Printer Friendly

'This citie of insufficience': heraldic text and the representation of authority in York's 1486 entertainment for Henry VII.

After the battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485, Henry entered London in triumph. He ordered events deliberately in his coming to power, beginning with his coronation on 30 October, independent of parliament and his queen. In November, parliament sanctioned the succession. He married Elizabeth of York in January 1486, but it was not until the following November that the queen was finally crowned. As Francis Bacon would write over a century later, Henry 'resolved to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the main, and to use the other two, that of marriage, and that of battle, but as supporters, the one to appease secret discontents, and the other to beat down open murmur and dispute'. (1) Shortly following the marriage, in March 1486, the progress set off to the north, 'especially the countie of Yorke', where the king 'might wede, extirpate and purdge the myndes of men spotted & contaminate with the contagious smoke of dissencion'. (2) The welcome that would greet Henry on his arrival in the north was vitally important. York had done little to ingratiate itself with the new monarch in the preceding months, for the town council had twice refused Henry's choices for town recorder and openly expressed sorrow at the death of Richard III, who 'more loued, more estemed & regarded the northern men then any subiectes within his whole realme'. (3) York was, as the first pageant of the welcome admitted to Henry, a 'citie of insufficience', and they hoped that the king would put more weight on their new-found 'pure affeccion' than their late mistakes. (4) York needed something special to pledge allegiance convincingly to the new king, and the care taken with every aspect of the reception and entertainment suggests that the council (and by extension the king) believed such ceremony to be a vital tool for political influence and stability.

The York House Books record a pre-production text of the entertainment as planned by the city fathers. (5) The town clerk wrote down in significant detail the manner of meeting the king at Tadcaster, near York, the order for playing pageants in various locations about the town, the texts for speeches, the effects and shows for display en route, and some notes on the meaning of the work. This text alone provides a substantial account of the production. We have a second document, however, which records the event after the fact: an eyewitness account from a herald in the king's entourage. Scholars have taken this latter document as either the 'less reliable' or the 'more accurate' version, depending on what they were looking for. (6) Until recently, published studies of pageants and progresses in general--and the York welcome in particular--have spent little time interpreting the spoken texts in favour of seeing the spectacle. Sydney Anglo discusses the pageants at York in some depth, but he does little textual analysis; Clifford Davidson goes so far as to assert that a formalistic '"literary" reading violates the meaning of the dramatic text' in medieval civic drama; and Carolyn Wightman writes that speech is 'an important but limited adjunct of pageantry'. While C. Edward McGee concurs with the normative opinion, he hits on a vital point in a footnote: 'If one formed an opinion on the basis of the herald's account alone, it would appear that speeches were the very heart of pageantry'. (7) The herald's lack of concern with York's performance details produces this effect; he edits down inter-pageant business or descriptions of pageants' visual detail but reproduces the speeches. It also seems clear, however, that the poetry was copied so fully into the York House Books because it was on that foundation that the production of the show was built; it was copied (and edited) at such length in the herald's record because a 'correct' record of the text maintains a 'memory' specifically of Henry's success within a history of monarchic rule and within a narrative chronicle of a stable realm. The text also provides a reliable model for the future. An entry for 8 July 1541 notes the use of the 1486 text in making Henry VIII's entertainment: 'they hadde delyuerd vn to them a Copy of an olde precydent of the furst cowmyng of kyng henry the vijth to this City whos soule god pardon'. (8)

John Meagher, C. Edward McGee, Lorraine C. Attreed, Sydney Anglo, Gordon Kipling, and Emma Cavell have all provided excellent political and socio-economic readings of Henry's first progress. (Meagher and McGee are particularly sensitive to the intersections of poetry, drama, and history in the pageants, and this essay makes use of their summary analyses. (9)) None of them, however, reads closely and comparatively the cruxes in both extant texts of the York entertainment. Kipling's brief reading draws out the miraculous presentation of kingly epiphany and coronation in the pageant, Attreed and Anglo point out political forces and consequences of such displays, and Meagher and McGee read the York plays within the context of the larger progress through the north and west of England. Each of these scholars interprets more or less of the York House Books text, but perhaps only Meagher takes the herald's report as anything more significant than secondhand and flawed material. Cavell's 2009 edition of the four-year record that has come to be called the 'herald's memoir' usefully puts the York welcome section in its documentary context. While Cavell does not refer at any length to the York House Books, her edition, combined with other work on heraldic history and texts, permits fuller comparison of the two versions and of their authors' possible intentions. (10) This essay attempts to read heraldic professional motivation and personal concern to get at late fifteenth-century heralds' specific politicized and aesthetic viewpoints on English upper-class ceremony, public behaviour, and ritual. Through analysis of selected cruxes and contrasts in and between the herald's text and the York House Books text of the 1486 entertainment, I hope to start a more inclusive and appreciative conversation about the nascent 'literary chronicle' that the company of heralds began to produce.

The York House Books version attempts to locate the king in a certain symbiotic relationship with the city without unduly instructing him or seeming to impose upon his royal place of authority. Yet its method of representing Henry as king only in parallel with, or even as a consequence of, the historical importance and present status of York dangerously questions the king's autonomous legitimacy. The herald's version subsequently, and in contrast, reads the York performance as equivocal and worryingly suggestive; through several textual and emblematic alterations it attempts to memorialize a conservative representation of the relationship that keeps the king in a position of unequivocal authority. The York pageants present a radical version of the usual two-sided civic welcome message: we are an important city of the realm and therefore should receive the appreciation (ceremonial and financial) of the monarch, and we are humble subjects who live in a city whose greatness depends on the support (ceremonial and financial) of the singularly authoritative monarch. York thus wanted to stage a careful representation of the city as a necessary underprop to Henry's successful rule (which it undoubtedly was) while it needed to maintain a clear supporting role in a dramatic narrative of providentialism and divine right.

Recent history had made such balance difficult for York, for if the 1486 welcome was not an accession pageant, it was in some sense a confirmation ceremony. York's concession to the new regime helped stabilize a new realm beset with disturbances. Henry's response was to play the part of the magnificent, magnanimous, and pious king. Hence his
   Carefully orchestrated appearances at divine service, the staging
   of a crown-wearing in York, his observance of traditional, sacred
   customs, the magnificence of his attire and that of his henchmen on
   all public occasions, and even the military and political might of
   his entourage as it drew near to the northern capital must have
   served to reassure the people of their sovereign's piety,
   generosity and princely dignity. (11)

Cavell notes that the travelling court may not have planned from the start a military buildup but rather became militarized in response to an increasing danger of rebellion. The court, moreover, may also have added the westward swing of the progress after the development of the Lovell-Stafford crisis and the information that Worcester had harboured Stafford.

Notwithstanding, the call to arms gave an excellent opportunity to those 'who had given Henry Tudor a reason to question their loyalty' to show their allegiance. (12) The military, the political, and the dramatic all converge in the activity and representation of Henry en route to York as the herald's memoir records the king's need 'to appear lavishly and constantly attended by great figures of the realm and their retainers'. (13) Each of the records, then, writes authority, assessing relative political positions between individuals and communities and between socio-political ideals and practical situations on the ground. More specifically, each document describes and develops monarchic authority as it impacts and is shaped by its relationship with certain regions of the realm. Finally, each document manipulates a view of the various performances by the actors, citizens, rebels, and courtiers surrounding the centralized figure of Henry VII.

