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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An Exit to the Exit Tyrannus1
17 March

   Largely a complaint against the devilish regicides who martyred Charles I, and members of the subsequent tyrannical governments who brought the nation to ignominy, the ballad recalls the plaque that was put up to mark the absence of the king's former statue in Whitehall. It turns to Monk in its closing lines and urges him to bring in the king.

   Thomason dated his copy on Saturday 17 March, the day after the Rump formally dissolved, though the major incident referred to in the verses had occured the previous Thursday (see The Case is Altered). Noting that the tune belongs to Richard Corbet's "Merry Journey into France" of 1618, Ebsworth cites Madame de Witt's edition of the French ambassador's eye-witness report:

It was on the eve of the day when the Parliament was at length to pronounce its own dissolution [15 March] . . . A working painter, accompanied by some soldiers, and carrying a ladder in his hand, approached a wall in the city near the Royal Exchange, where eleven years before an inscription in Latin had been placed, Exit Tyrannus, regum ultimus, anno libertatis Angliæ restitutiæ primo, annoque Domini 1648. The workman effaced the inscription, and threw his cap into the air, exclaiming, `God bless KING CHARLES II!' The crowd joined its acclamations, and bonfires were lighted on the spot.2

    Pepys records the incident, from report, in similar detail, on the 16th, noting that it started at "about 5 a-clock in the afternoon" . Pepys's editors comment: "The man who obliterated the words was later identified as Michael Darby, 'now painter to the Company of Mercers'."3

[1] Wing: E3870. Brs. Copies: O Wood 416(61), ms dated "March 1659", COPYTEXT; OW L.R.8.32, reclassified from G.5.10(58); L1 c.20.f.4(249); L2 82.l.8(44); L3 c.40.m.9(68); LT 669.f.24(18), ms dated "17 March"; MH. Reprint: Ebsworth, RB, 7:663-64.

[2] Ebsworth, RB 7:662; citing M. Guizot, The History of England From the Earliest Times to the Accession of Queen Victoria, edited by Madame de Witt, trans. Moy Thomas, 3 vols. (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1877-79), 2:553.

[3] See Diary, 16 March 1660, citing Mercurius Publicus (23 August 1660), p. 534.

Upon Erasing that Ignominious and Scandalous Motto, which
was set over the place where KINGS CHARLES
the First Statue stood, in the Royall Exchange,

To the Tune of I made a Voyage into France, &c.


AFter curs'd Traitors damned rage
At length is come that happy age
Wherein our hopes are crown'd,
Our griefs are turn'd to joyes, and all
Our miseries and sorrowes shall
Be in Canary drown'd.


Thrice happy night which black as thee
Hast caus'd that Hell black doom to be
Made by a Tyrant Crew,
When to fulfill the Divellish lust
They'd make it seem both good and just
That they their Soveraigne slew.


Twas not enough with them to draw
Their Sword against the KING and Law
To Rob and Steale and Plunder,
'Twas not enough to act all Treason
Pretending still religious reason
This was in them no wonder.


Twas not enough they had destroy'd
Our KING, to make our name abroad
A mock and scorn to be,
But to adde further to our shame
At home they blast his glorious name
With markes of Tyranny.


Curst Generation of Hams tribe
Their wickednesse to him ascribe
And seek his fame to taint,
Of whom it justly might be cride
He was a Martyr when he di'd
And whilst he lived a Saint.
To palliate their seditious acts
They charge him with those odious facts
Which they themselves commit,
And 'cause they had by their own fault
Both Church and State to ruine brought
He must be cause of it.


Exit Tyrannus up they set
As if the Kingdome then did get
By this their Liberty,
When as indeed from this their crime
The Nation well might date the time
Of reall Tiranny.


We since have found their zealous tones
Have caus'd our true and reall grones
We see their Good old Cause,
Was only made for a pretence
To banish all our freedome hence
And overthrow our Lawes.


Oh CHARLES that Exit which they put
Up ore thy Statues Head was but
An entrance to our Woe,
That fatall Axe which thee divorc'd
From us, our happinesse hath forc'd
Into the Grave to goe.


But bless'd be providence that we
This happy Night have liv'd to see
Wherein for all their spight,
We see some hope that at the length
The Kingdome may recover strength
And thou regaine thy right.


Thy fame no more shall be defac'd
But with these glorious titles grac'd
Which are due to they merit,
Nor shall the babling Rout now dare
To exclaime against thee in their prayer
Or curse thee by the spirit.


Nor is't our happinesse alone
Thy disgrace is wip't out o'th stone
But does proceed yet farther,
Brave Monk has given an exeunt too
To those these Nations did undoe
And did commit thy murder.


Goe on brave George, and as before
Our Nation to her right restore
Call in the lawfull heyre,
Speake but an entrance to our KING,
And none but will thy praises sing
And blesse thee in their prayer.