Heaven is high; the earth is deep; a king's heart is unsearchable.
A SHABBY AND GOUTY EMPEROR, a mercurial and disintegrating king of France, a broken titan of England, sick of body and melancholic of mind, and a septuagenarian pope who suffered from a "flux of blood" and a weak stomach: the leaders of Christendom were indeed a scruffy lot. Sickness hung over them like a cold fog through which good health shone with increasing rarity. Methodically the Emperor Charles had kept a calendar of his gout-- eleven attacks in sixteen years--but by 1544 anxiety and gluttony had made a travesty of the documentation; the pain had become so frequent that he gave up recording it. Nothing, however, could curb his appetite. He knew that live oysters, pickled eels, spiced Spanish sausages and German ale would be the death of him, but he could not stop, and in desperation his physicians cried out that "kings must think that their stomachs are not made like other men's." In later life matters became even more desperate, for a cleft lip made chewing difficult and the Emperor preferred to wash down his food with great draughts of Rhenish wine. Overindulgence was not without the sharp reminder of conscience. All the world knew that the lash of gout was administered by God to punish the rich and mighty, and Charles, like his "good uncle" of England, was wont to listen to that inner voice which ordered him "in no event and for nothing in the world" to "act against duty and conscience." 1
Of the three sovereigns, the worn and unassuming Charles, who had lived as many years as the century and had perambulated the length
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Publication information: Book title: Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty. Contributors: Lacey Baldwin Smith - Author. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1971. Page number: 188.
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