History of England, Part I For the use of Middle Forms of Schools

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER VII: England in the Fifteenth Century

1. [1]  During this century the constitution was little changed. The long wars abroad and troubles at home left the king and nobles scant space for reforms. The rulers of the house of Lancaster made a show of great respect to Parliament, but it was under that the power of voting in the counties was denied to all those who had not a freehold worth 40s. a year. The wish to let old disputes sleep made the first king of the house of call as few parliaments as possible, and indeed men wanted neither fresh taxes nor new laws, but a strong prince who would see the old laws kept, and be mindful that justice was done as swiftly and cheaply as might be to rich and poor alike. To secure this, the king's Council held many sittings, and in the end one of its committees, to which the special duty of seeing to the keeping of the peace and the upholding of justice was trusted, became a regular court, with rules and rights of its own, under the name of the Star Chamber. It got this name from the blue star-painted roof of the room at Westminster in which it was held. Just as the Chancellor gave redress in his court to-those who could not get it from the common law-courts in certain cases when their property was injured, so the Star Chamber took up those cases of criminal wrongdoing which the common law-courts could not or would not attend to. And those who strove to prevent a man from getting justice, or banded together against their neighbours, or fostered quarrels and kept up feuds, or, as jurymen, gave verdicts against the evidence they had heard and the oath they had sworn, were brought before the Star Chamber and fined or imprisoned. But the Star Chamber could not touch a man's life or lands as the common law-courts could, because its sentence was not given by a judge according to the finding of a jury in the old English fashion, but settled by the votes of the councillors upon their secret examination of the prisoner and the witnesses in the manner of the Roman Law. Now that the Council was so strong, little by little it began to use the bad foreign plan of torturing prisoners to make them tell what they knew, and it is said that the Duke of started it, for he had seen it used in France. But as yet none were tortured who were not open evildoers; and so, though the duke got


as ill a name for cruelty to prisoners as Tiptoft had won for maiming and mocking dead men's bodies, men did not blame the Council, and at this time were glad that the Star Chamber was strong and active enough to deal with many a powerful law-breaker, who, under the weak rule of , would have got off scot-free.

2.[2]  As for the Church, the bishops and abbots and priors withstood all ideas of reform from without, and were too busy over fighting heresy, managing their growing property, and working the Church courts, to bestir themselves in the matter. But though the failure of Sir John Oldcastle's plan made it dangerous to meddle with Lollardy, there were not a few who, like Sir John Fastolf, saw that things could not go on so with the Church for ever. We find that there was growing up, in quiet, a deep discontent against the greedy courts, the worldly lives, and the enormous and ill-spent wealth of the clergy. The bishops met this not only by burning heretics, but by founding colleges at and Cambridge, where the young clergy might be brought up in their own views. Gascoyne, Chancellor of the University of , has spoken plainly upon the evils of the Church in his day in his note-book, and the popular songs show small respect for the friars. Even the learned book of Bishop Peacock against was so bold in starting new views on the faith and life of the Church, that he was deprived of his bishopric, and imprisoned as a heretic in .

3. The fifteenth century was a flourishing time for English farmers and merchants. The seasons were fair, the crops good, the seas were safer than before, and the demand for English goods never slackened. The customary rents being now paid at a fixed sum of money instead of in kind [that is, in corn or cattle or labour], and the practice largely used by landlords of stocking and letting small farms to leaseholders at low rates, the yeoman, copyholder, and farmer were all able to profit by the good years, and glad to do their best by their land, knowing that their labour would benefit themselves. By the land was better tilled and yielded larger crops than before the Black Death.

[3]  In the towns, in spite of the losses by war and pirates, and the foolish debasement of the money by , , and (which, of course, tended to hamper foreign trade), merchants and workmen did well. The craftguilds were now at the height of their power and usefulness,


