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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Walter Charleton
verses in
An Imperfect Pourtraicture
7 March, 1661

   Title: AN IMPERFECT / POURTRAICTURE / OF HIS / SACRED MAJESTY / CHARLS the II. / BY THE GRACE OF GOD / KING / Of Great BRITAIN, FRANCE, and IRELAND, / Defender of the Faith, &c. / Written by a Loyal Subject, who most / Religiously affirms, / Se non diversas spes, sed incolumitatem / C'saris simpliciter spectare. / [rule] / LONDON, / Printed for Henry Herringman, at the Sign of the An- / chor in the Lower Walk of the New-Exchange. 1661.

   Walter Charleton (1619-1707) was born in Somerset, entering Magdalen Hall, Oxford in 1635. In 1643, aged only 24, he was made M. D. and appointed physician to Charles I, whose court was then at Oxford. In 1650 he moved to London, was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians and made physician to the exiled king. During the decade before the Restoration he wrote ten weighty books on medical and philosophical subjects, composing another eighteen before his death. He was an original Fellow of the Royal Society. His best known work is probably Chorea Gigantum (1663), arguing that Stonehenge was built by the Danes as a place to crown kings.

   An Imperfect Pourtraicture is a prose tract that flatteringly attributes numerous virtues to the new king. It includes the following verses in Latin with English translations. The first set are attributed to Horace:

... what Horace said to Augustus C'sar, is more due to His MAJESTY,
Instar veris enim, vultus ubi Tuus
Assulsit, populo gratior it dies,
Et soles melius nitent.

The Lustre of His Royal sight
Makes the day passe with more delight,
And Suns to shine more bright. [p. 10]

   Later, regarding how much Charles has achieved in the first nine months of his reign, Charleton gives us:

Jam fides, et Pax, et Honor, Pudorque
Priscus, et neglecta redire Virtus
Audet, apparetque beata pleno
Copia cornu.

Now Faith, and Peace, and Shame begin
To rise again, as from the dead:
Now antient Virtue dares come in,
And shew her long-neglected head:
And blessed Plenty, with her load,
Appears abroad. [p. 20]


   He is, moreover, a KING of so Mild, and withall so Great a Spirit, that His Severity (if He hath any) is conceal'd, but Clemency visible to all. (p. 10)