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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II. The Escape from Worcester

J. W., Henry Jones, & John Couch

J. W.,

The Royall Oak

Henry Jones,

The Royal Patient Traveller

The Royal Wanderer

The Wonderfull and Miraculous escape of our Gracious King

John Couch,

His Majesties miraculous Preservation By the Oak, Maid, and Ship

   Among the most popular themes that poets used to celebrate Charles's return was his seemingly miraculous escape from the battle of Worcester back in 1651. The flight from battle, the early days in hiding, and the escape to France six weeks later had swiftly become the stuff of both royalist legend and parliamentarian propaganda. In the months following the battle, the London press had kept busy publishing all manner of speculation and misinformation about the Scottish king's "mad design": widely-circulated news reports maintained that he had escaped into Scotland, or was disguised as a woman and living in London.72 After safely arriving in France in mid October, Charles himself turned misinformation into disinformation by confirming false reports of his route that had appeared in the London press in order to protect those who had helped him escape.73 But nine years later, he was keen that the truth should be told. As soon as he set sail for England, Charles "fell in disourse of his escape from Worcester,"74 subsequently taking a personal interest in setting the record straight and rewarding those who had taken risks on his behalf.75

   Understandably, accounts of the escape published in 1660 tended to rely on the familiar, though often unreliable, stories that had been in circulation since 1651.76 Some of the grosser fabrications disappeared, but errors, such as the soujourn in London which Charles himself had confirmed,77 are frequently repeated. In order to understand how the events of those weeks have been retold by the poets, some facts and dates are useful.

   On Wednesday, 3 September, Charles left the battlefield accompanied by his personal servants and a group of principal noblemen, including Henry Wilmot.78 On Lord Derby's advice, the group herded north where the king had good hopes of being hidden by the recusant underground. By 3:00pm on Thursday they had got as far as Whiteladies and stopped. Here Charles met the five Penderel brothers -- tenant farmers, royalists, and recusants accustomed to hiding people -- who would keep him safely in hiding for the next week. Charles paid off his servants and went into disguise. After a day spent hiding in the woods, with Richard Penderel, Charles attempted but failed to cross the Severn; they retreated to Boscobel House where Charles spent Saturday hiding in an Oak tree. That evening William Penderel cut Charles's hair in an attempt to disguise his overly familiar features.

   Meanwhile John Penderel and Wilmot had been planning an escape in league with Colonel John Lane, whose sister Jane had a parliamentary pass to Abbots Leigh, near Bristol, for herself, her cousin Henry Lascelles, and a manservant. On Sunday evening, following a day at prayer during which he suffered a celebrated nose-bleed, the disguised king, carrying a billhook, set off with all five Penderels to meet up with Wilmot and the Lanes. At Moseley en route, Charles took leave of the Penderels, ending his sojourn among this branch of the loyalist recusant underground. Early on the morning of the 10th, Charles met up with Jane at Bentley and, taking on the guise of William, her manservant, set out riding pillion with Jane for Abbots Leigh, where he would be safely among royalists and close to one of England's busiest ports. As the party approached Stratford, parliamentary troops scared off Jane's sister and brother-in-law, who turned back home. But the rest carried on unmolested, arriving at Long Marston for the night of the 10th. It was here that manservant "William" was scolded by a kitchen maid for being too incompetent to turn a roasting handle. Travelling next day to Cirencester, where they put up at the Crown Inn, the fugitive party arrived at Abbots Leigh on Friday the 12th. Here, despite attempts at disguise, Charles was recognized by a butler named Pope. Finding no boat from Bristol, with Pope's advice and connivance, Jane, Lascelles, with their manservant "William" travelled on into Dorset to Trent. Once plans for a boat to take Charles to France had been arranged, Jane and her cousin returned to Bentley.

   As events turned out, it would take several more weeks before Charles would find passage for France; he finally left from Shoreham on the 15th of October. News that the king had escaped in the company of a woman was in print within a month of his arrival in Paris on the 20th, so there must have been a leak in or around the Lane household.79 The recusant underground handled secrecy somewhat better; the Penderels only enter the story in 1660. In any event, Jane and Colonel Lane, determined to escape any danger, walked to Yarmouth and took ship for the continent in December. Once there, they joined the court in exile. Details of Charles's escape, once Jane Lane had left him, remained obscure to the poets of 1 and so need not detain us here.80

    Restoration accounts of the escape from Worcester are clearly interested in claiming historical accuracy, especially when verisimilitude might contribute to royalist legend and help legitimate regal authority. But the truth about Charles's kingship was to be a gradual and continuing process of revelation. New details were invented, while established rumours, such as Charles claiming to be the son of a nail maker from Birmingham, persisted regardless of their historical accuracy. Harold Weber describes the escape narratives operating a pattern of disguise and revelation that characterizes and legitimates Charles's paradoxical status, rendering the king both human and royally other. By 1660, his defeat at Worcester had already been turned to his advantage, representing not "a military victory over his own people, but . . . a conquest of their hearts."81 Recycling the escape story was ideally suited to keeping that conquest alive by rendering Charles, both man and king, knowable and familiar. In keeping with their popular form, the ballads favor comic inversion -- such as a kitchen maid calling the king a booby -- a device which serves to reaffirm rather than disturb the established order.

