TO THE DESER­VING MEMORIE OF MY WORTHY PATRON Sir VValter Aston, Knight of the honorable Or­der of the Bath, I consecrate my short Poem.


TO thee that shalt peruse this Poem, and not conuersant in the histories of those times, (I am perswaded) these briefe Annotations shall not be altogether impertinent. By reason the letter (without my knowledge) was chosen too large for the pa­per, I am constrained to doe as men sometime preparing great bankets, and deceiued of table roome, to send in one dish what should haue serued to set out many; as to put in this one preface what should haue been in marginall notes stuck in sundrie places against the stanzaes to which they are apropriate: as this.

The 9. page, the 2. stanza, For hauing Boston businesse &c. The towne of Boston sued to the Pope for the reauthori­zing their Hauen, which had been suspended from that Sea, selecting one Chambers for that businesse, who being on his way at Antwerpe, finding Cromwell, a man industrious and experienced, made choyce of him as his assistant, whom he wan to goe along with him to Rome.

The 11. page, the 1. stanza, Russell and Pace &c. both great States men of that time, and imployed by Henry the 8. in forraine Intelligence, after both Secretaries, and Russell by him created Earle of Bedford.

The 15. page, the 3. stanza, Where learned More and Gar­diner &c. For the former so famous, as who knoweth not I hold him vnworthie to know; the latter, Stephen Gardiner, after Bishop of Winchester, a learned and politike Prelate, and one that was in the end a chiefe instrument of Crom­wels ouerthrow.

The 20. page, the 2. stanza, Bedford whose life &c. This was that Russell, as I haue said before, by Henry the 8. crea­ted [Page] Earle of Bedford; as in the same stanza, And reuerend Hayles, &c. Sir Christopher Hayles Master of the Rolles, a man in great grace with the King, and an especiall fauourer of Cromwell.

The 23. page, the 1. stanza, line 2. Of hospitable Friscobald and mee &c. This Friscobald a Florentine Merchant, relie­uing Cromwell, being in great necessitie, who after being Chancellor of England he honorably requited. This sto­rie containeth some 14. stanzaes.

The 28. page, the 3. stanza, And the King late obedient to her lawes, against the Clerke of Germany &c. King Henry the 8. wrote a booke against Luther, which booke afterward Lu­ther (forgetting all kingly titles) roughly answered.

The 34. page, the 1. stanza, Pierce the wise Plowman &c. The morall of Contrition and the Frier, the matter of which is Pierce Plowmans in his vision, the workmanship therof wholly mine owne, containing about 10. stanzaes.



I Would my verses could thy Booke aduance
B'oue these two fiends; Enuie, and Ignorance.
Thy subiect of such worth, thy pen so smooth,
Cannot escape the euer-sharpned tooth
Of that first monster; who himselfe deceiues,
Whil'st like a Cankar, hid among the leaues,
He seekes to o'respread, consume, at least deface,
The beautie of thy Muse, and Cromwels grace.
Such as haue been thy Apes (and shall not bee
Other then so) shall idely carpe at thee:
So much hath lewdnes wonne vpon this Age,
Such the contempt, the impudence, the rage
Of euery ragged Rymer, who would be
Within himselfe Monarch of Poesie.
But let them perish, whil'st thy workes thee raise
Vnto a greater fortune, then mens praise.
I. Cooke.

To his worthily deare friend Master Michael Drayton.

HOw those great titles that imploy our breath
To deck the marble, where our ashes lie,
Are trophies of the harmes, that in our death
Best doe expresse our golden miserie:
This Oracle thy Muse diuinely reades
In Cromwels starres, that could ambition see,
She would not wish their seeming-happie dreads,
That neerest Ioue and his proud thunder bee.
So short a period Fate hath limited
To giddie power, that breathes but grace and aire,
Soone cloy'd, or those that all haue lauished,
Or they, who full, of getting more despayre.
But thy deare times, whose happie Genius
Breathes a new life to Cromwels dying name,
And his rent honors, Enuie scattred thus,
Whiles in the booke of that great Herauld Fame,
Nought can them hurt, nor times consuming rust,
Nor th'angry frowne, that idely we adore;
This Pyramis shall stand, when in the dust
Their names are laid, the Diadem that wore.
Henry Lucas.

TO HIS WORTHIE FRIEND Michael Drayton vpon his Poem.

TO thee true image of Eternitie
Time; that reuolues the grauen leaues of Fate,
(Yet giu'st men Lethe sted of Memorie,
Because iniurious to all humane state)
Cromwell appeares apparelled in verse,
The fit'st and noblest ornament of fame,
The doome of Enuie grauely to reuerse,
That else to darknes had condemn'd his name:
For Time thou know'st it only is the Muse
That Man to immortalitie can raise.
O Greatnes how thy selfe doest thou abuse,
With the slight soothing of poore verball praise?
Here shall you finde Factions (which are the rent,
And disuniting of a league combin'd)
Make hauock in a ciuill gouerment;
The grace of Kings vnconstant as the winde.
For as corruptiue bodies doe depend
On humorous matter, motions, and their pauses;
So States begin, haue progresse, and doe end,
Because they simpathize with naturall causes.
Here shall you finde (like musick shifting moode)
How times doe change: vicissitude and sway
Of men, and manners; and by selfe decay
How each thing liues: force not the enuious broode
Renowned friend, but triumph in desart,
Iudgement hath led thy Pen, and Truth thy Art.
Christopher Brooke.


