Saturday, June 16, 2012

Battle of Stoke Field

‘…You have heard of the battle of Stoke, my good host, and perhaps of old Sir Roger Robsart, who, in that battle, valiantly took part with Henry VII, the Queen’s grandfather, and routed the Earl of Lincoln, Lord Geraldin and his wild Irish, and the Flemings whom the Duchess of Burgundy had sent over, in the quarrel of Lambert Simnel?’
‘I remember both one and the other,’ said Giles Gosling, ‘it is sung of a dozen times a week on my alebench below. Sir Roger Robsart of Devon — O, ay, ’t is him of whom minstrels sing to this hour —
He was the flower of Stoke’s red field, When Martin Swart on ground lay slain; In raging rout he never reel’d, But like a rock did firm remain.‘ Ay, and then there was Martin Swart I have heard my grandfather talk of, and of the jolly Alamins whom he commanded, with their slashed doublets and quaint hose, all frounced with ribands above the nether-stocks. Here ’s a song goes of Martin Swart, too, an I had but memory for it:

Martin Swart and his men,
Saddle them, saddle them;
Martin Swart and his men,
Saddle them well.’ ' …’

The Battle of Stoke Field was the end of road for Yorkist pretender to the throne Lambert Simnel, and of Yorkist efforts to take the crown from a Lancastrian, Henry VII of England.  The text above comes from “Kenilworth”.

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