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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Ralph Astell
Vota, Non Bella
[undated: July?]

   Titlepage: VOTA, / NON BELLA. / [rule] / NeW-CastLe's / HeartIe GratULatIon / TO HER / SaCreD SoVeraIgn / KIng CharLes The SeConD; / ON / HIs noW-GlorIoUs RestaUratIon / To HIs BIrth-rIght-PoWer. / [rule] / By Ralph Astell, M. A. / [rule] / Gateshead, Printed by Stephen Bulkley, 1660. / [enclosed within ornamental box]

    One of the few poems to address the specific concerns of a provincial city, and one of the few poems printed outside London. By the uncle of Mary Astell; see Ruth Perry's Life.

    Date: evidently composed after the first flood of formal panegyrics wer in print, so July?

    Note use of pastoral resolution -- of isolation, retreat and fantasy; compare with Duncombe's pastoral.

[ornamental border]

OH Thou, the High and Lofty 1 Holy-One,
Who in that dazling light hast set thy Throne,
To which no Eagle-eye approach can make,
Nor Jacobs-Staff it's altitude can take,
Bow, bow the Heavens, and come down and dwell
Amid'st the Prayses of thine Israel.
My Loyal Phancy with thy Beamlings fill,
And sparkle Day-light from my Nighted Quill
Through all the Cranies of our Hemi-sphere,
And with thy smiles kiss up each dewy Tear!
Re-briske the Spirits which are almost spent,
And Cure us by our Wound, a Parl'ament!


