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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Postliminia Caroli II
Titlepage: POSTLIMINIA / CAROLI II. / THE / PALINGENESY, / OR, / SECOND-BIRTH, / OF / CHARLES the Second to his / Kingly Life; Upon the day of his First, / May 29. / [rule] / By Abiel Borfet, M. A. / [large crown] / LONDON, / Printed for M. Wright at the Kings-head in the / Old-Baily, 1660.
Both the WF and Thomason copies are hand-dated 8 June. Fortescue catalogues the LT copy for 29 May, presumably following the title.
The typographical eccentricity of placing the final letter of the king's name outside the italics suggests not so much design as an overused set of type, that is, the absence of an italic capital "i".
Borfet claims to have written a satire on the Rump; describes in some details the events of late May including some fanciful conceits based on the procession of mayor and guilds through London. He ends with the wich that Charles will soon marry and produce an heir.
The day this poem appeared, if the 8 June dating is reliable, was the day Charles rode to Hampton Court and touched for the King's Evil (Pub Int. #15. p. 238)
1: That I, whom Nature never made a Poet,
Nor was adopted once by Art unto it,
Soare above Prose, and force my Novice-Quill
To uncouth Laws against Minervaes will:
5: It is no marvell, when my Subject's such,
That Art and Nature can't do half so much;
My Matter is my Muse; I find it here
More easie task to write then to forbear.
Fear made the dumb man speak, seeing the King
10: Ready to perish. Wonder not if I sing,
Though doubly tongue-tied; seeing him renate:
Since fear contracteth, but joy doth dilate.
When Indignation made a verse before
Upon the Rump, and lasht it or'e and or'e;
15: Shall the Priest only, not the Poet shed
Some oyle of gladness on the sacred Head?
No, though among those Stars, which did appear
At his renew'd Nativity this year,
The true Platonick, when the Sphears 1 are rowl'd
20: Back to the Loyall points they kept of old;
Although among those Stars, whose glorious train
Was in conjunction with Charles his Wain,
This be an half-mixt Meteor; yet give us
Leave to bring forth our Ignis Fatuus,
25: A Pageant to the shew: About a King
Fools have an office; why not this I bring?
His enterance, though contriv'd with costly Art,
Denying not the Morrice-Dance a part;
And, while the Canons of the Towre do roare,
30: Accepting Muskets of a lesser bore.
We can't augment the Glory of that day
By this; yet thus Remember it we may:
Our Torch may lose its own, not give a light
Unto the Sun: but, when he's gone at night,
35: May represent him; this commends my Theme,
Its the Dayes sight repeated in a Dream.
But that I doubt, whether a Dream can tell
An History, that's so Incredible;
That Sight might passe for one, and make men think
40: Their rising early on that Day did bring't.
For like those Persians, which contended who
Should see the Sun first at his rising; so
We hasted to this sight, before the shine.
Of Charles his Phosphorus proclaim'd the Signe.
45: Some take the Vigils; some till Day defer,
Thinking the Night too little to prepare:
And will next day so much the longer lie,
When they have seen our sleeps security.
How many now can say, that they have seen
50: The Sun to rise? which false before had been.
The Virgins early walks sufficient were
To banish the green sickness for a year:
Old men were up, who meant not else to rise
Untill the Resurrection ope'd their eyes.
When other times I overtake and meet 2
So many various faces in the street;
I think within my self, that each Mans End
Is no lesse divers, which he doth intend?
But by a common Physiognomy,
60: I there discern'd one sense in every Eye;
An happy foretast of our union,
When multitudes thus lose themselves in One.
Such multitudes within and out; that then
The streets seem'd pav'd, the Houses built with Men;
65: The first I view'd, I thought a Limners shop
Faced with lively Pictures to the top;
And wonder'd the Exchange, through which I past,
Was on the Southern side of Cornhill cast:
It was a Frollick at my second view,
70: Which all the Houshold at the Windows threw.
For not an house appear'd, which was not set
So thick; the King might think his Kingdomes 3 met,
And that to show their Loyalty is true,
They had turn'd inside outside to his view.
Blest Prince! whose Glory in great Numbers stands,
That rather court then suffer his commands.
More blessed Land! under that greater Soul,
Worthy to rule the Sphear from Pole to Pole.
