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sort seem discordant. with your will. The years, Sir, my poor child bears on his back are but few, scarce exceeding the number of four, which, I conceived, might well privilege him, being more fit, for the present, to be embosomed in a mother's care, than exposed to the world; nature, as yet, not having the leisure to initiate him in that first lecture of feeding himself. Again, Sir, be pleased to consider, he is the only prop and support of my house now in being; and, therefore, may justly challenge, at my hands, a more tender' regard than I can in any way expect he shall find among strangers, and in a place so far remote from his natural parents. And, lastly, Sir, I may well call him the one half of myself; nay, to speak more truly, the better part of me; so that if your Majesty should deprive me of this comfort, I were then divided in my strength, which, united, might, perhaps, serve as most useful, were I called to some weighty employments for the good of your service. I humbly beseech your Majesty to reflect upon these necessities with an impartial eye, and, in the mean while, to be fully assured, that without these hard injunctions, I really am, and will, how badly soever I be entreated, still continue,
Your most faithful Servant, and Subject,
Rice ap Thomas.” From Carmarthen Castle, 1484.
Soon after this, Rice ap Thomas was induced, by the unre-, mitting persuasions of the Bishop of St. David's, and the afore. said Abbot of Talye, to forswear his allegiance to Richard, and to aid them in seating upon the throne of England its true and lawful inheritor, Henry of Richmond. But this was not accomplished hastily, nor without divers knotty scruples on the part of the chieftain. He had avowed his fidelity too candidly and unequivocally, in the letter to Richard, and boasted too much of the integrity and firmness of his conscience. But he was in the hands of those who were most fitly calculated to absolve him from the sin and danger, which might, but for their pious interference, have resulted from a violation of his moral or political vows. The Bishop, with the skill and eloquence peculiar to churchmen of yore, convinced him, that to break a rash or unworthy vow was much more commendable than to observe it; and he concluded his speech by saying, that, as his. spiritual and ghostly father, he there and then freed him of all his bonds to Richard, and gave him full and free absolution on all points relating thereto. Still the Welchman was not perfectly satisfied: there was another obligation, to the performance of which he had vehemently and solemnly pledged himself; that was, not to suffer any ill-affected person to enter those parts of Wales wherein he had any influence, excepting he made such entrance over the chieftain's prostrate person. The Bishop soon satisfied his disciple of the practicability of this achieve
ment without any violation of principle, or the subjection to any act derogatory to Rice's dignity. “And—”says the churchman, “ for that particular branch of your letter where you undertake, by oath, that none (ill-affected) shall enter at Milford, without he make his passage over your belly, my answer is, that the Earl of Richmond can be no ill-affected man to the state, coming in pursuit of his own right, and withall to release us of our heavy bondage : or if you be further scrupulous herein, I shall never hold it for any disparagement to your humility to lay yourself prostrate on the ground, for the true and indubitable Lord of us all, to make an easy entrance over you.”
By such arguments as these, enforced, as they must have been, by the clerical rank and abilities of the speakers, the priestly delegates succeeded in securing the interests of Rice ap Thomas; and Richmond was no sooner acquainted with their success, than, by the desire of the Countess, his mother, he wrote to Rice,“ seasoning his compliments with large promises of honour, and setting down the true state of the cause;" for they were all well aware, that had Rice determined to oppose them, the Earl's grand scheme of entering England from Brittany by way of Wales would have been totally frustrated, and his chance of success very materially weakened. Having succeeded thus far, the Earl resolved to commence operations, and prepared, therefore, to leave Brittany. His approach was duly announced to his new ally, who prepared to receive him in a manner befitting so illustrious a personage.
