Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England (Sonnet Redoubled)

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England I

Born Catalina, regal child of Spain,
to two joint sovereigns of great renown,
she’d study various subjects and would train
in household arts where she could hold her own.
Her father Ferdinand by stroke of fate
inherited the crown of Aragon.
Her mother Isabel, an equal mate,
was ruling queen of Castile and Leon.
This union started Spanish unity.
Iberian Moors and Jews were then expelled.
Columbus sailed to famed discovery.
The empire burgeoned while its coffers swelled.
But Spain was never meant for Catherine.
She was destined to be the English queen.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England II

She was destined to be the English queen.
A treaty signed when she was only three
pledged the infanta to the Englishmen:
to wed Prince Arthur, heir and king-to-be.
Stuck four days in Corunna, weather struck;
the ships were damaged badly, one was lost.
Repairs for six weeks: what a stressful luck!
They sailed for three months to the British coast.
And now the English people were rejoiced.
The quay was teeming when they were to land.
The church bells chimed; felicities were voiced
by locals and by foreigners on hand.
The people loved the princess out of Spain.
All England cheered the prospect of her reign.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England III

All England cheered the prospect of her reign. 
She traveled through the English countryside.
A Negro trumpeter among her train 
announced her presence, quite a novel ride.
To Dogmersfield King Henry VII went
to see the princess earlier than he should.
So did Prince Arthur; everybody spent
the night in dancing, all in festive mood.
In London, trumpet blares and cannon booms
marked royally the couple’s wedding day.
The king dispatched to Wales both groom and groom’s 
enchanting bride — the people’s hearts to sway.
The princess stirred and charmed, whenever seen,
that strange new land she reached at age fifteen.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸


Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England IV
That strange new land she reached at age fifteen
was suddenly transformed from joy to gloom.
A sweating sickness fell upon the scene
and took the Prince of Wales in youthful bloom.
The princess too was ailed but she survived.
Her illness kept her bound to bed for weeks.
With special care she later on revived,
The rosy hue refound upon her cheeks.
Her marriage ended in a luckless lurch,
a teenage widow left without a child.
She was so true to God and to the church:
why was she now deprived as though exiled?
The king would marry her, which Spain denied.
First Arthur’s, she became his brother’s bride.
*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸
Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England V
First Arthur’s, she became his brother’s bride.
But first a papal bull should be secured.
“A man”, a canon law specified,
“can’t wed his brother’s widow” — in a word.
It was argued that Catherine remained
a virgin through her marriage, quickly ceased.
This meant it was not valid; she retained
the right to marry Henry, this was stressed.
The pope’s decision was favorable;
She was now free to be young Henry’s wife.
Till then her household stayed miserable
with not enough funds in support of life.
Old Henry journeyed to the Great Unknown.
Young Henry just ascended to the throne
.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VI

Young Henry just ascended to the throne.
Reforms enacted made him most revered.
He freed the jailed; officials of his own
replaced the ones whom folks abhorred and feared.
His father left a hefty treasury.
The gifted son had varied interests:
Sports, music, writing, arts and industry. 
The English navy bloomed and faced its tests.
It was their happy time of married life:
A dozen years or so of mutual love.
The king was as religious as his wife;
Their partnership seemed blessed by God above.
Her royal pedigree was Europe-wide.
The Tudors’ right to rule solidified.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VIIThe Tudors’ right to rule solidified,
Helped to a great extent by Catherine.
She was blue-blooded through and through beside
Her skills and virtues, fitting for a queen.
She even acted as ambassador 
Of Spain to England — five successful years.
Each winter she provided for the poor:
Clothes, fuel, money, food and goodly cheers.
To her the king confided, at the start.
There was no sign of any stress or threat.
He proudly jousted as Sir Loyal Heart:
He wore her scarf, his trophies at her feet.
The queen herself had claim upon the throne
Through her superior bloodline, little known.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VIII

Through her superior bloodline, widely known,
Queen Catherine had royal English root.

