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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 Henry the VIII. on the Peace concluded with Lewis the XII. the French King, gives him, tho then very Old and Infirm, his youngest Sister Mary in Marriage, who before had engaged her self to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, King Henry's Favourite, and a very fine Gentleman. She had not long been marry'd to Lewis before he dy'd, being in Five Months left a Widow, and at Liberty to remember her Engagement with her beloved Duke. She sends him this Epistle, to chide him for staying after he knew of her Husband's Death, and had the King's Consent to marry her. Which he excuses in what follows.

Mary the French Queen to Charles Brandon.

Such Health as I implore of Heaven for me,
Such Health thy Queen, my Suffolk, sends to Thee.


You little think, or sure you wou'd not stay,
How ill we Women can endure delay.
The Winds, the Waves, are but a faint excuse,
Leander did not thus his Hero use.
A Royal Fleet to waft you hither, waits,
The Passage narrow, as the Sestian Straits.
No Fleet, no Ship, was fitted out for him,
The Winds to combat, and a Sea to swim.
A Princess, young as Hero, and as fair,
A Queen, expects you with Impatience here.
You scarce cou'd be more Negligent and Cold,
Were the Sea wider, and your Mistress Old.
No Beldam Nurse shall interrupt our Bliss,
Nor our soft Revels be disturb'd with Spies.
Tell me no more you want propitious Gales,
Your Lovers Sighs, methinks should swell the Sails.
Your Wishes are becalm'd, your Soul serene,
Or Seas nor Winds wou'd keep you from a Queen.


While raging Tempests in my Bosom reign,
My Love as furious as the stormy Main.
The Winds, as I have wish'd 'em to be fair,
Have shifted since you promis'd to be here.
The greedy Merchant never watch'd 'em more,
Whose Ship expected, brings the pretious Ore,
As I of thee; impatient of his gain,
He vows he ne'er will venture it again.
Haste, Brandon, haste, and do not dread my Frown,
My Rage, as soon as Suffolk smiles, is gone.
To hate you I resolve when you're away,
But sure 'twill be no longer than you stay.
Safe here and secret we'll our Lives enjoy,
No Fears disturb us, nor Offence annoy.
This, since so freely I confess, 'twill try;
If Gratitude, as fast as Love can fly.
The King my Brother, and his beauteous Queen,

King Henry's Queen and their Court went to Dover with the Princess Mary, where she embark'd for France.

The Court, in Tears, when I embark'd, were seen.
To stay, what poor Excuses I invent,
With Joy expected, and with Sorrow sent:


I chose the latest Minute to depart,
And left behind me when I went, my Heart.
To Brandon early I that Treasure gave,
And took the Bed of Lewis for my Grave.
While many guess, tho Suffolk only knows,
The cruel Reason of my Virgin Woes.
I saw you weeping on the crowded Strand,
And wav'd, in bidding you farewel, my Hand:
Nor blush'd, to give you in the Peoples view,
A sad, a tender, and my last, Adieu.
The Seamen took the Signal for their Oars,
And push'd the Gally from the Chalky Shoars.
Then, as a Child that has in playing lost
A Toy he valu'd, and which pleas'd it most;
To find it he a while with Patience tries;
Till seeing 'tis in vain he hides and cries.
Thus to my lonesom Cabin I repair,
Lament your Loss, and tell the Winds my Care.
As once an Empire I refus'd for Thee,

A Marriage was concluded between the Emp. Maximilian I. and K. Henry VII. for the Emperor's eldest Son Philip King of Castile, and Arch-Duke of Austria, Father to Charles V. with the Princess Mary, when they came to Age, which Agreement was broke by Henry VIII.

Lewis had lost me had my Choice been free.


To my first Vows thus faithful I have prov'd,
And loving much, deserve to be belov'd.
Tournay, your Conquest, when by Fame I heard,
It pleas'd me most to see my Love prefer'd.
I fancy'd I beheld him in his Pride,
The Hero shining by the Monarch's side.
The stately Canopy, the Tent of Gold,

K. Henry at the Surrender of Tournay, made a publick Entry under a Canopy of Cloth of Gold, born by Four of the chief Citizens, the King himself mounted on a very fine Horse, and his Trapping embroidered with the Arms of England, France and Ireland.

