POEMS AND SONGS
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM;
Assassination by John Felton
AUGUST 23, 1628.
EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES,
FREDERICK W. FAIRHOLT, F.S.A.
Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
WHO RULES THE KINGDOM? THE KINO!
WHO RULES THE KING? THE DUKE!!
WHO RULES THE DUKE? THE DEVIL!!!
PRINTED FOR THE PERCY SOCIETY,
BY RICHARDS, 100, ST. MARTIN'S LANE.
No. XC. October 1850.
The Percy Society.
President. THE RIGHT HON. LORD BRAYBROOKE, F.S.A.
THOMAS AMYOT, Esq., F.R.S., F.S.A.
WILLIAM HENRY BLACK, Esq.
W. DURRANT COOPER, Esq., F.S.A.
T. CROFTON CROKER, Esq., F.S.A., M.R.I.A.
J. H. DIXON, Esq.
FREDERICK WILLIAM FA1RHOLT, Esq. F.S.A.
W. D. HAGGARD, Esq , F.S.A.
JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, Esq., F.R.S., F.S.A., Honorary Secretary,
SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, Bart.
JAMES PRIOR, Esq., F.S.A., M.R.I.A.
WILLIAM SANDYS, Esq., F.S.A.
C. ROACH SMITH, Esq., F.S.A.
RICHARD JOHN SMITH, Esq.
THE REV. J. REYNELL WREFORD, D.D., F.S.A.
THOMAS WRIGHT, Esq. M.A., F.S.A., Treasurer.
Political Poems, like
straws thrown up to
show which way the wind blows, are especially
valuable for the insight they give us to the state
of party or popular feeling at the period when they
were written. In the early satires levelled against
the excesses of the nobles and the unrighteousness
of the clergy, we can trace fully that strong pent-up,
never-varying desire for civil and religious
liberty, which through the middle ages never slept,
and ultimately triumphed. Again, what so vividly
brings to the imagination of the student, the men
and measures of the great civil war in England,
as the plain outspoken biting satires and ballads
of the time, with all their coarse vigour and
unmistakable vraisemblance? The pages of the
historian may gravely state facts more or less
tinged by partizanship; but the ballads and satires
of the day bring us personally acquainted with
the men, in all their most minute peculiarity of
habit and appearance, and furnish us with a clue
to the popular estimation they were held in, by
giving us the motives for actions which were
generally imputed to them.
Of this fact, the ensuing pages bear ample witness.
The modern reader, who for the first time
peruses the extravagant laudations of a murderer
like Felton, laudations emanating not from the
rabble, but from the educated and the poetic classes,
would indeed feel great surprise, if he did not
know how strongly popular opinion throughout
the country had set against the murdered Duke
of Buckingham; and how loudly, continuously,
and bitterly he had been condemned, in prose and
rhyme, as the unworthy favourite of sovereigns
whose actions he ruled to the ruin of the country.
There was certainly no man against whom the
shafts of satire fell more continuously than this
celebrated favourite; while his death seemed to
excite the general attention of all who could rhyme.
As our published Collections of Political Poetry
of an early kind close previous to this period,
and the later ones begin with the civil war, the present
will supply a lacuncoe, and help to make the series
more complete. It is a contribution, however
small, to the history of the age.
Buckingham's murder was the first great home
event in one of the most eventful reigns recorded
in English history. The prime favourite of two
sovereigns for many years, he had so conducted
himself as to give great umbrage to the people;
and the opinion generally held of him is expressed
in the strong and coarse comment, current toward
the end of his career, and which appears on our
George Villiers, (afterwards Duke of Buckingham),
the youngest son of.Sir Edward Villiers of
Brookesby in Leicestershire, first made his appearance
at the court of James I in 1614; and the
political intriguers of the day set him up in
opposition to the declining favourite Somerset. He
was a man of attractive personal appearance, had
been educated in the French court, and at once
fascinated the weak monarch, and rapidly made
way in his affections. He heaped honours on him
and his family, and Villiers rose as fast as
Somerset fell; ultimately becoming more powerful
than the latter nobleman, and as great a favourite
with the Prince Charles as he was with the
king. He made use of his position to aggrandize
himself and family with all rapidity, and bore
himself with great hauteur even to such men as
the Lord Chancellor Bacon, who was compelled to
dance attendance for days together in his antechamber
among his servants,
sitting upon an
old wooden chest, with, his purse and seal lying by
him on that chest. His brothers and male relatives
were married to heiresses, (sometimes
compulsorily), and the female branches to the
richest and noblest of the aristocracy; while
all alike trafficked in titles and places, lodging
about the court and making the most of their
But though this excited the jealousy of the
courtiers, the people in general were not thoroughly
rouzed against the favorite, until he had fomented
the Quixotic expedition of Prince Charles into
Spain, and accompanied him thither. The popular
dislike to the Spanish match was intense, and the
fear of popish innovation excessive; the favourite
was, therefore, loudly condemned by all; at the
same time he was on the most intimate terms
with his sovereign and prince, and the letters
which passed between them evince a familiar intimacy
which has no parallel in history. James
addressed him as
My sweet hearty;
Steenie/> and gossip;
My only sweet
and dear child; and tattled about the favourite's family
affairs more like an old nurse than a king. Charles
addressed him by his father's name of adoption,
Steenie, and consulted him on every subject of
importance; while Buckingham returned the
familiarity by addressing the king as
Dear dad and gossip; and subscribing
Your humble slave and dog,
I kiss your warty hands, &c.
Buckingham was raised to the dukedom while
at Madrid, in order that he might be elevated in
the eyes of the Spaniards: but his dissipation and
insolence disgusted them, as much as his freedom
of speech and manners before the prince,
never having been such a comet seen in that hemisphere;
their submissive reverence to their princes
being a vital part of their religion. Seeing that
he was hated there, and fearing that his absence
from London would give power to some other
court plotter, of which he had cognizance, he hastened
the prince homeward; and on his return
succeeded so far in implicating others and defending
himself, that his praises were sung by the
populace as the saviour of the prince, and a war
with Spain eagerly looked for.
The infirmities of James, and the strong friendship
of his son, kept Buckingham at the head of
affairs, in spite of all attempts at opposition, until
the death of the king. On the accession of Charles
to the throne, the favourite at once assumed a still
more powerful position as the prime mover of all
important events. But lords and commons were now
convinced of the impropriety of allowing this
system of favouritism and mal-administration
to continue unchecked, and many severe things were
said of the duke. He had grossly neglected the
navy, and he had aided Charles in a determined
attempt to crush the French Protestants at
Rochelle, where the sailors, deceived by a declaration
that they were destined for other service, on
finding they were cajoled, refused to fight, and
spread the disgrace of this action far and wide.
Another of Buckingham's naval projects, for enriching
the king and gratifying his own spite, by
piratically seizing the Spanish ships on their way
from America, also failed, and added to his unpopularity.
Soon after his marriage with Henrietta Maria,
Charles conceived, and not without reason, a
violent dislike to the Frenchmen and priests in
her retinue: he communicated this dislike to Buckingham,
and so continually consulted him in all his
domestic affairs, that the queen felt her own influence
less than that of the duke, who encouraged
these squabbles for his own advantage. The nation
saw this, and so did the parliament; but the chief
opponents of the favourite were struck out by the
king's own hand; he afterwards protected him
openly against them, and thus fomented the
opposition that increased and ramified throughout
his reign, ending so fatally to king and kingdom.
In May 1626, Buckingham was impeached by
parliament; but the king avenged himself on the
principal speakers in the Commons, Sir Dudley
Digges and Sir John Eliot, by suddenly seizing
them and sending them to the Tower; but was
obliged, in a few days, to release them, owing to
the strong sense of the House against this measure;
thus disgracing himself, and widening the breach
between them. He then dissolved parliament,
and raised money by forced loans at the instigation
of his favourite, who soon after took mortal
offence at the court of France, which threw obstacles in
the way of his journey to Paris, where he anxiously
desired to go, again to throw himself at the feet
of Anne of Austria. In his rage, he conceived the
idea of visiting France as an enemy, and urged the
king to war in favour of the Rochellers whom he
had before endeavoured to crush. But when the
armament reached Rochelle, they were coldly received,
and ultimately returned home beaten.
A new parliament was called, but the pent-up
fire again broke forth, and Buckingham's interference
in all things was alluded to by Sir John
and the great lawyer Sir Edward Coke,
and the great lawyer Sir Edward Coke.
At this time he was generally denounced by all;
and ultimately the speakers presented their remonstrance
against him to the king; but Charles
finding the parliament unpliant, abruptly dissolved
The public plunderings of the favourite and his
family are thus given in Sloane MS., No. 826,
p. 1, as they were drawn up for the use of parliament.
Grants given to the Duke of Buckingham himselfe,
for his immediate use.
14 Jul. 14 Jac. The manor of Bedlescombe, and other lands,
parcell of the possession of the Lord Grey in com'
23 Jul. 1623. The manor of Waddon
in the same county of Buckingham
9 Nov. 14 Jac. The lordship or manor of Hackington, and divers
9 Dec. 14 Jac. The manor of Combe,
Lingted, Baylie, in com' Warwick
Amounting to, per annum
The lands (infra) past in August xvii°,
Jacobi Mdcxix°. Wherof part (viz. 723l. 18s. 2d.
afterward were surrendered.
The manor of Belby in com' Gloucestrie
The manor of Timberwood and Rainhurst, in com' Cantiæ
The lots and manors of Westharviss,
Stockton, Stokington, and Hope,
in com' Hereford
The manor of Spalding. in the county
The grange of Buckley, in com' Eborae
The manor of Overy, in com' Kantiæ
The manor of Leistow, in com' Suffolke
The lordship and manor of Brampton,
in com' Huntington
The parke of Bokingham, in com'
Amounting to, per annum
The forest of Keyfeild, in com' Rutland, within which the
woods to his majesty yeelded yearly rent of 130l,
which wood, and all the rest of the forest, except Beaumond walke
and Rudlington parke, are graunted unto the Duke,
12° Septemb. MDCXX°. xviii° Jacobi R., at the
fee farme rent of
These same were for lands sold by his owne agents and
the moneys received by them, but tallies stricken for forme only.
||23 Maij, 1623.
|11 Febr. 1622
To the Earl of Manchester, in part of satisfaction of 20000li., formerly paid to the duke for the office of lord treasurer, 2500li. and for this same lands were sold at the value of 500li., or thereabouts.
|7 Martii. 1622
|14 Martii. 1622
|21 Martii. 1622
|19 Julii. 1623
|30 Aprill. 1624
|17 Octobris. 1624
The manor and lordshippe of Birighton,
with lands in Milborne, Aoan, &c., the
manner of Stanten, and the grange of
Berkley, given in'exchange for Yorke
house, by Act of Parliament, xxi° Jacobi.
These sums were paid to the
duke by a privie seale of free
guift, but were alleged to be
intended for the navie
15 Januarii 1624
|23 Januarii 1624
In pentions out of the court of wards,
by letters patent, dat. 12 Julii 22° Jac.
Out of the customes of Ireland, by
vertue of a leese for yeares graunted
xvi° Jac., for support of his dignity (only
the duke paying the moytie to the king)
The late king likewise paid to the
earle of Notingham, during his life, 1000li.
pention; to his sonne sir Charles Howard,
11OOli., pention; to his lady the countes,
and his daughter the lady Anne, l000li.
pention; for surrendring the office of
Admiral to the duke: 21 Junij 1619
Also another pention paid to the
earle of Worcester, during his life, for
leaving the mastershippe of the horse to
the duke: 27 Martij. 15 Jac.
The profit of the 3d upon strangers'
goods, over and above the rent of 3000li.,
which some yeares amounteth to l000li.,
and few yeares lesse; 29 Martij. 15 Jac.
His endeavour to get the money to be made of prize
goods, to be received of his servant Gabriel Mersh, and to
be disposed by himselfe; and the great quantity of goods
sould without warrant, and without any legal course taken to
bring it to account (not reckoned).
Also part of the earle of Middlesex fine, by
a privie seale to the lord treasurer and chancellor
of the Exchequer, appointed for the household
and for the wardrobe, and by the practice of the
duke, directed to his owne use
Divers grants to the duke's brothers and
others of his kindred.
To the earle of Anglisey, 400li. per annum,
valued at the summe of 10000li. To him, more,
for two forests of Peweham and Blackmore, of the
yearly value of 800li. at the least, together with the
timber and trees therupon growing, and likewise
divers debts granted to him for trees there formerly
sould, valued in toto at 20000li.
Sir Lionel Cranfield, knight, who married his
kinswoman, was advanced to be an earle; made
lord high treasurer of England, and by meanes
therof, diverse places of trust he gate to his owne
use, of his majesties treasure at severall times, and out
of his majestie's estate
To Sir Edward Villers, out of the mint, in consideration
of lea bayly, parcell of the forest of
Deane, promised him by his majestie
More to the said Sir Edward Villers, 500 acres,
parcell of the forest of Deane, in county Gloucester,
with the timber trees theron growing, which is
valued by them who well understand it
More to him in pention, by graunt, 31 Julij 22°
Jacobi, out of the profits of the mint, per
In one other pencon, by graunt, 31 Julij, 22° Jacobi, out of the court of wards and liveries, per annum
On the very day that the duke was denounced
by the House of Commons, his physician, Dr.
Lambe, generally termed
the duke^s devil, who
was popularly believed to deal in the black art,
and instigate the duke's worst acts, was attacked
in the streets of London, and so ill-treated, that
he died during the same day. Pamphlets were
soon afterwards published, descanting on
infamous life of this man; and a doggerel rhyme
of fearful import became current:—
Let Charles and George do what they can,
The duke shall die like Doctor Lambe.
A paper was also affixed to a post in Coleman
Street, upon which were the words printed in our
title-page, with this significant addition:—
the duke look to it; for they intend shortly to use
him worse than they did the doctor; and if things
be not shortly reformed, they will work a reformation
themselves. The perpetrators of the
murder escaped, and the Mayor and Aldermen
failing to discover them, the city was menaced
with the loss of its charter, and amerced in a fine
of £6000, which was subsequently reduced to
The duke's life had been attempted at Rhé by a
Jesuit armed with a three-edged knife; and an
account of the event, with a wood-cut of the knife,
had been published on his return, to endear the duke
to all good Protestants. Popular feeling, however,
ran counter to this; and he was repeatedly warned
that his death was
solemnly vowed by many,
but he persisted in the belief of his own safety.
Sir Symonds D'Ewes relates, that
some of his
friendes had advised him how generally he was
hated in England, and how needfull it would bee,
for his greater safetie, to weare some coate of
maile, or some secret defensive armour, but the
duke slighting saied:—
It needs not—there are
no Roman spirits left.
The famous Dame Eleanor Davis, (wife of
the Attorney General for Ireland), who had become
celebrated for the foretelling of events, had confidently
predicted the death of the duke in 1628.
A Latin distich, headed by what was called a
Chronogram,, was also in very general circulation.
A copy, preserved in the Ashmolean MS., vol.
xxxviii, p. 25, states it to have been
few monthes before he (the duke) was murthered;
by John Marston; it ran thus:—
georgIVs. DVX bVCkIngaMIæ. mdcxvvviii.
Laeto jam sæclo tandem sol pertulit annum;
Noni non videat, quæsumus, Alme, diem.
Thy numerous name with this yeare doth agree,
But twentye-nyne God graunte thou never see.
An apparition was also stated to have appeared,
which announced the duke's fate; but Clarendon
considers, that this story was planned by the
countess and the person to whom it was said to
have appeared, to inspire the duke with a livelier
regard toward his own safety.
The following week the king and duke journeyed
in the same coach to Deptford, to inspect the ships
destined for Rochelle, whither the favourite again
determined to proceed. He parted with the king,
receiving the warmest assurances of his friendship
and devotion, and proceeded to Portsmouth, where
a more sudden fate than Lambe's awaited him.
On the 23rd of August 1628, Howell says,
duke did rise up in a well disposed humour out of
his bed, and cut a caper or two; he then went to
breakfast, and after giving an audience to Soubise
and others, he left his chamber to go out in his
carriage. What followed is best told in the descriptive
letter sent by Sir Dudley Carleton to the
queen on the afternoon of the same day, and
which is here reprinted entire.
