and secretlie to bee convayed to Liaudu-
num, and consequentlie declared the whole circumstance to Barnard
earle of Sylvanectum, who loved the yonge jentilman entierlie ;
whearuppon hee adjoyned to him Hughe the greate earle of Parris^
and forthwith assemblinge divers legions, hee browght Richard
unto Sylvanectum. Ludovicus in the meane space, hearinge that
the yonge duke was stowUen away, commawnded Hughe to make
restitucion. He signified bie his letters that it was not in his power
so to doe. The kinge breeflie willed him to apeare, and^ to bee shorte,
at there meatinge and conference promised to geeve him sondrie
townes in Normandie to take parte with him. Hughe was soone
invegeled witli fayre promises, and held with the kinge, and joyninge
bothe their force together, they toke the waye to Normandie*
Barnard earle of Sylvanectum thowght it more avaylable to deale
with them politikelie then rigoruslie, and thereuppon treated with
Barnard the Dane, presidente of Normandie, to sende legates unto
kinge Lowis, who showlde say in the beehowfe of all the contrie that
Normandie, the people, their boddies and goodds, weare all at his
pleasure, and therefore thei beseeched him to com unto his owne
menn withowte weapons^ sithe it was their minde to bee pUante and



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tax SIXTH BOOK. 239

obeysante. This greatlie delighted the king, being more then hee
looked for at their hands, so that immediatlie bee wente unto Roane,
wheare, bringinge all things to passe as hee wisshed, (or at the leaste
wise as hee thowght in him selfe,) hee departed to Laudunum.

Barnard the Dane, to thende hee might keepe the Nor-
mans in their fayth towards Richard, bie his letters hee signified
to Haraldus the v*. kinge of Denmarcke, (who a littell beefore
was driven owt of his contrie bie his soonn Sweno, and camm
into Normandie, and as then sojornied abowte the borders of the
Constantiens,) that now was comm the time when the kinges
garrison mighte safelie bee beaten away, and therefore hee re-
quiered him, ether by and bie to assiste him, or to sende thither
his sowldiers, for bie that meanes hee sayde it wowld comm to
passe that hee showlde iawle in communication with the Frenshe
kinge; neither didd his expectation deceare him, for when as
Haraldus was comm, Ludovicus, beinge certified of his sodaine
comminge, wente to meate with him ; they mett abowte thebancke
of the river Sequana, wheare, whiles the two kinges commoned
towchinge the murtberinge of William, and that everie mann helde
their handes, it chaunced a certayne Dane to espie Herlowinus,
and sodainelie to thruste him throwghe, for that William was
slayne for his sake, whearof arose a cruell skirmishe, wherin the
Frenchemen weare ether killed or putt to flighte. Ludovicus was
taken prisoner, howbeit in the end the Normans restored him to
the Frenchemen, taking his sonne Lotharius in pledge. Now was
Richard of sufficiencie to beare rule, and forthwith proclaimed
duke* I muste not lette passe to shewe that certaine historiens
have fallslie affirmed that this Danishe prince who succored the
Normans was called Aygholdus or Ligrotus, when indead there
never reyned enie kinge in Denmarcke of that name, as well ap-
peareth bie the historic of Saxo, who shewethe evidentlie that
Haraldus the v^K as I sayde, was then expelled owte of his riolme
bie his sonne Sweno (as allso the selfe same awthors doe grawnte),
notwithstandinge that Saxo makethe no relation of this conflicte



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240 HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

