|[From the Huntington copy of Visions and Prophecies; all Greek terms transliterated; otherwise this transcript has been normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light." Blue links in Cowley's text signal variant readings, and bracketed numbers in red indicate page-divisions in Waller's edition of the 1668 text (Cowley's English Writings 2, Cambridge, 1906). For a useful commentary on this tract see The Essays and Other Prose Writings, ed. Alfred B. Gough, Oxford, 1915, 260-300; Gough had not seen the pseudonymous issue we transcribe below. Cowley's pseudonym fusing the name of two prophets--note the epigraph borrowed from Ezek. 2:4-5--is especially striking in view of the way parliamentarians like "English Merlin" William Lilly tried to coopt the famous Paul Grebner's predictions just after the death of Charles I; the victorious royalists would eventually adapt one of those very forecasts ("Carolus a Carolo Carolo Magno Maior," "A Charles after Charles will be greater than Charlemagne") as a motto for Charles II's coinage. Neither the 1660 nor the 1661 issue of our tract (the second issue, without Grebner opening, titled simply A Vision ...) mentions Cowley as its author, but the Visions and Prophecies does appear under Cowley's own name in a Stationers' Register entry for 29 October 1660; on the basis of the Thomason copy hand-redated "Novemb. 1660," ESTC now redates the first issue 1660 not 1661.
Ezekiel Grebner, Son of Obadiah Grebner,
Son of Paul Grebner, who presented the fa-
mous Book of Prophecies to Queen
|4. For they are impudent Children, and stiff-hearted; I
do send thee unto them, and thou shalt say unto them,
Thus saith the Lord God.
5. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they
will forbear (for they are a Rebellious House)
yet shall know that there has been a Prophet among
London, Printed for Henry Herringman, and
are to be sold at his Shop, at the sign of the
Anchor, in the lower walk in the New Ex-
Book and Author.
PAUL GREBNER came out of Germany in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, and presented to her a Book of Prophecies, which she gave to Dr. Nevill Dean of her Chapel, and he to Trinity College in Cambridge, where it remains still in the Library, and has of late years been made very famous by the fulfilling of many of the Predictions in it concerning our Nation, and mens hopes of the speedy accomplishment of some others concerning the re-establishment and exaltation of the afflicted Royal Family. This Paul Grebner maried a wife with a considerable fortune in the North, and had by her a Son called Obadiah Grebner, and two Daughters (who both dyed young) after which he made a journey into his own Country (leaving his family in England) and there deceased. His son about the middle of King James his time maried too in the North, and had by his wife (who lost her own life in the Child-birth) this Ezechiel Grebner, whom hee bred up very carefully in all manner of good Literature, being himself a person of great Piety and Learning, and esteemed to have the gift of Prophecie as well as his Father, though nothing of that kind was published by him. From these two sprung our son and grandchild of Prophets, who was first educated a while at the University of Cambridge, and after sent to several Academies beyond Seas, where he got great reputation for his extraordinary parts and virtues; at the beginning of the late troubles he returned into England, and engaged with the Parliament, not forsaking them, till they (as he was wont to say) revolting, had left their Cause and Him to shift for themselves among the men whom he had fought against. After the death of the King, not onely his detestation of the fact, but his indignation to be so abused and deluded, as to have his own innocency made instrumental towards the producing of such wicked Ends, drew him to such an open and avowed hatred of them, as occasioned the ruine of his estate, the danger of his life, and the losse twice of his liberty, first under the Parliament, and then under the Protector, at the time of whose Funeral (as appeareth by the Book it self) this Vision happened to him, which that he might write and publish with lesse danger than he had formerly spoken, he made a journey into Germany, and had no sooner done the thing he went for, but he died at Strasburg last October. He left all his papers with a Dutch Gentleman called Conrart Sluys (who had lived long in England, and spoke our language perfectly well.) There were of them (as I understand) several little Treaties in English and Latin, a book of Verses upon different occasions, some English, some Latin, and some Dutch (for it seems he was a great Lover and Writer of Verse, as you will find by his frequent Excursions into it in this Discourse) and lastly three books of Visions and Prophecies concerning the Affairs of our three Nations; The first (which is but as it were a Preface to the other) is that which is here published; The second contains a Discourse with the Angel Guardian of England, concerning all the late confusions and misfortunes of it; The third denounces heavy judgements against the three Kingdoms, and several places and parties in them, unless they prevent them speedily by serious repentance, and that greatest and hardest work of it, Restitution. There is there upon this subject, the burden of England, the burden of Scotland, the burden of Ireland, the burden of London, The burden of the Army, the burden of the Divines, the burden of the Lawyers, and many others, after the manner of Prophetical threatnings in the Old Testament. Thus I am told by the Gentleman who gave me this first book, and who had read the other two. This was left in his hands accidentally, the other were carried, as we believe, into Italy by Mr. Conrart Sluys, and we have used means to recover them from him if it be possible, hoping that they may be blessedly instrumental towards that repentance and conversion of our Nations, which is so evidently necessary for the diverting of all those calamities which are there foretold, and which hang already so apparently over our heads, that they may be seen even by Human Reason, as well as foreseen by Divine Inspiration.
Both the Book and this Preface were written in the time of the late little Protector Richard.
IT was the Funeral day of the late man who made himself to be called Protectour, and though I bore but little affection, either to the memory of him, or to the trouble and folly of all publick Pageantry, yet I was forced by the importunity of my company to go along with them, and be a Spectator of that solemnity, the expectation of which had been so great, that it was said to have brought some very curious persons (and no doubt singular Virtuosos) as far as from the Mount in Cornwall, and from the Orcades. I found there had been much more cost bestowed than either the dead man, or indeed Death it self could deserve. There was a mighty train of black assistants, among which too divers Princes in the persons of their Ambassadors (being infinitely afflicted for the losse of their Brother) were pleased to attend; the Herse was Magnificent, the Idol Crowned, and (not to mention all other Ceremonies which are practised at Royal interrements, and therefore by no means could be omitted here) the vast multitude of Spectators made up, as it uses to do, no small part of the Spectacle it self. But yet I know not how, the whole was so managed, that, methoughts, it somewhat represented the life of him for whom it was made; Much noise, much tumult, much expence, much magnificence, much vain-glory; briefly, a great show, and yet after all this, but an ill sight. At last (for it seemed long to me, and like his short  Reign too, very tedious) the whole Scene past by, and I retired back to my Chamber, weary, and I think more melancholy than any of the Mourners. Where I began to reflect upon the whole life of this Prodigious Man, and sometimes I was filled with horror and detestation of his actions, and sometimes I inclined a little to reverence and admiration of his courage, conduct, and successe; till by these different motions and agitations of mind rocked, as it were, a sleep, I fell at last into this Vision, or if you please to call it but a Dream, I shall not take it ill, because the Father of Poets tells us, Even Dreams too are from God.
But sure it was no Dream; for I was suddenly transported afar off (whether in the body, or out of the body, like St. Paul, I know not) and found my self upon the top of that famous Hill in the Island Mona, which has the prospect of three Great, and Not-long-since most happy Kingdoms; As soon as ever I lookt upon them, the Not long-since strook upon my Memory, and called forth the sad representation of all the Sins, and all the Miseries that had overwhelmed them these twenty years. And I wept bitterly for two or three hours, and when my present stock of moisture was all wasted, I fell a sighing for an hour more, and as soon as I recovered from my passion the use of speech and reason, I broke forth, as I remember (looking upon England) into this complaint.