And all the Pomp of Triumph I behold.
Your Praise alternative the People sing,
Of Suffolk some, and others of the King.
I feel your Pleasure, and your Glory share,
Till a new Scene presents another Care.
Castile, they tell me, is your splendid Guest,
And brings his Sister to adorn the Feast.
A Thousand ways to tempt you she has strove,
And us'd a Thousand Arts to gain my Love.
Thy gallant Youth subdues her haughty Soul;
Thy Charms, what nothing else cou'd tame, controul.
Your Banquets, Tournaments, your Balls, your Plays,

The King treated Prince Charles of Castile, afterwards Emperor, with his Sister Margaret Dutchess of Savoy at Tournay. There was then a Discourse of a Marriage between the Dutchess of Savoy and the Lord Lisle afterwards Duke of Suffolk.


Your Nights I dreaded, and your gamesome Days.
Thus Cleopatra, Rome's Triumvir try'd,
And thus my Brandon may be lost, I cry'd.
Suspicion is the weakness of our Sex:
She who loves most, believe me, most suspects.
With such Offenders we with ease are Friends,
He's least excusable who ne'er offends.
None guess'd on Tournay, you'd pretend to look;
Which, soon as you besieg'd, we heard you took.
When Maximilian with my Brother joyn'd,

Maximilian I. with his Troops serv'd under K. Henry, wore the Cross of St. George and the Rose on their Breasts, being both himself and his Soldiers in our King's Pay. The Kings of England have since had many Princes in the same Circumstances, as much as 'twas then a rarity.

And his proud Eagle with our Crosses shin'd;
Nor thought he injur'd his Imperial Name,
To wait on Henry's, and his Suffolk's Fame.
Both Cæsar and his Knights, with Pride, obey,
Fight in his Armies, and receive his Pay.
I little dreamt that I shou'd pay so dear,
For all your Victories, and end the War.
'Twas Wolsey's cunning and his vile deceit,

Wolsey then Bishop of Lincoln, afterward Cardinal, by his Favour with King Henry, was the chief Cause of this young Ladies being thrown away on the decrepid French King.

To which, unwilling I, by Force submit;


An English Princess cou'd not yet advance,
My Suffolk's Fortune like a Queen of France.
A Royal Dow'r, a better Wealth will prove,
Than the poor Treasure of a Virgin's Love.
Yet losing this, so delicate you're grown,
It soils, you think, the Lustre of a Crown.
Widows are things so miserably dull,
Your Fancy sickens, and your Wishes cool.
In this more scrupulous perhaps than wise,
Your Fears are foolish, but extreamly nice.
If you knew better, you wou'd shun me less,
But save my Blushes, and my meaning guess.
An Infant hanging on his Nurses Breast,
May kiss and toy, and yet the Nurse be chast.
Six Moons have scarce their Silver Circle run,
Since Lewis gave me for my Hand a Crown;
What the good Monarch had return'd in Love,
Might more your Pity than your Envy move.
Cruel indeed! Who at his Bargain grieves,
Who gives so little, and so much receives.


Our Loves in nothing, but Prevention, crost,
My Wealth will pay for all the Minutes lost.
Lewis, to grace my Nuptial Feast, invites,
To Tilts and Turnaments, the Warriour Knights:
The formost to the Lists my Champion came,
To prove his Prowess, and assert the Dame.
Valois beheld Thee with a jealous Frown,

Francis then Duke of Valois, and afterwards Francis I. chose the Duke of Suffolk, and the Marquess of Dorset, to be his Assistants in the Tournaments he Proclaim'd in Honour of the Lady Mary and her Nuptials.

Thy Youth so spritely, and thy Valour shone.
He dreaded it too much to trust his own.
And wisely conscious of unequal force,
He took a kinder, and a safer, Course;
Thee of his Party, and thy Friends he chose,
Who dare all Combatants, and all oppose.
Oh how it struck me when the Justs begun,
To see the Rival Knights at Suffolk run;
Your danger I beheld with such concern,
Who saw me, easily my Care discern.
Nor often cou'd my secret Terror hide,
But, save my Brandon, save my Love, I cry'd.


