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  • Title: Hall's Chronicle (Selection)
  • Editor: James D. Mardock

  • Copyright James D. Mardock. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Edward Hall
    Editor: James D. Mardock
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Hall's Chronicle (Selection)

    1What kings should be

    (fol. 33v)

    This prince was almost the Arabical phoenix, and amongst his predecessors a very paragon. For that he amongst all governors chiefly did remember that a king ought to be a ruler with wit, gravity, circumspection, diligence, and constancy, and for that cause to have a rule to him committed not for an honor, but for an onerous charge and daily burden, and not to look so much on other men's livings as to consider and remember his own doings and proper acts. For which cause he, not too much trusting to the readiness of his own wit nor judgments of his own wavering will, called to his council such prudent and politic personages the which should not only help to ease his charge and pain in supporting the burden of his realm and empire, but also incense and instruct him with such good reasons and fruitful persuasions that he might show himself a singular mirror and manifest example of moral virtues and good qualities to his common people and loving subjects. For it is daily seen that a vicious prince doth much more hurt with his pernicious example to other than to himself by his own peculiar offence. For it is not so much evil, as Cicero sayeth, (although it be evil in itself) a prince to do evil, as he by his evil doings to corrupt other, because it is daily seen that as princes change the people altereth, and as kings go the subjects follow. For certainly he that is preferred to high authority is therefore much exalted and had in honor, that he should rule, oversee, and correct the manners and conditions of the people, and vigilantly to foresee and daily study how to acquire to himself laud and glory, and to other profit and commodity, and not to delight in worldly pleasures, which are common amongst the lowest sort of the vile and rustical people. And he that will do nothing nor can do nothing is more worthy to be called a servant than a ruler, and a subject rather than a governor. For what can be more shame or reproach to a prince than he which ought to govern and rule other shall by cowardness, sloth, and ignorance -- as a pupil not of eight or ten years of age, but being of twenty or thirty years and more -- shall be compelled to obey and follow the wills of other, and be ruled and bear no rule, like a ward and not like a guardian, like a servant and not like a master. Such a governor was King Richard the Second, which of himself being not of the most evil disposition, was not of so simple a mind, nor of such debility of wit, nor yet of so little heart and courage but he might have demanded and learned good and profitable counsel, and after advice taken, kept, retained, and followed the same. But howsoever it was, unprofitable counselors were his confusion and final perdition. Such another ruler was King Edward the Second, which two before-named kings fell from the high glory of Fortune's wheel to extreme misery and miserable calamity. By whose infortunate chance, as I think, this King Henry being admonished, expulsed from him his old playfellows, his privy sycophants and ungracious guard as authors and procurers of all mischiefs and riot, and assigned into their places men of gravity, persons of activity, and counselors of great wit and policy. . . .