MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

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The Return of the King:

An Anthology of English Poems
Commemorating the Restoration
of Charles II

edited by

Gerald MacLean
Dept of English
Wayne State University

Table of Contents

1. Preface to the E-text edition

2. Acknowledgements

3. Introduction: Rationale, Scope, Organization, and Dating

4. Editorial Principles, Sigla, and Textual Abbreviations

5. The Poems: A Short-Title Calendar -- a list of the poems to be included arranged into chronological groups: this list effectively serves to indicate the groups into which the poems have been organized and the order in which they will be issued

6. The Poems: An Annotated Checklist based on Wing's Short Title Catalogue -- a full-title list of the poems to be included arranged alphabetically by author or title and providing bibliographical description

7. Works Cited including Abbreviations

Preface to the E-text Edition: June 1999

   Having begun this project while engaging in doctoral research more than twenty years ago at the University of Virginia, I am specially delighted that it should be appearing from the E-text Center at Alderman Library. It was amongst the Faulkner archives in Alderman that David Nordloh, of Indiana University, put me through my earliest editorial paces, teaching me more about editorial principles and practices than I could absorb at the time and certainly more than I can recall now. Any and all obvious errors of editorial conception or execution in this project are entirely my responsibility; anything I might have got right probably owes itself to David's training. And it was in Charlottesville that Ian Jack, visiting from Pembroke College, Cambridge, took valuable time away from his own work on the texts of Browning to encourage me in planning an anthology of Restoration panegyrics. With the arrival of the microchip, the years since then have witnessed a transformation in the methods, theories, and means of editorial work and the reproduction of texts on a scale surely even greater than that heralded by the arrival of moveable type. That this project, begun in discussions at lunch overlooking the Lawn and in the rare books reading room at Alderman, should finally emerge into the light of day in electronic form from the E-Text Center seems, to me, peculiarly appropriate. My thanks to Jerry McGann for suggesting it, and to David Seaman for listening.

   Even as I prepare the first sets of poems for electronic publication there are, the London news agencies would have us believe, millions of people for whom anticipating whether the current Prince of Wales will ever become Charles III is a matter of the utmost urgency. At the most general level, questions that were being asked back in 1659 and 1660 are once again on the agenda: should there be a monarchy? if so how, and over what or whom, does it rule? will Charles be suited for the job? what sort of king might he become? How will the poet laureate address the occasion? Beyond this very general level, of course, the issues at stake are very different, but not utterly or entirely. If supporters of monarchy living within the British Isles in 1660 were, and those living there now are, sufficient in number and political authority to put another king on the throne and keep him there, what can have happened to republicanism?

   For those of us disappointed by the eventual outcome of what, in 1967, 1968, and 1969, seemed like a "revolution" in progress, the question of how revolutions come to fail has often taken the form of asking how it can be that an assembly of representations -- what in the 1990s has come to be called "culture" -- can interfere with, and sometimes even direct, the course of economic and political history. How do cultural formations, such as pictures, songs, plays, new jargons, forms of dress and public behaviour achieve political agency, entering and transforming the ways life is lived, power acquired and displayed, wealth accumulated and distributed? What might the poetry, published back in 1660 to celebrate the Restoration of the Stuart dynasty to the thrones constituting Great Britain, tell us about how poetry does, sometimes, make things happen?

   In preparing the Introduction to this electronic edition, I have supplied only references to my own previous publications in support of the general claims being advanced. This is not simply the result of vanity but rather, I trust, a convenient way of indicating where more may be found concerning the drift of my argument or the historical and textual issues at hand, as well as particular citations to the primary and scholarly works on which I have relied. Since these essays have appeared over a twenty year period, certain discrepancies have arisen, but the references to scholarship in the field still prove useful and reliable. To the same ends I have prepared a list of Works Cited listing the scholarly resources that I have relied on while editing and annotating these poems: this will be updated from time to time while the groups of poems are being issued.

   While I plan to issue annotated sets of the poems listed in the Calendar as quickly as possible, delays are certain to occur. Meanwhile I hope that anyone interested in this project will contact me with suggestions or comments. I will be happy to consider requests for provisional copies of any of the listed poems. From June 1999 through August 2000 I am off-line from my e-mail address at Wayne State, but can be reached at: 12 Southcombe St, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8AY, England.


   Since starting work on this project in 1979, I have incurred more debts than I care to recall to scholars and friends who have supplied and checked facts of all sorts. I have attempted to acknowledge specific debts in the notes to individual poems.

