England under Henry VIII — страница 7

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to be shown like horses at a fair. He proposed to the Dowager Duchess of Milan, who replied that she might have thought of such a match if she had had two heads. At last Cromwell represented that there was a Protestant Princess in Germany - those who had the reformed religion were call Protestants, because their leaders had protested against the abuses and impositions of the unreform-ed Church - named Anne of Cleves, who was beautiful, and would answer the purpose admirably. The King sent over the famous painter, Hans Holbein, to take her a portrait. Hans made her out to be so good-looking that the King was satis-fied, and the marriage was arranged. But Hans had flattered the Princess. When the King first saw her, he swore she was "a great Flanders mare", and said he

would never marry her. Being obliged to do it, he would not give her the presents he had prepared, and would never notice her. He never forgave Cromwell his part in the affair. His downfall dates from that time. It was quickened by his enemies, in the interests of the unreformed religion, putting in the King's way, at a state dinner, a niece of the Duke of Norfolk, Catherine Howard. Falling in love with her on the spot, the King soon divorced Anne of Cleves on pretence that she had been previously betrothered to someone else, and married Catherine. It is probable that on his wedding day he sent his faithful Cromwell to the scaffold, and had his head struck off. It soon came out that Catherine Howard was not a faithful wife, and again the dreadful axe made the King a widower.

Henry then applied him-self to superintending the composition of a religious book called "A ne-cessary doctrine for any Christian Man". He married yet once more. Yes, strange to say, he found in England another woman who would become his wife, and she was Catherine Parr, widow of Lord Latimer. She leaned towards the reformed religion, and it is some comfort to know, that she argued a variety of doctrinal points with him on all possible occasions. After one of these conversations the King in a very black mood actully instructed Gardier, one of his Bishops who favoured the Popish opinions, to draw a bill of accusation against her to the scaffold. But one of the Queen's friends knew about it, and gave her timely notice. She fell ill with terror, but managed the King so

well when he came to entrap her into further statements - by saying that she had only spoken on such points to divert his mind and to get some points of infor-mation from his extraordinary wisdom - that he gave her a kiss and called her a sweatheart. And, when the Chancellor came next day to take her to the Tower, the King honoured him with the epithets of a beast, a knave, and a fool. So near was Catherine Parr to the block, and so narrow was her escape! *** A few more horrors, and this reign was over. There was a lady, Anne Askew, in Lincolnshire, who inclined to the Protestant opinions, and whose husband being a fierce Catholic, turned her out of his house. She came to London, and was considered as offending against the six articles, and was taken to the Tower, and put upon

the rack - probably because it was hoped that she might, in her agony, criminate some obnoxious per-sons. She was tortured in a most cruel manner without uttering a cry, but afterwards they had to carry her to the fire in a chair. She was burned with three others, a gentleman, a clergyman, and a tailor; and so the world went on. Either the King became afraid of the power of Duke of Norfolk, and his son the Earl of Surrey, or they gave him some offence, but he resolved to pull them down, to follow all the rest who were gone. The son was tried first - of course for nothing - and defended himself bravely; but all the same he was found guilty, and was executed. Then his father's turn came. But the King himself was left for death by a Greater King, and the Earth was to be rid of him

at last. When he was found to be dying, Cranmer was sent for, and came with all speed, but found him speechless. In that hour he perished. He was in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and the thirty-eighth of his reign. Henry the Eighth, a bloody tyrant, has been favoured by some Protest-ant writers, because the Reformation was achieved in his time. But the mighty merit of his lies with other men and not with him. What else can I say about Henry VIII? He was more a beast than a man. He executed hundreds of people. Though he was wise enough to rule a country. His reign was bloody and he did not do a lot for his country. His six marriages caused the country to finish all treaties with the Roman Church. And the King's bloody deeds ashamed the mighty England. For Charles Dickens he was