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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Part XIII. The Tide Turning: Voices of Complaint

The Cavaliers Complaint
15 March, 1661

   Variant broadside, reprinted in An Antidote Against Melancholy: Made up in Pills (London, 1661), pp. 49-51; by Dryden, in Miscellany (1716) 4:352-4; Wright, Political Ballads, pp. 257-59; Wilkins, 1: 162-66; Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleate, pp. 52-4.

    Wright, p. 257, notes: "The two ballads which follow ["The Cavaleers Letany", pp. 261-65] express the discontent of the now truimphant Cavaliers at the few personal advantages which they reaped from the Restoration, and at the ingratitude of King Charles to the old suporters of the fortunes of his family. The first is taken from the nineteenth volume of the folio broadsides, King's Pamphlets, British Museum. "I tell thee, Dick," &c. is the first line of Sir John Suckling's famous song on a wedding" (p. 257).

    Wilkins comments: "The Cavaliers were much disappointed at the neglect with which their claims to the royal favour were treated at the Restoration, and expressed great dissatisfaction [sic] at the preferments bestowed upon the Presbyeterians, whose return to loyalty was thus conciliated and confirmed. It was commonly said of the "Act of Oblivions and Indemnity," that the King had passed an "act of oblivion for his friends and of indemnity for his enemies." The famous divine, Dr. Isaac Barrow, who may be accpted as a fair exponent of the views of the Royalists at this juncture, conveyed, in the following sistich, his sense of the inattention he experienced:

"Te magis optavit rediturum, Carole, nemo,
Et nemo sensit te redisse minus."

"Oh! how my breast did ever burn
To see my lawful King return;
Yet whilst his happy fate I bless,
No one has felt his influence less." Wilkins 1: 162.
Wilkins also reprints A Turn-Coat of the Times (1: 167-71) dating it 1661, though it is usually given a much later date (Wing T3264A-3265C c. 1663-1700).

    See also The Cavalier's Genius: Being a Proper New Ballad. To the Tune of, 'Ods bodikins chill work no more, and forty other good Tunes (O=Wood 416(78)), which parodies Suckling's poem in itermitant dialect and satirizes court behaviour.

    Among the early complaints, see An Humble Representation of the sad Condition of may of the Kings Party, Who since His Majesties Happy Restauration have no Relief, and but Languishing Hopes. Together with Proposals how some of them may be speedily relieved, and others assured thereof, within a resonable time. Printed for A. Seile, in the Year, 1661. O=G.Pamph. 1119 (9).

    "We joyfully, indeed, partake in the Glory of His Majesties Restitution, the Peace of our Country, the security of Laws, & the Propect of future settlements is most pleasant to us: But, alas, we are still exposed to the same necessities, Nay many of us are in worse Condition, as to livelyhood, than ever, Partly by exhausting ourselves with unusual Expences, That we might appear (like our selves) concerned in his Majesties welcome, & Coronation, partly, by prosecuting honest, but fruitless, pretences, Chiefly by the fate of Poverty, which, seldome, continues, without encreasing, And (for Accomplishment of our Misery), Hope, (which, hitherto, alone, Befriended, & Supported,) hath now forsaken us." (p. 5)

   The Cavaliers Comfort is, in some respects, a reply to this ballad.

The Cavaliers Complaint.
[ruled box]

To the tune of,
I'le tell thee Dick. &c.
This is the Constant note I'le sing.
I have been Faithfull to the KING,
And so, shall Live and Dye. 1

COme Jack, let's drinke a Pot of Ale,
And I shall tell thee such a Tale,
Will make thine Eares to ring:
My Coyne is spent, my Time is lost,
5: And I this only Fruit can boast,
That once I saw my King.
Ile tell thee Dick &c. 2]

But this doth most afflict my Mind;
I went to Court, in hope to find
Some of my Friends in place:
And walking there, I had a sight
Of all the Crew, but by this light
I hardly knew one Face. 3
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

15: S'life, of so many Noble Sparkes,
Who on their Bodies, beare the markes
Of their Integrity:
And suffred ruine of Estate,
It was my base 4 unhappy Fate,
That I not one could see. 5
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

Not one, upon my Life among
My old acquaintance all along,
At Truro, and before:
25: And I suppose, the Place can shew,
As few of those, whom thou didst know
At Yorke or Marston Moore.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

But truly, there are Swarmes of those,
30: Whose Chins are beardless, yet their Hose 6
And backsides, still weare Muffes: 7
Whil'st the old rusty Cavaliers, 8
Retires, or dares not once Appeare
For want of Coyne, and Cuffes.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

When none of those, 9 I could decry,
Who better farre deserv'd, then I,
I calmely did reflect: 10
Old Servants by rule of State
40: Like Almanacks, grow out of date, 11
What then can I expect?
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

Troth in contempt, of Fortunes frowne,
I'le get me fairely out of Towne,
And in a Cloyster pray:
That, 12 since the Starres are yet unkind
To Royalists, the King may find, 13
More faithfull Friends then they.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

[1] This ...Dye.] L1; om MC; O prints a half title -- "The Cavaleer's Complaint." -- above the first column.

