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 Case is altered1
[undated: 16 March-25 April]

   Although strictly an anti-Rump satire, this piece directly calls for the king's return and has been included here in order to keep the collection of "trunk" ballads intact. The text is defective in many places but the ballad evidently belongs to the moment between the collapse of the Rump Parliament on 16 March, and the sitting of the Convention Parliament on 25 April. Where the text is currently unreadable, I have sometimes supplied, in brackets, readings from Ebsworth's edition as marked in the notes.

   John Andrews, the stationer who produced this broadside, issued a satiric 8to pamphlet in August with a similar title: The Case is Altered; or, Dreadful news from Hell. In a discourse between the Ghost of this grand Traytor and Tyrant Oliver Cromwel, and Sir reverence my Lady Joan his wife, at their late meeting neer the Scaffold on Tower Hill. With His Epitaph written in hell, on all the grand Traytors, now in the Tower.2

   Like many anti-Rump satires, this ballad names a selective catalogue of the MPs and military leaders defeated by recent events, thereby providing an oblique and cryptic history of the final days of the Rump. After the collapse of Richard Cromwell's protectorate in May 1659, the case begins to alter. In late December 1659, Colonel Charles Fleetwood, Commander in Chief of the army, authorized Bulstrode Whitelocke to begin negotiating the return of Charles Stuart, and immediately ran into opposition from two mutually hostile directions: Sir Henry Vane, who was holding out against monarchy at any cost, and from the Council of Officers, who voted to dissolve themselves and approved the return of the Rump. On the day after Christmas, when the remaining forty-nine members of the Rump entered the House behind Speaker William Lenthall and the mace, both Fleetwood and Vane were politically finished.

   This ballad links Fleetwood with the meetings of the Rump during January, when William Say, M.P., carried the mace during Lenthall's illness, but the association is obscure. Somewhat clearer are the comments on Vane, who (along with Desborough and Lambert) had been ordered out of London during those first weeks of January, but did not finally leave until General Monk -- "Presbiter George" as he appears in this ballad -- ordered him to be escorted to his house in Lincolnshire on 13 February. The ballad recalls Vane's early years in Massachusetts, recommending that he be exiled there, since he would be certain of being hanged.3

   The second part of the ballad imagines the Rump, under Arthur Haslerig's leadership, playing a losing game of cards with Monk, who "turnd up the King for Trump." Invective is then directed at William Lenthall, William Prynne, Hugh Peters, and Colonel John Hewson, familiar targets of royalist invective at this time.

[1] Wing: C 871a. Bl brs, one of the unique "trunk" ballads. Copies: L c.120.h.4(3). Reprint: Ebsworth, RB, 9:xvii-xix.

[2] LT E.1869(2), ms dated "6 August." See discussion of this tract by Laura Knoppers in Constructing Cromwell: Ceremony, Portrait, and Print, 1645-1661 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 176-78.

[3] See Spalding, ed., Diary of Bulstrode Whitelocke, and J. H. Adamson and H. F. Follard, Sir Harry Vane: His Life and Times, 1613-1662 (London: Bodley Head, 1973), pp. 409-15.

The Case is altered
Sir Reverence, The Rumps last Farewel.
To the Tune of, Robin Hood.

[Bo]th Commons and Peers
Come prick up your ears
[I would sing of] Bellona and [Ma]rs.4
I hope [I] shall [fit] ye
5: With a pleasant new dittie,
of a Rampant Nose and an Arse.5

The Politick Snout,
That hath a clear rout,
stood it'h midst of old Olivers face,
10: And when that nose dropt,
Their presently hopt,6
a pittiful Rump in the place.

Lord Richard and Harry,
Did quickly misc[arry]
and could not be [staunch]7 to their Daddy,
And old Bedlam [Jo]an,
Was left to make mone,
that she was not as8 good as my Lady.

[I]f Fleetwood the fool,9
20: Had neer gone to School,
his headpeece could not have bin weaker
In Archies void place,10
Let him carry the Mace,
before the Logge-headed speaker.11

25: Cl[own] 12 Desburroughs high shun 13
Will not hold the long run,
except blind Hewson translate um 14
He may supple his toes,
With the matter in the15 nose,
or with the sick Rumps Buminatum.16

Squire Lambert and's pride,
Are both hangd aside,
like an old rotten case and an Ink horn
He's left ith lurch,
35: That lookt ore the Church,
as the Devil lookt over Linc[oln].17
Aspiring Sir Vane,18
Is now to the [wa]ne,
for Presbiter [Ge]orge hath trapand him
40: Though when [ague]19 was it'h head,
He strook it all dead,
if any could understand him.

If the State do him spue,
From Old England to New,
I think [I am]20 no mistaker
That Church that can see,
Somwhat further than we,
would hang him up for a Quaker.

[4] line 3]; so Ebsworth restored the line, which now reads: [...] Bellona [...]

[5] Oliver and the Rump.