“ Rice ap Thomas musters up all his forces, calls all his friends about him, and where he found any want among them, either of arms or other necessaries for the wars, he supplied with his own store, whereof he had sufficient, as well for ornament as use, so that in few days he had gathered together to the number of two thousand horse and upwards, of his own followers and retainers, bearing his name and livery. His kinsmen and friends, who came besides, with brave companies, to do him honour, were Sir Thomas Perrott, Sir John Wogan, and John Savage, a man of no less valiantness than activity, and much employed by the Earl after he came to be King, in the wars of France and elsewhere ; Arnold Butler, Richard Griffith, John Morgan, and two of his own brothers, David the younger, and John, all of them worthy soldiers, and very expert commanders, with divers others, Qui omnes urgentur longá nocte, quia caruêre vate sacro. There came likewise out of North Wales to this service many worthy, gentlemen both of name and note, especially of the Salisburies, under the conduct of Robert Salisbury, a fast friend to Rice áp Thomas in the French wars, and who, for his well deservings there, was knighted in the field by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. ........ Rice ap Thomas being in this brave equipage, encompassed with most able commanders, and furnished with all things necessary, as well for armour .as horse (whereof a hundred and upwards were out of his own stables) word was brought him by his conspicillos, or spies, who kept continual watch on the coast for that purpose, that they had descried a small fleet of ships making toward the haven's mouth ; whereupon, incontinently, he beat up his drum, put his men in order, and mounted on a goodly courser, called Llwyd Bacseu, or Grey Fetter-locks, he set forth in most martial manner towards the Dale, a place not far from the castle of Carew, from whence at that time he led his army. There, meeting with the Earl of Richmond, ready to take land, he received him ashore, to whom he made humble tender of his service, both in his own, and in all their names who were there present; and, laying him down on the ground, he suffered the Earl to pass over him; so to make good his promise to King Richard, that none should enter in at Milford; unless he came first over his belly."*
After such a reception, many flocked to the standard of Richmond, who forthwith prepared to march on towards England. At this interval of time, it is interesting to remember even the most trivial occurrences of so important an expedition ; and, accordingly, tradition has preserved with tolerable accuracy the route pursued by Richmond and his friends, with the names of those persons by whom he was received on his march. David ap Evan, of Llwyn Dufydd, in Cardiganshire, entertained him for a night, and the Earl acknowledged the kindness by several presents, particularly a drinking horn, richly mounted on a silver stand: this was subsequently presented to Richard, Earl of Carbery, and is now in the possession of a branch of that family, the Vaughans, namely of Golden Grove, in Carmarthenshire. The following night, Einion ap David Llwyd of Wernnewyd, in the same county, received the Earl in a style of
* There is a tradition in that part of the country, which seems to contradict the fact as here stated, and records that Rice ap Thomas did not literally suffer the Earl to pass over his belly; but that, in consequence of the declaration he had made in his letter to Richard, as a salvo to his conscience, he went under the arch of a small bridge, called Molloch Bridge, near the Dale, over which the Earl's passage lay, and there, remained till Richmond crossed it. But we have something far more satisfactory than tradition to prove, that the Welchman did actually lie down as mentioned in the context. In the collection of Mr. Gwennap, of Suffolk Street, there is a very rare and beautiful portrait of Henry VII. painted by Jean de Mabeuse, soon after the Earl's accession to the throne. The portrait is valuable in every respect; but, we will confess, that it is rendered more valuable in our estimation, by the button on the hạt, on which is represented, of course very minutely, the actual prostration of the Cambrian chief, and the passage of Richmond over his body. This proves not only that this occurrence took place, but that Rice ap Thomas occupied å very prominent station in the King's esteem.
hospitality, suited to the high rank of his guest; and, after this, David Llwyd of Mathafarn, in Montgomeryshire, was honoured in like manner. David had been one of the earliest of the Earl's adherents, and, in his capacity of Bard, had used his utmost skill to influence the people in Richmond's behalf. A curious and characteristic occurrence took place on this occasion. In his anxiety for the issue of his hazardous enterprise, Richmond privately requested the opinion of his host, who was esteemed by his contemporaries a most distinguished Prophet. The seer cautiously replied, that a question of such importance could not be immediately answered, and that he would give his reply in the morning. He was greatly perplexed by the question, and his wife observed an unusual and inexplicable gravity in his manner during the remainder of the evening. She inquired the cause; of which when she was informed, she exclaimed, with much astonishment, “ How can you possibly have any difficulty about the answer? Tell him that the issue of his enterprise will certainly be most successful and glorious. If your prediction be verified, you will receive honours and rewards; but if he fail, depend upon it he will never come here to reproach you.” Hence originated the Welch Proverb “ Cynghor gwraig heb ei ofyn ;" that is, A wife's advice without asking it. -- Richard, being duly apprised of his rival's approach, prepared to meet him. He began now “ to think it high time to look about him; therefore, in all haste, he sends for his most trusty friends, Norfolk, Northumberland, and others. And so raising a puissant army, like an expert commander (as, indeed, in feats of arms, and matters of chivalry, to give the devil his due, he was nothing inferior to the best,) falls, forthwith, to dispose them with a great deal of judgment. Then, calling for his horse, a goodlie white courser,* with as much speed as the down-pressing plummets of his villainies would give leave, attended by his footmen, and guarded with wings of horse, with a meagre and dreadful countenance he comes to Leicester.” .
