Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Timothy Spearman writes

THOMAS SEYMOUR's Soliloquy before his execution

Forgetting God
To love a king
Hath been my rod
Or else nothing:
In this frail life
Being a blast
Of care and strife
Till it be past.
Yet God did call
Me in my pride
Lest I should fall
And from him slide
For whom loves he
And not correct
That they may be
Of his elect
The death haste thee
Thou shalt me gain
With him to reign
Who send the king
Like years as noye
In governing
His realm in joy.
And after this

Frail life such grace
As in his bliss
He may have place.

[detail from portrait by Nicolas Denisot]


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  2. Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley,was the brother of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII of England, who married eleven days after Henry had his wife Anne Boleyn executed in May 1536; the following year, Jane gave birth to the future Edward VI. After Henry's death in 1547 Seymour's older brother Edward became Lord Protector, ruler of England, on behalf of the minor king, and Thomas married Henry's widow Catherine Parr (the two had been lovers before the royal marriage). In this way he become the stepfather of Anne Boleyn's 14-year-old daughter, the future Elizabeth I. (In Timothy's screenplay, from which the soliloquy is excerpted, after he makes young Elizabeth pregnant, she is sent to live with the sister of Elizabeth's governess in Hertfordshire, where she gives birth to Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford, whom Timothy posits as the real author of the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare). When the Lord Protector was absent from court during his invasion of Scotland, Thomas, as Lord High Admiral, began to foment opposition to his brother's authority, On the night of 16 January 1549, perhaps in an effort to take the young king away into his own custody, he was caught trying to break into the royal apartments, arrested, imprisoned in the Tower of London, and on 22 February, formally accused of thirty-three charges of treason. He was executed on 20 March.

  3. POSTSCRIPT: Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, was himself arrested on 11 October 1549. He was released from the Tower early in 1150 and even restored to the Council but plotted to overthrow his successor John Dudley, earl of Warwick. He was rearrested and executed in January 1552, three months after Dudley had been raised to the Dukedom of Northumberland. Early in 1553 the 15-year-old king fell ill and designated his cousin (Northumberland's daughter-in-law) as his heir, Upon Edward's death Seymour marched to East Anglia to capture the late king's eldest half-sister Mary, but in his absence the Privy Council proclaimed her queen instead of Lady Jane. and he was executed for high treason in August.


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