Through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, individual lords and knights as well as monarchs in England employed heralds to keep armorial records and organize tournaments. Their titles indicate their specific regional positions of employment. In these roles, recorders could make the deeds of knights available to others for copying and repeating, thus creating a narrative that would establish and maintain that man's position in living memory and history. (14) Such authorizing roles could clearly be useful for monarchic identity and establishment as well as for peers of the realm. The main non-provincial court herald's position, known as the garter king of arms, was established in 1415. The responsibility of this court functionary (as opposed to a recorder of regional affairs in distant parts of the realm)--as well as the responsibilities of junior heralds, or pursuivants--is not easy to define, for the heralds seem to have had multiple roles: organizing and recording events at court, maintaining genealogical and armorial records away from court, and acting as supervising secretaries and ambassadors on royal progress and international missions. (15) The late Lancastrians understood the importance of heralds as necessary appurtenances to royal activity and reputation, instructing them to ensure that 'all manner of solemn occasions ... be truthfully and indifferently recorded'. (16) In 1484 Richard III granted the heralds a charter of incorporation and a meeting place, Coldharbour House, on the north bank near London Bridge. (17) They lost their location only a year later with the accession of Henry VII and the cancellation of Ricardian statutes, but both crown and recorders understood their mutual benefit, and the recasting of their relationship must have begun to take shape by the time of the March 1486 progress. (18) The extent to which this body of heralds, so valued and privileged by the Yorkist regime, fell into Lancastrian line remains an open question, and it could be argued that a cursory reading of the herald's version of the York entertainment reveals a voice trying hard to say the right things.

Most scholars would agree that textual representations of historical figures, places, and relationships make identity even as they limn it. Later Tudor examples, The Queen's Majesty's Passage of January 1559 and Spenser's Faerie Queene of 1590 and 1596, bookend the fashioning of the idea and ideal of another troublesome--because female--monarch who needed embedding in her position by formal ceremony as well as creative narrative. Any similar heraldic review or representation offers not a view of the thing itself but a mode of poesis or praxis that establishes the monarch anew, albeit from preexisting historical and cultural raw materials. A reading of the herald's memoir as a creative text takes on particular importance because the document records the opening four years of Henry's reign and therefore the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. We can, with care, attempt to parse two imbricated practices in the heraldic record: one that maintains an objective, staid text, observing order and hierarchy in court-realm relations and another that permits personal, subjective, and reflective representation of historical fact.

G.A. Lester has shown that fifteenth-century English heralds were interested in literary, instructional, and conduct texts related to their profession, and that, as a consequence, '[t]here are certainly signs that their authors were in some places striving for stylistic or rhetorical effect'. (19) He points out, moreover, that detail in heraldic texts strongly suggests that the writers knew that they were creating a narrative, not a simple disinterested (objective) record, and that they had the opportunity to create an emotional or affective, as well as historical, text. (20) As Anne Sutton and Livia Visser-Fuchs detail at length in Richard Ill's Books, Richard's own book collection favoured history, and the role of heralds as history-makers brings together monarch and servant in a clear common interest. The interpenetration of mythic, factual, and newly imagined (literary) characters, events, and explication in medieval historiography (especially in narratives of nationhood such as Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae and Wace's Brut) contextualizes the York pageants' literal/literary representations in which figures from ancient Britain, biblical history, and living memory interact and rewrite stories of the past in order to place or reorient the trajectory of the monarch's future. (21) The heralds themselves brought their book collections to Coldharbour and 'by 1484 the heralds possessed a library of some size'. (22)

The 'extensive and heterogeneous' manuscript anthology that has come down to us as the herald's memoir constitutes an attempt to encapsulate the important information of the early years of Henry VII's reign. Cavell considers the relative paucity of separate heraldic narrative records for the early years of Henry VII's reign to be a direct result of this unifying narrative strain. (23) So while Sutton and Visser-Fuchs make a clear separation between, on the one hand, the heralds, who traditionally recorded individual events, and, on the other, 'the genuine chronicler or historian who set out to write a coherent survey of a longer period', we might need to reassess our view of the herald's memoir. (24) This bridging text embeds the functionary work of civil servants compiling and transcribing events within an (imperfectly chronological) anthology of the company of heralds as narrative historians. Interestingly, the memoir is probably not a public document but rather a conceptually grander version of the many heraldic texts that 'appear to be "unpublished", in-house reports not designed for readership outside the body of English heralds and their associates'. (25) Although 'Precision and detail were paramount', as revealed by the reported concern in heraldic accounts of anything that hindered heralds' ability to record events accurately, such as poor viewpoints or enforced absences, 'Many of the heralds' narratives are also supplemented by oral report and hearsay, public proclamation, official and quasi-official written documents, and other works originating from both within and outside the body of heralds in the service of the English Crown'. (26) This limited-release document containing a mishmash of official documented source material, the recorder's personal memory, contemporary anecdote, and mythic/historical evidence makes the genre of heraldic writing--and this Henrician memoir in particular--a workbook in which the two sides (court and company) negotiated their respective politico-historical roles.

Such an amorphous generic identity (as well as often 'unadorned, slightly repetitious language') has no doubt contributed to 'a dismissive approach to the [heraldic] writings as a group'. (27) The private-but-official status of the texts, however, highlights their literary-historical place as records of the active back and forth between two interdependent bodies of authority and as conduct guides: it is 'a shorte and a brief memory', which was 'produced primarily for record and precedent'. (28) As the new monarch acceded, 'Henry Tudor's thirst for national approval was equaled only by the heraldic fraternity's own quest for acceptance by the nascent regime'. (29) So the heraldic texts to some extent show court and heralds reading, making, and maintaining each other. As we read the herald's memoir in this case, we will have to remain sensitive to a balance (and tension) between the imperative for truth, objectivity, precision, and detail on the one hand and eyewitness imperfections, standardized reporting methods, collation and transcription difficulties, and literary application on the other.

The question of the extent of the herald's text's final autonomy from any court pressure remains unanswered. The memoir's opening sentence refers to the text being subject to 'licence and correccion', and this phrase is often taken to mean court control; thus scholars often read discrepancies between the York House Books and the herald's account as marks of 'royal censorship'. (30) Cavell more cautiously notes that 'contemporary corrections to the text suggest supervision and deference to a higher authority', perhaps only as far as Garter King of Arms John Writhe's overseeing and editing of the text as it was produced by the company under his supervision. (31) While McGee suspects that the account was officially sanctioned or commissioned and left open to official correction or adjustment, Cavell argues that the herald's account was 'not an official document commissioned by the Crown', and the recording practice of the company of heralds seems to have been an endeavour carried out somewhat independently of the court even as the company's work was clearly directed and delimited by court or regional orders. (32)

It is difficult to characterize the relationship between Henry and his recorders, poised as the group was between the loss of the official stability it had just started to enjoy under Richard III and a potential re-establishment of its importance for a king in need of authorization. As Anthony Wagner notes, the Act of Resumption on the accession of Henry VII may not have affected the incorporative status of the heralds, even though their house at Coldharbour was confiscated. Henry showed favour and disfavour with the heralds in office according to these employees' specific previous relationships with Richard III. (33) The new regime paid close attention to the heralds' potential allegiances. At the same time, I see no reason to believe it was in the long-term interest of the heralds as servants of the crown to do anything other than represent the court conservatively and appropriately. The primary court herald, the garter king of arms, may have partially written or only collated and edited the document as we have it, but this professional was concerned with both the representation and preservation of history. There is an interesting pull between a body of recorders going through the motions of their job during what may have been, for them, the least interesting part of the progress and indulging in their intellectual, learned, literary-historical desire to create an overarching document of national record.