[1]Lofty] Mighty O, changed in ms

MAy I presume amongst the glistring Train
Of Britain's fairest Nymphs (Dread Soveraign!)
On humble Knee to kiss Your Royall Hand,
And Joy You welcome to Your Native Land?
The Southern Ladies now (I know) will dresse
Themselves in all their pretty gaudinesse;
Richly perfum'd with breath of Maia's flowr's,
Catch'd from their sweet Lungs after dewy show'rs:
And croud the Treasures of the bi-fork'd Hill
Into th'Alembique of some Golden Quill;
Then, raptur'd with a Sacred Fire, from thence
Drop in Your Princely Ears Loves Quintessence
In High-born Strains of Pooetry, which shall
Immortallize Your Great Memoriall.
Nay, Pho/enix-like (methinks) I see them bring
Arabian Spices on their nimble Wing,
And build a Pile; which on Your New-birth-day
Kindly aspected by Your Solar Ray,
Becomes a Royall Bon fire, 2 in whose flashes
They gloriously expire; yet 'midst those Ashes
A Seed is couch'd; which, influenc'd by You,
A self-born Pho/enix yearly doth renew.
Whilst I, black Northern Lass, from Kedar's Tents
Approach Your Court with no such Fragrant Scents:
Nor can I Greet You in a Golden Strain,
Whose finest Metall runs through a Cole Vein,
My dangling tresses of a deep-dark brown,
By ruffling Boreas tufted up and down,
With Musk nor Amber doe em-breath the Air,
Like our young Gallants in their Curled Hair,
Befring'd with Atoms Aromaticall;
Save Cole-dust-powder, I have none at all.
Yet (Royall SIR!) daign me this onely Grace,
To be a Black-patch on some Beauties Face;
And so (perhaps) like darker soyle, I may
Cause sparkling Diamonds shine with brighter ray.
Venus her self is proud of her brown Mole;
I have my spot too, 'tis a good round Cole:
This sets me off, and makes me Penny-fair;
White Swans are common, but a Black one Rare.
And such a Bird upon Tyne's Banks shall sing
In Loyal Notes, God-save Great CHARLS our KING!
Heav'n fix his Crown! may He successful prove, chk He to L
And sit Enthroned in His Peoples love!
May our Latonian Lamps still happy shine,
And never meet in the Ecliptick Line!
May CHARLS, our Sun (who from the Eld of dayes,
And King of Kings derives His Sov'raign Rayes;
Ey'n from the Sacred Fount of Orient Light)
Scatter the Juncto of the black-brow'd Night
With His Majestique Presence, and cashier
The Foggy Mists out of our Hemi-sphere!
May He tran-spierce with Justice-darting Eyes
The Murders, Rapines, Treasons, Blasphemies,
That have been Acted on Great Britain's Stage,
By the Scene-servers of this Masqued Age:
Whil'st they re-guild each weather-beaten Front,
That has true Loyalty enstamp'd upon't!
May He not cease Benignly to aspect
The Parl'ament; our Moon, that does reflect
No self (but borrow'd) Lustre; whether she
Be in her Apo- or her Peri-ge!
May she (kind Heav'ns!) still in the Full appear,
But never Act beyond her proper Sphere!
Or justle Pho/ebus, or with her long Train
Presume hereafter to mount CHARLES's Wain!
And let that Tongue ne'r coyn a sound agen,
That will not play the Clerk, and say, Amen.
For though (by reason of a duskie slough
That over-casts the surface of my Brow)
I cannot shew so smooth a white-skinn'd hue
As other Madams, yet my Heart's as true;
Who, could they through those secret Chambers glance,
Might thence take Copies of Allegiance.
Nay, he that runs may Reade how with my blood
To Faith's Defender I still faithfull stood.
Scotland can witness (to her cost) that I
Mis-kenn'd her double-faced Mercury;
When as the Brother-hood with rev'rend paws
Was called in, t'uphold the Dying Cause.
Her num'rous Army, which about me lay
With Bag and Baggage to divide the Prey,
Ne'r scar-crow'd me: but stoutly I did stand
Ev'n with a handfull (till the utmost Sand)
To vindicate my Trust: and when my Wall
Earth-quak'd with Powder, on the ground did sprawl,
My Loyalty ne'r shook; for well I knew,
Who then expir'd, straight way to Heaven flew,
Each with his Tomb-stone, that some Angel might
Their Epitaphs to Everlasting write.
Eft-soon (like Job) upon a Dunghil I
Was set, uncas'd of all my bravery:
Yet I embrac'd it with a chearfull smile,
And thought my self Enthroned all the while;
Triumphing in my change of Rags, which were
A Badge of Honour to a Cavalier.
On my first Love my Eye was ever bent,
Though churlish Keepers did my hand prevent;
Forcing my Purse (not Heart) strings to dilate,
And; tribute pay to their Utopian State.
Our Holy Mother, shoulder'd out of dore
By graceless Sons (who call'd her Romish Whore,
Of all her Sacred Ornaments be-strip'd her,
And (fie for shame!) from post to piller whip'd her,
With Scorpion-tagged points, which pierc'd so deep,
That through each Pore her bleeding soul did weep)
I reverenc'd, as I was wont to do;
Nay, bow'd my Knee, and Ask'd her Blessing too:
Which out of fashion with their duties grew,
Who left the Old-way to seek out a New.
But 'tis not strange, our Mother they despight,
Sith they [Our Father] have forgotten quite.