they secured their members against many of the misfortunes that might befall them, encouraged self-help and kindly fellowship, rewarded thrift, kept prices steady, prevented sudden transfers of labour from trade to trade, discouraged extravagant profits, and kept a watch over the conduct of the craftsmen and the kind of work they turned out. Our foreign trade also largely increased, as might be guessed from the treaties of commerce with Brittany, Castile, Portugal, Florence, Flanders, and the Hansa or Trading League of the Baltic towns, made by , Edward IV., and Shipbuilding flourished, and John Taverner of Hull launched the biggest vessel yet built in England, for his use in the North Sea trade. All kinds of ships (carvels, barges, balingers, cogs, and crayers) sail from English ports with wool, corn, lead, tin, honey, and hides, and even such manufactured goods as saddlery, hardware, and guns. They come back to England laden with wine, wood, alum, bowstaves, spices, and dried fruits. Not onlydid English goods fill the great fairs of Brabant, Flanders, and Zealand, but London and Southampton were marts to which the long galleys of Florence and Venice brought paper, Greek wine and sugar, Eastern stuffs and silk, turquoises, and balas rubies, which were paid for partly in wool and partly in silver. New trades grew up, Ireland supplied furs and dried hake and strong coarse cloths-frize and serges andfalding. In William Canning and other northern merchants brought the Iceland trade from the east coast to , and, in spite of the Danes' ill-will, soon got hold of the market there, buying stock-fish and eider-down and brimstone, and selling wine and grain and timber in return. The Merchant Adventurers had their factory, or tradinghouse at Bergen, side by side with that of the Easterlings. The English kings began to keep up a fleet; , like his great-grandfather, , built a large ship, called the Grace Dieu, and the Lord High Admiral, who had a court of his own to try crimes committed at sea, was one of, the chief officers of the Crown.

4. [4]  There were perhaps fewer great buildings raised in England at this time, but numbers of country and town houses, college buildings, chapels, town churches, and additions to older cathedrals, castles, and palaces remain to show the taste of the century. The style of these is called perpendicular, from the great use made of right angles and upright lines in its buildings. It is known by its flat arches, square-headed


windows and doors, square-panelled walling, lofty pinnacles, low-pitched roofs, large broad window-lights, and elaborate ceilings delicately wrought with heavy carved pendants and thickly ribbed vaulting. The use of red and black brick for flat walling was increasing in the latter part of the century. The college at Eton of 's foundation, the chapel of at Westminster, the tower of Magdalen College, (early in the 16th century), built by Wolsey, and the same churchman's later palace buildings at Hampton Court, and college hall and choir roof at Christ Church, the Divinity School at , and the tower of Gloucester Cathedral, are fine examples of this style, which was more widely spread and used in England than in any continental country.

5. [5]  Change in architecture is nearly always a proof of a general change in taste, and so it was now, as folks' dress showed. The mantle and hood of the fourteenth century were disused, save by judges, mayors, bishops, and such great dignitaries. The dress of the men of the middle and upper classes was a long cloth gown with large sleeves, often fur-lined in winter at edge and wrist, girt with a narrow leather belt, from which hung the wearer's straight, broad-bladed, double-edged, ivory-hilted knife, his gypser [pouch], silver-mounted and silk-knotted, and his set or pair of large beads with a signet-ring at their tassel. Late in the century delighted in huge open sleeves, turned back on the shoulder, to show the rich lining of velvet or sable. Below this the short close-buttoned tunic, now called a doublet, and long cloth hose were worn as before. The hood in 's day was often worn as a cap, the face-hole fitting the crown of the head, while the neck-tippet hung down as a scarf, and the pipe of the hood wound round the flattened head part kept it in shape. Later it was twisted into a scarf, and buttoned to the shoulder of the gown. Men's head-gear was a tight skull-cap of velvet or cloth, and over this, in public or out-of-doors, a with jewel clasp and plume. This bonnet was simply the older tall cone-shaped beaver hat with its edges turned up all round and kept in place by a buckle of bronze or silver, and its top flattened into a broad crown. Sometimes only the back was turned up; the front edge then formed a peak, and shaded the eyes. Beneath the gown a short tight tunic was worn, and long, tight cloth hose; the shoes were often peaked into long curling toe-pieces. High Spanish boots


of soft leather were worn by travellers or huntsmen. The ladies also gave up the mantle and furred sur-coat, and took to a long-flowing, deep-sleeved gown, high and closely girt, with the collar thrown back over the shoulders, so that the tight necklace and embroidered linen collar could be seen. Married women wore their hair in large square-shaped nets or combs of silver wire, stiffly set on each side of the head, over which a lawn kerchief or cambric veil was fastened flat above and hanging to the shoulders behind. Sometimes these side-nets were roll-shaped, and rose high on each side above the crown like horns. But later in the century the fashion changed, and the hair was worn in a mass at the back of the head under a stiff square or arched cap of velvet or fur, with embroidered lappets that hung down at the sides of the face and covered all the back of the head. The gown was now cut tight to the arms and waist, and a broad belt with silver studs clasped about the hips, at the hanging end of which swung the looking-glass or scent-box set with silver. Long Italian feather-fans, copied from Eastern models, came into use at the end of the century. Jewels were largely used-set in buttons, clasps, sewed into embroidered work on head-gear or gown, strung upon the necklace or let into rings. Large sums were spent in dress, and both and took much thought and laid out much money upon their own and their wives' apparel. The old cuts and fashion of 's days were still seen in the dark dresses of nuns and widows. The priest's robes had hardly changed since the thirteenth century.

