MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
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John Selden
verses in The Royal Chronicle, p. 4
12 July

   Titlepage: THE / Royal Chronicle: / Wherein is contained, / An Historical Narration of His Majesties Royal Progress; The / Princely Cabinet laid open, with an Embleme to Great Britain; / The Peoples Diadem, proceeding from the Ornament / and Crown of their gracious Lord and Soveraign; The / incomparable Studies of His Majesty in the Governement of / Kings, to the admiration of all forreign Princes; and His / Majesties Liege People within these His Realms and Dominions; / His great Endowments and Experience, in Religion, Law, and / Governments; His Mercy rejoycing over Justice, and his Justice / cutting out work for his Mercy; His gracious Pardon to / Offenders, and His Christian Speech to the London Ministers. / [line] / C [DESIGN] R / [line] / LONDON, Printed for G. Horton, living near the three / Crowns in Barbican. 1660.

    The following verses are attributed to Selden in the text.

    IF Violence and Time had conspired to wear out all the Memorials of former Ages, give me leave to present you with a brief (but pleasant) Chronicle to all Posterity, of his Royal Majesties Birth; Education, and Progress; And should modern worth be blotted out of all Records, a restored Charles sufficeth, in whom the forlorn Vertue of our worst of Times took sanctutary: 'Tis his Soveraign Graces, that delights the Soules of his loyal Subjects: And we need not wonder, that Nature was 5 years meditating on the great piece that was to result from such a Royal Conflux, both of Father and Mother; in whose Bed all the Royal Families of Europe met; in his Father there was by his great Grandmother the wife of James the Fourth Brittish Majesty; by his Grandfather he shared of the Saxon Royalty, by his Mother of the Danish, by his Father of the Norman, by his Sister he was allied to the Elector Palatine; as he was related to Denmark, so he was to Sweden and Poland, and to most of the German or Italian Princes; in our Soveraigns Mother there lodgeth all that's Soveraign in the Bourbons of France, the Austrians of Spain, the Medices of Florence, (so true is it that God made all Nations of one blood.) It was after five years mutual enjoyment of each other Charles the first King of England, & c. and Mary Daughter to a great and Sister to a just King of France received this Son, the sacred pledge to them of Heavens, and each others Love. For He was born the 29 Day of May, 1630. St. Augustines birth-day, where we may hope this Nursing Father of our Church will with his sword which He bears not in vain, prove as great a Defender of the faith once delivered to the Saints, as the other Holy Father did with his pen, and we made as happy in this Crown and Scepter, as the Ancient Church was in thae Miter and Crosier. May never knew a more hopeful Flower then this that happily sprung up from the Roses of York and Lancaster joyned to the Lillies of France; a flower to whose composure it seems Nature summoned its divided glories, as Ziuxis did his several Beauties to make up one Venus; well this May was then thought most happy until now, we have lived to see another May, as much more happy, as it is to be brought to a Kingdom then to be brought to the world, to be received as a Prince into the discreet embraces of Nations, then as a Child into the fond Embraces of a Nurse; to be crowned then to be cradled: Great was the remark of this Royal Infant through each tender Line, relating to so worthy a Prince, as is fit to be consecrated to Solemnities worthy a Chronicle. The Heavens seemed to congratulate his royal birth, a Star appearing at mid-day over St. James, displaying its modest beams in spight of Sun-shine in the middle of the Air, (an embleme of his future glory,) Thus did the Heavens express themselves in miracles and wonders; and it is our duty to admire them, as the works of the Lord, and therefore wonderful in our eyes: Yet the great Selden attempted to interpret that Star thus:

When to Pauls Cross the greatful King drew near?
A shining Star did in the Heavens appear,
Thou that consult'st with Divine Mysteries,
Tell me what this bright Comet signifies?
Now is there born a valiant Prince it'h West,
That shall eclipse the Kindgoms of the East.

    The King our Soveraigns Father being sensible that Children to any man especially to a Prince are an inheritance from the Lord, went solemnly to St. Pauls, (once a Cathedral, since a stable; once a Church to entertain Christ in, since a Manger for Rebels to revel in) and there acknowledged with the Emperour Antoninus in St. Pauls phrase, that by God, and through God, and therfore to Him, and the glory of his praise are all things.

    This Bud of Majesty was committed to the care of the honorable Contess of Dorset, to be by her tender hands, and softer care cherished to grow up a Soveraign, where He sucked graces in with milk, and vertues as early as nourishment; as appears by the most incomparable gifts and graces where with God hath bin pleased to endow his Majesty. To pass by his outward Man, comelier, and with Saul higher then all the people, so that there is none like him among all the people; so exactly formed, that with Absalon from the Crown of his head to the soul of his foot the most curious eye could not discern an error or a spot; the pleasing severity and soft rigorousness of that face which is both Majestick and beautiful, solemn and comely; though of late he is grown leaner with cares and age; the dark and night complexion of his face, and the twin-stars of his quick and sharp eyes sparkling in that night; He is most beautiful when he speaks, his black shining Locks naturally curled into great Rings hath hither to been his Ornament and Crown; his motions easie and graceful, and plainly Majestick! & c. I say to pass by these lower worths of neat shaped dust and well framed earth, come we to his Mind which is indeed himself; which you may guess noble by that body wherein it dwels, such Cabinets were made onely for the most precious Jewel: the pleasing parts and motions of that body are emblems of his mind; beauty, comeliness, proportion, & c. the gross Ornaments of the body, are so many refined vertues in his soul: 1. His vast Understanding, as spreading, and as wide as the things to be understood; three Nations put limits to his power, its the world onely that confines his thoughts. His Majesty understands Spanish and Italian, writes French correctly; the French, Italian, Spaniards, (like those Parthians, Medes, and Elamites in the Acts) are amazed to hear Him, replying to each of them in their own tongue wherein they were born. In these several Languages he peruseth such parts of knowledge as may compleat a Soveraign: Logick seems to be his Nature as well as Reason, He cannot speak inconsequently. He hath read divers of the choicest pieces of policy, & gathered the scattered wisdom and reason that run through Politicians writings and actions in his own breast, and there digested them into axiomes of an entire and well framed policy; to policy He that added ancient and modern History; whereupon he seeth those thing performed, that He saw in policy contrived. When we have admired the gracious contents of any of His Majesties Writings, we cannot but admire also his excellent Rhetorick.

