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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Majestie Irradiant

II. Majestie Irradiant: The Text

   Majestie Irradiant is printed in three vertical columns as marked, with lines between so that the headings of each column invite us to read across, giving: "CHARLES, the Second: / This Conqueror, -- / A Prince, -- " with vertical ornamental borders down side margins emphasizing the frame.

   The question of whether a broadside such as Majestie Irradiant is poetry can, in part, be deferred to contemporary authority since the text reappeared later the same year, anonyously, set in the form of prose, as the final part of The Strange and Wonderfull Prophesie of David Cardinal of France.1 Thomason dated his copy of this later work 14 December. If the anaphoric cadence here owes more to the sermon than the ear of the poet, Sadler's skills as a versifier are fully exemplified in his masque, The Subject's Joy.

   Works such as Majesties Irradiant that purported to inform readers what sort of king Charles would be based on his character, obviously belong that realm of journalism where a few facts are transformed into certainty, and owe as much to the desire to reassert traditional ideals of what a king should be like as they do to what was known of Charles himself. But a good deal of fairly accurate assesment of Charles's personal life was quickly being made avaialable. Thomason collected a prose tract, A Character of Charles the Second Written by an Impartial Hand, and exposed to Publick View for Information of the Peopleon April.2 Discussions of the new king's character and arguments that his exile was really an education suited to a modern king, quickly became commonplaces of Restoration ideology.3

   Despite their clear flattery of the royal person, however, surely such predictions of what sort of king Charles will be also serves a prescriptive function by establishing expectations.


[1] See the verses from this work entitled "In the eight Kings reign."

[2] The colophon reads "Printed for Gabriel Bedell, 1660" LT E 765.(10).

[3] See David Evans, "Charles II's 'Grand Tour': Restoration Panegyric and the Rhetoric of Travel Literature," Philological Quarterly 72:1 (1993): 53-71.

MAIESTIE Irradiant,
[cut:lion] The Splendor Display'd, [cut:unicorn]
Our Soveraigne

1: CHARLES, the Second:

2: The Name, is Renowned;
3: The Title, Royal:
4: So Renowned, is the Name;
5: So Royal, is the Title:
6:       It makes, even -- --
7: Rhetorick, to be Silent:
8: Impudence, to be Asham'd:
9: and Treason, to be Amaz'd:4

1: He was Born,
2:      A Prince:
3: In the merry Month, of May:
4: In the happy Time, of Peace.
5: But
6: Not so Bred, as Born;
7: Nor so Train'd up, as Worthy.
8:       Being
9: from his Tender Age,
10: Sadly enforced,
11: unto the worst School,
12: of an Intestine War.

13: His Tutor, a man in Arms:
14: his book, Military:
15: his Lesson, Stratagemical:
16: and
17: The Application of his Learning;
18: The Defence of Majesty.5
19:      He was
20: An Early Soldier:
21:      and
22: a rare Proficient,
23: in so severe a Discipline.

24: Dolus an virtus? is a Question:
25:       but
26: His Virtue, and his Valour,
27:       parallel.
28:      He is
29: Undoubtedly Victorious:
30: (fortius est, qui Se:)
31: having Conquered Himself.
32:       In
33: His Enjoyments, by being Temperate:
34: His Passion, by being Moderate:
35: His Greatnesse, by being Humble.

This Conquerour, -- -
Carries his Trophies with him:
Yea and many times,
(like One of the Sages)
40: Omnia Secum: his Goods too.

His Life
from the 10th year, to the now 30th
hath been,
a weary Pilgrimage;
45:       and
(like our best Progenitors)
A Sojourners Condition
from one Kingdom, to another people.

He is
50: Such a Son, of such a Father;
CHARLES the Patient,
CHARLES the Pious:
55: Next the most pious Martyr,
CHARLES the First;
The most Patient Sufferer, is,
CHARLES the Second.

He is
60:       Successively the King,
of Great Brittain, and Ireland:
Proclaim'd and Crown'd,
in Scotland.
65: (Being most undutifully Treated)
He was
(Being in England)
most notoriously Betray'd.

The Battail at Worcester,
70: (Famously Memorable,
as much,
For his Deliverance, as his Valour)
the fatal Signal,
75:            of the Rebells Ruine.

They had,
The Day, but not the Victory:
The Place, but not the Person:
God's Mercy, and the King's Escape;
80:      are a Twin of Wonders.

A Prince, -- --
So much Accomplisht,
as most Incomparable:
of such rare Deportment,
85:      He is Belov'd, and Fear'd.
of such Excellent Discourse,
He is observ'd, and follow'd.
of such prudential Designs,
He is Admir'd, and Blest.

90:      A Prince -- --
Not more Royal, then Religious:
Nor lesse Holy, as to God:
then Just, as to Men:
and Sober, to Himself.

95:      He is one
That wears Christ's Banner,
Upon his Forehead:
The Cross, upon his Crown.
A Sufferer for the Truth:
100:       and
A Defender, of the Faith.

Such a Prince -- --
Whose Constancy to the Church,
of England;
105:       and whose Arguments,
for that Constancy;
have rendred him,
(By his most acute Opponents)
not only,
110: CHARLES the Zealous;
CHARLES, The Wise:
A Prince,
Not Wilful, but Unanswerable.

115:       Happy are the People,
(Bona, si sua norint)
that be in such a Case;
to have such a Prince,
to be their King.
120:       and such a King,
to be their Nursing Father.6

The Lord make us,
as thankful for him,
as Happy, in him;
125:       the Best of Men.
Crowned with,
the Best of Blessings.

So prayeth -- -and so resteth -- -for GOD, and King CHARLES;
Anthony Sadler.

[4] On the question of writing a "character" of the new King, see John Collop's Itur Satyricum: "All Characters are libels, who'de set forth / Charls, is a Traytor to impeach his worth: / Since praises must fall short, expressions be / But the faint shaddows of Divinitie" (lines 73-6).

[5] On the education Charles received in his childhood from the Duke of Newcastle with its emphasis on "subjects of obvious importance to a monarch," see Hutton, Charles the Second, pp. 2-3.

[6] "Nursing Father:" a key trope in the defense of the sacramental authority of kings that was often invoked in Restoration panegyrics to describe Charles. Faced with his countrymen's infidelity, Moses complains to the Lord of his burden to "carry them" in "his bosom, as a nursing father" (Num. 11: 12), and see Isaiah 49: 23: "And kings shall be thy nursing fathers." Compare J. P., The Loyal Subjects hearty Wishes To King Charles the Second, line 43; and contrast Thomas Pecke, To The Most High and Mighty Monarch Charles the II: "CHARLES with maternal Care, kept LONDON plump," line 331. See also "The first Speech" in Sadler's The Subject's Joy.