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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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Queen Katharine Dowager of the Victorious King Henry V. seeing Owen Tudor, a Welsh Gentleman, and one of her Wardrobe, at a Ball at Windsor, she was so charm'd with his Person and Dancing, that ever after, her Love for him increas'd, till she contriv'd to marry him, and this Letter is the Discovery of her Passion, which she believ'd he never wou'd have perceiv'd without it, nor dar'd to think of, unless she incourag'd him; a very welcome Message to one of his Fortune, who, to be sure, was not long in doubt how to reply to such a favourable Epistle.

Queen Katharine to Owen Tudor.

If for my Tudor, I my Birth forget,
The Pride of Majesty and quit my State.
He can't, but with Ingratitude, reprove,
My forward Passion, and triumphant Love.


At last my Grandeur yields to my Desires,
Which force me to reveal the latent Fires.
Confession shou'd 'n his Contempt create,
'Tis less my weakness, Tudor! than my Fate.
Immortal Phœbus, and Imperial Jove,
Like me descended from their Seats above.
A Satyr this, and that a Clown appear'd,
Lov'd in those Shapes, as in their other fear'd.
To turn the Wheel Alcides did submit,
And never was before so truly Great.
Thy Sov'reign crown'd with Laurels was to me,
A Suppliant once, as I am now to thee.
With equal Passion I return'd his Love,
And as I prov'd to him, to thee will prove.
Our Vows were constant, and our Hearts sincere,
I dear to him, as he to me was dear.
Tho' Fierce, yet Lovely, he at first appear'd,
And I grew fond of him, whom most I fear'd:
I met him kindled with the Heat of War,
As Mars, as dreadful, and as Cupid, fair.


To force my Heart the King by Conquest strove,
Mine are the softer Arguments of Love.
Thee, I beheld amid our rural Sport,
The gayest Youth that ever grac'd a Court.
Victorious both, by different Charms you please,
He rough in War, as thou art mild in Peace.
To thee the Monarch must for Courtship yeild,
To him, my Tudor, in the dusty Field.
Still his bright Image in his Arms I see,
And miss it only when I think on thee.
I shar'd the Glory that my Hero won,
The Fame of Conquest, and a double Crown.

Henry V. and his Queen Katharine, were own'd as King and Queen of France, during the Life of the French King Charles VI. Henry was by agreement, to be stil'd Peer of France, and after Charles's Death to have the Crown entirely.

A weight too heavy for his Son to bear,
In nothing but the Name, his Father's Heir.
In the rude Noise of Battles and Alarms,
At Troye the King possest my youthful Charms.

At Troye in Champaigne, King Henry V. marri'd his Queen Katharine.

The Foes, in these, the price of Peace agree,
As now they're made, the price of Love in thee.
I seek not Wealth, three Kingdoms in my Pow'r,
'Twere Avarice indeed to covet more.


Whoe're will Gold to honest Love prefer,
But Cheats herself, and Buys a Wedding dear.
If I were fond of Titles, there are none
More like to please Ambition than my own.
And Kings who most cou'd flatter, this desire
In vain, to what I offer thee, aspire.
Ambition once did all my Soul employ,
A Tyrant Passion, and unfit for Joy;
Love, gentle Love possesses now my Breast,
A kinder Mistress and a milder Guest.
My Passion I with pain have long conceal'd,
If not too plainly yet too late reveal'd.
Dishonest Wishes shou'd remain obscure,
Mine the severest Censure will endure.
I love, and will not with my Pride debate,
But tell the Youth that he may bless his Fate.
I boast not that my Father wore a Crown,

She was Daughter to Charles VI. Sister to Charles VII. French Kings, Wife to Henry V. Mother to Henry VI. Kings of England.

A King my Husband, and a King my Son.


My Brother too a King might make me vain,
But having thee they shall unenvy'd reign.
And how will this the Line of Gaunt abuse?
Our House has sure as much as theirs to lose.

Henry V. Son of Henry IV. Son of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster.

Both Bourbon and Lorrain are Names as great,
As fam'd in Story as Plantagenet.
From whence do these pretend such mighty Odds?
Are those deriv'd from Men? and these from Gods?
Are these the Offspring of the Sun and Moon?
And if they wed below the Stars, undone?
All Gods and Demi Gods, a heav'nly Race!
And less than Goddesses their Bed disgrace.
So Jealous of their Honour they appear,
As only theirs deserv'd a Princess care:
So much they think I've got by Henry's Crown,
I've little worth the keeping of my own.
Of Charles's Name I might alike be proud,
And talk as high of his Illustrious Blood.