6. [6]  Armour was at its most complicated form in this century. Fresh pieces of plate strengthened the weak places which had formerly been guarded by mail, tuiles or skirt-pieces lapped over the thigh, pauldrons or shoulder-plates covered the shoulder and armpit, strong, flexible splints, jointed like the crawfish's tail, sheltered the throat, just above the breastplate, joined the elbow and knee-pieces to the arm and leg-plates, and formed the gauntlets and sollerets [metal shoes]. The left elbow-piece was broadened till it almost took the place of a shield; the breastplate was doubled in strength by a broad belt-piece covering the waist above and below. Everywhere the plates were cunningly curved and shaped so as to turn a blow and let a thrust glide off, while they allowed their wearer to move as freely as possible under their weight of steel. But the increasing employment of


gunpowder in war (especially abroad, where light, well-bored hand-guns were coming into use) was ere long to make all this skilful and thoughtful work vain; for it was seen that complete armour that would turn a bullet must be too cumbrous for real use. In England the longbows, which would shoot far faster and nearly as hard as these hand-guns, still held their own for almost a century. The 18-foot Swiss pike had become a favourite weapon, for with it steady foot-soldiers could withstand the heaviest cavalry, though not a match for skilled Spanish swordsmen. The advantage of drill, and the regular training of soldiers in the use of their arms, was beginning to be acknowledged abroad, though it was not generally accepted in England till the next century. War was growing more costly than it had ever been before.

7. [7]  During this century few English writers of note appear. Even the history of the time must be pieced together out of private letters, deeds, and account-books, rather than sought in State papers or minster histories. The long series of St. Alban's chroniclers ends with those of John of () and an unnamed monk, and the register of the abbot, John of (). , a minorite, and , an Austin friar of Lynn, both wrote chronicles for the Lancaster kings; and , prior of Lenton, penned prose and verse lives of But the fashion now ran rather for princes and nobles to keep private historiographers, usually their heralds or chaplains, sometimes foreigners of learning. These men often wrote memoirs (we have one such of the Earl of Warwick); and 's chaplains wrote of parts of their masters' career; and , of Thoulouse, the poet-laureate, was 's chronicler, as , the Italian scholar, was 's. another Italian, was the historian of the for whom he wrote his brother's life. (Sir John Fastolf's clerk and executor) wrote annals . wrote, in rough vein, of the Sieges of Harfleur and Paris, which, as an attendant of , he had witnessed. John Harding, a servant of the Percies, is the author of a full and well-composed history in verse. Private persons now began here and there to keep diaries noting the main public events they saw or heard of. There are also collections of correspondence come down to us, such as those of and the ,


the latter a mass of letters to and from John Paston or Caistor (co-executor with William of Worcester to Sir John Fastolf), and his family to the third generation, giving us much minute knowledge of the life and history of the times they cover. For the story of the loss of France, the chronicles of and the French chronicles of the and the , give great help. The works of (c. - c. ), the chief justice, especially the Praises of the Laws of England, and The Governance of England, give the opinions of an accomplished lawyer upon the English constitution of his own day.

The poetry of the time was poor, written in imitation of , or of the French (a school of poets with a forced and unnatural style), or even of the jog-trot makers of Rimes or Verse-Romances which had laughed at in his Sir Thopaz. , the monk of Bury (), whose long-winded Saints' Lives and Story of Thebes exist, and (), a more vigorous writer, who might in another age have done better work, were reckoned the best English verse-makers. Dr. Bokenam, an Austin friar of Stoke-Clare, in Suffolk, set several saints' lives into verse in . There were others in the north and south of England who wrote similar works in regular but wooden verse; but the best collection of Saints' Lives was in prose by Austin canon of Lulshill, called the Festial, a book widely read and copied. There were also several sets of Mysteries or Miracle-Plays made in verse in this century, during which these popular Scripture plays were very popular. One set was penned, c. , by a canon of Chester. There were also no small number of ballads made, but we do not know the name of any that composed them, though they comprise far the best poetry of the century in England.