   Since none can be dated exactly, the broadside verses given in this section are arranged in the order in which the information they provide became available. The first three reiterate a remarkably similar repertoire of narrative details that had mostly been available in printed form since 1651: Charles leaving the field only after several horses were shot from under him, the subsequent cutting of the king's hair, his disguise, his distributing £300 in gold among his servants, his hiding in an oak tree, his further disguise as a servant to Jane Lane, the £1, reward offered by Parliament for his capture, his taking ship for France. Some anecdotes found in the first three ballads seem to be the stuff of irreducible but undocumentable legend, such as the disguised king claiming to be the son of a Birmingham nail maker. Misinformation from the 1 news reports persists into some of these accounts: the story of Charles and the kitchen maid is set at an inn in Bristol, and he is imagined visiting London before sailing for France.

   The fourth ballad given here, The Wonderfull and Miraculous escape, however, depends on information generally available only after the king's return and fills in some of the details of the first week after Worcester when Charles was in company with the Penderels. John Couch's broadside verses are less interested in reporting historical narrative than with transforming historical detail into the magical forms of poetic iconography. Allusions, both casual and detailed, to the providential-seeming nature of Charles's escape persist in Restoration poems throughout the year. Poems in later sections that make full use of the story include John Crouch's Mixt Poem, Thomas Fairebrother's An Essay, and Thomas Fuller's Panegyrick.


[72] See The last Newes from the King of Scots (for G. Wharton, 1651), LT E.641.(24), ms dated 29 Sept.; The Weekly Intelligencer 16, for 9-16 September 1651, reports on "the madnes of that Design" (p. 281); and see the fuller account from early November, A Mad Designe (for Robert Ibbotson, 1651), LT 669.f.16.(32).

[73] Printed reports of Charles's own account include The Declaration of the King of Scots (for G. Horton, 1651), LT E.645.(5), ms dated "10 November," and A Mad Design.

[74] Pepys, 23 May 1660. Twenty years later, Charles gave Pepys a full account; and see Matthews, ed., Charles's II's Escape from Worcester

[75] On rewards for those who assisted, see Richard Ollard, The Escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1966), pp. 139-48.

[76] See Harold Weber, Paper Bullets, chapter on the escape from Worcester stories.

[77] See The Declaration, pp. 2-3.

[78] Alone of the noblemen, Wilmot stayed with Charles during the escape, becoming an important member of the court in exile. He was created Earl of Rochester on 13 December 1652, remaining engaged in royal service until his death on 19 February 1658.

[79] A Mad Designe and The Declaration appeared in early Novemeber. An undated ballad, The last Newes from France (Printed for W. Gilbertson), to the tune "When the King enjoyes his own again," at GU Euing 181, tells the story in the voice of the un-named Lady.

[80] Jane entered the service of the Duke of Orange, whom she attended to Cologne in 1654. In 1660, she was voted £1,000 by the Commons to buy herself a jewel; Charles gave her a gold watch that was to become a family heirloom; a pension of £1, was also voted her (DNB).

[81] Weber, Paper Bullets, p. 40.

J. W.: The Royall Oak82

   [undated: before 29 May]

This undated ballad printed for Charles Tyus says little enough about the much venerated Royal Oak itself, but takes the king from the battle field as far as France in the company of Henry Wilmot and Jane Lane: the subsequent legend of the tree itself has been traced by A. M. Broadley.83 This ballad necessarily simplifies along the way: Charles did not leave the battle field accompanied only by Wilmot, or stop in the oak on the first night, for example. The narrative of events given here reappears in an identical sequence in the next ballad by Henry Jones.

   Although the ballad bears the initials "J., W," authorship remains uncertain. Despite the peculiarity of the punctuation -- initials usually put first name first -- Ebsworth suggests that this ballad is "probably" by John Wade. He also assigns "J. W."'s The King and Kingdomes Joyful Day of Triumph to Wade (RB, 9:33-34). But in neither instance does he provide supporting evidence, and I have found none. This latter ballad was printed for John Andrews who also published "J. W."'s "A Second Charles Once more Shall Reign." Weber notes: "In A Bibliography of the Literature Relating to the Escape and Preservation of King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester, 3rd September, 1651 (Aberdeen: University Press, 1924), William Arthur Horrox suggests the uncertainty of the ascription to Wade, and provides a tentative date of 1660 for publication".84 Since nothing is added to the printed accounts of Worcester available since 1651, and since the king's "presence" is "proclaimed" (lines 6, 11) but not described, we may presume that the ballad appeared early in 1660, before Charles actually arrived.


[82] Wing: /not Wing/. bl brs. Copies: GU Euing 308. Reprint: Ebsworth, RB, 9:65-66.

[83] See Broadley, The Royal Miracle.

[84] Weber, Paper Bullets, p. 221 n1.

The Royall Oak:
The wonderfull travells, miraculous escapes, strange accidents of
his sacred Majesty King Charles the Second.