The York House Books text proposes an entertainment to convince a sceptical monarch of the city's true allegiance. It stipulates that the traditional royal welcome party of two York sheriffs and twenty horsemen should double in size. The mayor and remaining aldermen will meet the king an unprecedented five miles from the city instead of the usual two, and before reaching the city there should appear 'a certaine nowmbre of childrine as shalbe gaddard togiddre aboute Saint James chappell calling ioyfully King Henrie after the maner of children'. The herald's memoir varies in content and emphasis from this York House Books plan at a number of points. After meeting the sheriffs, the entourage rode until they met the mayor and aldermen 'ner hand iij myles oute of Yorke', splitting the difference between the usual two miles and the York House Books' planned five. (34) The herald then fills in an elision in the York version, noting that the welcome was given by John Vavasour, the second city recorder in a year who had been elected to the office by the city in lieu of candidates backed by Henry. (35) The herald's brief, as we have seen, required the naming and description of people in contact with the king but perhaps not editorializing on the court's behalf about York's choices. When all the orders of friars met the royal train half a mile from the city, they were followed by representatives of the parish churches and the children, who 'criden: "King Henry, King Henry!" and saide: "Our Lorde preserve that swete and welefaverde face!"'. (36) Cavell simply notes that 'The crowd of children ... was preordained by the city fathers', but either the rhetoric demanded by the York House Books has changed or the herald has (either himself or by report) attributed a specific script to these young characters. (37) The comment on Henry's good looks is quirky, if not comical, and certainly not necessary for a welcome. But it familiarizes Henry and incorporates him among the innocents of York as a homely as well as dread sovereign.

At the entry to the city, records the York House Books, a 'craftely conceyvid' pageant of 'treys and floures' will raise both a red rose and a white one. The other flowers of the pageant will 'spryng up' and 'lowte' (bow) to 'yeve suffrantie' to these Lancastrian and Yorkist representations as a crown descends from a cloud to cover the joined roses. (38) A 'citie with citisyns' will then appear, from which will step Ebrauk, ancient king and legendary founder of York. Having handed over the keys of the city and his crown to Henry, Ebrauk will speak the first speech of the pageants, which will establish his own place in York, his blood connection to the king, and the town's efforts and 'grete hurt' on behalf of Henry's ancestors. (39) The speech closes with the usual appeal for favour and an assertion of the city's loyalty. The trees and flowers of the opening pageant are not specifically mentioned in the herald's version but probably appeared. York would have wanted to represent their own Elizabeth of York and the role that the royal marriage played in stabilizing Henry's position. Also, as Meagher notes, adapting the mechanics of the plasterers' and fullers' Corpus Christi pageants (Creation and Adam and Eve) could easily create an impressive special effect. (40) In conflict with York, the herald's record may deliberately excise the first part of the pageant to de-emphasize the Yorkist match with the as-yet uncrowned queen. Doing his job as outlined in this essay, the herald's version instead emphasizes Bacon's preferred hierarchy of authority, the focus being on the king Ebrauk, who will confirm Henry's right to the throne through his own lineage. The herald therefore keeps Ebrauk in the foreground to remind the king that he founded York 'For a place to my pleasur of most prehemynence' and continues, 'Herunto I recoursede for moost convenyence' in the knowledge that his heirs would inherit the place. (41) Ebrauk emphasizes how preeminent and comfortable the town used to be as a deliberate contrast with his claim shortly afterward of current impoverishment. He then gives the city key and his crown to Henry with the pertinent assurance that there is no deception in his professions.

A small but important crux appears at this moment: Ebrauk asks Henry in the York House Books to 'Shew your grace to this citie with such abounedance / As the reame may recover in to prosperitie'. (42) The word 'reame' (realm) suggests that Ebrauk's link to Henry somehow parallels York's link to the welfare of the kingdom as a whole. In other words, he tells Henry that reviving the vital and influential city of York will improve the health of the whole nation. Such a formulation privileging the York/monarch relationship is not far from the truth. The herald apparently heard (or copied, or knowingly substituted) 'ruyn' instead of realm, presumably referring to the state of the city. (43) This could be a scribal or aural error, a player's mistake, or even a deliberate change to the performance text authorized by Hudson or the city between the writing of the House Books copy and the performance date. Alternatively, we could entertain the possibility of a deliberate change that emphasizes the city's submission. In the herald's version, the speaker describes York as in ruin, dependent on the king, and begs the city's recovery only for its own sake rather than as an essential cog in the machine of the realm. (44) The York civic records note the king's charity in reducing York's fee farm rent after 'seing the great ruyne and extreme decay that the same is fallen in'. (45) But to what extent was this 'great ruyne' something that Henry in fact only heard about? The streets were beautified for his visit, and, as mentioned above, he was led directly on a single route through a decorated corridor of cloth and tapestry that cut off views to other streets. (46) Total success of this activity would leave the appeals of the pageants substituting for an actual view of the allegedly decayed parts of town.

During the visit, Henry lodged in the archbishop's palace, just north of York Minster. He arrived on Thursday 20 April and left on Sunday 23 April, St George's day, perhaps giving the city fathers time to discuss their economic state. Whether the king left the palace at any time on that Friday or Saturday, or saw the 'ruyn' of the town as he was leaving on Sunday, we do not know. The herald records a meeting between Henry and Bristol representatives later in the 1486 progress, at which Henry inquired about the poor state of the city, yet he mentions no such meeting or direct inquiry in York. But the king already knew that York was in trouble because 'in 1485, the corporation told Henry VII that "[... the] citie was within fewe yeres after" the battle of Towton (1461) "utterly prostratid, decaied and waisted" and that throughout Edward's reign the citizens "fro day to day so decayed, that in thend of this reigne they were and yit be gretely indebted and utterly impoverished"'. (47) The plays become central, then, not so much in giving Henry bare information about York's decay, but in a more important political exercise: to influence the king to act in response to such knowledge. Relations did seem to improve. At the end of his second visit to York, on 30 July 1487, Henry went from York to Durham and Newcastle. On his return journey toward Pontefract, south and west of York, he was joined by 'my lord mayre, iiij aldermen accompanyed with lx horsse cam unto the kings grace shewing unto (the the) his highnesse certain maters concernyng the well and prouffit of this citie, of the which they hadd a perfite aunswer and his grace right well content with ther commyng, and so retourned agayn unto this citie upon the Sonday after the fest of Saint Bartilmewe'. (48)