Yet Charles and Henry are the same to me,
Of nothing fond, of nothing proud, but thee.
The British Princes found the way to please,
John's beauteous Daughter, and brave Edward's Niece.

Llewellin ap Jotwith, marri'd Joan, Daughter to King John, a very beautiful Princess. Llewellin ap Griffith, marri'd Elnor. Daughter to Simon Monfort Earl of Leicester, and Cousin to Edward I. they were both Princes of Wales.

They boast their Camilet and Arthur's Race,
And Challenge at the Lists the foremost place.

Camilet, the ancient Palace of King Arthur, whose Knights were most of this Country, according to the Fable.

Tho' England's Monarchs have usurp'd their Pow'r,
Who conquer'd them, they conquer'd oft before,
And dy'd the British Plains with Saxon Gore.
Rufus, a vain and bloody War begun,

William Rufus, Son to William the Bastard, call'd the Conqueror, made two Expeditions against the Welsh, in which he lost many of the chiefest Nobility, and the best part of his Armies. The Welsh incourag'd by his ill Success, made several prosperous Incursions into England in the Reigns of this Rufus, King Henry II. King John and Edward I.

To lose the Glorious Name his Father won.
Profusely lavish of his Nobles Blood,
Sabrina's Stream a crimson current Flood.
Twice he attack'd, and beaten twice return'd,
Now dreading those whom he so lately scorn'd.
No more of Rufus or his Arms afraid,
His weak Invasion teach 'em to invade.


My Beauty Peace to bleeding France restor'd,

Isabel Queen of France, and the Duke of Burgundy, brought the young Princess Katharine to King Henry, then at Melans on the River Seyne, where a Peace and his Marriage were concluded.

And stopt the Fury of the Conqu'ror's Sword.
In Love as mighty as he was in Arms,
His Courage less subdu'd me than his Charms.
Nor did I Henry to my Bed prefer,
Thro' want of Choice, Necessity or Fear.
A Crowd of youthful Hero's I refuse,
And him because he best deserv'd me chuse.
Like vulgar Things the rival Princes seem,
Who look like Gods, near any one but him.
The Wise, to Glouster must in Counsel yield,
The Brave, to Bedford in the doubtful Field.
Clarence for Piety and Valour fam'd,
And York's high Worth is thro' the World proclaim'd.
The greatest Princess might on Warwick Smile,
On Pool or Vere, and not her Honour soil.
Above 'em Henry eminently shin'd,
His Mien exalted like his God-like Mind.


By Nature form'd to conquer and to move,
To win by Victory, or charm by Love.
My Heart to him without reserve I gave,
And Tudor, what his Sov'reign had, shall have.
No alien Wishes shall our Peace molest,
Nor Jealousie disturb thy quiet Breast.
So sweet an Air is in my Lover's Face,
It graces ev'ry thing he does or says.
Thy Language which to some wou'd barb'rous be,
Is musical, and elegant to me.
The Words that once disgusted me, delight,
And what seem'd savage then, is now polite.
Those which in other Lips I might condemn,
Looks Eloquent in thee, tho' Rude in them.
As smoothly flowing from thy melting Tongue,
As Attick Numbers or the Græcian Song.
No artful Notes so moving, so Divine,
No Speech so pleasing, as no Voice like thine.
The boasted Wonders of the Thracian Lyre,
Ne'er breath'd into the Soul such soft Desire.


Let not the Presence of a Queen destroy
A Lover's Courage, nor distract thy Joy.
Such yielding Majesty thou need'st not fear,
Nor ever wilt by too much daring err.
A Princess loses with her Heart, her Pow'r,
And Queens in Love are Women, and no more.
Like these, are subject to the common Flame,
The same our Wishes, and our Joys the same.
The Man is little fit to serve the Fair,
Who durst not when a Queen invites him, dare.
I'll quit my Majesty like awful Jove,
And in a gentle Form, receive my Love.
The Rage, the Malice of the Crowd despise,
Their Threats are impotent, and base their Lyes.
To please my self, like other Women free,
In nothing I delight, but pleasing thee.
In this, my Tudor! I'll my Life employ,
While Kings shall envy thy transporting Joy:
Advanc'd above their Fury or their Hate,
We'll Live and Love, and leave the rest to Fate.


Owen Tudor to Queen Katharine.