I am to trouble your Grace with a most lamentable relation.
This day, betwixt 9 and 10 of the Clock in the Morning,
the Duke of Buckingham, then comming out of a Parlor,
into a Hall, to goe to his Coach, and soe to the King,
(who was four miles off), having about him diverse Lords,
Colonells and Captains, and many of his owne servants, was,
by one Felton, (once a Lieutenant of this our army), slaine
at one blow, with a dagger knife. In his staggering he
turn'd about, uttering onely this word;
never spake word more, but presently plucking out the
knife from himselfe, before he fell to the ground, hee made
towards the Traytor, two or three paces, and then fell against
a table, although he were upheld by diverse that were neere
him, that (through the villiane's close carriage in the act)
could not perceive him hurt at all, but guess'd him to be
suddenly over-swayed with some apoplexie, till they saw the
blood come gushing from his mouth and the wound, so fast
that the life, and breath, at once left his begored body.
Maddam, You may easily guesse what outcryes were then
made, by us that were commaunders and officers there present,
when wee saw him thus dead in a moment, and slaine
by an unknown hand; for it seems that the Duke himselfe
only knew who it was that had murdered him; and by
meanes of the confused presse att the instant about his
person, wee neither did nor could. The Souldiers feare his
losse will bee their utter ruine; wherefore, att that instant,
the house and the court about it were full, every man present
with the Duke's body endeavouring a care of it. In
the meantime Felton passed the throng, which was confusedly
great, not soe much as marked or followed, in soe
much, that not knowing where nor who he was that had
done that fact, some came to keepe guard at the gates, and
others went to the ramparts of the Towne, in all which time
the villaine was standing in the kitchen of the same house,
and after the inquiry made by a multitude of Captaines and
Gentlemen, then pressing into the house and court, and
crying out amaine,
where is the villian? where is the
butcher? hee most audaciously and resolutely drawing
forth his sword, came out, and went amongst them, saying,
I am the Man; heere I am. Upon which diverse
drew upon him, with an intent to have then dispacht him:
but Sir Thomas Morton, myselfe, and some others us'd such
means, (though with much trouble and difficulty), that wee
drew him out of their hands, and by order of my Lord High
Chamberlaine, wee had the charge of keeping him from any
comming to him, until a Guard of Musketeers was brought
to convey him to the Governor's house, where wee were
My Lord High Chamberlaine, and Mr. Secretary Cooke
were then at the Governor's house, and did there take his
examination, of which, as yet, there is nothing knowne;
onely whilst he was in our custody, I asked him several questions,
to which he answer'd: vizt. He sayd he was a Protestant
in Religion; he also expressed himselfe that he was partly
discontented for want of eighty pounds pay which was due
unto him, and for that hee being Lieutenant of a Company
of Foot, the Company was given over his head unto another;
and yet, he sayd, that that did not move him to this resolution,
but that he reading the Remonstrance of the House
of Parliament, it came into his mind, that in committing
the act of killing the Duke hee should do his Country
a great good service: and he sayd that to-morrow he was to
be pray'd for in London. I then asked him, att what church,
and to what purpose? Hee told me at a church by Fleet
Street Conduit, and, as for a man much discontented in
mind. Now we seeing things to fall from him in this manner,
suffer'd him not to bee further question'd by any; thinking
it much fitter for the Lords to examine him, and to finde it
out, and know from him, whether he was encouraged, and
sett on by any, to performe this wicked deed.
But to return to the screeches made at the fatall blow
given. The Duchesse of Buckingham and the Countesse of
Anglesey, came forth into a Gallery which look'd into the
Hall, where they might behold the blood of their deerest
Lord gushing from him. Ah! poore Ladies, such were
their screechings, teares, and distractions, that I never in
my life heard the like before, and hope never to heare the
like againe. His Majesties griefe for the losse of him was
express'd to be more than great, by the many teares hee hath
shed for him, with which I will conclude this sad and untimely
Felton had sowed a writing in the crowne of his hatt half
within the lyning, to shew the cause why hee putt this cruell
act in execution; thinking hee should have beene slaine in
the place, and it was thus:
If I bee slaine, let no man condemne
me, but rather condemne himselfe; it is for our sinns
that our harts are hardned, and become sencelesse, or else
hee had not gone soe long unpunished.
He is unworthy of the name of a Gentleman or Souldier,
in my opinion, that is afrayd to sacrifice his life for the
honor of God, his King and Country.
Maddam, this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth: yet all too much too, if it had so pleased
God. I thought it my bounden duty howsoever to let your
Majestie have the first intelligence of it, by the hand of,
Madam, your sorrowful servant,
Carleton's letter is evidently written in the
haste and confusion of the moment, and he has not
given Felton's remarkable paper correctly. The
original was once in the possession of the celebrated
collector of autographs Mr. William Upcott,
and is here exactly transcribed.
That man is cowardly base and deserveth
not the name of a gentleman or Souldier
that is not willinge to sacrifice his life
for the honor of his God his Kinge and his
Countrie. Lett noe man commend me for
doinge of it., but rather discommend themselves
as the cause of it, for if God had
not taken away our harts for our sinnes he
would not have gone so longe unpunished.
King Charles had parted but the day before
from Buckingham, and was staying at Southwick
Park, a seat of the Norton family a few miles
from Portsmouth, from which place Carleton's
letter is dated, he having probably posted there
with the news. The king was at prayers, when
Sir John Hippesly immediately went up to him
and whispered the tidings in his ear: the king is
reported to have heard it without visible emotion,
but when the service was ended, he hastily went to
his chamber and bewailed his death passionately,
casting himself on his bed with abundance of tears.
Felton had been bred a soldier, and came of a
good family in Suffolk; but was, as Sir Henry
Wotton terms him,
a younger brother of mean
fortune, by nature of a deep melancholy, silent,
and gloomy constitution. He had been a lieutenant
in Sir James Ramsay's regiment, and had
served in the year preceding at the unfortunate
expedition to Rochelle; he is reported to have
been disgusted that other men were favoured and
raised in the army above himself; but Wotton,
who details these reports, is inclined to think them
of small weight as incentives to the deed; Felton
stating his inducements to be the imputations
thrown out against the duke in Eglisham's book,
and his denunciation by the people and parliament.
The latter was no doubt the real cause, inasmuch
as when Felton was exhorted by the royal chaplain
to confess his motives, he answered,
Sir, I shall
be brief: I killed him for the cause of God and
It was this feeling, probably, which induced
Felton to take so little interest in his own fate,
when he might have escaped so easily, as is narrated
in Carleton's letter. Wotton has alluded to the
same striking fact. He says,
one thing in this
enormous accident is, I must confess, to me beyond
all wonder (as I received it from a gentleman of
judicious and diligent observation, and one whom
the duke well favoured,) that, within the space of
not many minutes after the fall of the body, and
removal thereof in the first room, there was not a
living creature in either of the chambers, no more
than if it had lain in the sands of Ethiopiæ:
whereas, commonly in such cases, you shall note
everywhere a great and sudden conflux of people
unto the place, to hearken and to see; but it should
seem the very horror of the fact had stupified all
curiosity, and so dispersed the multitude, that it
is thought even the murderer himself might have
escaped; for who gave the blow none could affirm, if
he had not lingered about the house below, not by
any confused arrest of conscience, but by very pride
in his own deed, as if in effect there were little difference
between being remembered by a virtuous
fame, or an illustrious infamy.
Suspicion, at first, was excited towards the
Frenchmen about the duke, who were with difficulty
saved from the blind vengeance of the duke's
attendants. Felton meanwhile walked quietly
into the kitchen of the house, and remained there
unnoticed until the first stupor of amazement
had passed away, and the real murderer was
sought for. He had expected a sudden death at
the hands of the duke's servants when he struck the
blow, and it was this which induced him to fasten
the written paper in his hat; he wished not to
avoid the death he expected, and on the loud
where is the murderer! he coolly
confronted the enraged inquirers with—
the man! His life was with difficulty saved, and
he was conveyed under guard to the house of the
governor of Portsmouth.
He had performed his journey to Portsmouth
partly on horseback, and partly on foot, says
for he was indigent and low in money.
But before leaving London
in a bye cutler's
shop on Tower Hill, he bought a ten-penny knife, (so
cheap was the instrument of this great attempt),
and the sheath thereof he sewed to the lining of
his pocket, that he might at any moment draw
forth the blade alone with one hand, for he had maimed
Felton was conveyed to the Tower in September,
and Charles would have had him put upon the rack
to discover if he had any accomplices, but that the
that torture was not justifiable
according to the law of England. He constantly
affirmed that he did it of his own will,
but out of an intent for the good of his
country. He was one of the gloomy enthusiasts,
of whom history furnishes examples, who want but
the spur of their own conviction to do any deed.
He was hanged at Tyburn, and his body conveyed
to Portsmouth and hung there in chains.
Buckingham was murdered
in the thirty-sixth
year of his age complete, and three days over.
His body was buried at Westminster, secretly, on
the 17th of September; and a public funeral, with
an empty coffin, paraded on the next night, guarded
by soldiers with raised pikes and muskets, as if
the people's well known dislike was expected to
have been vented on his remains. His heart is
affirmed to have been placed in the marble urn
which forms the centre of his monument in Portsmouth
That his unpopularity outlived him, is evident
by the fears of the court at his funeral; and that
the sympathy of the populace was more with
Felton, than with the murdered minister, may be
gathered from many contemporary sources. Meade
tells us, in one of his gossiping news-letters to
Sir Martin Stuteville, (Harleian MS. No. 390),
that on his journey to his trial in London, as he
passed through Kingston-upon-Thames,
an old woman bestowed this salutation upon him: An anagram was made of his
name, indicative of his immoveable self-devotion,
God bless thee, little David! meaning he had
Noh! Flie Not!
Such was his love of truth and rigid honour, that
Felton obtained, amongst his acquaintances, the
honest Jack, one which, after his
assassination, became extremely popular throughout the nation.
D'Israeli, in his paper on Felton in the Curiosities
of Literature, remarks:—
The assassination was
a sort of theoretical one; so that when the king's
attorney furnished the criminal with an unexpected
argument, which appeared to him to have overturned
his own, he declared that he had been in
a mistake, and lamenting that he had not been
aware of it before, from that instant his conscientious
spirit sank into despair. Meade also
tells us that Sir Robert Brook and others who
were present at the murder,
affirm, that when
Felton struck the duke he exclaimed,
mercy upon thy soule; which occasioned a friend
of mine wittily to say, there was never man
murdered with so much gospell.
The strong public feeling in favour of Felton,
may be gathered from another anecdote given by
the same indefatigable caterer for news; who tells
us, that on the departure of the fleet, which Buckingham
came to Portsmouth to command, in
September 1628, after the king had made
gratious speech unto them at their departing, and
encouraging them with promise of due pay and of
rewarding such as best deserved, &c.; when he had
made an end, they shouted, and, for a farewell,
desired his Majestie to be good to John Felton
their once fellow souldier.
But it was not the rude populace and rough
sailors only who lauded the act of the assassin.
Meade, in a letter dated November 15, 1628,
On Friday sennight was censured in the
Star chamber, Alex. Gill, B.D. at Oxford, and
usher in Paul's school under his own father, for
saying in Trin. Coll., that our king was fitter to
stand in a Cheapside shop, with an apron on, and
say, In another letter, dated November 22,
we are told,
what lack you? than to governe a kingdome.
2. That the duke was gone down to hell to meet
king James there. 3. For drinking a health to
Felton, saying, he was a sorry fellow and had deprived
him of the honour of doing that brave action,
&c. His censure was, to be degraded both from
his ministrie, and degrees taken; to lose one ear
in London, and the other at Oxford, and be fined
Gill is degraded; but for the fine
and corporal punishment there is obtained a mitigation
of the first, and a full remission of the
latter, upon old Mr. Gill the father's petition to
his Majestie, which my lord of London seconded,
for his coat-sake, and love to his father.
The collection of Poems, &c., which have
formed the present volume, will sufficiently show
how strongly and bitterly popular feeling went
against the duke, even amongst educated men,
and how slight was the contrary spirit. The few
apologetic or defensive rhymes in the following
pages, is the result simply of the non-existence of
more. The preponderance of royal favour was
bitterly retaliated by the people's hatred; his
schemes for the aggrandizement of himself and
family, in the earliest part of his career, exposed him
to popular odium; his mismanaged and crooked
dealings as a politician, made him amenable to
the denunciations of the satirists, who were unsparing
in their coarsest comments. His secure dependance
on royal favour, and profound contempt
for the people, engendered and fostered the deep
seated aversion of the large majority of Englishmen,
until his foul murder was hailed as a national
deliverance; and the condemnatory poems which
followed the duke to the grave, could only be exceeded
by the laudations which were showered on
Felton. It is a strongly coloured picture of popular
feeling, which can only be reproduced to the modern
eye in the apologetic words of the transcriber of
the Visions of Tundale:—
Be it trowe, or be it fals,
It is as the copie was.
POEMS, SONGS, ETC.,
GEORGE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM,
HIS ASSASSINATION BY FELTON.
VERSES UPON GEORGE VILLIERS, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, AND HIS KINDRED.
The following effusion of some satirical gobemouche intimately
acquainted with the matrimonial and other schemes for the aggrandizement of
Villiers' previously insignificant family, brings forth in the broadest
relief the popular objections to the favourite's sudden rise, and the
unscrupulous manner in which all the members of his family availed
themselves of their fortunate position. It is printad from a transcript
by Cole in one of his manuscripts now in the British Museum (Add. MSS.,
No. 5832, fol. 206), and at the end the original is noted to be in
[Ed. Note: The entire satire can be read in the
Early Stuart Libels.]
Heavens blesse King James our joy,
And Charles his baby,
Greate George, our brave viceroy,
And his faire lady;
Old Beldam Buckingham,
And her Lord Keeper;
These are they, beare the sway, in courte and citty:
And yet fewe love them, thoe greater's the pitty.
The younge marchionesse,
And Lady Fielding;
Kate for her worth heaven's blesse,
Sue for her yeelding.
Nedd Villers has a wife;
And shee's a good on:
Butler leades an ill life,
Yet shee's of the blood on.
These are they, beare the sway in court and citty,
And get grace in each place, else were it pitty.
Cranfeild, I make a vowe,
He'le not be partiall:
Nan was u'sd, you know howe,
By the Earle Martiall.
Thy horne of plenty, foole,
Shee hath exalted:
Tell not tales out of schoole,
Least you be palted.
These are they beare the sway, and keepe the money:
Which hee may better doe then his wives ——.
Younge Viscount Feeldinge too,
Hee's a good fellowe:
Yet mad Tom Compton's blewe
Nose looketh yellowe.
William has a better way,
Hee can endure all:
What need Tom care a straw,
Lincolne can cure all.
These are they beare the sway, and are most busy:
They will supp all the cup 'till their braine's dizy.
Younge Compton might have had
Wives by the dozen;
Yet the fond foole was mad
For George's cozen.
Maxwell swore "by his Sail
Hee's not be hindred:
They get the deele and all
That swive the kindred."
These are they beare the sway all this isle over,
There is noe greater foole then the mad lover.
Kitt was almost forgott,
Damporte had hid him:
They too were att the pott,
Whilst Ray out ridd him,
For at his elbowe stood
Bulchin with sherry,
Crying, "this makes good blood:
Hange wives; be merry."
These are they spend the day in drincke and swiving,
Gentle Kitt, learne more witt then goe a wiving.
The minstrell was an asse
And liv'd by scraping,
His lusty kindred was
Not worth the japing.
And now in number, sure,
None can come neere us:
Wee are so chast and pure
Hell need not feare us.
These are they beare the sway in courte and citty;
And yet fewe love them, thoe greater's the pitty.
Harke how the wagons cracke
With their rich lading.
Doll comes home with her packe:
Sue's fitt for trading.
Phill will no longer stay
With her base baby:
What will the people say
When shee's a ladye?
These are they beare the sway; whoe dare deni it?
Will you an office get? thus you must come by it.
TO THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
MSS. Ash. vol. xlvii, part 94, p. 53.
The king loves you, you him;
Both love the same;
You love the king, he you;
Of sports the king loves games,
Of games the duke;
Of all men you; and you
Solely, for your looke.
