The Royal Feast

Melody - Chevy Chase

Cavalier Ballad; Sir Francis Wortley, Knight and Baronet, Prisoner. (Sept. 16th, 1647)

God save the best of kings, King Charles!
The best of queens, Queen Mary!
The ladies all, Gloster and Yorke,
Prince Charles, so like old harry! (1)
God send the King his own again,
His towre and all his coyners!
And blesse all kings who are to reigne,
From traytors and purloyners!
The King sent us poor traytors here
(But you may guesse the reason)
Two brace of bucks to mend the cheere,
Is't not to eat them treason?

2. Let Selden search Cotton's records,
And Rowley in the Towre,
They cannot match the president,
It is not in their power.
Old Collet would have joy'd to 've seen
This president recorded;
For all the papers he ere saw
Scarce such an one afforded.

3. But that you may these traytors know,
I'll be so bold to name them;
That if they ever traytors prove
Then this record may shame them:
But these are well-try'd loyal blades
(If England ere had any),
Search both the Houses through and through
You'ld scarcely finde so many.

4. The first and chiefe a marquesse (2) is,
Long with the State did wrestle;
Had Ogle (3) done as much as he,
Th'ad spoyl'd Will Waller's castle.
Ogle had wealth and title got,
So layd down his commissions;
The noble marquesse would not yield,
But scorn'd all base conditions.

5. The next a worthy bishop (4) is,
Of schismaticks was hated;
But I the cause could never know,
Nor see the reason stated.
The cryes were loud, God knowes the cause,
They had a strange committee,
Which was a-foot well neere a yeare,
Who would have had small pitty.

6. The next to him is a Welsh Judge, (5)
Durst tell them what was treason;
Old honest David durst be good
When it was out of season;
He durst discover all the tricks
The lawyers use, and knavery,
And show the subtile plots they use
To enthrall us into slavery.

7. Frank Wortley (6) hath a jovial soule,
Yet never was good club-man;
He's for the bishops and the church,
But can endure no tub-man.
He told Sir Thomas in the Towre,
Though he by him was undone,
It pleased him that he lost more men
In taking him then London.

8. Sir Edward Hayles (7) was wond'rous rich,
No flower in Kent yields honey
In more abundance to the bee
Then they from him suck money;
Yet hee's as chearfull as the best -
Judge Jenkins sees no reason
That honest men for wealth should be
Accused of high treason.

9. Old Sir George Strangways (8) he came in,
Though he himself submitted,
Yet as a traytor he must be
Excepted and committed:
Yet they th' exception now take off,
But not the sequestrations,
Hee must forsooth to Goldsmith's-hall,
The place of desolation.

10. Honest Sir Berr's a reall man,
As ere was lapt in leather;
But he (God blesse us) loves the King,
And therefore was sent hither.
He durst be sheriff, and durst make
The Parliament acquainted
What he intended for to doe,
And for this was attainted.

11. Sir Benefield, (9) Sir Walter Blunt,
Are Romishly affected,
So's honest Frank of Howard's race,
And slaughter is suspected. (10)
But how the devill comes this about,
That Papists are so loyall,
And those that call themselves God's saints
Like devils do destroy all?

12. Jack Hewet (11) will have wholesome meat,
And drink good wine, if any;
His entertainment's free and neat,
His choyce of friends not many;
Jack is a loyall-hearted man,
Well parted and a scholar;
He'll grumble if things please him not,
But never grows to choller.

13. Gallant Sir Thomas, (12) bold and stout
(Brave Lunsford), children eateth;
But he takes care, where he eats one,
There he a hundred getteth;
When Harlow's wife brings her long bills,
He wishes she were blinded;
When shee speaks loud, as loud he swears
The woman's earthly-minded.

14. Sir Lewis (13) hath an able pen,
Can cudgell a committee;
He makes them doe him reason, though
They others do not pitty.
Brave Cleaveland had a willing minde,
Frank Wortley was not able,
But Lewis got foure pound per weeke
For's children and his table.

