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THE execution of Buckingham is briefly detailed by the Chroniclers. They hasten on to the retribution which was preparing for Richard. "Tidings came that the Earl of Richmond was passed Severn, and come to Shrewsbury without any detriment or encumbrance. At which message he (Richard) was sore moved and broiled with melancholy and dolour; and cried out, asking vengeance of them that contrary to their oath and promise had fraudulently deceived him." But with his wonted energy "he determined himself out of hand the same day to occur and resist his adversaries." He was then "keeping his house in the castle of Nottingham." The Chronicler proceeds: "Then he, environed with his satellites and yeomen of the crown, with a frowning countenance and truculent aspect, mounted on a great white courser, followed with his footmen, the wings of horsemen coasting and ranging on every side. And keeping this array, he with great pomp entered the town of Leicester after the sunset." At Leicester Richard
slept at a house which still remains. Hutton, in his Battle of Bosworth Field,' thus describes the old house and its appurtenances :-" In the Northgate Street yet stands a large handsome half-timber house, with one story projecting over the other, formerly an inn, the Blue Boar; hence an adjoining street derived its name, now corrupted into Blubberlane. In one of the apartments Richard rested that night. The room seems to have been once elegant, though now in disuse. He brought his own bedstead, of wood, large, and in some places gilt. It continued there 200 years after he left the place, and its remains are now in the possession of Alderman Drake. It had a wooden bottom, and under that a false one, of the same materials, like a floor and its under ceiling. Between these two bottoms was concealed a quantity of gold coin, worth about 3007. of our present money, but then worth many times that sum. Thus he personally watched his treasure, and slept on his military chest."
[Old Blue Boar Inn at Leicester.] "The Earl of Richmond," says the Chronicler, "raised his camp, and departed from Lichfield to
the town of Tamworth." Shakspere carefully fol-
Lies now even in the centre of this isle,
We continue the narrative of Hall:
"In the mean season King Richard (which was appointed now to finish his last labour by the very divine justice and providence of God, which called him to condign punishment for his scelerate merits and mischievous deserts) marched to a place meet for two battles to encounter, by a village called Bosworth, not far from Leicester, and there he pitched his field, refreshed his soldiers, and took his rest. The fame went that he had the same night a dreadful and a terrible dream; for it seemed to him, being asleep, that he saw divers images like terrible devils, which pulled and hauled him, not suffering him to take any quiet or rest. The which strange vision not so suddenly strake his heart with a sudden fear, but it stuffed his head and troubled his mind with many dreadful and busy
imaginations; for incontinent after, his heart being almost damped, he prognosticated before the doubtful chance of the battle to come, not using the alacrity and mirth of mind and of countenance as he was accustomed to do before he came toward the battle. And lest that it might be suspected that he was abashed for fear of his enemies, and for that cause looked so piteously, he recited and declared to his familiar friends in the morning his wonderful vision and terrible dream."
The plan of the battle is minutely detailed in the narratives; and Shakspere has availed himself with wonderful accuracy and spirit of the circumstances attending the disposition of the field. As a matter of curiosity we subjoin a plan copied from Nichols' Leicestershire.
According to the usual practice of the Chroni
clers they give us long orations, by the respective leaders, previous to the battle being joined. Shakspere has availed himself of some of the most prominent parts of these apparently fictitious compositions. The legend of Jocky of Norfolk' is told thus by Hall:-" Of the nobility were slain John Duke of Norfolk, which was warned by divers to refrain from the field, insomuch that the night before he should set forward toward the king one wrote on his gate,
"Jack of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dykon thy master is bought and sold." The battle and the victory are thus described by Hall with the accustomed spirit of these old masters of our language:
"He had scantly finished his saying but the one army espied the other. Lord! how hastily the sol
diers buckled their helms! how quickly the archers bent their bows and frushed their feathers! how readily the billmen shook their bills and proved their staves! ready to approach and join when the terrible trumpet should sound the bloody blast to victory or death. Between both armies there was a great morass, which the Earl of Richmond left on his right hand, for this intent, that it should be on that side a defence for his part; and in so doing he had the sun at his back and in the faces of his enemies. When King Richard saw the earl's company was passed the morass, he commanded with all haste to set upon them; then the trumpets blew and the soldiers shouted, and the king's archers courageously let fly their arrows: the earl's bowmen stood not still, but paid them home again. The terrible shot once passed, the armies joined and came to
band-strokes, where neither sword nor bill was spared; at which encounter the Lord Stanley joined with the earl. The Earl of Oxford in the mean season, fearing lest while his company was fighting they should be compassed and circumvented with the multitude of his enemies, gave commandment in every rank that no man should be so hardy as go above ten foot from the standard; which commandment once known, they knit themselves together, and ceased a little from fighting. The adversaries, suddenly abashed at the matter, and mistrusting some fraud or deceit, began also to pause, and left striking, and not against the wills of many, which had liefer had the king destroyed than saved, and therefore they fought very faintly or stood still. The Earl of Oxford, bringing all his band together on the one part, set on his enemies freshly. Again, the adversaries perceiving that, placed their men slender and thin before, and thick and broad behind, beginning again hardily the battle. While the two forwards thus mortally fought, each intending to vanquish and convince the other, King Richard was admonished by his explorators and espials that the Earl of Richmond, accompanied with a small number of men of arms, was not far off; and as he approached and marched toward him, he perfectly knew his personage by certain demonstrations and tokens which he had learnt and known of other; and being inflamed with ire and
vexed with outrageous malice, he put his spurs to his horse and rode out of the side of the range of his battle, leaving the avant-gardes fighting, and like a hungry lion ran with spear in rest toward him. The Earl of Richmond perceived well the king furiously coming toward him, and, by cause the whole hope of his wealth and purpose was to be determined by battle, he gladly proffered to encounter with him body to body and man to man. King Richard set on so sharply at the first brunt that he overthrew the earl's standard and slew Sir William Brandon, his standard-bearer, (which was father to Sir Charles Brandon, by King Henry the Eighth created Duke of Suffolk,) and matched hand to hand with Sir John Cheinye, a man of great force and strength, which would have resisted him, and the said John was by him manfully overthrown, and so he making open passage by dint of sword as he went forward, the Earl of Richmond withstood his violence and kept him at the sword's point without advantage longer than his companions other thought or judged; which, being almost in despair of victory, were suddenly reconforted by Sir William Stanley, which came to succours with iii thousand tall men, at which very instant King Richard's men were driven back and fled, and he himself, manfully fighting in the middle of his enemies, was slain and brought to his death as he worthily had deserved."
[Weapons found in Bosworth Field.]