UPON THE D. OF B.
From Sloane MS., No. 826, p. 183 v°. A manuscript, written
in a very neat hand of the time of Charles I, and containing the
largest and most curious collection of poems extant, connected
with Buckingham, and to which the present volume is mainly
indebted for its materials.
Op Brittish beasts the Buck is king,
His game and fame through Europe ringe,
His home exalted, keepes in awe
The lesser flocks; his will's a lawe.
Our Charleraaine takes much delight
In this great beast soe faire in sight,
With his whole heart affects the same,
And loves too well Buck-King of Game.
When hee is chac'd, then gins the sport,
When nigh his end, who's sorry for't?
And when he falls the hunter's gladd,
The hounds are flesh'd, and few are sadd:
The forresters say, while hee's alive
The tender thicketts nere can thrive,
Hee doth soe barke and pill the trees;
Thus wee for game our profitt leese.
The huntsmen have pursu'd this Deare,
And follow'd him with full careere,
But such his craft, and such their lott,
They hunt him oft, but take him not.
A Buck's a beast; a King is but a man,
A Game's a pleasure shorter then a span;
A beast shall perish; but a man shall dye,
As pleasures fade. This bee thy destinie.
ON THE DUKE'S GOING TO DOVER, IN DECEMBER 1626.
Sloane MS., No. 826, p. 28 v°. It is prefaced by the following
About the latter end of December, the duke went to
Dover (sent by his majestic to treat with the French embassadour
concerning unknowne matters). In the night that he went ther arose
such a tempest of winde and raine as the like is not recorded in the
memory of our age, which caused the multitude diversely to accuse
his excellency in such reproachfull termes as impudency itselfe
would blush at the reading therof. One libell (the author wherof
was iustly punished) I have set downe, which the iuditious reader
may smile at.
[Ed. Note: The version in the
Early Stuart Libels has useful annotations.]
Why did the fond plebeans say
That Buckingham was runne away?
Why did the sailours and their wives,
Hope for fresh meat and merry lives?
The monied and the poore men make
All holy days for his flight sake?
Why were the Parliament benches brusht,
And all new plots for money husht?
Why did this knight, and that rich squire,
Who did their kingdoms good desire,
The voyces of their shires to gaine,
Free open houses now proclaime?
Why were the exchequore coffers wide,
The mouldie chests new purifide?
The tellers talleys itching lye
For feefteens and for subsidie?
Why did the soldiers, whose sad sailes
Came home anatamized from Cailes,
Promise that Christmas-day should see
Him cassockt, and his companie?
Why on this hope did they plunge more
Into the soaking tapsters score:
And make their greedy lanlord stay
For rent, another quarter day?
The Duke's return'd, these hopes are vaine,
Th' artillery men must watch againe.
Put up your vselesse cudgells you,
You monmouth-morrian'd, pitchie crew,
Your tryumphs vnder hatches stow,
Your ebbes encrease, so does his flow.
And though your wiues have sharpt their nailes
To scratch his face, that proiect failes;
He is garded by the citie Swisses,
And whilst you scould, he huggs his blisses.
I graunt you as he went from hence,
So fowle a night nere rained, since
The body of the Scotish queene
To Westminster remoov'd hath beene.
But ah! poore wretches, did you thinke
Your admirall so soone would sinke;
Or that his stately toppe should vaile
To one poore storme, or shower of haile?
And though some fondlings idely say
The wind his perriwigg blew away:
Which found, an other swears he's dead,
His body's goone but hears his head!
This stopt pursuit, which Slie that night
Could not have donne for all his spright.
At Canterbury, ther he met
Another storme as lowd and wet
As that he ridde in, for the cry
Beeing but once raiz'd—
the dukes past by!
With knitting needles, and with ladles,
Spitts, fire-forkes, and leggs of cradles,
The women whose friends were yet unpaid,
The coaches of the duke assaid,
And then had sheard his flesh assur'd,
But Hollands lookes his peace procured;
The Mirmadones themselves had donne
As much for Priams valiant sonne.
And he look't soe, and yet 'tis true,
The wether chang'd his lookes to blew;
At Dover least they should deceive him,
He made the castle to receive him.
The embassadour of France and he
Talked of what's unknowne to me:
Perhaps they have agreed together
To meete in France in fairer weather:
Which so if't proove, then his returne
Can never make the people mourne,
For hee's come back to let you know
Some good of his before he goe.
UPON THE DUKES GOEING INTO FRAUNCE.
Additional MS., No. 10,309, fol. 81, lettered outside
Bellasys' Collection of Poems, corrected by Sloane MS., 826.
The allusion is to the duke's lewdness, and the king's connexion therewith.
That Buckingham was guilty needs no proof; but Charles's incontinence
rests only on the word of Lilly and Sir Edward Peyton, and is as broadly
denied by Clarendon, May, and Sidney. Yet Milton asserts that he was
known to have committed all manner of lewdness in company with his
confidant, the Duke of Buckingham; but that nobleman's vices,
and the king's intimacy with him, may readily have led to the imputation
of a share in them, as well as in friendship.
And wilt thou goe, great duke, and leave us heere
Lamenting thee, and eke thy pupill deere,
Great Charles: 0 who shall then the scepter sway
And kingdomes rule, when thou art gone away?
Is there noe whore at court to stay thee? must
Thy hate to Spaine and France excite thy lust?
Hast thou no neece to wed, is there no inne?
Nor bawdy house t' afford thee any kinne
To cuckold lords withall? hast thou noe foe
Unpoyson'd left at home? then maist thou goe,
And thinke poore England plagu'd sufficiently.
Most gracelesse duke we thanke thy charitie,
Wishing the fleet such speed, as thou but lost,
Though we be conquer'd we have quitted cost.
This and the two following songs, are given from Sloane MS. No. 826.
They all relate to the expedition to France. The present one is
adapted to a popular air of the period, the refrain of which is
well suited to the double meaning of the satirist.
Come heare, lady muses, and help mee to sing,
Come love mee where as I lay;
Of a duke that deserves to bee made a king,
The cleane contrary way.
0 the cleane contrary way.
Our Buckingham Duke is the man that I meane,
Come love mee, &c.
On his shoulders the weale of the kingdome doth leane,
The cleane contrary, &c.
O the cleane, &c.
O happiest kingdome that ever was kend,
Come love mee, &c.
And happie the king that hath such a frend,
The cleane contrary, &c.
0 the cleane, &c.
Needs must I extoll his worth and his blood,
Come love mee where as I lay.
And his sweet disposition soe mild and soe good,
The cleane contrary way.
O the cleane contrary way.
Those innocent smiles that embelish his face,
Come love mee, &c.
Who sees them not tokens of goodnes and grace,
The cleane contrary, &c.
O the cleane, &c.
And what other scholler could ever arise,
Come love mee, &c.
From a master that was soe sincere and wise,
The cleane, &c.
O the cleane, &c.
Who if hee could now from his grave but ascend,
Come love mee, &c.
Would surely the trueth of his service commend,
The cleane contrary way.
O the cleane, &c.
The king understands how he honors his place,
Come love mee, &c.
Which is to his majestie noe little grace,
The cleane &c.
O the cleane, &c.
And therefore the government iustly hath hee,
Come love mee, &c.
Of horse for the land, and shipps for the sea,
The cleane, &c.
0 the cleane, &c.
What though our fleet be our enemies debtor,
Come love mee, &c.
Wee brav'd them once and wee'l brave them better,
The cleane contrary way.
O the cleane, &c.
And should they land heere they would be disioynted,
Come love mee, &c.
And finde both our horse and men bravely appointed.
The cleane, &c.
O the cleane, &c.
Then let us sing all of this noble duke's praise,
Come love mee, &c.
And pray for the length of his life and his daies,
The cleane, &c.
O the cleane, &c.
And when that death shall close up his eyes,
Come love mee, &c.
God take him up into the skies.
The cleane, &c.
O the cleane, &c.
It makes mee to muse to heare of the newes
That men doe report of the duke;
Let us bee content with the money that's spent,
Hee'l put all our foes to rebuke.
Hee'l coole France and Spaine, and quiet the maine,
The Dunkerk's passage hee'l stopp,
To stay all commotion hee'l plough up the ocean:
God send him a good harvest cropp.
Nay, at a word, like Edward the Third,
Hee'l make the proud French to tremble;
Like Henry the Fift hee'l make them to shift,
And runne with their limbes soe nimble.
Nay, at his owne cost, hee, all that is lost
Will restore to the crowne againe:
Then Callis will hee take, with Normandie,
And all the rest of Aquitaine.
Nay't may bee his chance to conquer all France,
Where Henry the Sixt was crowned:
Then what other man like our Buckingham,
Shall through the world be renowned.
Then hee castes his accounts to the Apinine Mounts,
And the Alpes for to take his way;
Where the emperor, for feare, when hee sees him there,
Will deliver him Bohemia.
Nay, many men hope hee'l subdue the pope,
And discover that man of sinne;
Then the isles in the way in the midland sea,
For certaine hee will take in.
And then he will meet with the West Indie fleet,
And of them he will take fast hold;
And bring them away for England a pray,
And choke us with silver and gold.
Reioyce, brave English gallants,
Whose anncestors wonne France;
Our Duke of Buckingham is gone
To fight and not to daunce.
Believe it; for our ladies
His absence greatly mourne;
And sweare they'l have noe babies
Untill hee doth retourne.
They feare him very sore,
But hope hee's wondrous strong,
And therefore they doe thinke he will
Bee with them er't bee long.
But they, and every man,
Are glad, that loves a wench,
That since hee's gone, hee's gone to kill
His enemies the French.
They sing how many thousands
With him of worth there bee,
Of whom the worst amongst them all,
Is better skilled then hee.
Besides a gallant fleet of shippes,
That with him still must stay,
Either that they may fight with him,
Or with him runne away.
His army was twelve thousand,
Well nombred on our shore,
Besides his pasties and bak't meates,
Which were as many more.
Besides his many patridges,
His quailes and many pullen,
That it is thought a greater hoast
Then Harry lead to Bullen.
At last hee is for France,
After his thus long tarrying,
Hee stay'd but for his victualling,
And for some kinsfolks marrying.
But now hee is at sea,
Where hee commaunds amaine,
Whence all true Englishmen doe hope
Hee'l nere come back againe.
Without such victories and spoiles,
From that proud and rich people,
That England all must ring of them,
And evrie flattering steeple.
For he doth threaten sore,
And Frenchmen greatly feare,
Hee'l have a royall subsedie,
In France as well as heere.
For when he came to land
His soldiers, that were starting,
Hee stood behinde and back't them, soe
That they have wonne St. Martin.
Yet at the first encounter,
The Frenchmen were soe hott,
Our Englishmen were like t'ave been
Devour'd in a showre of shott.
But though they did preuaile
Against us at the first,
Yet wee bore up soe well againe,
That we gave them the worst.
This was noe sooner done,
But Grymes posts to the King,
Where all that hope by flatterie
To bee preferred, doe singe.
They rancke the duke with Bevis,
This skirmish they doe place
Before the cowe of Dunmowe heath,
And next to Chevy Chase:
And sweare that through our chronicles,
We farr and neere doe wander,
Before that such an one wee finde
Imployed as a commaunder.
Argiers, Cales, and Guyana,
Were spoil'd before they went;
They had commission to doe naught,
But onely to be sent.
And is't not a great wonder,
That he should compasse more
Then all our old sea captaines,
That never fought before?
Returne then, glorious duke,
Unto thy old commaund;
For though th'art admirall at sea,
Th'art admirable at land.
Heere thou commaunds the sea,
Religion, and the states;
Art admirall of our bishops' seas,
As well as of the straites.
Or dost thou stay soe long
To love thine enemie;
And stay with him because thou think'st
Hee hates thee lesse than wee?
Ne're feare; for men must love thee
When they behold thy glorie,
To fill two leaves in a currant,
Or bee a bishop's storie.
London, prepare thy faggotts
Against the duke's returne;
And see thou hast them readie
Layd for the duke to burne;
For hee deserves them all,
All that thou canst lay on;
I thinke his greatest enemies
Will sweare it, every one.
Soe God preserve our noble king,
And send him long to raigne;
And gett a boy that shall enioy
England and France againe.
God blesse the church and parliament,
Our queen God blesse, and wee,
And send us peace that ne're shall cease,
But that wee all agree.
THE DUKE RETURN'D AGAINE. 1627.
Sloane MS. No. 826, foL 31, where the following note of its history
prefaces the poem:—
In the latter end of November, his
excellency returning home came to Whitehall, and was ioyfully received
by his maiestie: when some perplexed soule enveing the happie returne
of the duke (himselfe being crost in this late expedition),
gave him this wellcome home in a most bitter verse, which savours
more of an envious and detracting witte, and violent passion,
then of a sound and setled iudgment. Of this opinion were not the
least of the vulgar opposite number of the good common-wealth's men;
but saith one very well, nihil est a virtute, vel a veritate remotius,
quam vulgaris opinio. The philosopher bethought himselfe,
that he had committed some evill, when he was tould that every one
spake well of him. He is not wise who is vulgarly supposed wise;
nor he an ill subiect whom the people affect not, when the prince
knowing his worth aduanceth him to dignitie. But in this last action,
with the losse of men and munition (which wisely saith Sir Rob. Cotton,
the more temperate spirits impute to want of councell, and the more
sublime witts to practice), they impute solely to him, as the impulsive
cause, of misfortune, or Achan of our English Israeli. Which title
how deseruedly he hath gained, God knowes; but if we looke into his
speech made in the Councell Chamber, April 4th, 1628, we shall finde him
(if his tongue and harte agree) the king's favorite, the contries
loyall and well devouted subiect. But to heare him of the former
opinion welcom him home, who shall speake for all the rest, with
viperous (though I hope undeserved) biternesse, as followeth.
The notes in Early Stuart Libels will be helpful in reading
And art return'd againe with all thy faults,
Thou great commander of the al-goe-naughts;
And left the isle behind thee; what's the matter?
Did winter make thy teeth begin to chatter?
Could not the surging and distemper'd seas
Thy quesie stomache gorg'd with sweetmeats pleas?
Or didst thou sodenly remove thy station
For jealous feare of Holland's supplantation?
Or wast for want of wenches? or didst feare
The king, thou absent, durst wrong'd Bristoll heare?
Or didst thou hasten headlong, to prevent
A fruitlesse hope for needfull parliament?
All these, noe question, with a restlesse motion
Vext thy bespotted soule; as did thy potion
Torture the noble Scot; whose manes tell
Thy swolne ambition made his carcase swell.
But there's a reason worse than this; they say
The Frenchmen beate thee, and thou run'st away.
Can this be true? could not thy glorious boasts,
Before thy gowing, fright them from their coasts?
Could not thy titles scare them? and thy Lambe's
Protection, safeguard thee from the French rams?
Could not thy zealous Cambridge pupill's prayers,
Composed of Brownists and Arminian ayres,
Confound thy foes? or else did their distractions
Make in thy hopelesse hope, these hopelesse fractions?
Or could not all thy parliamentall vowes
Prevaile t' impose the garland on thy browes?
Could not thy chaplaine London's sacrifice,
Nor move, nor suffocate the destinies?
That sends from the altar of his panch more fumes
Of smoak and vapoure then Landaffe consumes.
Could not thy mother's masses, nor her crosses,
Nor yet her sorceries, prevent these losses?
Nor regall wishes, nor imbraces neither,
Nor the armie's valour, nor all these together?
Here we collect, to those that wil be vitious,
Pray who will pray, heaven will not be propitious;
God's deafe to kings that will not heare the cries
Of their oppressed subjects' injuries.
Happie successe then great attempts attends,
When they command whom vertue still commends.
Thy sinnes, God's justice, and the kingdom's curse,
Makes me admire thy fortunes were no worse.
Now I have said enough to thee, great George,
If I were knowne, 'twould make thy radge disgorge
Its venome on me; yet for all this hate
Lett's on this distance but expostulate.
How comes this voyage t' have such bad effect,
Without close treacherie, or great neglect?
Thou had'st a navie royall neede not feare
All the French power, this the coast could cleare
From all invasions, and keepe back supplie:
The Isle did wholly at thy service lye.