[2] Refrain missing in LT, MC and O throughout.

[3] one Face.] L1; one face. MC; One Face! O, LT

[4] base] L1, MC; damn'd O, LT

[5] one could see.] L1, MC; One could see! O, LT

[6] line 30] L1, MC; Who lately were our chiefest Foes, O, LT

[7] line 31] L1; Of Pantaloons and Muffes O, LT

[8] Cavaliers] L1, MC; Cavaleer O, LT

[9] those] L1, MC; These O, LT

[10] I calmely] L1; Calmely O, LT

[11] line 39] L1; Old Services, (by Rule of State) O, LT

[12] That,] O, LT; That^ L1, MC

[13] find^] O, LT; find, L1, MC

An Echo, in Answer to

50: I Marvaile Dick, that having beene,
So long abroad, and having seene
The World, as thou hast done:
Thou shouldst acquaint me with a Tale,
As old as Nestor, and as stale,
As that of Priest and Nunne. 14
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

Are we to learne what is a Court! 15
A Pageant made, for Fortunes sport
Where Merits scarce appeare:
60: For bashfull merits only dwels 16
In Camps, in Villages, and Cels,
Alas, it comes, not there.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

Desert is nice, in it's addresse,
65: And Merit oft times doth oppresse,
Beyond what guilt would doe:
But they are sure, of their Demands
That come to Court, with Golden hands,
And brazen Faces too.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

The King indeed, doth still professe, 17
To give his Party soone Redresse,
And cherish Honesty:
But his good Wishes prove in vaine
75: Whose service, with his Servants gaine,
Not alwayes doth agree.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

All Princes (be they ne're so Wise) 18
Are faine to See with other eyes, 19
But seldome Heare at all:
And Courtiers find their Interest
In time to Feather well their Nest,
Providing for their Fall.
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

85: Our Comfort doth on Time depend,
Things, 20 when they are at worst, 21 will mend,
And let us but reflect
On our Condition, 'tother day,
When none but Tyrants bore the Sway,
What did we then Expect?
Ile tell thee Dick &c.

Meane while, a calme Retreat is best,
But Discontent if not supprest,
Will breed Disloyalty:
95: This is the constant note I'le sing, 22
I have been Faithfull to the King,
And so, shall live and dye. 23
Ile tell thee Dick &c.


LONDON, Printed for N. Butter, dwelling in Cursitors Alley. 1660.

[14] Nunne.] L1; Nunne! O, LT. Wright observes: "An allusion to a popular old story and song. A copy of he words and tune of "The Fryar and the Nun" is presrved in the valuable collection of ballds in the possession of Mr. Thorpe, of Piccadilly" (p. 259).

[15] Court!] L1 Court? MC, O, LT;

[16] merits only dwels] L1; Merit only dwells O, LT

[17] King indeed] L1, MC; King, They say O, LT

[18] line 77] L1; All Princes be they ne're so wise, MC; All Princes, (be They ne're so wise) O, LT

[19] other] L1, MC; Others O, LT

[20] Things,] O, LT; Things^ L1

[21] worst,] O, LT; worst: L1

[22] I'le] L1, MC; I O, LT

[23] line 97] L1; And so shall ever be. O, LT

T. H.
The Cavaliers Thanks-giving.
[11 April] 1661

   Thomason's date.

[ornamental header]

