The leader of the Peasants’ Revolt proclaims his gospel to Oswald, once and future King.
1. Three things: firstly, and no offence; never trust a King. That was our downfall, the idiotic peasant conceit that a divine right tyrant propped up by a cabal of mammonite murderers could ever rule with the interests of his people at heart. ‘King Richard and the true commons’ my arse: 2. We frittered our rage on his circle, Gaunt and Sudbury, Walworth and Hales, named them hoodwinkers and deceivers, drippers of poison into the sainted royal ears; 3. But he was always one of them: if not of their class, of their interest; a purpled pisser into their plutocrat pisspot. 4. Secondly, when the kingdom is restless like the turbulent North Sea, ride the tumult of the people like a spratoon on the storm-tide; knowing when to paddle and when to spear, when to launch aloft in defiance of the breakers, where to find flat water for rest and respite before braving the squall again. 5. The chance came at Mile End; I should have slaughtered them all and stuck the boy’s head on a pole; but, already light-headed on the revell, we allowed our egos to be flattered and fell for the kid-King’s flim-flam. 6. He turned the rebellion, sent us settling scores and butchering flemings: 7. Divert, divide— and rule. And while we cavorted in our world upside down, his apple-cheeked majesty breathed counter-revolution with Walworth. 8. Which brings me to the third thing: let not the assurance of even a thirty thousand strong militia serve to turn your head or cause you to drop your guard. 9. Yeasted on success, my arrogance blinded me to the masters’ malice and my own vulnerability and I swaggered before them like a drunken churl. I paid with my life and the jubilee of the commons. 10. And yet there is a fourth thing: pray for the intercession of Ball: 11. His spirit is the strength of England, for he will fire the fieldfolk and seek to destroy those who live on their labour without themselves working: 12. Baron and banker, lawyer and lord, cleric and king. 13. From Eden were all men created alike, according to God’s will and in His image; and the bondage of the many comes from the arrogance and grasping of the few: 14. Which is murder and breaking of brotherhood, the brand of Cain. 15. Sainted King Oswald, heed well my lesson. When your moment arrives, seize it: lead the fyrd of your people to the palace of Westminster and hesitate not to treat it with fire; 16. And doubt not that your people, should you ever oppress them or lead them astray, will turn upon your Northumbrian tower, with springole and trebuchet, block, scaffold and hatchet.