It was 1541, or perhaps a later hour,
When Francis Dereham was taken to London's famous Tower.
He'd been a naughty boy for Katherine Howard he had "known":
Not a clever thing to do with her husband on the throne.
Henry The Eighth was pretty cross and almost lost all reason
And said the Queen would have to go for having committed treason.
But proof was what was needed and it couldn't all be bought
So Dereham was arrested and his confession keenly sought.
He was taken to the torture room and tied upon the rack
And the creaking wheels were turned until they'd taken up the slack.
The rackmaster then smiled at him, a smile that wasn't sweet,
Then he took a goose's feather and tickled both his feet.
He burnt poor Dereham with heated irons and gouged out both his eyes
But no confession could he get, much to his surprise.
He turned the wheels some more, there was a tearing noise and then
Dereham who'd been five-feet-two was almost five-feet-ten.
But still they couldn't break the man, no matter what they tried,
Until it was the rackmaster who just broke down and cried.
Then Henry came along to see if confession time was near
And having heard the problem he whispered in Dereham's ear.
The young man listened quietly and then suddenly confessed
And the rackmaster stared and said, "Well now, I'll be blessed,"
"Your Highness, that was brilliant but just what did you say?"
"I said he could change places with you for one whole day."
the above work is copyright David Axton © All Rights Reserved