1: How from Worcester fight by a good hap, Our Royall King made an escape;
2: How he dis-rob'd himself of things that precious were,
3: And with a knife cut off his curled hair;
4: How a hollow Oak his palace was as then, And how King Charles became a serving-man
5: To the Tune of, in my freedom is all my Joy.


1: COme friends and unto me draw near
2: A sorrowfull dity you shall hear,
3: You that deny your lawfull Prince
4: Let Conscience now your faults convince,
5: And now in love and not in fear,
6: Now let his presence be your joy,
7:      whom God in mercy would not destroy.

8: The relation that here I bring
9: Concerning Charles our Royall King,
10: Through what dangers he hath past
11: And is proclaimed King at last;
12: The Princes sorrows we will sing
13: Which the fates sorely did anoy
14:      and God in mercy would not destroy.

15: After Worcester most fatall fight
16: When that King Charles was put to flight,
17: When many men their lives laid down
18: To bring their Soveraign to the Crown,
19: The which was a most glorious sight;
20: Great was his Majesties convoy
21:      whom God in mercy would not destroy.

22: In Worcester battle fierce and hot,
23: His horse twice under him was shot,
24: And by a wise and prudent thrift
25: To save his life was forc'd to shift,
26: Without difficulty it was not:
27: Providence did him safely convoy
28:      whom God in mercy would not destroy.

29: And being full of discontents
30: Stript off his Princely Ornaments,
31: Thus full of troubles and of cares,
32: A knife cut off his curled hairs,
33: Whereby the hunters he prevents:85
34: God did in mercy him convoy
35:      So that they could not him destroy.

36: A chain of gold he gave away
37: Worth three hundred pounds that day,
38: In this disguise by honest thrift
39: Command all for themselves to shift,
40: With one friend doth night and day:
41: Poor Prince alone to Gods convoy
42:      His foes they could not him destroy.

43: These two wandred into a Wood
44: Where a hollow Oak there stood,
45: And for his precious lives dear sake
46: Did of that Oak his palace make,
47: His friend towards night provided food,
48: So their precious lives the did enjoy
49:      whom God in mercy would not destroy

50: Lord Willmot most valiant and stout,
51: He was pursued by the Rout,
52: Was hid in a fiery kiln of Mault
53: And so escaped the Souldiers assault,
54: Which searched all the house about,
55: Not dreaming the kiln was his convoy
56:      which God in mercy would not destroy.


[85] On lines 29-33, see Weber, Paper Bullets, p. 41.

The Second Part,
To the same Tune.


57: ANd relates King Charles his miseries,
58: Which forces tears from tender eyes;
59: Mistrisse Lane entreats him earnestly,
60: For to find out his Majesty,
61: And him to save she would devise,
62: Unto her house they him convoy,
63: Whom God, &c.

64: King Charles a livery Cloak wore than,
65: And became a Servingman,
66: And Westward rode towards the Sea,
67: Intended transported to be,
68: And Mistrisse Lane now please he can,
69: Which was the Kings fastest convoy,
70: Whom God, &c.

71: The Captain commanded his men,
72: To the Right and Left to open then,
73: For harmlesse Travellers he them did take
74: And an intervall for them did make,
75: And so they passed on again
76: Unto King Charles's no small joy.
77: Whom God, &c.

78: His Mistresse coming to her In
79: Left William her man in the Kitchin;
80: The Cook maid askt where he was born,
81: And what Trade that he did learn:
82: To frame his excuse he did begin,
83: Thus his sorrow was turnd to joy,
84: Whom God, &c.

85: To answer mild he thus begun,
86: At Brumigan a Nailers son:
87: When said the maid the Jack stands still,
88: Pray wind it up if that you will,
89: Which he did, suspition to shun,
90: And somewhat did the same annoy,
91: Yet did not the same quite destroy.

92: As those that were by do say
93: He went about it the wrong way,
94: Which angred the Maid the same to see,
95: She call'd him a clownish Boobee
96: In all my life that ever I saw:
97: Her railing caus'd him laugh for joy.
98: Whom God, &c.

99: After many weeks in jeopardy,
100: He was wafted into Normandy,
101: The God of Heaven for his person car'd,
102: The Ship-Paster had a great reward.
103: Thus the good Prince from hence did flye,
104: To suffer hardship he was not coy.
105: Which now will be this nations joy.

   FINIS. J. W.

   London, Printed for Charles Tyus on London-Bridge.

Henry Jones: The Royal Patient Traveller86

A unique ballad from the collection, now in the Bodleian, of Anthony Wood who dated it "1660" after the colophon, and noted above the title that the ballad was "Made by Hen. Jones an old Ballad-singer of Oxon."

   What is specially interesting here is Jones's invention and recounting of comic incidents at the king's expense involving class and gender inversions. These incidents serve to humanize the king without actually subverting anything. Jones is specially good when imagining Jane Lane slapping the king's face, one of several incidents original to this ballad. It is worth noting that as soon as Lane has awed the soldiers, thereby recovering the incident from danger by means of her nobility, Jones immediately attributes the king's escape to divine, not female, agency. A classic instance of low-comic inversion merely re-confirming the old orders of class and gender once more.