Had every part of that small tract of land
Beene with a slender guard and field peece man'd,
There entrance might have beene impeacht awhile,
And their approach cried o're all the Isle.
What, were our captaines streightned in commission,
That the foe landed without prohibition?
They durst not, but we heare they did descrie
A heedlesse duke, a headlesse companie.
But oh! what men or angels can devise
To excuse thy base ignoble cowardise;
That at the brunt of danger could abide,
The very taunts would make thee always hide.
And when the bloudy day of warre was knowne,
And each mans valour should be cheefely showne,
Was't not a noble part and bravely plaide,
To send a shaddow in thy armes arraide,
To personate thee in the battle, while
Thou sat'st environed in a coble vile,
Discharging sugar pelletts; had it not beene
More nobly done renowne by death to winne.
Then in the hempen cabin plagued to bee,
With men of thy deceived destinie.
O while I thinke upon that fatall feild
Wherin so much brave English bloud was spil'd,
Wherof I lost a share, and when I call
To minde those heroes lamentable fall,
Rich, Best, and Cornwall; with the rest, whose bones
Want even a monument of pible stones;
My soule doth wast with sighes, my troubled braines
With tears; but that a manly heart disdaines
This female follie. And I hope to see
These worthys deathe, proud France, reveng'd on thee.
And is the cause come safely home againe,
Triumphing o're his conquered contrimen?
As if such valiant leaders mournfull slaughter
Were a fit subiect for such great ones laughter.
Leave upstart greatnesse, and ere it be too late,
Reclayme thyselfe, be govern'd by the state.
For if but one yeare more thou lord it thus,
Thou'lt bring confusion on thy selfe and vs.
Stay, stay at court then, and at tennis play;
Measure French galliards out, or Kelligray,
Venus pavillions doe befit thee best,
Perriwigs with helmets are not to be prest.
To o'rerunne Spaine, win Cales, and conquer France,
Requires a soldiers march, not courtiers daunce.
Let valiant skillfull generalls be chose,
That dare in bloud confront their proudest foes;
Then there's some hope we may repair our losses,
And make our enemies to end our crosses.
These things have lost our honour, men surmise,
Thy treacherie, neglect, and cowardize.
UPON THE NAMING OF THE D. OF B. IN THE REMONSTRANCE IN PARLIAMENT, 1628.
From Sloane MS., No. 826, p. 153, v°. There is another copy in Bellasys'
Collection of Poems, Additional MS., No. 10,039, but it ends imperfectly
at line 58; it has however supplied a few corrections.
This poem is probably incomprehensible today without
notes such as those provided in Early Stuart Libels. It refers to
events and speeches mainly in the Commons debate of June 11, 1628, with a
few references to speeches the previous week.]
Excuse mee, Elliot, if here I name thee,
The times require it, since few honest bee;
And learned Seldon, for thy pregnant witt,
To bee then nam'd let it not seeme unfitt.
I shall not spare to put you two in one,
Since honest Long hath made the motion,
'Tis due you to the world bee understood,
More then Romes Cato, hee who durst bee good,
When Cæsar durst bee badd. For that great duke
Feares nothing more then your severe rebuke.
'Tis Buckingham! wee doe not feare the word;
For Cooke, to name him now hath found record.
What though that Beecher will your words relate,
And Spencer takes exceptions at the state;
Jourdan, who ne're did sweare, now voweth that
Hee'l have a bill against his Spanish hatt.
Hee doth not love his clothes, protests the man
Was made the duke's of an Arminian;
And doth believe the other will stay for't,
Before hee gette the place hee seeks at court.
But May makes mouthes, and tells you as a frend,
To name the man were not to worke your ende.
And why, sayth Mr. Bish, I never read
But of one man nameless; and hee, indeed,
To hell did goe, as you shall plainely finde
In Luke xvi, one damned of that kinde.
Quoth captaine Charles, you are mistooke, that's flatt;
His name was Dives, I can tell you that.
But Mr. Nicholas speakes upon his word,
'Twas those imployed who did abuse his lord.
Brave Maunsell sayd that they were cowards all,
Imploy'd to Cales, and first their generall.
Not soe, quoth Sir John Maynard, I know more,
And tell I will what ne're you heard before;
There was a fort, built on a nooke of land,
Was call'd Puntall, bravely by Spaniards mann'd;
Hee at the fort, as is to many knowne,
Two thousand shott did make, nere hurt a stone;
But they all ranne away, for to be short,
And bravely Wimbleton then took the fort.
Sir Edward Giles (as angrie) said that hee
Would have him nam'd, as it was fitt to bee.
And Valentine, clapping his hand on 's breast,
Stoutlie resolves that soe hee thinks it best.
This prejudiciall judgment King affords,
Even as Sir Escot did expresse his words,
But pardon pray'd the ryme for the pretence,
And take his meaning for his little sence.
The dreames expir'd, the flooke are safely kept,
For ever since Sir Nethersall hath slept.
But wilie Digges, alas! was sick that day,
His peacefull minde could not abide the fray.
And soe was roaring Robin; for well hee did forsce,
For speaking truth that hee should chidden bee.
But honest Hotham, that some cake had gott,
Cooke's hungrie dog did gett it every jott;
When hee in rage did fall upon his skinn,
Fearing that else hee might have bitt his shinn.
Then holy Lawrence tells a heathenish fable,
Of Joves and Junoe's daughter marriagable,
And still in zeale turnes up the white of th' eye,
As if hee meant to fetch them from the skie.
Then Viscount Slego telleth a long storie
Of the supplie, as if hee sung John Dorie.
That's not the point, quoth Littleton the stout,
Reade th' order, and himself will see hee's out.
Up starts Sir Ansley at every turne, and mov'd,
Will you condemne the duke before't bee prov'd?
Nay, bawling Dawson saide, I'le sacrifice
My life for him; and out of doares hee flies.
And Valentine, clapping his hand on's breast,
Stoutly resolves, "Yea, now I thinke it best,
For, Mr. Speaker, you in danger are;
And if the Dunkirks come, they will you scarr,
Even at the window they will pull you out,
If that on London bridge they keepe not skout."
All that long day sate Wentworth at the barr,
Bravely expecting th' issue of the warr;
Till at the last hee saw that the report
Will keep him longer at that hungrie sport.
But lustie Wandsforth, the question well did frame,
And valiently put in his grace's name;
When little Jackson cry'd out, 'tis well mov'd,
As if his sides were bell-mettle well prov'd.
THE COPIE OF HIS GRACE'S MOST EXCELLENT ROTOMONTADOS,
SENT BY HIS SERVANT THE LORD GRIMES, IN ANSWERS TO THE LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, 1628.
From the same manuscript as the preceding. There is another copy at Oxford,
in Malone MS., No. 23, p. 113. The poem is remarkable for its enumeration
of all the crimes popularly imputed to the duke, in contemptuous answer to
Avaunt, you giddie-headed multitude,
And doe your worst of spight: I never sued
To gaine your votes, though well I know your ends
To ruine mee, my fortunes, and my friends;
Which had I fear'd, how easie had it been
By quick prevention to avoyde your teene,
And eas'd your tedious journies, speeches, witts,
At first, by once prohibiting the writts
That call'd you hither to a good intent,
Not cause a brabling confus'd parliament?
For in my power it was (maugre each foe)
To say it should, or it should not be soe.
Or fear'd I yet your malice or your spight,
(Too weake poore men at once me to affright;)
Is not my power as great, and eake the same
To send you home as wise as when you came?
'Tis not your threat to take mee from the king,
That on my passions worketh any thing;
Nor questioning my counsells or commaunds,
How with the honour of the state it stands
That I lost Ree, and with such losse of men
As scarcely time can e're repaire againe.
Shall aught affright mee; or the care to see
The narrow seas from Dunkirks cleere and free;
Or that you can inforce the king believe
I from the pirats a third share receive;
Or that I correspond with forreyne states
(Whether the kings foes or confederates,)
To plott the ruine of the king and state,
As erst you thought of the palatinate;
Or that 500 thousand pounds doe lye
In Venice banke for Spaine his majestie;
Or that 300 thousand more doe rest
In Dunkirke for th' arch-duchesse to contest
With England, whensoe're th' occasion offers;
Or that by rapine I fill up my coffers;
Nor that an office, in. church, state, or court
Is freelie given, but they must pay mee for't;
Nor shall you ever prove I had a hand
I' th' poisoning of the monarch of this land,
Or the like hand by poison to intox
Southampton, Oxford, Hamilton, Lenox;
Nor shall you ever prove, by magick charmes
I wrought the kings affection, or his harmes,
Or that I need Lambes philters to incite
Chast ladies to give my fowle lust delight;
Nor feare I if tenn Vitrii were heere,
Since I have thrice tenn Ravillacks as neere;
My power shall bee unbounded in each thing,
If once I vse these words I and the king.
Seeme wise, and cease then to perturb the realme,
Or strive with him that sitts and guides the helme:
I know your reading will inform you soone
What creatures 'twere that bark't against the moone.
I'le give you better counsell, as a frend,
Coblers their latchetts ought not to transcend.
Meddle with common matters, common wrongs,
To the House of Commons common things belongs.
Th' are extra sphceram that you treat of now,
And ruine to your selves will bring, I vowe,
Except you do desist, and learne to beare
What wisedome ought to teach you, or your feare.
Leave him the oare that best knowes how to rowe,
And state to him that best the state doth knowe.
If I, by Industrie, deepe reache, or grace,
Am now arriv'd at this or that great place,
Must I, to please your inconsiderate rage,
Throw downe my honours? will nought else assuage
Your furious wisedomes? true shall the verse bee yet,
There's noe lesse witt requir'd to keepe then gett.
Though Lambe be dead, Fie stand, and you shall see
Fie smile at them that can but barke at me.
From Non-such. June 21, 1628.
Yours as you use him.
VERSES SUPPOSED TO BEE MADE BY DR. CORBET, BP. OF OXFORD,
AGAINST THE OPPOSING THE DUKE IN PARLIAMENT, 1628.
Sloane MS., No. 826. This poem does not appear in the bishop's works
as edited by Gilchrist. It may have been one of the many poems attributed
to the witty divine, and conjectured to be his because in his poem called
A Newyears gift to my Lorde of Buckingham, he acknowledges that he
is much indebted to his friendship. He had also addressed a poetical
letter to the duke during his expedition to Spain with Prince Charles.
The wisest king did wonder, when hee spy'd
The nobles march on foot, their vassalls ride.
His maiestie may wonder more, to see
Some that will neede bee kinge as well as hee.
A sadd presage of danger to this land,
When lower strive to gett the upper hand:
When prince and peares to peysants must obey;
When laymen must their teachers teach the way.
When Pym, and Prinn, and Jourdan, must define
What lords are hetrodox, and what divine.
Good brother Brough, elder of Amsterdam,
Shutt up at home your wilde Arminian ram,
If heere he comes, these men will cutt his throat.
Blest Buchanan sings them a sweeter note,
Hee teacheth how to curbe the power of kings,
And shewes us how to clipp the eagle's winges.
It is a paritie must sett all right;
Then shall the gospell shine like Phoebus bright.
Our consistorian fabrick is the thing
Wee must rear up, in spight of church and king.
Against the papists wee have gott the day,
Blinde bishops onely, now stand in our way:
But wee will have a trick to tame their pride,
Tonnage and poundage ells shall bee deny'd.
AN ANSWERS TO THE SAME, LYNE FOE LYNE.
From the same manuscript as the preceding.
The warrlike king was troubl'd when hee spy'd
His darling Absolon's aspiring pride.
His majestie may more disdaine to see
Some priest that would bee king as well as hee.
A sadd presage of danger to the land,
When prelats strive to gett the upper hand.
Where prince and peare the clergie must obey,
Where laymen may those teachers teach the way,
Where Pym and Prinn, even Jourdan, may define
What prelat's hetrodox, and what divine.
Pelagian broode, elder then Amsterdam,
Garland your bull, court your Armenian ram.
The Commons, if they can, will clense their throats,
And make them with Buchanan sing clearer notes;
And teach them how that parliament and kings
Can crush their pride, and clipp their eagles wings.
It is this paritie must sett all right,
Then shall the gospell shine like Phoebus bright.
True protestant religion is the thing
Wee must reare up to honour church and king.
Against the papists wee should have the day,
If some blinde bishops stood not in the way:
But they will finde a trick to hold their pride,
Though tonnage, poundage, never bee deny'd.
ON THE DUKE, 1628.
This and the following short poem are from
the same manuscript as the preceding ones.
When onely one doth rule and guide the shipp,
Who neither card nor compasse knew before,
The master pilot and the rest asleepe,
The stately shipp is splitt upon the shore,
But they awaking, start up, stare, and crye,
Who did this fault?—
Soe fares it with a great and wealthie state,
Not govern'd by the master, but his mate.
ON THESE WORDS:
'REX AND GREX,' 'DUX AND CRUX.'
Rex and Grex are of one sound,
But Dux doth Rex and Grex confound.
If Crux of Dux might have his fill,
Then Rex and Grex might worke their will.
Three subsedies to five would turne,
And Grex would laugh that now doth mourne.
O Rex, thy Grex doth sore complaine,
That Dux beares Crux, and Crux not Dux againe.
UPON THE D. OF B.
This effusion (from Sloane MS. 683, p. 184, vo), may have been one of those
virulent invectives, of which there were many, which from its tone incited
Felton to rid the country of the duke, and do what he was induced to
consider an act of justice to an oppressed kingdom, an act which we shall
see obtained more praise than censure, in his own day, and which has
induced even the historian Harris to term him
a well-meaning assassin.
Make haste, I pray, launch out your shipps with speed,
Our noble duke had never greater need
Of sodaine succour; and those vessells must
Bee his maine help: for there's his onely trust.
Alas! our English navie is too poore
To serve his turne alone; hee must have more:
Nyne more brave barques besides will help him well,
And make him shew more hideous then hell:
For thither sure his voyage next will bee,
Better for England then the ile of Ree.
The furies, that can like himself dissemble,
Will either feare indeed, or seeme to tremble;
To heare a thunder then theirs one note higher,
And see even hell itselfe o're-spitt with fire.
O Lucifer, thou must resigne thy crowne;
For thou shalt meet a duke will put thee downe.
Hee hath a sinne, besides the deadly seaven,
More then e're hell found out, to make them eaven:
For which (0 hell-hounds) if you do not graunt
Him place, you will for ever want
Your greatest consort. Let there bee a dearth
Of fire in hell, as there is heere on earth
Onely through him; and soe noe doubt there shall
If hee once come to bee your admirall.
But why should I perswade you to bestow
The place and honour on him that you owe?
His highness shall commaund it, and his port
O're-sway the greatest noble in your court.
Hee shall be king there, sitt in the kings throne,
Or els commaund the king, and that's all one.
Nor shall the theefe free favours there inheritt
By any guift of yours, but by his meritt.
Alas! poore feinds, I greive at your disgraces,
For you must lose your offices and places;
And doe the best in all your powers to doe,
He will have all, and that too little too.
But why should this bee knowne in hell? perchance
The Furies would denie him entrance,
And Pluto, fearing to bee overcome
At his owne weapon, not afford him roome
In his best pallace. And shall mortall men
Bee troubled with his countenance agen?
Noe! Divells take your due: for if there bee
One you can claime in all the world, it's hee.
UPON THE DUKE.
This lengthy poem, constructed after the style of those in the
Mirror for Magistrates, is supposed to be recited by the Spirit
of the Duke after his assassination, and is a valedictory review of his
life and actions. It is from the Sloane MS, No. 826, p. 170.
The argument is cold and sencelesse clay,
A breathles subiect, very night and day.
The cold too furious, hott ambition speakes:
The senceles to the sensuall (breathles) breaks
Silence, and preacheth unto mortall breath,
Day of the night, and night is taught of death.
Suppose but then you heard his Umbra's crie,
Instructing all from slaue to maiestie.
Stay (mortals) then in's name, at whose commaund
Sol's restlesse spheare did quickly stopp and stand
As fixt, and lend mee your attention:
Happie th' eares that suck in such prevention
Of future evills. Had I hearkened to,
Or well observed (as wise men now will doe
My storie) the fresh and obvious fates
Of soveraigne and domestique potentates,
Knit up in blood; I might have hearkned still
To better seacrets of my Maker's will,
Then state pollicie; and so shin'd true
Honors starr; to follow, not to eschue.
