“DEAR reader! you are about to take part in perhaps the greatest tragedy of an age that wrote Hamlet and Macbeth. Greater even than the writer’s part will be yours, the reader’s and hearer’s part. Only your hearing ear and your seeing eye will bring the tragedy to its own. But your seeing eye and hearing ear must first recognise that a greater than Hamlet or Macbeth is here. They are but splendid fiction. But the tragedy of the first and only Cardinal to receive the martyr’s crown is as real as the Yorkshire moors where John Fisher was born, or as Tower Hill where the Cardinal Bishop of Rochester was beheaded. Do not expect anything melodramatic or miraculous in this tragedy of tragedies: all on the hero’s side is as sober in colouring as the heather on a Yorkshire moor. All is as normal as the steadiness of the hills or the falling of flakes of snow.
Search as you may in the plain tale of this Yorkshireman who was spokesman of England’s faith and chivalry, you will find no gesture, no stir, no noise, but only a humble self-distrusting quest of the best. But, dear reader, in this outwardly emotionless love of God and men to see a tragedy beyond all telling or seeing will call from you the best of your mind and heart.”
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