I think I should have gone on, but that I was interrupted by a strange and terrible Apparition, for there appeared to me (arising out of the earth, as I conceived) the figure of a man taller than a Gyant, or indeed than the shadow of any Gyant in the evening. His body was naked, but that nakednesse adorn'd, or rather deform'd all over, with several figures, after the manner of the antient Britons, panted upon it: and I perceived that most of them were the representation of the late battels in our civil Warrs, and (if I be not much mistaken) it was the battle of Nasbey that was drawn upon his Breast. His Eyes were like burning Brasse, and there were three Crowns of the same mettal (as I guest) and that lookt as red-hot too, upon his Head. He held in his right hand a Sword that was yet bloody, and neverthelesse the Motto of it was Pax quæritur bello, and in his left hand a thick Book, upon the back of  which was written in Letters of Gold, Acts, Ordinances, Protestations, Covenants, Engagements, Declarations, Remonstrances, &c. Though this suddain, unusual, and dreadful object might have quelled a greater courage than mine, yet so it pleased God (for there is nothing bolder than a Man in a Vision) that I was not at all daunted, but askt him resolutely and briefly, What art thou? And he said, I am called The North-west Principality, His Highnesse, the Protector of the Common-wealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Dominions belonging thereunto, for I am that Angel to whom the Almighty has committed the Government of those three Kingdoms which thou seest from this place. And I answered and said, If it be so, Sir, it seems to me that for almost these twenty years past your Highnesse has been absent from your charge: for not onely if any Angel, but if any wise and honest Man had since that time been our Governour, we should not have wandred thus long in these laborious and endlesse Labyrinths of confusion, but either not have entered at all into them, or at least have returned back ere we had absolutely lost our way; but instead of your Highnesse, we have had since such a Protector as was his Predecessor Richard the Third to the King his Nephew; for he presently slew the Common-wealth, which he pretended to protect, and set up himself in the place of it; a little lesse guilty indeed in one respect, because the other slew an Innocent, and this Man did but murder a Murderer. Such a Protector we have had as we would have been glad to have changed for any Enemy, and rather received a constant Turk, than this every moneths Apostate; such a Protector as Man is to his Flocks, which he sheers, and sells, or devours himself; and I would fain know, what the Wolf, which he protects a him from, could do more. Such a Protector-- and as I was proceeding, me-thoughts, his Highnesse began to put on a displeased and threatning countenance, as men use to do when their dearest Friends happen to be traduced in their company, which gave me the first rise of jealousy against him, for I did not believe that Cromwell amongst all his forein Correspondences had ever held any with Angels. However I was not hardned enough yet to venture a quarrel with him then; and therefore (as if I had spoken to the Protector himself in White-hall) I desired him that his Highnesse  would please to pardon me if I had unwittingly spoken any thing to the disparagement of a person, whose relations to his Highnesse I had not the honour to know. At which he told me, that he had no other concernment for his late Highnesse, than as he took him to be the greatest Man that ever was of the English Nation, if not (said he) of the whole World, which gives me a just title to the defence of hs reputation, since I now account my self, as it were, a naturalized English Angel, by having had so long the management of the affairs of that Country. And pray Country-man (said he, very kindly and very flateringly) for I would not have you fall into the general errour of the World, that detests and decryes so extraordinary a Virtue, what can be more extraordinary than that a person of mean birth, no fortune, no eminent qualities of Body (which have sometimes) or of Mind (which have often raised men to the highest dignities) should have the courage to attempt, and the happinesse to succeed in so improbable a design, as the destruction of one of the most antient, and in all appearance most solidly founded Monarchies upon the Earth? that he should have the power or boldnesse to put his Prince and Master to an open and infamous death? to banish that numerous, and strongly-allied Family? to do all this under the name and wages of a Parliament; to trample upon them too as he pleased, and spurn them out of dores when he grew weary of them; to raise up a new and unheard-of Monster out of their Ashes; to stifle that in the very infancy, and set up himself above all things that ever were called Soveraign in England; to oppress all his Enemies by Arms, and all his Friends afterwards by Artifice; to serve all parties patiently for a while, and to command them victoriously at last; to over-run each corner of the three Nations, and overcome with equal facility both the riches of the South, and the poverty of the North; to be feared and courted by all forein Princes, and adopted a Brother to the gods of the earth; to call together Parliaments with a word of his Pen, and scatter them again with the Breath of his Mouth; to be humbly and daily petitioned that he would please to be hired at the rate of two millions a year, to be the Master of those who had hired him before to be their Servant; to have the Estates and Lives of three Kingdoms as much at his disposal, as was the little inheritance of his Father, and to be as noble and liberal in the  spending of them; and lastly (for there is no end of all the particulars of his glory) to bequeath all this with one word to his Posterity; to die with peace at home, and triumph abroad; to be buried among Kings, and with more than Regal solemnity; and to leave a name behind him, not to be extinguisht, but with the whole World, which as it is now too little for his praises, so might have been too for his Conquests if the short line of his Humane Life could have been strecht out to the extent of his immortal designs?
Ah, happy Isle, how art thou chang'd and curst,
Since I was born, and knew thee first!
When Peace, which had forsook the World around,
(Frighted with noise, and the shrill Trumpets sound)
Thee for a private place of rest,
And a secure retirement chose
Wherein to build her Halcyon Nest;
No wind durst stir abroad the Air to discompose.
When all the Riches of the Globe beside
Flow'd in to Thee with every Tide;
When all that Nature did thy soil deny,
The Grouth was of thy fruitfull Industry, 
When all the proud and dreadfull Sea,
And all his Tributary streams,
A constant Tribute paid to Thee.
When all the liquid World was one extended Thames.
When Plenty in each Village did appear,
And Bounty was it's Steward there;
When Gold walkt free about in open view,
Ere it one Conquering parties Prisoner grew;
When the Religion of our State
Had Face and Substance with her Voice,
Ere she by'er foolish Loves of late,
Like Eccho (once a Nymph) turn'd onely into Noise.
When Men to Men respect and friendship bore,
And God with Reverence did adore;
When upon Earth no Kingdom could have shown
A happier Monarch to us than our own,
And yet his Subjects by him were
(Which is a Truth will hardly be
Receiv'd by any vulgar Ear,
A secret known to few) made happi'r ev'n than He.
Thou doest a Chaos, and Confusion now,
A Babel, and a Bedlam grow,
And like a Frantick person thou doest tear
The Ornaments and Cloaths which thou should'st wear,
And cut thy Limbs; and if we see
(Just as thy Barbarous Britons did)
Thy Body with Hypocrisie
Painted all ore, thou think'st, Thy naked shame is hid.
The Nations, which envied thee erewhile,
Now laugh (too little 'tis to smile)
They laugh, and would have pitty'd thee (alas!)
But that thy Faults all Pity do surpasse. 
Art thou the Country which didst hate,
And mock the French Inconstancy?
And have we, have we seen of late
Lesse change of Habits there, than Governments in Thee?
Unhappy Isle! No ship of thine at Sea,
Was ever tost and torn like Thee.
Thy naked Hulk loose on the Waves does beat,
The Rocks and Banks around her ruin threat;
What did thy foolish Pilots ail,
To lay the Compasse quite aside?
Without a Law or Rule to sayl,
And rather take the Winds, then Heavens to be their Guide?
Yet, mighty God, yet, yet, we humbly crave,
This floating Isle from shipwrack save;
And though to wash that Bloud which does it stain,
It well deserves to sink into the Main;
Yet for the Royal Martyrs prayer
(The Royal Martyr prays we know)
This guilty, perishing Vessel spare;
Hear but his Soul above, and not his bloud below.
By this speech I began to understand perfectly well what kind of Angel his pretended Highnesse was, and having fortified my self privately with a short mental Prayer, and with the sign of the Crosse not out of any superstition to the sign, but as a recognition of my Baptism in Christ) I grew a little bolder, and replyed in this manner; I should not venture to oppose what you are pleased to say in commendation of the late great, and (I confesse) extraordinary person, but that I remember Christ forbids us to give assent to any other doctrine but what himself has taught us, even though it should be delivered by an Angel; and if such you be, Sir, it may be you have spoken all this rather to try than to tempt my frailty: For sure I am, that we must renounce or forget all the Laws of the New and Old Testament, and those which are the foundation of both, even the Laws of Moral and Natural Honesty, if we approve of the actions of that man whom I suppose you commend by Irony. There would be no end to instance in the particulars of all his wickednesse; but to sum up a part of it briefly; What can be more extraordinarily wicked, than for a person, such as yourself qualify him rightly, to endeavour not onely to exalt himself above, but to trample upon all his equals and betters? to pretend freedom for all men, and under the help of that pretence to make all men his servants? to take Arms against Taxes of scarce two hundred thousand pounds a year, and to raise them himself to above two Milions? to quarrel for the losse of three or four Eares, and strike off three or four hundred Heads? to fight against an imaginary suspition of I know not what two thousand Guards to be fetcht for the King, I know not from whence, and to keep up for himself no lesse than forty thousand? to pretend the defence of Parliaments, and violently to dissolve all even of his own calling, and almost choosing? to  undertake the Reformation of Religon, to rob it even to the very skin, and then to expose it naked to the rage of all Sects and Heresies? to set up Counsels of Rapine, and Courts of Murder? to fight against the King under a commission for him; to take him forceably out of the hands of those for whom he had conquered him; to draw him into his Net, with protestations and vows of fidelity, and when he had caught him in it, to butcher him, with as little shame, as Conscience, or Humanity, in the open face of the whole World? to receive a Commission for King and Parliament, to murder (as I said) the one, and destroy no lesse impudently the other? to fight against Monarchy when he declared for it, and declare against it when he contrived for it in his own person? to abase perfideously and supplant ingratefully his own General first, and afterwards most of those Officers, who with the losse of their Honour, and hazard of their Souls, had lifted him up to the top of his unreasonable ambitions? to break his faith with all Enemies, and with all Friends equally? and to make no lesse frequent use of the most solemn Perjuries than the looser sort of People do of customary Oaths? to usurp three Kingdoms without any shadow of the least pretensions, and to govern them as unjustly as he got them? to set himself up as an Idol (which we know as St. Paul sayes, in it self is nothing) and make the very streets of London, like the Valley of Hinnon, by burning the bowels of men as a sacrifice to his Moloch-ship? to seek to entail this usurpation upon his Posterity, and with it an endlesse War upon the Nation? and lastly, by the severest Judgement of Almighty God, to dye hardned, and mad, and unrepentant, with the curses of the present Age, and the detestation of all to succeed.
