England under Henry VIII — страница 6

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of Catherine, so he now fell in love with ano- ther lady in the service of Anne. The King resolved to have Anne Boleyn's head to marry Lady Jane Seymour. So, he brought a number of charges against Anne, accusing her of dreadful crimes which she had never committed, and implicating in them her own brother and certain gentlemen in her service. As the lords and councillors were afraid of the King, they brought in Anne Boleyn guilty, and the other unfortunate persons accused with her, guilty too. They were all sentenced to death. Anne Boleyn tried to soften her hus-band by touching letters, but as he wanted her to be executed, she was soon beheaded. There is a story that the King sat in his palace listening very anxiously for the sound of the cannon which was to announce this new

murder; and that, when he heard it, he rose up in great spirits and ordered out his dogs to go a-hunting. He married Jane Seymour the very next day. Jane Seymour lived just long enough to give birth to a son who was christened Edward, and then to die of a fever. *** Cranmer had done what he could to save some of the Church property for purposes of religion and education. But the great families had been so hungry to get hold of it, that very little could be rescued for such objects. Even Miles Coverdale, who did the people the inestimable service of translating the Bible into English (which the unreformed religion never permitted to be done), was left in poverty while the great families clutched the Church lands and money. The people had been told that when the Crown came into

possession of these funds, it would not be necessary to tax them. But they were taxed afresh directly afterwards. One of the most active writers on a Church's side against the King was a member of his own family - a sort of distant cousin, Reginald Pole by name - who attacked him in the most violent manner (though he recieved a pension from him all the time), and fought for the Church for his pen, day and night. He was beyong the King's reach, in Italy. The Pope made Reginald Pole a cardinal; but, so much against his will, that it is thought he had hopes of marrying the Princess Mary. His being made a high priest, however, put an end to that. His mother, the Countess of Salisbury - who was unfortunately for herself, within the tyrant's reach -was the last of his relatives on whom

his wrath fell. When she was told to lay her grey head upon the block, she answered the executioner that her head had never committed treason, and if he wanted her head, he should seize that. So, she ran round and round the scaffold with the executioner striking at her, and her grey hair bedabbled with blood. And even when they held her down upon the block she moved her head about to the last, resolved to be no party to her own barbarous murder. All this the people bore, as they had borne everything else. Indeed they bore much more; for the slow fires of Smithfield were continually burning, and people were constantly being roasted to death - still to show what a good Christian the King was. He defied the Pope and his Bull, which was now issued, and had come into England; but he

bur-ned innumerable people whose only offence was that they differed from the Pope's religios opinions. All this the people bore, and more than all this yet. The national spirit seems to have been banished from the kingdom from this time. The people who were executed for treason, the wives and friends of the "bluff" King, spoke of him on the scafford as a good and gentle man. The Parliament were as bad as the rest, and gave the King whatever he wanted. They gave him new powers of murdering, at his will and pleasure, anyone whom he might choose to call a traitor. But the worst measure they passed was an Act of Six Articles*********, commonly called at the time "the whip with six strings", which punished offences against the Pope's opinions, without mercy, and

enforced the very worst parts of the monkish religion. Cranmer would have modified it, if he could; but he had not the power, being overborne by the Romish party. As one of the articles declared that priests should not marry, and as he was married himself, he sent his wife and children into Germany, and began to tremble at his danger. This whip of six strings was made under the King's own eye. It should never be for-gotten of him how cruelly he supported the Popish doctrines when there was nothing to be got by opposing them. This monarch now thought of taking another wife. He proposed to the French King to have some of the ladies of the French Court exhibited be-fore him, that he might make his Royal choice. But the French King ans-wered that he would rather not have his ladies