Our Royal King Charls the Second's come home in peace
God blesse his Royal Grace.
And grant that we may thankfull be
in our succeeding Race.
The mighty force, his enemies all,
God did them over Rule;
And called a small Army our of the North
that soon their force did quell.
Let men therefore before the lord
confesse his goodnesse then,
And shew the wonders he hath wrought
before the Sons of men.
Gods children of the Church of England,
did weep with many a tear,
And sent strong prayer up to Heaven,
and God their voice did hear,
But would not grant them their request,
until his wisdom saw it good,
Then he restor'd most joyfully
the Race of Royal blood.
Let men therefore before the lord,
confesse his goodnesse then,
And shew the wonders that he doth
before the Sons of men.
King Charles the first, the gretest Martyr
that ever these Lands had bred,
The wicked Traytors and malicious men,
did take away his head.
Wise men and good did then fore-see
great wrong that they would do,
To all their neighbours everywhere
and to other Lands also.
Grave Reverend Bishops they disgraced,
and godly Doctors too,
They put them quite out of their place
and plundered them also.
The godly prayers of the Church of England,
they did soon put down,
And maintaind False teachers every where,
like Locusts on the ground,
And then they thought themselves most sure
Of Balaams wicked hire,
But the gates of Hell could not prevail
to set Gods Church a fire.
God will preserve his Church be sure, as he hath promise made
From lewd men and unjust,
If that we serve him faithfully,
and in him put our trust.
Let men therefore before the Lord
confesse his goodness then,
And shew the wonders that he doth
before the sons of men.
Great spoyl these Traytors here did make,
in England every where,
The Scottish Lords could not abide
but came away with fear,
They plundred many, and sequestred
like Villains void of grace,
The English Lords and Gentlemen,
were forct our of their place.
Stately homes and Castles strong
were pull'd down to the fround,
They were forced for to fly
with their true heart so sound.
Their loyal hearts God did regard
which they to the King did bear,
And at the last God brought him home again
to live in love without fear,
Let men therefore before the Lord,
confess his goodness then,
And shew his kindness that he doth,
For them the Sons of men.
A cruel war these Rebels then,
in England then did maintain,
Against all right and reason then
Like to blood-thirsty men.
They made such tumults every where,
through deceit, lying and fraud,
As did amaze men for to see,
their cousening lying trade.
Great Companys of armed men,
and rude youth to Lambeth house did come,
They forced the house in wicked sort,
till some were quite undone.
These wicked Rebels and Traytors used
Such tricks, that Citizens down did go,
Unto White-hall with Petitions as thick as moats in Sun
for to procure their own wo.
Such doings then my eyes did see,
I thought they all had been mad,
They kept Centry at every crosse way
alas it was too bad.
They so deluded plain simple men,
that thousands out did go,
With Spades and Shovels and Swords by their side
for to procure their own wo.
They went our with great Companys every dayu
with Drums sounding Dub a dub dub,
They carryed out Victuals and wrought for nothing
thinking themselves in fools Paradice sure as a club.
They made great ditches and cast up great Mounts,
to keep out their best friend,
Such blinde zeale on them did grow,
being falsly usherred in,
And many a Knave grew out of this dust
which did shew their teeth and grin,
And say, if they knew who were Cavaliers,
they would strip them all to the skin.
Our Warres did very much encrease
in England every where,
The Rebels they did grow so proud
without any grace or fear.
Some Victories to the Cavaliers
God did them freely give,
At Branford and in Cornwell too,
which did their hearts relieve.
Great mercy there our King did shew,
as did appear most plain,
Which made all them that had any grace
against themselves complain.
But the wicked Rebels still persue,
their malice, spight and wrong,
Untill such time tha they deserved,
the hate of God and man.
The Nations they stood looking on,
and wondring at our wo,
They said we English-men were mad
and knew not what to do.
The factious people brought their Plate
and made a might Masse,
As freely as the Idolatrous Jewes
did make a golden Calf;
But now the name of God be prays'd,
our people are wiser grown.
They will no more so cheated be
of that which is their own.
But now the hearts of most English men
is cleared from this thing.
Both Cavaliers and sober Presbytiers,
will say God save our KING.
The Noble men, Knights and Colonels,
and Citizens high and low,
Most joyfully proclaim'd our King,
in London in triumph did go.
And other Citys and Towns in these three Kingdoms all,
Great joy there did expresse,
With naked Swords within their hand
to shew their readinesse.
Great shouts of joy within the streets,
did eccho to the Sky,
Saying, God save our Royal King
and blesse his Majesty.
The Son and Heir of our beloved martyr'd King
which dyed to do us good,
With Faith, hope, and patience he did fore-see
that God would do him good,
And receive his sould into Heaven,
and blesse his Royall seed also,
And that God would in his due time
All his enemies overthrow.
All thanks be unto God on high
which hath performed this great thing,
And sent home his Son to be our guiode,
A wise and godly King.
By whom we may have great hopes of Peace
and Love so to abound,
At home, abroad and every where
throughout the world so round,
The Nations they will say abroad,
God hath not England forsook,
For he hath sent them home their Royal King
For to do them all good.
Let men therefore before the Lord,
confesse his goodness then,
And shew the wonders that he doth
before the sons of men.
Let men whom God redeemed hath
give thanks unto his name,
And shew how they sometimes were freed
and how God wrought the same.
That nine and twenty day of May,
which did the tydings bring
Of Peace, let all men keep and say
With me,
GOD save the KING.