's noblest followers wrote at the Scottish court. , who had learned to love the English poet while a prisoner in England, wrote the , c. , a pretty love-poem, in his master's style. And later in the century, , of Dunfermline, finished 's Troilus in his Testament of Cresseid, and was the first man to imitate, in the English tongue, the pretty pastoral and animal fables which he found in French. His , c. , is the most graceful English poem of this century. About , , a wandering minstrel, made a fine rough epic on the


national hero , which has never lost favour in Scotland.

8. Up to this time all books had been penned on parchment or paper, and there was a large class of whose business it was to copy books or writings for their employers,-thus 's scribe was named Adam, and the names of many others are met at the end of the books they copied. They wrote clear and regular hands; and at this time their skill was great, and they could turn out books well and quickly. But their art was to be almost entirely set aside by a new invention.

Ever since , regular block-printing had been known in Europe; it had reached England as early as . [8]  Upon flat-faced wooden blocks a drawing was made or a sentence written in black, all the white surface was then cut away so as to leave the pattern in relief; this was smeared with an oily ink, and then pressed upon pieces of paper or parchment, upon which it the design. In this way cards and placards and little books were made, as had been done long before in Japan and China (whence the art probably spread into the west) ; and it is in this way that are now cut and printed. But these are not printed books in the sense we now use those words, for there were as yet no types (that is, separate bits of metal, each cut into the pattern of a single letter), which could be set up together into any set of words, and then, when they were printed off in any number of copies, set up again in a fresh set of words, and so on. This discovery, which made printing cheap and easy, was made by a citizen of Mainz, one (), who invented a means of casting correct and clear metal types about . He entered into a partnership with a fellow-citizen, John Fust, a money-lender, and before was able to put forth the first and also the most beautiful book that was ever printed-the . Though gained little by his skill, for he was cheated by his partner, his wonderful invention soon spread, and before there were printing-offices hard at work in all the great towns of Western Europe. The first English printer was (); he had been apprenticed to the Lord Mayor of London, and when he became a master he settled in Bruges as a merchant, and grew into such good repute that he was made Governor of the Company of Merchant


Adventurers in . He entered the service of the Duchess of Burgundy in , and betook himself to learning the new art from Ulric Zell of Cologne. He then bought types from Colard Mansion, a Flemish printer, and printed, about , the . Soon after this he moved to England, and, under the favour of the king and the Abbot of Westminster, set up his press in Westminster Sanctuary, whence he issued such books as he thought best and most useful, both in English and Latin. Among them were (to which he made additions, thus bringing the history of England down to his own day); the [compilation] of (which he had first undertaken to translate for the Duchess of Burgundy); the (founded on the French prose, romances, and North English poems of the Arthur cycle, and put into English prose by Sir Thomas Malory, a priest); (Englished by Anthony Lord Rivers, brother-in-law of ); the story of Reynard the Fox (turned from the Flemish by ); and , an edition of Mirk's Festial, founded upon a body of Saints' Lives made by James of Viraggio (), and Englished in , a book often reprinted by and his successors. , who was himself a good scholar, knowing Latin and French as well as the Dutch tongue, tells us in the prefaces of his books something of his patrons (chief and most learned of whom he reckons Tiptoft, the Earl of Worcester), and of the difficulties he had in choosing books to be Englished for their behoof, and in translating them in such style as should content them. But his example was soon followed by other printers, such as T. Rood of , his rival, and the busy Wynkyn de Worde of Westminster, his successor. By the end of 's reign printing was firmly established in England. And that the

"new art"

was soon reckoned a power in the world is proved by the check held over the press by the Council and the Church, obliging the printer to get a licence for every book he wished to issue, and keeping strict watch to prevent the entry of foreign printed books without examination into the country.

9. [9]  The early printers, as tells us, after a little wavering, determined to make the dialect, the book English, the standard of speech, leaving the northern dialect to the poets and printers of Scotland, who used it for many a long year yet, and altogether passing over the southern


dialect, which was never again to be used by men of letters. In the latter part of the fifteenth century English was undergoing a deep and broad change; it was dropping the inflections which made such a tongue as German is now, and passing into the uninflected modern English tongue we now speak and write. But this striking change is disguised for us by the early printers who copied the hand-written books of the end of the fourteenth century and beginning of the fifteenth century, and used their spelling and inflections as a pattern. And this is how we get the final and many other difficulties of our present spelling. There were other changes to come which would mark off the English of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries from that of the nineteenth century, but they were changes of not of like this change of the fifteenth century, which forms the true boundary between Middle and Modern English. It is to be noted that French ceased to be a spoken tongue in England in this century.