A Wak'd, and trembling betwixt rage and dread
With the lowd slander (by the impious time)
That of my actions euery where is spred,
Through which to honour falsely I should clime,
From the sad dwelling of th'vntimely dead,
To quit me of that execrable crime,
Cromwell appeares his wretched plight to show,
Much that can tell, one much that once did know.
Roughly not made vp in the common mould,
That with the vulgar vilely I should die,
What thing so strange of Cromwell is not told?
What man more prais'd? who more cōdemn'd then I?
That with the world when I am waxed old,
Most t'were vnfit that fame of me should lie
With fables vaine my historie to fill,
Forcing my good, excusing of my ill.
You that but hearing of my hated name,
Your ancient malice instantly bewray,
And for my sake your ill deserued blame
Vpon my legend publikely shall lay,
Would you forbeare to blast me with defame,
Might I so meane a priuiledge but pray,
He that three ages hath endur'd your wrong,
Heare him a little that hath heard you long.
Since Romes sad ruine here by me began,
Who her Religion pluckt vp by the roote,
Of the false world such hate for which I wan,
Which still at me her poisned'st darts doth shoot;
That to excuse it, doe the best I can,
Little I feare my labour me will boote:
Yet will I speake my troubled heart to ease,
Much to the minde, her selfe it is to please.
O powerfull number, from whose stricter law
Heart-mouing musicke did receiue the ground
Which men to faire ciuilitie did draw
With the brute beast when lawlesse he was found:
O if according to the wiser saw
There be a high diuinitie in sound,
Be now abundant prosp'rously to aide
The pen prepar'd my doubtful case to pleade.
Putney the place made blessed in my birth,
Whose meanest cottage simply me did shrowd,
To me as dearest of the English earth;
So of my bringing that poore village prou'd,
Though in a time when neuer lesse the dearth
Of happie wits, yet mine so well allow'd
That with the best she boldly durst confer
Him that his breath acknowledged from her.
Twice flow'd proud Thames as at my cōming wood,
Striking the wondring borderers with feare,
And the pale Genius of that aged flood
Vnto my mother labouring did appeare,
And with a countenance much distracted stood,
Threatning the fruit her pained wombe should beare:
My speedie birth being added thereunto,
Seem'd to foretell that much I came to doe,
That was reserued for those worser daies,
As the great ebbe vnto so long a flow,
When what those ages formerly did raise,
This when I liu'd did lastly ouerthrow,
And that great'st labour of the world did seaze,
Only for which immedicable blow
Due to that time me dooming heauen ordai'nd,
Wherein confusion absolutely raign'd.
Vainly yet noted this prodigious signe,
Often predictions of most fearfull things,
As plagues, or warre, or great men to decline,
Rising of Commons, or the death of Kings;
But some strange newes though euer it diuine,
Yet forth them not immediatly it brings,
Vntill the'ffects men afterward did learne,
To know that me it chiefly did concerne.
Whil'st yet my father by his painfull trade,
Whose laboured Anuile only was his fee,
Whom my great towardnes strongly did perswade
In knowledge to haue educated mee:
But death did him vnluckily inuade,
Ere he the fruites of his desire could see,
Leauing me yong, then little that did know
How me the heauens had purpos'd to bestow.
Hopelesse as helplesse most might me suppose,
Whose meannesse seem'd their abiect breath to draw:
Yet did my breast that glorious fire inclose,
Which their dull purblind ignorance not saw,
Which still is setled vpon outward showes,
The vulgars iudgement euer is so raw,
Which the vnworthiest sottishly doe loue
In their owne region properly that moue.
Yet me my fortune so could not disguise,
But through this cloud were some that did me know,
Which then the rest more happie or more wise,
Me did relieue when I was driuen low,
Which as the staier by which I first did rise,
When to my height I afterward did grow,
Them to requite my bounties were so hie,
As made my fame through euery eare to flie.
That height and Godlike puritie of minde
Resteth not still, where titles most adorne
With any, nor peculiarly confinde
To names, and to be limited doth scorne:
Man doth the most degenerate from kinde,
Richest and poorest both alike are borne;
And to be alwaies pertinently good,
Followes not still the greatnes of our blood.
Pitie it is that to one vertuous man
That marke him lent to gentrie to aduance,
Which first by noble industrie he wan,
His baser issue after should inhance,
And the rude slaue not any good that can,
Such should thrust downe by what is his by chance:
As had not he been first that him did raise,
Nere had his great heire wrought his grandsires praise.
How weake art thou that makest it thy end
To heape such worldly dignities on thee,
When vpon fortune only they depend,
And by her changes gouerned must bee?
Besides the dangers still that such attend,
Liuel'est of all men purtraied out in mee,
When that for which I hated was of all,
Soon'st from me fled, scarse tarrying for my fall.
You that but boast your ancestors proud stile,
And the large stem whēce your vaine greatnes grew,
When you your selues are ignorant and vile,
Nor glorious thing dare actually pursue,
That all good spirits would vtterly exile,
Doubting their worth should else discouer you,
Giuing your selues vnto ignoble things;
Base I proclaime you though deriu'd from Kings.
Vertue but poore, God in this earth doth place
Gainst the rude world to stand vp in his right,
To suffer sad affliction and disgrace,
Not ceasing to pursue her with despight:
Yet when of all she is accounted base,
And seeming in most miserable plight,
Out of her power new life to her doth take,
Least then dismai'd when all doe her forsake.
That is the man of an vndaunted spirit,
For her deare sake that offereth him to dye,