To manage the balance of power between city and king and to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship, York needed rhetoric that asserted its view of the place of the king without overstepping decorum. One method that appears in the pageant of Ebrauk and the later David pageant uses negation simultaneously to assert York yet maintain a subordinate position. The pageants represent York as vulnerable yet tough, damaged yet salvageable, suspected of straying from honour but demonstrably loyal. Ebrauk assures Henry (to whom he has just given the keys of the city) 'Nevir to this citie to presume no pretence / But holly I remytte it to your governaunce'; he goes on to request 'your great grace gif not your ye / Only to this citie of insufficience / But graciously considre ther wille and diligence' and confirms that 'For your blod this citie made never digression / as recordeth by the great hurte for blode of your excellence'. (49) Solomon will later praise Henry (not altogether convincingly) for 'Opteynyng as moost worthy your right not regesly' (i.e. getting the crown without barbarous, uncontrolled rage); and then King David will 'wittenesse that this citie withoute variaunce / Was never devincede by force ne violence'. (50) David recognizes the strength of the city (and in the York House Books text its resistance to feminization through being 'deflorid' rather than 'devincede' by penetrating attackers); (51) the city thereby appears as a pure virgin at the king's command.

The speeches ask Henry to be confident about the future loyalty of York: he should use his apparent recognition of the city's dilapidation not just as a sign of itself but as a foil against which the revived will and loyalty of the people of York stand out; and the 'great hurte' sustained in the service of the monarch marks York's sincerity. This last point contains the suggestion that the very slump in which the city finds itself results from supporting the king's ancestors. The rhetorical negatives list the potential failures of the town and its relationship with the king--and by acknowledging possible shortcomings, avoids them. If Henry VII wants to claim power through the legacy of his lineage, then he must also accept the political and economic fall-out from that legacy and repair resulting problems. In an inversely proportional relationship with York, the king has risen as the city has fallen; from his position of power, the king is asked to effect York's resurrection. Thus the pageants appeal for resolution through a foregrounding of the difference, but also the inextricable connection, between monarch and city. The herald's text continues to clean up the speech with two small changes from the York city version. The House Books text asks the king to 'graciously consider therwith and diligence', which the herald makes 'ther wille'--a simple correction, but one that emphasizes York's need to show desire for self improvement. The herald's text also replaces Ebrauk's celebration of Henry's visit by 'our concent' with a 'hole concente', once more bolstering the opening pageant's insistence on the city's loyalty and the unanimous contribution to the stability of the relationship and Henry's rule. (52)

According to the House Books, the king should have moved away from the Ebrauk pageant through streets 'furnishede with clothis of the best' in which 'no gappes shall appeir': the city will cover its faqades and restrict views of certain streets with decorative cloths. Within this fabricated avenue, rosewater will rain around the king 'if the weder be fair'. Henry VII will meet the first six King Henries of England, 'set togidder in counsail', waiting in a pageant 'on the hight of Ousebrigge'. (53) King Solomon will be chosen by them to transfer a 'septour of sapience' to Henry VII after a short oration. (54) The herald's account, however, sees the performance from quite another perspective: 'at the hider ende of House Brigge ther was ordeyned a nother pajaunt, garnysshede with shippes and botez in every side in tokenyng of the kings landing at Milforde Havyn. And Salamon in his habite roiall crownede'. (55) This description does not mention the players that were the six Henries, even though Solomon's speech, which the herald transcribes, refers directly to them. The theme of contemporary shipping seems unrelated to the Judean king, and since the location has changed (from the height of Ousebridge to the nearer end), we might be talking about a late addition to the entertainment, inserted before the Henries. The pageantry consistently assumes Henry's divine installation and providential emplacement as king; therefore, the 'invasion' of Britain via Milford Haven to take the throne and the first six Henries with the wisdom of Solomon all seem part of the same providential story. From an emblematic standpoint, too, the themes could have been combined into one: 'Filling the sides of the pageant with images of ships is not an unusual kind of decorative elaboration ... Presumably painted or embroidered cloths, hanging about the base of the pageant perhaps, or banners related the ships to Henry's landing at Milford Haven'. (56) A more dramatic possibility is for the boats to have appeared at the front of the pageant and 'floated' away to reveal the Henries. (57) Such a revelation of the Henries would be appropriate considering the York House Books' stage direction, which has the six Henries 'sodanely appering'. (58) Solomon confirms the connection among the ships, Henry's return from France, and his kingship as the seventh Henry by wondering aloud about the king's 'mysteriusly' spent time, which, as McGee notes, refers to his exiled years. (59)

When the six Henries appear in the York House Books version, they are silent, and 'set togidder in counsail ... which after the sight had of the king with certaine convenient laisour avisidly shall commyt a ceptour unto Salamon'. The Henries/Solomon pageant was clearly designed to offer Henry a profound compliment. The Henries are 'in counsail', discussing affairs of state, as the new king of England approaches. At first they appear to be too engrossed in conversation to see Henry. They then notice him and take their time ('with certaine convenient laisour') before some brief representation of further careful consideration of their unanimity of opinion that permits them 'avisidly' to give up the sceptre to Solomon, who will in turn offer it to Henry, 'tokining that in hym is wisdome and justice'. (60) The hesitation, although it seems at first to suggest uncertainty, indicates wise deliberation ending in informed and correct resolution. Henry VII is the rightful king and proper recipient of the sceptre. In raising equivocality (or giving viewers time to doubt), the pageant renders the affirmative outcome all the stronger.

Not only do some of the pageants appear to reuse biblical play wagons and sets; they confirm the same medieval sense of public historical drama as a concordance that typologically explains the present by referencing manifestly destined trajectories from past events, and in particular past characters, in relation to the contemporary state of city and citizens. Considering the profundity of the six Henries element in the pageant, the herald surprisingly does not detail their mimed action or their thoughtful pause. Hudson's production skills seem to have been lost on a herald for whom the pageants must directly offer confirmations of power to the king; the appearance of the ships and Solomon himself seems to do that well enough for the court recorder. Another small textual alteration between the two versions of Solomon's first stanza supplements the providential reading of history. When Solomon speaks in the York House Books text, he talks of the first six Henries preparing Henry VII's 'reame' for him. This same word in the York House Books' Ebrauk speech was changed to 'ruyn' in the herald's text; now the herald changes it again, this time to 'reign'. (61) As I have argued, the herald works for the king to record the surrounding events, thus emplacing and making him. For the six Henries to have prepared the 'realm' would simply complete their job for whoever comes along in the years following. For them to have prepared Henry's reign, however, suggests a proleptic vision in which the past quite deliberately aimed toward the identity and ruling years of the present monarch, thus locating Henry providentially at this moment in time.