Then, lest Confusion might betray my Zeal,
I kiss'd the good old King, and all was well.
I saw the Glory which your Squadron won,
The rest neglected, and extoll'd his Son:
And when he turn'd his honest Praise on thee,
I ask'd him, to deceive him, Which is He?
Joy flush'd my Cheeks and sparkled in my Eyes,
When Suffolk was proclaim'd to win the Prize.
The mighty Rapture I cou'd scarce contain,
And scarce from telling what I felt, refrain.
My Womans Wit and Artifice I use,
My Pleasure to conceal, or else excuse.
My Looks on others, or my Praise I turn,
Or seldom nam'd thee, or with seeming scorn.
So Eminent you shin'd above the rest,
As best I lov'd you, you deserv'd it best.
The Knights, the Princes in their splendid Arms,
Thy Valour wanted, or thy youthful Charms.
Yet oft I fancy'd, I their Merit wrong,
As Brave they seem, as Beautiful and Young.


As Gracefully they move, as Great appear,
As Worthy too, if Suffolk is not near.
As Clouds before the Sun from Thee they fly,
And their Worth vanishes when thou art by.
So Diamonds equal in their Lustre seem,
When view'd alone that look by others dim.
A noble Presence in Alencon's seen,
Thy Shape is better, and thy charming Mien.
A fine Behaviour, Gentle and Polite,
Distinguishes Vendosme, but thine is great.
The Gallant Bourbon has a manly Face,
Yet wants my Hero's Sweetness and its Grace.
The Boaster Long'ville, Europe's Champions dare,
Believ'd till Suffolk came the first in War.
The famous Constable's couragious Son,

The Count of St. Paul.

Allows thy Glory has eclips'd his own.
Bonarm and Galleas, with Gigantick Might,

Two famous Combatants of their time. Gallean of such strength, that he ran a Course with a Spear, which at the Head was Five Inches square, and at the Fut Nine. Bonarm at the same time same into the Field arm'd at all points, with Ten Spears about him, and spurring his Horse never stop'd him till he had broken 'em all.

Dispute the Prize, but yield to thine in Fight.
If Henry with our Loves shou'd disagree,
I'll own the Fault is mine, and not in Thee.


My Brother's Smiles created my Esteem;
In loving thee, I only follow him.
The Croud believe I wrong a Royal Bed,
Below a Lancaster or York to wed.
So high a value on my Name they set,
There's none which suits it but Plantagenet.
This, in their Wisdom, I suppose, they say,
Yet grieve at nothing but at Suffolk's stay.
Can England please thee while thy Queen is here,
Or I delight in France while thou art there?
Hast, Hast, my Brandon, and expect to find
An angry Mistress, yet in Anger kind.
When we last parted was your Promise this?
The Oath you swore, and seal'd it with a Kiss.
Is this your speedy, and your wish'd Return?
And are you not ungrateful and forsworn?
With greater Crimes I sooner cou'd dispense,
Than pardon this, a Lovers worst Offence.
And yet if e'er to meet again we live,
What Crime so great I shall not then forgive?


Your Penance heavy, like your Sin, shou'd prove,
My Vengeance shall be only too much Love.
Yes, Brandon, this is all thou hast to fear,
If Love can be too much, thou'lt have it here.


Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, to Mary the French Queen.

VVhen you accuse me that I stay too long,
My Love, forgetting where I am, you wrong.
Nor Seas, nor Wind detain me in a Port,
But the slow Motions of your Brother's Court.
Impatient of my last Dispatch I wait,
And curse the Ministers, and blame the State.
The King commands 'em, and they promise fair,
Yet artfully contrive to keep me here.
If nothing but the Winds oppos'd my way,
Thou shou'dst not chide me for my tedious stay.
Nor Night, nor Tempest wou'd I fear for Thee,
But cut my Passage through the troubled Sea.
Your Eyes wou'd light me o'er the darksome way,
And Love, your Suffolk, on a Wave, convey,


Swift as my Wishes to my Queen I'd fly,
Nor dread the Billows tho they reach'd the Sky.
My Hopes wou'd mount me yet above their Rage,
While I, undaunted, with the Storm engage.
The Sun just finishes the Golden Year,
My Queen at Paris still, and Brandon here.
Still parted by our Foes, or by our Fate,
Our Loves must suffer, by the Forms of State.
Your Truth, your Constancy, you oft repeat,
Yet, great as 'tis, your Suffolk's is as great.
In Pompous Embassy, when Longville came,

The Duke of Longville Ambassador on this Occasion.

To wed the Princess in his Master's Name.
Oh! how I wish'd we might dispute in Fight,
If Lewis shou'd possess my Lover's Right.
To rash Attempts provok'd by my Despair,
I meditate his Death to save the Fair.
The Powers which kept me from so black a Deed,
Forgive the Sins that from our Love proceed.


