By Richard McCoy
Conventional notions of sacred kingship turned either extra grandiose and extra frustrating in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced via Henry VIII and his claims for royal supremacy and divine correct rule resulted in the suppression of the Mass, because the host and crucifix have been overshadowed by means of royal iconography and pageantry. those adjustments started a non secular controversy in England that may result in civil battle, regicide, recovery, and eventually revolution. Richard McCoy indicates that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic adjustments of country, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the belief of kingship and its symbolic and great energy. Their inventive representations of the crown show the eagerness and ambivalence with which the English seen their royal leaders. whereas those writers differed at the primary questions of the day -- Skelton used to be a staunch defender of the English monarchy and standard faith, Milton was once a thorough opponent of either, and Shakespeare and Marvell have been extra equivocal -- they shared an abiding fascination with the royal presence or, occasionally extra tellingly, the royal absence. starting from regicides genuine and imagined -- with the very actual specter of the slain King Charles I haunting the rustic like a revenant of the king's ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet -- from the royal sepulcher at Westminster Abbey to Peter Paul Reubens's Apotheosis of King James at Whitehall, and from the Elizabethan compromise to the wonderful Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the country, and the very concept of holiness. He finds how older notions of sacred kingship elevated throughout the political and spiritual crises that remodeled the English state, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered by way of this enlargement have confirmed so continual.
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Extra info for Alterations of State
Were] plucked up by the roots” (:) almost immediately after his death. McCoy_Ch1 4/10/02 3:42 PM Page 22 Whatever his beliefs about Henry’s intentions, Foxe pointedly declares “the Lord be praised for his most gracious reformation,” duly crediting the supreme being rather than royal supremacy or the succession of Edward VI for the fortunate reversal of Henry’s lapses in (:). 69 Royal supremacy drew much of its strength from older notions of sacred kingship as well as a persistent desire to locate the sacred somewhere.
15 Royal patrons generously endowed its monastery in order to ensure a perpetual offering of commemorative Masses for the repose of their souls. Henry VII’s will is almost obsessive in its provisions for vast numbers of Masses, requiring his executors to provide “ymmediatly after our decesse . . with al diligence and spede” for , to be said “within our said Monastery, our Citie of London, and other places next adjoinyng to the same, for the remission of our synnes, and the weale of our Soule .
In Skelton’s view, these depredations undermine the entire apparatus of traditional religion, harming the souls of those no longer able to help themselves. “How ye breke the dedes wylles,” Skelton exclaims, accusing those who “Turn monasterie into water mylles, [or]/Of an abbey . . make a graunge” (–) of prolonging the purgatorial miseries of the deceased. Skelton was a reformer resolutely committed to defending the inviolability of sacred space, ancient institutions, and the intercessory system.
Alterations of State by Richard McCoy