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776 [752]

K. Henr. 7. Princes punished for not defending the church frō the popes tyrāny.

which I can not iustifie, therfore to stoppe such cauyllyng mouthes, I will discharge me selfe with authoritie I trust sufficient: that is, with the witnesse of hym which bothe was a Papist, and also present the same tyme at the burnyng of the woman, whose name was Rowland Webbe: which Rowland dwellyng thē in Chippyngsadbery, had a sonne named Richard Webbe, seruaunt sometyme to Maister Latymer, who also enduryng with him in tyme of his trouble vj. yeares together, was himselfe emprisoned and persecuted for the same cause. Vnto the whiche Richard Webbe 

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The Richard Webb who is the source for this story was Foxe's source for the burning of Laurence Ghest. Webb is also the source for a demonstrably fictitious story.

beyng now aged, then young, the foresayd Rowland his father, to the entent to exhorte him from this secte of heresie (as he thē called it) recited to hym many tymes þe burnyng of this woman, & withall added the story of þe Bull aforesayd, which himselfe dyd see & testifie. This Richard Webbe is yet liuyng, a witnes of his owne fathers wordes and testimony, which I trust may satisfye all indifferent Readers, except onely such as thinke no truth to be beleued, but that onely which is in their Portues.

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¶ Verses touchyng the same. 
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Verses by Thomas Hatcher
Foxe text Latin

Mira legis, quicuǹ ... passibus illa venit.

Translation

J. Barrie Hall

You, reader, whoever you are, read wondrous portents of an evil end, with punishments atoned for by the imposing of punishment. You, whoever you are to whom the power of the Lord is known, read what is true, with the severity of anger pressing down on the delinquents. Often it happens that bloodshed is augmented by bloodshed, often it happens that anger is overwhelmed by new punishments. All things are subject to the potent right hand of the Lord, who moves men and brute beasts according to his will. The horned bull by struggling eluded the blows of the slaughterman, broke its halter and on a sudden escaped. It happened that the bull went along the road where a large crowd had previously gathered together to see the limbs of a woman perish in the fire, where a close-packed crowd was moving, but out of so large a crowd it single and alone perished. Single and alone it wretchedly scattered the small sheepfold of God and hurled it into the scorching fires. And, as if moving deliberately, it went past them all; this man it tossed on its horns, that one it trampled with its hooves. That one is brought down, his body befouled with oozing blood, while his dug-out innards lie scattered along the roads. Who would not think that these things are done by the Lord who controls the world with his nod, and not tremble at the recollection? Just vengeance attends terrible storms; though late, she comes with unerring step.

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Tho. Hatcherus. 
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The author of these verses is almost certainly Thomas Hatcher, a notedantiquary and fellow of King's College, Cambridge (where he was one of the fellows who accused the provost of the college of being a Catholic sympathiser).


MIra legis, quicunq̀;, legis, protenta nefandi
Exitus, vt pœnas addita pœna luat.
Vera legis, Domini cuicunq̀; potentia nota est,
Vt delinquentes ira seuera premat.
Sæpè fit vt fusus cumuletur sanguine sanguis,
Sæpè fit vt pœnis obruat ira nouis.
Omnia sunt Domini dextræ subiecta potenti,
Qui ciet arbitrio bruta, hominesq̀; suo.
Carnificis taurus luctando corniger ictus
Euitans, fracto fune repente fugit.
Fortè viam quâ turba frequens confluxerat antè,
Fæminea vt cernat membra perire rogo,
Taurus ijt, fertur quâ confertissima turba,
Læsus at ex tanta solus & vnus erat:
Solus & vnus erat, rapidos qui misit in ignes,
Et miserè paruum sparsit ouile Dei.
Et quasi consultò ferretur, præterit omnes,
Cornibus hunc tollit, proterit hunc pedibus.
Ille iacet, madido fœdatur sanguine corpus,
Eruta perq̀; vias viscera sparsa iacent.
Quis non a Domino, nutu qui temperat orbem,
Cogitet hæc fieri? non repetendo tremat?
Vltio terribiles comitatur iusta procellas,
Sera licet, certis passibus illa venit.

