Abbildungen der Seite

the reception of the French sovereign and his court which can only be paralleled in the gorgeous details of Oriental romance; where, however, silver, and gold, and pearls are supplied by the writer cost-free, while Henry must have drained his exchequer to furnish the banqueting-chamber at Calais, which is thus described by Hall:—“It was hung with tissue raised with silver, and framed with cloth of silver raised with gold. The seams of the same were covered with broad wreaths of goldsmiths' work, full of stones and pearls. In this chamber was a cupboard of seven stages high, all plate of gold, and no gilt plate. Besides that, there hung ten branches of silver-gilt, and ten branches all white silver, every branch hanging by a long chain of the same sort, bearing two lights of wax. The French king was served three courses, dressed after the French fashion; and the king of England had like courses, after the English fashion. The first course of every kind was forty dishes, the second sixty, the third eighty, which were costly and pleasant. After supper on the Sunday evening, 28th of October, came in the marchioness of Pem. broke, with seven ladies, in masquing apparel of strange fashion, made of cloth of gold slashed with crimson tinsel satin, puffed with cloth of silver, and knit with laces of gold.' These ladies were led into the state chamber just described by four damsels dressed in crimson satin, with tabards of pine cypress. Then the lady marchioness took the French king, the countess of Derby the king of Navarre, and every lady took a lord. In dancing, king Henry removed the ladies' visors, so that their beauties were shown.” The French king then discovered that he had danced with an old acquaintance, the lovely English maid of honour of his first queen, for whose departure he had chidden the English ambassador ten years before. He conversed with her some little time apart, and the next morning sent her as a present a jewel valued at 15,000 crowns.” On the 30th of this festive month, “the two sovereigns mounted their horses, and Henry having conducted his royal guest to the verge of his dominions, they dismounted on French ground; and there they joined hands with loving behaviour and hearty words, embraced each other,

* Hall, o. 794. * Ibid. * Le Grand. Lingard.

and so parted.” The weather was so tempestuous, that Anne and her royal lover were detained a fortnight at Calais after the departure of Francis I. On the 14th of November they safely crossed the Channel, and landed at Dover. The favourite diversion of Anne Boleyn and the king seems to have been cards and dice. Henry's losses at games of chance were enormous; but Anne, with the single exception of the sum she lost to the serjeant of the celiar at bowls, appears to be a fortunate gamester. On the 20th of November we observe the following entry in Henry's privy-purse expenses: “Delivered to the king's grace at Stone 91.6s. 8d., which his grace lost at pope Julius's game to my lady marques [Anne Boleym], Mr. Bryan, and maister Weston.” On the 25th, Henry loses twenty crowns to the same party at the same game; and the following day, 18l. 13s. 4d. On the 28th, Anne again wins, lll. 13s. 4d., in a single-handed game of cards with her royal lover. The next day Henry is the loser of 4l. at pope Julius's game; and also, on the 31st, sixteen crowns at the same to Anne and young Weston.” Such entries are little to the credit of any of the persons concerned. Pope Julius's game,” which was at this time so greatly in vogue in the court of Henry VIII., was probably the origin of the vulgar round-game called in modern times “PopeJoan.' The various points in that game, such as matrimony, intrigue, pope, and the stops, appear to have borne significant allusion to the relative situations in the royal drama of the divorce, and the interference of the pope and his agents in preventing the king's marriage with his beautiful favourite, Anne Boleyn. It is well known that the Observant-friars of Greenwich rendered themselves highly obnoxious to Henry, by their determined opposition to his divorce from their royal patroness, queen Katharine; but even in this house Anne Boleyn had a partisan. Her charity to the mother of one of the laybrothers, Richard Lyst, led him warmly to espouse her cause, “for which,” he assures “her grace,” as he styles her in a letter addressed to her soon after she was created marchioness of Pembroke, “he suffered oftentimes rebukes and

* Hall. * Young Weston, one of the gamblers at these orgies, was among the unfortunate victims of Henry's jealousy of Anne Boleyn. * In the Privy-purse Expenses of Henry VIII. it is called pope July's game, in evident mockery of Julius II., the copy of whose brere of dispensation had been lately produced by Katharine of Arragon as an important document in favour of the legality of her marriage with Henry VIII.

much trouble.”

“Also, madam,” continues he, “oftentimes in derision I have been called your chaplain; howbeit, as yet I never took no orders to be priest, but with the grace of Jesu I do intend in time, and I trust within this ij year and less, to say as hundred masses for your prosperous state, both spiritual and corporeal; for now I am at liberty to be a priest, whereas before I was bound to the contrary, by the reason that I was made sure to a young woman in the way of marriage before I came to religion, but now she is departed to the mercy of God.”