with the Prenchemen. The kinge of Frawnce verie desierus to bee
avenged was not afterwarde quiet ; but, being bowlstered up by
Otho kinge of Germanie, hee, tried manie thinges in vayne, and
loste muche labor, for when as they bothe joynctlie wente into
Roane and didd muche hxirme to the cittie, neverthelesse they
weare fayne to geeve over in the ende, not withowte the destruc-
tion of their menn and their own infamie. In this yeare, beinge
the Dccccvi. of Christes nativitee, died the Frenche king, after
whome succeaded his soonne Lotharius, who bie the procurement
Camuie*. of Theobaldus carle of Chartres beegann to professe mervaylus
hostilitee towards duke Richard, bothe to mayntaine the owlde
mallice of his father, and also for that the duke waxed so puis-
saunte that hee beecamme dreadefidl to all the contries adjoyn-
inge ; whearfor firste of all hee assayled him bie tndnes of treason^
which for that they framed not accordinge to his minde hee fell
to open warre, whearin they both turmoyled with variable fortune ;
in fine they agreede of peace, at the instance of divers noble jentil-
men. This Richard encreased bothe in the renowne of martiall
valiance and allso vertuus qualities, for, employenge himselfe to
sett forth Godds honor, hee bylded manie goodlie cherches, gar-
nishinge them with sondrie giftes. Hee hadd but two onlie chil-
dren that I knowe, Richard, and Emma who maried Etheldredus.
Hee lefte his mortall boddie in the yeare of our Lorde dccccxcvi.
After him succeaded his soonn Richard, of whome elsewheare I
make rehersal as opportunitee shall serve. But now lett us com
backe unto Edwinus.

It lothethemee to write enie thing of this kinge, bothe forthe short-
nes of his reygne and allso for the filthines of his life, but that the
dewe ordre driveth mee therto, for the verie daye whearin hee was
denownced kinge hee defyled his owne coosin, the wife of a cer-
taine noble mann, not onlie againste her will, but allmoste openlie
like a brute beaste, insomuche that the rumor of the horrible crime
ranne throwgheowte all the riolme. Wherfore, when as Dun-
stanus, who was latelie made abbot of Glastonburie^ reprehended



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THB SIXTH BOOR. 241

in fatherlie talke^ admonishinge him heareafter to witbhowlde him-
selfe from suche abhominable vice, hee was so farre from abyding
his hollie admonitions, that heaping one evel deade on an other, hee
banished this hollie father ; which torned him to mutche displea-
sure, for the Northumbrians and Mercians cleane foorsooke him,
and proclamed king his brother Edgarus, in wonderful showtes
wisshing him all feelicitee. This was such a corsie to the herte of
Edwinus, that shortlie after hee died in the iiij. yeare of his reygne.
Thus obteyned Edgarus the kingdom, beinge a moste valient per-
son bothe in boddie and minde, and was crowned at Bathe, or as
somm thinck at Kingston, bie Odo the archebisshop, in the yeare
of our Lord dcccclix. In the beginninge of his government hee
contemned all worldlie thinges in comparison of peace, knowing it
to bee a thinge most delectable, which when hee hadd gotten, leste
hee showlde bee molested bie foreyne nations, hee prepared a
great navie, and placed it in three sondrie coastes, to keepe of suche
strawngers as continuallie annoyed the contrie. Hee allso kepte
the Scottes and Wallshemen in obeysawnoe. I finde in verie
oulde monumentes that the Wallshe people, who ever unwillinglie
obeyed the Englishemen, didd ordayne them a prince of their
owne nation, and that in the time of kinge Edgarus they hadd a
lorde named Ludovallus, whoe payed tribute to the kinge of Eng-
lond, which their ordre as well of princes as also of paymente con-
tinewed certayne yeares after : howbeit, it is not to bee scene at
what time they gotte this benefite of the Englishe kinges, nether
is it specified that ever I cowld leame of enie grave author. Ed-
garus demawnded of Ludovallus for his yearelie rentes xxx. wolves,
to thentent that that kinde of hurtfuU bestes abownding in that
parte of the Ilond, and verie mischevus to the greate flockes of
sheepe, might utterlie bee destroyed ; if it fortuned him to wante
in bis pnescribed nombre of woolves, then in the steede of them
hee showlde pay I knowe not well what sommes of monnie.
Thus the wise kinge thowght beste to keepe his adversaries under,
and to show himselfe in all times and places a mann borne into
CAMD. soc. 2 I



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24i HISTORY OF BNOLAND.

this worlde to do goodd ; whearfore, settinge all delay aparte^ hee
called DuDstanus cwte of banishemente^ and cawsed him to bee
consecrate busshop of Worcestre ; and for as muche as there was
great skarcitee of goodd goremers, hee annexed thereunto the
bishoppricke of London^ which the sage prelate toke on him more
for the commoditee of the peeple then his owne peculier gayne,
for in those dayse the bisshopps hadd no more riches or welthe
then other menn^ but more learninge^ sinceritee^ and wisdom.