For who cou'd see with Temper, and unmov'd,
The Beauty ravish'd he so dearly lov'd?
Richmond the Glory of our Silver Thames,
Wild and Deserted, in your Absence, seems.
'Twas there, you know it well, you stole my Heart;
'Twas there, in Tears, you told me, we must part.
There I beheld you at your Rural Sport,
The Grace, the Wonder, of a shining Court.
Oft like Diana, on the flowry Green,

Queen Katharine, whom Henry VIII. afterwards divorc'd.

You revel'd with your Brother's beauteous Queen.
The Birds, in Winter, at your presence sing,
And fancy, when they see you, 'tis the Spring.
The Groves, the Shades, the Meads, while you was there,
Preserv'd their Sweetness thro' the smiling Year.
The Spring, the Birds, with you are fled away,
And scarce are heard to welcome in the May.
The Thames complaining, with his Murmur glides,
Or rages in his Grief, with swelling Tides.


He sees the Goddess by his side no more,
Nor bears the Burthen which he proudly bore.
To meet you coming from the Shoar, he heaves,
And lifts you gently on his wanton Waves.
The Swains, by Wonder, to the Banks are led,
The Flocks, the Herds, which near the River fed,
From the green Pasture, from the Mountain stray'd,
And the gay Swan, around your Gally, play'd.
The Stream unwilling, now his Course pursues,
And nothing lovely, since you left him, views.
When Fame inform'd me of the Storm you met,

The Queen in her Passage to France was met by a great Storm, which drove the Yacht or Vessel she was in, into the Haven of Bulloign, and scatter'd the Fleet.

Which tore your Gally, and dispers'd your Fleet.
I knew from whence the dreadful Tempest rose,
How Venus made the Warring Winds your foes.
She loath'd to see so bright a Princess led,
A Youthful Victim, to an useless Bed.
The Winds, to please her, all their Rage employ,
That, what she cou'd not gain, she might destroy.


Your Ships, with fury, on the Coast she drove,
In Vengeance to her self, and slighted Love.
The God ne'er governs by the Rule of State,
Nor Cruel to the Mean, nor Partial to the Great
But when a fond, a tender Heart he finds,
He aims his Dart, and whom he pleases, joyns
He Curses such, as what he Wills, oppose,
And certain Ruin with his Curses goes.
How for your Safety shou'd I once have pray'd
Of the least Wind, of every Wave afraid!
Yet thus to leave me, with my Joy so near,
Too much provok'd me to increase my Care.
Till Love returning, and with Love my Zeal,
I heard, with Transport, that the Queen was well.
Of your gay Meeting we were quickly told,

King Lewis XII. her Husband then very old, met her at Abbeville, where he made with his new Queen a most pompous Entry.

The Bride Conspicuous, in her Gems and Gold
Your Charms more radiant than your Gem appear,
Like a new Star, to deck the Southern Sphere


Your Virgin Train in Silver Robes are seen,

The Queen had 36 Ladies clad in Cloth of Silver, the chiefest of the English Nobility, the Trappings of their Horses were of Crimson Velvet.

O'er all Illustrious, but the lovely Queen.
Whose Brightness, as unequal seem'd to theirs,
As the Sun's Lustre to the paler Stars.
Is all this Splendour for a Child, I cry'd,

King Lewis besides his Age, was much troubled with the Gout.

'Tis less to shew his Kindness than his Pride.
Himself Decrepid and Decay'd, he strove
To please thy Vanity, if not thy Love.
Of his rich Trappings, and his Steed, they talk,
As if he shou'd not ride, who cou'd not walk!
A fine Companion for a Royal Maid,
For a Grave fitter, than a Marriage Bed.
He sought thy Beauty, as the Miser's Gold,
To hoard the Treasure up, and to behold.
Fond to Possess, uncapable to Use:
Yet loath to keep it, as he fear'd to lose.
With Hands profane, the Beauty so Divine,
'Tis Sacrilege to touch the hallow'd Shrine.
Thy Youth on him was thrown away in wast,
Who surfeited on Food he cou'd not tast.


