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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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