His Majesties Welcome
in an honest blunt Ballad

    Another unicum in the library at Worcester College, Oxford, this is perhaps the most cynical of the contemporary verses on the king's return, satirizing all those who have welcomed the exile for their own selfish ends.

In an honest blunt Ballad.
            To the Tune of           Cook-Lorrell.


SIR, now that the skillfull Heroicks and Lyricks
To give a delight to your Majesties palat,
Have shew'd their rare art in Odes and Panegiricks
Jack Pudding makes bold to come in with his Ballat.


Whose love to the tune of Cooke Lorrell's as true
As that of the Pindars and Claudians o'th age.
Who new Lords to please, bade their old songs adieu,
Whilst he sung his Prince in the Usurpers Cage.


And now that all voyces are hoars with Hosannas
He ventures with is, that y'are welcome, to tell ee.
And that from a heart as right as any Man has
Or else I pray God turne it out of his bellie.


Y'are welcome as Raine to the long parched ground
(And like it, the good and the Bad you refresh.)
As health to the sick, or as wealth to the sound,
As blest Soules at Doomesday will be to their flesh.


Y'are welcome to all, to th' blustring War-men
Who this side, or that side, or all sides have owned.
To Priests of all Altars, and none, to the Bar-men
Who love Kings so wel, that ev'n Nol they'ld have crowned.


Y'are welcome to thousands, who thought their guilt far
Out-stript humane mercy, till yours o're went it.
Those few too whom Justice expects for hir share
Rejoyce that selfe-haltring will now be prevented.


Of all Sects and Int'rests Physitians alone
Complaine of your Presence, and seeme to have reason,
For since you came in all Diseases are gone,
Men think, to be sick now does favour of Treason.


But some of them hope yet, that for reparation,
You'l make 'em Domesticks, being Men whose rare cures
Have made their skill fam'd, and their Faith o're the Nation
For they did prolong ev'n his life, who sought yours. 1


Y'are welcom'd by some whom pure joy doth enflame
To see you restor'd, but like Children some be
Who think from a Faire of Preferments you came,
And cry welcome home Sir, what have you brought me.


And had you brought in the Promotions and Treasure
Of all Courts in Europe, you must have left some
Unsatisfi'd; then may it be your good pleasure,
To let your first Bountie begin with the Dumb.


Not such as with insolent items do show forth
To what their lost bloud, and long bondage amount,
Their plundrings, sequestrings, compoundings, & so for[th 2
Then pray, you'l come with 'em to a just account.


Nor that Man of Cassock (of diffrent opinion [sic
From all that think any as wise) who possest
Four hundred a yeare under Tyrant's dominion,
And looks his true Soveraigne should treble it at least[. 3


That Man of all Scenes, who to civill broiles
Can Cock-pit and Bowling-green-hedgings translate,
Both sides he makes his, and if this prevailes
He's forty pound winner, a hundred, if that.


Nor Bussemen who put in for Regiments now,
'Cause Troopes they commanded for Nol and the Stat[e 4
Unlesse their discretion can show a way, how
The Army may all be preferr'd at that rate.


Nor such, as their March with you from Dover hither
To get a Court-office so strongly do plead.
And urge the great charge of a Circular-feather,
Which serves well to ballast an unsteady head.


But those that have done well, and think, that thereby
The deeds to themselves were an ample reward,
No service how mighty so ever and high
'Thout modesty 'ith' Doer deserves your regard. [sic


And now, Sir, calme days and store of'em I wish you,
With all the content your sweet soule can desire
And may you be happy in consort and issue,
As he, you in virtue expresse, your blest Sire.


The rage of black Boreas you nobly have born,
Till Ph'bus kind rayes of refreshment hath spread,
The Crown of Thorns long with renown you have worn
And now let the Golden one heale your peirc't head.


With more then Herculean courage and might
Y'ave conquer'd the malice of your step-dame fortune,
And virtue no lesse now then Bloud pleads your right
To th'Scepter, wch humbly you hand doth importune[. 5


And may those brave Heroes your brothers by birth,
And suffings, be so in what Kinder fates bring,
Till full of good dayes, and disdaining the Earth,
You soare to your Father, so God save the KING.


LONDON: Printed for Henry Marsh
at the Princes Armes in Chancery-Lane near Fleet-Street, 1660.

[1] yours.] yours/ OW

[2] final letters cropped

[3] cropped without period

[4] final letters cropped

[5] cropped without period

[6] Henry Marsh] black-letter