In a grammatically and conceptually complicated additional final stanza of Solomon's speech recorded only in the herald's account, the orations pursue their seemingly paradoxical use of grand mythical and historical narratives to localize the story being told. (62) The herald could only have read the stanza as praising the king, but it in fact makes the king's worthiness relative to, and dependent on, the character of York. Solomon boldly continues the suggestion that York's local history comprises a past that has secured the personal and national place of Henry VII:
   Beseching you of bountevous benevolence
   This your citie to supporte with subsidie of your grace
   Thies your noble progenitours recordeth the assistence
   Of this citie to the assufferayn in yche tyme and place
   Proof makith experience now souveraigne in your space
   Of purede witt to your blood of great antiquitie
   This your citie is solacede to have your soveraigntie. (63)

This verse holds up the six Henries (who, we might have assumed, stood for the general, national part of history) as beneficiaries of, and witnesses to, York's own special aid to sovereigns. By drawing these Henries together, the pageant again achieves a definition of the place of the monarch vis-a-vis York. It thereby determines political relations, tempering its assertions by clouding the relationship in ancient history and the representation of an impossible congregation of characters. The defined place, however, remains implied, not through negation this time, but through suggestions requiring confirmation from the text's royal reader/viewer. York asserts its importance, explains how that importance impacts the monarch, and hopes that the relationship thus posited will be confirmed by a reciprocal gesture of acceptance ('bountevous benevolence' and 'subsidie of your grace'). The very opportunity for and ability of York to make this statement and appeal depends on the presence and power of the monarch.

This stanza concentrates attempts to locate the place of the monarch through a poetics of careful substitution or deferral ('experience' for the king), displacement ('in your space'), and relative location between town and king ('This your citie ... this citie ... This your citie'). The difficult line 'Proof makith experience now souveraigne in your space' may mean that the proofs provided in this entertainment have given Henry VII a collection of new, dramatic experiences. These experiences come out of a concoction of 'real' history with a strange infusion of mythic history, and together they occupy the space in which the king stands and ask him to believe in a monarchic power underlain by York's historical support. The pageant depicts the king as both superior (his 'blood of great antiquitie') and dependent ('the assistence / Of this citie'). If he is just a piece in the game of thrones, at least he has been put in motion by the excellence of his progenitors. The quality of sovereignty is to protect and remedy as well as rule, so the city's solace at having Henry's sovereignty cheekily comments on the citizens' faith in Henry's restorative power since he gained it through the importance of--and, as we have seen, through the losses endured by--York. The implication is that Henry must be good to them. He must repay such service, like with like. (64) As the city traditionally gives a cup of gold to the progressing king as a present, so the king's 'subsidie of your grace' will include the gracious act of financial assistance to the city. (65) After all, York is, as Solomon says to Henry, 'your citie' and Henry's responsibility.

North of the bridge, at the crossroads of Ousegate with Coney Street, a 'shew' will shower the royal party with 'hailestones to be made by craftes of cumfettes'--precipitate pastries, which the herald reveals to be simply the 'casting oute of obles and wafers' from building galleries that lined the streets. Further west, at the common hall, the city will build a castle from which King David will emerge to speak and give Henry a sword of victory, backed by citizens dressed in the king's colours of green and white. Finally, Our Lady shall descend from heaven in another pageant and after a short but important speech ascend once more 'wit angell sang and ther schall it snaw [snow] by craft to be made of waffrons [wafers] in maner of Snaw', thus ushering the royal entourage into York Minster. (66) The herald apparently records a change of plan insofar as the pageant of Our Lady met the entourage at the crossroads into Coney Street before they moved on to see David. This alteration seems forced, breaking up as it does the three presentations from three ancient kings. (67) It also foils the transition that the Our Lady pageant provides from the streets of York to the Minster, where progresses traditionally concluded. (68) Either version may be correct, but the herald could have accidentally switched the pageants, which Kipling notes may be due to the collated nature of the evidence the writer would have used, including 'copies of the pageant verses, which were probably given to him on separate sheets of paper'. (69) Alternately, as Alexandra Johnston points out, this could be a very deliberate change 'by Henry's "spin doctors"', since 'emphasizing his arrival with an invading force and making the handing over of the "swerd of victorie" the climax changes the tone of the event' from an act of 'holy consecration' to a narrative of 'a conquering hero riding into a formerly hostile city surrounded by his now reconciled noblemen'. (70)

The first stanza of David's speech asserts Henry's right to the throne, 'Sith God so disposith of His preordynaunce' as demonstrated by Henry's 'actes victorious'. (71) These two phrases together constitute an appropriate emphasis to follow the previous pageant because the new court foregrounded three aspects of Henry's right to the throne: first, his continuity of the piousness of Henry VI, whose cult he and Henry VIII fostered; (72) second, Henry's Welsh connection to the ancient British kings; and third, his winning Bosworth Field as a sign of God's providence. The line-up of Henries confirms the first aspect, and Ebrauk, who appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the British Kings, stands for the second. So David confirms the third by giving Henry his sword of victory. Thus he completes the lines of authority around the king before Henry has to move on past the pageant of Our Lady to humble himself before the only greater king, Jesus Christ. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the biblical David was a contemporary of Ebrauk, and in this pageant David even claims to have known of the York founder's fame. (73) He therefore has 'chosen it for my place to your presence'. (74)

David closes by asking Henry to help York, pointing out that the new king has a duty to 'take gracious complacence' over his 'enheritaunce'. (75) Like David, Mary confirms Henry's status as God's chosen ('assigned / Of His Grace to be governour of His peoplez proteccion') and also relates her settled presence in a faithful York ('thy people hath me muche in affeccion') such that Henry is emotionally and theologically blackmailed into aiding the city. If he will do York this favour, then Mary 'shall shewe to my Sonne to sende thee His Grace'. (76) While Our Lady says to Henry in the House Books, 'The[e] his [God's] knyght he haith callid victoriously / To convoce and concord this his contrie condigne', the herald changes 'his contrie' to 'thy countrey', implying (consciously or not) a passing on of power from the heaven-directed past to the earthly future in Henry's capable hands. (77) The herald's account confirms Henry as a little god on earth. The herald's switched pageant order thereby feels less problematic as this encomium could provide a transition to the David speech. Further small changes in the closing lines of the herald's text continue to emphasize Henry's primacy in the set of relations among him, Mary and Christ, and York: 'this reynyng' becomes 'thy reynyng', and 'shew' replaces York House Books's 'sew'--a simple typographical change that perhaps suggests Mary showing Henry in place at York will bring Christ's grace as opposed to the uncertainty of the appeal that 'sew' (ie sue) implies. This line's omission and then insertion in the margin of the memoir text may indicate equivocality about how (or whether) to present this message. (78)

David speaks in front of a crowd of 'citisyns ... in clothing of white and greyne shewing ther trueth and hertly affeccion unto the kinge'. (79) By acknowledging the deference of the players to the monarch and presenting them as court servants, the pageant foregrounds the ludic nature of the event, which consolidates and even magnifies the distance between representation and a supposed real thing. This expression of deference entails an obvious irony: putting on the trappings of state performs the unapproachability of the monarch, but commoners as players wearing courtly clothing breaks down the distance praised through the act of representation. This irony returns us to the recurring observation that royal entertainments--and these texts that record the performances--worked to define the place of the monarch, represent it, and paradoxically help make or form its image (from 'well-favoured' face to 'prepotent prince') without impinging upon royal authority. Dramatic art as a genre provides a system of representative meaning distanced from its intended object of signification. In the mode of royal entertainment, there is not so much an entertaining story as a meaningful conceit comprising elements of significant import suspended around, and working centripetally toward, the elusive core occupied by the ideological body of the monarch. The towns on the progress did more than flatter the king; striving 'to articulate a place for the new regime in the local and general history of the realm ...each pageant [at York, Worcester, and Bristol] articulated a vital connection between a formerly obscure Anglo-Welsh earl and the history of England and the British Isles', all the while looking straight on at the relationship to avoid seeing the death of Richard III scraping across every representation like a retroactive memento mori. (80) The drama's creative role in situating Henry parallels the very real making of the king as he fends off rebels and pretenders who question his authority. The monarch becomes a figure of authority only when subjects are subjected. Heraldic interest would focus on the picture painted around the king by the supporting, loyal figures brought into the frame as the progress makes its way through unstable territory.

