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Asti [Asta]

Piedmont, Italy

Coordinates: 44° 53' 56" N, 08° 12' 28" E

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Florence (Firenze)


Tuscany, Italy

Coordinates: 43° 46' 13" N, 11° 15' 17" EE

Historic republic; cathedral city

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Genoa [Genua; Ianua]

Liguria, Italy

Historic city-state

Coordinates: 44° 24' 0" N, 8° 55' 0" E

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Pisa [Pysas; Pise; Pisae]

Tuscany, Italy

Coordinates: 43° 43' 0" N, 10° 24' 0" E

800 [776]

K. Hen. 7. The death of D. Whittington slaine by a Bull. Hieronimus Sauonarola.

slaieng this sely lambe at the townes side, a certayne Butcher within the towne was as busie in slaieng of a Bull, which Bull he had fast bounde in ropes, ready to knocke him on the head. But the butcher ( MarginaliaA comparison betweene butchers, and the popes murthering ministers.belike not so skilfull in his arte of killing beastes, as the Papistes be in murthering Christians) as he was lifting his axe to strike the Bull, failed in hys stroke, and smit a little too low, or else how he smit, I knowe not. This was certayne, that the Bull although somewhat greued at the stoke, but yet not strooken downe, put his strength to the ropes, and brake lose from the butcher into the streete, the very same tyme as the people were comming in great prease from the burning. Who seeing the Bull comming towardes them, and supposing him to be wilde (as was no other lyke) gaue way for the beast, euery man shifting for himselfe, as well as he might. Thus the people geuing backe, and making a lane for the Bull, he passed through the throng of them, touching neither man nor childe, till he came where as the Chauncelour was. MarginaliaA rare & speciall example of the iust punishment of God vpon a persecutour.Against whome the Bull, as pricked with a sodeine vehemēcie, ranne full but with his hornes, and taking him vpon the paunch, gored him through and through, MarginaliaD. Whittington slaine of a Bull.and so killed him immediately, carieng his guts, and trailing them with his hornes all the streete ouer, to the great admiration and wonder of all them that sawe it. 

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It seems a shame to spoil a splendid story, but Thomas Woodington, far from being slain by a bull in the reign of Henry VII, rose to become dean of theArches in 1513 and died around 1522 (Emden A).

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Although the carnall sence of man be blinde in considering the workes of the Lorde, imputing many tymes to blinde chaunce the thyngs which properly pertayne to Gods only praise and prouidence: yet in this so straunge and so euident example, what man can be so dull or ignorant, which seeth not heerein a plaine miracle of Gods mighty power and iudgement both in the punishing of this wretched Chauncelour, and also in admonishing all other like persecutours, by his example, to feare the Lord, and to abstaine from the like crueltie?

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MarginaliaWitnes to the story.Now for the credite of this story, least I be sayde vpon mine owne head to commit to story, things rashly which I can not iustifie, therefore to stop such cauelling mouths, I will discharge my selfe with authority I trust sufficient: that is, with the witnesse of him which both was a Papist, and also present the same time at the burning of the woman, whose name was Rowland Webbe: which Rowland dwelling then in Chippingsadbery, had a sonne named Richard Webbe, seruant sometime to Maister Latymer, who also enduring with him in time of his trouble sixe yeares together, was himselfe emprisoned and persecuted for the same cause. Vnto the which 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.

being now aged, then yong, the foresaid Rowland his father, to the entent to exhort him from this sect of heresie (as he then called it) recited to him many times the burning of this woman, and withall added the story of the Bull aforesayd, which he himselfe did see & testifie. This Richard Webbe is yet liuing, a witnes of his owne fathers wordes and testimonie, which I trust may satisfie all indifferent Readers, except onely such as thinke no truth to be beleeued, but that only which is in their Portues.

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

Mira legis, quicuǹ ... passibus illa venit.


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, portenta 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 repentè 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 à 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 concerning the state of the Churche. Wherein is to be vnderstand, what stormes and persecuti-ons haue bene raised vp in all quarters against the flocke and congregation of Christ, not only 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 daies and reigne of this king Henry the vij. how mightely the working of Gods Gospell hath multiplied and increased, and what great numbers of men and women haue suffered for the same, with vs in England, as by these stories aboue past, may be apparent.