The queene Elfreda in the meane time departed this transitorie
life, bie whome the kinge hadde a soonne named Edwarde, whose
deathe cawsed the kinge to commit a moste detestable crime^ for
at that presence it was commonlie noysed that Horgerius duke of
Cornwall hadd a dowghter called Alfreda^ of most excellente bewtie,
whome the kinge thinckinge to marrie^ in all haste assigned his
familier frinde Ethelwoldus to take veewe of the virgin^ and in his
name to require her in manage of the Duke if it weare so that she
was as fayre as she was reported. Ethelwoldus departed into
Comewall, and assone as hee caste his eye on the mayden, hee
was neare madde in loove, insomuche that, forgettiuge the kiuges
commaundementj hee desiered her for himselfe^ and obteined ;
which doonncj he retomed to his prince and sayde that she was
of no suche bewtie as was reported, or as beeseemed his maiestie ;
whearbie perceavinge the king's minde to bee somwhat alienated
from looye, hee began bie littel and littel to entreate him to
grawnte him his good will that hee might marie with her himselfe,
which thing the king consented the more easlie unto^ for that hee
uppon his worde he seemed to contemne her. Thus Ethelwoldus
obteyned the mariage of Alfreda, which in processe must needes
breede his destruction, for the fame of her comlines daylie more
and more encreased, beinge now more frequente in the ies of all
men, in so muche that the kinge^ beinge exceadinge desierus to
hare a syghte of her, purposlie wente on huntinge to a certayne
manneir of Ethelwoldus^ who assone as hee hadd once espied
Alfreda, it is wonderus to bee towlde bow extreemelie he burned



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THE SIXTH BOOK. ^43

in loove, in that hee bothe imagened how to slea her howsband^
and to have her himselfe. The temptinge wooman enkendeled
the brands of loove^ whearin the kinge boomed^ that hee attempted
this horrible facte ; for when her husband herde of the kinges
comminge, hee is reported to have uttered the whole matter to his
wife, praying her, for the savegard of them bothe, to shewe her-
selfe more dissolute and uncomlie then shee was accustomed to
this yonge amoros knighte ; but the woman forgettinge her
howsbondes loore, contemninge his children, persisting still like
herselfe, that is to say, light, covetus, and prowde, decked
and picked herselfe in the hardest manner, and like a pecocke,
meetinge with the kinge, like a beaste undoed the bandes of
chastitee. This deed mervayluslie dishonested the kinge emonge
all estates, for the which hee was greatlie reproved of Dun-
stanus, and allbeit hee was ashamed and penitent for his mis*
deade, yeat cowlde hee not forgett his loove ; but as for Aifreda,
she not onlie not repented her doenge, but was exceadingelie wroth
with Dunstanus for his well advising the kinge. Edgarus hadd
bie Alfreda two sonnes, Edmunde, who lived but a fewe dayes,
and Ethelredus, who when hee was christened polluted the fownte
with the excrementes and ordure of his boddie, wheare uppon
Dunstanus is reported to have sayde, that it wowld comm to passe
that hee in time showlde procure the greate hurte and dishonor of
his contrie. Edgarus besides this looved a certayne noonne named
Wilfreda, or rather, as somm suppose, she hadd taken no vowe^
but was kepte emonge noonnes for feare of defloweringe ; of her
hee ingendered a dowghter called Editha, who for her hollie livinge
(as it is committed to memorie) was afterward canonized. Thease
weare the vices of Edgarus in his blinde yowthe, which in time
hee cleane overshadowed with the vertewse bothe of his boddie
and minde, for in rydinge and armes hee was verie experte, in
noble corage second to no mann, in labor and travailes aboove
measure ; his owne subjectes hee allwayse kept in their dewe hom-
age ; foreyners and strawngers; who weare woonte to annoye the



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S44 HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

