HENRY VIII (1491-1547)
Prince Henry the son of Henry VII became a king(1509) by chance. A gifted man and larger than life in appetites he was determined to leave his mark on the history of England. His father had found Catherine of Aragon for Prince Arthur, as the means of diplomatic alliance between England and Spain. On his untimely death his father by special permission from the Pope arranged marriage for his other surviving son. Much of Henry VIII troubles would stem from his decision to be his own man and rule by his counsel alone. As a gesture of how his reign would proceed, one of Henry’s first decisions was to order the arrest of Sir Richard Empson and Edward Dudley – the two men who had been responsible for implementing Henry VII’s financial measures.
King Henry VIII was not the “universal genius” that Erasmus labelled him but he was a shrewd judge of merit in people and Thomas More and Cardinal Wolsey were of exceptional gifts to guide the kingdom from the troubled times his father had inherited. In outthinking some of Europe’s monarchs, Francis I of France for example he required them.
It was very important to Henry that his wife should give birth for the continuation of the House of Tudor. Catherine gave birth to six children but five died within a few weeks of being born. Only one child, Mary, survived into adulthood. Ever since 1524 Henry had been planning to divorce Katherine. It was inevitable that he developed intimacy with Anne Boleyn (1526) Katherine’s maid of honour. Anne’s biographer, Eric Ives, has argued: “At first, however, Henry had no thought of marriage. He saw Anne as someone to replace her sister, Mary (wife of one of the privy chamber staff, William Carey), who had just ceased to be the royal mistress… Henry decided by the spring of 1527 that he had never validly been married and that his first marriage must be annulled…. However, Anne continued to refuse his advances, and the king realized that by marrying her he could kill two birds with one stone, possess Anne and gain a new wife.” From a simple equation of resolving a private domestic quarrel it was blown into the proportions that neither the king nor Pope Clement II had foreseen.
When Katherine discovered Henry’s plans she informed King Charles (Carlos) of Spain and Emperor Charles (Karl) V of the Holy Roman Empire. Unwilling to upset any one of these two powerful monarchs the Pope put off making a decision about Henry’s marriage.
In March 1534 he eventually made his decision. He announced that Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was invalid. Henry reacted by declaring that the Pope no longer had authority in England. In November 1534, Parliament passed an act that stated that Henry VIII was now the Head of the Church of England. Thomas More did not support the king that led him to the Tower and execution. Anne would later be beheaded but it was she who introduced Henry to the books of Protestant writers such as William Tyndale.( She pointed out that in Obedience of a Christian Man, Tyndale had argued that kings had authority over the church.) Through her Thomas Cromwell who supported the ideas of Tyndale would supplant Sir. Thomas More.
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Before the creation time were many spirits, exhalations from the four elements clarified into shapes, for want of a name I shall call gods. They assembled somewhere between heaven and hell.
The fire felt one moment a quick impulse and was the first one to speak. He said, ‘There must be a chief god. I have at times such a perverse thought to destroy everything to ashes.’
Water leant forward and said,’Don’t you worry, I am at hand to put you out.’
Air sniggered and said,’Oh divine fire, reign supreme I shall fan you so vigorously that water shall not quench you.’ Earth said ‘Water must have help against fire. Since air has taken sides with fire, naturally I shall give water all assistance’.
Thus earth was formed with water to sustain life. Stars appeared in the sky and fire god was sure his majesty was well established.
Still the gods realized that their chief controversy was not yet resolved. Who is the chief god?
Since there was no consensus they decided to ask the man to settle the question.
The fire-god Agni asked, ‘What is man that such a question should be put to him?He is merely Chance, a fluke!’
Man indeed was a result of so many chains of events as the gods themselves exhalations of four elements.
Man who felt in his very being the long simmering controversy among gods was disquieted. He could not say why but his troubled spirit convinced him he needed gods.
When he was asked to choose the chief god he merely answered,’ Get me all the gods you can find’.
The answer didn’t please the gods so they said, ‘let him choose whoever. But chance is going to upset all his calculations.’
Frederick Nietzsche wrote about a superman yet to be born. Even the superman will be undone by chance as Adolf Hitler who mouthed his ideals and tried to prove as one, lost out to Chance. Recently credit rating of the US was downgraded and it is predicted that the nation will not so soon recover. The nation that made wealth as synonymous as success merely proved my point: the very strength that you make out as your god shall prove your weakness.
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Aesop Fables- The Fox and the Cock©
An intrepid fox braved the hazards of trekking through war, famine, drought and – you guessed it he was in the heart land of Africa and he reached where his great grandfather Dr. Livingstone Fox had lived and died. He came across a plump cock who squealed with pleasure to know the visitor was none other a scion of the great doctor. He said how revered the doctor was and also said he had composed a hymn in praise of his ancestor. He began to sing and using this opportunity the fox seized him and made off.
Unfortunately he was seen by villagers and they raised alarm. They said, ‘He has got our cock!’The fox opened his mouth to say, ‘Tell them you belong to me, Tell or better sing it!’
Meanwhile the cock flew off his jaws and sat on a tree and said, ‘I am theirs, Mr. Fox’
While he was being pelted by stones by some a few had let loose their dogs. Poor fox was almost harried to death and he heard the cock singing sweetly, ‘I knew your great grandfather. You must be Deadstone Fox.’
Poor Fox murmured, ‘Had I put money where my mouth was I would have been sitting to dinner by now’.
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