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with the dignity of two bishoprics, and the archbishopric
of York (1514), all of which he held together: he was then made Cardinal (1515), then Lord High Chancellor, and afterwards appointed by the Pope his Legate a latere (1516).
After Cavendish has dwelt upon the splendour of the Cardinal's household with evident delight, and reckoned up the number of servants and attendants, lords and gentlemen in waiting, by the names of their offices, to somewhere between four or five hundred individuals, and declared the number of the personages on his check-roll to be eight hundred, all or most of whom dined in his hall every day, he goes on to describe the manner in which he discharged his duty of Lord Chancellor :
“ Nowe will I declare unto you his order in going to Westminster Hall, dayly in the tearme season. First ere he came out of his privy chamber, he heard most commonly every day two masses in his closet: and as I heard one of his chaplains saye, which was a man of credence and of excellent learning, the cardinall, what business or weighty matters soever he had in the day, he never went to bed with any parte of his divine service unsaide, not so much as one collect; wherein I doubt not but he deceived the opinion of diverse persons. Then going againe to his privy chamber, he would demaund to some of his saide chamber, if his servauntes were in a readiness, and had furnished his chamber of presence, and waiting chamber. He being thereof then advertised, came out of his privy chamber, about eight of the clocke, apparelled all in red; that is to say, his upper garment was either of fine scarlet, or taffety, but most commonly of fine crimson satten engrained; his pillion of fine scarlet, with a neck set in the inner side with blacke velvet, and a tippet of sables about his necke; holding in his hande an orange, whereof the meate or substance within was taken out, and filled up againe with the parte of a spunge, wherein was vinegar and other confections againste the pestilent aires; the which he most commonly held to his nose when he came among any presse, or else that he was pestered with any suiters. And before him was borne first the broade seale of Englande, and his cardinall's hat by a Lorde or some Gentleman of worship, right solemnely. And as soone as he was entered into his chamber of presence, where there was dayly attending upon him, as well noble men of this realme, and other worthy gentlemen, as gentlemen of his owne family; his two great crosses were there attending, to be borne before him. Then cried the gentlemen ushers, going before him, bare headed, and said ' On before, my lordes and masters, on before; and make way for my Lorde Cardinall.' Thus went he downe through the hall with a sergeaunt of armes before him bearing a great mace of silver, and two gentlemen carrying of two great pillars of silver; and when he came to the hall doore, then his mule stood trapped all in crimson velvet, with a saddle of the same, and gilt stirrups. Then was there attending upon him, when he was mounted, his two crosse bearers, and his pillar bearers, in like case, upon great horses, trapped all in fine scarlett. Then marched he forwarde, with a traine of noblemen and gentlemen, having his foote-men
four in number about him, bearing each of them a gilt poll-axe in their handes: and thus passed he forthe, untill he came to Westminster Hall doore. And there he alighted and went after this manner, up into the chauncery, or into the star chamber; howbeit most commonly he would goe into the chauncery, and staye a while at a barre, made for him, beneathe the chauncery, on the right hand, and there commune sometimes with the judges, and sometimes with other persons. And that done he would repaire into the chauncery, sitting there till an eleven of the clocke, hearing of suites and determining of other matters. And from thence, he would diverse times goe into the star chamber, as occasion would serve. There he spared neither highe nor lowe, but judged every estate according to his merits and desertes."
In the course of our quotations, the reader will be struck with the large assistance, which Shakspeare, in his Henry VIII. derived from our author; though whether he had seen the work in MS. or only copied from the chronicles, which have also made considerable extracts from it, it is at present difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain. We would wish our readers to compare the following lively description of the fête with the corresponding one in Shakspeare, who has copied it almost literally.
“ Thus in great honour, triumphe, and glory he reigned a long season, ruling all things within this realme, appertayning unto the kinge, by his wisdome, and also in all other weighty matters in foraigne regions, with which the king of this realme had any occasion to intermeddle. All ambassadors of foraigne potentates were alwaies dispatched by his wisdome, to whom they had continuall access for their dispatch. His house was alwaies resorted like a king's house, with noble men and gentlemen, with coming and going in and out, feasting and banquetting these ambassadors diverse times, and all other right nobly.