    1. His Majesty being naturally averse from that lawless power he saw exercised in the Countryes where he sojourned; and resolved to Govern by Laws; he proceeds to study the Law of Nations, and that of his own Countrey too; wherein his Father so excelled, that few Gentlemen in England came near him; his skil in Georgraphy, what with his study, what with his Travels is admitable: Indeed the useful parts of the Mathematicks, the Globe, Fortification, & c. take him up very much, in Navigation, what by his own Genius, what by converse with Marinners, and his own Observations in the Downes, and elsewhere, he is so good a Proficient, that expert Seamen have admired him, and dare promise, that his skil that way will be no small advantage to the Nation, whose Interest lyes in forraign Voyages and Trades; But Divinity is his Mistress, with whose wholesome principles he hath well stocked the great spirit of his mind, upon which this Soul may rest; he searches that word of God which is able to made a man wise to salvation, and perfect to every good work, in a word, he hath all the advantages of knowledge. 1. A cleer apprehension to receive a right and distinct notion of the things represented to him. 2. Solidity of Judgement to weigh the particulars he apprehends. 3. Fidelity of Retention; for as Nature hath given to the bodies of men for the furtherance of Corporal strength, a Retentive power to clasp and hold fast that which preserveth it, until a thorough concoction be wrought, so he hath a Retentive faculty of Memory given to Reason as a means to consolidate and inrich it.

    2. His great wisdome, as of an Angel of God, as large a heart to know good and evil, as great education, the difference of Nation and Factions he had to deal with, his Enemies opposition, his Friends treachery, his personal converse with men of all sorts, the variety of his experience from the distinct knowledge of the Natures of the People of several Countreys of their chief Ministers of State Ecclesiastick and Civil, and all this as a noble Pen observes in adversity, which opens the undersanding; and confirms the judgement, could make; he with his Grand-father of France carriet a Councel with him upon one Horse.

    3. But this wisdome were dangerous, were it not accompanied with justice, his wisdom is not a crafty or sordid subtilty, nor devilish policie; but pure, good, and just Judgement: He hath a Justice that becomes the Throne, a constant will to give every Man his due, as he hath well or ill deserved: A person of Honour who hath spent 18 years in his Majesties Court and service, doth upon distinct knowledge let the World know he can as confidently believe that his Marjesty is just as that he is a Man; he observes a Justice in his word, and in his action, the one is an Oracle, and the other Law.

    4. But he hath a mercy that rejoyceth over his Justice, a mercy claculated for our time and Nation, wherein Subjects were never so obnoxious to Justice, nor a Prince so enclined to mercy; a People was hardly every so guilty as we, and hardly a Prince ever so gracious as himself; we are not more ready to offend then he to pardon; with what tender Majesty doth he pass by the guilty prostrate? his Justice [letters unintel]h but cut out work for his Mercy! what stubborn Offenders that brings upon their knees, this stoops to bring them up again; they that fall by his severity, rise up again by his favour; he is more compassionate to Men then they are to themselves: It is but the least part of his mercy that he can be merciful to others while they are most cruel to him; he is exercising the highest charity towards them, while they are exercising the greatest injuries towards him; this Nature taught him, then God, and afterwards his Father, in that incomparable advice to him.

    5. A general goodness, (whereof that mercy is but a branch) familiar converse, easiness of access, a readiness to communicate himself, his fair carriage towards all, how unwilling he is to force men to do him right, how (when he who rears not to do others justice) afraid is he to do it to himself? I know not whether he be more good then great, more Charlebone then Charlemaine; I am sure his virtues are esteemed by him more then his Kingdome, and he doth not exercise these vertues (as malice, as Hell once suggested) that he might dissemble himelf to his, just Right; but he would obtain his Right that he might be the more able to exercise his vertues; his Right will therefore please him, because then he is able to forgive them that did him wrong.

    6. His magnanimity, fortitude, and courage; he is as magnanimous in suffering wrong, as he is valiant in attempting to recover his Right; his Innocence being guilty of nothine, is afraid of nothing, the Righteous is as bold as a Lyon, fearing no Enemy, because he hath justly provoked none; his Religion is not the least support of his valour; He with David encourageth Garisons, and wraps up himself in his God, where Reason leaves doubting, their Faith begins in hope even against hope. In a word, God hath indued His Majesty with those incomparable Graces that are seldome poured forth any where below the Throne; for whatsoever things are true, just, pure, and lovely, they are in Him; This is the Person whom God and all Men think worthy of a Kingdom, but those over whom He is a King; (meaning the Phanatique) these are the Vertues in whose enjoyment other Nations hug themselves: These are the Princely Rayes that shine with Majestick Lustre in most parts of Europe: And this the great and Christian Conqueror, who attributes not any thing to Himself, but with Holy King David, giveth the glory of all to the King of Kings, saying, I will not trust in my Bow, neither shall my Sword save me: But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us; Or, as His Majesty graciously expressed Himself in His short Speech to the Ministers, in his passage through the City: "The deliverance" which God hath wrought for me, I own as the work of his own right hand, beyond humane contrivance, and desire that all the glory of them may be ascribed to Him.