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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To the King's Most Excellent Majesty
Titlepage: TO THE / KING'S / Most Excellent Majesty: / ON HIS / Happie and Miraculous / RETURN / To The Government of his Three (now ) flourishing / KINGDOMS. / [text: pp. 1-6] / LONDON : / Printed by James Cottrel , for Humphry Robinson , at the / three Pigeons in St. Paul 's Church-yard. / M D C L X.
The son of a royalist commander from Carlisle, Clement Ellis (1630-1700) entered Queen's College, Oxford in 1649 and was elected fellow in 1657. Until the Restoration, he lived on anonymously donated funds that he later suspected were paid by Jeremy Taylor and Henry Hammond. In 1661 he was appointed domestic chaplain to William, marquis of Newcastle, who presented him to the rectory of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts. A prolific and popular writer on religious matters -- his The Gentile Sinner (1660) was reprinted at least 7 times by 1680 -- he was by his own admission not much of a poet. His sermon on the anniversay of the Restoration, preached before the marquis of Newcastle on 29 May 1661, was published in Oxford.
In his poetic lament for the kingless past and his anticipation of the return of the anglican church, there is little that is original. Thomason dated his copy 11 June and noted: "The gift of the Author, my son George's Tutor."
Most Excellent Maiestie.
PARDON, Great King! 'Tis now the common voice
Of Friends and Foes; of all that can Rejoyce,
Or seem to do so: Such Joy best begins
With Deprecations for our former Sins.
5: The sacred Names of KING & CHARLES do more,
Then thousands of Reformers wrought before:
The Blind begin to see, it has been Night,
And all their Visions were meer Dreams of Light.
Our Hearts and Tongues agree, and all confess
10: We've now a sense of our long senslesness .
Parties and Sects clos'd and cemented be;
Faction alone's the Common Enemie .
But are these Blessings Real? May we dream
Things are indeed in England what they seem?
15: Is't possible a Glorious King should come
Perfect, from out Confusion 's Monstrous Womb?
Can Monarchs be Rewards for Sin? And can
Provoked Heav'n smile on an English-man?
It is Our King; O may he ever live,
20: Till Heav'n receive Him, what Heav'n now doth give!
PARDON, Dread Sov'raign! 'Tis this word must be
The Symbol of a (too-late) Loyalty;
Whilst with more Po/enitence, then Wit, we come
To welcome Life, Laws, Liberties all home.
25: Welcome Religion , and our Church, and all
That Truth dares Honesty and Justice call.
Welcome Great Prince, the sum of all, by whom
Englands once more made part of Christendom.
Welcome all that with You hath banished bin
30: By England's Madness, and for England's Sin.
Welcome to three glad Kingdoms , which do know
No Life , no Soul, but what they find in You.
We lay Eight long years sick, Twelve dead and rotten;
Truth and Religion, King and Laws forgotten:
35: Corruption reigning both in Church and State,
All things, save Stench and Vermine, out of date.
Those few stout Members did the rest survive,
We tare them off, and bury'd them alive.
Since England sent away in blood her Head,
40: To wear that Crown for which the Great King bled,
We have been all one Carcass, and the Prey
Of Hellish Vultures, till this happy day.
Strange Dev'ls of Light, false Saints more barbarous;
No Mercy in our Foes , less Sense in Us .
45: Might we speak out (Great Sir) and were it not
High Treason not to shew we have forgot
Our numerous Deaths at Your approach, we'd tell
The World how much Your Absence made Our Hell.
You bring too great a light, Sir, now we see
50: Nought but the present Rayes of Majestie:
We see, and cannot tell you what; 'Tis You
Alone such Blessings as Your Self must know;
Whom God by Miracles hath kept alive,
Your Sorrows, Your Foes Malice to survive.
55: His Providence preserv'd You all this while,
To be his Mercy's Wonder to our Isle.
We slew our selves, alas, by Regicide,
GOD gives that Life, which we in Blood deny'd.
May we grow Wise, and Thank-ful! shew agen,
60: Good Subjects may be made of English-men!
Oh may we ne'er again rejoyce to see
Heads off, to give the Shoulders Libertie!
May You not now fear Poyson in our Breath,
Or think an English-man speaks nought but death
65: To Laws and Kings! May You not henceforth say,
We Bless and Welcome, as we Fast and Pray!
May that Great Power above, which thus doth bow
Our Head to Us, raise up our Hearts to You.
Your sacred presence sanctifies the Land,
70: The Atheist worships, and the Traytor's Hand
Is now lift up to Heav'n, to draw down thence
Blessings on's King, Pardon for his Offence.
Our Canting's near an end; and all the Art
Of Hypocrites, is, how to find an Heart
75: For GOD and C'SAR: 'Tis our general sence,
Tyrants meer Bastards are of Providence.
When Blessings keep a mean, Sir, and our Joys
May, without Sin, be moderate; Such Toys
As Words and Wit, may make fit Presents, and
80: Gay Garlands on the Common Mercy stand.
But when a King comes home, what is't can hold
Proportion, but a Diadem of Gold?
We spare Our Offerings, Heav'ns onely use
To send Such Presents, no poor Subject Muse:
85: Obedience is our Sacrifice. -- -- -- -- -- --
To make our Joys run with our Blessings even,
We will make haste, and send them up to Heaven:
Turning our wanton Strains of Poetry
To Hymnes of Praise, and Vows of Loyalty.
90: The King of Kings make Your whole Life to come,
As Glorious as Your Father's Martyrdom!
Live long and happy! May You still find Us
Subjects as Loyal, as His Treacherous!
May France perceive we have a King, and Rome
95: Consider Charles the Second is come home.
Let all that Rabble tremble, when 'tis said,
Our Land hath found her King, our Church her Head.
Our God and King return together; Sent
Together hence, to suffer Banishment.
100: May they together make a long abode!
May God still keep His King, the King His God!
So prays (Dread Soveraign) one (may his Zeal show it)
That's much a better Subject then a Poet.
CL. ELLIS Coll. Reg. Oxon. Soc.
Printed by James Cottrel, for Humphry Robinson, at the
three Pigeons in St. Paul's Church-yard.
M D C L X.