For whom, when him the world doth disinherit,
Looketh vpon it with a pleased eye,
What's done for vertue thinking it doth merit,
Daring the proudest menaces defie,
More worth then life, how ere the base world rate him,
Belou'd of heauē, although the earth doth hate him.
Iniurious time, vnto the good vniust,
O how may weake posteritie suppose
Euer to haue their merit from the dust,
Gainst them thy partialitie that knowes
To thy report O who shall euer trust,
Triumphant arches building vnto those
Alowd the longest memorie to haue,
That were the most vnworthie of a graue?
But my cleere mettle had that powerfull heate,
As it not turn'd with all that fortune could:
Nor when the world me terriblest did threat,
Could that place winne which my hie thoughts did hold,
That waxed still more prosperously great,
The more the world me stroue to haue control'd,
On my owne Columes constantly to stand,
Without the false helpe of anothers hand.
My youthfull course thus wisely did I steere,
T'auoid those rocks my wrack that else did thret:
Yet some faire hopes from farre did still appeare,
If that too much my wants me did not let:
Wherefore my selfe aboue my selfe to beare,
Still as I grew I knowledge stroue to get,
To perfect that which in the Embryon was,
Whose birth I foūd time well might bring to passe.
But when my meanes to faile me I did finde,
My selfe to trauell presently betooke,
As much distastfull to my noble minde,
That the vile world into my wants should looke,
And of my selfe industriously inclinde,
To measure others actions with my booke,
I might my iudgement rectifie thereby,
In matters that were difficult and hie.
When loe it hapt that fortune as my guide,
Of me did with such prouidence dispose,
That th'English Merchants then who did reside
At Antwerpe, me their Secretarie chose,
(As though in me to manifest her pride)
Whence to those principalities I rose,
To pluck me downe, whence afterward she fear'd
Beyond her power that almost she had rear'd.
When first the wealthie Netherlands mee train'd
In wise commerce most proper to the place,
And from my countrie carefully me wain'd,
That with the world did chiefly winne me grace,
Where great experience happily I gain'd;
Yet here I seem'd but tutor'd for a space,
For hie imployment otherwise ordain'd,
Till which the time I idely entertain'd.
For hauing Boston businesse in hand,
The charge thereof on Chambers being laid,
Comming to Flanders hapt to vnderstand
Of me, whom he requested him to aid;
Of which when I the benefit had scand,
Weighing what time at Antwerpe I had staid,
Quickly me wonne faire Italy to trie,
Vnder a cheerefull and more luckie skie:
For what the meanest cleerely makes to shyne,
Youth, wit, and courage, all in me concurre
In euery proiect, that so powerfull tryne
By whose kinde working brauely I did sturre,
Which to each hie and glorious designe
(The time could offer) freely did me spurre,
As forcing fate some new thing to prepare
(Shewing successe) t'attempt that could me dare:
Where now my spirit got roomth it selfe to show,
To the fair'st pitch doth make a gallant flight,
From things that too much earthly were and low,
Strongly attracted by a Genuyne light,
Where higher still it euery day did grow;
And being in so excellent a plight,
Crau'd but occasion happily to proue
How much it sate each vulgar spirit aboue.
The good successe th'affaires of England found,
Much prais'd the choice of me that had been made:
For where most men the depth durst hardly found,
I held it nothing boldly through to wade
My selfe, and through the strait'st waies I woond.
So could I act, so well I could perswade
As meerely Iouiall, me to mirth applie,
Compos'd of freedome and alacritie.
Not long it was ere Rome of one did ring
(Hardly shall Rome so full daies see again)
Of freemens catches to the Pope I sing,
Which wan much licence to my countrimen,
Thither the which I was the first did bring,
That were vnknowne to Italy till then:
Light humours them when iudgement doth direct,
Euen of the wise winne plausible respect.
And those from home that pensions were allow'd,
And here did for Intelligence remaine,
Vnder my power themselues were glad to shroud,
Russell and Pace yea oftentimes were faine,
When as their names they durst not haue auow'd,
Me into their societie t'retaine,
Rising before me mightie as they were,
Great though at home, yet did they need me there.
In forraine parts nere friends I yet forsake
That had before been deeply bound to mee,
And would againe I vse of them should make,
But still my starres command I should be free,
And all those offers lightly from me shake,
Which to requite I fettred else might bee,
And though that oft great perils me oppunge,
And meanes were weak, my mind was euer strong.
And those great wants fate to my youth did tie
Me from delights of those rich countries dryue,
Thereby inforc'd with painfull industrie
Against affliction manfully to stryue
Vnder her burthen faintly not to lie,
But since my good I hardly must deryue,
Vnto the same to make my selfe a way
Through all the power against me she could lay.
As a Comedian where my life I led,
For so a while my need did me constraine,
With other my poore countrimen (that plai'd)
Thither that came in hope of bettter gaine,
Whereas when fortune seem'd me low to tred
Vnder her feete, she set me vp againe,
Vntill the vse me bad her not to feare
Her good and ill that patiently could beare.
Till Charles the fift th'emperiall power did bend
Gainst Rome, which Burbon skilfully did guide,
Which sore declining Italy did rend;
For th'right that him her holinesse denide,
Wholly her selfe inforced to defend
Gainst him that iustly punished her pride,
To which my selfe I lastly did betake,
Seeing thereof what fortune ment to make.
And at the siege with that great Generall seru'd,
When he did girt her stubborne waste with steele,