Ilond with incursions, hee so dawnted in the beginninge of his
kingdom^ that never after thei durste comm owte of the bowndes
of their owne dunghill. Hee was a sharpe sercher and punisber
of fawltesj yeat withowte ire and creweltie^ for at small matters hee
was often contented to wincke^ that hee might rather show him
selfe a profitable then an ambitius prince. Beesides thease ver-
tewse hee exceadinglie embraced godlines, esteeminge nothinge
in respecte of relligion , enhauncinge the wise^ learned^ and hoUie
men, making them of his senat and cowncell, sufferinge no other
to bee rewlers over the people. Whearfore next unto Dunstanus
he favored one Ethewoldusj a manne of singuler witte and leam-
inge, whome firste hee made abbot of Abyngdon^ then bisshop of
Winchestre. Bie his benefite allso was Oswalde the mooncke
promoted to the bishopricke of Wordter, and, consequenUie, to
the archebisshopricke of Yorcke, after whome Dunstanus was the
next bisshop of Worcestre.

This prince attributed so much to the leaminge and hollie lyfe
of thease iij bisshops, wherein they seemed to excell (as moonckes
are not to learne ho we to showe a fayre glosse in that matter)^ that
beinge entised and mooyed with their prayers and intercession,
yea somwhat angrie that the cheefe prelates showlde still keepe
their wives, contrarie to the decree of hollie fathers^ hee eamestUe
treated with Pope Jhon the xiij. that uppon goodd consideracions
which the moonckes hadd fownde owte for their proffet, hee
wowlde vowchsafe to graunte bie his apostolike authoritee, that
they mighte expell all preestes called seculer chanons owte of the
colUges of Winchestre and Worcestre, and to bringe in their
moonckes^ which in fine hee obteyned ; moreover, bie the insti*
gation of Ethelwoldus and Dunstanus, in the newe college or
abbay of Winchestre, latelie fownded by Alured, and in that allso
which was at Schirebume, a village in Saresburie diocesse^ the
preestes weare kaste foorthe and monckes theire placed; and
the one of them was intituled the abbay of Hide, the other of
Schirebume^ for eeven there consisted the cheefe See of the Weste



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THB SIXTH BOOK. 245

Saxon bisshops^ of which diocesse Saincte Aldelmus wm one of
the firste governors.

Dueringe this season moonckes engroched on manie other
places^ and beegann to hourde upp riches unmeasurable in all
parties, which turned their successors to muohe damage; for
whiles thai onlie employed the Divine service and avoyded the en-
tercourse of menu, embracing solitarie dwellinges, wherof they badd
the first name of monasticall life, thei seemed ful wel to perfowrme
their profession^ but contrarie when they hawnted companie, de-
spised the sole livinge, and thirsted after riches, it is incredible
how muche they didd degenerate from their awnciters, consider*
inge that, mawgre their hedd, they weare fayne to care for worldlie
matters, which no dowbte encomberethe the greater parte of a
mannes yeares. What that the selfe same covetise, as a generall
and infectuus pestelence, didd so enter into the hertes of all
other priestes, that a greate nomber tomed from their owlde
devotion unto tyrranie, not knowing how to avoyde that which is
forbidden hie the prophet, sayenge, Yf a£3wence of riches chawnce
unto the, sette not thine herte thereon. Their predecessors
honored the ordre of priesthoode with the holines of their life,
and sealed it with their bloodde; they dis worshiped the samewith
their riot and licentius livinge; the other receaved promotion
slacklie and with shamefacednes, and bestowed dignitees onlie
on goodd persons ; these sewed for them impudentlie and used
them as prowdelie ; the others exercised liberalitee and shewed
innocentie ; thease weare assoted in avarice and used nowghtines i
the others weare satisfied with litel and lived temperatelie ; but
theas, having too muche welthe, cowlde not live accordinge to
their owne rightes, while they weare constreyned to geeve hospi-
talitee to others, which humainitee no dowte (for so is commonlie
termed) is so farre indeade from the nature of humanitee, that it
commethe nearer unto follie and slaverie, sithe therin they are
often constreyned to offende : for what manne is there whose
senses are not stirred uppe^ after that hee bathe filled himselfe



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246 HietORY OF ENGLAND.

