Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

as the marriage ceremony had been performed, the parties separated in silence before it was light, and viscount Rochford, the brother of the bride, was despatched to announce the event in confidence to Francis I. Such is the account preserved in a contemporary MS. of the romantic circumstances, as to time and place, under which the fair ill-fated Anne Boleyn received the nuptial ring from the hand that was so soon to sign her death-warrant, and also that of her fellow-victim, Henry Norris, one of the three witnesses of her marriage. That this step had been taken by the king, not only without the knowledge but against the advice of his council and most confidential advisers, may be inferred from the fact that even Cranmer knew not of it, as he himself writes to his friend Hawkins, “till a fortnight after the marriage had been performed,” which, he says, “took place about St. Paul’s-day.” He was himself consecrated archbishop of Canterbury two months afterwards. Anne remained in great retirement, as the nature of the case required, for her royal consort was still, in the opinion of the majority of his subjects, the husband of another lady. It was, however, found impossible to conceal the marriage without affecting the legitimacy of the expected heir to the crown. For this cause, therefore, on Easter-eve, which this year was April 12th, the king again openly solemnized his marriage with Anne Boleyn, and she went in state as his queen. “On the 8th of May, Cranmer presided at the public tribunal at Dunstable, which it was thought expedient to hold on the former marriage. The proceedings terminated May 23rd, when Cranmer pronounced, not a divorce, but a sentence that the king's marriage with Katharine had been, and was, a nullity and invalid, having been contracted against the divine law. Five days after, he gave at Lambeth a judicial confirmation to Henry's union with Anne Boleyn.” Anne's queenly establishment was immediately arranged, in which two of her own relatives, with whom she had hitherto been on bad terms, were given appointments; namely, her brother's wife, lady Rochford, and lady Boleyn, the wife of her uncle sir Edward Boleyn. At the establishment of Anne's household, a great multiplication of her portraits took place, all in one costume, which has given the general idea of her style of person and dress. The only one of this kind, painted on oak panel “as a tablet,” which possesses a genuine pedigree, having been in the family of the late general Thornton' mearly three hundred years, is copied as our engraving. It was the etiquette for each of the officers of a royal household to possess a portrait of the king or queen. Before the art of locket miniatures was brought to perfection, these official portraits were painted on oak panel, about eight or nine inches square, and the face and bust appear within a ring. These were called tablets, or table-portraits. The wellknown features of the oval-faced beauty are, in the Thornton portrait, painted with exquisite delicacy, though in the brunette style; the eyes are rich brown, the hair entirely drawn back under a species of banded coif; the lips beauti. ful, with a remarkable depth between the chin and under lip. The majesty of the head, and proud composure of expres. sion, are remarkable; the contour of the chest, though it is long, and the form of the throat and shoulders, assist the fine air of the head. The gown is square in the bust; it seems of amber or tawny velvet, studded with emeralds: a drapery of green velvet is on the shoulders. A double string of pears passes round the throat, and between them appears some indica. tion of the enlargement which no engraver can be induced to copy. The “Anne Boleyn’’ cap in this original portrait is well defined: a frontlet made of the five-cornered frame of double strings of pearls, is first fitted to the face; at the back is a green velvet hood with broad scarf lappets: one of theses

* This narrative was presented to queen Mary. It is quoted by four modern historians, Dr. Lingard, Mr. Tytler, Miss Benger, and Mrs. Thompson. * Archaeologia, vol. xviii. p. 81. * In this brief, clear statement from Sharon Turner are condensed the volumimous proceedings of this affair from all the heavy documentary records which have been collected by earlier historians, and which we have also examined.

"It was purchased at the sale of his effects after his decease, at his ho Grosvenor-gate, and is now the property of the author.

thrown over the back of the hood, the other hangs on the right shoulder, in graceful folds. Among the first tributes offered to Anne on her new dignity, was a small present from her zealous partisan Richard Ilyst, who took an early opportunity of reminding her grace of the uncomfortable predicament in which he had placed himself with his brethren the Observant-friars, by his opposition to friar Forrest in her honour, and requesting her to be good and gracious unto him. His letter on this subject is addressed to Cromwell, whom he favours with some particulars of his former mode of living, which are illustrative of the domestic statistics of the period. He says,

“I have made and composed iij glasses with waters, and I have sent two of them to the queen's grace for a poor token; and so now, by my kinsman the bearer of this letter, I send unto your mastership the third glass with water for a poor token. I was in time past my lord cardinal's servant, and also dwelled in London in Cheapside viij years, and made many waters for my lord cardinal, and much ipocras also, and served him of much spice; and I was both a grocer and a poticarrier, sapothecary]. And so now I have exercised one point of mine oold occupacion in making of the foresaid waters, which waters will keep in their virtue and strength these two years, if they be well kept. I beseech your mastership to have me meekly commended unto the quyne's grace, and desire her grace to remember my poor mother, her continual beedwoman.”

As early as the 28th of April, Henry had issued his letters of summons to the wives of his peers, requiring them “to give their attendance, they and their women, at the approaching solemnity of his dearest wife queen Anne's procession from Greenwich to the Tower, and at her coronation, which is to take place on the feast of Pentecost; wherefore he requires them to be at his manor of Greenwich on the Friday before that feast, to attend his said queen from thence to the Tower of London that day, and the next day to ride with her through the city of London with her on horseback.” The ladies are commanded in this circular to provide themselves and their women with white or grey palfreys for the occasion, promising that “the caparisons of those to be ridden by themselves shall be furnished by the master of the horse to our said dearest wife | Original Letters, sir H. Ellis; third Series. Richard Lyst left his convent and

became a secular priest in 1535; he was presented to the vicarage of St. Dunstan's West.

the queen, save the bits and bosses; but that the liveries for their female followers, as well as their horse-gear, are to be provided by the ladies themselves, in such wise as shall do honour to themselves and the solemnity.” Their own robes are to be delivered to them on demand by the keeper of the royal wardrobe, which proves that it was the custom of the crown to furnish the robes of the peeresses. Early in May, 1534, king Henry made proclamation that all who had claims to do customary service at the coronation of a queen of England were to urge them before the duke of Suffolk, temporary high-steward of England, then holding his court in the Star-chamber. The noblest and greatest in the land immediately made good their rights to serve the fair Boleyn as queen-consort of England. The lord mayor at the same time received letters from the king, notifying that the coronation of queen Anne was to take place at Westminster the Whit-Sunday ensuing, and willing him to fetch her grace previously by water from Greenwich to the Tower. At a common council held on this matter, the lord mayor, who belonged to the worshipful craft of the haberdashers, and bore the very appropriate name of Peacock, issued his mandate to his brethren the haberdashers to fit up and ornament a foist or wafter, (which was a sort of gun-boat); likewise a barge for the bachelors, well garnished with streamers and banners.” The broad bosom of the Thames was the theatre of this commencing scene of Anne Boleyn's triumph. In obedience to the royal order, the lord mayor and his civic train embarked at New-stairs at one o'clock, May 19th. In the city statebarge was stationed a band, playing on instruments called shalms and shag-bushes; but, notwithstanding these uncivilized names, we are informed “they made goodly harmony.” The great men of the city were dressed in scarlet; all had about their necks heavy gold chains, and those who were knights wore the collar of SS. Fifty barges of the city companies followed the lord mayor. Every one in London who could procure boat or wherry embarked on the Thames that * Summons to the lady Cobham, MS. Harl. 283, f. 96. * Hall, p. 800.

May morning, and either accompanied the chief of the city to Greenwich, or, resting on their oars, awaited in advantageous positions to get a view of that triumphant beauty who had displaced the right royal Katharine, and was now to be publicly shown as their queen. The lord mayor's barge was immediately preceded by the foist, bristling at the sides with the small artillery called by our forefathers falcons and demifalcons, culverins and chambers. On the deck, the place of honour was occupied by a dragon, which capered and twirled a tremendous long tail, and spat wild-fire perpetually into the Thames. Round about the dragon was arranged a company of attendant monsters and salvage men, very terrible, who vomited wild-fire, and performed the most extraordinary antics. Ever and anon the city artillerymen persuaded some of the ordnance of the foist to go off, to the mingled terror and delight of the worthy commonalty, who floated round about as near as they durst. On the right of the lord mayor was the bachelors' barge, and on the left another foist, the deck of which was occupied by a pageant representing Anne Boleyn's own device, and meant especially to flatter her. It was a mount, round about which sat virgins singing her praises in sweet chorus. From the mount issued a stem of gold with branches of red and white roses; in midst of them sat a white falcon crowned, and beneath, the queen's somewhat presumptuous motto, ME AND MINE." She had assumed the white falcon as her symbol from the crest of her maternal ancestors, the Butlers, and the whole device proclaimed her vaunt, that by her was to be continued the line of the blended roses of Plantagenet. The barges were fitted up with innumerable little coloured flags; at the end of each hung a small bell, which, wavering in the wind, sent forth a low chime. Thus the gay flotilla

* Camden's Remains. “A white-crowned falcon, holding a sceptre in one foot and perched on a golden stem, out of which grew white and red roses, with the motto MIHI ET MEAE, ‘me and mine,' was the vain-glorious device of Anne Boleyn.” This device of the falcon may be seen in the grained roof of the antique gateway at Hampton-Court leading to the river, with the initials H. A. It was probably finished after the fall of Wolsey.

« ZurückWeiter »