Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
By George Cavendish (c. 15001561)
OR ever I wade any further in this matter, I do intend to declare unto you what chanced him before this his last trouble at Cawood, as a sign or token given by God what should follow of his end, or of trouble which did shortly ensue, the sequel whereof was of no man then present either premeditate or imagined. Therefore, forasmuch as it is a notable thing to be considered, I will (God willing) declare it as truly as it chanced according to my simple remembrance, at the which I myself was present.
My lords accustomed enemies in the court about the king had now my lord in more doubt than they had before his fall, considering the continual favour that the king bare him, thought that at length the king might call him home again; and if he so did, they supposed that he would rather imagine against them than to remit or forget their cruelty, which they most unjustly imagined against him. Wherefore they compassed in their heads that they would either by some means dispatch him by some sinister accusation of treason, or to bring him into the kings indignation by some other ways. This was their daily imagination and study, having as many spials, and as many eyes to attend upon his doings as the poets feigned Argus to have; so that he could neither work nor do any thing, but that his enemies had knowledge thereof shortly after. Now at the last, they espied a time wherein they caught an occasion to bring their purpose to pass, thinking thereby to have of him a great advantage; for the matter being once disclosed unto the king, in such a vehemency as they purposed, they thought the king would be moved against him with great displeasure. And that by them executed and done, the king, upon their information, thought it good that he should come up to stand to his trial; which they liked nothing at all; notwithstanding he was sent for after this sort. First, they devised that he should come up upon arrest in ward, which they knew right well would so sore grieve him that he might be the weaker to come into the kings presence to make answer. Wherefore they sent Sir Walter Walshe, knight, one of the gentlemen of the kings privy chamber, down into the country unto the Earl of Northumberland (who was brought up in my lords house), and they twain being in commission jointly to arrest my lord of hault1 treason. This conclusion fully resolved, they caused Master Walshe to prepare himself to this journey with this commission, and certain instructions annexed to the same; who made him ready to ride, and took his horse at the court gate about one of the clock at noon, upon All-hallown day, towards the north. Now am I come to the place where I will declare the thing that I promised you before of a certain token of my lords trouble; which was this.
My lord sitting at dinner upon All-hallown day, in Cawood Castle, having at his boards end divers of his most worthiest chaplains, sitting at dinner to keep him company, for lack of strangers, ye shall understand, that my lords great cross of silver accustomably stood in the corner, at the tables end, leaning against the tappet or hanging of the chamber. And when the tables end was taken up, and a convenient time for them to arise; in arising from the table, one Doctor Augustine, physician, being a Venetian born, having a boisterous gown of black velvet upon him, as he would have come out at the tables end, his gown overthrew the cross that stood there in the corner, and the cross trailing down along the tappet, it chanced to fall upon Doctor Bonners head, who stood among others by the tappet, making of curtsy to my lord, and with one of the points of the cross razed his head a little, that the blood ran down. The company standing there were greatly astonied with the chance. My lord sitting in his chair, looking upon them, perceiving the chance, demanded of me being next him, what the matter meant of their sudden abashment. I showed him how the cross fell upon Doctor Bonners head. Hath it, quoth he, drawn any blood? Yea forsooth, my lord, quoth I, as it seemeth me. With that he cast down his head, looking very soberly upon me a good while without any word speaking; at the last quoth he (shaking of his head), malum omen; and therewith said grace, and rose from the table, and went into his bedchamber, there lamenting, making his prayers. Now mark the signification, how my lord expounded this matter unto me afterward at Pomfret Abbey. First, ye shall understand, that the cross, which belonged to the dignity of York, he understood to be himself; and Augustine, that overthrew the cross, he understood to be he that should accuse him, by means whereof he should be overthrown. The falling upon Master Bonners head, who was master of my lords faculties and spiritual jurisdictions, who was damnified by the overthrowing of the cross by the physician, and the drawing of blood betokened death, which shortly after came to pass; about the very same time of the day of this mischance, Master Walshe took his horse at the court gate, as nigh as it could be judged. And thus my lord took it for a very sign or token of that which after ensued, if the circumstance be equally considered and noted, although no man was there present at that time that had any knowledge of Master Walshes coming down, or what should follow. Wherefore, as it was supposed, that God showed him more secret knowledge of his latter days and end of his trouble than all men supposed; which appeared right well by divers talks that he had with me at divers times of his last end. And now that I have declared unto you the effect of this prodigy and sign, I will return again to my matter.