And yet, like Children, who for Trifles long,
He covets still, as if he still were young.
When Capel, Dorset, and the Valiant Grays,

The Duke of Suffolk when the Torunament was proclaimed in England to be held at Paris, for the sake of the Queen his Mistress, got the King's leave to go thither, with whom went Gray, Marquis of Dorset, and his Four Brothers, the Lord Clinton, Sir Edward Nevill, Sir Giles Capell, Thomas Cheyney, as his Assistants.

In search of Glory, crost the narrow Seas.
As Knights they went, Companions of my Fame,
To try their Force, and spread the English Name.
In Triumph to the Lists, I saw you ride,

The Entry of that Queen into Paris, after her Coronation at St. Dennis.

And proud was Brandon, to behold your Pride.
Paris around with Tyrian Carpets hung,
The Court with Joy, with Mirth the City rung.
A Numerous, and a Gallant Band prepar'd,
Attend in shining Armour, as your Guard.
In high Procession, follow'd next the Priests,
Array'd in Purple, and in Golden Vests:
Their Vows they mingled with the Joyful Throng,
And sung your Praise, and Hymeneal Song.
The Princes of the Church, the Peers of France,

The Dukes of Alenson, Bourbon, Vendome, Longueville, Suffolk, and five Cardinals.

With the Bride's Champions, in their Rank advance.


Aloft, on your Imperial Chariot, born,
Your Seat, you Honour, and your Crown adorn.
To shine, your Ladies, an unhappy Train,
Like Stars too near the Sun, attempt in vain.
Their Youth, their Vanity, their Care and Cost,
So near Perfection, in the Queen, are lost.
Affected in their Airs, and nice in Dress,
While Native Beauties, in their Mistress, please.
Thus the bright Cynthia from the West appears,
Attended with a Troop of feeble Stars;
She rules the Skies, with undisputed right,
Confest their Sovereign, and the Queen of Light.
Secure of Conquest, to the Lists I ride,
For what of Might I want, my Love supply'd.
Thrice at the Barriers I your Charms proclaim,
And enter'd fierce to justifie your Fame.
The Knights, to name the Rival Ladies, dread,
And, as the Fair deserv'd it, they succeed.
I prov'd Triumphant in your Royal View,
O'r them superior; to their Ladies, you.


Nor Arms your Suffolk, nor their Spite, compell'd,
To quit Inglorious, the disputed Field,
The German boasted of Gigantick Race,

The Duke of Valois, afterwards Francis I. French King, envying the Duke of Suffolk's Fortune and Bravery, got a German of prodigious Strength, to encounter with the victorious Brandon, who closing with this boasted Champion, beat him with the Pummel of his Sword, till the Giant had enough of the Combat.

Tho brought in Treason for your Knight's Disgrace,
I forc'd, you saw it and were pleas'd, to yield,
And offer'd at your Feet, his Massy Shield.
Forgive—if recent Actions I repeat,
Or talk of things you cannot yet forget.
My Fame, my Fortune, to your Smiles are due,
And all that I have got, returns to you.
From your bright Image in my Soul it came,
And Love and Victory were then the same.
By every Motion, by my Eyes you guess,
To what I ow'd my Courage and Success.
This, had the People leisure, they might see;
But gaze on you too much to look on me.
Thus, unobserv'd, our Glances often joyn'd,
Mine fierce with Wishes, as the Queens were kind.


Again enflam'd, the Combat I pursue,
Defy'd the Champions, and again subdue.
'Twere vain of Pedigree, or Birth to boast,
The Thames, the Tyber, in the Sea are lost.
The Monarch Eagle, o'er the Faulcon flies,
In view, he leaves him, and ascends the Skies.
Your self the fairest of a Race Divine,
What Merit can I hope to plead by mine?
Or else as Heir to Brandon I might claim,

Sir William Brandon's Father was slain at Bosworth Fight, by Richard III, being then Standard-bearer to the Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII.

A Prince's favour in my Father's Name.
Whom Richmond chose, at Bosworth Plain, to bear
His Glorious Ensign, and direct the War.
The Tyrant's Cause and Person he withstood,
And bought our Honours with his Loyal Blood.
Blame me no longer for unkind delay,
Nor think thro Coldness or Neglect I stay.
Our Council's slow, I fain would have 'em sure,
Prevent all Danger, and our Hopes secure.
We'll trust to Fortune, and to Friends no more,
By both once flatter'd, and betray'd before.


The King's Consent his Council must approve,
And all that follows will be Joy and Love.