Though I had much more to say (for the Life of man is so short, that it allows not time enough to speak against a Tyrant) yet because I had a mind to hear how my strange Adversary would behave himself upon this subject, and to give even the Devil (as they say) his right, and fair play in a disputation, I stopt here, and expected (not without the frailty of a little fear) that he should have broke into a violent passion in behalf of his Favourite; but he on the contrary very calmly, and with the Dove-like innocency of a Serpent that was not yet warm'd enough to sting, thus replyed to me.
It is not so much out of my affection to that person whom  we discourse of (whose greatnesse is too solid to be shaken by the breath of any Oratory) as for your own sake (honest Country-man) whom I conceive to err, rather by mistake than out of malice, that I shall endeavour to reform your uncharitable and unjust opinion. And in the first place I must needs put you in mind of a Sentence of the most antient of the Heathen Divines, that you men are acquainted withall,
And the intention of the reproof there is no lesse proper for this Subject; for it is spoken to a person who was proud and insolent against those dead men to whom he had been humble and obedient whilst they lived. Your Highnesse may please (said I) to add the Verse that follows, as no lesse proper for this Subject
ouch hosion ktamenoisin ep' andrasin euchetaasthai
'Tis wicked with insulting feet to tread
Upon the Monuments of the Dead.
But I take this to be the rule in the case, that when we fix any infamy upon deceased persons, it should not be done out of hatred to the Dead, but out of love and charity to the Living, that the curses which onely remain in mens thoughts, and dare not come forth against Tyrants (because they are Tyrants) whilest they are so, may at least be for ever setled and engraven upon their Memories, to deterre all others from the like wickednesse, which else in the time of their foolish prosperity, the flattery of their own hearts, and of other mens Toungs, would not suffer them to perceive. Ambition is so subtil a Tempter, and the corruption of humane nature so susceptible of the temptation, that a man can hardly resist it, be he never so much forewarn'd of the evil consequences, much lesse if he find not onely the concurrence of the present, but the approbation too of following ages, which have the liberty to judge more freely. The mischief of Tyranny is too great, even in the shortest time that it can continue, it is endlesse and insupportable, if the Example be to reign too, and if a Lambert must be invited to follow the steps of a Cromwell as well by the voice  of Honour, as by the sight of power and riches. Though it may seem to some fantastically, yet was it wisely done of the Syracusians, to implead with the forms of their ordinary justice, to condemn, and destroy even the Statues of all their Tyrants; If it were possible to cut them out of all History, and to extinguish their very names, I am of opinion that it ought to be done; but since they have left behind them too deep wounds to be ever closed up without a Scar, at least let us set such a mark upon their memory, that men of the same wicked inclinations may be no lesse affrighted with their lasting Ignominy, than enticed by their momentary glories. And that your Highnesse may perceive that I speak not all this out of any private animosity against the person of the late Protector, I assure you upon my faith that I bear no more hatred to his name, than I do to that of Marius or Sylla, who never did me or any friend of mine the least injury; and with that transported by a holy fury, I fell into this sudden rapture.
Whom God's just doom and their own sins have sent
Already to their punishment.
Here the spirit of Verse beginning a little to fail, I stopt, and his Highnesse smiling said, I was glad to see you engaged in the Enclosures of Meeter, for if you had staid in the open plain of Declaiming against the word Tyrant, I must have had patience for half a dosen hours, till you had tired your self as well as me. But pray, Countrey-man, to avoid this sciomachy, or imaginary Combat with words, let me know first what you mean by the name of Tyrant, for I remember that among your antient Authors, not onely all Kings, but even Jupiter himself (your Juvans Pater) is so termed, and perhaps as it was; used formerly in a good sence, so we shall find it upon better consideration to be still a good thing for the benefit and peace of mankind, at least it will appear whether your interpretation of it may be justly applied to the person who is now the subject of our Discourse. I call him (said I) a Tyrant, who either intrudes himself forcibly into the Government of his fellow Citizens without any legal Authority over them, or who having a just Title to the Government of a people, abuses it to the destruction, or tormenting of them. So that all Tyrants are at the same time Usurpers, either of the whole or  at least of a part of that power which they assume to them selves, and no lesse are they to be accounted Rebels, since no man can Usurp Authority over others, but by rebelling against them who had it before, or at least against those Laws which were his Superiors; and in all these sences no History can affoard us a more evident example of Tyranny, or more out of all possibility of excuse, or palliation, than that of the person whom you are pleased to defend, whether we consider his reiterated rebellions against all his superiors, or his usurpation of the Supream power to himself, or his Tyranny in the exercise of it; and if lawfull Princes have been esteemed Tyrants by not containing themselves within the bounds of those Laws which have been left them as the sphere of their Authority by their fore-fathers, what shall we say of that man, who having by right no power at all in this Nation, could not content himself with that which had satisfied the most ambitious of our Princes? nay, not with those vastly extended limits of Soverainty, which he (disdaining all that had been prescribed and observed before) was pleased (but of great modesty) to set to himself? not abstaining from Rebellon and Usurpation even against his own Laws as well as those of the Nation?
Curst be the Man (what do I wish? as though
The wretch already were not so;
But curst on let him be) who thinks it brave
And great, his Countrey to enslave.
Who seeks to overpoise alone
The Balance of a Nation;
Against the whole but naked State,
Who in his own light Scale makes up with Arms the weight.
Who of his Nation loves to be the first,
Though at the rate of being worst.
Who would be rather a great Monster, than
A well-proportion'd Man.
The Son of Earth with hundred hands
Upon his three-pil'd Mountain stands,
Till Thunder strikes him from the sky;
The Son of Earth again in his Earths womb does lie.
What Bloud, Confusion, Ruin, to obtain
A short and miserable Reign?
In what oblique, and humble creeping wise
Does the mischievous Serpent rise?
But even his forked Toung strikes dead,
When h'as reard up his wicked Head,
He murders with his mortal frown,
A Basilisk he grows, if once he get a Crown.
But no Guards can oppose assaulting yeares,
Or undermining Tears.
No more than doors, or close-drawn Curtains keep
The swarming Dreams out when we sleep.
That bloudy Conscience too of his
(For, oh, a Rebell Red-Coat 'tis)
Does here his early Hell begin,
He sees his Slaves without, his Tyrant feels within.
Let, Gracious God, let never more thine hand
Lift up this rod against our Land.
A Tyrant is a Rod and Serpent too,
And brings worse Plagues than Egypt knew.
What Rivers stain'd with Bloud have been?
What Storm and Hail-shot have we seen?
What Sores deform'd the Ulcerous State?
What darknesse to be felt has buried us of late?
How has it snatcht our Flocks and Herds away?
And made even of our Sons a prey?
What croaking Sects and Vermine has it sent
The restlesse Nation to torment?
What greedy Troups, what armed power
Of Flies and Locusts to devour
The Land which every where they fill?
Nor fly they, Lord, away; no, they devour it still.
Come the eleventh Plague, rather than this should be;
Come sink us rather in the Sea.
Come rather Pestilence, and reap us down;
Come Gods Sword rather than our own.
Let rather Roman come again,
Or Saxon, Norman, or the Dane,
In all the Bonds we ever bore,
We griev'd, we sigh'd, we wept; we never blusht before.