The battle of Bosworth Field ensues, where, according to our biographer, his hero, Rice, is the chief actor.
!“ And now the time was come, appointed by God in his secret judgment to determine for the garland, so that, without any further delay, these two royal combatants, by their prayers, recommended themselves to the protection of the Highest, whetting the valorous spirits of their followers, with cheerful orations, large promises, and their own personal bravery. And so, upon summons from the deathmenacing trumpet, they encounter and fall to blows.
* “ Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow."
- Pede pes et cuspide cuspis , . . Arma sonant armis, vir petiturque viro. . While the avant-guards were in this hot chase, the one of the other, King Richard held not his hands in his pocket; but grinding and gnashing his teeth, up and down he goes in quest of Richmond, whom, no sooner espying, than he makes at him, and, by the way, in his fury, manfully overthrew Sir William Brandon, the Earl's standardbearer, as also Sir John Cheney, both men of mighty force and known valiancy. In Wales we say, that Rice ap Thomas, who, from the beginning, closely followed the Earl, and ever had an eye to his person, seeing his party begin to quail, and the King's to gain ground, took this occasion to send unto Sir William Stanley, giving him to understand the danger they were in, and entreating him to join his forces for the disengaging of the Earl, who was not only in despair of victory, but almost of his life. Whereupon (for, it seems, he understood not the danger before) Sir William Stanley made up to Rice ap Thomas, and joining both together, rushed in upon their adversaries and routed them, by which means the glory of the day fell on the Earl's side, King Richard, as a just guerdon for all his facinorous actions and horrible murders, being slain in the field. Our Welch tradition says, that Rice ap Thomas slew Richard, manfully fighting with him hand to hand; and we have one strong argument in defence of our tradition, to prove that he was the man, who, in all likelihood, had done the deed; for, from that time forward, the Earl of Richmond, as long as he lived, did ever honour him with the title of Father RICE. And seldom, or never, shall we read that our Kings have given these honorifica gratulationis cognomina to their subjects, but for some singular and transcendant merit; and, therefore, we may probably conjecture that either Rice ap Thomas (as the speech goes) slew Richard, or else, without doubt, he performed some meritorious piece of service in that place, which made the Earl give so honourable addition to his name * * * * Well; now the tragedy being ended, and the tyrant slain, I shall fit him with an epitaph out of Doctor Case, in his Prolegomenon on Aristotle's politics, who notes him for one, Qui vulpis caput, et caudem leonis habuit; sanguine suorum petiit sceptrum, sanguine suo amisit regnum, and there I leave him. * * * After Te Deum sung, the Earl being saluted King', he resolved to lay some special marks of his favour upon certain gentlemen, who had that day well deserved for their fidelity and courage; wherefore, he began with Rice ap Thomas, and there knighted him in the place. The like honour he did to some few others, who were of prime note and noble blood. After which, he sets forward for London.7**
* Another Welsh chieftain, an ancestor of Sir Edward Lloyd, Bart. of Pengwern, in Flintshire, came with a thousand men to Bosworth Field, and signalized himself with much bravery. When Henry was securely seated on the throne, he graciously invited the knight of Pengwern to Court; but he desired no such distinction, and meekly replied, “ Sire, I love to dwell among mine own people.” ,