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MarginaliaThe state of the commō wealth, comonly foloweth the state of the church.Now these things declared, which to the Church matters be apperteining, cōsquently it remaineth something to entreate of the state likewise of the cōmon wealth, which commonly doth follow the state of the Church. Where the Church is quietly and moderately gouerned, and the flock of Christ defended by godly Princes in peace & safety, frō deuouring and violence of bloudy Wolues: MarginaliaThe duete of princes to defend their subiectes frō the slaughter of the Church of Rome. the successe of ciuile estate, for the most part, there doth florishe, and the Princes long cōtinue through Gods preseruation, in prosperous rest & trāquillitie. 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: shortly after ensueth some iust recompence of the Lord vpon those Princes, that eyther their liues do not long continue, or else they finde not that quiet in the common wealth, which they looke for. Examples heereof, as in all othere ages be aboundant, so in this present time be not lacking, whether we consider the state and condition of other countreys farre off, or else of our owne countrey neare at home.

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And heere not to wander in our story, farther then to Fraunce onely, let vs a little behold the example of Kyng Charles the viij. who liuing in this Kings time, died also not long before him. This Charles is commended of Philippus Cominæus, to be a moderate, valiant, and victorious Prince, adorned with many speciall vertues to a Prince apperteining. 

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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 slack and remisse in defence of Christes Church, neither did vse his authority, nor tooke his occasion offered to him of God, to amend and refourme the state of the Bishop and Cleargy of Rome when he might, he was therefore himselfe punished and cut off of the Lord, as by his story ensuing may right well appeare. For so it is of him recorded, that being maruelously excited and prouoked, of his owne minde (cōtrary to the counsaile of most of his Nobles) he tooke hys viage into Italy, neither being furnished with money, nor the season of the yeare being cōuenient therunto. And that this may appeare the better to proceede of þe Lords doing, to the entent he woulde haue the Church and Cleargy of Rome reformed by the Princes sword, which so vexed all Christendome at that time, we shall heare what is testified in the Commentaries of the foresaid Philip. Cominæus Lib. 3. De bello Neapolit. MarginaliaEx comentariis Phil Cominæi De bello Neapolitano. lib 3. writing in this wise.

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There was (saith he) in the City of Florence the same time a Dominicke Frier, named Hieronimus Sauonarola (of whom mētion was made before, pag. 731. MarginaliaVid supra pag. 731.) a man of a right godly and approoued life: who in the said City of Florence preached and prophecied long before, MarginaliaThe prophesie of Hierome Sauonarola.that the French King should come with an army into Italy, being stirred vp of God to suppresse the tiraunts 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 hapned true. He affirmed moreouer to be signified to him of the Lord, that the Ecclesiasticall state of the Churche must bee redressed Per vim armorum, I. by the sword, or force of armes. Many things also he prophesied of the Venetians, & of the French King, saieng that the King with some danger & difficultie, should passe that iourney, yet notwithstanding shoulde ouercome it and escape, albeit his strength were neuer so slender: for God woulde safely conduct him in that iourney, and safely bring him home againe. MarginaliaNote.But because he had not done his office, in amending the state of the Churche, and in defending his people from iniurie, and from deuouring, therefore it shoulde come to passe (said hee) and that shortly, that some incommoditie or detriment shoulde happen to the King: or if hee shoulde escape that danger of hys sicknesse, and recouer health, then if he did resist the cruelty of the wicked, and procure the safety of the poore and miserable, God would shew mercy vnto him, &c. And this the saide Hieronymus declared before to Cominæus one of the Kings counsaylours, whych was the writer of the story, and required him to signifie the same vnto the King, which so did, and he moreouer himselfe comming to the presence of the king, declared no lesse.

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

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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 King being but easely accompanied wyth a small power, entred into Italy, where first he came to Asta, then to Genua, and to Pisæ, from thence proceeded to Florence, which also he obteined, displacing there Petrus Medices the Duke, who had vsed great tyrannie vpon the

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