A Myrroure For Magistrates

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Introductory notes

For Magistrates.
Wherein may be seen by
example of other, with howe gre-
uous plages vices are punished: and
howe frayle and unstable worldly
prosperitie is founde, even of
those, whom Fortune see
meth most highly
to favour.

Foelix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum,
Anno. 1559.
In aedibus Thomae Marshe.

PUBLISHED BY Thomae Marshe


For whan king Henry knew that for my cause
His lordes in maske would kil him if they might,
To dash all dowtes, he tooke no farther pause
But sent sir Pierce of Erton a traytrous knight
To Pomfret Castell, with other armed light,
Who causeles kild me there agaynst all lawes.
Thus lawles life, to lawles deth ey drawes.
Wherfore byd Kynges be rulde and rule by right,
Who wurketh his wil, & shunneth wisedomes sawes
In flateries clawes, & shames foule pawes shal light.

WHan he had ended this so wofull a tragedy, and to all Princes a ryght wurthy instruction, we paused: having passed through a miserable time full of piteous tragedyes. And seing the reyne of Henry the fourth ensued, a man more ware & prosperous in hys doynges although not untroubled with warres both of outforth and inward enemies, we began to serch what Piers were fallen therin, wherof the number was not small: and yet because their examples were not much to be noted for our purpose, we passed over all the Maskers (of whom King Richardes brother was chiefe) which were all slayne and put to death for theyr trayterous attempt. And finding Owen Glendour next, one of fortunes owne whelpes, and the Percyes his confederates, I thought them unmete to be over passed, and therfore sayde thus to the silent cumpany: what my maysters is every man at [Page]once in a browne study, hath no man affeccion to any of these storyes? you minde so much sum other belyke, that these do not move you: And to say the troth there is no speciall cause why they should. Howbeit Owen Glendour because he was one of fortunes darlinges, rather than he should be forgotten, I wil tel his tale for him under the privilege of Martine Hundred: whych Owen cumming out of the wilde mountaynes like the Image of death in all poyntes (his dart onely excepted) so sore hath famine and hunger consumed hym, may lament his folly after thys maner.


And at the last: like as the litle roche,
Must eyther be eat, or leape upon the shore
Whan as the hungry pickrel doth approch,
And there find death which it eskapte before:
So double death assaulted me so sore
That eyther I must unto my enmy yeeld,
Or statue for hunger in the barayne feeld.
Here shame and payne a whyle were at a strife,
Payne prayed me yeeld, shame bad me rather fast:
The one had spare, the other spend my life,
But shame (shame have it) overcam at last.
Than hunger gnew, that doth the stone wall brast
And made me eat both gravell, durt and mud,
And last of all, my dung, my fleshe, and blud.
This was mine ende to horrible to heare,
Yet good ynough for a life that was so yll.
Wherby (O Baldwin) warne all men to beare
Theyr youth such love, to bring them up in skill.
Byd Princes flye Colprophetes lying byll:
And not presume to clime above their states,
For they be faultes that foyle men, not their fates.

WHan starved Owen had ended his hungry exhortacion, it was well inough liked. Howbeit one found a dout wurth the moving, & that concerning this title, erle of March: for as it appereth, there wer .iii. men of .iii divers nacions together in one time entitled by that honour: Fyrst sir Edmund Mortimer, whom Owen kept in prison, an Englishman: the second the lord George of Dunbar a valiante Scot. banished out of his countrey, & well estemed of Henry the fowerth: the third lord James of Burbon a frenchman, sent by the french king to helpe Owen Glendour. These thre men had this title all at once, which caused him to aske how it was true that every one of these could be Earle of Marche? Wherto was aunswered, that every countrey hath Marches belonging unto them, and those so large, that they were Earledomes, & the lordes therof intituled therby, so that Lord Edmund Mortimer was Earle of Marche in Englande, lord James of Burbon of the marches of Fraunce, and Lord George of Dunbar erle of the marches in Scotland. For otherwise nether could have interest in others title. Thys doubt thus dissolved mayster Ferrers sayde: If no man have affeccion to the Percies, let us pas the times both of Henry the fowerth & the fifte, and cum to Henrye the syxte: in whose time fortune (as she doth in the minoritie of princes) bare a great stroke among the nobles. And yet in Henry the fourths time are examples which I would wish Baldwin that you should not forget, as the conspiracie made by the bishop of Yorke, and the lorde Mowbray sonne of him whom you late treated of: prycked forward by the earle of Northumberland, father to sir Henry Hotspur, who fled himselfe, but his partners were apprehended and put to death, with Baynton and Blinkinsops, which could not see theyr duty to theyr King, but tooke part with Percy that banished Rebell. As he was proceding, he was desired to stay by one whych had pondered the story of the Percies, who briefly sayd. To thende Baldwin that you may know what to say of the Percyes, whose story is not all out of my memory, (and it is a notable story) I wyll take upon me the person of lord Henry earle of Northumberland, father of Henrye Hotspur, in whose behalfe thys may be sayd.

This is a selection from the original text


famine, hunger, plague, war

Source text

Title: A Myrroure For Magistrates

Author: William Baldwin

Publisher: Thomae Marshe

Publication date: 1559

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bib Name / Number: STC (2nd ed) / 1247 ; Case, A.E. Poetical miscellanies. 4(b). / Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery

Digital edition

Original author(s): William Baldwin

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, image nos: 26, 31-32


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > poetry

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.