Can any one suppose that the writer of this letter, who is no babe in point of worldly wisdom, would have mentioned his hope of saying one hundred masses as an acceptable service to a person who did not profess a belief in their efficacy? But, however Anne Boleyn might, for her own personal interests, ally herself politically with the rising party who supported the Reformation, she continued, to the end of her life, to conform to the ceremonials and ritual authorized by king Henry's church, which retained every dogma, every obserance, every superstition believed and practised by Romancatholics, save the supremacy of the pope. Anne's future mass-sayer, Richard Lyst, goes on to extol her beneficence to his poor mother, adding significant hints how acceptable additional donations would be, and intimating the channel through which she could transmit them.

* Original Letters, edited by sir Henry Ellis; vol. ii. p. 248, third Series.




Anne Boleyn's marriage with Henry VIII.-Its public celebration—Her coronation—Pageants and festivities—Opposition by the Catholics—Birth of princess Elizabeth—Settlement of the crown on Anne's issue—Henry and Anne excommunicated—Anne supports the Reformation and translation of the Scriptures —Her altered manners—Protects Latimer—Exults in queen Katharine's death—Loses Henry's affection—Discovers his passion for Jane Seymour— Bears a dead son—Anger of the king—Arrest of Brereton—Anne's dialogue with Smeaton–Jousts at Greenwich—King's angry departure—Arrest of Anne's brother and others—She is carried to the Tower–Her despair—Accused by Smeaton—Her letter to the king–Trial of Anne–Sentence—Her speech— Her marriage dissolved—Execution of her brother and others—Her poems— Behaviour on the scaffold—Fidelity of her maids—Gift to Wyatt's sister— Dying speech—Beheaded–Hasty burial—Norfolk tradition—King Henry's remorse,

THE time and place of Anne Boleyn's marriage with Henry VIII. are disputed points in history. Some authors have affirmed that she was privately united to the king at Dover the same day they returned from France, being the festival of St. Erkenwald;" according to others, the nuptials were secretly performed in the presence of the earl and countess of Wiltshire, and the duke and duchess of Norfolk, in the chapel of Sopewell-nunnery. This report, perhaps, was caused by a temporary retreat of Anne to that convent after her return from France, and the secret resort of the king to meet her there at a yew-tree, about a mile from this cloistered shade, of which the learned lady Juliana Berners was formerly the prioress. The unpopularity of this union was the cause of

"It is an odd coincidence that the papal bull, denouncing the sentence of excommunication against king Henry and Anne Boleyn if they presumed to marry, is dated the day after their interdicted nuptials are said to have taken place at Dover.—Hall. Holinshed.

the profound secrecy with which the nuptials between Henry and his fair subject were solemnized; for the same cause it was necessary to keep the fact from publicity as long as it was possible to do so. It is among the historical traditions of Anne's native county, Norfolk, that she was privately married to the king at Blickling-hall. Blomfield says,' that Henry came there expressly for this purpose. This report is alluded to by a Norfolk poet, Stephenson, in his lines on the visit of Charles II, and his queen, Catharine of Braganza, to Blickling-hall:

“Blickling two monarchs and two queens has seen;
One king fetched hence, another brought a queen.”

The testimony of Wyatt, however, who was not only a contemporary, but a witness too deeply interested not to be correct on such a point, confirms the assertions of Stowe and Godwin that this event, so fatal to the bride, who was to purchase the brief possession of a crown with the loss of her head, took place on St. Paul’s-day, January 25th, 1533. “On the morning of that day, at a very early hour,” says a contemporary, “Dr. Rowland Lee, one of the royal chaplains, received the unwonted order to celebrate mass in an unfrequented attic in the west turret of Whitehall. There he found the king, attended by Norris and Heneage, two of the grooms of the chamber, and the marchioness of Pembroke, accompanied by her train-bearer Anne Saville, afterwards lady Berkeley.” On being required to perform the nuptial rite between his sovereign and the marchioness, in the presence of the three witnesses assembled, the chaplain hesitated: but Henry is said to have assured him that the pope had pronounced in favour of the divorce, and that he had the dispensation for a second marriage in his possession.” As soon * Blomfield's History of Norfolk. * Le Grand. Tytler. Lingard. Benger. Mrs. Thompson.

* This portion of the narrative we are inclined to doubt; since Henry, weary of the delays attending the prosecution of the divorce, which in its procrastinated tedium can only be compared to a modern chancery-suit, had resolved upon the bold measure of treating his marriage with queen Katharine as a nullity. As for the scruples of Rowland Lee, they were more likely to have been overcome by

the promise of the mitre of the bishopric of Lichfield, than by the fiction of a papal dispensation for the interdicted marriage.

« ZurückWeiter »