Within her walls who well neere being staru'd,
And that with faintnes she began to reele,
Shewing her selfe a little as she swaru'd:
First her then noting I began to feele,
She whose great power so far abroad did roame,
What in her selfe she truly was at home.
That the great schoole of the false world was then,
Where her's their subtill practises did vie,
Amongst that mightie confluence of men,
French plots propt vp by English policie,
The German powers, false shuffling, and agen
All countermin'd by skilfull Italy,
Each one in possibilitie to win,
Great rests were vp and mightie hands were in.
[...]ere first to worke my busie braine was set,
My inclination finding it to please
This stirring world which strongly still did whet)
To temper in so dangerous assaies,
Which did strange formes of policies beget;
Besides in times so turbulent as these,
Wherein my studies hopefully did bend
Vnto that point the wisest made their end:
And my experience happily me taught
[...]nto the secrets of those times to see,
From whence to England afterward I brought
Those slights of state deliu'red vnto mee,
[...]n t'which were then but very few that sought,
Nor did with th'umour of that age agree,
After did great and fearfull things effect,
Whose secret working few did then suspect.
When though t'were long it hapned yet at last
Some hopes me homeward secretly allur'd,
When many perils strangely I had past,
As many sad calamities endur'd
Beyond the Moone, when I began to cast
By my rare parts what place might be procur'd,
If they at home were to the mightie knowne,
How they would seeme cōpared with their owne
Or if that there the great should me neglect,
As I the worste that vainly did not feare,
To my experience how to gaine respect
In other countries that doe hold it deare,
And now occasion seemed to reiect,
Whil'st still before me other rising were,
And some themselues had mounted to the skie,
Little before vnlike to thriue as I.
When now in England Bigamie with blood
Lately begot by luxurie and pride,
In their great'st fulnes peremptorie stood;
Some there unto that diligently prid,
Stillie were fishing in that troubled flood
For future changes wisely to prouide,
Finding the world so rankly then to swell,
That till it brake it neuer could be well.
[...]t floting long vpon my first arryue,
[...]hil'st many doubts me seemed to appall,
[...]ke to a barke that with the tide doth dryue,
[...]uing not left to fasten it with all,
[...]us with the time by suffring I doe stryue
[...]to what harbor doubtfull yet to fall;
Vntill inforc'd to put it to the chance,
Casting the fair'st my fortune to aduance.
[...]aking my selfe to mightie VVolsey knowne,
[...]a [...] Atlas which the gouerment vp stai'd,
[...]hich from meane place in little time was growne
[...]p vnto him, that weight vpon him lai'd,
[...]nd being got the neerest to his throne,
[...]e the more easly the gre [...] kingdome swai'd,
Leauing there on his wearded selfe to breath,
Whil'st euen the greatest faire sat him beneath.
[...]here learned Mo [...]e and Gardiner I met,
[...]en in those times immatchable for wit,
[...]ble that were the [...] spirit to whet,
[...]nd did my humour excellently fit,
[...] to their ranke that worthily did get
[...]here as their proud [...] it or to sit,
O [...] excellence to [...] is the mother,
Wit doth as [...]reathles one beget another.
This Founder of the palaces of Kings,
Whose veines with more then vsuall spirit were fild [...]
A man ordained to the mighti'st things,
In Oxford then determining to build
To Christ a Colledge, and together brings
All that thereof the great foundation wills,
There me imploies, whose industrie he found
Worthie to worke vpon the noblest ground.
Yet in the entrance wisely that did feare
Coyne might fall short, yet with this worke on fire,
Wherefore such houses as Religious were
Whose being no necessitie require,
But that the greater very well might beare,
From Rome the Card'nall cunningly did hier,
Winning withall his Soueraigne to consent,
Both colouring with so holy an intent.
This like a symptome to a long disease
Was the forerunner to this mightie fall,
And but too vnaduisedly did ceaze
Vpon the part that ruinated all,
Which had the worke been of so many daies
And more againe, recouer hardly shall:
But loe it sunke which time did long vphold,
Where now it lies euen leueld with the mould.
Thus thou great Rome here first wast ouerthrowne,
Thy future harmes that blindly couldst not see,
And in this worke they only were thine owne,
Whose knowledge lent that deadly wound to thee,
Which to the world before had they not showne,
Nere had those secrets been descri'd by mee,
Nor by thy wealth so many from the plow
Worne those hie types wherein they florish now.
After when as the Cardinall againe
Into hie fauour with the King mee brought,
With whom my selfe so well I did demeane,
As that I seem'd to exercise his thought,
And his great liking strongly did retaine
With what before my Master me had taught,
From whose example by those Cels were small,
Sprang the subuersion lastly of them all.
Yet many a let was cast into the way,
Wherein I ran so steddily and right,
And many a snare my aduersaries lay,
Much wrought they with their power, much with their slight,
Wisely perceiuing that my smallest stay
Fully requir'd the vtmost of their might,
To my ascendant hasting me to clime,
There as the first predomining the time,
Knowing what wealth me earnestly did wooe,
Which I through VVolsey hapned had to finde,
And could the path most perfectly vntoo,
The King thereafter earnestly inclin'd,
Seeing besides what after I might doe
If so great power me fully were assign'd,
By all their meanes against me strongly wrought,
Lab'ring as fast to bring their Church to nought.
Whil'st to the King continually I sue,
And in this businesse faithfully did stirre
Strongly t'approue my iudgement to be true