Your Letter I receiv'd with such Surprize,
I thought my transport might delude my Eyes.
In Extasie the tender Page I view,
Too tender I suspected to be true.
Why shou'd my Queen my honest Heart beguile?
Why write, I reason'd, in so soft a Stile?
The more I read, I thought it more sincere,
And glorious Hope succeeded to my fear.
'Tis Love, ye Pow'rs, 'tis mighty Love I cry'd,
Who tames Ambition, and who humbles Pride.
My Lips with Rapture to the Seal I fixt,
And as I read, a thousand Kisses mixt.
My Soul cou'd scarce the boundless Joy contain,
Forgot its Fears, and felt no other Pain.
Thus the fond Mother meets her absent Son,
Transported thus, she doubts if 'tis her own.


She bathes his Bosom with her joyous Tears,
She feels, and yet, to trust her Pleasure fears.
'Till waking from a Dream, she thought so sweet,
She finds her Fortune is as sure as Great.
From distant Wales, to Court, I never came,
By Henry's Conquests tempted, or his Fame.
I, ne'er pretended in the State to rise,
The Courtier's Arts, and their Intrigues, despise.
I ventur'd early in a Christian War,

Tudor and other young Gentlemen, engag'd in a Voyage, Volunteers, in the defence of Rhodes.

And shew'd for Vertue what a Youth cou'd dare.
Tho' Vain and Young, a better Cause I chose,
And prov'd my Valour on the Church's Foes.
Nor Love, nor wild Ambition then possest
My peaceful Soul, nor yet had broke my rest.
I left not Cambria thro' the blind Event
Of Fortune, but eternal Fate's consent.
In British Merlin's sacred Books we read,

Ambrose Merlin, who, as 'tis thought, gave his Name to the Town and Country of Caermarthen, his Prophecies are still extant.

That Monarchs shou'd in Tudor's Line succeed.
Tho' late, we see, the Prophet's words are true,
And perfectly, at last, fulfil'd in you.


The Fates, he said, our Helmet wou'd advance,

The Arms of Tudor were three Helmets.

To England's Scutcheon, and the Arms of France.
The Leek, the Lily, and the Rose shou'd joyn,
The Rose, the Lily, yours; the Leek is mine.
As England's Queen, the blushing Rose you bear,
Of France, as Daughter, you the Lily wear.
Of both, the Queen, the Dowager of both,
Of this by Conquest, and of that by Oath.
My Hopes are tow'ring to so vast a height,
By you encourag'd, and decreed by Fate.
Whom shou'd our Nuptials injure or displease,
We cannot err in what our Fate decrees?
Who strive to daunt us by their Threats or Pow'rs,
Oppose Heav'ns Pleasure, in opposing ours.
You need no Pallas, nor no Juno dread,
No Rival to dispute your Lover's Bed.
A brighter Hellen I in you enjoy,
Yet arm no Foes to fire another Troy.
The fair beginnings of our Loves declare,
The End will be as kind, as these are fair.


With graceful measure, I like Paris danc'd,

Owen Tudor Dancing before the Queen at Windsor, in a turn, not being able to recover himself, fell into her Lap, as she sat on a Stole with her Ladies about her.

And haply falling by my Queen, advanc'd.
So active at the Sports you might have seen,
My gayety was meant, to charm the Queen.
Fate works not always by the common Ways,
For that which ruins some, may others raise.
Whatever means he uses late or soon,
The Bus'ness He designs to do, is done.
Not much infected with my Nation's Vice,
Where ev'ry Slave's descended from the Skies:
Each vulgar Wretch his high Descent will prove,
From Phœbus, Hercules, and some from Jove.
My Fathers were, alas! of mortal kind,
And not one God in all our Race we find.
Princes and Hero's, I perhaps, may bring,
And Knights whose Deeds our ancient Poets sing.
To grace my Birth, from Arthur I might prove,
Your Tudor came, but what is Birth in Love?
Oft in their Songs our British Bards repeat,
Cadwallader, and Leoline the Great.

Cadwallader, the last King of the Britains, descended, says Jeoffrey of Monmouth, from a Race of Trojans, to whom an Angel, if you'll believe the Historian, appear'd, commanding him to go to Rome to Pope Sergius, where he died.


Eucon and Theodore are often sung,

Encon was slain by the Rebels of Gwenland, he was a famous Person in his days, was Father to Theodore, of whom descended the Princes of South-Wales.

And fair Gwinellian from whom I sprung.