   Jones appears to follow the stragegy of J. W.'s Royal Oak with an initial warning to those hostile to the king's return, reminding us that monarchy was far from popular with everyone.


[86] Wing: J945. Bl brs. Copies: O Wood 401(171/172), ms dated "1660." Reprint: Ebsworth, RB, 7:638-41; Broadley, The Royal Miracle, pp. 91-97.

The Royal Patient Traveller,
The wonderful Escapes of His Sacred Majesty King CHARLES the Second from Worcester-Fight; And his making a Hollow Oke his Royall Pallace. The going in a Livery Cloak with Mis. Lane. And the Discourse between the Kings Majesty, and the Cook-maid imploying the King to wind up the Jack; but being not used to do it, did wind it up the wrong way.
To the tune of, Chivy Chase, Or, God prosper long our Noble King.


1: GOd hath preserved our Royal King
2:      the second of that name,
3: And those that will not pray for him,
4:      indeed they are too blame:
5: For thousands have against him spoke,
6:      but I shall so disclaim,
7: And with all others have a care
8:      how they should do the same,
9: David we read had enemies
10:      that did him sore annoy,
11: So CHARLES the Second had the same,
12:      who is fair Englands joy.
13: In May it was the twenty nine,
14:      King Charles of high Renown.
15: Being his birth-day (as 'tis known)
16:      to London came to town.
17: But had you seen the tryumph made
18: And Bonfires flaming high.
19:      and all the people for to cry
20: God save his Majesty.
21: I will rejoyce at his happiness,
22:      and pray he long may reign,
23: And of some passages he had
24:      with honest Mistris Lane,
25: From Scotland he to Worcester came
26:      though friends did look about,
27: Yet Cromwel came with a mighty Force
28:      and did give him the Rout.
29: A journey long I am sure he had
30:      with frinds the loving Scot,
31: King Charles mounting himself so brave,
32:      three times his Horse was shot.
33: The King did therefore for his safety,
34:      make friends to have some pitty,
35: For so our Saviour he doth say
36:      as I write in this Ditty:
37: If persecution being great,
38:      of such then have a care,
39: So at that time tis very true
40:      one did cut off his Hair.
41: His princely cloaths he off did strip,
42:      and did himself disguise,
43: So of King Alfred I have read,
44:      that was a Prince most wise.
45: A Chain of gold that he had then,
46:      worth hundreds without doubt
47: He gave away unto a friend,
48:      who lead him there about,
49: Into a wood where Inns was none
50:      nor Lodgings there bespoke,
51: The best of Lodgings he could get,
52:      was in a hollow Oke.
53: O happy Oke (saith Mistris Lane,
54:      that ever I did see,
55: A Pallace for a Prince thou wast
56:      but he will go with me.


57: HEr Serving-man King Charles became
58:      For so he thought it best,
59: And she to free him from his foes
60:      Did travel towards the West.
61: For all the Land was up in Arms
62:      in City and in Town.
63: And for King Charles to find him out,
64:      it was a thousand pound.87
65: But Mistris Lane vertuous and wise,
66:      so much did understand,
67: What woful hunting they did make,
68:      for Charles of fair England.
69: For through a Town they then must pass,
70:      for there was no back Lane
71: The Horses heels then up did trip,
72:      and down fell man and Dame.
73: The Souldiers seeing of the same,
74:      at them did laugh and jeer,
75: And she suspition for to shun,
76:      struck him a Box on the Ear.
77: With angry words she seemed to speak,
78:      I think I am well mann'd
79: For such another I am sure
80:      is not within the Land,
81: To second it her brother in Law
82:      so much in anger spoke,
83: Well, must my Father then said he
84:      carry your mans Cloak,
85: It was too heavy then (said she)
86:      what need you be so cross
87: The burthen off it was so great
88:      it threw us off the horse.
89: Her nimble tongue and wit in prime,
90:      and being a Lady gay,
91: The Souldiers laughing at them then
92:      did let them pass their way,
93: God freed them from their Enemies
94:      For with him there is pitty,
95: At the three Crowns King Charles then lay88
96:      which is in Bristow City,
97: For in the Kitchin he was plac'd
98:      by his most loving friend,
99: And modestly he there did stand,
100:      fearing he should offend, 100
101: It made the Kitchin-maid much muse,
102:      she could not understand,
103: That in the Kitchin by her stood
104:      King Charles of fair England.
105: For being by the fire-side,
106:      She asked what Country man,
107: At Brumingham the King replyed
108:      and a Naylors son.
109: With bobs and speeches for some Sluts,
110:      in words they are not slack,
111: At her command King Charles must be
112:      for to wind up the Jack.
113: Though mildly he did take this task,
114:      it seems he did want skill,
115: The wrong way he did go about
116:      and did do it some ill:
117: Great Clownish booby she him calls
118:      yet he was meek and mild,
119: And though she us'd such taunting words
120:      He at her did but smile,
121: He venters to another house,
122:      Where people came so thick.
123: That all the day his Chamber kept.
124:      as if he had been sick.
125: But comming down one night indeed,
126:      he spyed a servant old,
127: And for a glass of Wine he craves,
128:      because he was a cold.
129: The Butler quickly him describd
130:      and knew he was the King,
131: With hat in hand thus did he say,
132:      you may have any thing.
133: So easily his Majesty,
134:      although in cloth so plain,
135: No notice of his words he takes,
136:      to his Chamber goes again,
137: The Butler being not satisfi'd,
138:      with courage spake he can,
139: Of master Lastel89 he must know
140:      how long he had that man.
141: And whispering he told him then,
142:      I know it is my Liege,
143: And do not do him any wrong.
144:      I do you now beseech.
145: Designs still failing, yet no doubt,
146:      to God he still doth yeeld,
147: And to a trusty friend he went,
148:      that then was in the field.
149: And for three weeks the King conceald
150:      and then did back return,
151: And for a time he made a stay,
152:      it seems in fair London:
153: Where he beheld such things as was
154:      sad to his tender heart,
155: Some grief at that time did he feel,
156:      from London he did part.
157: A Master of a Ship at last
158:      it seems was a good man,
159: Did Hoise up sail,
160:      and so to France, as I do understand.