Gainst those who most supposed me to erre,
Nor the least meanes which any way I knew
Might grace me, or my purposes preferre
Did I omit, till wonne I had his eare,
Most that me mark'd whē least he seem'd to heare
This wound to them thus violently giuen,
Enuie at me her sharpest darts doth roue,
Affecting the supremacie of heauen,
As the first Giants warring against Ioue,
Heap'd hils on hils, the Gods till they had driuen
The meanest shapes of earthly things to proue:
So must I shift from them against me rose,
Mortall their hate, as mightie were my foes.
But their great force against me wholly bent
Preuail'd vpon my purposes so farre,
That I my ruine scarsely could preuent,
So momentarie worldly fauours are,
That till the vtmost of their spight was spent,
Had not my spirit maintain'd a manly warre,
Risen they had when laid I had been low,
Vpon whose ruine after I did grow.
When the great King their strange reports that tooke
That as pernitious as they potent were,
Which at the faire growth of my fortune strooke,
Whose deadly malice blame me not to feare,
Me at the first so violently shooke,
That they this frame were likely downe to beare,
If resolution with a setled brow
Had not vpheld my peremptorie vow.
Yet these encounters thrust me not awry,
Nor could my courses force me to forsake,
After this ship wrack I againe must trye
Some happier voyage hopefull still to make,
The plots that barren long we see did lie,
Some fitting season plentifully take,
One fruitfull haruest frankly doth restore
What many winters hindred had before.
That to account I strickly call my wit
How it this while had managed my state,
My soule in counsell summoning to sit,
If possible to turne the course of fate,
For waies there be the greatest things to hit,
If men could finde the peremptorie gate,
And since I once was got so neere the brinke
More then before, t'would grieue me now to sink.
Bedford whose life (some said) that I had sau'd
In Italy, one me that fauoured most,
And reuerend Hayles who but occasion crau'd
To shew his loue, no lesse that I had cost,
Who to the King perceiuing me disgrac'd,
Whose fauour I vnluckily had lost,
Both with him great, a foote set in withall
If not to stay, to quallifie my fall.
Hie their regard, yet hier was their hap,
Well neere quite sunke recouer me that could,
And once more get me into fortunes lap,
Which well my selfe might teach me there to hold,
Escap'd out of so dangerous a trap,
Whose praise by me to ages shall be told,
As the two props by which I only rose,
When most supprest, most trod on by my foes.
This me to vrge the premunire wonne,
Ordain'd in matters dangerous and hie,
In t'which the heedlesse Prelacie were runne,
That back vnto the Papacie did flye,
Sworne to that sea, and what before was done
Due to the King, dispensed were thereby,
In t'which first entring offred me the meane
That to throw downe alreadie that did leane.
This was to me that ouerflowing sourse,
From whence his bounties plentifully spring,
Whose speedie current with vnusuall force
Bare me into the bosome of the King,
By putting him into that readie course
Which soone to passe his purposes might bring,
Where those which late imperiously controld me,
Pale strook with feare stood trēbling to behold me.
When state to me those ceremonies show'd
That to so great a fauorite were due,
And fortune still with honours did me load,
As though no meane she in my rising knew,
Or heauen to me more then to man had ow'd,
(What to the world vnheard of was and new)
And was to other sparing of her store
Till she could giue, or ask I could no more.
Those hie preferments he vpon me laid,
Might make the world me publikely to know
Such as in iudgement rightly being wai'd,
Seemed too great for me to vndergoe,
Nor could his hand from powring on be stai'd
Vntill I so abundantly did flow,
That looking downe whence lately I was cloame,
Danger bid feare if further I should roame.
For first from Knighthood rising in degree,
The office of the Iewell house my lot,
After the Rowles he frankly gaue to mee,
From whence a priuie Counseller I got,
Chose of the Garter: and the Earle to bee
Of Essex: yet sufficient these not
But to the great Vicegerencie I grew,
Being a title as supreame as new.
So well did me these dignities befit,
And honour so me euery way became,
As more then man I had been made for it,
Or as from me it had deriu'd the name:
Where was that man whose loue I not requit
Beyond his owne imaginarie aime,
Which had me succourd nerely being driuen
As things to me that idely were not giuen?
What tongue so slow the tale shall not report
Of hospitable Friscobald and mee,
And shew in how reciprocall a sort
My thankes did with his curtesie agree,
When as my meanes in Italy were short
That me relieu'd, lesse great that would not bee,
When I of England Chancellor was made,
His former bounties librally repaid?
The maner briefly gentler Muse relate,
Since oft before it wisely hath been told,
The sudden change of vnauoided fate,
That famous Merchant reuerend Friscobald
Grew poore, and the small remnant of his state
Was certaine goods to England he had sold,
Which in the hands of Creditors but bad,
Small hope to get, yet lesser meanes he had.
Hither his wants him forcibly constrain'd,
Though with long trauell both by land and seas,
Led by this hope that only now remain'd,
Whereon his fortune finally he laies,
And if he found that friendship here were fain'd,
Yet at the worst it better should him please,
Farre out of sight to perish here vnknowne,
Then vnrelieu'd bee pitied of his owne.
It chanc'd as I toward VVestminster did ride,
Mongst the great concourse passing to and fro,
An aged man I happily espide,
Whose outward looks much inward griefe did show,
Which made me nere him, and the more I ey'd
Him, me thought more precisely I should know,
Reuoluing long it came into my minde,