“ And when it pleased the King's Majesty, for his recreation, to repaire into the cardinall's house, as he did diverse times in the yeare, there wanted no preparation, or goodly furniture, with viandes of the finest sorte that could be gotten for money or friendshippe. Such pleasures were then devised for the Kings consolation, or comforte, as might be invented or imagined. Banquettes were set forthe, masks, and moumeries, in so gorgeous a sorte, and costly manner, that it was a heaven to behold. There wanted no dames, no damoselles, meete or apt to daunce with the maskers, or to garnish the place for that time, with other goodly disportes. Then was there all kinde of musicke and harmony set forthe, with excellent fine voices bothe of men and children. I have seen the kinge come sodainly thither in a maske with a dozen maskers all in garments, like shepardes, made of fine cloathe of golde, and fine crimson satten paned, and cappes of the same, with vizors of good proportion of visnamy; their heares and beardes either of fine golde wier or of silver, or else of good black silke; having sixteene torch bearers, besides three drummes, and
other persons attending them, with visors, clothed all in satten, of the same color. And before his entering into the hall, ye shall understand, that he came by water to the water gate, without any noyse, where were laide divers chambers and gunnes, charged with shot, and at his landing they were shote off, which made such a rumble in the ayer, that it was like thunder. It made all the noble men, gentlemen, ladies, and gentlewomen to muse what it should meane coming so sodainly, they sitting quiet at solemne banquet: under this sorte: First ye shall perceive, that the tables were set in the chamber of presence, nise covered, and my Lord Cardinall sitting under the cloathe of estate, there having all his service alone; and then was there set a lady and a noble man, or a gentleman or gentlewoman; throughout all the tables in the chamber on the one side, which were made adjoyning, as it were but one table. All which order and devise was done by the lorde Sandes, then lorde chamberlaine to the king, and by Sir Henry Guilforde, controller of the kings majesties house. Then immediately after this great shot of gunnes, the cardinall desired the lorde chamberlain, and the said controller to looke what it should mean, as though he knew nothing of the matter. They looking out of the windowes into the Thames, returned againe, and shewed him, that it seemed they were noble men and strangers arrived at his bridge, coming as ambassadors from some forraigne prince. With that, quoth the cardinall, “ I desire you, because you can speake Frenche, to take the pains to go into the hall there to receive them, according to their estates, and to conduct them into this chamber, where they shall see us, and all these noble personages being merry at our banquett, desiring them to sit downe with us, and to take parte of our fare.” Then went they incontinent downe into the hall, whereas they received them with twenty new torches, and conveied them up into the chamber, with such a number of drums and flutes, as I have seldom seen together, at one place and time. At their arrivall into the chamber, two and two together, they went directly before the cardinall where he sat, and saluted him very reverently; to whom the lorde chamberlain for them said, “Sir, forasmuch as they be strangers , and cannot speake Englishe, they have desired me to declare unto you, that they having understanding of this your triumphant banquette, where was assembled such a number of excellent faire dames, could doe no lesse, under the supportation of your grace, but to repaire hither to viewe as well their incomparable beauty, as for to accompany them at mumchaunce, and then after to daunce with them, and to have of their acquaintance. And sir, furthermore they require of your grace license to accomplish the said cause of their cominge.” To whom the cardinall saide, he was very well content they should so doe. Then went the maskers and first saluted all the dames, and then returned to the most worthiest, and there opened their great cup of gold, filled with crownes, and other pieces of golde, to whom they set certaine of the pieces of golde to cast at. Thus perusing all the ladies and gentlewomen, to some they loste, and of some they wonne. And perusing after this manner all the ladies, they returned to the cardinall, with great reverence, pouring downe all the golde left in their cuppe, which was above two hundred
" that you
crownes, “ At all,” quoth the cardinall, and so cast the dice, and wonne them, whereat was made great noyse and joie. Then quoth the cardinall to my lord chamberlen, “ I pray you,” quoth he, will shew them, that mee seemeth, there should be a noble man amongst them, who is more meete to occupy this seate and place than am I; to whome I would most gladly surrender the same, according to my duty, if I knewe him."