   By Henry Jones of Oxford: Printed for the Authour.


[87] This was the sum offered by parliament for information leading to the king's capture. The Proclamation for the Discovery and Apprehending of Charles Stuart was issued on 10 September (LT 669.f.16[25]), and reprinted in newsbooks; see, for instance, The Weekly Intelligencer 37 (9 to September, 1651), pp. 285-86.

[88] A confusion for the "Crown" at Cirencester.

[89] i.e. Henry Lascelles.

The Royal Wanderer90

   [undated: before May?]
Although undated, this ballad was presumably among those produced by Francis Groves during the early months following Charles's return, a time when there was still a lively market for tales of the king's adventures that were as historically unreliable as this one. The link between Charles's exile and the wanderings of Aeneis, suggested by the title and the tune, is not pursued in the text. Nevertheless, the miraculous escape is once again imagined to be a sign of divine providence protecting the royal heir rather than the result of human agency and cunning.


[90] Wing: R2157A. Bl brs. Copies: GU Euing 312. Commentaries: Hazlitt, Handbook, p. 93.

The Royal Wanderer:
Gods Providence evidently manifested,in the most mysterious Deliverance of the Divine Majesty of CHARLS the Second, King of Great Brittain.

1: Though bold Rebellion for a time look brave,
2: Man shall not slay what God resolves to save.
3: To the sune of, The wandring Prince of Troy, or, Troy town.


1: WHen ravishing Rebellion reignes,
2: Then Loyalty is lead in chaines,
3: The Royall Princes of the blood,
4: By Traitors are not understood,
5:      but they could not his fate pull down,
6:      that was preserv'd for Englands Crown.

7: Witnesse the heat at Worcester fight,
8: Which put our Royall King to flight,
9: When twice a stately horse was there,
10: Shot under him by chance of warre.
11:      but all that chance could not throw down
12:      a Prince preserv'd for Englands Crown.

13: Yet was he forc'd to quit the field,
14: Princes sometimes to slaves must yield:
15: He with some faithfull Lords did fly,
16: To places for obscurity.
17:      And at a farm house there did he
18:      disrobe himself of Royaltie.

19: A chain of Gold, whose good account
20: Did to three hundred pounds amount,
21: He gave a trusty servant, and
22: Discharg'd them all from his command.
23:      then the Lord Wilmot with their knives
24:      cut both their hair, to save their lives.

25: Thus with one friend faithfull and good,
26: He wanders through an obscure wood:
27: Untill a hollow Oake unknown
28: Was made the King of Englands Throne,
29:      and all the succour that was brought,
30:      was by this Loyall servant sought.

31: But Wilmot in his wanderings,
32: A Souldier met of the old Kings,
33: That knew him, and with true good will,
34: Secur'd him in a Malt-house Kill,
35:      where he lay sweating, almost fier'd
36:      till Souldiers came, search'd, and retir'd.

37: 'Twas nere the house of Mistresse Lane,
38: Whose name let no wilde tongue prophane,
39: The Lord, with dangers much distrest,
40: Told how the poore King was opprest,
41:      to Mistresse Lane, whose sighs and tears,
42:      did shew her sorrows, griefs, and fears.

43: She humbly doth implore that he,
44: Would seek his sacred Majesty:
45: And bring him thither, that she might
46: Take speedy order for his flight.
47:      brave Wilmot he with eyes nere shut,
48:      till with much search he found him out.

49: Then from the hollow tree he brings
50: This heart of Oake, and best of Kings,
51: To Mistresse Lanes, where after shee,
52: Did kneel unto his Soveraignty:
53:      they call a counsill how he shou'd,
54:      in safety passe the Ocean flood.

The second part,
to the same Tune

55: BRistol was thought the privat'st place,
56: Where shipping might attend his Grace,
57: And as her servant William he,
58: Must cloak it in her Livery.
59:      Like wise before her he must ride,
60:      only her father in Law beside.