The manner in which Henry, the herald, and the Yorkists would have read the entertainment also relates to the generic tradition of pageant playing, which (literally, because using the wagons) provides the basis for the performance of 1486. Peter Meredith has argued that the York cycle gave the audience 'not a narrative but an iconic' experience, 'a whole series of nuclear moments with the power to detonate a disparate range of parallel meanings'. (81) Davidson also emphasizes 'that the medieval sense of time was of moments marked by events, signifying a period of time. Causality was not strongly perceived in events over long periods of time, but current events were connected to earlier foreshadowings'. (82) A late fifteenth-century audience might accept an apparently disjointed attempt to create a holistic idea of secular and sacred place as less troublesome than it seems to us. The fifteenth-century spectator-auditor may have more easily digested grand and distant narratives layered with smaller, modern histories in order to home in on a concept than a determined, inflexible teleologically based plot narrative.

If this is true, the pageants take place at a representational cusp in dramatic history. Their straddling of a line between static, iconic, representations of historical moments or personages and a narrative or causal examination of those features across time coincides with the nascent 'literary-historical' character of the self-defining, as well as monarch-defining, company of heralds. The York entertainment appropriates history and time to bring the vectors of the past into focus in the present, demonstrating that 'In spite of the vagueness of the medieval historical sense--a vagueness that stands in acute contrast to the Renaissance sense of time in its historical dimension--the Middle Ages nevertheless did see history as in some manner linear'. (83) Indeed, the pageantry suggests cause and effect: because Henry's ancestors were tied to York, so Henry must accept, and act on, their dramatized political offering. The pageant's narrative folds together disparate events of the ancient and recent past, representing them as having been brought together providentially to produce a history with linear clarity. Royal entertainment is historical narrative deliberately broken down by the personalized voices of those mythical or ancient narrators (Ebrauk, David, the Henries, Solomon) now magically imagined in the present, who work to make history work for them. This discursive interpolation into the objective text recasts 'facts of history' and can be seen as exhibiting a fairly sophisticated understanding of history as comprising multiple voices and texts available for manipulation and interpretation.

Perhaps only by openly incorporating incompatible forms of history, and by flagrantly defying theological and natural order in who appears when on the stages, can the entertainment imply that the one constant is the viewing figure of the monarch. The only way to provide adequate tribute for such a real, powerful, and unattainable centre of attention and power is to suspend the rules of reality in the creation of narratives of praise. Through representational lies, the entertainment conveys an underlying truth that the king wants to hear: the manifold and profound political and religious trajectories that converge now on Henry VII in York cannot be adequately represented. Pretending to do so, yet openly demonstrating that the display is pretense, reveals the powerful position of the new king as aloof from his subjects in general and provides the necessary level of praise from the town of York. The physicality of pageant entertainment (materials, mechanics) also reveals the paradoxical theoretical view of the playing as caught in the double-bind of artistic representation--tending toward the subject (the referent, the conceit of the literary work), yet in the very process pushing the subject away through such literary-performative effects as negation, displacement, or substitution. Even as a short-lived material exhibition, the royal welcome pageant remains a permanently inscribed event, a precedent and an historical marker defining a specific moment in the relationship between city and monarch. When a town plays the past (or rather a past), it identifies itself with a double process (a static mythic history and a dynamic political history), and it is happy to align characters from all spatial and temporal realms in the centripetally charged presence of the current monarch. All lines of local, national, global, and supernatural meaning in place and time become directed toward the king.

For all the distance between representation and the real thing, and for all York's need to maintain its subordinate position, elements of play can still insist on the performative and dependent identity of the monarch--a dependence that we have seen the herald's text actively suppress (the Yorkist rose of the opening pageant) or report without comment (the role of recorder Vavasour), thus rendering it a non-issue. The York pageantry of 1486 illustrates the radical interrogative ability of civic drama, as the performances weave in and out of questions about the underpinnings of monarchic power. The pageant questions what lies behind the place of the monarch--both spiritual and divine ideals, and physical and visible trappings--and openly represents the structures of power. To do this, the drama opens up aspects of its own mimetic, ritualistic, and mechanical elements of artifice to the eyes of the audience (monarch and populace), and this in turn reflects on, and makes equivocal, monarchic power and its paraphernalia. If Henry's presence prompts the pageant garden to spring up or the six Henries to come to life, then he is at once a godlike, miraculous presence and part of an occasional performance of artificial persons. The pageant drama humbles itself as gift and offering to the honoured guest but empowers itself through its unique performance, which contributes to the work of authorizing monarchic rule and stabilizing the realm--especially the north of England. As such, the pageantry retains an aura of diplomatic inferiority but is shot through with powerful rhetoric, deliberate ambivalence, and self-assertion, implicitly questioning and challenging the place of the monarch in the very process of acknowledging and maintaining it.

Such a potentially subversive form of praise can only be permitted provided that it apparently confirms reality as endorsed by the monarch, and so long as any questions raised lead to a final confirmation of certainty in the status of the king. I have argued that York's entertainment achieves this balance by reimagining the rocky road of history as, in retrospect, a remarkably straight and providential highway with the subject-monarch on its horizon. Such a narrative excuses York's anti-Lancastrian past as simply part of a greater heavenly plan of correction that makes York 'sufficient' to host the king in the presence of Our Lady, for whom 'this Citie [is] a place of my pleasing'. (84) I have also argued that the history of the role of heralds, especially in the few years leading up to 1486, puts their concerns in some tension with those of the York House Books in representing the balance of power between the city and the monarch. If the host city plays a significant role in this narrative, then in empowering the monarch, it empowers itself. For the herald, a powerful York is fine, but that power should be recorded as performance properly articulated to complement the ongoing fashioning of a new king and new dynasty. The pageants' picture of providential history implies that maintaining the road into the future is a straightforward task for the current monarch. Despite, or because of, the cultural and political conflicts inherent in the history and currency of majesty and rule, the extant texts of the York entertainment represent a meeting of minds attempting to represent chance as providence, misrule as precursor to correction, and the uncertainties of the secular world as organized within a sacred order. The question of the proper execution of that design is what keeps the House Books and the herald's report incomplete and at odds. Only through a comparative study of both texts can the 'insufficience' of each be mitigated and the story that each one tells be properly contextualized.