If by our sins the Divine Justice be
Call'd to this last extremity,
Let some denouncing Jonas first be sent,
To try if England can repent.
Methinks at least some Prodigy,
Some dreadfull Comet from on high,
Should terribly forewarn the Earth,
As of good Princes Deaths, so of a tyrants birth.
Hold friend (said his Highnesse, (pulling me by my Arm) for I see your zeal is transporting you again) whether the Protector were a Tyrant in the exorbitant exercise of his power we shall see anon, it is requisite to examine first whether he were so in the Usurpation of it. And I say, that not onely He, but no man else ever was, or can be so; and that for these reasons. First, because all power belongs onely to God, who is the source and fountain of it, as Kings are of all Honours in their Dominions. Princes are but his Viceroys in the little Provinces of this World, and to some he gives their places for a few years, to some for their lives, and to others (upon ends or deserts best known to himself, or meerly for his undisputable good pleasure) he bestows as it were Leases upon them, and their posterity, for such a date of time as is prefixt in that Patent of their Destiny, which is not legible to you men below. Neither is it more unlawfull for Oliver to succeed Charls in the Kingdom of England, when God so disposes of it, than it had been for him to have succeeded the Lord Strafford in the Lieutenancy of Ireland, if he had been appointed to it by the King then  reigning. Men are in both the cases obliged to obey him whom they see actually invested with the Authority by that Sovereign from whom he ought to derive it, without disputing or examining the causes, either of the removeal of the one, or the a preferment of the other. Secondly, because all power is attained either by the Election and consent of the people, and that takes away your objection of forcible intrusion; or else by a Conquest of them, and that gives such a legal Authority as you mention to be wanting in the Usurpation of a tyrant; so that either this Title is right, and then there are no Usurpers, or else it is a wrong one, and then there are none else but Usurpers, if you examine the Original pretences of the Princes of the World. Thirdly, (which quitting the dispute in general, is a particular justification of his Highnesse) the Government of England was totally broken and dissolved, and extinguisht by the confusions of a Civil War, so that his Highnesse could not be accused to have possest himself violently of the antient building of the Commonwealth, but to have prudently and peaceably built up a new one out of the ruins and ashes of the former; and he who after a deplorable shipwrack can with extraordinary Industry gather together the disperst and broken planks and pieces of it, and with no lesse wonderfull art and felicity so rejoyn them as to make a new Vessel more tight and beautifull than the old one, deserves no doubt to have the command of her (even as his Highnesse had) by the desire of the Sea-men and Passengers themselves. And do but consider lastly (for I omit multitude of weighty things that might be spoken upon this noble argument) do but consider seriously and impartially with your self, what admirable parts of wit and prudence, what indefatigable diligence and invincible courage must of necessity have concurred in the person of that man, who from so contemptible beginnings (as I observed before) and through so many thousand difficulties, was able not onely to make himself the greatest and most absolute Monarch of this Nation, but to add to it the entire Conquest of Ireland and Scotland (which the whole force of the World joyned with the Roman virtue could never attain to) and to Crown all this with Illustrious and Heroical undertakings, and successes upon all our forein Enemies; do but (I say again) consider this, and you will confesse, that his prodigious Merits were a better Title  to Imperial Dignity, than the bloud of an hundred Royal Progenitors; and will rather lament that he lived not to overcome more Nations, than envy him the Conquest and Dominion of these. Who ever you are (said I, my indignation making me somewhat bolder) your discourse (methinks) becomes as little the person of a Tutelar Angel, as Cromwels actions did that of a Protector. It is upon these Principles that all the great Crimes of the World have been committed, and most particularly those which I have had the misfortune to see in my own time, and in my own Countrey. If these be to be allowed, we must break up humane society, retire into the Woods, and equally there stand upon our Guards against our Brethren Mankind, and our Rebels the Wld Beasts. For if there can be no Usurpation upon the rights of a Nation, there can be none most certainly upon those of a private person; and if the Robbers of Countreys be Gods Vicegerents, these is no doubt but the Thieves, and Banditos, and Murderers are his under Officers. It is true which you say, that God is the source and fountain of all power, and it is no lesse true that he is the Creator of Serpents as well as Angels, nor does his goodnesse fail of its ends even in the malice of his own Creatures. What power he suffers the Devil to exercise in this World, is too apparent by our daily experience, and by nothing more than the late monsterous iniquities which you dispute for, and patronize in England; but would you inferre from thence, that the power of the Devil is a just and lawful one, and that all men ought, as well as most men do, obey him? God is the fountain of all Powers; but some flow from the right hand (as it were) of his Goodnesse, and others from the left hand of his Justice; and the World, like an Island between these two Rivers, is sometimes refresht and nourished by the one, and sometimes overrun and ruined by the other; and (to continue a little farther the Allegory) we are never overwhelmed with the latter, till either by our malice or negligence we have stopt and damm'd up the former. But to come a little closer to your Argument, or rather the Image of an Argument, your similitude; If Cromwell had come to command Ireland in the place of the late Lord Strafford, I should have yielded obedience, not for the equipage, and the strength, and the guards which he brought with him, but for the Commission which he should  first have shewed me from our common Soveraign that sent him; and if He could have done that from God Almighty, I would have obeyed him too in England; but that he was so far from being able to do, that on the contrary, I read nothing but commands, and even publick Proclamations from God Almighty, not to admit him. Your second Argument is, that he had the same right for his authority, that is the foundation of all others, even the right of Conquest. Are we then so unhappy as to be conquered by the person, whom we hired at a daily rate, like a Labourer, to conquer others for us? did we furnish him with Arms, onely to draw and try upon our Enemies (as we, it seems, falsely thought them) and keep them for ever sheath'd in the bowels of his Friends? did we fight for Liberty against our Prince, that we might become Slaves to our Servant? this is such an impudent pretence, as neither He nor any of his Flatterers for him had ever the face to mention. Though it can hardly be spoken or thought of without passion, yet I shall, if you please, argue it more calmly than the case deserves. The right certainly of Conquest can onely be exercised upon those against whom the War is declared, and the Victory obtained. So that no whole Nation can be said to be conquered but by forein force. In all civil Wars men are so far from stating the quarrel against their Country, that they do it onely against a person or party which they really believe, or at least pretend to be pernicious to it, neither can there be any just cause for the destruction of a part of the Body, but when it is done for the preservation and safety of the Whole. 'Tis our Country that raises men in the quarrel, our Country that arms, our Country that payes them, our Country that authorises the undertaking, and by that distinguishes it from rapine and murder; lastly, 'tis our Country that directs and commands the Army, and is indeed their General. So that to say in Civil Warrs that the prevailing party conquers their Country, is to say, the Country conquers it self. And if the General onely of that party be the Conquerour, the Army by which he is made so, is no lesse conquered than the Army which is beaten, and have as little reason to triumph in that Victory, by which they lose both their Honour and Liberty. So that if Cromwell conquered any party, it was onely that against which he was sent, and what that was, must appear  by his Commission. It was (sayes that) against a company of evil Counsellours, and disaffected persons, who kept the King from a good intelligence and conjunction with his People. It was not then against the People. It is so far from being so, that even of that party which was beaten, the Conquest did not belong to Cromwell but to the Parliament which employed him in their Service, or rather indeed to the King and Parliament, for whose Service (if there had been any faith in mens vows and protestations) the Warrs were undertaken. Merciful God! did the right of this miserable Conquest remain then in his Majesty, and didst thou suffer him to be destroyed with more barbarity than if he had been conquered even by Savages and Cannibals? was it for King and Parliament that we fought, and has it fared with them just as with the Army which we fought against, the one part being slain, and the other fled? It appears therefore plainly, that Cromwell was not a Conquerour, but a Thief and Robber of the Rights of the King and Parliament, and an Usurper upon those of the People. I do not here deny Conquest to be sometimes (though it be very rarely) a true title, but I deny this to be a true Conquest. Sure I am, that the race of our Princes came not in by such a one. One Nation may conquer another sometimes justly, and if it be unjustly, yet still it is a true Conquest, and they are to answer for the injustice onely to God Almighty (having nothing else in authority above them) and not as particular Rebels to their Country; which is, and ought alwaies to be their Superior and their Lord. If perhaps we find Usurpaton instead of Conquest in the Original Titles of some Royal Families abroad (as no doubt there have been many Usurpers before ours, though none in so impudent and execrable a manner) al: I can say for them is, that their Title was very weak, till by length of time, and the death of all juster pretenders, it became to be the true, because it was the onely one. Your third defence of his Highnesse (as your Highnesse pleases to call him) enters in most seasonably after his pretence of Conquest, for then a man may say any thing. The Government was broken; Who broke it? It was dissolved; Who dissolved it? It was