This was the man to me had been so kinde:
Was therewithall so ioyed with his sight,
(With the deare sight of his so reuerend face)
That I could scarsely keepe me from t'alight,
And in mine armes him openly embrace;
Weighing yet (well) what some imagine might,
He being a stranger and the publike place
Checkt my affection; till some fitter hower
On him my loue effectually might shower.
Neuer quoth I was fortune so vniust
As to doe wrong vnto thy noble hart,
What man so wicked could betray the trust
Of one so vpright of so good desart?
And though obey necessitie thou must,
As when the great'st the same to me thou art,
Let me alone the last be left of all,
That from the rest declin'd not with thy fall.
And calling to a Gentleman of mine,
Wise and discreete that well I knew to bee,
Shew'd him that stranger, whose deiected eyne
Fixt on the earth nere once lookt vp at mee,
Bid yonder man come home to me and dine
(Quoth I) bespeake him reuerently (you see)
Scorne not his habit, little canst thou tell
How rich a minde in those meane rags doth dwell.
He with my name that kindly did him greete,
Slowly cast vp his deadly-mouing eye,
That long time had been fixed on his feete,
To looke no higher then his miserie,
Thinking him more calamitie did greete,
Or that I had supposed him some Spye,
With a deepe sigh that from his heart he drew,
Quoth he his will accomplisht be by you.
My man departed and the message done,
He whose sad heart with strange impressions strooke,
To thinke vpon this accident begun,
And on himselfe suspitiously to looke,
Into all doubts he fearfully doth runne,
Oft himselfe cheering oft himselfe forsooke:
Strangely perplext vnto my house doth come,
Not knowing why iudg'd nor dreading yet his doome.
My seruants set his comming to attend,
That were therein not common for their skill,
Whose vsage yet the former did amend:
He hop'd not good, nor guiltie was of ill,
But as a man whose thoughts were at an end,
Fortune (quoth he) then worke on me thy will,
Wiser then man I thinke he were that knew
Whence this may come, or what therof ensue.
His honoured presence so did me inflame,
That though being then in presence of my Peeres,
Daine not the lesse to meete him as he came,
(That very hardly could containe my teares)
Kindly salute him, call him by his name,
And oft together aske him how he cheeres,
With still along maintaining the extreame;
Yet thought the man he had been in a dreame.
At length t'wake him gently I began
With this demaund, if once he did not know
One Thomas Cromwell a poore Englishman,
By him relieu'd when he was driuen low:
When I perceiu'd he my remembrance wan,
Yet with his teares it silently did show:
I wept for woe to see mine host distrest,
But he for ioy to see his happie guest.
Him to the Lords I publisht by my praise,
And at my table carefully him set,
Recounting them the many sundrie waies
I was vnto this gentleman indebt,
How great he was in Florence in those daies,
With all that grace or reuerence him might get:
Which all the while yet silently he heares,
Moisting (among) his viands with his teares.
And to lend fulnes lastly to his fate
Great summes I gaue him, and what was his due
Made knowne, my selfe became his aduocate,
And at my charge his creditors I sue,
Recouering him vnto his former state:
Thus he the world began by me anew,
That shall to all posteritie expresse
His honored bountie and my thankfulnesse.
But Muse recount, before thou further passe,
How this great change so quickly came about,
And what the cause of this sad downfall was,
In euery part the spatious Realme throughout,
Being effected in so little space,
Leaue not thereof posteritie to doubt,
That with the world obscured else may bee,
If in this place reuealed not by thee.
If the whole land did on the Church relie,
Hauing full power Kings to account to call,
That to the world read only policie,
Besides Heauens keyes to stop or let in all,
Let me but know from her supremacie
How she should come so suddenly to fall:
Twas more then chance sure put a hand thereto,
That had the power so great a thing to do.
Or ought there were had biding vnder Sunne,
Who would haue thought those edifices great,
Which first Religion holily begun,
The Church approu'd, and wisdome richly seate,
Deuotion nourish'd, faith allowance wonne,
And all that them might any way compleate,
Should in their ruines lastly buried lye,
But that begun and ended from the skye?
And the King late obedient to her lawes,
Against the Clerke of Germany had writ,
As he that first stird in the Churches cause,
Against him greatliest that oppugned it,
And wan from her so gratefull an applause,
Then in her fauour chiefly that did sit,
That as the prop, whereon she only stai'th,
Him she instyl'd Defender of the faith.
But not their power, whose wisdomes them did place
In the first ranke, the oracles of state,
Who that opinion strongly did embrace,
Which through the land receiued was of late,
Then ought at all preuailed in this case,
O powerfull doome of vnauoided fate,
Whose depth not weake mortality can know,
Who can vphold what heauen will ouerthrow?
When time now vniuersally did show
The power to her peculiarly annex'd,
With most abundance then when she did flow,
Yet euery hower still prosp'rously she wex'd,
But the world poore did by loose riots grow,
Which serued as an excellent pretext,
And colour gaue to pluck her from her pride,
Whose only greatnes suffred none beside.
Likewise to that posteritie did doubt
Those at the first not rightly did adore,
Their fathers that too credulous deuout
Vnto the Church contributed their store,
And to recouer only went about
What their great zeale had lauished before,
On her a strong hand violently lai'd,
Praying on that, they gaue for to be pray'd.
And now the King set in a course so right,
Which I for him laboriously had tract,
(Who till I learn'd him, did not know his might)
