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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Elias Ashmole
Sol in Ascendente.
28 May-4 June

   Title: Sol In Ascendente: / OR, / The glorious Appearance / OF / CHARLES the Second, / UPON / The Horizon of London, in her Horosco-/ picall Sign, Gemini. / [royal arms] / Iam vaga co/elo sidera fulgens, / Aurora fugat; surgit Titan / Radiante coma, mundoque diem / Reddit clarum. 1 / [rule] / London, Printed for N. Brook, at the Angel in Cornhill. 1660.

   Son of a sadler, Elias Ashmole (1617-92) was born at Lichfield and received his education at the local grammar school. In 1638 he married for the first time and through the patronage of Thomas Paggit, a relative on his mother's side, began to practice law in Chancery but "had indifferent good practice" (Memoirs, 1774: 292). In 1645 while in Oxford, he met Captain George Wharton at Oxford, who introduced him to astrology and alchemy and secured him a commission in the royal ordnance. That same year, he studied mathematics at Brasenose College and was appointed commissioner of excise for Worcester, moving to London when that city fell to parliament in 1646. Here he was inducted a Freemason, and became friendly with William Lilly and John Booker, the leading astrologers of the age, with William Backhouse, the leading Rosicrucian, and with John Tradescant, keeper of the botanic gardens at Chelsea and a great collector of antiquities. Having remarried to his advantage, Ashmole spent the 1650s immersed in the study of alchemy, astrology and heraldry, learning Hebrew and editing works by John Dee and other early alchemists.

   "25. [May 1659] I went to Windsor, and took Mr. Hollar with me to take views of the castle." Memoirs 1774: 326

   "16. [June 1660] Hor. post merid. I first kissed the King's hand, being introduced by Mr. Thomas Chiffinch."

   "18. [June] Hor, ante merid. was the second time I had the honour to discourse with the King, and then he gave me that place of Windsor Herald." ...

   "About this time the King apppointed me to make a description of his medals, and I had them delivered into my hands, and Henry the VIII's closet assigned for my use." ibid. 327. At the Restoration, he was appointed Windsor herald and turned his attentions to antiquarianism. Along the way, he picked up several well-paying offices, becoming accountant general of excise and commissioner for Surinam. He inherited Tradescant's collection of antiquities, married the much younger daughter of the herald William Dugdale in 1668, and published his Institutions, Laws, and Ceremonies of the Order of the Garter in 1672. In 1677, he bequeathed his collection of antiquities to the university of Oxford provided a suitable building was cosntructed for them; by 1683 the transfer was complete. In 1690 the university awarded him an honourable M. D.

   In keeping with Ashmole's interests in astrology, his poem is lagely an extended astrological conceit. It is also one of the few poems for which there is an abundance of textual material. A draft autograph copy in the Bodleian Library shows that Ashmole worked over his lines with considerable care and attention, frequently revising lines and transposing couplets and longer sections. Several lines in the manuscript never made it into print, including a Latin tag attributed to Ovid with which the manuscript opens: "C'saris arma canant alij; nos C'saris aras," -- "others have sung of Caesar in arms, we sing of Caesar on the altar."

   The Edinburgh reprint displays no internal evidence of revision from the London printing. Since lines 45-58 appeared, anonymously, in Mercurius Aulicus for the week of 28 May-4 June (p. 58), we can presume that the poem was written in advance of the king's arrival. Although the lines in question are almost identical in both printed versions, the Mercurius version of line 58 reads "To shelter us from Devils, and Rump-men" rather than the more generalizing "and worser men" found in both printed versions.

   The lines printed in Mercurius are preceded with a comment that might be taken as central to the large amount of publishing in late May and early June which anticipated the king's return:

As it is apparent, that our former pregnant hopes of establishing his Majesty in an honourable and peaceful Government of his three Kingdoms, would prove an astonishing Joy to revive the sunk spirits, who for many years have bin sorely depressed; even so is the fixing of his Princely Heart among them as the Center, in which all the opposite Lines of the distracted Interests of this Nation will meet and acquiesce, to the glory of God, and the perpetual settlement, peace, and welfare of his Subjects. (p. 57)

   On Ashmole (1617-1692), SEE DNB, Elias Ashmole...his Autobiographical Notes ed. C. H. Josten, 5 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966) and see what he had to say about the Restoration etc.

[1]In the ms version, this Latin tag is glossed "S. Oct."

[ornamental header]
Sol in Ascendente.
The glorious Appearance of
CHARLES the Second,
Upon the Horizon of London: in her Ho-
roscopical Sign, Gemini.2

1: ANd now the Nights dire Tragedies are done,
Woes are dissolv'd to Bliss, we have out-run
The Ills, that did pursue us in fierce chase;
And softer Revels do possess their place.
5: What Peace old Rome saw in Augustus dayes,
Will England feel while CHARLES shall wear the Bayes,
For Heav'n has held her peace, rowse up, then rise!
Let not dull sleep seize on your sluggish eyes;
Awake! and greet this Calm; these gentle Gales,
10: (Swell'd with rich Air) invites to spread our sails.

What though the cripl'd Heav'n has seem'd to trace,
No other Motion, then lame Saturn's pace;
Yet now behold! the lingring Hours at last,
Shake off those Weights, that on their Feet were plac't:
15: And th' Morn is fully rose, from yon dark Rocks,
Pleas'd with the coolness of her moistned Locks;
But er'st imbathed in the dewy tears,
Which long Nights sorrows, pressed through our tears.

Mark! how the Clouds disband, how they retire,
20: To see our Heav'n arch'd o're, with this bright fire;
How yon declining Moon, (conscious of Ill)
Sets with a wasting paleness; and how still
The charmed Windes are in their severall flights;
How all those numberless tumultuous Lights,
25: Which twinkling look, as struck with trembling fear,
Shrink in their sockets; dye, now th' Sun draws near.
Observe! instead of Clouds, how th'fresher Air
Inwraps us round, with its preserving care;
And the forgotten glory of our Sun,
30: Which here coms riding on our Horizon,
Does like a lucky Planet, fix his Beam
On the Ascendant, of the Kingdoms Scheam. 3

See! see! our Pho/ebus, who ith'Sea was pent,
His Steeds unharnest, and to grazing sent;
35: His Chariot set aside, and what he chose
For rest, became disturbance, not repose,
Awakes! his Generous Horses curle their Mains,
And Champ their Bits; hee's mounted, handling's Reins,
Throwing his usual glories round his Face,
40: And making ready for a second Race.

Behold! his Chariot cuts the Eastern line,
And his Serener Brows with Glory shine,
Deckt in refulgent lustre round about:
Thus th'Sun, at first cleft Heav'n, and so brake out.

See! Glories arch His Crown, Majestick Grace,
With Mirtle wreathes, his Temples do imbrace; 4
All sacred Lustre from about him sheds,
Fame rides before, and circularly spreds
From her select collections, what's most due
50: To his so great Deserts, and Patience too.
Whilst Heav'n it self breaks through his lovely Smile;
Thus looks th'auspicious Fortune of this Isle.

They are his Native Rayes, 5 that render bright
This Morn, and dress it with Celestial Light;
55: Whose all-attracting power sucks up the Dew,
That new begotten Gladness sends unto
Our eyes; which (Hallowed) is let fall agen,
To shelter us from Devils, and worser men.6

Lo! Heav'n has now subscrib'd to our request,
60: Here with a glorious Sun we all are blest;
Whilst the Nights guilty shadows sneak away
Back to their Cave, at this approach of day.
Let's then no more our wither'd Joyes lament,
Let sadness be condem'd to Banishment;
65: And Mis'ry cease to grinde: let's pay our Vowes,
And strow our streets with peaceful Olive Boughs:
Of whose fair Trunks new Gates let us prepare
For Janus Temple to shut out fierce War,
And keep in Peace; whilst due obedience shall
70: Our Bosoms fill, ne're to know Ebb at all.

But first, all cordial greetings we must pay,
From our devotest souls to this blest Day;
Next to our Sun, such just observance give
As his great worth deserves: then pray to live
75: To see Meridian Beams dance on his Crown,
And full blown Glories, shine about this Throne.

And since that Heav'n thus smiles, let each full soul,
Unlade such thanks, may rise above controul;
Unfold free welcomes to imbrace this Morn;
80: And to those forward joyes, which are new borne
In Loyal hearts, force passage to each Tongue,
Venting the Acclamations thither throng.
Let's kiss the Hand, that steer'd Affairs to this,
Let's bless those Eyes, to see this hour did wish:
85: Esteem it dear as heav'n which sent it, such
As our Devotions cannot praise too much.
Repeat these Blessings while there is a day,
Which this Moneth brought, with Ills it took away;
And date our Records hence, make them retain
90: Force and effect from CHARLES the Second's Reign:
Let's in all gladsome looks our faces dress,
All grateful welcomes let our hearts express;
Darting such spirits from each greedy eye,
By whose reflection he our loves may spye:
95: Nor can he by a better Medium finde,
How strongly we to duty are inclin'd;
Unless we were all eyes, that so each part
Being fill'd with eyes, might all become one heart.

Yet see! and let's wear out our eyes in view
100: Of these fair looks, Fate doth to us renew;
(Pleasing to heav'n) yea, let's Anticipate,
What forward gratitude can yet create:
And like to Tides, bring all our wealth on shore,
Open our Cabinets, lay out our store,
105: Wear them upon our brows, and make them grow
Up to the Sands, whose number none can know.
Let's greet this Hero with a full spread sail,
And strive, who can in strife of joy prevail:
Kiss Heav'n with thanks, and make our hearty cryes,
110: Roll round in Ecchoes, pierc'd the arched skyes.

Look with what conquering Aspect he returns,
Foarding the hearts of all he sees; and mourns
At nought so much, as those wan looks which we
(And our black night) tann'd with disloyalty,
115: That gracious Face we view through humble Tears,
Brings healing to the wounds of these late years:
Nor need we doubt; our great Apollo will
Secure this Island with his ablest skill
Like Delas, (to requite his nursing years)
120: From all assaults of future storms and Fears.

For see! he comes off'ring Oblivion,
Forgetfull of what's past, or lost, or done;
Cloath'd with the general Good, (that weighty Care)
Attended with those thoughts that pitious are,
125: Bringing along all Charmes, to still our Fears;
Fill'd with ripe knowledge, of experienc't years;
Able to poise all Interests, quit each score,
To stanch that waste of Blood long running o're,
And cure our rankled wounds; if we'l but sip,
130: That healing Balsom, droppeth from his Lip:
In fine, here come the close of all debate,
Worthy to mannage a fare greater State.

'Tis true, he has been plundred o're and o're,
And little left, but what might style him poor;
135: Yet is his stock of favours not impair'd,
There's plenty left for those deserve reward;
His wiser judgment can most clearly see,
The fitting due's, belong to each degree:
And happy we, that once again behold,
140: His just Authority himself infold;
Which nev'r shall alter him, unless his Power
Rise up to's will, to do us good each houre.

What thoughts dare then deny this Sun his Rayes,
Who is the Spring and Fountain of our dayes;
145: The brightest Eye, of this our little world;
Whose spreading Rays 7 in rich glories curl'd,
Grow from his own essential light; their power
Raiseth the lustre, of this growing hour.
From those all-glorious Beams, on us shall shine
150: The light of Peace, and Happiness Divine;
Even all those Halcion dayes we once beheld,
When our replenish't Cornucopia's swell'd.

Since then his Fate, has gain'd the Easterne light,
May it recover the Meridian height;
155: Whilst all good Fortunes lead him to that Hill,
And further him from good, to better still:
May Heav'n, which did through Clouds, his sufferings mark,
And with Compassion view'd his sinking Bark,
Ne're leave him till Astrea right his wrongs,
160: Fully restoring what to him belongs:
Then place him like Olympus lofty Rocks,
That kiss the Heav'ns, and mount above those shocks
Of under storms, would toss him to and fro
With their false byast Guests; for we must know
Justice can ne're be evenly render'd, till
He like the Sun in his Meridian dwell.


[2] O ms opens with epigraph: Ovid. C'saris arma canant aly: nos C'saris aras.

[3] Note to ms at line 32: "Tis from the nerenes of a watry vapour which the winde tossing with various [illegible] neere the Horizon about the rising of the Sun, & the force of the Sun being refracted in the vapour, it seems as if it danced, from whence the vulgar conceit of the Suns dancing on Easter day might probably rise." Ash. 38 fol. 232.

[4] Ms note: "Mirtle wreathes were wont to be worn in triumph by the Romaine Captaines when they had obtayn'd a Victory without Blood." Ash. 38 fol 232.

[5] Note to ms: "Lux congenita" Ash. 38 fol. 232.

[6] and worser men] and Rump-men Mercurius Aulicus

[7] Rays] Rady L, O