The following are bits of fifteenth century English:- , c. .-.

So gode and almus-gern thai ware: in all thair welthe and riche fare,

[So good and alms-free they were in all their wealth and rich fare],

That in thair hall stode ay redy: three bordes spred full menskfully,

[That in their hall stood aye ready three boards [tables] spread full humanely],

A borde pilgrimes for to fede: another to pouer that had nede,

[One board pilgrims for to feed, another to [for the] poor that had need],

And the thrid to faderles barnes: that help of fader & moder tharnes.

[And the third to [for] fatherless bairns, that help of father and mother lack].

, c. .-

In the land of Surre [Syria] it is an usage that whan the

gopel schal ben redde [read] anone [at once] iche knythe

[each knight] that is in the chyrch drawyth hys swerde

[sword] and so haldyth [holdeth] it stylle nakyd [bare] in

hys hand, til it be done, in shewing [to show] that he is

redy [ready] to fyhten [fight] with any man that wold

comyn and chalangen [come and challenge] anything that

is redde in this gospel.

, c. .-

Also whosoo woll [will] use the game of anglynge, he must ryse erly, whiche thyng is prouffytable to man in this wyse-That is to wyte [wit]-moost to the heele [health] of his soule, for it shall cause him to be holy; and to the heele of his body, for it shall cause him to be hole [whole]; also to thencrease of his goodys, for it shall make him riche.

In this last piece we have reached the tongue of More, Ascham, and Bourchier, and the style which reaches its highest level in the Bible of .

10. [10]  During the early years of this century population increased till in it was about 4,200,000. For there being plenty to eat, no plague, and light taxes, while prices and wages were steady (save for the slight fall for a few years following the debasement of the coinage), the progress of the country and its happiness were not hurt by the wars abroad nor the struggle that followed them at home. And as Commines the French historian noted, these Wars of the Roses caused no hurt save to those who were in the battles, for neither side could afford to risk its popularity by acts of plundering or oppression.

[11] WE have now reached a line of real division in English history, the line at which the Middle Ages, with their forms of life and thought, and their systems of church and state, land and labour, close; and the age of the New Learning and the New Faith, which are known as the Renascence and the Reformation, is coming in to reshape and recast the life and thoughts of men. So deep is this dividing-line, that it is certain there was more in common between and , or and William of Wykeham, though severed by centuries, than between and , or Warwick and Wolsey, who are only a generation apart.

At such a place it is well to pause for a moment, and try to sum up in a few lines the story of England as far as it has been traced in these pages.

It begins with the English immigration-a set of small


tribes (each strongly knit within itself by personal ties, but only held to its neighbours by the use of a common tongue) coming into a land and dealing (mostly in bitter warfare, it is true) with a people full of the traces of a higher civilisation than they, the new-comers, had hitherto known. After nearly three centuries of buccaneering and border warfare, the English tribes, having won enough land for their needs, are first stirred to new thoughts by the zeal of a few single-hearted Scottish saints, such as Aidan, Finan, and Fursay, and then happily drawn by the wise foresight of Gregory, , and Theodore into the fold of the mighty Western Church,

" the nobler heir of Rome,"

to share in all its light and learning, and to feel and show forth in turn the benefits of that spirit of order and union and sympathy which were among its noblest gifts to the Teutonic peoples. The tribal governments, leaving behind them a living legacy of a habit of local self-government, now break up under the violent pressure of three successful foreign invasions, which weld the local of the English together with the incoming armies of Northmen, Danes, and Normans into one English people, with vigorous dynasties of kings and ministers at their head in church and state, and a central government strong enough to serve as the foundation of a constitution which was to keep England free and united through the changes and shocks of more than three hundred years.