I still to prompt his power with me to act,
Into those secrets got so deepe a sight,
That nothing lastly to his furtherance lackt,
And by example plainly to him showne,
How all might now be easly ouerthrowne.
In taking downe yet of this goodly frame
He suddenly not brake off euery band,
But tooke the power first from the Papall name,
After a while let the Religion stand,
When lim by lim he daily did it lame,
First tooke a leg, and after tooke a hand,
Till the poore semblance of a bodie left,
But all should stay it, vtterly bereft.
For if some Abbey hapned voyd to fall
By death of him that the superiour was,
Gaine that did first Church libertie enthrall,
Only supreame, promoted to the place,
Mongst many bad the worst most times of all,
Vnder the colour of some others grace,
That by the slander, from his life should spring,
Into contempt it more and more might bring.
This time from heauen when by the secret course,
Dissension vniuersally began,
(Preuailing as a planetarie sourse)
I'th Church beleeuing, as Mahumitan,
When Luther first did those opinions nurse,
Much from great Rome in little space that wan,
It to this change so aptly did dispose,
From whose sad ruine ours so great arose.
That here that fabrique vtterly did faile,
Which powerfull fate had limited to time,
By whose strong law it naturally must quaile,
From that proud height to which it long did clime,
Letting gainst it the contrary preuaile,
Therein to punish some notorious crime,
For which at length iust dooming heauē decreed,
That on her buildings ruine here should feed.
Th'authoritie vpon her she did take,
And vse thereof in euery little thing,
Finding her selfe how oft she did forsake,
In her owne bounds her neuer limiting,
That awfull feare and due obedience brake
Which her reputed holinesse did bring,
From slight regard soone brought her into hate
With those that much disliked her estate.
And that those parts she cunningly had plai'd,
Beliefe vnto her miracles to winne,
Vnto the world were euery day bewrai'd,
From which the doubt did of her power begin,
Damnation yet to question what she said
Made most suspect the faith they had been in,
When their saluation easly might be bought,
Found not this yet the way that they had sought.
When those ill humours ripned to a head,
Bred by the ranknes of the plentious land,
And they not only strangely from her fled,
Bound for her ancient libertie to stand,
But what their fathers gaue her being dead,
The sonnes rap'd from her with a violent hand,
And those her buildings most of all abus'd,
That with the waight their fathers coffins brus'd.
The wisest and most prouident but build,
For time againe to wastfully destroy,
The costly piles and monuments we guild,
Succeeding time shall reckon but a toy,
Vicissitude impartially wild,
The goodliest things be subiect to annoy,
And what one age did studiously maintaine,
The next againe accounteth vile and vaine.
Yet time doth tell, in some things they did erre,
That put their helpe her brauerie to deface,
When as the wealth, that taken was from her,
Others soone raised, that did them displace,
Their titles and their offices conferre
On such before, as were obscure and base,
Who would with her they likewise downe should goe,
And o'rthrew them that her did ouerthrow.
And th'Romish rites that with a cleerer sight
The wisest thought they iustly did reiect,
They after saw that the receiued light
Not altogether free was from defect,
Mysterious things being not conceiued right,
There of bred in the ignorant neglect,
For in opinion something short doth fall,
Wants there hath been and shall be still in all.
But negligent securitie and ease
Vnbridled sensualitie begat,
That only sought his appetite to please,
As in the midst it of abundance sat,
The Church not willing others should her praise
That she was leane, when as her lands were fat,
Her selfe to too much libertie did giue,
Which some perceiu'd that in those times did liue.
Pierce the wise Plowman in his vision saw
Conscience sore hurt, yet sorer was affraid
The seuen great sinnes to hell him like to draw,
And to wise Clergie mainly cri'd for aid;
Falne ere he wist (whom perill much did awe)
On vncleane Priests whil'st faintly he him staid,
Willing good Clergie t'ease his wretched case,
Whom these strong Giants hotly had in chase.
Clergie call'd Friers which neere at hand did dwell,
And them requests to take in hand the cure,
But for their Leechcraft that they could not well,
He listed not their dressing to endure,
When in his eare Need softly him did tell
(And of his knowledge more did him assure)
They came for gain their end which they did make,
For which on them the charge of soules they take.
And voluntarie pouertie profest,
By food of Angels seeming as to liue;
But yet with them th'accounted were the best
That most to their fraternitie doe giue,
And beyond number that they were increas'd:
If so (quoth Conscience) thee may I beleeue,
Then t'is in vaine more on them to bestow,
If beyond number like they be to grow.
The Frier soone feeling Conscience had him found,
And hearing how Hypocrisie did thriue,
That many Teachers euery where did wound,
For which Contrition miserably did grieue:
Now in deceit to shew himselfe profound,
His former hopes yet lastly to reuiue
Gets the Popes letters, whereof he doth shape
Him a disguise from Conscience to escape.
And so towards goodly Vnitie he goes,
A strong-built Castle standing very hie,
Where Conscience liu'd to keepe him from his foes,
Whom lest some watchfull Centinell should spie,
And him vnto the garrison disclose,
His cowle about him carefully doth tie,
Creepes to the gate and closely thereat beate,
As one that entrance gladly would intreate.
Peace the good porter readie still at hand
It doth vnpin, and praies him God to saue,
And after saluing kindly doth demaund
What was his will, or who he there would haue?
The Frier low lowting crossing with his hand,