Then patiently addresse your eares a while,
Oh heare mee, not with a remorselesse smile
At myne extorted plaints; but rather greive
You are as I. Sonnes of deluded Eve.
Noe sooner had discretion brought mee inne
On this worlds theatre, with naked chinne;
E're art had squar'd my rough opinion,
To fitt mee for a monarch's minion,
Or prie into the arke of state affairs,
Or to descend true honors craggie staires,
Or furrough on the churlish ocean,
Or tread a march in warlike motion,
Or pietie (the soule of all the rest),
Had taught mee first to love my countrie best;
But affectation of a higher state
(The sinne that first of all the heavens did hate)
Tooke up my utmost thoughts; and of my time
On earth, I spent the very pith and prime
In the pursuite thereof; and on that theame,
By day I studied, and at night did dreame;
Wasting the lampe of contemplation
On present good, whilst moderation
And mediocritie in earthlie things
(Which the sweetest contentation brings)
I viewed as mottoes of deiected mindes.
'Tis poore philosophic that noething findes
But bare notions of some good hereafter;
This moved Epicurus unto laughter:
But through the open gate of all excesse,
In luxurie and voluptuousnes,
To tread the broad path of a stately dance,
With musique, banquetts, and a ladies glance,
This did I thinke the milkie way to blisse:
The straite and narrow path I strove to misse;
With this bad sophistrie my list'ning will
Was quicklie caught, and snared fast, until
Nature her forces did combine with art
To gett possession of my soveraignes heart.
The centre whence I meant to stretch the lynes
Of my desires, ambitions, and designes
To the circumference of earthlie fame;
Still coveting a great, not a good, name.
For fates, or philters, worse direction,
Wonne my disposers deare affection:
That I was entertain'd with great applause;
And though, on my part, shape was all the cause,
Yet was I lodged like some oracle
In's royall heart, and sitt on pinnacle
Of honour, whence, with the perspective glasse
Of favour, I beheld the flower and grasse
Of worldly pompe; the smooth delightfull plaines
Of pleasures, treasures, offices and gaines,
Promotions hills, and the risinge bancks
Upon the river of rewards and thanks.
And what I saw, I seiz'd on. More yet;
I saw and searcht the royall cabbinett
Of secrets, and from his rich wisedomes myne
I digg'd those gems that made my actions shine.
My dexteritie in state-passages,
My splendour in forraigne ambassages,
My large revenues, and extreme expence,
Whether of bountie or magnificence,
With those high favours to my kindred done,
Were by the beames dispersed from his sunne
Of rare learning, and liberalise,
Exceeding my desert or qualitie.
But goodnes powred on a gracelesse heart,
Like wholsome herbe to poison doth convert
In the vipers brest, not halfe so hatefull
To heaven or earth, as is the man ungratefull.
And such was I. For that Iberian fox,
That Balaam that layd England stumbling blocks,
Warn'd me of my most slipperie condition,
Much subiect unto maiesties suspition,
And distast; which soone would gett strong head,
If once affection were but altered,
Upon my fault, or some seducing face,
As in myne and my predecessors case
Fell out; soe that it were discretions deed
To have two kings to frend upon a need,
That if I were collapsed in disgrace,
I might bee sure of a retyring place.
To this old Sirens song I did agree,
And to be sure of two frends I made three:
For true assurance of whose loves fruition,
I did requite it with a blanke commission;
With other courtesies which were no lesse
Then meritorious, as his holinesse
Knowes well enough. Thus I from favours drew
Disloyaltie; and having gotten new
Supporting hopes, cast off the old one cleane,
And on the younger propp begun to leane.
Thus was I haunted with distracting charmes,
To seeke new arts t' increase my native harmes.
Now underpropt from my deserved fall,
And well defended by the cedar tall
From iustice stroke, (which sought and sued long
For some redresse of groaning subiects wrong)
The flood of my ambition swell'd soe high,
It overflow'd the bankes of modestie,
And with the torent of unbridled will
Swept all away; it spared not to spill
The Hues and blood of myne owne countrey men,
And if I loved one, I hated ten;
Like to that tyrant that would often boast,
To make and marr mankinde hee studied most.
Nor was I read in Spanish politiques,
Onely I learn'd some of the Guises tricks.
Thus was justice topsie turvie turn'd,
The commons grieved, and the gentrie mourn'd:
And for my peeres (they were not my compeeres,
Though fair my betters both in blood and yeares.)
I gall'd and gull'd their noble spiritts,
And with whisp'ring scandaliz'd their mentts:
Yet, coadiutors to my ends I found,
Of English nobles, all were never sound.
Thus did my pride, upon oppression's winges,
Surmount all presidents that storie sings.
But as the comet's borrowed fires light
Blazeth more, and shineth farr more bright
Then the true fier of the fixed starr,
Because it is removed further farr
From sight; soe my ambitions blazon,
Gave a brighter lustre to bee gazed on
By purblinde worldlings, then true honour gott
By due desert, free from revenge's shott.
But oh! the candle of my glorie's out,
The comets vanish't, and Astræa's skout,
Inexorable Nemesis, blood-hound
Of direfull fate, long hunted, lurking, found
Mee under the covert of dissimulation,
And hipocrasie's abomination;
Covered with a glorious pretence
Of the distressed Rocheller's defence.
0 grosse contempt to heaven's connyving eye,
And to my master's sweet simplicitie.
But had I stab'd Don Olivares dead,
Or the French cardinall basely poisoned,
It had been better, then thus to despite
And plott the ruine of heaven's favourite,
Reform'd religion. Oh! my Sinon's art,
To seeme to bee, and not to bee in heart;
Of all impieties superlative.
Had this sinne not been myne, perhapps alive
I had been styll, and to old age remayn'd;
Although myne honour was most fowlie stayn'd
With other crimes; for mercies influence,
Dropps oft the pretious balme of indulgence,
Upon the deepest sin-stabb'd soules, save those
Who are truths seeming frends, yet foes.
Such halting, juggling, and neutralitie,
Sure is the greatest sinne in qualitie.
For soe Manasses, in idolatrie,
In witchcraft, in bloodshed, and in tyranny
Deeplie plung'd, and in a desperate case;
Yet whilst hee was in heart, as well as face,
Averse to truth, hee mercie found at last;
His errors heal'd, and all his sorrowes past.
But oh! beeholde Fourth Henry, the French king,
The warning-peece of princes wavering:
Oh, see his hopes, come to the highest flood,
Ebbing, like myne, soe sodainely in blood.
And thus I, Cacus-like, monster of men,
Was dragg'd and haled from my theevish den
Of lying and equivocation,
Winding and false tergiversation.
But the herculean power and force
Of justice; which, before I was a corse,
Had, in the courts of heaven and earth, complain'd;
Shee was soe nose-wip't, slighted, and disdain'd,
Under honour's cloak soe closely muffled,
And in my rare projects soe shuffled,
That noble courage 'gan to faint and reele,
And faith, itself the very symptomes feele
Of base despaire, to see the monstrous birth
Of Nimrods rare, swarme on our English earth.
But I myself 'gan stronglie to conclude,
The lambe th' almightie lyon could delude;
And that my artlesse deere Medæ's art,
Divine decrees could frustrate quite and thwart.
Thus impunitie presumption bredd,
Atheisme lurkes in a presumptuous head.
But oh! the glittering sword is now unsheath'd,
The witches withe by vengeance' hand is wreath'd.
Justice, like Tamerlayne, hath now display'd
His sable flagg, since mercie was repay'd
Thus with contempt; and now, alas, too late,
I finde and feele what 'tis to prove ingrate.
To grace my countrie and my soveraigne,
What late I feared most, now full faine
Would I come to, and soone submitt
On knees unto my poorest opposite;
And for their honour's sake bee much more bold
To spill my blood, then I was to gett their gold.
O happie, yea, thrice happie, is the corse
Dissociated by the axe; nor worse
Is to be thought their constellation,
Whom the rope calls unto meditation
Of dissolution. 0, mercie rare,
To feed the pamper'd flesh with crusts of care,
And sorrowes soppes, steeped in angell's wine—
Teares for transgressions—who would repine
At such disaster! when mutuall greife,
Presented to the soule, yealds some releife
To the fainting spiritt; and dearest loves
Are oft exchang'd with kisses, teares, and gloves
At parting; whilst the tenor sadlie tolls,
Begging sweet pardon for their fleeting soules.
But I,—ah! lamentable wretched I,
Favours mirror; not soe favourablie
Dealt with as the pinion'd shackl'd slave;
Not once permitted to intreate or crave
Forgiveness; nor my dying hands or eyes
Once to lift up unto th' offended skies;
But sodainly thus to bee snatched away
From frends, and hopes, and such a golden pray.
Oh, sad catastrophe! oh, dismall houre!
Wherein one stabb cut off the thredd and floure
Of life and age: oh, broken confidence,
In any creature subject unto sence.
Oh, my sweet millions, goodlie treasures;
Oh, all my profitts, dignities, and pleasures,
Like to the dust by sodaine whirlwinds caught,
Disperst and scatter'd even with a thought.
Oh, bitterest dissociation!
O, depth of justice! Retalliation
For their bellowing blood, which loudlie cries.
Ree was a most perfidious enterprize;
Prologue unto Rochell's woefull storie,
Sounding Brittaine's shame, and Babell's glorie.
Nor is the sorrow least of all the other,
That for my death, none saies, alas! my brother.
Nay hearke; the thund'ring jubilee of joy,
Ecchoyng from the mouth of every boy,
At my destruction: but, oh the gall:
My murtherer's lamented; hearke! they call
Him, noble Roman; second Curtius;
Undaunted Scævola; that dared thus
T' expose himself to torment, shame, and death,
To spoile his countries spoiler of his breath.
Oh miserie! where are you then, my lords,
Whose tongues were lately sharper then your swords?
What! not a word? oh, strange silentium:
And you my black-mouth'd prophetts; what all dumbe?
You that of late such metaphisiques told,
The kings prerogative could turne to gold
All it toucht, like the tatter'd chymists stone:
Howle my tragick fall, in mournfull tone;
Come write my elegie: oh, scorned hearse,
Like to my name, not graced with a verse,
Nor one white line? 0 strange antipathie;
Heavens and hearts are all at odds with me.
Goe temporizing frends then write your owne
Black epitaphs: yourselves learne to bemoane:
Sing your owne dirges to your guiltie soules:
Goe croking froggs into your wonted holes
Of carnall confidence: but yet, bee sure,
Long you shall not subsist safe or secure;
Th' all-searching hand will finde and pull you thence:
The homes of th' altar were a poore defence
For bloodie Joab. Justice hath begun:
Some frends, I feare, must bleed e're shee hath done.
Who naked crimes with favour's figg-tree-leaves
Hopeth to hide, his wretched soule deceives,
As silly bird is cousin'd with lyme-twiggs,
Or fancie with your lordships perrywiggs.
Farewell to favours: bidd them first adieu,
And then (like shadowes) they will follow you.
Learne him to feare that can your glories drowne,
And make you wretched with one cloudie frowne.
I scent Aurora breathing from the east:
I must bee gone: faine would I tell the rest,
To rapp your mindes with admiration,
What my intentive cogitation
Dally'd with; and who were of the knott
That did with mee my stratagems complott.
But time prevents; I will remaine your debtor,
Till the post comes with the next false letter.
Mount Pegasus: adieu, my clymbing frends,
How sodainly the soaring larke descends.
UPON THE SODAINE DEATH OF THE GREAT D. OF B.
This poem, and all ensuing ones in this volume, are from Sloane
MS. No. 603, unless where otherwise stated
And art thou dead? who whilome thought'st thy state
To bee exempted from the power of fate!
Thou, that but yesterday (illustrious, bright,
And like the sunne,) did'st with thy pregnant light
Illuminate inferior orbs! shall death
Bereave thee, in a moment, of that breath
Whereby so many liu'd? did not thy hand
Monopolize the glorie of this land?
Did not thy smiles or frownes make princes kneele?
Did not thine enemies thy vengeance feele?
Did not thy Atlas shoulders seeme to beare
The pleasant burthen of this hemispheare?
Or was thy power lesse in the watrie world?
For, whether forreyne armes, or billowes curl'd
Conspir'd the merchants wreck; did they not bring
To thee a sweet and peacefull offering?
The sea thy power (her Neptune) oft did feele,
Her fomie clouds submitting to thy keele.
What though, Mars-like, to Pallas thou didst yeild?
Yet thou of Venus ever had'st the feild.
The nymphes, whose browes bright wreathes of honor twine,
Judg'd thee to bee a man neere halfe divine,
And freely would expose vnto thy pleasure
The curious ritches of their hidden treasure.
Of honour, power, and pleasure, thou might'st bee
To all the world a iust epitomie.
Yet thou, even thou, like other men, art dead,
And to the infernall shade thy spiritt's fledd;
Which thou had'st sooner done, if men had thought
By such a wound thy death might have been wrought.
Where's now thy riches, power, splendour, lust?
And though extracted from ignoble dust,
Yet thou, like Lucifer, did'st still aspire,
And scorn'dst those hopes that did not mount thee higher.
Where's thy ambition, pollicie, and hate?
Thy pleasures to thy soul incorporate?
Thy curious fare? unlimited excesses?
The splender of thy ivorie pallaces?
What boots it that the world's farr ends for thee
Made contribution to thy luxurie?
Where bee thy frends, thy hopes, thy favours, which
Might both thyself and many more enrich,
Had'st thou not play'd the prodigall, and spent
Without foreseeing of this dire event?
All these have left thee, like a blast or breath;
And thou, now swallowed by the jawes of death,
For all thy quondam power, thy name shall bee
For ever hateful to posteritie.
Yet I could wish one thing for thee, belowe,
In those infernall shades where thou do'st goe,
Thou might'st a purgatorie finde, wherein
A thousand yeares mighte expiate thy sinne,
By purging those deepe staines, and vices fowle,
Which in thy life-time did infect thy soule,
That soe, at last, thou might'st enjoy that blisse,
Where our Creator and Redeemer is.
A SATYRE ON THE D. OF B.
Pale death with firm hand hath struck a blowe,
And in earth's duskie cabbin sunke belowe
A little world, that deem'd to sore more high
Then his horizon, or the fleeting skie.
His courting lady-hand, with mickle ease,
Disastrouslie could span our Albion seas;
Our brasen wall daunc'd on the brinish wave,
Thinking, through him, Europa to outbrave.
He vs'd the meanes: for with his darting eyes,
(More then the basilisks or Babells spies,)
Whatsoe're intended, or wheresoever meant,
Camelion-like, hee slilie would prevent.
The Brittaine crownetts and the clergie's bookes,
Were vail'd or burnt at's Ganimedian lookes.
A kingdomes councell fix'd, entirely one,
Were with a smile impung'd by him alone;
Our bright sunne-sett, and orient morning sunne,
This syren hath eclipsed and o're-runne;
Parents made childlesse, children lost their syres,
Worthies their honour; just, their good desires:
The poore were poll'd, the rich were neatly shav'd,
The dastard mounted, and the stout outbrau'd;
Blockheads made bishops, when the reverend gowne,
Like Homer, waited for his smile or frowne.
Barons bankerupts, and shopmen barons made,
Knaves knights, the course of auntient knighthood stay'd.
The yealding nature of a pious king,
Whose worthie praises through the worlde doe ringe,
This man's excessive power too much abus'd.
And by abortive meanes before not us'd,
That hee might mount, favorites honey tasted,
Whilst others vitall powers by poison wasted.
Oh heavens! what doe I? alas! hee's dead,
And's burden'd soule untimely from him fledd.
Burie his faults. I'le say no more then: why?
Soe much in zeale to warne posteritie
That all Icarian flights are vaine,
And thundershaken from his waine
Shall Phaeton slide; the hoast not rest
'Till Achan die; and Gibbions beast
Shall prove a goad and thornie sting,
And happilie repentance bring;
And know promotion at his best,
Findes death in earnest, not in iest.
A CHARITABLE CENSURE ON THE DEATH OF THE D. OF B.