with divers meates and drinck^ as of necessitee those priestes are
enforced to doe, while bie mannes lawe they are driven to keepe
plentifull howses, and to geeve deyntie interteinment to all com-
mers ; but I will nowe retorne to mie purpose.
Oh» ur'or ^^^ ^^^^ OAo, archebisshop of Canterburie, after hee hadde
hie texiuM, been resident xix yeares, or (as som suppose) but xiij. In whose
see succeaded Dunstanus, as xxiij. from Augustinus. This Odo,
with Oswaldus^ archbisshop of Yorck, did solemnlie crowne kinge
Edgare, which thinge, throughe the negligence of writers, is attri-
buted unto Dunstanus, who, as beefore wee specified, was in
banishement at his coronation, and shortlie after released. Kinge
Edgarus, havinge now tranquiUitee throughe owte his riolme, and
being himselfe wholie bente unto godlie woorckes, ether restored
or newlie bylded manie abbayes, or otherwise beestowed large
giftes on them ; emong all others, hee especiallie fownded a rel-
ligius howse of noonnes Benedictines in the village of Wilton,
neare to the cittie of Saresburie, whereof his dowghter Editha was
abbesse certaine years, untill it pleased Godd to dissever her soule
and boddie.

This Saresburie liethe sowthward on level grownde, havinge
divers pleasawnte brookes within it, and hath running bie it the
river Nadder, which being encreased with the river Wyle and
Havine, which glawnceth bie the village Wersminster, it floweth
sowthward into the ocean. Butt to bee short, this Edgarus, to
thende hee mighte traine his people to vertewus life, hee made
verie profitable lawes, which time turned into nowghte; and finallie,
in the xxxvij. of his age, and xvi. yeare of his reygne, hee departed
owte of this worlde. After whome succeaded Edward the second,
a Sonne worthie of so noble a father, and xxxi. in the ordre of the
kinges. In this yeare, being the dcccclxxv. of our Salvation,
Dunstanus, archebisshop of Canterburie, called a congregation of
the spiritualitee for the reformacion of relligion, and the betteringe
thereof. Deweringe thease afFayres certayne yonckers, who weare
in dispaire of good loocke while all things weare so quiet, and



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THE SIXTH BOOK. 247

hoped for a fayre day if somm commotion weare made^ beeganne
to stirre coles, being thereto provoked bie suche priestes as weare
latelie dispossessed bie moonckes, and thought one day to cha-
lenge there owlde righte. The matter was browght beefore cer-
tayne judges, who, in open concurse debatinge the case, and the
more parte agreing that the preestes owghte to bee restored to
their former estate, a voyce was sodainlie heard, saienge, ^ They are
not well in their wittes that beare so muche with priestes ;' as who
showld say, the lawe didd beare more with the moonckes in de-
featinge of other men then with priestes in layeng clayme to their
owne. Neverthelesse, forasmuche as an ymage of Christe stand-
ing beefore them seemed to have spoken those woordes, it was
taken as a most certaine oracle; the poore prelates loste their
sewte, and all the broyle was appeased. Thus the moonckes bie
divine helpe, or rather humaine subtiltee, withheld still thease
gotten gooddes, for eeven at those dayse there weare divers who
rather surmised it to bee the oracle of Phebus then Godd, that is
to saye, rather craftelie cowntrefayted bie menn then uttered of
the Lorde. Edward was prodaymed kinge, full sore againste the
will of his steppe mother, Alfreda; and in his regall function hee
shewed him selfe a devowte and moderate yonge prince, whearbie
hee beecam beloved of all sortes, as one that directlie folowed the
steppes of his father; which thinge muche agreeved the herte of
Alfreda, who hoped to have borne the sway herselfe, and to have
convayed the govemement to her sonne Ethelredus, after the
decease of Edwarde ; but, forasmuche as now shee dispayred in
the case, like a right stepmother, she ymagened to slea her sonne-
in-lawe ; and, to thende it mighte the more speedelie bee browghte
to passe, shee invented an occasion of her purpose. It fortuned
the kinge on a time to goe on huntinge unto the New Forreste,
wheare, foUowinge emestlie the deare and dogges, hee loste his
coropanie, and theruppon drewe towards the howse of Alfreda,
being harde bie, ether to drincke or to visite his halfe brother
Etheldredus. In that place at this day standithe the castell



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248 HISTORY OF BNQLAND.

called Corphe. When this wicked wooman see him comminge, she



Online LibraryPolydore VergilPolydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum → online text (page 23 of 30)