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123 [1140]

MarginaliaKing Ihō poysoned by a MōkAnd in the same selfe yeare, as kyng Iohn was come to Swinested Abbey, not farre from Lincolne, he rested there two dayes, where as most writers testifie þt he was most trayterously poisoned, by a Monke of that Abbey, of the sect of Sisteanes, or sainct Bernardes brethren called Simon of Swinsted. And concerning his noble personage, this witnesse geueth Roger Houeden therein: princeps quidem magnus erat sed minus felix: atque vt Marius vtramquè fortunam expertus. doubtles (saieth he) kyng Iohn was a mighty Prince, but not so fortunate as many were. Not altogether vnlike to Marius the noble Romaine, he tasted Fortune bothe waies, much in mercy, in warres, sometime he wonne, sometime again he lost. Munificus ac liberalis in exteros fuit, sed proditionis causa suorū depredator, plus aduenis quam suis confidens. He was also very bounteous and liberall vnto straungers, but to his owne people, for theyr daily treasons sake he was a great oppressour, so that he trusted more to foreiners then to thē.

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Among other diuers and sondry conditions, belonging to this king, one there was, whiche is not in him to be reprehended, but commēded rather, for that being farre from the superstition which kynges at that time were commonly subiect vnto, regarded not the popish Masse, as in certain Chronicles writing of him may bee collected: for so I find testified of hym by Math. Parisiensis, that the king vppon a time in hys hunting, commyng where a very fat stag was cut vp and opened (or how the hunters terme it, I cannot tell) the king beholding the fatnes and the liking of the stagge: MarginaliaThe saying of kyng Iohn deridyng the Masse.see sayeth he, how easily and happely he hath liued, and yet for all that he neuer heard any Masse.

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It is recorded and found in the Chronicle of William Caxton, called fructus temporum & in the. 7. booke. The foresaide Monke Simon being muche offended with a certain talk that the king had at his Table, concerning Ludouicke the French kinges sonne, whiche then had entred and vsurped vppon him, dyd cast in his wicked heart, how he most spedily myghte bring him to his ende. And fyrst of all he counselled with his Abbot, shewyng him the whole matter, and what he was minded to dooe. He alledged for himself the prophecy of Cayphas, Iohn. 11. saying. It is better that one man dye, then all the people should perishe. I am wel cōtented (sayeth he) to lose my life, and so become a Martyr, so that I may vtterly destroy this tiraunt. with that the Abbot did weepe for gladnes, and muche commended his feruent zeale, as he toke it. The Monke then being absolued of his Abbot, for doing this act, aforehand, went secretely into a garden vpon the back side. And finding ther a most venemous toade, he so pricked him, and pressed him with his pēknife, that he made him vomit all the poyson that was wtin him. This done he conueyed it into a cuppe of wine, and with a smiling and flattering coūtenaunce he sayd thus to the king: if it shal like your princely maiesty, here is such a cuppe of wine as ye neuer dronke before, in al your life time. I trust this Wassall shall make all Englande glad. And with that he dranke a greate draught thereof, the kyng pledging him. The Monke anone after went to the farmerye, and there dyed, his guttes gushing out of his belly, and had continually from thencefoorth three Mōkes to sing Masses for his soule, confirmed by their generall Chapter. What became after that of king Iohn, ye shall know ryght wel in the processe followyng. I would ye did marke well the wholesome procedinges of these holye votaries, howe vertuously they obey their kynges, whome god hath appoynted, and howe religiously they bestowe theyr confessions, absolutions, and Masses.

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The kyng within a shorte space after, felyng great griefe in his bodye, asked for Simon the Monke, and aunswere was made that he was departed this life. Then God haue mercy vpō me (sayd he.) I suspected as much. Anone after he had sayd, that all Englande should therof be glad, he ment them of his owne generation. With that he commaunded his Charyot to be prepared. for he was not able to ryde. So wēt he from thence to Slaforde Castell, and from thence to Newerke vpon Trent, & there wyth in lesse then thre dayes he died. Vpon his death bed he much repented his former life, and forgaue al them with a pitiful heart that had done hym iniury, desiryng that his elder sonne Henry might be admonished by his example, and to learne by his misfortunes, to be naturally fauorable, gentle, and louing to his natiue people. Whan his body was enbawmed and spiced as the maner is of kinges, his bowels or intrailes were buried at Cropton Abbey, whiche was of the sect of Premonstratensers or Chanōs of S. Norbert. His hired souldiors, both Englishmē and straungers were styll about him, and followed his Corps triumphantly in theyr armour, tyl they came to the Cathedral church of Worcester, and there honorablye was he buryed by Siluester the Bishop there, betwixt sainct Oswald & sainct Wolstane, twoo Bishops of that Churche. Marginalia1216He dyed in the yeare of our Lord. 1216 the. xix. day of October, after he had reygned in suche calamitie, by the subtile conueyaunce of his Clergy, xvii. yeares. vi. monethes, and odde dayes. So soone as king Iohn was dead and buryed, as is sayde afore, the Princes, Lordes, and Barons, so many as were of his parte, as well of Straungers as of them that wer born here, by Counsayle of the Legate Gnalo, gathered themselues together, and all with one consente proclaymed Henrye his sonne for theyr kyng. For that only cause was king Iohn then

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buryed
* I.v.
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