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And thus much concernyng the state of the Churche. Wherein is to be vnderstand, what stormes and persecutions haue bene raysed vp in all quarters agaynst the flocke and congregation of Christ, not onely by the Turkes, but also at home within our selues, by the Byshop of Rome, and his retinue. Where also is to be noted in the dayes and reigne of this kyng Henry the vij. how mightely the workyng of Gods Gospell hath multiplied and increased, and in what great numbers of men and women haue suffered for the same, with vs in Englād, as by these stories aboue past, may be apparent.

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MarginaliaThe state of the common wealth, commonly foloweth the state of the church. Now these thyngs declared, which to the Church matters be apperteinyng, consequently it remayneth some thyng to entreate of the state likewise of the common wealth, which commonly doth follow the state of the Church. Where the Church is quietly and moderately gouerned, and the flocke of Christ defended by godly Princes in peace and safety, frō deuouryng and violence of bloudy Wolues: the successe of ciuile estate, for the most part, there doth florishe, and the Princes long continue through Gods preseruation, in prosperous rest & tranquillitie. Contrariwise where the church of Christ either through the negligence of Princes, or thorough their setting on, the poore members of Christ be persecuted and deuoured: MarginaliaThe duetie of princes to defend their subiectes from the slaughter of the Church of Rome. shortly after ensueth some iust recompence of the Lord vpon those Princes, that either their lyues do not long continue, or els they finde not that quyet in the common wealth, whiche they looke for. Examples hereof, as in all other ages be aboundant: so in this present tyme be not lackyng, whether we consider the state and cōdition of other countreys farre of, or els of our owne countrey neare at home.

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And here not to wander in our story, farther then to Fraunce onely: let vs a litle behold the example of kyng Charles the viij: who liuyng in this kynges tyme, dyed also not long before hym. This Charles is commēded of Philippus Cominæus, to be a moderate, valiaūt, and victorious Prince, adourned with many speciall vertues to a Prince apperteining. 

Commentary  *  Close

The following account of Savanorola's prophecies and their fulfillment comes from Phillipe de Commines, De Carlo Octavo… et bello Neapolitano Commentarii, trans. Johann Sleidan (Paris, 1561), pp. 105-7. Both John Bale (Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus [Basel, 1557], p. 628) andMatthias Flacius (Catalogus testium veritatis [Basel, 1562], p. 565) referred to Commines's account of Savanorola. Although neither quoted or reprinted it, theyundoubtedly inspired Foxe to look up the account himself.

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And yet the same king, because he was slacke and remisse in defence of Christes Church, neither dyd vse his authoritie, nor tooke his occasion offered to him of God. to amende and refourme the state of the Byshop and Clergy of Rome when he might, he was therfore himselfe punished and cut of, of the Lord, as by his story ensuyng may right well appeare. For so it is of him recorded, that beyng meruelously excited and prouoked, that of his owne mynde (contrary to the counsayle of most of his Nobles) he tooke hys viage vnto Italy, neither beyng furnished with money, nor the season of the yeare beyng cōuenient thereunto. And that this may appeare the better to procede of the Lordes doing, to the entent he would haue the Church & Clergy of Rome reformed by the Princes sword, which so vexed all Christendome at that tyme, we shall heare what is testified in the Commentaries of the foresayd Philip. Cominæus Lib. 3. De bello Neapolit. writyng in this wise:

