Of Frogs and Roses
A man of pure simplicity of mind, truthful almost to a fault. He never make a promise he do not keep, never knowingly do an injury to anyone. Rectitude and justice rules his conduct in all public affairs. Devout himself, he seek to cherish a love for religion in others.
He consideres sports and the pleasures of the world as frivolous, and devotes his leisure to reading the scriptures and the old chronicles. Most decorous himself when attending public worship, he obliges his courtiers to enter the sacred edifice without swords or spears, and to refrain from interupting the devotion of others by conversing within its precincts.
Fond of encouraging youth in the paths of virtue he frequently converse familiarly with the scholars from his college of Eton, when they visites his servants at Windsor Castle. He generally concludes with this address, adding a present of money: “Be good lads, meek and docile, and attend to your religion.”
He is liberal to the poor, and lives among his dependants as a father among his children. He readily forgive those who had offended him. When one of his servants had been robbed, he sent him a present of twenty nobles, desiring him to be more careful of his property in the future, and requesting him to forgive the thief. Passing one day from St. Albans to Cripplegate, he saw a quarter of a man impaled there for treason. Greatly shocked he exclaimed “Take it away, take it away, I will have no man so cruelly treated for my account.”
In his dress he is plain, and will not wear the shoes with the upturned points, they be so much in fashion.
Where are warm baths in which they say the men of that country customarily refresh and wash themselves, the King, looking into the baths, saw in them men wholly naked with every garment cast off. At which he was greatly displeased, and went away quickly, abhorring such nudity as a great offence.’
Henry VI (born 6 December 1421) was Crowned King of England and (disputed) King of France 1422. The only child of Henry V, he succeeded to the English throne at the age of nine months upon his father’s death, and succeeded to the French throne on the death of his grandfather Charles VI shortly afterwards. Henry inherited the long-running Hundred Years War (1337–1453), where Charles VII contested his claim to the French throne.
Henry married Charles’s niece, Margaret of Anjou, partially in the hope of achieving peace in 1445, but the policy failed, leading to the murder of William de la Pole, one of Henry’s key advisors. The war recommenced, with France taking the upper hand; by 1453, Calais was Henry’s only remaining territory on the continent.