I griev'd to think, her Seamless Coat was rent,
And, our good Shepherds into corners sent.
Grave, Learned Fathers (such my Eyes have seen
Call'd 'fore some Gifted Brethren of Nineteen,
To be new Chatechiz'd about their Graces,
Or else to quit their more-examin'd Places)
Once grac'd my Pulpits, whence my ravish'd Ear
The lively Oracles might freely Hear:
But they were silenc'd, or else whisper'd small,
When Jeraboam's Priests began to bawle;
Crossing my Worship with an Harp-set Note,
Which of their Masters they had got by Rote.
Brave Oliver! still sat upon their Lip,
With his Encomiums their Tongues they tip:
But will not learn ('till forc'd-to't by the Rod)
How to Pronounce, CHARLES by the Grace of God.
I must confess, 'tis but my usuall fate,
To have like Minister, like Magistrate:
Whose Rampant Zeal has made me Couchant lie
Scarce suff'ring me to look with half an Eye
(For many years) towards the Royall Race;
Till that-good MONCK unvail'd his lucky Face.
A Face! which, when it bo-pee'd through his hood,
Gave us some glimpses of our future good:
Our day 'gan break, which long had hid 'its Head,
And Lambert's shaddow's on a sudden fled.
'Twixt hope and fear with looks distract we sit,
Not knowing well how this great Change may hit:
Sometimes our Spirits frisk, and doe presage,
That GEORGE will bring again the Golden Age:
When straight surprized with a Counter-blast,
The Scene is changed, and we droop as fast.
Our Leaves (like Heliotropes) we spread or close,
As GEORGE his Cloud, or light-some Pillar shows.
But, once full-Orbed with a Sov'raign ray,
Our Night was turn'd into a Glorious Day.
The Free-born People (ne'r till then made free)
Shook off their Slave-ships, and cry'd Jubilee.
Knights of the Noble Garter (then) all were
For on his-breast each man a GEORGE did bear.
Th'Imperiall City (which of late has bin
A Cage for unclean birds to nestle in;
As Scriech-Owles, Harpyes, Cormorants, and those
Bloud-thirsty Vultures, Nol for Judges chose
Of his accursed Slaughter-house) was then
A gen'rall Rendezvous of honest men.
How was she ravish'd, when her dazled Eye
Saw CHARLES and Pho/ebus both in Gemini!
Thrice-happy City! whose first stone ('tis said)
In the ascendent Twins was fairly laid:
Now more than happy! sith in the same Sign
Heav'n fix'd the Head-stone of the STUART's Line.
(A try'd and pretious stone, all wonder-wrought,
Though by pretending builders set at nought)
Whil'st that three Kingdoms joyn'd in Consort, cry
Grace, Grace unto it: oh, sweet Harmony!
You Sister-Nymphs, who play your learned prancks
On Grant and Isis flow'r-enamel'd Banks!
Who with your speaking eyes can complement
The scaly Fry out of their Element;
And cause the Streams smooth gliding to advance,
And take the murm'ring Pebbles out to dance
To your sweet Lyrick touch! who can in-voice
The trembling Leaves, and make the Trees rejoyce:
Recant your fawning Protectorian Notes,
And to an higher Key skrew up your Throats,
Your warbling Tongues re-tune, let her be shent
Who to that bloudy Tyrant durst present
Her [Olive Branch of Peace:] may that foul crime
Hereafter ne'r attaint her Nobler Rhyme!
Our CHARLES is born again! your Fancies fearse,
And once more measure His Genethliack Verse.
Twelve-times Hyperion at each Sign has hoasted
(Whilst through the Zodiack his Chariot posted)
Since that Great Britain travelled in pain,
To be Deliver'd of a Soveraign.
The starred Peers, with some of Royall Kin,
And Loyall Gentry oft were Called-in
To her hard Labour, but in vain did play
The active Midwives 'fore th'appointed day.
For the Great Dragon (known by his Red Nose)
With force and cunning did the work oppose;
Still ready to devour, a-front he stood,
And from his mouth cast out a purple floud,
Whose raging and impetuous stream bore down
Law's and Religion's 3 Bancks in ev'ry Town;
Ingulphing their Estates, Lives, Liberties,
Who were engaged in the Enterprize.
'Twas Treason for to cast a pitying Eye
On her in this her great extremity;
Her throws grew sharp, her bones seem'd out of joynt,
She faints and swounds, each minute at deaths point,
She sweats and shrieks, her body's on the Rack,
Yet who so hardy, as to hold her Back?
Slingsby miscarri'd, Hewit lost his head,
'Cause he stood by her in the time of need.
As big as she can tumble, then she cries,
Help, help (good Neighbours) with your quick supplies!
I'm almost spent, yet doe not give me over;
Were I once layd, my strength would soon recover.
Kind Cheshire quickly heard her piteous moan,
(Enough to melt an heart hew'd out of stone
Into a fount of Tears) nor does she spare
Her dearest bloud to Usher in the Heir.
She knocks up Booth, who with his Loyall band,
Is ready straight to lend his helping hand:
But, whil'st that other doe too tardy rise,
(Wiping the 4 slumber from their half-shut Eyes)
They are surprized, and he forc'd to flie,
And leave poor Britain in the Straw to lie.
And thus she lay! affrighted and forlorn;