61: He was as weary of the Cloak,
62: As he was lately of the Oake:
63: But Master Lastell as most fit,91
64: Uncloak'd the King and carryed it.
65:      no danger in the way they saw,
66:      untill they met her Brother in Law.

67: The Brother spy'd and quickly spoke,
68: Sir, why bear you your servant's cloak?
69: But shee made answer, 'tis so great
70: That it doth thrust me from my seat.
71:      her Brother (answered thus by art)
72:      they talk no more, shake hands and part.

73: But note a change of more renown,
74: As they were passing through a Town,
75: They met a Troop of horse which might
76: Have put them all into a fright.
77:      but their good fate so gentle was
78:      they through the Captains troop did passe.

79: When they came to their Inne at night,
80: The Cook-mayd gave the King delight,
81: She asked his birth, and whence he came?
82: A Naylors son in Brumageham
83:      reply'd the King; prethee quoth shee
84:      my Jack in down, wind't up for me.

85: The King unus'd to deal in Jacks,
86: Winds up untill the tackling cracks:
87: At which the wench (if all tales true be)
88: Rayld at the King, and call'd him booby.
89:      the King went out and laught, but they
90:      next day to Bristol made their way.

91: At Bristol all their hopes were drown'd,
92: For no convenient ship was found:
93: From Mistresse Lane he parts, and goes
94: With trusty Wilmot 'mongst his foes.
95:      to London and to Westminster,
96:      ith'Hall, where the Scotch Ensignes were

97: He wandered up and down the Town,
98: By some conceal'd, to most unknown:
99: Twas not a thousand pound could make
100: Them their fidelities forsake.
101:      a ship is hir'd, the Master straight
102:      begins to understand his fraight.

103: Quoth he, what lading do you bring,
104: I surely know this is the King.
105: If I this strange, adventure run.
106: I shall be utterly undone.
107:      but with his heart they did prevail,
108:      and valiantly he hoysts up sayl.

109: Quoth he, if I on Tiburn swing,
110: Tis for the safety of a King:
111: And if he ever crowned bee,
112: He surely will remember me.
113:      the winds blew fair, Aver de grace
114:      in France became their landing place.

115: He rides to Roan, and writes from thence
116: To Paris, of Gods Providence.
117: The Duke of Orleance did come
118: With friends, to bid him welcome home.
119:      and now in London 'tis well known
120:      he was preserv'd for Englands Throne.

London Printed for F. Grove on Snow-hill. Entred according to order.


[91] Henry Lascelles.

The Wonderfull and Miraculous escape92

   [undated: before May?]
To the previous ballad accounts of the king's escape, this broadside offers the first version of the story of the loyal Pendrel brothers, members of a recusant family who helped disguise the king in the days immediately after the battle when Charles, accompanied by Derby, Lauderdale, Buckingham and Wilmot, sought refuge while planning his escape. Other reports of the Pendrel's activities to appear in 1660 include An Exact Narrative and Relation,93 and "T. H."'s The Five faithfull Brothers,94 a prose tract purporting to be a transcription of the conversation between Charles and the brothers after the king's return.

   With characteristic enthusiasm for the Stuart cause, Ebsworth considered this "the best and most important of the many `Restoration Ballads' of the `Royal Oak' which we have had the privilege of bringing back to the notice of loyal Cavaliers" (RB, 9:69).


[92] Wing: J945. Bl brs.
Copies: O Wood
401(173/174). Reprint: Ebsworth, RB, 9:67-69.

[93] Thomason dated his copy "20 July."

[94] The colophon reads "Printed for W. Gilbertson, 1660"; L

The Wonderfull and Miraculous escape of our Gracious King, from that dismal, black and gloomie defeat at Worcester: Together with a pattern to all true and faithfull Subjects, by the five Loyall and faithfull Brothers, with their care and diligence, observance and obedience 8 dayes in the time of his Majesties obscurity.

   The tune is,Come lets drink the time invites.


1: COme you learned Poets let's cal
2:      our Fathers and our Mothers,
3: For wee'l write Historicall,
4:      of five Loyall faithfull Brothers.
5: Richard, Humphry, John and George
6: William once who had the charge
7:      of brave King Charles and others.

8: After Worsters dismall day,
9:      here's a true Relation,
10: How our King escapt away,
11:      and who was the preservation,
12: Of his Sacred Majesty,
13: In his great necessity.
14:      beyond all admiration.

15: He great Kingly acts did doe,
16:      with a brave intention.
17: Ventred Crown and Kingdoms too,
18:      in one day for our Redemption,
19: But in this Ile not insist,
20: The books doth make it manifest,
21:      beyond my wits invention.

22: For when he perceiv'd in sight,
23:      the un-even ground did rout him,
24: Five and twenty miles that night
25:      he rid with all his Lords about him,
26: But it would have griev'd your heart
27: For to have seen them all depart,
28:      What sorrow was throughout them.

29: Though with grief and double feare,
30:      they yet did hold together,
31: On the confines of Staffordshire,
32:      but to goe they knew not whether.
33: The conclusion in the end,
34: Earle Derby said he had a friend,
35:      hard by and they'd goe thither.

