Page images

commanded the vanguard of the army of Boulogne, and finally solicited and obtained the government of that place. It was then nearly, defenceless ; the breaches unrepaired, the fortifications in decay, and the enemy, with superior numbers, established so near as to be able to command the harbour, and to fire upon the lower town. Under such disadvantages, Surrey entered on his command, and drew up and sent home a plan of alterations in the works, which was approved of by the king, and ordered to be acted upon. Nor were his efforts merely defensive. On one occasion he led his men into the enemy's country as far as Samer au Bois, which he destroyed, and returned in safety with considerable booty. Afterwards, hearing that the French intended to revictual their camp at Outreau, he compelled them to abandon their object, pursued them as far as Hardilot, and was only prevented from gaining a complete victory through the want of cavalry. But his plan for the defence of Boulogne, which, by his own extant memorial, is said to evince great military skill, was marred by the issue of one unfortunate sally. In order to prevent the French from revictualling a fortress that menaced the safety of Boulogne, he found it necessary, with his slender forces, to risque another attack at St. Etienne. His cavalry first charged and routed those of the French : the foot, which he commanded in person, next advanced, and the first line, consisting chiefly of gentlemen armed with corselets, be

haved gallantly, but the second line, in coming to the push of the pike, were seized with a sudden panic, and fled back to Boulogne, in spite of all the efforts of their commander to rally them. Within a few months after this affair he was recalled to England, and Hertford went out to France as the king's lieutenant-general.

It does not appear, however, that the loss of this action was the pretext for his recal, or the direct cause of the king's vengeance, by which he was subsequently destined to fall. If the faction of Hertford, that was intriguing against him at home, ever succeeded in fretting the king's humour against him, by turning his misfortune into a topic of blame, Henry's irritation must have passed away, as we find Surrey recalled, with promises of being replaced in his command, (a promise, however, which was basely falsified), and again appearing at court in an honourable station. But the event of his recal (though it does not seem to have been marked by tokens of royal displeasure) certainly contributed indirectly to his ruin, by goading his proud temper to farther hostilities with Hertford. Surrey, on his return to England, spoke of his enemy with indignation and menaces, and imprudently expressed his hopes of being revenged in a succeeding reign. His words were reported, probably with exaggeration, to the king, and occasioned his being sent, for some time, as a prisoner to Windsor. He was liberated, however, from thence, and again made his appearance at court, unsuspicious of his impending ruin.

It is difficult to trace any personal motives that could impel Henry to wish for his destruction. He could not be jealous of his intentions to marry the Princess Mary—that fable is disproved by the discovery of Surrey's widow having survived him. Nor is it likely that the king dreaded him as an enemy to the Reformation, as there is every reason to believe that he was a protestant. The natural cruelty of Henry seems to have been but an instrument in the designing hands of Hertford, whose ambition, fear, and jealousy, prompted him to seek the destruction of Norfolk and his son. His measures were unhappily aided by the vindictive resentment of the Duchess of Norfolk against her husband, from whom she had been long separated, and by the still more unaccountable and unnatural hatred of the Duchess of Richmond against her own brother. Surrey was arrested on the 12th of December, 1546, and committed to the Tower. The depositions of witnesses against him, whose collective testimony did not substantiate even a legal offence, were transmitted to. the king's judges at Norwich, and a verdict was returned, in consequence of which he was indicted for high treason. We are not told the full particulars of his defence, but are only generally informed that it was acute and spirited. With respect to the main accusation, of his bearing the arms of the Confessor, he proved that he had the authority of the heralds


in so doing, and that he had worn them himself in the king's presence, as his ancestors had worn them in the presence of former kings. Notwithstanding his manifest innocence, the jury was base enough to find him guilty. The Chancellor pronounced sentence of death upon him; and in the flower of his age, in his 31st year, this noble soldier, and ac, complished poet, was beheaded on Tower-hill.


The soote' season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale,
The nightingale with feathers new she sings;
The turtle to her make 2 hath told her tale.
Summer is come, for every spray now springs.
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale ;
The buck in brake his winter coat he flings:
The fishes fleet with new repaired scale;
The adder all her slough away she flings;
The swift swallow pursueth the flies small;
The busy bee her honey now she mings';
Winter is worn that was the flower's bale 4.
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.

Sweet--Mate.--3 Mingles. 4 Destruction,



So cruel prison how could betide, alas!
As proud Windsor? Where I in lust and joy,
With a king's son, my childish years


pass, In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy ; Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour. The large green courts, where we were wont to hove, With eyes upcast unto the maiden's tower, And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love. The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue, The dances short, long tales of great delight ; With words and looks that tigers could but rue, When each of us did plead the other's right. The palm play', where dèsported for the game, . With dazed eyes oft we, by gleams of love, Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame, To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above. The gravell'd ground, with sleeves tied on the helm, On foaming horse with swords and friendly hearts ; With cheer as though one should another whelm, Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts. With silver drops the meads yet spread for ruth; In active games of nimbleness and strength, Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth, Our tender limbs that yet shot up in length: The secret groves, which oft we made resound Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies praise ;

Tennis-court.- Stript.

« PreviousContinue »