Mark twain the prince and the pauper




By Mark Twain


I will set down a tale as it was told to me by one who had it of
His father, which latter had it of his father, this last having in
Like manner had it of his father – and so on, back and still back,
Three hundred years and more, the fathers transmitting it to the
Sons and so preserving it. It may be history, it may be only legend, a
Tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened: but it
Could have happened. It may be that the wise and the learned
Believed it in the old days; it may be that only the unlearned and the
Simple loved it and credited it.

Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, to Lord Cromwell, on the
Birth of the Prince of Wales (afterward Edward VI).

[From the National Manuscripts preserved by the British

Ryght honorable, Salutem in Christo Jesu, and Syr here ys no lesse
Joynge and rejossynge in thes partees for the byrth of our prynce,
Hoom we hungurde for so longe, then ther was (I trow), inter vicinos
Att the byrth of S. I. Baptyste, as thys berer, Master Erance, can
Telle you. Gode gyffe us alle grace, to yelde dew thankes to our Lorde
Gode, Gode of Inglonde, for verely He hathe shoyd Hym selff Gode of
Inglond, or rather an Inglyssh Gode, yf we consydyr and pondyr welle
Alle Hys procedynges with us from tyme to tyme. He hath overcumme alle
Our yllness with Hys excedynge goodnesse, so that we ar now moor
Then compelled to serve Hym, seke Hys glory, promott Hys wurde, yf the
Devylle of alle Devylles be natt in us. We have now the stoppe of
Vayne trustes ande the stey of vayne expectations; lett us alle pray
For hys preservation. And I for my partt wylle wyssh that hys Grace
Allways have, and evyn now from the begynynge, Governares,

/> Instructores and offyceres of ryght jugmente, ne optimum ingenium
Non optima educatione depravetur.

Butt whatt a grett fowlle am I! So, whatt devotione shoyth many
Tymys butt lytelle dyscretione! Ande thus the Gode of Inglonde be ever
With you in alle your procedynges.

The 19 of October.

Yours H. L. b. of Wurcestere, now att Hartlebury.

Yf you wolde excytt thys berere to be moore hartye ayen the
Abuse of ymagry or mor forwarde to promotte the veryte, ytt myght
Doo goode. Natt that ytt came of me butt of your selffe, & c.

The quality of mercy…

Is twice bless’d;

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown.



The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper

IN the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the
Second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor
Family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On the same day
Another English child was born to a rich family of the name of
Tudor, who did want him. All England wanted him too. England had so
Longed for him, and hoped for him, and prayed God for him, that, now
That he was really come, the people went nearly mad for joy. Mere
Acquaintances hugged and kissed each other and cried. Everybody took a
Holiday, and high and low, rich and poor, feasted and danced and sang,
And got very mellow; and they kept this up for days and nights
Together. By day, London was a sight to see, with gay banners waving

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