extinguisht; Who was it but Cromwell, who not onely put out the Light, but cast away even the very snuff of it? As if a man should murder a whole  Family, any then possesse himself of the House, because 'tis better that He than that onely Rats should live there. Jesus God! (said I, and at that word I perceived my pretended Angel to give a start, and trembled, but I took no notice of it, and went on) this were a wicked pretension even though the whole Family were destroyed, but the Heirs (blesse be God) are yet surviveing, and likely to outlive all Heirs of their dispossessors, besides their Infamy. Rode Caper vitem, &c. There will be yet wine enough left for the Sacrifice of those wild Beasts that have made so much spoil in the Vineyard. But did Cromwell think, like Nero, to set the City on fire, onely that he might have the honour of being founder of a new and more beautiful one? He could not have such a shadow of Virtue in his wickednesse; he meant onely to rob more securely and more richly in midst of the combustion; he little thought then that he should ever have been able to make himself Master of the Palace, as well as plunder the Goods of the Commonwealth. He was glad to see the publick Vessel (the Soveraign of the Seas) in as desperate a condition as his own little Canou, and thought onely with some scattered planks of that great shipwrack to make a better Fisherboat for himself. But when he saw that by the drowning of the Master (whom he himself treacherously knockt on the head as he was swimming for his life) by the flight and dispersion of others, and cowardly patience of the remaining company, that all was abandoned to his pleasure, with the old Hulk and new misshapen and disagreeing peeces of his own, he made up with much adoe that Piratical Vessel which we have seen him command, and which how tight indeed it was, may best be judged by it's perpetual Leaking. First then (much more wicked than those foolish daughters in the Fable, who cut their old Father into pieces, in hope by charms and witchcraft to make him young and lusty again) this man endeavoured to destroy the Building, before he could imagine in what manner, with what materials, by what workmen, or what Architect it was to be rebuilt. Secondly, if he had dreamt himself to be able to revive that body which he had killed, yet it had been but the insupportable insolence of an ignorant Mountebanck; and thirdly (which concerns us nearest) that very new thing which he made out of the ruines of the old, is no more like the Original, either for  beauty, use, or duration, than an artificial Plant raised by the fire of a Chymist is comparable to the true and natural one which he first burnt, that out of the ashes of it he might produce an imperfect similitude of his own making. Your last argument is such (when reduced to Syllogism) that the Major Proposition of it would make strange work in the World, if it were received for truth; to wit, that he who has the best parts in a Nation, has the right of being King over it. We had enough to do here of old with the contention between two branches of the same Family, what would become of us when every man in England should lay his claim to the Government? and truly if Cromwell should have commenced his plea when he seems to have begun his ambition, there were few persons besides that might not at the same time have put in theirs to. But his Deserts I suppose you will date from the same term that I do his great Demerits, that is, from the beginning of our late calamities, (for as for his private faults before, I can onely wish (and that with as much Charity to him as to the publick) that he had continued in them till his death, rather than changed them for those of his latter dayes) and therefore we must begin the consideration of his greatnesse from the unlucky Æra of our own misfortunes, which puts me in mind of what was said lesse truly of Pompey the Great, Nostra Miseria Magnus es. But because the general ground of your argumentation consists in this, that all men who are the effecters of extraordinary mutations in the world, must needs have extraordinary forces of Nature by which they are enabled to turn about, as they please, so great a Wheel; I shall speak first a few words upon this universal proposition, which seems so reasonable, and is so popular, before I descend to the particular examination of the eminences of that person which is in question.
I have often observed (with all submission and resignation of spirit to the inscrutable mysteries of Eternal Providence) that when the fulnesse and maturity of time is come that produces the great confusions and changes in the World, it usually pleases God to make it appear by the manner of them, that they are not the effects of humane force or policy, but of the Divine Justice and Predestination, and though we see a Man, like that which we call Jack of the Clock-house, striking,  as it were, the Hour of that fulnesse of time, yet our reason must needs be convinced, that his hand is moved by some secret, and, to us who stand without, invisible direction. And the stream of the Current is then so violent, that the strongest men in the World cannot draw up against it, and none are so weak, but they may sail down with it. These are the Spring-Tides of publick affairs which we see often happen, but seek in vain to discover any certain causes,
and one man then, by malitiously opening all the Sluces that he can come at, can never be the sole Author of all this (though he may be as guilty as if really he were, by intending and imagining to be so) but it is God that breaks up the Flood-Gates of so general a Deluge, and all the art then and industry of mankind is not sufficient to raise up Dikes and Ramparts against it. In such a time it was as this, that not all the wisdom and power of the Roman Senate, nor the wit and eloquence of Cicero, nor the Courage and Virtue of Brutus was able to defend their Countrey or Themselves against the unexperienced rashnesse of a beardlesse Boy, and the loose rage of a voluptuous Madman. The valour and prudent Counsels on the one side are made fruitlesse, and the errors and cowardize on the other harmlesse, by unexpected accidents. The one General saves his life, and gains the whole World, by a very Dream; and the other loses
both at once by a little mistake of the shortnesse of his sight. And though this be not always so, for we see that in the translation of the great Monarchies from one to another, it pleased God to make choise of the most Eminent men in Nature, as Cyrus, Alexander, Scipio and his contemporaries, for his chief instruments and actors in so admirable a work (the end of this being not onely to destroy  or punish one Nation, which may be done by the worst of mankind, but to exalt and blesse another, which is onely to be effected by great and virtuous persons) yet when God onely intends the temporary chastisement of a people, he does not raise up his servant Cyrus (as he himself is pleased to call him) or an Alexander (who had as many Virtues to do good, as Vices to do harm) but he makes the Massanellos, and the Johns of Leyden the instruments of his vengeance, that the power of the Almighty might bee more evident by the weaknesse of the means which he chooses to demonstrate it. Hee did not assemble the Serpents and the Monsters of Afrique to correct the pride of the Egyptians, but called for his Armies of Locusts out of Ethiopia, and formed new ones of Vermine out of the very dust; and because you see a whole Countrey destroyed by these, will you argue from thence that they must needs have had both the craft of Foxes, and the courage of Lions? It is easie to apply this general observation to the particular case of our troubles in England, and that they seem onely to be meant for a temporary chastisement of our sins, and not for a total abolishment of the old, and introduction of a new Government, appears probable to me from these considerations, as farre as we may be bold to make a judgement of the will of God in future events. First, because he has suffered nothing to settle or take root in the place of that which hath been so unwisely and unjustly removed, that none of these untempered Mortars can hold out against the next blast of Wind, nor any stone stick to a stone, till that which these Foolish Builders have refused be made again the Head of the Corner. For when the indisposed and long tormented Commonwealth has wearied and spent it self almost to nothing with the chargeable, various, and dangerous experiments of several Mountebanks, it is to be supposed it will have the wit at last to send for a true Physician, especially when it sees (which is the second consideration) most evidently (as it now begins to do, and will do every day more and more, and might have done perfectly long since) that no Usurpation (under what name or pretext soever) can be kept up without open force, nor force without the continuance of those oppressions upon the people, which will at last tire out their patience, though it be great even to stupidity. They cannot be so dull (when poverty and hunger  begins to whet their understanding) as not to find out this no extraordinary mystery, that 'tis madnesse in a Nation to pay three Millions a year for the maintaining of their servitude under Tyrants, when they might live free for nothing under their Princes. This, I say, will not alwayes ly hid even to the slowest capacities, and the next truth they will discover afterwards, is, that a whole people can never have the will without having at the same time the Power to redeem themselves. Thirdly, it does not look (methinks) as if God had forsaken the family of that man, from whom he has raised up five Children, of as Eminent virtue, and all other commendable qualities, as ever lived perhaps (for so many together, and so young) in any other family in the whole World. Especially if we add hereto this consideration, that by protecting and preserving some of them already through as great dangers as ever were past with safety, either by Prince or private person, he has given them already (as we may reasonably hope it to be meant) a promise and earnest of his future favours. And lastly (to return closely to the discourse from which I have a little digrest) because I see nothing of those excellent parts of nature, and mixture of Merit with their Vices in the late disturbers of our peace and happinesse, that uses to be found in the persons of those who are born for the erection of new Empires. And I confesse I find nothing of that kind, no not any shadow (taking away the false light of some prosperity) in the man whom you extol for the first example of it. And certainly all Virtues being rightly devided into Moral and Intellectual, I know not how we can better judge of the former than by mens actions, or of the latter than by their Writings or Speeches. As for these latter (which are least in merit, or rather which are onely