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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Martin Parker: The King Enjoys His own Again

The King enjoys his own again [undated]

England's Great Prognosticator [undated]

A Worthy Kings Description [before May?]

   Frequently imitated before and after the Restoration, Martin Parker's ballad was by far the best known of the popular cavalier songs of the civil war and commonwealth period, keeping alive in a communal form the wish that the king would soon return.20 According to Ebsworth, it was first printed between 1643 and 1646 in a five-stanza version entitled Upon Defacing of Whitehall, to the tune of "Marry me, marry me, quoth the Country Lass."21 But in several reprintings and subsequent versions, the tune -- and the stanzaic patterning that accompanies it -- soon came to be known and recognized as "When the King enjoys his own again." Several ballads printed during 1660 imitate other features of Parker's original, but making versions of it was not an activity confined to print since the familiarity of the tune and refrain would surely have provoked any number of ad hoc performances and versions among royalists.22 At least one vanquished cavalier wrote a version into his commonplace book.23

   Other notable ballads to this tune include the "trunk" ballad The Glory of These Nations, and The Last News from France which purports to offer Jane Lane's account of the king's escape.24 The tune remained popular once the king was back. One blackletter ballad on the coronation signed "By me O. G.," Englands Joyfull Holiday, or, St Georges-Day, holy[. . .] Honoured being the joyfull Solemnity, so long lookt for, of the Coronation of King CHARLS the second, who was most highly attended by all his Dukes, Earls, and Barons from the Tower, through the City to Westminster, where he was Crowned on St. Georges Day, being 23. of April: To the Tune, The King enjoys his own again, is printed on the verso of another ballad; a ms note reads "This page and fol 28b were covered with thick paper till 1881."25


[20] For Martin Parker, see DNB and Rollins, Cavalier and Puritan.

[21] Ebsworth, RB, 7:633-34. I have not been able to find the original of this ballad, also mentioned by the DNB entry on Parker, so have followed Ebsworth's text in the subsequent notes and comments when referring to this work.

[22] See Lois Potter, Secret Writing, pp. 33-5, on the singing of subversive songs by defeated cavaliers.

[23] Now in the Edinburgh National Library at shelfmark ADV l9.3.4(29).

[24] I have only seen the copy at GU Euing 181. This undated ballad provides such an inaccurate account of the events that it was probably issued shortly after the events it describes.

[25] The colophon reads: London, Printed for Richard Burton at the Horse-shoe in Smithfield; O Wood 401(27/28b).