How were we prest, and like the Scaffolds built
80: On one anothers backs? yet never felt
The weight with our light hearts: O let the King
Still such oppressions, and such burthens bring.
Let this be all the use of naked Blades,
Of Drums and Trumpets, and of arm'ed Brigades:
85: Let's know no other Souldiery but this,
Whose brave Battalia's then brought in our Peace.
Who will repine to give them now free Quarter,
Whose Generals Belt is suppl'd to a Garter?
How did they lose their Name, while we descry'd
90: A Loyall Heart thorough an Iron side?
They have unspell'd that Proverbs mighty charms,
Which striketh dumb the Laws, 'mongst Martial Arms:
For when I heard the Guns give forth their sence,
My Ears thought Cooks Reports proceeded thence;4
95: Seeing their Buff, I fanci'd with my Eyes,
Sure Magna Charta in that Vellum lies;
Their Swords appear'd as innocent and fair,
As that which was supported by the Mayor;
And as they past the Goldsmiths company,
100: Both Metals chinkt a perfect Harmony.
May they, who used Iron so justly, never
Want Gold to change an Helmet for a Beaver!
In these we saw the Body politick
Restor'd to strength, which had so long been sick;
105: With mighty Arms, and Iron-sinews strung:
But we have stay'd upon the strength too long.
View we the Beauty now, which though my Ink
Cannot resemble; yet be pleas'd to think
How Venus Mole was nothing like her Face,
110: Yet by comparison did lend a Grace:
My Pen, may't lay but some black patches on
That Dayes fair Face, hath its Ambition.
Thus may my shady praises give't some light,
Because, compar'd, they are but black to white.
Cornhill was Silver-Street, I will be bold
To call't the Milken-way, cream'd o're with Gold,
[While braver mettal glister'd from among
The English faces, then that Indian Dung]
As much out-shining that, which Poets call
120: The a Regent-walk5 to JUPITERS White-hall; a Ovid. Me-
As Starry Orders of the primest size tamor. lib. I.
Out-vye the small confused Sporades.
They made their Progress here, who have the odds
In all perfections of the Pagan Gods;
125: Who had they liv'd of old, had been known by
The Names of Neptune, Mars, and Mercury:
When Iupiter did with his thundering call
Summon his Peerage to his judgement-hall
In old Deucalions days; Those Gods had then
130: Less valour and less wisdome, then these Men
Nor did ennbole Via Lactea,
Like London-streets, through which these made their way. 6
Their outward splendor's but a Foyle to this
Their Brighter fame. But yet, as He who is
135: The true Autocalon, and doth out-shine
The most contrived Glory of his Shrine;
Was glorifi'd by the external gay
Of th' Salomonjan Temple: so we may
Not wrong the True worth of these Heroes,
140: While we consider their Appendices.
Here Englands Youth we see renew'd again,
Blasted by twenty-years of war in vain.
The Fable made of 'son, here is true,
Who lost his old blood to be fill'd with new.
145: As propagation of the Kind we call
A step of Death to th' Individual:
Accordingly it seems a Nation doth,
While Single Persons lose it, gain her youth;
For who can find so beautiful a show
150: In all the Chronicles of Speed and Stow?
Which, could it be described to the life,
Will win to all past stories our belief;
And strain the Faith of every future age,
Till the great year rebuilds the present Stage.
155: The Proverb said that England, were it try'd
Could no where match that Garden in Cheap-side;
Till the unfitness was by Tichbourn found,
Who set that Eden in more holy ground:
Let but the Proverb go for Prophecy,
160: And who can give our Grandames teeth the lie?
The Flowers of Noble Gentry, which our eyes
There saw, did prove it Englands Paradice.
That Winter, under which so long they lay,
Strength'ning their Roots for the ensuing May;
165: Proud to be Garlands for what greater grace,
Our Tree of life, who in the Middle was;
Under whose Shadow long may England dwell,
Tasting the sweet Fruits of his ruling well!
May he be a Forbidden fruit no more
170: By Flaming Swords, which kept the way before!
But let perennal happiness flow thence
To his dominions circumference;
As he that day the centre did appear,
Scattering his lustre round the Theater:
175: All the Stars of which orb just needs confess,
That this Sun lent them all their noble dress;
And that the Names and Titles, which they bear,
Begin with these two Capitals; C. R.
That costly Wardrobe, which these persons decks,
180: Is but th'unfolded Livery of Charls Rex;
The naked letters signifie the same,
As when they're flourish'd with so long a train:
All those contents are summ'd up in these two,
The Title-page and Index of the shew.
But since we are born children, slaves to sence,
And few in Reasons Art do Men commence,
Being not capable to know a King,
But as he's pictur'd in some gawdy thing;
It's fit this useful Science go among
190: The vulgar, written in their Mother-tongue,
Describ'd in all the Nations Pomp, which is
No more then Charles in a Periphrasis.
These ceremonies are in State, though not
In Church, the best Books for the Ideot,
195: Had the King shewn his worth in making Laws
Beyond th'Idea of the ancient Saws,
That Plato's Common-wealth might seem to be
Of later date, transcrib'd from him we see;
Had he put forth his inward glory then,
200: Which Angels are more fit to view then Men;
He should have had but few spectators more,
Then the invisible which Saints adore.
But when he condescends to take from Us
Some Glory; we do flock to see him Thus:
205: Like those, who will not worship God, unless
He bear their Image, and be rendred less,
In whom the Fountain of their honour lies,
By borrow'd lustre from his votaries.
So since that costly shew I heard it said,
210: These Lay-mens Books have many converts made;
Who, since His species stampt it, do afford
The Faith they fear'd to give his current word.
See how all eyes delight on him to dwell,
As Platoes Vertue now made visible:
215: One strides a post, and makes a noted Sign;
Yet they within the Tavern know no Wine:
Anothers Eyes hard by his Mistress were;
Yet lose their object, and forget she's there:
A thirds can see Him scarce, they are so dim
220: With want of sleep, yet watch all day for Him:
One Souldier, being hoarse with many a shout,
Would chuse to whistle rather then stand out:
Our Acclamations rend the Heavens, to woe
The Angels Harmony with us below:
225: Though Ringers stirr'd them not, the Churches Bells
And Stones would cry out, Here our safety dwells.
And when this Day was gone, we saw no Night;
The frequent Bone-fires were Meridian light:
And its no marvell, when we were our own
230: Antipodes, and this our Sun went down
Amongst us; Hence those fiery pillers rise,
Londons black Night-Robes turn'd to scarlet Skies.
The Countrey saw the brightnesse, and had run
To quench the Towne, but that the cause was known:
235: Who can think darkness in that night can dwell,
Where the light lodgeth of our Israel?
The Aspect of our Heaven had been compleat,
But that our Sun without a Moon did set.
For in this single Scheam we could not view
240: Our present fortune, and our future too:
Though 7 Charles were proof against his other foes,
Our sins will kill Him, when, God only knows:
Heaven send's a Queen, that may bring forth his Mind,
And Travail with the Vertues of the Kind;
245: A Prince so like him, that at length we might
Behold the Royall Picture drawn aright.
Till then the Painter, and the Poet too,
Blaspheme him, and their colours Treason brew;
His Pencill, and my Pen, deserve to feel
250: The Fate, which t'other day befell the Seal:
The Prince of Wales is only fit to be
The King of Englands pourtraicture. Thus we
Shall have no new King, when the present's dead,
But Charles himself shall to himself succeed.
But this defect as yet is well suppli'd
By the two Dukes, which rode on either side;
Like two Supporters of that Family,
In whose extinction all the rest must Dye.
Whole Lands pay Tribute unto Iames, whole Seas
260: Render him the just custome of his praise.
Henry was born both Mars and Mercury,
Valiant and Politick ex Traduce:
When Charles the First was forc'd to mind the Art
Of Warre, but study'd Peace more in his Heart;
265: When the Queen welcom'd home an armed King,
As Semele did Iove in lightening.
God grant we never come to need their Merit!
Who say Amen, not wishing to inherit.
Let this Payre-Royall [I may call them so,
270: Whom Kingdomes want more, then They Kingdomes do]
Let this Payre-Royall live in blisse and love,
Like those I pray to, Three and One above.
Sphears] dropped cap s
meet] ed; me t O, LT
Kingdones] ed; Kindomes ä
Follows the early order of the Guilds at the procession through London; s
a Ovid. Metamor. lib. I.
way.] ed; way/ O, LT
Though] dropped type in O