No hopes at all a Saviour would be born:
Till Heav'n imploy'd that Noble Instrument,
And from the North St. GEORGE-on-Horse-back sent
T'obstetricate; whose Journey scarce was don,
When she began to Travell with a Son;
The happy issue of her Pray'rs and Tears,
Which had besieged the Almighty's Ears.
GEORGE made no vaunts, yet gave encouragement;
Gentle and rough, still in a Mist he went;
Till all was ready for a work so great,
Then step'd in GEORGE, and did the Noble feat;
Brought her to Bed, which none before could do;
Nay, sav'd the Darling, and the Mother too:
Whose sudden joy made her (by a sweet fate)
The Act of Amnesty to antedate.
Whole Volleys (straight) of Acclamations pierce
The Ecchoing Air, another Universe
Crouds London's streets, to see this strange new thing,
The Reall Presence of their twice-born KING.
The Bells, in-soul'd by some Intelligence,
Awaited then no Ringers to commence
The welcome Chances, but their Clappers ply,
Returning Thanks for her Delivery.
Th'Angelick Quire dismounted roundly (then)
And in their Anthems bare a Part with Men.
Of all the Set, the Organs mourn'd that day,
Their Pipes were stop'd so hard, they could not play.
The People, tickled with the Noble Sounds,
Could scantly keep their souls i'th'bodie's bounds;
Some toss'd their Caps, which in mixt dances hover
Above their heads; no need to bid, Uncover.
On flexed Knees some for His health did Pray,
Whil'st in full Bowles some drink their own away.
Some clap their hands, who in the tyding throngs
Puffing and sweltring, had quite lost their tongues.
Some 'bout the crackling Bonfires shout and sing,
And pretty Babes lisp'd out, A King! A King!
Oh! what a goodly sight! what wondring Eyes!
What leaping Hearts; to see our Sun arise
In His full strength, and lift His beaming Head
From off the Pillow of His Sea-green bed!
Phospher'd by GEORGE, be-Duk'd on either hand;
Before, behind the Glory of the Land,
Like Planets moving in their glistring Spheres,
Whilst' CHARLS, like Pho/ebus, in the mids appears,
In bloudless Triumph Riding to His Throne:
For HE makes Conquest of our Hearts alone.
Then I, (who whilom scarce a CHARLS durst name,
Enforc'd to shroud the Loyall-mounting Flame
In Ashie Weeds) brake forth in vari'd Joy,
Descanting boldly on, Vive Le ROY.
St. GEORGE no more shall (now) a Romance be,
But our best Story (MONCK!) made good in Thee:
Thou hast out-vy'd him, may thy Sword ne'r fail,
That did (unsheath'd) dis-Rumpe the Dragon's tail;
Whose fi'ry swinge, as round-about it went,
Our brightest Stars struck from the Firmament.
Oh, for a Virgil now! whose Skilfull Quill
With new Georgicks might our Country fill:
Whil'st I opprest with CHARLES his crouding glory,
Leave After-ages for to write His Story!
And now (Great Monarch!) lest my longer stay
Should fright the Ladies at Your Court away,
(Whose dainty stomachs will, I know; disdain
The poor provision of my courser brain)
Unto my smutchy Cell I will retire,
And what I cannot utter, there admire.
I'le sit me down, and wonder how You made
(O're-come at Wor'ster, not to say, Betray'd
By such, who sold th'Annointed of the Lord)
Your blest escape from Cromwell's thirsty Sword,
That curst Nimrodean Hunter! whose keen Pack
Of quick-nos'd Bloud-hounds travers'd ev'ry track,
Beat ev'ry Bush, through this and t'other Wood,
To find Your steps, and suck Your Sacred Blood;
Yet lost their game: Amazed then I'le stand,
To think, how in the hollow of his hand
God hid Your Royall Self, and let none see,
When You took Sanctuary in a Tree.
My weeping Eye Your Flittings shall review,
And in Your exile go along with You.
I'l draw an abstract of Your many dangers,
By Your own Country men, false Friends & Strangers,
Of Robbers, Waters, and the fearfull Deep,
In City, Wilderness, awake, asleep.
Then, on the Counter-part my Rapted Soul,
With Pencill dipt in some Castalian Bowle,
Shall limne a Land-scape of God's gracious Care,
His Love and Mercies, Various, Rich and Rare.
Both in Your Banishment and Restauration
To Your returning People of this Nation,
You were be-miracled, and may be said,
In Hieroglyphicks to be all arrai'd.
From You our happy 'ra shall commence,
Who were the Master-piece of Providence.


[2]Bon fire] Bon-fire O ms emendation

[3]Religion's] Relion's emended in ms O

[4]the] L; that O, ms emended to the

OH, let us not (good Lord!) let us no more,
Instead of one just Monarch serve Five-score
Usurping Kinglings! keep us all entire,
Rendring the Son what we deny'd the Sire.
Restore in CHARLES our Church, Laws, Liberties,
And make our Hearts a willing Sacrifice!
Let us no more Revolt, but have a care,
How we conspire against the Lawfull Heir!
That blest with Peace and Plenty, we may sing,
Glory to God on High for Our Good KING!


Ultima magnarum Prognostica Linea rerum,
Quſ CAROLI Primi finitur Regis Imago,
In Facie Reducis legitur perfecta Secundi;
Nato Vota dabunt, Patri qu' Bella negſrunt.


Part IX. Views From Scotland