‘His carcas throwne into a carre, and his hed in a cloth, he was brought into the chappell within the Tower, wher the ladye Jane, whose lodging was in Partrige’s house, dyd see his ded carcase taken out of the cart, as well as she dyd see him before on lyve going to his deathe – a sight to hir no lesse than death.
By this tyme was ther a scaffold made upon the grene over against the White tower, for the said lady Jane to die apon… The saide lady, being nothing at all abashed, neither with feare of her owne deathe, which then approached, neither with the sight of the ded carcase of hir husbande, when he was brought in to the chappell, came fourthe, the levetenaunt leading hir, in the same gown wherin she was arrayned, hir countenance nothing abashed, neither hir eyes anything moisted with tears, although her ij gentylwomen, mistress Elizabeth Tylney and mistress Eleyn, wonderfully wept, with a boke in hir hande, wheron she praied all the way till she cam to the said scaffold (see Question 8 for details of Jane’s execution).
Just before lunchtime on 17 May 1824, a group of literary men gathered in the drawing room of John Murray’s publishing house at 50 Albermarle Street. They nearly came to blows as they argued over the unpublished memoirs of a recently dead poet.
Sexually voracious, the poet had led a scandalous life. Choirboys, chambermaids, wives, half-sisters… he had rogered them all without distinction. His memoirs were certain to become a huge best-seller if ever they were published.
But the money could only be made at the cost of great pain to the poet’s widow and daughter, not to mention his half-sister. Common decency suggested that the manuscript should be torn up instead and burned page by page on the drawing room fire.
Tom Moore, the poet’s literary executor, wasn’t happy about the destruction of the manuscript. He was overruled by John Murray and the memoirs were duly burned.
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 81. Adultery, sodomy, incest. The poet’s sexual appetite had known no bounds. Who was he?