I am grateful to the anonymous readers at Early Theatre for their revision advice, to Helen Ostovich and the Early Theatre editorial staff for their help navigating the resubmission process, to Erin Kelly for her sharp editorial eye and sensitive reading, to colleagues who have provided me with unpublished work and advice on the subject of the first progress of Henry VII, and to my graduate students at California State University, Long Beach for tackling late-medieval and provincial drama--including the 1486 York entry--with intelligence and humour.

(1) Francis Bacon, History of the Reign of King Henry VII (1621), ed. J. Rawson Lumby (Cambridge, 1902), 9.

(2) Edward Hall, The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre & Yorke (1548, 1550), ed. Henry Ellis (London, 1809), 426. Later chroniclers copied Hall or similarly worded their sections on events relevant to this study. See Richard Grafton's use of Hall in A Chronicle at Large and Meere History of the Affayres of Englande and Kinges of the Same (1569), 2 vols (London, 1809), 2.161-3 and Raphael Holinshed, Chronicle of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577), 6 vols (London, 1808), 3.483-4.

(3) Hall, Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies, 426.

(4) Lorraine C. Attreed, The York House Books 1461-1490, 2 vols (Far Thrupp, UK, 1991), 77. (Hereafter YHB.)

(5) For a description of the content and context of the records contained in the House Books, see Attreed's introduction to YHB, xi-xxxii.

(6) Gordon Kipling, Enter the King: Theatre, Liturgy and Ritual in the Medieval Civic Triumph (Oxford, 1998), 134; G.A. Lester, 'Fifteenth-Century English Heraldic Narratives', Yearbook of English Studies 22 (1992), 210. The herald's text is preserved in 10r-13r of the four-year 'Herald's Memoir' in British Library ms Cotton Julius B.XII.

(7) C. Edward McGee, 'A Critical Edition of the First Provincial Progress of Henry VII', PhD thesis (University of Toronto, 1977), lxviii, n74; Sydney Anglo, Spectacle Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy. 2nd edn (Oxford, 1997), 28; Clifford Davidson, 'Space and Time in Medieval Drama: Meditations on Orientation in the Early Theater', Karl P. Wentersdorf, Roger Ellis, Clifford Davidson, and R. W. Hanning (eds), Word, Picture, and Spectacle (Kalamazoo, 1984), 73; Carolyn Wightman, 'The Royal Entry in Medieval and Tudor England', PhD thesis (University of Manchester, 1969), 98, cited in McGee, 'A Critical Edition', lxvii.

(8) Alexandra F. Johnston and Margaret Rogerson (eds), REED: York (Toronto, 1979), 2.271. The recognition of the entertainment as representing effective policy at the highest level seems reflected in the relatively large payment of 66s 8d to the author Henry Hudson in 1486; the common practice of re-using text embeds the continuity of the monarchy in an ongoing and stable heraldic narrative of the realm. The payment to Hudson is over three times as much as the next largest payment for individuals involved: '3 other clerks, managing and playing (a play) on the said visit as appears item by item in the book of the said accountants, 60 s[hillings] ' (REED: York, 790). Alexandra Johnston points out, however, that in these records 'There is no mention of payment for the writing of the texts of the pageants', only for production ('"Pageantes fast following ilkon after oyer ...": Urban Performance in York', unpublished conference paper; my thanks to Professor Johnston for providing me with a copy of her work). There is a comparable payment for Hudson's production for Richard III's planned visit in 1483: 'for hys labor abowt the sight of the shew made to our (sovere) sovereyn lord the kyng xl s' (Attreed, YHB, 298).

(9) John C. Meagher, 'The First Progress of Henry VII', Renaissance Drama ns 1 (1968), 45-73; McGee, 'A Critical Edition'; Lorraine C. Attreed, 'The Politics of Welcome: Ceremonies and Constitutional Development in Later Medieval English Towns', John J. MacAloon (ed.), City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe (Minneapolis, 1994), 208-31; Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy; Kipling, Enter the King; Emma Cavell, 'Henry VII, The North of England, and the First Provincial Progress of 1486', Northern History 39 (2002), 187-207.

(10) Recent work promotes a comparative approach to reading texts of royal pageantry. Sandra Logan's essay on, and Germaine Warkentin's edition of, the texts of Elizabeth I's January 1559 coronation entry attend to parallels and divergences between Mulcaster's published text and the Venetian ambassador's report, highlighting the uncertainty that characterizes the reception and recording of civic ceremonial drama. See Sandra Logan, 'Making History: The Rhetorical and Historical Occasion of Elizabeth Tudor's Coronation Entry', Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31 (2001), 251-82; Richard Mulcaster, The Queen's Majesty's Passage and Related Documents, ed. Germaine Warkentin (Toronto, 2004). See also Janette Dillon's recent readings of pageant texts in The Language of Space in Court Performance 1400-1625 (Cambridge, 2010).

(11) Cavell, 'Henry VII', 201-2.

(12) Ibid, 204-5, 206.

(13) Cavell, Memoir, 27. Such demonstrations of support and strength were designed to stave off threats from rebels and pretenders, a fear arguably justified by the cases of Lambert Simnel in 1487 and Perkin Warbeck four years later.

(14) G.A. Lester 'The Literary Activity of the Medieval English Heralds' English Studies 3 (1990), 225.

(15) Ibid, 222; Cavell, Memoir, 9, 21.

(16) Anne F. Sutton and Livia Visser-Fuchs, Richard Ill's Books: Ideals and Reality in the Life and Library of a Medieval Prince (Stroud, UK, 1997), 185.

(17) Cavell, Memoir, 2-4.

(18) Ibid, 19, 24-6.

(19) Lester, 'Literary', 228; Lester, 'Heraldic', 210.

(20) Lester, 'Heraldic', 202.

(21) Sutton and Visser-Fuchs, Richard Ill's Books, 153-63. Sutton and Visser-Fuchs ask whether Richard's ownership of Grandes Chroniques de France (ca 1380-1400), a history of France, signals his practical belief in the use of history as instructional advice for the present as he contemplated Edward IV's 1475 invasion of France (166, 171-3). If so, this supports a hypothesis that he encouraged a class of narrative historians in his employ.

(22) Anthony Wagner, Heralds of England: A History of the Office and College of Arms (London, 1967), 131.

(23) Cavell, Memoir, 22.

(24) Sutton and Visser-Fuchs, Richard Ill's Books, 180.

(25) Cavell, Memoir, 13, 23.

(26) Lester 'Literary', 224; Cavell, Memoir, 17, 18.

(27) Cavell, Memoir, 13 12.

(28) Ibid, 68, 23.

(29) Ibid, 23.

(30) Ibid, 68; Johnston 'Pageantes'.