“Then spake my lord chamberlain unto them in French, declaring my lorde cardinall's wordes, and they redounding him againe in the eare, the lord chamberlein saide to my lorde cardinali,“ Sir, they confesse,” quoth he, “ that among them there is such a noble personnage, whome if your grace can appoint out from the rest, he is content to disclose himselfe, and to take and accepte your place, most worthely.” With that the cardinall, taking a good advisement among them, at the last quoth he,“ Me seemeth the gentleman with the black bearde should be even he.” And with that he rose out of his chaire, and offered the same to the same gentleman in the black bearde, with his cap in his hande. The person to whom he offered then his chaire was sir Edward Neville, a comely knight of a goodly personnage, that much more resembled the kings person in that maske, than any other. The king hearing and perceiving the cardinall so deceived in his estimation and choice, could not forbear laughing, but pulled down his visor, and Mr. Neville's also, and dashed out such a pleasant countenance and cheare, that all the noble estates there assembled, perceiving the kinge to be there amongst them, rejoiced very much. The cardinall eftsoones desired his highnesse to take the place of estate, to whom the king answered, that he would goe first and shifte his apparell; and soe departed, and went straighte into my lord cardinalls bed chamber, where was a great fire prepared for him; and there newe apparelled him with riche and princely garments. And in the time of the kings absence, the dishes of the banquet were cleane taken up, and the table spreade againe with newe and cleane perfumed cloathes; every man sitting untill the kings majesty with all his maskers came in among them againe, every man new apparelled. Then the king tooke his seate under the cloathe of estate, comanding every person to sit still, as they did before. In came a new banquette before the King's Majesty, and to all the reste throughout all the tables, wherein, I suppose, were served two hundred divers dishes of wonderous costly devises and subtilties. Thus passed they forthe the nighte with banquetting, dauncing, and other triumphant devises, to the great comforte of the Kinge, and pleasaunt regarde of the nobility there assembled. “ All this matter I have declared largely, because ye
shall understande what joy and delight the cardinallhad, to see his prince and soveraigne Lorde in his house, so nobly entertained and placed, which was alwaies his only study, to devise things to his comforte, not passing upon the charges or expenses. It delighted him so much to have the King's pleasaunt and princely presence, that nothing was to him more delectable, than to cheare his soveraigne Lorde, to whome he owed so much obedience and loyalty; as reason required no lesse, all things well considered.
“ Thus passed the Cardinall his time forthe, from daye to daye, and yeare to yeare, in such great wealthe, joye, and triumphe, and glory, having alwaies on his side the King's especiall favor; untill fortune, of whose favour no man is longer assured, than she is disposed, began to waxe somethinge wrothe with his prosperous estate."
Honest Cavendish having got so far with the description of his master's favour with the king, his numerous dignities in the state, and his splendour and hospitality in his household, begins to think that even the power of Fortune, whose mighty influence he so often deprecates, must fail in overthrowing him, “so,” says he," for the better meane to bringe him lowe, she procured Venus the insatiate goddess to be her instrument.” Thus by their united efforts Anne Boleyn is thrown in the way of the amorous king, from which moment the biographer dates the ruin of
my lord cardinal. The history of the love, which it was necessary to clear away before the rays of royal splendour could be allowed to gild the fortunes of the poor unsuspecting maiden, is too interesting and too characteristic of the times and of the parties, to be omitted, though we fear the extract will run to an unreasonable length.
“ To tell you howe the King's love began to take place, and what followed thereof, I will doe even as much as I know to declare to you. This gentlewoman was commonly called Mistress Anne Bulleine. She being but very young, was sent into the realme of Fraunce, and there made one of the French Queene's women, continuing there untill the French Queen died. And then was she sent for home againe; and being againe with her Father, he made such meanes, that she was admitted one of Queen Katherine's women; among whome, for her excellent gesture and behaviour, she did excell all other; in so much that the Kinge began to grow enamoured with her; which was not known to any person, ne scantly to her owne person.
Nowe was at that time the Lorde Peircie, sonne and heire of the Earle of Northumberlande, attending upon my Lord Cardinall, and was his servaunte; and when it chaunced the said Lorde Cardinall at any time to repaire unto the courte, the Lord Percie would resorte then for his pastime into Queene Katherine's Chamber, and there would he fall in dalliance among the maides, being at the last more conversante with Mrs. Anne Bulleine, than with any other, so that there grewe such a secrette love betweene them, that at the length, they were insured together, intending to marrye. The which thinge when it came to the King's knowledge, he was therewith mightily offended. Wherefore he could no longer hide his secret affection, but he revealed his whole displeasure and secrets, unto the Cardinall in that behalfe; and willed him to infringe the assurance, made then betweene the saide Lord Peircie and Mrs. Anne Bulleine: in somuch as, the Cardinall, after his retourne home from the courte to his house in Westminster, being in his gallery, not forgetting the King's commandement, called then