36: Then to the place they all did goe,
37:      where the Earle intended,
38: But the people did not know
39:      from what blood they were descended
40: But they set them Bread and Cheese,
41: And the King did highly please,
42:      his sorrow much amended,

43: The Earle of Derby in the end,
44:      all his mind disbursed,
45: Askt if there was any friend
46:      that wherein he might be trusted?
47: William Pendrall then came in,
48: Who said he would be true to him,
49:      else let him be accursed.

50: And further said if't 'twas the King,
51:      nothing should be lacking,
52: In any part that lay in him,
53:      for the escape which he was making.
54: And like unto the Turtle-Dove,
55: This honest William still did prove,
56:      in all his undertakings.


57: ANd George the yongest brother he
58:      made hast and set his clothing,
59: For his Sacred Majesty.
60:      cause the country should not know him
61: Richard he did round his haire,
62: For true Loyallists they were,
63:      all five were faithfull to him.

64: Humphry fetcht him Hat and Band.
65:      of the Country Fashion.
66: Shipskin gloves for his white hand,
67:      likewise John had great compassion
68: Fetcht him shirt and shooes the while,
69: Then the King began to smile.
70:      at his accommodation.

71: Richard fetcht his coat by stealth,
72:      and his best arrayment.
73: Then the King discriv'd95 himselfe,
74:      of his rich and Princely Garment.
75: Nimbly he did put them on,
76: And a Wood Bill in his hand,
77:      this was our Kings preferment.

78: William then went with the King,
79:      Richard he did leave them,
80: Cause Intelligence hee'd bring,
81:      least the Wood it should deceive them,
82: George and Humphry scouting were,
83: Seeing if the coasts were cleare
84:      none might come aneere them,

85: The tydings Humphry had in Town,
86:      put his vaines a quaking,
87: hearing twas a thousand pound96
88:      bid for any one to take him.
89: The King was somthing then dismaid,
90: To think what baits the Jews had laid,
91:      and horrid Plots were making.

92: All the day they wandred then,
93:      in great consultation,
94: Like forlorne distressed men,
95:      that ne'r were in such condition.
96: William to the King bespoke,
97: And said he knew a hollow Oake,
98:      might be his preservation.

99: Then through bushes they did rouze,
100:      the trees were so beronnded,97
101: With brakes and bryers leavs & bows,
102:      that in number they abounded.
103: It was the Castle of our King,
104: And his Royall Court within,
105:      for ever is renowned,

106: William he did bring him food,
107:      like he were a ranger,
108: While he staid within the Wood,
109:      though good King he was a stranger:
110: Hollow Oaks his dwelling place,
111: Where he staid for five days space,
112:      in sorrow and in danger.

113: At last he came to the Lady Lane,
114:      being all disguised,
115: And to her exprest his name,
116:      she good Lady then advised,
117: And appointed out a day,
118: When they both might come away,
119:      and never be surprised.

120: Then Humphry, Richard, John & George
121:      safly did surrender,
122: The King which they had in their charg
123:      on the eighth day of September,
124: The King he leave then took of them,
125: And said if e'r he came agen,
126:      their loves he would remember.

   Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, and W. Gilbertson.


[95] sic: not in OED.

[96] The Proclamation was not issued until September, after the Penderels had handed Charles over to Jane Lane.

[97] "beronnen" obscure past participle of "berun": OED 1. trans "to run or flow about, or over the surface" 2. "To run round about, encompass."

John Couch: His Majesties miraculous Preservation98

   [undated: before May?]

John Couch was among those anglican divines who suffered sequestration during the civil war. In 1640 the living of St. Margaret's Church, Horsmonden in Kent, became vacant on the death of the rector Dr. Geoffery Amhurst.

   Dr Amhurst's place was first filled by one Elliston, and a little later Mrs Beswicke introduced John Couch, who in due course also found himself in trouble from the Puritan members of his flock, becoming a second victim of sequestration in 1653. He was supplanted by Edward Rawson, a recent graduate of Harvard, who is described as `a New England man and a violent Presbyterian.' . . .

   The unfortunate Mr Couch, with his wife and six or seven children, was turned out of the rectory with an allowance of only £20 per annum, but was able to claim the benefice again at the Restoration, a claim strongly resisted by Rawson, who made belated efforts to legalize his own position. It appears that neither contender had ever been legally inducted. Rawsons's battle-cry had always been `No bishop': now he found himself in urgent need of one, and twice contrived to secure an induction mandate (in August 1660 and August 1661) for the vacancy `per mortem naturalem Gaudfridi Amhurst' (who had died in 1647). These manoeuvres being subsequently declared to be invalid, John Couch was restored to the rectory amid general approbation in 1661, and held it until his death in 1673.99

   The most poetic, learned and witty of the Restoration broadsides on the king's escapades after Worcester, Couch's verses hearken back to the emblem tradition, meditating on three agents of the "miraculous" escape that are signs of a special providential promise to the nation. Not for Couch the narrative stanza of ballad form. Indeed, the heroic exploits of the English king outgo biblical, classical, and legendary precedents, just as the heroic virtues of the Englishwoman Jane Lane surpass and obliviate those of the heroic Frenchwoman, Joan of Arc. For this treatment of events, only the elevated style of the classical pentameter couplet would do.