(31) Cavell, Memoir, 25

(32) McGee, 'A Critical Edition', 51; Cavell, Memoir, 68. Cavell provides the following detail: 'The narrative now contained in Julius B. XII was produced in several stages ... The question, of course, arises as to whether these clues are indicative of the several stages during which the transcript was completed, or of the writing of the draft fragments from which I have suggested the Memoir derives' (56). The relevant portion of manuscript was transcribed between March 1486 and May/June 1488 (57), and if John Writhe was responsible for bringing together 'several narratives of interest to the English heralds', then the note that 'the progress narrative was written under "licence and correction" perhaps refers to the ex officio power of supervision held by John Writhe as Garter King of Arms' (57).

(33) Wagner, Heralds of England, 134-5.

(34) Cavell, Memoir, 73.

(35) York appointed Miles Metcalfe, attainted by Henry for sedition, over the king's choice of Richard Greene and resisted the king's repeated protests. After Metcalfe's death, York again appointed their own John Vavasour against the king's wishes. See Meagher, 'The First Progress', 46, 51; McGee, 'A Critical Edition', 104-5.

(36) Cavell, Memoir, 74.

(37) Ibid, 50.

(38) Attreed, YHB, 482; Meagher calls this show 'a simplified version of the Eden in which two of the cycle plays are set. Within this area was ordained an ingenious vegetable dumb show, made possible by the traditions of York stage mechanics' (Meagher, 'The First Progress', 47).

(39) Attreed, YHB, 482-83.

(40) Meagher, 'The First Progress', 53.

(41) Cavell, Memoir, 75.

(42) Attreed, YHB, 483.

(43) Cavell, Memoir, 76.

(44) There are some interesting smaller differences between the two versions of the speech. For example, Ebrauk talks of 'graunt[ing]' the city to the king, which becomes the less autonomous 'Remytte' in the reported version. Either way, the city was not wrong in asserting itself as a 'principall parcell of your inheritaunce'. A slight difference in the last line of Ebrauk's poetic address may, of course, simply be scribal infelicity or speaker's misremembered moment.

(45) Attreed, YHB, 509.

(46) Meagher, 'The First Progress', 55.

(47) D.M. Palliser, Tudor York (Oxford, 1979), 203.

(48) Attreed, YHB, 588.

(49) Cavell, Memoir, 75-6; my underlined emphasis.

(50) Ibid, 79.

(51) Attreed, YHB, 484.

(52) Ibid, 483; Cavell, Memoir, 76.

(53) Attreed, YHB, 483.

(54) Ibid, 484.

(55) Cavell, Memoir, 76.

(56) McGee, 'A Critical Edition', 114.

(57) There is also the less likely possibility that the pageant was 'garnished' by mocked-up ships actually in the River Ouse around the bridge. This would be more spectacular and explain why the York House Books do not mention such a feature as part of the Solomon pageant itself. The term 'garnished' is unclear. It probably suggests ornamentation, as in the record of Henry's return to London at the end of the progress, when 'The mayre of London with al his brether and al the craftes in London in great multitude of barges garnysshede with baners, penonncez, standres [i.e. standards] and penselles met with his grace' (98). But ornamentation can be on the scale of a full pageant; thus Henry VIII's welcome was 'to see the citie ordered and garnished with pageauntes in place accustomed'. Alexandra F. Johnston, 'The Politics of Civic Drama and Ceremony in Late Medieval and Early-Modern Britain', Joan Fitzpatrick (ed.), The Idea of the City: Early Modern, Modern, and Post-Modern Locations and Communities (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2009), 34, citing Gordon Kipling, 'Anne Boleyn's Royal Entry into London', Alexandra F. Johnston and Wim Husken (eds), Civic Ritual and Drama (Amsterdam, 1997), 47. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), s.v. 'garnish', records the word as referencing a full supply of (military) order as well as decoration.

(58) Attreed, YHB, 483. McGee notes that the phrase 'implies a dramatic disclosure of the scene' ('A Critical Edition', 240); also suggested by Meagher, 'The First Progress', 55.

(59) McGee, 'A Critical Edition', 115, 117.

(60) Attreed, YHB, 483.

(61) Cavell, Memoir, 77.

(62) Meagher thinks the omission in the House Books occurred 'by accident, most probably' ('The First Progress', 56). The text was probably added between the York House Books transcription and the performance date (a possibility for other additions in the herald's version).

(63) Cavell, Memoir, 77

(64) OED, s.v. 'sovereign', entry 3, 'Of remedies, etc. Efficacious or potent in a superlative degree. Freq. In fig. use'. The earliest usage noted is in 1377.

(65) As Meagher notes, York was excused this usual gift of gold or cash ('The First Progress', 49).

(66) Attreed, YHB, 484.

(67) This is noted by Meagher, 'The First Progress', 58.

(68) McGee notes this transition ('A Critical Edition', xxxi).

(69) Kipling, Enter the King, 134.

(70) Johnston, 'Pageantes'.

(71) Cavell, Memoir, 79.

(72) The growth of a cult of Henry VI included alleged miracles at his place of burial. Richard III moved the body in 1486 from its insignificant site at Chertsey Abbey to Windsor. Henry VIII unsuccessfully attempted to get Henry VI sanctified. The Worcester plays on this progress had the character of Henry VI address Henry VII to confirm that a popular rumour was true: Henry VI had predicted that the boy Henry Tudor would be king.

(73) Geoffrey of Monmouth asserts the connections of Ebrauk, York, and David: 'And after the death of membyr [L. Mempricio], Efroc [L. ebraucus] his son became king, strong to rule the kingdom; and he ruled it thirty years. And he was the first king after bryttys [L. brutum] who went with a fleet to ffraink [France]. And there he killed and burned, and took their spoil and their gold and their silver, and went home with the renown of that victory, after burning the cities and utterly destroying keeps and castles. And he first built in the country beyond the hymyr [River Humber], the city called after his own name, dinas efroc [efroc's city; L. ciuitas ebracuci]. And that time dafydd [David] was king of karissalem [Jerusalem]'. Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae, ed. Acton Griscom (London, 1929), 258-9.

(74) Cavell, Memoir, 79.

(75) Ibid.

(76) Ibid, 78.

(77) Attreed, YHB, 485; Cavell, Memoir, 78.

(78) Cavell, Memoir, 78, n. 68.

(79) Attreed, YHB, 484.

(80) Cavell, 'Henry VII', 202. The ghost of Richard III would seem more present if, as Alexandra Johnston points out, the Henrician entertainment is effectively the unplayed Richard III show from 1483 revived and revised (Johnston, 'Pageantes').

(81) Peter Meredith, 'The Fifteenth-Century Audience of the York Corpus Christi Play: Records and Speculation', Michel Bitot (ed.), 'Divers toyes mengled': Essays on Medieval and Renaissance Culture (Tours, 1996), 107.

(82) Davidson, 'Space and Time in Medieval Drama', 53.

(83) Ibid.

(84) Attreed, yhb, 485.

Lloyd Edward Kermode ( is professor of English at California State University, Long Beach.
COPYRIGHT 2015 Early Theatre
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Kermode, Lloyd Edward
Publication:Early Theatre
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Previous Article:Performance spaces in Thomas Chaundler's Liber apologeticus.
Next Article:The Admiral's Vayvode of 1598.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters