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Amores Britannici

Epistles Historical and Gallant, In English Heroic Verse: From several of The Most Illustrious Personages of their Times. In Imitation of the Heroidum Epistolae of Ovid. With Notes explaining the Most Material Passages in every History [by John Oldmixon]

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King Richard II. having resign'd the Crown to Henry of Bullingbroke Duke of Lancaster, Hereford, &c. afterwards King Henry IV. he was shut up in Pontefract Castle. And Isabel his Queen flies to her Father Charles VI. the French King. She sends him this Epistle from France; and the King her Husband, sends her the next from Pontefract.

Queen Isabel to King Richard II.

As Philomel, Companion of the Spring,
Bewails her Fate, so I my Sorrow sing.
My Words are interrupted by my Sighs,
While Floods of Tears are flowing from my Eyes.
How much I grieve, I want the Pow'r to tell,
The Pains for you, and for my self, I feel.


Think, by your own, the Burthen of my Care,
And guess my misery, by your Despair.
'Tis Just my Sorrow shou'd to them return,
By whom I suffer, and by whom I mourn.
France is a Stranger to the Guilt and Shame,
To England let 'em go, as thence they came.
At Pomfret, ever be the Place accurst,
My Griefs were born, and let 'em there be nurst.
Still was the North, unhappy to your Race,
Yet most Unhappy in this last Disgrace.
What they can't help the neighb'ring Kings deplore,
And future Ages will your Chains abhor.
Yet since our Ills are now beyond a Cure,
'Tis best to yield to what we must endure.
I hate my Eyes, that they cou'd deign to see

His publick Entry.

The proud Usurper, that were us'd to thee.
Impatient of my Lord, a while I stood,
The Tyrant and his pompous Entry view'd.


But, Oh! how daunted and surpris'd I look,
When seeking thee, I met with Bullingbrok?
The Crowd with Shouts repeated, rend the Air,
I askt 'em for the King, they pointed, there.
Again, I sought thee, but I sought in vain,
For, curse the Sight, 'twas Bullingbrook again.
Thy Robes he wore, and on thy courser Rode,
Yet lookt a Monster, where you lookt a God.
As Mars, my Hero was as rough in War,
In Love, as soft as Cupid, and as fair.
An awful Aspect, and a gentle Soul,
Our Sex to Conquer, and his own Controul.
Curst be the Day, when Her'ford shou'd have try'd

Bullingbrook then Duke of Hereford, was challeng'd by Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, for words spoke against him to the King, the Combat was to have been try'd at Coventry, but they were both banish'd before it came so far.

His might on Mowbray, or by him have dy'd.
In saving him, you have yourself undone,
Whose Death, demanded, had secur'd the Throne.
I saw at Coventry the furious Lord,
The sturdy Lance prepare, and girt the Sword.


The Heralds came, the Judges were decreed,
Each Warrior mounted on a foaming Steed.
They sternly frown'd, and blush'd with mutual Rage,
The Signal only wanting to engage.
Their Coursers champt the Bit and tore the Ground,
Alike, impatient of the Noble Sound.
Curse on the Minute which your Mercy lost,
The Price of Freedom, and a Kingdom's Cost.
For ever let it inauspicious be,
To all the World, as 'tis to you and me.
Norfolk, the Combat wou'd have justly won,
And Her'ford vanquish'd, you had sav'd the Crown.
Ador'd no longer than he kept his Pride,
The Peoples Love had with his Glory dy'd.
My Father kindly did the Wretch receive,

The Duke of Hereford fled to France.

Pity his Fortune, and his Wrongs believe.
Such Royal Honours to the Traytor shown,
As Heir to Gaunt, and Kindred to the Throne.


The vile Dissembler, thus his Subjects draws,
To think him injur'd, and defend his Cause.
Your March against the Rebel Kerns I view'd,

King Richard went against the Rebels in Ireland, where he was when Henry landed.

And heard the Shoutings of the changing Crowd:
When Millions on their Knees submissive fell,
And weeping, blest the King, and curst O Neal.
To lose you then a day, they scarce afford,
And all their Hopes were their returning Lord.
Their Lord returning, they disdain to see,
So fond of Bullingbrook, so false to thee.
Kings like the Sun, are ever in our sight,
And Clouds are quickly seen that shade the Light.
Monarchs Illustrious, like the Day appear,
But Spots discover'd, if we look too near:
They fansie when among their Slaves they shine,
Who call 'em so, believe they are Divine.
But Judges that approach too near the Throne,
See the King's Faults, who cannot see his own.
And while to Prosper him, on Heav'n they call,
His Ruin they contrive, and wish his Fall.


What new Pretence has Her'ford to the Crown,

William of Wickham so enrag'd with John of Gaunt, for his opposing the Clergy, and favouring the Followers of Wickliff, that he pretended the Queen confest to him on her Death-Bed, that the Child she was deliver'd of, was Female, and that John of Gaunt was the Son of a Fleming, so much was the Royal Line oblig'd to that ambitious Prelate.

Or from his Father's Right, or from his own.
His Father, such as shou'd not err, have said,
Was the base Issue of a Peasant's Bed.
Law, Reason, and Descent his claim confute,
While none your Title, or your Birth dispute.
Descended from the Victor Edward's Son,
A greater Hero, his Imperial Crown,
More rightfully is yours, than those he won.

Giving him to understand the ill Title his Father had to her Father's Kingdom.

Ne'er had the Rebel ventur'd on the Coast,
Nor landed on our Shoar his impious Host.
With these he ne'er had dar'd you to the Fight,
Too weak to hurt us, and too few to fright.
But that your Counsels to the Foe betray'd,
Incourag'd Her'ford, and your Friends dismaid.
The Peircys first the promis'd Succours bring,
Against their sworn Allegiance to the King:
Against their Duty to the rightful Heir,

Edmund Mortimer Earl of March, (whose Aunt Elnor, the Lord Percy marry'd) was descended from Philippa, Daughter of Leonel Duke of Clarence, which Mortimer in right of his Mother, as Heiress to the third Son of Edward III. King Richard when he went to Ireland, proclaim'd Heir apparent to the Crown.

And their own Nephew, Valiant Mortimer.


When first I came to England and the Throne,
Like a new Star amid your Court I shone.
I drew, and ravish'd the beholders Eyes,
And then they worshipt whom they now despise.
Or thus they would not our Misfortune see,
Nor Live contented till the King is free.
Why, by the Tyrant were we forc'd to part,
Least thy Queen's Love should ease thy aking Heart.
A wretched Comfort, for my Lord to see,
The Chains which wound his Royal Limbs, on me.
'Twas worse to lose thy Kingdom than thy Life,
Yet still 'tis worse to be deny'd thy Wife.
His Hate, his Malice, cou'd no farther go,
Nor load us with a Weight of greater Woe.
Oh? wou'd Aumarl had perish'd ere betray'd,

The Abbot of Westminster had plotted to kill King Henry at a Tilt at Oxford. The Hollands, Dukes of Exeter and Surrey, the Duke of Aumarl, the Earl of Salisbury, Spencer Earl of Gloucester, the Bishop of Carlisle, Sir Thomas Blunt and others had bound themselves by an Oath, to assassinate their Sovereign, which the Duke of Aumarl discover'd.

The Plot, the Nobles, had to save thee, laid.
Nor liv'd to break the solemn Oath he took,
To free the King, and punish Bullingbrook.


Wou'd he had been the Ransom of our Friends,
Brought by his Treason to inglorious Ends.
They fell untimely, as we mourn their Fate,
They gone too soon, and we remain too late.
Oh! that my Pow'r was equal to my Will,
To curse the Tyrant, as I wish him ill.
All the dire Torments and the Plagues of Life,
A Son rebellious, and a wanton Wife.
Chains, Poverty, and Shame shou'd be his Lot,
And his vile Offspring e're they ripen, rot.
Green, Scroop and Bushy, Witness to his Guilt,

Favourites of King Richard hang'd at Bristol in Henry's Progress to Flint Castle.

With Seas of Blood, which he unjustly spilt.
For Vengeance, Thousands he has murder'd call,
And Vengeance dreadful on his Head will fall.
He swore he did not at the Kingdom aim,

The lose part of the Clergy and others who think their Power cannot be supported but under an Arbitrary Monarchy, have always blacken'd this Story and the Character of Henry IV. whose Right to the Crown, by the abdication of Richard II. was undisputable. The Historians of this Party, pretend King Henry swore at Doncaster, he desir'd nothing but his Father's Inheritance, and nothing intended against King Richard or his Crown.

That Gaunt's Possessions only were his Claim.
Ye Pow'rs! who saw him at your Altars bow,
Bless him, or Curse him, as he kept his Vow.
May his own Bullingbrook our Cause revenge
On Percy, and his Wife repent the Change.


So basely Cruel to insult my Woe,
May he that has advanc'd her, bring her low:
As I for thee, may she for Percy mourn,
And his foul Treason on himself return.
In her Son's loss, in Hotspurs let her see,

Her Curse fell on Hotspur, who rebelling against King Henry, was slain at the Battle of Shrewsbury.

What Gallant Mortimer's has been to me.
Let her of Honour and Estate be spoyl'd,
And poor and helpless, be at last exil'd.
How shall I comfort you in such Distress?
Or rouse your Courage, which your Chains depress?
A King's unworthy of the Royal Name,
Who's fond of Living, tho' he lives with Shame.
Of Crown, of Liberty and Friends bereft,
Death is the only Refuge we have left.
And rather than in odious Bondage lie,
What King, but you, would be afraid to die.
Slaves may their Fate with fruitless Tears deplore,
A King shou'd be himself, or be no more.


Not long the Tyrant will a Rival bear,
Prevent his Cruelty and end your fear,
May the Just Pow'rs who best your Suff'rings know,
Above Reward you for your Wrongs below.


King Richard II. to Queen Isabel.

What can you hope from your unhappy Lord,
Whose Pen's as useless to him as his Sword?
Both fail alike in my unskilful Hand,
And I write now, as I did once Command.
What can I say, who cou'd a Kingdom lose,
Will a young Queen the mighty Loss excuse?
What Ease will this to your Affliction bring,
From one who was, and is no more a King?
My vile Condition will my Letters stain,
And ev'ry Page be printed with my Chain.
Like a gay Dream my former Glories pass,
And scarce I can remember what I was.
So low it sinks me, by my Stile you'll find,
My Body's less in bondage than my Mind.
In vain our Infamy I wou'd suppress,
These Chains, this Misery my Shame confess.


My Tongue which basely has renounc'd the Crown,

King Richard deliver'd the Deed of Resignation to King Henry with his own Hand in the Tower, confest his inability to govern, and renounc'd the Kingly Power.

If these were wanting, wou'd my Weakness own.
My Hand that witness'd to the Deed wou'd shew,
That all this Ruin to my Fears we owe.
Cou'd you for me the Mighty Bourbon slight,
For me, your Father and your Country quit?
Young, as you were, to tempt a dangerous Sea,
And trust your Beauty to the Winds for me.
By the first Princes of your Realm ador'd,
Cou'd you leave these, to seek a Forein Lord.

Lewis Duke of Bourbon courted her before King Richard marry'd her, and would have taken her after she return'd to France, but her Father marry'd her to Charles Son to the Duke of Orleans.

Were Europe's Treasures and her Monarchs scorn'd,
That thus by me your Love shou'd be return'd.
Did you for this ungrateful England chuse,
That thus she might your Virgin Choice abuse.
For me, your Friends and better Hopes forsake,
To be thus rob'd and sent affronted back.
When sleep, which only gives the wretched rest,
Relieves the Sorrow of my lab'ring Breast.


Oft to my sick Imagination kind,
She brings my past Dominion to my mind.
A King in all my former Pride I seem,
And fancy then this Bondage but a Dream.
I view with Joy, thy visionary Charms,
And strive to clasp thee in my empty Arms.
I think 'em real, as I I'd have 'em be,
And Ixion like, embrace a Cloud for thee.
I call my Love, and waking in the Fright,
The Vision flies, and I am lost in Night.
Oft, but in vain, I hope my Queen's retir'd,
More welcom to return, and more desir'd.
The Hours to me are tardy in their course,
The past I wish for, and the present curse.
When the Sun travels on his golden way,
I wish for Night, and when 'tis Night, for Day.
Old time, methinks, is in his Race too slow,
And ev'ry minute, is an Age of Woe.
No Change for me the various Seasons bring,
And Winter is to me the same with Spring.


Happy the People of the Southern sphere,
Where Spring and Summer crown the fruitful Year.
On me the Winter Winds with fury blow,
Our Mountains cover'd with perpetual Snow.
Pomfret, a proper Mansion for Despair,
Confines me here, while you are happy there.
How did the Rout their banish'd Her'ford mourn,

When the King banish'd the Duke of Hereford, the People lamented very much, and were not content, till the King to please them, took off four of the ten Years exile for his Difference with Mowbray, who was sentenc'd to banishment for Life.

And pray'd tumultuous for their Friends return.
Not their own Griefs cou'd touch the Rabble more.
Than Her'ford's, when he left the crowded Shore.
When they no longer cou'd their Darling see,
From blessing him, they turn'd to cursing me.
The Sentence lessen'd, still their Rage encrease,
They want him here, and will have nothing less.
My Friends fore saw the Mischiefs they design'd,
And I alone was to my Ruin blind.
He raises Trophies on my Father's Fame,

Richard II. was Son to the famous Prince Edward, call'd the Black Prince, eldest Son and Heir to Edward III. who had six other Sons, William of Hatfield, Lionel Duke of Clarence, John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, Edmund of Langly Duke of York, Thomas of Woodstock Duke of Glocester, William of Windsor.

And with his Conquests wou'd adorn his Name


Scarce common Praise to Edward's Deeds he'll grant,
As England's Empire were deriv'd from Gaunt.
The Brother Princes to his Genius bow'd,
O're them advanc'd, as they above the Crowd.
The Mighty Father jealous of his Son,
Fear'd that his Glory wou'd eclipse his own.
So early forward in persuit of Fame,
He left the Rival King, and won the Dame.
The Brothers follow'd with unequal Pace,
The next but lagging in the noble Chase.
The first in Valour he, by Birth the first,
But Gaunt, tho' not the latest, yet the worst.
Vile as I am, the Conqu'ring Edward's Son.
Still more than Lancaster's, deserves the Throne.
Were England grateful, I had kept my Crown,
Or for my Father's merit, or my own.
His Name the Terror of the Gallick Field.
Made Armies fly, and hostile Cities yield.


Princes and Kings he led in triumph home,

Edward the Black Prince took John King of France, and brought him Prisoner to London, where he dy'd in the Savoy; he was not call'd the Black Prince for his Complexion, but the Terror of his Arms.

Like the first Cæsars to Imperial Rome,
But soon for England, and for me too soon,
The Glory vanish'd that so brightly shone.
Him, future Ages, like another Mars,
Shall write a God, and place among the Stars.
While none will think that I from Edward came,
Or not his Son, or if his Son, his Shame.
So late exalted, we are sunk sunk so low,
What wretch will deign to look upon us now.
Their Envy once, their Pity we are grown,
Tho' few will pity one that lost a Crown.
Betray'd, despis'd, imprison'd and forsook,
All fly from us, and run to Bullingbrook.
Such as we lov'd are from their Posts displac'd,
And such as lov'd us, in his Court disgrac'd.
He rules the Realm with Arbitrary Sway,
The People chose him, and they must obey.
He tramples on our Laws, our Acts repeals,

In the first Parliament which Henry IV. held after Richard's abdication, all the Laws were repeal'd, which Richard's Pensioners had made in the Session of the 20th. of Richard II. which was call'd the Wicked Parliament. Happy for all Lovers of English Liberty, if Men out of Place and Favour could not creep into that Honourable House, to promote Faction and Discontent, under the specious Pretence of serving their Country, a Party more Infamous even than those who for private Interest only, promote Publick Good.

And ev'ry thing's a Statute that he wills.


His own Illegal Title to maintain.
He leaves no Records of the former Reign.
Thus wretchedly deprest, I bear the weight,
Of publick Infamy, and common Hate.
Whatever he inflicts, I must endure,
And never was so Rich, as now I'm Poor.
In Want abandon'd, and in Chains I lie,
But have not Courage, tho' I wish to die.
I'll take the Counsel I from you receive,
Who know too much to bid me Hope or Live.
For when our Troubles are beyond Relief,
Comfort can't lessen, but increases Grief.
To find a better Fortune, I despair,
And what is past my Hope, is past my Care,
The Pow'rs above unmindful of our Woes,
Scarce humble us so much, as raise our Foes.
Never, Oh! never be my Wrongs forgot,
But curse their Children while the Traytors rot.
Curst be the Crown the Tyrant Her'ford wears.
Wet with his Sons and with his Mother's Tears.


The Rebel Peircys will with horror see,
The Treasons punish'd they have dealt to me.
Their Pride, the same pernicious ways persue,
For, who have once been false, will ne'er be true.
No more, my Queen! No more my Griefs bewail,
The Wound's too great for Pity now to heal.
Sickness, Old Age, a Prison and Despair,
Will take the Life which I preserve by fear.
For you a better Fate remains in store,
On that look forward, and on mine no more.