What! shall I say now George is dead
That hee's in hell? charitie forbidd.
What though hee's damn'd by common fame,
Yet God's eyes may behold noe staine.
What though he was infect with sinne,
What man on earth liues not therein?
Shall wee therefore limitt God's power?
His mercie's seen at the last houre.
If to the kingdome hee did harme,
Yet thy tongue still thou ought'st to charme;
Great Charles in him beheld not it,
For thee to taxe him 'tis not fitt.
Envie cease, and give him his due,
Speake of him what thou know'st is true;
And for one good deed let him meritt,
To have his badd, silence inherit;
Call but to minde that deed in Spaine,
For which thou once didst loue his name,
If all were badd, yet that alone
Should make thee now his death bemoane.
Then, Felton, sure thou art to blame,
By whose strong hand our George was slaine.
PROSOPOPEIA. ON THE D.
A Copy of this brief condemnatory poem occurs in MS. Ashmole, vol. xxxviii,
art. 18, p. 14, at the conclusion of which is written
Finis. Jo. Heape.
We are thus supplied with the name of the author of one of the bitterest
rhymes of the series brought forth on this remarkable event.
I that my countrey did betray,
Undid that king that let mee sway
His sceptre as I pleas'd; brought downe
The glorie of the English crowne;
The courtiers' bane, the countries' hate,
An agent for the Spanish state;
The Romists' frend, the gospells' foe,
The Church and kingdomes overthrowe;
Heere a damned carcase dwell,
'Till my soule returne from hell.
With Judas then I shall inherit,
Such portion as all traytors meritt.
If heaven admitt of treason, pride, and lust,
Expect my spotted soule among the iust.
UPON THE DUKES DEATH.
The duke is dead, and we are ridd of strife,
By Felton's hand, that tooke away his life.
Whether that fact were lawfull or uniust,
In two short arguments may bee discust.
One: though the duke were one whom all did hate,
Being suppos'd a greivance to the state,
Yet hee a subiect was; and thence we draw
This argument; hee ought to die by law.
Another: were hee traytor most apparant,
Yet hee that kill'd him had noe lawfull warrant,
But as a murtherer he did it act,
And ought himself to die for such a fact.
These bee the arguments, than which shall need
Noe more to prove it an unlawfull deed.
Now, for an answere, iustly is obiected,
When law was offer'd, it was then neglected:
For when the commons did, with iust intent,
Pursue his faults in open parliament,
The highest court of justice, soe supreame,
That it hath censur'd monarches of the realme;
There might his grace have had a legall triall,
Had hee not it oppos'd with strong deniall.
But hee then scorn'd and proudly sett at nought
The howse, and those that him in question brought.
Therefore when law or justice takes noe place,
Some desperate course must serve in such a case.
A rotten member, that can haue noe cure,
Must bee cutt off to save the body sure.
Soe was the duke: for when he did withstand
The auntient course of justice of this land,
Thinking all meanes too weake to cast him downe,
Being held up by him that weares a crowne;
Even then, when least hee did expect or know,
By Felton's hand God wrought his overthrowe.
What shall wee say? was it God's will or noe,
That one sinner should kill another soe?
I dare not iudge; yet it appears sometime
God makes one sinner 'venge another's crime;
That when as justice can noe hold-fast take,
Each others ruyne they themselves should make.
But howsoe're it is, the case is plaine,
God's hand was in't, and the duke striu'd in vaine:
For what the parliament did faile to doe,
God did both purpose and performe it too.
Hee would noe threatnings or affronts receive,
Nor noe deepe pollicies could him deceive;
But when his sinne was ripe it then must downe:
God's siccle spares not either king or crowne.
ON THE MURDER OF THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, 1628.
Ashmolean MS., vol. xxxviii, art. 24, p. 20. This poem has been
attributed to Owen Feltham.
Sooner I may some fixed statue be,
Than prove forgettfull of thy fall and thee;
Canst thou be gone so quickly, can a knyffe,
Lett out soe manye titles and a lyfe?
Now I'le bemoane thee; oh! that soe huge a pile
Of state, should perish in so small a while;
Lett the rude genius of the gyddie trayne,
Bragg in a jurye, that ytt hath stabb'd Spayne,
Austria, and the skipping French; yea all
Those home-bred papists that would sell our fall.
The eclipse of two wise princes judgments sure
Thou was't, whearby our land was still keept poore.
I'le pittie yett att least thy fatall end,
Shotte like a lightning from a violent hand,
Taking thee hence unsum'd, thou art to mee
The great example of mortalitie;
And when the tyme to come shall want a name
To startle greatness, here is Buckingham;
Fallen like a meteor; and 'tis hard to say
Whether ytt was, that went the straighter way,
Thou, or the hand that slue thee; thy state
Was highe, and hee, resolute above that.
But yett because I hould off none, ingaged to thee;
Death, and that libertye, shall make me free.
Thy mists I knewe not; yff thou hadst a fault,
My charritie shall leave them in thy vaulte,
There for thyne owne accounting; 'tis undue
To speake ill of the dead, thoughe itt be true.
But this, even those that envyed the, confesse
Thou hadst a mynd, a flowing noblenes,
A fortune, friends and such proportion,
As call for pittye thus to be undone.
Yet should I speake the vulgare, I should boast
Thy bould assasinate, and wyshe all moste
Hee weare noe Christian; that I up might stand
To prayse the intente of his misguyded hand;
And sure when all the patriots in the shade
Shall ranke, and their full musters there be made,
Hee shall sit next to Brutus, and receive
Such bayes as heathenish ignorance can give;
But then the Christian, checking that, shall say,
Though hee did good, hee did ytt the wrong way;
And oft they fall into the worste of ills,
That acte the people's wish without theyr wills.
CHARON AND THE DUKE.
Charon. At Portsmouth, duke, I will no longer stay;
My boat's at hand; now therefore come away.
Duke. Who calls great George?
Charon.'Tis Charon that commands
Thy guiltie ghost to goe; him none withstands.
Duke. But whither must I goe?
Charon. To land at Stix,
From whence you had your stratagems and tricks.
Duke. Nay, prithee stay, sweet Charon, thou shalt see
That if George liveth all shall come to thee.
Charon. Pish! come, I say: my boate shall stay for none,
Thy sweet perfumed sinnes will fill't alone:
If not, thy titles.
Duke. Sure thou'lt stay a while,
That I may Charles a little more beguile.
Charon. Noe, noe, I can't. Felton, make no delay,
If thou lou'st Charles, then send proud George away.
Duke. Am I of sea and land the great commander
When this small boate doth scorne I should withstand her?
Sweet pleasures, honour, titles, fortune brittle,
Adiew; I have noe title to a tittle.
A DIALOGUE BETWEENE CHARON AND THE D.
Charon. Great duke, which art commaunder of the seas,
Make haste to Portsmouth, if thy highnesse please;
For there my boate is ready to convey
Thy soule to the Elizeum: come away.
Duke. Whose is that voice that soundeth in myne eare?
Meethinks 'tis Charon's: see, hee doth appeare.
Who sent thee, Charon, that thou mak'st such haste
For to remove my blisse, to haue mee plac't
Among the furies, that ne're see bright day?
But I must goe: Charon calls,
Come, Felton, then, and execute thy will,
Who art prepar'd great George's blood to spill!
Yet give me leave, before I see my end,
One poore petition through the skies to send,
For to sollicite him that rules the heaven,
And that my spotted soule may bee forgiven.
Charon. Thou art too tedious, and do'st stay too long:
Noe time is lent thee. Come, you must among
Those that on earth could finde no time to pray
'Till I came for them: therefore come away.
For if thy conscience doth not thee accuse,
In that thy God and king thou did'st abuse,
Then make no question of thy doeing well,
Thy soule shall onely passe with mee through hell,
Where thou content must bee to stay a while,
To clense thy conscience, which thou did'st defile:
And if from thence to blisse thou finde a way,
Thou leave shalt have; but now I will not stay.
Duke. Then farewell, joyes! I'le bee content to dwell
A thousand yeares in purgatorie, or hell,
Soe that I may at last but purchase heaven,
And rest with him whose blood for mee was given.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE DUKE & DR. LAMBE.
This very curious poem is obtained from a transcript made by the
Rev. W. Cole from the Crew MS., and preserved in one of the volumes of
his curious collection in the British Museum (Additional MS. No. 5832,
fol. 197), where it is headed,
Verses on George Villiers, Duke of
Buckingham. It shows how strongly popular opinion condemned the
duke's connexion with Dr. Lambe, whose evil life, and violent death, were
made the subject of a popular pamphlet, in which the worst vices,
poisonings and sorcery, were imputed to him. The duke's intimacy with this
bad man, and the manner in which he revenged his death on the citizens
(see Introduction), only strengthened belief on the sinister side. He was
believed to have aided the duke's fortunes and favour with the king through
his intimate knowledge of the black art, an opinion which found utterance
in the following lines, written immediately after the duke had also died
The shepheard's struck, the sheepe are fledd,
For want of Lambe the Wolfe is dead.
Lambe. Away, away, great George, O come not here:
For then in torments thou must beare a share.
Duke. O now it's too late: thy councill's all in vaine:
The castle soe longe beseig'd at last is tane.
Thou should'st have told me this, before that I,
By pride, lust, murther, and fowle treacherye,
Had spotted my white soule: but then didst thou
Uphold me in my sins; for which I now
Am damn'de. I have the lande of Canaan lost,
And in the depth of deepest miseries tost.
Then whether should I goe, but where thou art?
That of my paines, as pleasures thou must take part.
Lambe. Goe hence I say: if Plutoe once drawe neare,
Thy titles, nor thy honours shall not beare
Thee from his ravening pawes.
Duke. Alas! the're gone,
And e're this time dispearsd: not one alone
Shall ever have agayne soe many honours
Heapt on his head; which to me were false banners.
Yet titles, honours, places, Charles his love,
My life to spare could not stout Felton move:
His powerfull hand hath sett my spirit free,
And sent my soule to endles miserye.
0 famous Felton! thy valour yet I love;
But of thy heedles deed doe not approve:
Because thou left'st me neither time nor space,
To call to God for mercie, pardon, grace:
Nor yet to Charles, my honoured lord and king,
To beg his pardon, and confess each thing,
That I 'gainst him, his kingdome, and his state,
Have, either heretofore, or now of late,
Attempted, or intended still to act,
As well as that I have done; yet your fact
I know's approv'd of all; for that all did
Hate me, though at sometimes close they hidd
The rancour of their malice, yet now at last
They let their sluices ope, which runnes at waste.
I know each letter of my name shal be
A theame for their inventions, to let flee
Abroad to all the world, even my black deeds,
Which from their black penns shall receive black weeds.
My deeds on seas, in countrey, court and cittie,
Shal be unto their songe the final dittie.
On seas, from first to last they'le discant on
The honour in Argiers voyage wonne:
When as stout Mansfield, by my stronger hand
Was made retorne again into this land;
Which did more hurt unto the English nation
Then since the fabricke of the world's creation;
For then the Turks made havocke of our men
And shipps, and none would spare; which proved then
A disadvantage to our kingdom: next
That to Cales, when as proud Cecill vext,
When Essex for his life was forc'd to fly;
Or else at Cales great gates most basely die.
By me, they say, the Pallatinate was lost,
And when fresh supply should be gone, I crost
It; and kept backe the ayde; at last I sent
Brave Oxford over, unto whose life I lent
Some few dayes. and then did take it from him,
With Southampton's; soe I confess my crime.
A navie was prepar'de, and richly mann'de,
Where Neptune's angrie waves being past, we land
At Martin's Iland; where landing, march, intrench,
Assault, retreate our men were faine: revenge
Then came too late: the best commander's gone,
And many brave soldiers lying tread uppon;
Together with shipping off our men; even all
Doth make me call'de a treacherous generall.
Yet I came home, when betters farr wer slaine,
And for their valour more honour they may claime.
Yet Charles was glad to see me in England's shore:
But peoples countenance shew'de what in heart they bore.
And now the last ayde which to poor Rochell went,
Was thought in earnest, but in jeast 'twas sent;
All this the seas cann witnes of my crime:
But leaving these, then come to our owne clyme,
And in the countrey shewe my deeds sett forthe,
How that I rackt their rents to twice their worth,
Tooke from them what I pleas'de, and to others gave it,
And all must be as I myselfe must have it;
In which I farr surpassed all before,
And for one badd deed here, there was a score.
For what with poyson, treason, and base treacherie,
My deedes, like night, would darke the very skie.
Whoe was it then, except great Charles alone,
That did not to me bend, even to the ground?
Such was the over-topping topp of my
Ambition: but at last being come thus high,
I had a fall: but not in Charles his love,
For that is firmly placed, and will not move
Untill his eyes shall opened be, and finde
All my fowle deedes that I have left behinde,
Doe clearly manifest, as well to him as other,
That with the charmes and magicke of my mother,
I have bewitcht his senses; soe that he
Could not my treason nor offences see,
That I committed in countrey, court, and state,
Nor in religion how I sett debate.
And how of justice I have sold the place
Unto the badd, whoe soe altered the case,
As pleased me, or best served for my ends:
Nor how I have enrich'de my base-born friends.
In cittie eke their cryes breakes ope the gates,
And for their fortunes doe declare their hates
To me, for that I fetcht, and never meant to pay,
Which now hath brought their states unto decay.
And since, deare Lambe, by thee I had this arte,
To cozen king and kingdome, it's fitt I smarte.
And since we have liv'de in pleasure both together,
God's just in all, which will not now let us sever.
England, farewell! thy curses sure I have:
And in abundance they will fill my grave.
What care I for them! here then ends my labour,
That as I liv'de, soe I dyed, in Charles his favour.
UPON THE DUKES DEATH.
The pale horse of the Revelation
Hath unhorst the horseman of our nation,
And given him such a kick on his side
(At Portesmouth) that hee sware, and dy'd.
UPON HIS FUNERALL.
Behold this obsequie; but without tears;
The birth of all our joy, and grave of fears.
EPITAPH ON THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
This little grave embraces,
One duke and twentie places.
Pride lies heere, revenge and lust,
Sorcerie and averice, all accurst:
A great one base, a rich one poore,
Hee that consum'd the kingdomes store;
Alive and dead of all good abhorr'd,
Because that all ill doe hee dar'd;
The law to death had him condemn'd,
Hee death and law both then contemn'd;
His life not lou'd, nor mourn'd his death,
'Cause long hee drew condemned breath;
Hee sinfull liu'd and dy'd with shame,
His flesh now rotts, soe Buckingham.
(0 sodaine change) heere doth hee lie,
That feareles liu'd, dy'd fearfullie.
Hee was not sick: what did betide?
A stroke was given, hee swore, and dy'd.
Hee's gone all say: O but whither?
Birds of a winge flie together:
Lambe was sent a place t' out-looke,
And where Lambe is, there's the duke:
Now their villanies they doe scann,
Lambe the doctor, duke the man;
After-times their tricks will shew,
Not one of thousands now that know;
And then to this shall added bee,
'Gainst justice liu'd they, soe did dye.
Great Buckingham's buried vnder a stone,
'Twixt heaven and earth not such a one,
Pope and Papist's freind, the Spaniard's factor.
The Palatine's bane, the Dunkirk's protector.
The Dane's disaster, the French king's intruder,
Netherland's oppressor, the English deluder;
The frend of pride, the peere of lust,
The avaritious actor of things uniust.
Fortune's darling, king's content,
Vexation of the parliament,
The flatterer's deitie of state,
Advancer of each money-mate,
The divell's factor for the purse,
The papist's hope, the common's curse,
The saylor's crosse, the soldier's greife,
Commission's blanke, and England's theife,
The coward at the Ile of Ree,
The bane of noble chivalrie,
The night-worke of a painted dame,
Confederate with doctor Lambe.
All this lies vnderneath this stone,
And yet, alas! heere lies but one.
Here lies a gratious graceles peere,
Of king belou'd, to's countrie deere,
That did both foot and horse commaund,
And beare the sway by sea and land;
To death who many a thousand sent,
Ere hee receiv'd the death hee lent.
Nor law nor justice had to doe
With what his will consented to,
Nor was there any question made
With him of murther: 'twas his trade.