   First, my special thanks to Jo Dulan and Mary Gillis who helped keyboard many of the texts, often from xeroxed copies that were frustrating to read.

   At one time or another, I know that the following have all helped with information, confirmed suspicions, or generously supported this project in some other intellectual, professional, or material way: Jack Armistead, Iain Boal, Martin Bernal, John Bidwell, George Bornstein, Leo Braudy, John Brewer, Carol Briggs, the late Irvin Ehrenpreis, David Evans, A. J. Flavell, Howard Erskine-Hill, David Greetham, George Guffey, Bridget Hill, Christopher Hill, Speed Hill, Elaine Hobby, Ian Jack, N. H. Keeble, Robert Kellogg, Arthur Kinney, Laura Knoppers, Del Kolve, David Loewenstein, Nancy Klein Maguire, Arthur Marotti, the late Jeremy Maule, Michael McKeon, David Norbrook, Max Novak, Jason McElligott, Jerry McGann, John J. Morrison, Annabel Patterson, Lois Potter, Joad Raymond, Alan Roper, Kevin Sharpe, Nigel Smith, Susan Staves, Sara Jayne Steen, Ernie Sullivan, Len Tennenhouse, David Underdown, Andrew Walkling, James Winn, and Steve Zwicker. I can only hope the end product lives up to their expectations. My thanks also to the innumerable friends who have listened to me talking about 1660 and the poetry written that year regardless of their interest: they know who they are. I would also like to thank the numerous reviewers -- sometimes known, sometimes anonymous -- who have supported and refereed my grant applications and the various articles that I have written about this project.

   Over the many years of working on it, librarians at a large number of institutions have been of incalculable helpfulness. My special thanks to Dr. Nicholas Bennett of Lincoln Cathedral Library; L. Brotherton of the Manchester Central Library; Dr. Christine Ferdinand, Librarian of Magdalen College, Oxford; John Field of Westminster School; B. E. Fowler, Clerk of Horsmonden Parish Council; Janet McMullin, Assistant Librarian of Christ Church College, Oxford; Roger Norris of Durham Cathedral Library; Joanna Parker, Librarian of Worcester College, Oxford; Dr. Michael Powell of Chetham's Library, Manchester; Paul Quarrie of Eton College Library; D. W. Riley of the John Rylands Library, Manchester; Alan Tadiello, Librarian of Balliol College, Oxford; P. W. Thomas of Exeter Cathedral Library; the late Paul Yeats-Edwards of Winchester College Library; Elizabeth Watson and Paul Escreet of Glasgow University Library. I have marvelled at their prompt, courteous and informative replies to my various enquiries. Without the generosity of John Morrison and others engaged in revising the Wing STC, this project might have been abandoned long ago.

   More generally, to all the librarians and members of staff who, since 1979, have worked at the Alderman Library at UVA, the Kresge and Purdey Libraries at Wayne State, the University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor, the Detroit Public Library, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, the Cambridge University Library, the Exeter University Library, Lambeth Palace Library, the John Rylands Library in Manchester, the National Library of Scotland, the Houghton Library at Harvard, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library UCLA, the Huntington Library, St. John's College Library, Cambridge, and the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge, my gratitude for courtesies remembered.

   Funds and other forms of institutional support have, at various stages, been generously provided by a number of bodies. Between 1979 and 1981, the Department of English at UVA first provided funds for me to collect photocopies of nearly every piece of verse in the Thomason Tracts, that was then becoming available on microfilm. The Purchasing Office at Alderman Library promptly bought copies of every new book that I recommeded. During those years, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, kindly supplied me with up to date reel guides to their publications of Early English Texts; I will never forget the exceptional generosity of the anonymous gift from someone at University Microfilms of a hard-bound photocopy of George Fortescue's Catalogue to the Thomason Tracts since I still use it regularly. In 1982, the Advisory Research Board of Queen's University at Kingston supplied funds for my first research trip to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library; the Ahmanson Foundation at UCLA supported my return there on several occasions. In 1983, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded early research trips to the British Library and the Bodleian Library. In 1989, a research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities enabled me to take a semester's leave from teaching to work in the Clark and Huntington Libararies. Since 1983, numerous grants and research fellowships awarded by the Dean of Liberal Arts and the Humanities Research Center of Wayne State University have enabled me to conduct research in numerous locations.

   To all, my thanks.