the instruments of mischief where the other are wanting) I think you can hardly pick out the name of a man who ever was called Great, besides him we are now speaking of, who never left the memory behind him of one wise or witty Apothegm even amongst his Domestique Servants or greatest Flatterers. That little in print which remains upon a sad record for him, is such, as a Satyre against him would not have made him say, for fear of transgressing too much the rules of Probability. I know not what you can produce for the justification of his parts in this kind, but his having been able  to deceive so many particular persons, and so many whole parties; which if you please to take notice of for the advantage of his Intellectuals, I desire you to allow me the liberty to do so too, when I am to speak of his Morals. The truth of the thing is this, That if Craft be Wisdom, and Dissimulation Wit, (assisted both and improved with Hypocrises and Perjuries) I must not deny him to have been singular in both; but so grosse was the manner in which he made use of them, that as wisemen ought not to have believed him at first, so no man was Fool enough to believe him at last; neither did any man seem to do it, but those who thought they gained as much by that dissembling, as he did by his. His very actings of Godlinesse grew at last as ridiculous, as if a Player, by putting on a Gown, should think he represented excellently a Woman, though his Beard at the same time were seen by all the Spectators. If you ask me why they did not hisse, and explode him off of the Stage, I can onely answer, that they durst not do so, because the Actor and the Door-keepers were too strong for the Company. I must confesse that by these arts (how grosly soever managed, as by Hypocritcal praying, and silly preaching, by unmanly tears and whinings, by falshoods and perjuries even Diabolical) he had at first the good fortune (as men call it, that is the ill Fortune) to attain his ends; but it was because his ends were so unreasonable, that no human reason could foresee them; which made them who had to do with him believe that he was rather a well meaning and deluded Bigot, than a crafty and malicious Impostor, that these arts were helpt by an Indefatigable industry (as you term it) I am so far from doubting, that I intended to Object that diligence as the worst of his Crimes. It makes me almost mad when I hear a man commended for his diligence in wickednesse. If I were his Son I should wish to God he had been a more lazie person, and that we might have found him sleeping at the hours when other men are ordinarily waking, rather than waking for those ends of his when other men were ordinarily asleep; how diligent the wicked are the Scripture often tells us; Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent bloud, Isa. 59.7. He travels with iniquity, Psal. 7.14. He deviseth mischief upon his bed, Psal. 34.4. They search out iniquity, they accomplish a diligent search, Psal. 64.6. and in  a multitude of other places. And would it not seem ridiculous to praise a Wolf for his watchfulnesse, and for his indefatigable industry in ranging all night about the Countrey, whilest the sheep, and perhaps the shepherd, and perhaps the very Dogs too are all asleep?
| --Omnia Fluminis Hor. Carm. 3.29
Ritu feruntur, nunc medio alveo
Cum pace delabentis Hetruscum
In mare, nunc lapides adesos
Stirpesque raptas, & pecus & domos
Volventis una, non sine montium
Clamore, vicinæque silvæ;
Cum fera Diluvies quietos
And if the diligence of wicked persons be so much to be blamed, as that it is onely an Emphasis and Exaggeration of their wickednesse, I see not how their Courage can avoid the same censure. If the undertaking bold, and vast, and unreasonable designs can deserve that honorable name, I am sure Faux and his Fellow Gun-powder Fiends will have cause to pretend, though not an equal, yet at least the next place of Honour, neither can I doubt but if they too had succeeded, they would have found their Applauders and Admirers. It was bold unquestionably for a man in defiance of all human and divine Laws (and with so little probability of a long impunity) so publiquely and so outragiously to murder his Master; It was bold with so much insolence and affront to expell and disperse all the chef Partners of his guilt, and Creators of his power; It was bold to violate so openly and so scornfully all Acts and Constitutions of a Nation, and afterwards even of his own making; it was bold to assume the Authority of calling, and bolder yet of
breaking so many Parliaments; it was bold to trample upon the patience of his own, and provoke that of all neighbouring Countreys; It was bold, I say, above all boldnesses, to Usurp this Tyranny to himself, and impudent above all impudences to endeavour to transmit it to his posterity. But all this boldnesse is so far from being a sign of manly Courage, (which dares not transgresse the rules of any other Virtue) that it is onely a Demonstration of Brutish Madnesse or Diabolical Possession. In both which last cases there uses frequent examples to appear of such extraordinary force as may justly seem more wonderfull and astonishing than the actions of Cromwell, neither is it stranger to believe that a whole Nation should not be able to govern  Him and a Mad Army, than that five or six men should not be strong enough to bind a Distracted Girl. There is no man ever succeeds in one wickednesse but it gives him the boldnesse to attempt a greater; 'Twas boldly done of Nero to kill his Mother, and all the chief Nobility of the Empire; 'twas boldly done to set the Metropolis of the whole World on fire, and undauntedly play upon his Harp whilest he saw it burning; I could reckon up five hundred boldnesses of that Great person (for why should not He too be called so?) who wanted when he was to die that courage which could hardly have failed any Woman in the like necessity. It would look (I must confesse) like Envy or too much partiality if I should say that personal kind of Courage had been deficient in the man we speak of; I am confident it was not, and yet I may venture I think to affirm, that no man ever bore the honour of so many victories, at the rate of fewer wounds or dangers of his own body, and though his valour might perhaps have given him a just pretension to one of the first charges in an Army, it could not certainly be a sufficient ground for a Title to the command of three Nations. What then shall we say? that he did all this by Witchcraft? He did so indeed in a great measure by a sin that is called like it in the Scriptures. But truely and unpassionately reflecting upon the advantages of his person which might be thought to have produced those of his Fortune, I can espy no other but extraordinary Diligence and infinite Dissimulation; and believe he was exalted above his Nation partly by his own Faults, but chiefly for Ours. We have brought him thus briefly (not through all his Labyrinths) to the Supreme Usurpt Authority, and because you say it was great pitie he did not live to command more Kingdoms, be pleased to let me represent to you in a few words, how well I conceive he governed these. And we will divide the consideration into that of his forein and domestique actions. The first of his forein was a Peace with our Brethren of Holland (who were the first of our neighbours that God chastised for having had so great a hand in the encouraging and abetting our troubles at home) who would not imagine at first glympse that this had been the most virtuous and laudable deed that his whole Life could make any parade of? but no man can look upon all the circumstances without perceiving,  that it was purely the sale and sacrifizing of the greatest advantages that this Countrey could ever hope, and was ready to reap, from a forein War, to the private interests of his covetousnesse and ambition, and the security of his new and unsetled Usurpation. No sooner is that danger past, but this Beatus Pacificus is kindling a fire in the Northern World, and carrying a War two thousand miles off Westwards. Two millions a year (besides all the Vales of his Protectorship) is as little capable to suffice now either his Avarice or Prodigality, as the two hundred Pounds were that he was born to. He must have his prey of the whole Indies both by Sea and Land, this great Aligator. To satisfie our Anti-Solomon (who has made Silver almost as rare as Gold, and Gold as Precious stones in his new Jerusalem) we must go, ten thousand of his slaves, to fetch him riches from his fantastical Ophir. And because his flatterers brag of him as the most Fortunate Prince (the Faustus as well as Sylla of our Nation, whom God never forsook in any of his undertakings) I desire them to consider, how since the English name was ever heard of, it never received so great and so infamous a blow as under the imprudent conduct of this unlucky Faustus; and herein let me admire the Justice of God in this circumstance, that they who had enslaved their Country (though a great Army, which I wish may be observed by ours with trembling) should bee so shamefully defeated by the hands of forty Slaves. It was very ridiculous to see how prettily they endeavoured to hide this ignominy under the great name of the Conquest of Jamaica, as if a defeated Army should have the impudence to brag afterwards of the Victory, because though they had fled out of the Field of Battel, yet they quartered that night in a Village of the Enemies. The War with Spain was a necessary consequence of this folly, and how much we have gotten by it, let the Custom-house and Exchange inform you; añd if he please to boast of the taking a part of the Silver-Fleet, (which indeed no body else but he, who was the sole gainer, has cause to do) at least let him give leave to the rest of the Nation (which is the onely loser) to complain of the losse of twelve hundred of her ships. But because it may here perhaps be answered, that his successes nearer home have extinguisht the disgrace of so remote miscariages, and that Dunkirk ought  more to be remembred for his glory, than St. Domingo for his disadvantage; I must confesse, as to the honour of the English courage, that they were not wanting upon that occasion (excepting onely the fault of serving at least indirectly against their Master) to the upholding of the renown of their warlike Ancestors. But for his particular share of it, who sat still at home, and exposed them so frankly abroad, I can onely say, that for lesse money than he in the short time of his reign exacted from his fellow Subjects, some of our former Princes (with the daily hazard of their own persons) have added to the Dominion of England not onely one Town, but even a greater Kingdom than it self. And this beeing all considerable as concerning his enterprises abroad, let us examine in the next place, how much wee owe him for his Justice and good Government at home. And first he found the Commonwealth (as they then called it) in a ready stock of about 800m pounds, he left the Commonwealth (as he had the impudent Raillery still to call it) some two Millions and an half in debt. He found our Trade very much decayd indeed, in comparison of the golden times of our late Princes; he left it as much again more decayd than he found it; and yet not onely no Prince in England, but no Tyrant in the World ever sought. out more base or infamous means to raise moneys. I shall onely instance in one that he put in practice, and another that he attempted, but was frighted from the execution (even He) by the infamy of it. That which he put in practice was Decimation; which was the most impudent breach of all publick Faith that the whole Nation had given, and all private capitulations which himself had made, as the Nations General and Servant, that can be found out (I believe) in all History from any of the most barbarous Generals of the most barbarous People. Which because it has been most excellently and most largely layd open by a whole Book written upon that Subject, I shall onely desire you here to remember the thing in general, and to be pleased to look upon that Author when you would recollect all the particulars and circumstances of the iniquity. The other design of raising a present sum of Money, which he violently persued, but durst not put in execution, was by the calling in and establishment of the Jews at London; from which he was rebuted by the universal outcry of the Divines, and even of  the Citizens too, who took it ill that a considerable number at least amongst themselves were not thought Jews enough by their own Herod. And for this design, they say, he invented (Oh Antichrist! Ponêron and ho Ponêros!) to sell St. Pauls to them for a Synagogue, if their purses and devotions could have reacht to the purchase. And this indeed if he had done onely to reward that Nation which had given the first noble example of crucifying their King, it might have had some appearance of Gratitude, but he did it onely for love of their Mammon; and would have sold afterwards for as much more St. Peters (even at his own Westminster) to the Turks for a Mosquito. Such was his extraordinary Piety to God, that he desired he might be worshipped in all manners, excepting onely that heathenish way of the Common-Prayer Book. But what do I speak of his wicked inventions for getting money? when every penny that for almost five years he took every day from every man living in England, Scotland, and Ireland, was as much Robbery as if it had been taken by a Thief upon the High-ways. Was it not so? or can any man think that Cromwell with the assistance of his Forces and Mosse Troopers, had more right to the command of all mens purses, than he might have had to any ones whom he had met and been too strong for upon a Road? and yet when this came in the case of Mr. Coney, to be disputed by a legal tryal, he (which was the highest act of Tyranny that ever was seen in England) not onely discouraged and threatned, but violently imprisoned the Councel of the Plaintiff; that is, he shut up the Law it self close Prisoner, that no man might have relief from, or accesse to it. And it ought to be remembred, that this was done by those men, who a few years before had so bitterly decried, and openly opposed the Kings regular and formal way of proceeding in the trial of a little Ship-money. But though we lost the benefit of our old Courts of Justice, it cannot be denyed that he set up new ones; and such they were, that as no virtuous Prince before would, so no ill one durst erect. What? have we lived so many hundred years under such a form of Justice as has been able regularly to punish all men that offended against it, and is it so deficient just now, that we must seek out new wayes how to proceed against offenders? The reason which can onely be given in nature for a necessity of this, is, because those things  are now made Crimes, which were never esteemed so in former Ages; and there must needs be a new Court set up to punish that, which all the old ones were bound to protect and reward. But I am so far from Declaming (as you call it) against these wickednesses (which if I should undertake to do, I should never get to the Peroration) that you see I only give a hint of some few, and passe over the rest as things that are too many to be numbred, and must onely be weighed in grosse. Let any man show me (for though I pretend not to much reading, I will defy him in all History) let any man show me (I say) an Example of any Nation in the World (though much greater than ours) where there have in the space of four years been made so many Prisoners onely out of the endlesse Jealousies of one Tyrants guilty Imagination. I grant you that Marius and Sylla, and the accursed Triumvirate after them, put more People to death, but the reason I think partly was, because in those times that had a mixture of some honour with their madnesse, they thought it a more civil revenge against a Roman to take away his Life, than to take away his Liberty. But truly in the point of murder too, we have little reason to think that our late Tyranny has been deficient to the examples that have ever been set it in other Countries. Our Judges and our Courts of Justice have not been idle; And to omit the whole reign of our late King (till the beginning of the War) in which no drop of blood was ever drawn but from two or three Ears, I think the longest time of our worst Princes scarce saw many more Executions than the short one of our blest Reformer. And wee saw, and smelt in our open streets, (as I markt to you at first) the broyling of humane bowels as a Burnt Offering of a sweet Savour to our Idyl; but all murdering, and all torturing (though after the subtilest invention of his Predecessors of Sicilie) is more Humane and more supportable, than his selling of Christians, Englishmen, Gentlemen; his selling of them (oh monstrous! oh incredible!) to be Slaves in America. If his whole life could bee reproacht with no other action, yet this alone would weigh down all the multiplicity of Crimes in any of our tyrants; and I dare onely touch, without stopping or insisting upon so insolent and so execrable a cruelty, for fear of falling into so violent (though a just) Passion, as would make me exceed that temper and moderation which I resolve to  observe in this Discourse with you. These are great calamities; but even these are not the most insupportable that wee have endured; for so it is, that the scorn, and mockery, and insultings of an Enemy, are more painfull than the deepest wounds of his serious fury. Ths Man was wanton and merry (unwittily and ungracefully merry) with our sufferings; Hee loved to say and do sencelesse and fantastical things, onely to shew his power of doing or saying any thing. It would ill befit mine, or any civil Mouth, to repeat those words which hee spoke concerning the most sacred of our English Laws, the Petition of Right, and Magna Charta. To day you should see him ranting so wildly, that no body durst come near him, the morrow flinging of cushions, and playing at Snow-balls with his Servants. This moneth hee assembles a Parliament, and professes himself with humble tears to be onely their Servant and their Minister; the next moneth hee swears By the Living God, that hee will turn them out of dores, and hee does so, in his princely way of threatning bidding them, Turn the buckles of their girdles behind them. The Representative of a whole, nay of three whole Nations, was in his esteem so contemptible a meeting, that hee thought the affronting and expelling of them to be a thing of so little consequence, as not to deserve that hee should advise with any mortal man about it. What shall wee call this? Boldnesse, or Brutishnesse? Rashnesse, or Phrensie? there is no name can come up to it, and therefore wee must leave it without one. Now a Parliament must bee chosen in the new manner, next time in the old form, but all cashiered still after the newest mode. Now he will govern by Major Generals, now by One House, now by Another House, now by No House; now the freak takes him, and hee makes seventy Peers of the Land at one clap (Extempore, and stans pede in uno) and to manifest the absolute power of the Potter, hee chooses not onely the worst Clay he could find, but picks up even the Durt and Mire, to form out of it his Vessels of Honour. It was said antiently of Fortune, that when she had a mind to be merry and to divert her self, she was wont to raise up such kind of people to the highest Dignities. This Son of fortune, Cromwell (who was himself one of the primest of her Jests) found out the true haut goust of this pleasure, and rejoyced in the extravagance of his wayes as the fullest demonstration of his  uncontroulable Soverainty. Good God! what have we seen? and what have we suffer'd? what do all these actions signifie, what do they say aloud to the whole Nation, but this (even as plainly as if it were proclamed by Heralds through the streets of London) You are Slaves and Fools, and so Ile use you? These are briefly a part of those merits which you lament to have wanted the reward of more Kingdomes, and suppose that if he had lived longer he might have had them; Which I am so far from concurring to, that I believe his seasonable dying to have been a greater good fortune to him than all the victories and prosperities of his Life. For he seemed evidently (methinks) to be near the end of his deceitfull Glories; his own Army grew at last as weary of him as the rest of the People; and I never past of late before his Palace (His, do I call it? I ask God and the King pardon) but I never past of late before Whitehall without reading upon the Gate of it, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. But it pleased God to take him from the ordinary Courts of Men, and Juries of his Peers, to his own High Court of Justice, whch being more mercifull than Ours below, there is a little room yet left for the hope of his friends, if he have any; though the outward unrepentance of his death affoard but small materials for the work of Charity, especially if he designed even then to Entail his own injustice upon his Children, and by it inextricable confusions and Civil Wars upon the Nation. But here's at last an end of him; And where's now the fruit of all that bloud and calamity which his Ambition has cost the World? Where is it? Why, his Son (you'l say) has the whole Crop; I doubt he will find it quickly Blasted; I have nothing to say against the Gentleman, or any living of his family, on the contrary I wish him better fortune than to have a long and unquiet possession of his Masters Inheritance. Whatsoever I have spoken against his Father, is that which I should have thought (though Decency perhaps might have hindred me from saying it) even against mine Own, if I had been so unhappy, as that Mine by the same wayes should have left me Three Kingdoms.