Guenellian, Daughter of Rees ap Griffith ap Theodore, Prince of South-Wales, marry'd Edmund Vaughan, Ancestor to Owen Tudor, at least this Geneolagy was found out after his Posterity came to the Crown.

Lewellin, call'd Leolinus Magnus, Prince of North-Wales.

In long Succession they have reign'd in Wales,
Nor is it Fable, nor Romantick Tales.
Yet this I do not to deserve you plead,
But only by your Goodness must succeed.
Tho' who will search into our ancient Line,
And proud Plantagenet's compare with mine:
Will see that Fortune in our Cause appears,
Much more to ours indebted than to theirs.
This, as a Prince, with Modesty I boast,

He stiles himself, a Prince descended from Prince Theodore.

A Prince, whose Name, as well as Pow'r is lost.
On what we were, I will no more look back,
But what my Queen shall make me now reflect.
In me my Country's Honour shall revive,
And in our future Sons her Glory live.
Her Fame shall spread, and be by all confest,
To French nor English now no more a Jest.

The Welsh defeated the English at Scroggen-Castle near Offa's Dyke in Henry II. time, yet the English by a strange dexterity, turn'd the name of Scroggen, to a word of reproach for the Welchmen, which they purchas'd with honour.

Ungrateful to us, they forget how well,
The Dane, the Swede and Saxon we repel:


They both were Conquer'd by a forein Host,
We kept our Liberty, when theirs was lost.
No alien Phrases in our Speech intrude,
Which since 'tis uncorrupt, they fancy rude.
If theirs so elegant, so rich are grown,
'Tis more with borrow'd Beauties than their own,
Those marks of Slavery we scorn to bear,

I need not observe that the Welsh are the remains of the Britains, which the Picts, Saxons and Danes drove into that corner of the Isle where they now inhabit, and have preserv'd their Language.

Nor wou'd to be polite, their Fetters wear.
The treacherous Saxon ne'er prevail'd in Wales,
Nor once unpunish'd past the British Pales.
The swelling Severn and our holy Dee,
We fix'd our Bounds, and were within 'em free.
From Brute, or whom the Fable Brutus names,
Her Rise our Nation, and Precedence claims.
The Rage of all Invaders we have stood,
The sacred Remnant of the Trojan Blood.
With this Content we never wou'd advance,
Our Fame by vexing, or subduing France.
Like Henry we as easily had won,
Another Kingdom, as have kept our own.


Our Valour equal, tho' our Numbers less,
Our Courage suffers not from our Success.
This tedious Story I too long persue,
Since nothing but my Love can merit you.
Fly swift, ye Minutes! like my Wishes fly,
To my Queen bring me, and begin my Joy.
Forgive my Youth, my Lover's Hopes forgive,
For Hopes so daring, must be fed to live.
Oh! when, as often I reflect how mean,
How low I am my self, how high my Queen:
A King, how little worthy to succeed,
And rival Monarchs for your Royal Bed:
What Pains unutterable then I feel,
'Tis worse to my tormented Soul than Hell.
So poor you keep me till you grant the rest,
Possest of nothing till of all possest:
So many ways to lose you there appear,
So few to keep you, you'll excuse my Fear:
My Jealousie encreast by what I read,
The Thefts of Gods, and their Deceit I dread.


Suspicious of Apollo's Beams I grow,
And the cool Winds which on your Beauties blow:
Of fair Leucothoe and Orithea dream,
And Neptune toying in a gentle Stream.
Of young Erigone's unhappy Feast,
When Bacchus in a Grape the Nymph carest;
Tho' idle Fables, they my hopes abuse.
So much I have to gain, so much to lose:
Tho' less than Henry in Renown and Arms,
In Tudor, you may find as pleasing Charms.
Kings do not always what they promise, prove,
Nor Hero's triumph in the Fields of Love:
Young, kind and faithful is a Lover's worth,
And more than answers what he wants in Birth:
Yet like the Son of Phœbus I may strive,
To guide the Chariot, which I cannot drive.
My Soul, that to your Favour dares aspire,
Shews, 'tis enflam'd with an immortal Fire.
Forgive me, lovely Queen, if I express,
My Wishes in a plain, but honest Dress:


To some prevailing Passion all incline,
Some darling attribute, and Love is mine.
By Beauty you are famous as by Birth,
By Heav'n design'd to cheer the drooping Earth.
'Tis only Love in your exalted State,
Can make you still more Happy and more Great.
A King might Court you with a better Grace,
Might flatter better, but wou'd love you less.
For who in Politicks or War excel,
Are worn too much to please the Ladies well.