Preface to the E-text Edition: December 2000

   {add to current preface after acknowledgements}

   As I send off the second installment of these poems, those from December 1659 through April 1660, I am acutely aware of various omissions and errors in the work already online. These will be corrected in due course. Meanwhile, I continue to welcome suggestions, corrections, and advice. Please contact me at:

   Over the years of working on this project, I have been constantly aware of the innumerable scholars whose labors have made mine possible. Most especially has the figure of Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth haunted me, since he it was who first set about the only previous systematic attempt to collect and edit all the broadside ballads published on the Restoration in his serially-produced volumes of The Roxburghe Ballads. I know little of his life, but have spent many hours reading his commentaries and following up on his not always reliable, but usually fascinating, scholarly leads. I think if we were to have met, we would have found our views on the nineteenth century more alike than our views on the seventeenth, and the fantasy of such conversations has often haunted me as, for my collation sheets, I have pored over old ink on pages that he must have handled.

   Ebsworth would, I am sure, have been quick to understand the possibilities of electronic publication, and to have recognized the perils. He would, I am certain, have understood the strange feeling of returning to a seemingly endless editorial project after more than a year away. While preparing this second installment of poems, those representing the king printed during the period December 1659 through April 1660, I have thought of Ebsworth often because it was during these months that the broadsides were produced that he knew so much about. 1 With his ghost beside me and work before me, I offer the following supplement to my previous summary comments on the place of the broadside ballad in the formation of a poetic discourse of Restoration during 1660.

He did not, however, know of those now in the Euing collection at Glasgow University Library, edited in facsimile with an introduction by John Holloway in 1971.

The Roxburghe and Trunk Ballads

   Ebsworth's The Roxburghe Ballads, which appeared in nine volumes between 1871 and 1897, remains a monstrously ambitious task, the collection and editing of all the English street ballads published up to the end of the seventeenth century. For the most part, Ebsworth's volumes are internally organized according to specific collections, but also according to themes -- the Robin Hood ballads appear collected together, for example. But during the twenty-five years of his labors, Ebsworth necessarily had to reinvent the structure and scope of his project as new materials became available to him. He frequently became interested in sets of texts that distracted him from the task at hand. In the editorial idiom of his time, Ebsworth's volumes are a wonderland of addresses to the reader explaining why the editor is now turning aside to present some recent discoveries.

   For the most part, Ebsworth's textual transcriptons are unreliable by modern scholarly standards: he handles spelling, line length and punctuation with little regard for the original, and without any evident or systematic policy. But his volumes still provide the best repository of the materials collected. And, as is true of so much nineteenth-century antiquarian scholarship, his commentaries often remain useful as guides to further research. Indeed, if Ebsworth's texts belong to a period of editing when the idiosyncrasies of the editor were permitted free reign, his commentaries are sometimes not entirely reliable either, but they do provide lots of informed hints about where to go to find things out.

   Editing volumes seven, eight and nine of The Roxburghe Ballads, Ebsworth found himself excited by the ballads on the Restoration. He returned to the question of how poetry figured in the political settlement several times in these volumes, clearly eager to be able to offer a definitive account, but each time he looked, he discovered there were more ballads to include and each of them slightly altered the picture. While retracing many of Woodfall's steps in preparing my versions of the Restoration ballads, I have been unable to improve or even to verify his account of a set of broadsides from 1660 that were discovered during the nineteenth century, lining a leather trunk in the British Museum. Of these "trunk ballads," Ebsworth gives various accounts:

Many copies of contemporary ballads on the Restoration of the Monarchy, that were bought eagerly by loyal Cavaliers, must have been printed to meet a large demand, but their very popularity caused their speedy disappearance.
The broadsides were pasted upon walls in workshops and private houses. Some were used to line a new leather trunk, and thus came down to us, unique exemplars, marked with the impress and brown stains of the portmanteau, more or less mutilated. One is the `Noble Progress' of Monk, a distinct version of `Iter Boreale, the Second Part.' (Ebsworth, RB, 9:789)

   Earlier in the same volume, in a lengthy preface added as the work went to press, Ebsworth provided a fuller, more interesting account that allows us a good glimpse of the man's temperament and offers a spirited version of a view once traditional and popular:

The Restoration was a spontaneous outburst of joy, and needed no stimulus. Had it not been meant for a national welcome, in vain would have been all the caballing and underplotting, such as had marked abortive efforts of brave unpractised men, each one loyally sacrificing his life for the rightful heir's just cause; while every day matters grew worse. Oliver Cromwell himself became weary of the vain struggle with unworkable materials, in the main his own miscreations. "I would have been glad to have lived under my woodside, to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than undertake such a government as this! Let God be judge between you and me!" Thus he spoke to the House, 4 Feb. 1658. A few months later, during his last June, news came of the victory at Dunkirk. The protest against "The Domination of the Sword," telling how "Law lies a bleeding" was then sung to the tune of the original "Love lies a bleeding."
We next continue our reprint of the unique "Trunk Ballads," six in number, that, till 1841, had formed the lining of an old leathern portmanteau, made in London, at the time of the Coronation; one year after that glorious `Royal-Oak Day,' the twenty-ninth of May, the birthday of the welcomed King.
Thus it was: a frugal Cheapside trunk-maker counted the cost of holidays, with loss of private cash for purchase of the half-dozen Black-letter Ballads, of date May 29, 1660, to April 23, 1661. Groaning the immortal words, "Bang goes sixpence!" he atoned for his prodigality, by turning the broadsides into profit. He lined the trunk with them -- at that same date, April 23, 1661. Of course, he charged their extra cost on the Loyal Cavalier who was then returning to his own home, at Wallington, in Northumberland; bearing a limp purse indeed, but with pleasant memories of the `Little Village on Thames.' (To none is it equal, not even Vienna the hospitable, or Lutetia, the city of delights, whereunto "all good Americans go when they die," but earlier if possible.) So he went back to his happy home, taking a wife with him, a recollection of the King's gracious smile, the beauty of Barbara Palmer, and the satisfaction of having seen ten Regicides executed coram populo.
Thus the `Trunk Ballads' became heirlooms for posterity. (Ebsworth, RB, 9:xxxv).

   Thus it may, indeed, have been. Ebsworth understood the ballads of the Restoration better than many have done since, if only because he clearly felt himself to be living in such immediate contact with the events of the seventeenth century that he found it unthinkable not to take sides. I have been unable to track the accuracy of Woodfall's tale about the owner of the trunk, but offer it here as the fruit of a learned man's historically informed fantasy. Some of Ebsworth's details, however, seem to be misinformed. Giles Mandelbrote, Curator of British Collections, 1501-1800, at the British Library has kindly examined the ballads and reports:

None of the six ballads is stamped, which would provide a definitive accession date, but Ebworth's date of 1841 seems unlikely. It seems much more likely that the "trunk ballads" are to be identified with the "six ballads of the time of Charles II" presented to the British Museum on 9 February 1828 by W. C. Trevelyan and recorded in the Museum's Book of Presents. This is confirmed by the manuscript note still bound in with the album (shelfmark 835.m.10) from which these ballads were later removed in about 1940, when a separate volume (shelfmark C.120.h.4) was created for them. This note, signed by W. C. Trevelyan, records that "The following six Ballads of the time of Charles 2d. [were] found in the lining of an old Trunk." ... As you will have noticed, all these references mention only six ballads. This confirms your suspicion that the seventh item in the volume, An Elegy on the Death of his Sacred Majesty King Charles II, has come from a different source. ... I can shed no light on Ebsworth's source for the 1661 date or the other details he gives, but -- although they may have been embroidered -- I would doubt that they are entirely made up and I remain rather curious about this.2

   At the present writing (December 2000), the "trunk ballads" are being removed from their more recent backing for improved long-term preservation and so that the decorated verso of the sheets, which presumably formed the inner lining of the trunk, can be more easily studied.

   In order to keep the textual evidence of these broadsides together, as it were, I have included each of the ballads, even though two of them, being anti-Rump satires, would strictly fall outside the scope of the present anthology.

Giles Mandelbrote to the editor, personal letter, 4 July 1999.

The Restoration Ballads

   The ballads included in this anthology most typically offer imaginary and imaginative accounts of just how much the people wanted the king to come back, and in doing so show a clear sense of the Fleet Street principle of telling readers what they already believe themselves to think is true. Aimed at a broad audience, broadsides and ballads exemplify this principle perhaps more immediately than some of the longer, more formal verses since they were quicker to be composed and so begin by appearing to report on current affairs more immediately. Yet in common with more formal panegyrics, ballads share a generally obvious set of thematic contents and perspectives that recur throughout the year. They show considerable concern for how the king's return will effect economic, juridicial, political, social, and ecclesiastical conditions. The Restoration ballads often adopt localized and interest-specific perspectives, that of London merchants, mariners, or the gentry living in the countryside, yet are surprisingly vague on questions of what constitutes a national identity, often speaking in general of England, but advocating a generalized notion of loyalty and only seldom specifying differences between England and Scotland. Ballads emphasize how the return of the king will be good for trade, bringing about a return of justice, of traditional Parliamentary government, and of the Anglican Church. Several claim that the king's return promises to make England, or Britain, a world power; some advocate aggressive policies towards foreign nations, one recommends conciliation with Spain.