With English history takes a fresh start. England appears as part of a great empire loosely linked together by the family ties of the ruling house, and only held by deep statecraft, and the power of the spear and the bow, to swell the gains of the trader and the pride of the English people. But this close and constant bond between England and the Continent enabled the English to share more fully than they could otherwise have done in all the deep movements which make the most glorious period of the Middle Ages memorable. Englishmen fill high places in the roll of medieval saints, churchmen, and philosophers, and Englishmen also take high rank among the chroniclers, poets, builders, artisans, and merchants ofthethirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. The court of London and Bordeaux was only less brilliant than those of Paris and Italy, and the University of is the fairest daughter of the Schools of Paris round which the highest thoughts of the West centred for three hundred years. Again, it is to the reign of that we must look to witness the first putting into force of those imperial claims of the English


kings which were not satisfied to the full till long after the days we are now dealing with, although for a few months was the sole monarch of Great Britain and Ireland. However, the conquests of Ireland and Wales were as yet, it must be acknowledged, of greater import to the Irish and Welsh themselves than to England or Englishmen, and their whole results were not felt till a later time. But it must be kept clearly in mind that it is to , and his ministers Lucy and Glanville, that we owe the wise direction of the royal power through regular officers, and the fit ordering of a system of law which should carry with it the weight of the king's name, while keeping all that was worthy to be kept in the old system of local courts.

The constitution as left by was further secured by that double bulwark of the charters which was raised by Robert Fitz Walter and Stephen of Langton, and made safe and sure for ages to come by the steadfast unselfishness of and the reasonable wisdom of his conqueror and pupil, For it was and who, by due use of the fruitful principle of , turned the of the Elders into the of the Commonwealth, creating a body which should, as far as was practicable, reflect the feelings of the whole nation upon all matters of general concern. Very soon, in spite of the fierce passions of the ruling classes (which left such dark stains over the reign of Edward's own son), debate and arguments and votes replace the show of swords that carried the day at , and the brutal violence which crushed William of the Beard. Liberties are bargained for at Westminster, till the savings of the poor buy from the king even the right to control and replace the officers of his own choice, and to refuse him the money he believed he needed to carry out his plans. It was in the reign of Edward's grandson that the Good Parliament reached the highest mark of constitutional progress attained in the Middle Ages. For though 's attempt to put an end to the cruel jealousies of the royal house by getting a partisan parliament to grant him despotic power was ruinous to himself; yet, on the other hand, the constitutional pretences of the poverty-stricken Lancastrian kings could neither carry out any feasible reform nor check the dissensions of the nobles, nor prevent the government of the country from slipping, after the death of , into the hands of a close and little controlled Royal Council,


composed of the king's friends. And, in fact, it was to this Council, rather than to Parliament, that at the close of the fifteenth century the nation looked for the enforcement of justice and the reform of church and state.

The causes of this palsy of Parliament, which was to make safe constitutional progress impossible for two hundred years, and to leave to the Long Parliament the task of taking up the work the Good Parliament had left half-done, are not far to seek. The whole power of the governing classes was wasted in glorious but futile foreign conquests, alternating with cruel and treacherous civil wars, till the nobles of England perished in their folly, and the headsman's axe cut off the remnant that the sword had spared.

In the meantime, the governed classes, the artisan, the merchant, the yeoman, the tenant-farmer, the serf, were left alone to work out their own fortunes. The awful Black Death, which had seemed so relentless and cruel in its attacks, turned out in the end to have been one of the chief means of changing the old order of land owning and tilling for an easier system, and of making men in their own interests do tardy but needful justice to their fellows. The men who died for the bettering of the commons of England after Hurlingtide did not altogether perish in vain. The fifteenth century was happier for the poor man than the fourteenth, though the happy balance of causes which allowed of this prosperity was necessarily overthrown in the changes which came about at the outset of the Renascence and Reformation.

The whole story witnesses to slow but steady upward progress. We have been trying to trace the birth and infancy of a great people. We have been, as the poet says-

"noting the efforts of heroes--

Is the deferment long ? bitter the slander, poverty, death ?

Lies the seed unrecked for centuries in the ground ? lo, to God's due occasion

Uprising in the night, it sprouts, blooms,

And fills the earth with use and beauty."

The conclusion, too, must be that of the poet:-

"Roaming in thought over the universe. I saw the little that is good steadily hastening toward immortality,

And the vast all that is called Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead."


[1] Power of the Council. The Star Chamber.

[2] The Church rich and not reforming itself.

[3] Prosperity of yeomen, craftsmen, and merchants.

[4] Perpendicular architecture in England.

[5] Dress of the fifteenth century in England.

[6] Armour in the fifteenth century.

[7] English writers of the fifteenth century.

[8] Printing brought to England by William Caxton.

[9] The English language changes in the fifteenth century.

[10] The English population in the fifteenth century.

[11] A Retrospect

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