Speak with Contrition (quoth he) I would craue.
Father (quoth Peace) your comming is in vaine,
For him of late Hypocrisie hath slaine.
God shield (quoth he) and turning vp the eyes,
To former health I hope him to restore,
For in my skill his sound recouerie lies,
Doubt not thereof if setting God before.
Are you a Surgeon, Peace againe replies?
Yea (quoth the Frier) and sent to heale his sore:
Come neere (quoth Peace) and God your cōming speed,
Neuer of help Contrition had more need.
And for more haste he haleth in the Frier,
And his Lord Conscience quickly of him told,
Who entertain'd him with right friendly cheere:
O Sir (quoth he) intreate you that I could
To lend your hand vnto my Coosin deare
Contrition, whom a sore disease doth hold,
That wounded by Hypocrisie of late,
Now lieth in most desperate estate.
Sir (quoth the Frier) I hope him soone to cure,
Which to your comfort quickly you shall see,
Will he a while my dressing but endure;
And to Contrition therewith commeth hee,
And by faire speech himselfe of him assure,
But first of all going thorough for his fee:
Which done (quoth he) if outwardly you show
Sound, t'not auailes if inwardly or no.
But secretly assoiling of his sin,
No other med'cine will vnto him lay,
Saying that heauen his siluer him should win,
And to giue Friers was better then to pray,
So he were shrieu'd what need he care a pin.
Thus with his patient he so long did play,
Vntill Contrition had forgot to weepe,
This the wise Plowman shew'd me from his sleepe.
He saw their faults that loosly liued then,
Others againe our weaknesses shall see:
For this is sure he bideth not with men
That shall know all to be what they should bee:
Yet let the faithfull and industrious pen
Haue the due merit; but returne to mee,
Whose fall this while blind fortune did deuise,
To be as strange as strangely I did rise.
Those secret foes yet subt'ly to deceiue,
That me maligning lifted at my state,
The King to marry forward still I heaue,
(His former wife being repudiate)
To Anne the sister of the Duke of Cleaue,
The German Princes to confederate,
To back me still gainst those against me lay,
Which as their owne retain'd me here in pay.
Which my destruction principally wrought,
When afterward abandoning her bed,
Which to his will to passe could not be brought,
So long as yet I beare about my head
The only man her saftie that had sought,
Of her againe and only fauoured,
Which was the cause he hasted to my end,
Vpon whose fall hers likewise did depend.
For in his hie distemprature of blood
Who was so great whose life he did regard?
Or what was it that his desires withstood
He not inuested were it nere so hard?
Nor held he me so absolutely good,
That though I crost him yet I should be spar'd,
But with those things I lastly was to goe,
Which he to ground did violently throw.
When VVinchester with all those enemies
Whom my much power from audience had debar'd,
The longer time there mischiefs to deuise,
Feeling with me how lastly now it far'd,
When I had done the King that did suffice,
Lastly thrust in against me to be heard,
When all was ill contrarily turn'd good,
Making a maine to th'shedding of my blood.
And that the King his action doth deny,
And on my guilt doth altogether lay,
Hauing his ryot satisfied thereby,
Seemes not to know how I therein did sway,
What late was truth conuerted heresie:
When he in me had purchased his pray,
Himselfe to cleere and satisfie the sin,
Leaues me but late his instrument therein.
Those lawes I made my selfe alone to please,
To giue me power more freely to my will,
Euen to my equals hurtfull sundrie waies,
(Forced to things that most doe say were ill)
Vpon me now as violently ceaze,
By which I lastly perisht by my skill,
On mine owne neck returning (as my due)
That heauie yoke wherein by me they drew.
My greatnes threatned by ill-boding eyes,
My actions strangely censured of all,
Yet in my way my giddines not sees
The pit wherein I likely was to fall:
O were the sweets of mans felicities
Often amongst not temp'red with some gall,
He would forget by his oreweening skill,
Iust heauen aboue doth censure good and ill.
Things ouer ranck doe neuer kindly beare,
As in the corne the fluxure when we see
Fill but the straw when it should feed the eare,
Rotting that time in ripening it should bee,
And being once downe it selfe can neuer reare:
With vs well doth this similie agree,
(By the wise man) due to the great in all,
By their owne weight b'ing broken in their fall.
Selfe-louing man what sooner doth abuse,
And more then his prosperitie doth wound?
Into the deepe but fall how can he chuse
That ouer strides whereon his foote to ground?
Who sparingly prosperitie doth vse,
And to himselfe doth after-ill propound,
Vnto his height who happily doth clime,
Sits aboue fortune, and controlleth time.
Not chusing that vs most delight doth bring,
And most that by the generall breath is freed,
Wooing that suffrage, but the vertuous thing
Which in it selfe is excellent indeed,
Of which the depth and perfect managing
Amongst the most, but few there be that heed,
Affecting that agreeing with their blood,
Seldome enduring neuer yet was good.
But whil'st we striue too suddenly to rise
By flattring Princes with a seruill tong,
And being soothers to their tyrannies,
Worke our more woes by what doth many wrong,
And vnto others tending iniuries,
Vnto our selues it hapneth oft among
In our owne snares vnluckily are caught,
Whil'st our attempts fall instantly to naught.
The Counsell Chamber place of my arrest,
Where chiefe I was, when greatest was the store,
And had my speeches noted of the best,
That did them as hie Oracles adore:
A Parliament was lastly my enquest,
That was my selfe a Parliament before,
The Tower hill scaffold last I did ascend:
Thus the great'st man of England made his end.

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