[6] hopt] popt Ebsworth

[7] [staunch] so Ebsworth

[8] as] so Ebsworth

[9] Colonel Charles Fleetwood (1618-1692), Commander in Chief in England during 1659.

[10] Archie Armstrong was James I's jester, according to Ebsworth.

[11] Ebsworth notes that the "Logge-headed speaker" was William Say, one of the regicides. He was presumably following DNB, or common sources, which notes: "On 13 Jan, 1659-60 Speaker Lenthall was allowed ten days' absence during illness, and during the interim Say filled his place." Excluded from indemnity, Say escaped to the continent.

[12] Cl[own] so Ebsworth

[13] Major-General John Desborough (1608-1680) had been active bringing about the fall of Richard Cromwell's protectorate (Spalding, Contemporaries of Bulstrode Whitelocke, p. 73). Why he should be called a "clown" is as obscure as the reference to his footwear, "high shun," which does, however, serve to introduce the link to cobbler Hewson.

[14] Colonel John Hewson (d. 1622), a regicide, was a substantial shoemaker who had supplied the army and was consequently satirized by royalists as the "cobbler."

[15] the] his Ebsworth

[16] Buminatum] Bummatum Ebsworth

[17] OED sb.22.i.: "Popularly referred to a grotesque sculpture on the exterior of Lincoln Cathedral."

[18] Sir Henry Vane, the younger (1613-1662), had not been a regicide but was executed after the Restoration. As a young man, he has spent time in Massachusetts where he served a spell as Governor.

[19] [ague] so Ebsworth

[20] [I am] so Ebsworth

The second part, to the same tune. [cuts]

PRince Arthur the bold,21
50: Hath late taken cold,
in playing at Cards with the Rump,
Cause he would not save,
Monck dealt him the Knave,
and turnd up the King for Trump.22

55: Th[e Discip]es23 nine
Tha[t ...] [...]gant o shine,24
like Apostles of John [o']25
Have lost all their hopes
And are worthy of ropes,
for the case is alterd like Pleydons. 27

But take the whole Rump,
All the Members in lump,
the whole house was clothed so thin,
That a cloud like one fist,
65: Grew to a Scotch mist,
and wet them all to the skin.

The Rump made us quail
With a sting in the taile,
whiles it did its venome disgorge,
70: But that Dragons confounded,
Lies bleeding and wounded,
with the Sword of our Englands St. George.

The Council of State,
Is quite out of date,
the sun is gone off their Diall,
Oh horrible thing,
They Murdered the King
let them have as fair a Tryall.

If Lenthal be dumb,
80: In serving the bum,
and cannot speak worth a fart,
Let gallant bold Prin,28
By vote be brought in,
and he'l set a spoke in their Cart.

85: Hugh Peters the Antick29
That was so long fran[tic]
stands now by himself like a sypher,
Yet Ile give him a stripe,
Because he loves tripe,
since he plowd with the Butchers heifer.30

And yet ere he pass,
Let him take 'tother glass
and drink it up all at a draft,
Weel bequeath as most due,
95: The bones of St. Hugh,31
[To] Hewson the man of our craft

Let England now ring,
To cry up a King
as our Parliaments principal head,
100: Till then you nor we,
Can be full nor free,
but our carcasses gasping for dead.

And now let me venter,
This caveat to enter,
That neither for fear nor affection,
So much as a stump,
[Of th]at reprobate Rump,
[be] ever had more in Election.

London, Printed for John Andrews, at the White-lyon neer Pye-corner.

[21] Arthur Haselrig was appointed to head the new Council of State of the Rump when it first met on 26 December 1659.

[22] The earliest use of a card game to describe the politics of the Restoration settlement, if I am correct in dating Laurence Price's ballad, Win at first, lose at last, after 29 May.

[23] Th[e Discipl]es so Ebsworth

[24] line 55] That [litter] of a swine so Ebsworth

[25] [o'] so Ebsworth

[26] Ebsworth enigmatically notes: "Bocold of Münster."

[27] Sir Thomas Pleydon was involved in Miles Sindercomb's attempt against Oliver Cromwell on 8 December 1656; see T. Burton, Parliamentary Diary, 1:355.

[28] William Prynne (c.1602-1669), secluded at Pride's Purge in 1653, returned to Parliament after the Restoration as M.P. for Bath. The comments here recall that Prynne had risen to celebrity for boldly speaking out against stage plays in Historiomastix (1632), passages of which had been taken as aspersions on Charles I for which Prynne was sentenced to life in prison and the loss of his ears in 1634. While in the Tower, Prynne continued to write against Bishops and was branded on the face with the letters "S. L." for "seditious libeller" or, as he himself insisted, "Stigmata Laudis" in reference to Archbishop Laud. See DNB, Spalding, ed., Contemporaries of Bulstrode Whitelocke.

[29] Hugh Peters (1598-1660), chaplain to the New Model Army, was among those executed for treason after the Restoration. DNB.

[30] Accusations of sexual misconduct between Peters and Cromwell's wife are not uncommon in royalist satire.

[31] St Hugh is the patron saint of cobblers.