And will his ghost bee angrie, trowe,
If any other should doe soe?
Can any thinke his scholler naught,
For doeing that himself hath taught?
But hee that kill'd this killer thus,
Did it to save himself and us:
Thus farr then with him wee'l dispence,
Hee did it in his owne defence;
Besides, his art redeem'd agen,
Great multitudes of honest men.
Then all the fault, and all the wrong
Was, that hee let him live soe long.
ON THE DUKE AND FELTON.
Awake, sad Brittaine, and advance at last
Thy drooping head: let all thy sorrowes past
Bee drown'd, and sunke with their owne teares; and now
O're-looke thy foes with a triumphant brow.
Thy foe, Spaine's agent, Holland's bane, Rome's freind,
By one victorious hand receiv'd his end.
Live ever, Felton: thou hast turn'd to dust,
Treason, ambition, murther, pride and lust.
ON FELTON'S KILLING THE DUKE.
Some say the duke was gratious, vertuous, good,
And Felton basely did to spill his blood.
If that were true, what did hee then amisse
In sending him more quicklie to his blisse?
Pale death seemes pleasing to a good man's eye,
And onely bad men are afrayd to die.
Left hee this kingdome to possesse a better?
Why Felton then hath made the duke his debtor.
IN COMMENDACION OF FELTON'S FOWLE MURTHER OF THE D.
Why is our age turn'd coward, that noe penn
Dares weeping mourne thy glorie? are all men
Doom'd to dull earth at once, that thy great name
Must suffer in their silence, and thy fame
Pante to flie higher then their endles hate,
Who toyle to kill thy memory, and bate
The glorie of thy act? shall Rome canonize
Him, that to save her did but sacrifice
A single hand, a Martire? shall not wee
(If Rome did soe for him,) doe more for thee?
That when crown'd victorie (growne almost white
On Albion's loftie cliffe) had tane her flight
Into some uncouth corner of the world,
And seated in her roome pale feare, and hurl'd
Distraction through the land; when every man
Seem'd his soules coffin, leane and wanne
With expectation of his end; when wee
(Whom, for soe many years, proud France did see
Disposers of her borrowed crowne,) were made a prey
To her high scorne. Oh! who can name the day
(And feeles not a salt deluge in his eyes,)
Wherein such clowdes of sighes and groanes did rise
As dimm'd the sunne; which then amazed stood
To see allegiance firmly writt in blood,
Slur'd from our slaughter'd frends? a day wherein
The heat (rash duke) of thy ambitious sinne
Unmann'd such noble spiritts, that old time
Must lift his hoarie head aloft, and clime
The rockie monuments of kings, to finde
Their equalls: yet thou must stay behinde,
In purpose lest, by the malitious foe,
To doe more harme in peace then warrs could doe,
To trample on their ruine, and create
Mischeifes, more killing plagues to ruinate
Us and our children; when, unhearted, wee
Saw all this threaten'd; but yet could not free
Receive a speedie cure by thy iust hand:
Thou stabb'st our desolation with a stroke,
And in one blowe didst free us from the yoake
Of forraine bondage, that to buy our peace
Unconduit'st all thy blood, and did'st not cease
'Till thou had'st wrought thy unexampled deed
Of our redemption, and had'st made him bleed
That grasp'd the lives and fortunes of us all,
Which thou hast timely rescued by his fall.
FELTON COMMENDED, ETC.
Immortall man of glorie, whose brave hand
Hath once begun to disinchaunt our land
From magique thraldome. One proud man did mate
The nobles, gentles, commons of our state;
Struck peace and warr at pleasure, hurl'd downe all
That to his idoll greatnes would not fall.
With groveling adoration; sacred rent
Of Brittaine, Saxon, Norman princes; spent
Hee on his pandors, minions, pimpes, and whores,
Whilst their great royall offspring wanted dores
To shutt out hunger, had not the kinde whelpe
Of good Eliza's lyon gave them helpe;
The seats of justice forc'd to say, they lye,
Unto our auntient English libertie.
The staine of honour, which to deedes of praise
And high atchievements should brave spiritts raise,
The shipps, the men, the money cast away,
Under his onely all-confounding sway.
Illiads of griefe, on toppe of which hee bore
Himselfe triumphant, neither trayned in lore
Of artes nor armes; yet in a hautie vast
Debordment of ambition, now in haste,
The cunning Houndhurst must transported bee,
To make him the restorer Mercurie
In an heroick painting, when before
Antwerpian Rubens' best skill made him soare,
Ravish't by heavenly powers, unto the skie,
Opening and ready him to deifle
In a bright blisfull pallace, fayrie ile.
Naught but illusion were wee, 'till this guile
Was by thy hand cut off, stout Machabee;
Nor they, nor Rome, nor did Greece ever see
A greater glorie. To the neighbour flood
Then sinke all fables of old Brute and Ludd,
And give thy statues place; in spight of charme
Of witch or wizard, thy most mightie arme,
With zeale and justice arm'd, hath in truth wonne
The prize of patriott to a Brittish sonne.
ON FELTON'S ARRAIGNEMENT.
You auntient lawes of right, can you, for shame,
You, the late bondmen of great Buckingham,
That at his beck hurl'd justice round the orbe
Of indirection, and could afford
Noe pleasing plea to the afflicted sence,
Noe remedy to wrong, but patience:
Can you (I say) speake death in your decrees
To one whose life procur'd your liberties?
Or you, late tongue-ty'd iudges of the land,
Passe sentence on his act, whose valiant hand
Wrencht off your muzzells, and infranchiz'd all
Your shakl'd consciences from one mans thrall?
But 0! his countrie! what can you verdict on?
If guiltie; 'tis of your redemption.
And if there can bee honor in a sinne,
His well-complotting starrs have wrought him in
Thy fetters, ransom'd England, and thy feares
Triumphant, trophie-like, stout Felton weares
On him like seemely ornaments. They deck
His armes and wrists, and hang about his neck
Like gingling braceletts, and as rich they bee;
So much the cause can alter miserie.
But wherefore liu'st thou in thy doomes suspence?
The tyrant law hath double violence:
For all thy fellow saints have waited long,
And wearied time with expectation.
It is the end that must begin thy glorie,
Noe finis shall be period to thy storie.
Dye bravely then: for, till thy death be writt,
Thy honour wants a scale to perfect it.
With peacefull praiers, to heaven wee'l waft thy soule,
While every bell thy funerall shall toll:
Then each choise spiritt ring thee to thy grave,
And with their shouts fright Eccho from her cave.
Next, write thyne epitaph. Now, from your spring
Post, post, yee sisters, and helpe mee to sing;
Least my unskillfull muse should faile in painting
The worth of one whom I was proud in saianting.
Loe heere hee lies, that with one arme could more
Then all the nerves of parliament before.
A kingdome drunke, and death around it hover'd,
Hee pluckt the sicklie plume, and it recover'd.
Then England turne idolatrix at his shrine,
That lost his owne life for restoring thine.
——NOW GREAT, ALONE,
KING OF GLORIOUS BRITTAINE.
THE BOLD PIOUS PET1CION,
OF FREE BOUND FELTON.
Sir, I your servant, who have sett you free,
(Christ's freeman am, your prisoner though I bee;)
Have one good boone to begg of our good king:
Not libertie, nor life, nor noe such thing:
But that you would God's mercie magnifie,
For that salvation hee hath wrought by mee.
For know (great Charles) how high thou honour'd art
To bee but king of mee, of soe stout heart.
One angell slew one night (none left alive,)
Of hundred thousands, fower-score and fiue.
I, with one stroke, thy kingdomes all, and thee,
With millions (slaues) have sett at libertie.
When David had Goliah cast to ground,
How full was Israel's campe with ioyfull sound!
Their cause was lesse: your joy let it be more,
Though I a thousand deaths should die therefore;
If I had lives to lose, or daies to end,
I would them all in such like service spend:
All deaths I would contemne, my lives all bring,
My God to honour, my countrie free, and king.
I know what Phinees did; and Hebers wife,
And Ehud, Israells judges, with Eglons life:
And I did heare, and see, and know, too well,
What evill was done our English Israell:
And I had warrant seal'd, and sent from heaven,
My worke to doe: and soe the blow is given:
Heere I may suffer: sing I shall doe there:
And now condemn'd; then quitt I shall appeare.
And must I die? yet shall I liue againe:
To dust I must; but I shall rise to raigne.
My death is due to him who gave mee life:
And when I die, I pray may die all strife.
A happie life and death was graunted mee,
To live for peace, and die for libertie.
ZOUCH TOWNLEY'S POEM
To HIS CONFINED FRIEND MR. FELTON.
D'Israeli has reprinted this spirited poem in his Curiosities of
Literature, with the following remarks:
On a rumour
that Felton was condemned to suffer torture, an effusion of poetry,
the ardent breathngs of a pure and youthful spirit, was addressed
to the supposed political martyr by Zouch Townley, of the ancient
family of the Townleys in Lancashire. He made the latin
oration in memory of Camden, reprinted by Dr. Thomas Smith at
the end of Camden's Life. I find his name also among the
verses addresses to Ben Jonson prefixed to his works. The following
poem appears only to have circulated in secret form; for
the writer being summoned in the Star Chamber, and not willing
to have any such poem addressed to himself, escaped to
the Hague. D'Israeli has characterized it as
a noble poem. His
version is, nowever, not very pure or clear; the four concluding
lines are omitted from their proper place, and inserted in another
article on the Duke of Buckingham, they vary only in two
words from our version. He observes of this epitaph, that
condensed bitterness of spirit gives the popular idea of the
duke's unfortunate attempts.
Enjoy thy bondage; make thy prison know
Thou hast a libertie thou canst not owe
To those base punishments; keep't entire, since
Nothing but guilt shacles the conscience.
I dare not tempt thy valient blood to whay,
Enfeebling it to pittie; nor dare pray
Thy act may mercie finde, least thy great storie
Loose somewhat of its miracle and glorie.
I wish thy meritt, labour'd crueltie;
Stout vengeance best befitts thy memorie:
For I would have posteritie to heare,
Hee that can bravely doe, can bravely beare.
Tortures may seeme great in a coward's eye.
Tis noe great thing to suffer, lesse to die.
Should all the clowdes fall out, and, in that strife,
Light'ning and thunder send to take my life;
I would applaude the wisedome of my fate,
Which knew to valew mee at such a rate,
As at my fall to trouble all the skie,
Emptying upon mee Joue's full armorie.
Serve in your sharpest mischeifs: use your rack;
Enlarge each joynt, and make each sinew crack:
Thy soule before was streight'ned, thanke thy doome,
To shew her vertue shee hath larger roome.
Yet, sure, if every arterie were broke,
Thou would'st finde strength for such another stroke.
And now I leave thee unto death and fame,
Which lives, to shake ambition with thy name:
And if it were not sinne, the court by it
Should hourely sweare before the favourite.
Farewell: for thy brave sake wee shall not send
Henceforth commaunders enemies to defend:
Nor will it ever our iust monarch please
To keep an admirall to loose our seas.
Farewell: undaunted stand, and ioy to bee
Of publique sorrow the epitomie.
Let the dukes name solace and crowne thy thrall:
All wee by him did suffer, thou for all.
And I dare boldlie write, as thou dar'st dye,
Stout Felton, Englands ransome, heere doth lye.
If idle passingers aske, who lies heere:
Let the duke's tombe this for inscription beare:
Paint Cales and Ree: make French and Spanish laugh,
Add England's shame, and there's his epitaph.
This brief poem is an embodiment of the feeling which may be
supposed to have pervaded Felton's mind, after his murder of the
duke, and his own condemnation. It is scarcely necessary to
remark, that though signed with his name, and assuming to be
his words, he is not the author.
Sorrow and joy at once possesse my brest:
How can such contraries together rest?
I grieue my frends and countrie thus to leaue;
I ioy I did it of her foe bereaue.
My greife is private, as of flesh and blood;
My joy is publique: 'tis a publique good.
Let none lament my losse: for, you shall finde,
By losse y' have gained in another kinde,
Since hee that caused all your ill is gone;
Ne're mourne for him that good could doe to none,
But onely pray propitious heavens would send,
For him soe great a foe, as great a frend.
Is Felton dead? it's that bee did desire;
Hee needs noe tomb-stone for remembrance sake.
As for his art, the world must still admire,
Enough to make all Buckinghamians quake.
His valour great did proue a Roman spirit,
And by their lawes a thousand heavens meritt.
Hee did endeavour by one stroke to make
The king and commons (by him put asunder)
Joyne all in one, and resolution take
To mend all things unto the world's great wonder.
Such was his love pursueing their desire,
Hee fear'd not death, by gallowes, rack, or fire.
Now farewell, Felton, take this to thy rest,
Thy fame, thy name, thy worth doth still abound,
And by repentance thou art surely blest,
And to that end ten thousand praiers hast found.
Where courage great for kingdomes good is seen,
That man is rare, and lasting fame doth winne.
Felton was hanged at Tyburn, but his body, by the king's
order, was sent down to Portsmouth, and fixed on a gibbet there.
The ignominy of such a fate is most ingeniously construed into
a triumph by the author of the lines ensuing. There is another
copy of this poem in Ashmole MS., vol. xxxviii, p. 20, where it
is said to have been
made by D. Donn. It varies a little in
words, and is less pure than the following from the Sloane MS.,
826; but the sense is the same; it has, however, supplied us
with a few corrections. This is one of the best and most remarkable
poems in our collection.
Heere uninterr'd suspends (though not to save
Surviving frends th' expences of a grave,)
Felton's dead earth; which to the world must bee
It's owne sadd monument, his elegie;
As large as fame, but whether badd or good
I say not: by himselfe 'twas writt in blood;
For which his body is entomb'd in ayre,
Archt o're with heaven, sett with a thousand faire
And glorious diamond Starrs. A sepulchre
That time can never ruinate, and where
Th' impartiall worme (which is not brib'd to spare
Princes corrupt in marble) cannot share
His flesh; which if the charitable skies
Embalme with teares; doeing those obsequies
Belong to men: shall last, till pittying fowle
Contend to beare his bodie to his soule.
COELO TEGITUR QUI NON HABET URNAM.
Note 1, page iii: He was first installed as cup-bearer to the king, then
made master of the horse, soon afterwards created Earl of
Buckingham, ultimately marquis; the brave Howard, who
had commanded the fleet against the Spanish Armada, being
compelled to retire on a pension, his place was given to
Villiers, who became lord high admiral; to which was afterwards
added the posts of warden of the cinque ports, chief
justice in eyre of all the parks and forests south of Trent,
master of the King's-bench office, high steward of Westminster,
and constable of Windsor Castle.
Note 2, page iv: So says Sir Anthony Welden, who was an eye-witness
of his degradation:
where trencher-scrapers and lackeys attended.
Note 3, page iv: James appears to have been as uneasy as the rest about
Charles's safe return, and he ordered the clergy to pray
earnestly for it, but
not to prejudicate the prince's journey
in their prayers, but only to pray God to return him home
in safety again to us, and no more. Mead relates
an amusing story in connection with this order, which serves
to show the estimation in which Buckingham was popularly
an honest plain preacher, being loth to transgress
the order given, desired, in his prayer, .
that God would return
our noble prince home in safety again to us, and no more
Note 4, page v: This was no Christian name of the duke's, but is a
Scoticism for Stephen, bestowed on him by the king, who
is said to have done so because the favourite's good looks
reminded him of representations of St. Stephen, who is depicted
with beautiful features, in accordance with Acts vi, 15.
Note 5, page v: >In one instance the king writes that his parting with
him has made him
do nothing but weep and mourn; for
I protest to God, I rode this afternoon a great way in the
park without speaking to any body, and the tears trickling
down my cheeks as now they do, that I can scarcely see to
write; while Charles, during the favourite's unpopularity
about the Spanish match, writes to advise his course, so that
it will be so far from doing you hurt, that it will make
you trample under your feet those few poor rascals that are
your enemies; adding,
now, sweetheart, if you think I
am mistaken in my judgment, let me know what I can do in
this, or anything else to serve thee.
Note 6, page vi: Clarendon.