   In formal terms, the ballads share a number of common verse patterns since they were written for the most part to familiar tunes. The most popular, for obvious reasons, was "When the King Enjoys his own again," by Martin Parker which had first been published in 1641 and then reissued in several printings during 1660. Several ballads from 1660 re-used this tune to arrange their verse and rhyme schemes, and often borrowed the initial trope of prophetic vision to imagine and set an agenda for the future.

   In such ways, ballads combined both prescriptive and descriptive tendencies. Some ballads favoured prescription, anticipating the effects of Restoration in order to instruct the new king: punish the regicides, improve trade, establish an empire, bring back true religion, justice, plenty, and low taxes. Other ballads favoured description and narrative, offering detailed and seemingly factual reports of Charles's return. Such works often provide lists of names, places, and incidents in order to suggest that they are offering reliable accounts, sometimes even eye-witness information. Some provide detailed chronicle accounts of a single day or brief period, invariably mixing narrative with interpretation, detailing what the events in question mean for the future. The escape from Worcester continued to provide a favorite starting point for descriptive narratives of this sort throughout the year.

   Though popular in appeal, ballads often describe the contemporary scene by allusions to biblical and classical history. This suggests a certain degree of sophisticated literacy could to be expected among readers. Issued soon after the dissolution of the Rump, An Exit to Exit Tyrannus and The King Advancing both evoke images from the Bible and from Greek myth of primal rebellions against divine authority to celebrate Charles's victory against the ungodly, dark, and chthonic forces that are now in retreat. In The King Advancing, the ghost of the martyred king, Charles I, calls upon his son to exact a just revenge against the rebels and imagines their defeat in learned terms:

Fell Titan's son's and bold Enceladus
In the Tinacrean Earth their bones are thrown
Whose hundred Anvils made all Ætna groan. (lines 79-82)

   Other forms of literary expertise were expected by the writers and readers of Restoration ballads. The Country mans Vive le Roy of early May echoes Sir John Suckling's celebrated "Ballad on a Wedding."

   Given their close relation to circumstantial events, the ballads collected in this anthology fall into three general chronological phases; those written in anticipation of the king's return, those written about the return as it was taking place, those that appear after the king had returned. Ballads of the early months that were published in hope of return are variously optative, bombastic, and sometimes cryptic. They employ typology, anagrams, and prophecies to substitute for actual developments and events. Ballads published after the fact, but describing specific events of January to May, share a journalistic emphasis on authenticating details; some are openly reportorial, chronicling the return by detailing places, events, and names. They emphasize how the king's return marks an end of previous bad government under the Rump, while offering threats and warnings to those who had recently opposed the king.

   Early in the year, broadsides were commonly printed anonynmously, sometimes with contentious and spurious printer's colophons. "Printed for Charles King" appears fairly regularly during the early months on pamphlets and small books as well as broadsides. Ballads were frequently reissued in pirated editions. One example: Anthony Woods dated his copy of the ballad Upon the Kings Most Excellent Majesty in February, but only a few weeks later, on 16 March, Thomason recorded a reissue of the same ballad under the title News from the Royal Exchange. This ballad uses cryptic anagrams and acrostics to predict the certainty of the Restoration. The first version appeared under the irregular imprimatur "Printed for Theodorus Microcosmus 1660," while the later version more confidently announced "London, Printed for Charles King. 1660."

   In May, once the king's return was certain, ballads published in anticipation of the event typically offered a mix of prescriptive commentary and detailed, journalistic reporting. They focused on what would happen now that the king's return was certain, emphasizing the wonders of the newly dawning age and the errors of the recent past. Several ballads printed during May reported the king's arrival on English soil in the form of progress narratives that provide detailed descriptions from Charles's arrival at Dover to his entry into London and first nights in the capital. Once the king was actually back, ballads began to take a longer view, placing recent events within a broader historical narrative that situates the king's return as the fulfilment of providentially organized past events. Often the period of Charles's absence is represented as a time when the English nation was punished for past sins. In such narratives, the retelling of events after the battle of Worcester continues to mark a common starting point in works that detail the period of the king's exile. But we will also find ballads offering retrospective glances as far back as 1641, especially when calling for punishment of the regicides.