The most arch of piteous massacre
That ever yet this land was guilty of.
Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn
To do this ruthless piece of butchery,
Although they were flesh’d villains, bloody dogs,
Melting with tenderness and kind compassion
Wept like two children in their deaths’ sad stories.
“Lo, thus” quoth Dighton, “lay those tender babes:”
“Thus, thus,” quoth Forrest, “girdling one another
Within their innocent alabaster arms:
Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
Which in their summer beauty kiss’d each other.
A book of prayers on their pillow lay;
Which once,” quoth Forrest, “almost changed my mind;
But O! the devil”—there the villain stopp’d
Whilst Dighton thus told on: “We smothered
The most replenished sweet work of nature,
That from the prime creation e’er she framed.”
Thus both are gone with conscience and remorse;
They could not speak; and so I left them both,
To bring this tidings to the bloody king.
And here he comes.
His daughter meanly have I match’d in marriage;
The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom,
And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night.
Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter,
And, by that knot, looks proudly o’er the crown,
To her I go, a jolly thriving wooer.
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied army.
Come, I have heard that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove’s Mercury, and herald for a king!
Come, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
We must be brief when traitors brave the field.