Note 7, page viii: The
satires in the ensuing pages will show how strongly
the popular feeling was expressed on this event. A favorable
account of the duke's action, drawn up by one who states
himself to be qualified for the task,
both on ocular and
auricular testimony, may be found in Additional MS. 9298
(Brit. Mus.). Another and very different version is contained
in the same collection, No. 6407, which purports to
an unhappy vewe of the whole behaviour of my lorde
duke of Buckingham at the French island of Rees. Secretlie
discovered by W. F. an unfortunate cornaunder in that
untoward service, and which ends by hoping that the
for their parts will send him to hell without
any more adoe; in return for such evil service.
Note 8, page ix:
observe, he said,
in the close of Mr. Secretary's
relation, mention made of another in addition to his majesty;
and that which hath been formerly a matter of
complaint I find here still,—a mixture with his majesty,
not only in business, but in name.
Note 9, page x: He
denounced Buckingham as the origin of all dissatisfaction
and dissension, saying,
I think the Duke of
Buckingham is the cause, and till the king be informed
thereof, we shall never go out with honour, nor sit with
honour here. That man is the grievance of grievances; let
us set down the causes of all our disasters, and they will
all reflect upon him.
Note 10, page xii: Additional MS. 5832 (Brit. Mus.) contains a similar
list, with some variations in the valuations, copied by the
Rev. W. Cole, from the Crewe MS. The present item is there
followed by these:—
Jan. 23, 1623, to Mr. Fotherley in free guifte
for secret services
To Sir Robert Pye, 12 August, 1620
This monie was paid for my lord duke's
purchase of Burley, and Sir Robt. Pye
discharged by another privye seale the 4 of
To Phillipp Bulmarke, Sept. 1623
Note 11, page xiii: The same MS. supplies us with
the heads of those
grievances which are presented against the duke, and to whom appointed to
be spoken of in agrevation. As follows:
The preamble of the charge unto Sir Dudley Diggs.
- The plurality of offices.
- The admiralty bought.
- The Cinq ports bought.
|Unto Mr. Herbert.
- The not guarding of the seas and coasts.
- The second stay of the ship called the
Peeter, of Newhaven.
|To Mr. Selden.
- The bribe of 20000li. extorted from
the East India Company.
- The delivery of our shipps unto the
- The imployment against Rochell.
|To Mr. Glanvill.
- The sale of honour.
- The sale of places of iudicature.
|To Mr. Whitely.
- The procuring of honours for his
kindred, undeserving, whom the
king's revennew must maintaine.
- The exhausting the king s revennew
and treasure by exorbitant geifts
to himselfe and his kindred.
|To Mr. Pimme.
- The applying of a plaister and giving
of a drinke to king James in his last
sicknesse, without making any of the
king's sworne doctors and apothecaries
acquainted therewithall, and contrary
to their directions in general and particular.
|To Mr. Wandisford.
The conclusion of the charge unto Sir John Eliott.
Note 12, page xv: The sum was made up by the various companies.
Mr. Jupp, in his Historical Account of the Worshipful
Company of Carpenters, has narrated their assessment:
Received of divers persons of this commonalty,
according to a precept directed from the lord
maior, towards the death of Doctor Lamb,
killed in the city of London
Paid in January, 1632, for an assessment imposed
on our companie, by reason of the
death of Doctor Lamb
Note 13, page xvii: See Nichols'
History of Earl Goscate.
Note 14, page xvii: The original is preserved in the British Museum;
Lansdowne MSS. No. 213, f. 147.
Note 15, page xviii: The house in which the murder was committed is now
standing in Portsmouth (No. 10, High-street), but has been
so repeatedly altered both within and without, in converting
it first into an inn and then into a private house, that it retains
scarcely any of its old features. A view of it is given
Graphic and Historical Illustrator, as it appeared
in 1832; it was also engraved in Smith's
and Literary Curiosities, three years afterwards, showing
some few alterations.
Note 16, page xviii: Howell says that Felton
had thought to have done
the deed in the room where the duke was being shaved,
after rising from bed,
for he was leaning upon the window
all the while.
Note 17, page xviii: Wotton
thus describes the murder:—
The duke came
with Sir Thomas Fryer close at his ear; in the very moment
as the said knight withdrew himself from the duke, the
assassin gave him, with a back blow, a deep wound into his
left side, leaving the knife in his body, which the duke himself
pulling out, on a sudden effusion of spirits, he sunk
down under the table in the next room, and immediately
expired. See note, p. 63, for another
Note 18, page xxi: At his death this paper was not found, and what has
become of it is not now known for a certainty. A very
exact facsimile was first published by him in his privately
printed catalogue of autographs, and afterwards in Smith's
Fac-similes of Historical and Literary Curiosities; from
whence we obtain the copy of Felton's autograph here given.
It was found among the Evelyn papers at Wotton, in Surrey,
endorsed twice-over in John Evelyn's handwriting,
found about Felton when he killed the Duke of Buckingham,
23 Aug. 1628. Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary of
State, who had the first possession of it, was one of the persons
before whom Felton was examined at Portsmouth. His
daughter married Sir Richard Browne, and the learned and
philosophic Mr. John Evelyn married the only daughter of
Sir Richard Browne. Lady Evelyn, the widow of his descendant,
presented it to Mr. Upcott.
Note 19, page xxii: The day before his execution, he was visited by the
Earl and Countess of Arundel and their son,
he being of
their blood. Ellis's Original Letters.
Note 20, page xxiii:
Short view of the life and death of George Villiers,
Duke of Buckingham, in the Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, 1651,
and Harleian Miscellany.
Note 21, page xxiii: This pamphlet, as Wotton observes,
made the duke
one of the foulest monsters on the earth. Its author,
George Eglisham, was a Scottish physician to the Marquis
of Hamilton and king James I; and he broadly accuses
Buckingham of poisoning them both. See note p. 20. He
afterwards offered to retract all he had said on this subject
for a government place! (D'Israeli.)
Note 22, page xxv: A different tale is told by the historians of Sheffield,
In 1626, Thomas Wild, cutler, living in the
Crooked-bill Yard, High-street, made Lieutenant Felton the
knife with which he stabbed the Duke of Buckingham. The
knife was found in the duke's body, and had a corporation
mark upon it, which led to the discovery of the maker, who
was immediately taken to the Earl of Arundel's house in
London, when he acknowledged the mark was his, and that
he had made Lieutenant Felton two such knives, when he
was recruiting at Sheffield, for which he charged him ten-pence.
The earl was well satisfied with the truth of Wild's
testimony, and ordered him to be paid the expenses of his journey home.
Note 23, page xxvi: D'Israeli remarks:—
There is one bright passage
in the history of this unhappy man, who, when broken down
in spirits, firmly asserted the rights of a Briton; and even
the name of John Felton may fill a date in the annals of our
constitutional freedom. He was threatened with torture, to
endeavour to get him to confess to accomplices; to which
I do not believe that it is the king's pleasure,
for he is a just and gracious prince, and will not have his
subjects tortured against law. He then declared that he
alone was connected with the murder, and added that he
would accuse Lord Dorset only, who had threatened him with
torture, provided it was used. It was then decided to be
illegal, although but two years before one Captain Brodeman,
who had been among the
bold speakers concerning the
king and the duke, had been imprisoned in the tower, racked,
and according to report, had died under the torture.
Note 24, page xxvii: This monument,
greatly in contravention of religious
decorum, was erected within the communion rails in the
place of the altar, and is so represented in a view of the interior
of the church given in Brayley's Illustrator, p. 243.
It has recently been removed close to the vestry door in the
north aisle of the chancel.
Note 25, page xxx: Gill was tutor to Oliver Cromwell; and D'Israeli, in
his Curiosities of Literature, absurdly imputes his treasonable
notions to this circumstance; as if it was at all likely
that the master of a public school should discuss politics
with the boys on his forms. In a similarly absurd vein, it
was once asserted, that the fact of his playing Tactus, in
Anthony Brewer's Comedy of Lingua, while in the Huntingdon
inspired him with that ambition he afterwards
so indefatigably pursued. Such lights, held up to display
the dark workings of the human mind, are dim guides
to truth; and all schoolboys, whose masters love liberty,
or allow them to enact the ambitious tyrant in a school play,
are in a dangerous state indeed. By the aid of such deductions
we obtain a curious esthetic recipe to make a Cromwell!
Note 26, page 1:
Lord Keeper Williams was falsely supposed to be over
familiar with the duke's mother. (Note in MS.)
The lines which follow are too coarse for printing.
Note 27, page 2: The subject of the next stanza
(which is much too coarse to print) is thus mentioned by Sir Anthony
Weldon in his Chronique Scandaleuse,
The Court and
Character of King James:
Old Sir Anthony Ashley,
who never loved any but boyes, yet
he was snatcht up for a kinswoman, as if there had been concurrency
thorow the kingdome that those that naturally hated women,
yet should love his kindred, as well as the king him.
Note 28, page 7: Cadiz: an allusion to the expedition in 1625
(see p. 26).
Note 29, page 7: The sailor's Monmouth cap compared to the soldier's
Note 30, page 16: A heavy subsidy had been levied on merchants and
others to fit out this expedition, under the false pretence of its being
intended against Spain.
Note 31, page 16: Buckingham wasted several days in landing his
troops at Rochelle, and ultimately took the town of St. Martin,
when left bare and empty by its native troops.
Note 32, page 17: A scale of charges for Church preferments was declared to
be in the duke's keeping, according to which only he dispensed
clerical favours, and then liberally.
Note 33, page 18: A news-letter.
pickers-up of unconsidered trifles
at this period lived by concocting these letters for country gentlemen
before the introduction of printed newspapers.
Note 34, page 20: The Earl of Bristol had been made the
scape-goat, and most unjustly so, for all that was unpalatable
in the Spanish match, that the favourite might be screened; but,
backed by the Parliament, he had loudly complained, and
occasioned much disquiet both to the duke and king.
Note 35, page 20: An allusion to the imputed poisoning of King James I,
by the Duke's means; an assertion which we shall find frequently enforced
by the satirists of the day. It was broadly charged to the duke by one of
King James's physicians, Dr. George Eglisham, as well as the poisoning of
the Marquis of Hamilton, in a pamphlet called the
Revenge, and couched in the language of a petition to King Charles I
for justice on the duke. A curious engraving is in existence, depicting
this so-called poisoning scene in the king's bed-chamber. The enemies
of Buckingham and his family, and they were many, of course spread the
foul tale, which was popularly credited; but the truth seems to be, that
he and his mother administered a drug and a plaster, which they had
obtained from a noted quack, and in which they had faith, without any
Note 36, page 20: A noted quack astrologer protected by the duke,
and kept as his physician, for an account of whom see introduction.
Note 37, page 21: The duke was Chancellor of Cambridge; and Sir Henry
Wotton, in his brief life of this nobleman, printed in the Harleian
Miscellany, notices his purchase of some rare Arabic MSS. for presentation
to that university, and notes his intention of adding to the store,
in some emulation of that famous treasury of knowledge at Oxford.
Note 38, page 21: The old Duchess of Buckingham, whose character was
certainly none of the best, was always popularly conjoined with the evil
astrologer Dr. Lambe.
Note 39, page 22: A small boat.
Note 40, page 23: This is all one-sided vituperation, the duke never
wanted personal bravery; but his ignorance of military tactics,
constant irresolution, and headlong want of judgment, ruined his
expedition, and endangered the success of his other undertakings.
Note 41, page 25: Buckingham was celebrated for a love of dress.
It was common for him at an ordinary dancing to have his clothes
trimmed with great diamond buttons, and to have diamond hatbands,
cockades, and ear-rings; to be yoked with great and manifold ropes and
knots of pearl; in short to be manacled, fettered and imprisoned in
jewels. This taste is fully exhibited in the portraits extant of the
duke; and peeps forth constantly in his correspondence with his royal
Note 42, page 26: This taking of Puntal,
a paltry fort near Cadiz, was the only result of a warlike, if not a
piratical, expedition against Spain and the Plate fleet; which had left
England with the greatest expectations on the part of Charles I and
Buckingham, but ended in disgrace and disappointment. Lord Wimbledon,
totally unused to sea, and an unsuccessful land commander, was appointed
to command the forces both on sea and land, in preference to abler men,
in accordance with the whim of the favourite. The vessels, on reaching
the Bay of Biscay, were much damaged in a storm, one being lost with a
hundred and seventy men on board. The discipline was so bad that neither
officers nor men knew how to command or obey. The Spanish vessels were
allowed to pass into the harbour and prepare for the defence of it and
themselves, while for seven days the English forces were debating on what
was to be done. Ultimately the troops were disembarked. All that was worth
attacking was left alone, the miserable fort of Puntal was then taken
without a struggle; and wine in abundance being found in the unprotected
neighbourhood, the English all got drunk and unmanageable, and the
chief difficulty seems to have been the getting them safely on shipboard
again. Sickness appeared in the ships, and after eighteen days' fruitlessly
beating about, Wimbledon determined on returning to England; the Plate
fleet, awaiting his departure, sailed leisurely and safely into Cadiz,
and the boasted expedition excited the ridicule and contempt of all
Note 43, page 27:
Pym (Add. MS. 10,039).
Note 44, page 27: This very famous old song is given with the music in
Ritson's Ancient Songs, from a copy published in 1609.
It enjoyed a long and general popularity. It is a burlesque account of
a journey into France, beginning:
John Dorey bought him an ambling nag
To Paris for to ride-a.
And it is the comparison made between that journey and the duke's
that gives point to the satire above.
Note 45, page 35:
Of seacoles, owing to taxation.
Note 46, page 40: Lewis XI of France.
Note 47, page 43: Parliament.
Note 48, page 51: The breaking off the Spanish match between
Prince Charles and the Infanta, which made Buckingham popular at the time.
Note 49, page 60: Sir Robert Mansell had been sent to subdue the
Algerine pirates in 1621; but his force being insufficient, and he being
not to risk his ships, did little else than render the pirates
more cruel and dangerous than ever, by his useless attack. On his return,
the country was filled with just complaints of this absurd mission,
which did more harm than good, the pirates having reserved all their fury
for the English merchants, whose vessels were seized and crews enslaved.
Note 50, page 60: Sir Edward Cecill, Lord Wimbledon (see note p. 26).
Note 51, page 60: The loss of the Palatinate, and the cowardice of
James I in neglecting to help his son-in-law, the King of Bohemia,
were always remembered to his discredit. The
thirty years war
in the Low Countries was the lamentable consequence of this. The Earls of
Essex, Oxford, and Southampton, whose spirited exertions in this war had
been crippled by want of help and money from head-quarters, gave rise by
their remonstrances to much popular odium towards the king and his
Note 52, page 61: In May 1627, to relieve Rochelle.
Note 53, page 61: The town of St. Martin, in the Isle of Rhé,
see p. 16.
Note 54, page 61: The forced retreat of the English soldiery from the
Isle of Rhé was most disastrous; more than half perished in crossing
a narrow causeway, flanked on both sides with marshes and salt-pits, and
swept by the enemies' fire.
Note 55, page 61: The king had written to compliment Buckingham on this
disgraceful and unfortunate expedition, as if he had been a great conqueror,
rather than a losing general of a mismanaged and sacrificed army.
(See Hardwicke papers.)
Note 56, page 63: Sir Simonds D'Ewes, who was related to the
Duchess of Buckingham, in his account of his murder, says:—
duke having received the stroake, instantlie clapping his right hand
on his sword hilt, cried out,
God's wounds! the villaine has killed
Note 57, page 70: Gerard Honthorst, a famous Dutch painter, had instructed
the Queen of Bohemia in painting, and was invited by her brother, King
Charles I to England, where he became celebrated for emblematic pictures.
He painted the staircase at Hampton Court, and represented Charles aud his
Queen, seated in the clouds, as Apollo and Diana, the Duke of Buckingham,
as Mercury, introducing the Arts and Sciences to their notice. D'Israeli
in his Curiosities of Literature mentions another allegorical
picture of the Duke, which appears to rival the above in bad taste.
Note 58, page 73: Another copy of this epitaph occurs in Ashmole MS.,
No. 36, 37, Art. 41. It wants the two concluding lines, but is subscribed
with the author's name
Jas. Smith. It may be just necessary to remark
that this, and the epitaph on p. 77, were written before his condemnation,
which allowed him no grave.