Thursday, April 14, 2011

In a fog at Barnet

"You are wrong, Albert, you are wrong," said the King, pitilessly pursuing his jest. "You Colonels, whether you wear blue or orange sashes, are too pretty fellows to be dismissed so easily, when once you have acquired an interest. But Mistress Alice, so pretty, and who wishes the restoration of the King with such a look and accent, as if she were an angel whose prayers must needs bring it down, must not be allowed to retain any thoughts of a canting roundhead—What say you—will you give me leave to take her to task about it ?—After all, I am the party most concerned in maintaining true allegiance among my subjects; and if I gain the pretty maiden's good-will, that of the sweetheart's will soon follow. This was jolly King Edward's way—Edward the Fourth, you know. The king-making Earl of Warwick—the Cromwell of his day —dethroned him more than once; but he had the hearts of the merry dames of London, and the purses and veins of the cockneys bled freely, till they brought him home again. How say you ?—shall I shake off my northern slough, and speak with Alice in my own character, showing what education and manners have done for me, to make the best amends they can for an ugly face?"

'Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428-1471), called the "KingMaker" from his political and military authority during the Wars of the Roses. He fought now on one side and now on the other, and was finally killed by Edward IV. at the battle of Barnet.

Warwick the kingmaker had a short but eventful life, dying in battle at the age of 42.  The date was April 14, 1471.  Representing Lancastrian interests in the Battle of Barnet, Neville was killed while trying to leave the field, which was so foggy as to cause significant "friendly fire".  The reference to Warwick above, comes from Walter Scott's "Woodstock".

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