   Couch imagines Charles endangered by lions and tigers in his flight across the English countryside, a peculiar poetic fancy that he shared with the writer of The Countrymens Vive le Roy.


[98] Wing: C6508A. brs. Copies: L c.20.f.4(38).

[99] Anthony Cronk, St Margaret's Church, Horsmonden: An Historical and Descriptive Account (Horsmonden: Church Farm House, 1967), p. 45. My thanks to B. E. Fowler, Clerk of Horsmonden Parish Council; personal letter including a copy of Cronk's notice, October 1995.

His Majesties miraculous Preservation By the Oak, Maid, and Ship.

The Oak.

1: WHen Absalom rebell'd against his King,
2: An Oak betray'd him to a suffering:
3: Boughs hang'd him first; then Joabs Dart,
4: Thrice striking, wounded his perfidious Heart.100
5: When second CHARLES by Rebels lost the Field,
6: An Oak 'gainst Rebels was to him a Shield;
7: It open'd wide, and in the Hollow where
8: Once lay its Heart, the King concealed there.101
9: Men may suspend their Thoughts, Trees can define
10: Rebellion sinful, Royalty Divine.


[100] See II Sam. 18.9-14 for the story of Absalom, the oak tree, and Joab's three darts.

[101] "This Tree is not hollow but of a sound firm Trunk, onely about the middle of the body of it there is a hole in it about the bignesse of a man's head, from whence it absurdly and abusively (in respect of its deserved perpetual growth to outlast Time itself) is called Hollow," An Exact Narrative, p. 9.

The Maid.

11: THe Oak discharg'd his Trust: a Female found
12: (Men are but Trees inverted from the Ground)
13: Who next takes care: the weaker seems the Hand,
14: The Wonder more admiring doth command:
15: The Sun was then in Virgo; Heaven's Maid15
16: Sent down a potent Influence and Aid:
17: They both agree: Acted by Starry might,
18: Lady Jane Lane conducts the King, in spight
19: Of Armed Bands, safe through the numerous force
20: Of Those, who King from Kingdom would divorce.
21: William was seen: As if sh' had Gyges Ring,102
22: Invisible went Royal CHARLES the King.
23: In vain ye search, Blood-thirsty Men, to find
24: Vail'd Majesty, her Virtue makes you blind;
25: Her Faith out-acts your Malice; and your Swords,
26: First drawn, are melted by her softest Words.
27: Silence in France of Orleans Jone the Fame,
28: Whilst England doth record the worth of Lane.


[102] According to Plato, Gyges was a Lydian shepherd who, discovering a magical ring that made him invisible, used it to help him usurp the throne; Republic 2.359d.

The Ship.

29: POor Cottage of the Sea, we admire thee,
30: Not for thy State, or Pomp, or Pedegree;
31: No Neptune and no Triton stand in Gold
32: About thy Deck, no Statues grace thy hold;
33: Nor Mermaids with their Combs; Nor Stars that make
34: Sometimes the Sea be calm, sometimes to quake:
35: No Pontick Masts, whose towring Summets shew
36: How high the Sun's above the Sea below.
37: Thy Oaky Ribs swell not the Forests Pride,
38: Nor canst thou boast of th'Ankers by thy side,
39: Nor Royal Sails: Ships fram'd by Art most wise,
40: Are thus ennobled of the vastest size.
41: Thy low Condition, various is from them;
42: Once thou secur'dst our King, the best of Men:
43: They Glory is, though mean, yet strong hast stood
44: 'Gainst Rage of Tempests, and 'gainst Waves of Blood;
45: When Lyons, Tygers, and those Beasts of prey,103
46: Hunted his Life, and most would him betray.
47: Talk now no more of Theseus Ship, no more
48: Of that which brought Prince Lothbrook to our Shore:
49: Drown ye the Fame of former Ships, none yet
50: Strange to relate before so small, so great:
51: Worthy of water, more renown'd then Thames,
52: Though the like Tagus yeilded Golden Sands.
53: If Springs of Helicon could make a Main,
54: Thou shouldst ride there, and Muses by their Brain
55: Would make thee more then Mortal; their sweet Breath
56: Would fill thy Sails, and long preserve from Death.
57: Depths are above the Clouds, those Waters there
58: May suit thee well, worthy the Starry Sphere:
59: But if in place beneath the Moon thou rest,
60: Which, for admiring Visitors is best,
61: Gaz'd on by thousands; and when aged Time
62: Thy Body shall dissolve, and Limbs untwine,
63: May Seamen holy Relicts them account,
64: And with them still the Waves when high they mount:
65: Each piece an Amulet 'gainst Shipwracks harm
66: Will stand; 'gainst Winds and Rocks a Charm.


   By John Couch, M. in A. sequestred from Horsmonden in Kent.


[103] Compare The Countreymen's Vive le Roy: "By Tigers, wolves and beasts of prey" line 14.