MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

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England's Captivity Returned


   Since only the first part of this ballad survives, one can only speculate on the intriguing irony of the title. Ebsworth issued a version of the fragment of England's Captivity (RB, 9:787-8) with some commentary. He notes of the two woodcuts that the first "a square-bordered portrait of John Pym, with pointed beard and broad overlying collar; 2nd, on a large scale, the head and armoured neck of Charles II, a regal crown above," and offers May 1660 as the likely date (9:788), though without any substantial reasons.

   The verso contains the second part of The True Lovers' Knot Untied (rpt. by Ebsworth, Roxburghe Ballads 7:599-603). Originally printed circa 1610-15, it concerns the secret marriage of Lady Arbella Stuart to William Seymour which had caused James to imprison her in the Tower. Seymour died in 1660, presumably causing the reprinting of this ballad. My thanks to professor Sara Jayne Steen for identifying this partial ballad. Ebsworth lists copies including the following: Rox. 11.468; Pepys IV.44 [not found]; Bagford II.30 [not found]; Euing, 356 [found]; Wood 25,16: first line variously "As I to ireland did pass."

Englands Captivity Returned, With A Farwel to COMMON-WEALTHS. To the Tune of, The brave Sons of Mars.


COme lets now rejoyce,
All with a loud voice,
at the return of Charles our King,
With a hearty good prayer,
5: He may never come there,
Where the Traytors his Father did bring

Let us all make a noise,
Both young men and boyes,
with a great acclamation of joy
10: Whilst those Traytors lament,
(But want grace t' repent)
Which so long did our king annoy.

Farwel a free State,
Such Rascals we hate,
15:           as we here of late dayes have had,
Such Plots theyd contrive,
When they were alive,
enough for to make us all mad.

But weel let them alone,
20: Which from hence are gone,
cause their reward will be paid them
But leave them where they are,
Weel neither make or mar,
nor never from thence weel perswade them

25: My Lord Monck's the man,
Though his lifes but a span,
he hath improved that little so well,
That in true loyalty,
I can none espie
30:           that can this great worthy excell.

To bring home our King,
Twas the only thing,
could make all things well for the people.
And such joy for't there was,
35: As in the streets I did pass,
that the Bells almost leapt out oth' Steeple.

[verso: The True Lovers' Knot Untied]
The second part to the same Tune.

Whom of your Nobles will do so,
 for to maintain the Commonalty,
Such multitudes would never grow,
nor be such those of poverty.

5: I would I had a Milk-maid been,
 or born of some more low degree,
Then I might have loved where I like,
and no man could have hindered me.

Or would I were some Yeomans child,
10:  for to receive my postion now,
According unto my degree
as other Virgins whom I know.

The hightest branch that springs aloft,
 needs must beshade the middle tree,
15: Needs must the shadow of them both,
 shadow the third in this degree.

But when the tree tree is cut and gone,
 and from the ground is born away,
The lowest tree that there doth stand,
20:  in time may grow as high as they.

Once when I thought to have been Queen
 but yet that still I do deny,
I know your grace had right to th'Crown
 before Elizabeth did dy.

25: You of the eldest Sister came,
 I of the second in degree,
The Earl of Hertford of the third,
 a man of Royall blood quoth she.

And so good night my Soveraign Liege,
30:  since in the Tower I must ly,
I hope your Grace will condescend,
 that I may have my liberty.

Lady Arebella said our King,
 I to your freedome would consent
35: If you would turn and go to Church,
 there to receive the Sacrament.

And so good night Arabella fair.
 our King to her replied again,
I will take Counsel of my Nobility,
40:  that you your freedome may obtain.

Once more to Prison must I go,
 Lady Arabella then did say,
To leave my Love breeds all my wo,
 the which will be my lives decay.

45: Love is a knot none can unknit,
 fancy a liking of the heart,
He whom I love I cannot forget,
 though from his presence I must part

The meanest people enjoy their mates,
50:  but I was born unhappily,
For being crost by cruel fate,
 I want both love and liberty.

But death I hope, will end the strife,
 Farewel, farewel, dear love quoth she
55: Once had I thought to have been thy wife,
 but now am forc'd to part from thee.

At this sad meeting the bad cause,
 in heart and mind to grieve full sore,
After that Arabella fair,
60:  did never see Lord Seymore more.


Part VI. Loyal Expressions, June