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MarginaliaEx commentarijs Phil. Cominæi De bello Neapolitano. lib. 3.
Vid. supra. pag. 707.
There was (sayth he) in the City of Florence the same time, a Dominicke Frier, named Hieronymus Sauonarola (of whom mention was made before, pag. 707.) a man of a ryght godly and approued lyfe: who in the sayd Citie of Florence preached and Prophecied long before, MarginaliaThe prophecie of Hierome Sauonarola. that the French kyng should come with an army into Italy, beyng styrred vp of God to suppresse the tyrauntes of Italy, and none should withstand him. He should also come to the Citie of Pisæ, and the state of Florence should be altered: all which happened true. He affirmed moreouer, to be signified to him of the Lord, that the Ecclesiasticall state of the church must be redressed Per vim armorum, i. by the sword, or force of armes. Many thynges also he Prophesied of the Venetians, and of the French kyng, saying that the kyng with some daunger and difficultie, should passe that iourney, yet notwithstandyng should ouercome it and escape, albeit hys strength were neuer so slender: for God would safely conduct hym in that iourney, and safely bryng him home agayn. MarginaliaNote. But because he had not done his office, in amendyng the state of the Church, and in defendyng his people from iniurie, & from deuouryng, therfore it should come to passe (sayd he) and that shortly, that some incommoditie or detriment should happen to the kyng: or if he should escape that daunger of his sickenes, and recouer health, then if he dyd resist the crueltie of the wicked, and procure the safetie of the poore and miserable, God would shew mercy vnto him. &c. And this the sayd Hieronymus declared before to Cominæus one of the kynges counsaylours, which was the writer of the story, and required him to signifie the same vnto the kyng: which so did; and he moreouer himselfe comming to the presence of the kyng, declared no lesse.

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All which thynges, as he had foretold, came directly to effect. 

Commentary  *  Close

This account of Charles VIII's Italian campaign is a summary of Phillipe de Commines, De Carlo Octavo…et bello Neapolitano Commentarii,trans. Johann Sleidan (Paris, 1561).

For the kyng beyng but easely accompanyd with a small power, entred into Italy, where first he came to Asta, then to Genua, & to Pisæ, frō thence proceded to Florence, which also he obteyned, displacing there Petrus Medices the Duke, who had vsed great tyrāny vpon þe subiects. MarginaliaVide phil. Cominæum de bello Neopol. lib. 3. Frō thence he remoued toward Rome, where a great part of the Citie wall at the commyng of the French kyng, fell downe.

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Afterward when the kyng was entred into the Citie, and the Pope (who then tooke part with Alphonsus kyng of Neaples agaynst the French kyng) had immured himselfe within the mount of Adrian, the wall of the Castle fell downe of it selfe: whereby, when the kyng was both occasioned, and exhorted also by his Captaines to inuade the pope, and to depose him, & to reforme the church of Rome (which he might then easely haue done, as it had pleased him) yet all these occasiōs offered so opportunely of God, moued not the king to do his duety, & to helpe the poore Church of Christ: 

Commentary  *  Close

This account of Charles VIII's death and the belief that it was thefulfillment of Savanorola's prophecy is from Phillipe de Commines, De CarloOctavo…et bello Neapolitano Commentarii, trans. Johann Sleidan (Paris, 1561),pp. 205-12.

Wherfore shortly after, returning home into Fraunce from Neapolis, either the same yeare or the next yeare folowyng he was stroocken with a sodeyne sicknes at Amboise, as he was lookyng on them that played at tennes, and that in the stynkyngest place in all the Castle, where he fell downe and dyed within xij. houres, accordyng to the forewarnyng of Hieronymus, who wrote vnto him a litle before, both of his sonnes death and of his owne: Which was about the yeare of our Lord. 1498. MarginaliaDe bello Neopolit. lib. 5. Ex Philip. Cominæo. Lib. 5.

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Like examples we haue many here also in this our realme of England. 

Commentary  *  Close

This lengthy digression, tying the prosperity of monarchs andtheir reigns to their resistance to 'papistry', is actually an attempt to goad Elizabeth and her councillors into further reforming the English Church.

So long as kyng Iohn kept out of the realme, the Popes authoritie and power, he continued safe and quyet with his nobles: but so soone as he brought the realme vnder tribute and subiectiō to that foreine Byshop, God styrred vp his Nobles agaynst hym, whereby he had much disquyet and trouble and soone therupon decayed.

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Of all the kynges of England, from William conquerour to this kyng Henry vij. were none which either longer continued, or more prosperously florished, then kyng Hē-

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