|The Chartreux wants the warning of a Bell
To call him to the duties of his Cell;
There needs no noise at all t'awaken sin,
Th' Adulterer and the Thief his Larum has within.
Here I stopt; and my pretended Protector, who, I expected, should have been very angry, fell a laughing; it seems at the simplicity of my discourse, for thus he replied: You seem to pretend extremely to the old obsolete rules of Virtue and  Conscience, which makes me doubt very much whether from this vast prospect of three Kingdoms you can show me any Acres of your own. But these are so farre from making you a Prince, that I am afraid your friends will never have the contentment to see you so much as a Justice of Peace in your own Countrey. For this I perceive which you call Virtue, is nothing else but either the frowardnesse of a Cynick, or the lazinesse of an Epicurean. I am glad you allow me at least Artfull Dissimulation, and unwearied Diligence in my Hero, and I assure you that he whose Life is constantly drawn by those two, shall never be misled out of the way of Greatnesse. But I see you are a Pedant, and Platonical Statesman, a Theoretical Commonwealths man, an Utopian Dreamer. Was ever Riches gotten by your Golden Mediocrities? or the Supreme place attained to by Virtues that must not stir out the middle? Do you study Aristotles Politiques, and write, if you please, Comments upon them, and let another but practise Matchavil, and let us see then which of you two will come to the greatest preferments. If the desire of rule and superiority be a Virtue (as sure I am it is more imprinted in human Nature than any of your Lethargical Morals; and what is the Virtue of any Creature but the exercise of those powers and inclinations which God has infused into it?) if that (I say) be Virtue, we ought not to esteem any thing Vice, which is the most proper, if not the onely means of attaining of it.
 He would have gone on I perceiv'd in his blasphemies, but that by Gods Grace I became so bold as thus to interrupt him. I understand now perfectly (which I guest at long before) what kind of Angel and Protector you are; and though your stile in verse be very much mended since you were wont to deliver Oracles, yet your Doctrine is much worse than ever you had formerly (that I heard of) the face to publish; whether your long Practice with mankind has encreast and improved your malice, or whether you think Us in this age to be grown so impudently wicked, that there needs no more art or disguises to draw us to your party. My Dominion (said he hastily, and with a dreadfull furious look) is so great in this World, and I am so powerful a Monarch of it, that I need not be ashamed that you should know me; and that you may see I know you too, I know you to bee an obstinate and inveterate Malignant; and for that reason I shall take you along with mee to the next Garrison of Ours; from whence you shall go to the Tower, and from thence to the Court of Justice, and from thence you know whither. I was almost in the very pounces of the great Bird of prey,
It is a Truth so certain, and so clear,
That to the first-born Man it did appear;
Did not, the mighty Heir, the noble Cain,
By the fresh Laws of Nature taught, disdain
That (though a Brother) any one should be
A greater Favourite to God than He?
He strook him down; and, so (said He) so fell
The sheep which thou didst Sacrifize so well.
Since all the fullest Sheaves which I could bring,
Since all were Blasted in the Offering,
Lest God should my next Victime too despise,
The acceptable Priest I'le Sacrifize.
Hence Coward Fears; for the first Bloud so spilt
As a Reward, He the first Citie built.
 'Twas a beginning generous and high,
Fit for a Grand-Child of the Deity.
So well advanced, 'twas pity there he staid;
One step of Glory more he should have made,
And to the utmost bounds of Greatnesse gone;
Had Adam too been kill'd, He might have Reign'd Alone.
One Brother's death what do I mean to name,
A small Oblation to Revenge and Fame?
The mighty-soul'd Abimelec to shew
What for high place a higher Spirit can do,
A Hecatomb almost of Brethren slew,
And seventy times in nearest bloud he dy'd
(To make it hold) his Royal Purple Pride.
Why do I name the Lordly Creature Man?
The weak, the mild, the Coward Woman, can,
When to a Crown she cuts her sacred way,
All that oppose with Manlike courage slay.
So Athaliah, when she saw her Son,
And with his Life her dearer Greatnesse gone,
With a Majestique fury slaughter'd all
Whom high birth might to high pretences call.
Since he was dead who all her power sustain'd,
Resolv'd to reign alone; Resolv'd, and Reign'd.
In vain her Sex, in vain the Laws withstood,
In vain the sacred plea of Davids Bloud,
A noble, and a bold contention, Shee,
(One Woman) undertook with Destiny.
She to pluck down, Destiny to uphold
(Oblig'd by holy Oracles of old)
The great Jessæan race on Juda's Throne;
Till 'twas at last an equal Wager grown,
Scarce Fate, with much adoe, the Better got by One.
Tell me not she her self at last was slain;
Did she not first seven years (a Life-time) reign?
Seven royal years t' a publick spirit will seem
More than the private Life of a Methusalem.
'Tis Godlike to be Great; and as they say
A thousand years to God are but a Day:
So to a Man, when once a Crown he wears,
The Coronation Day's more than a Thousand years.
|When, Lo, ere the last words were fully spoke,
From a fair clowd, which rather ope'd, than broke,
A flash of Light, rather than Lightning came,
So swift, and yet so gentle was the Flame.
Upon it rode, and in his full Career,
Seem'd to my Eyes no sooner There than Here,
The comelyest Youth of all th' Angelique race;
Lovely his shape, ineffable his Face.
The Frowns with which hee strook the trembling Fiend,
All Smiles of Humane Beauty did transcend.
His Beams of Locks fell part dishevel'd down,
Part upwards curld, and form'd a nat'ral Crown,
Such as the British Monarchs us'd to wear;
If Gold might be compar'd with Angels Hair.
His Coat and flowing Mantle were so bright,
They seem'd both made of woven Silver Light,
Acrosse his breast an azure Ruban went,
At which a Medal hung that did present
 In wondrous, living figures to the sight,
The mystick Champion's, and old Dragon's fight,
And from his Mantles side there shone afar,
A fixt, and, I believe, a Real Star.
In his fair hand (what need was there of more?)
No Arms but th' English bloody Crosse he bore,
Which when hee towards th' affrighted Tyrant bent,
And some few words pronounc'd (but what they ment,
Or were, could not, alas, by me be known,
Onely I well perceiv'd Jesus was one)
He trembled, and he roard, and fled away;
Mad to quit thus his more than hop'd-for prey.
Such rage inflames the Wolves wild heart and eyes
(Rob'd as he thinks unjustly of his prize)
Whom unawares the Shepherd spies, and draws
The bleating Lamb from out his ravenous jaws.
The Shepherd fain himself would he assail,
But Fear above his Hunger does prevail,
He knows his Foe too strong, and must bee gone;
Hee grins as hee looks back, and howls as hee goes on.
English Civil War Chronology and Commentary // Frontispiece, Hobbes' Leviathan // Ode on "Brutus" and Cromwell and Adversaries // Dying to Help Out (Mors perniciosorum gratissima) // The Return of the King: Poems on Charles II's Restoration // Cowley's "Ode upon his Majesty's Restoration" // A Translation of the Sixth Book of Mr. Cowley's Plantarum, Being A Poem upon the late Rebellion, the Happy Restoration of his Sacred Majesty, and the Dutch War Ensuing // Charles II in 1651 // Back to The Works on the Web