From John of Gaunt she came down, on her own,
through two unquestioned royal lines to boot.
Her offspring then would have a solid lock
upon the English throne by right of birth.
Thus when a son was born, the land would rock
with celebrations, full of joy and mirth.
Alas, the Prince of Wales was not destined
to bring about a lasting happiness.
Child Henry died ere two months passed, unsinned:
a brief bliss, then an era of distress.
That she was luckless couldn’t be so true.
She gave birth to six children, quite a few.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England IXShe gave birth to six children, quite a few. 
On her third pregnancy, King Henry sailed

to fight a war in France; and to pursue
his claim upon the French throne, but he failed.
He won some battles though and thereby seized
some cities — thus regaining English pride.
But while away French allied Scotsmen squeezed
upon the border, movement quickly spied.
The queen was left as regent, so as head
she readied England for the looming fight.
At Flodden Field, the Earl of Surrey led
the English troops and put the Scots to flight.
With her six children, Tudor blood should thrive.
But three sons died, a daughter would survive.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England X

But three sons died, a daughter would survive.
That could well serve as fitting epithet
for Catherine whom Fate would soon deprive
of happiness despite her queenly feat.
To further establish the Tudor line,
The king was greatly anxious for a son.
Though rival claims had ceased or in decline,
New trouble might erupt if he were gone.
The king began to treat her dismally;
with people though, she kept her love affair.
The queen engrossed herself with charity
and raising daughter Mary as an heir.
For all her worth, she didn’t get her due.
The king diminished her in public view.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ 

 

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XI

The king diminished her in public view
but Catherine remained quite popular.
He sought a male heir (with somebody new)
as to avert another civil war.
Since England never had a ruling queen,
so Mary’s prospect was a risky thing.
He asked annulment but then Catherine
rejected such proposal by the king.
His envoys now scoured Europe for support,
the pope’s assent most crucial to obtain.
And then the queen was banished from the court,
her old rooms occupied by Anne Boleyn.
‘Twas sad how so low would her fortunes dive.
But she behaved quite queenly while alive.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XII

But she behaved quite queenly while alive
though fate and fortune shook her up and down.
In gracious times her queenly traits would thrive;
the bad times showed that she deserved her crown.
The people faithfully supported her
(while Anne Boleyn was vilified and mocked).
When riding out, the crowds would wildly cheer
that left the king and privy council shocked.
“Inciting to rebellion!” she was warned
with threats to move from London and her child.
The king had willed, the people’s wish be darned,
to void their tie through forceful means or mild.
She wouldn’t give up for material gain.
One final painful blow would yet remain.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XIII

One final painful blow would yet remain.
She couldn’t just renounce her legal right

and that of Mary — oh, the mother’s pain!
Her means constricted, she pursued the fight.
Those siding with the king received rewards:
appointments, money and the monarch’s grace.
Those siding with the queen soon afterwards
were jailed, dismissed or barred to see her face.
The king’s “great matter” reached its peak at home
when Anne got pregnant, an affair of state.
The Church of England broke away from Rome
so that the child be born legitimate.
But ere the break,a secret wedded twain:
The king in secret married Anne Boleyn
.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XIV

The king in secret married Anne Boleyn,
his powers soon would span religion’s scope.
And thus began Britannia’s willful reign
that answered to no overlord nor pope.
But Catherine was just as quick and tough:
she’d writ both pope and holy emperor
that no war should be waged on her behalf.
She wrote not after schism — but before!
Her health declined with her diminished lot:
she’d moved to lesser castles, seldom seen.
Though she was buried in an abby plot,
the people still regarded her as queen.
The height of queenliness she did attain.
Born Catalina, regal child of Spain.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

 Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XV
Born Catalina, regal child of Spain,
She was destined to be the English queen.
All England cheered the prospect of her reign.
That strange new land she reached at age fifteen
First Arthur’s, she became his brother’s bride.
Young Henry just ascended to the throne.
The Tudors’ right to rule solidified,
Through her superior bloodline, widely known,
She gave birth to six children, quite a few.
But three sons died, ONE daughter would survive.
The king diminished her in public view
But she behaved quite queenly while alive
One final painful blow would yet remain.
The king in secret married Anne Boleyn.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

(c) Lawrence R. Eberhart and Jose M. Rizal Reyes -November 2013

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