15. Giles Strangwayes (14) has a gallant soul,
A brain infatigable;
What study he ere undertakes
To master it hee's able:
He studies on his theoremes,
And logarithmes for number;
He loves to speake of Lewis Dives, (15)
And they are ne'er asunder.

16. Sir John Marlow's (16) a loyall man
(If England ere bred any),
He bang'd the pedlar back and side,
Of Scots he killed many.
Had General King (17) done what he should,
And given the blew-caps battail,
Wee'd make them all run into Tweed
By droves, like sommer cattell.

17. Will Morton's (18) of that Cardinal's race,
Who made that blessed maryage;
He is most loyall to his King,
In action, word, and carryage;
His sword and pen defends the cause,
If King Charles thinke not on him,
Will is amongst the rest undone, -
The Lord have mercy on him!

18. Tom Conisby (19) is stout and stern,
Yet of a sweet condition;
To them he loves his crime was great,
He read the King's commission,
And required Cranborn to assist;
He charged, but should have pray'd him;
Tom was so bold he did require
All for the King should aid him.

19. But I Win. Bodnam (20) had forgot,
Had suffer'd so much hardship;
There's no man in the Towre had left
The King so young a wardship;
He's firme both to the church and crowne,
The crown law and the canon;
The Houses put him to his shifts,
And his wife's father Mammon.

20. Sir Henry Vaughan (21) looks as grave
As any beard can make him;
Those come poore prisoners for to see
Doe for our patriarke take him.
Old Harry is a right true-blue,
As valiant as Pendraggon;
And would be loyall to his King,
Had King Charles ne'er a rag on.

21. John Lilburne (22) is a stirring blade,
And understands the matter;
He neither will king, bishops, lords,
Nor th' House of Commons flatter:
John loves no power prerogative,
But that derived from Sion;
As for the mitre and the crown,
Those two he looks awry on.

22. Tom Violet (23) swears his injuries
Are scarcely to be numbred;
He was close prisoner to the State
These score dayes and nine hundred;
For Tom does set down all the dayes,
And hopes he has good debters;
'Twould be no treason (Jenkin sayes)
To bring them peaceful letters.

23. Poore Hudson (24) of all was the last,
For it was his disaster,
He met a turncoat swore that he
Was once King Charles his master;
So he to London soon was brought,
But came in such a season,
Their martial court was then cry'd down,
They could not try his treason.

24. Else Hudson had gone to the pot,
Who is he can abide him?
For he was master to the King,
And (which is more) did guide him.
Had Hudson done (as Judas did),
Most loyally betray'd him,
The Houses are so noble, they
As bravely would have paid him.

25. We'll then conclude with hearty healths
To King Charles and Queen Mary;
To the black lad in buff (the Prince),
So like his grandsire Harry;
To York, to Glo'ster; may we not
Send Turk and Pope defiance,
Since we such gallant seconds have
To strengthen our alliance?
Wee'l drink them o're and o're again,
Else we're unthankfull creatures;
Since Charles, the wise, the valiant King,
Takes us for loyall traytors.

26. This if you will rhyme dogrell call,
(That you please you may name it,)
One of the loyal traytors here
Did for a ballad frame it:
Old Chevy Chace was in his minde;
If any suit it better,
All those concerned in the song
Will kindly thank the setter.
Wee'l drink them o're and o're again,
Else we're unthankfull creatures;
Since Charles, the wise, the valiant King,
Takes us for loyall traytors.

(1) Henry the Eighth. The comparison is made in other ballads of the age. To play old Harry with any one is a phrase that seems to have originated with those who suffered by the confiscation of church property.

(2) The Marquis of Winchester, the brave defender of his house at Basing, had been made prisoner by Cromwell at the storming of that house in 1645. Waller had been foiled in his attempt on this place in the year preceding. - T. W.

(3) Sir John Ogle, one of the Royalist commanders, who was intrusted with the defence of Winchester Castle, which he surrendered on conditions just before the siege of Basing House. - T. W.

(4) Wren, bishop of Ely, was committed to the Tower in 1641, accused with high "misdemeanours" in his diocese.

(5) David Jenkins, a Welsh Judge, who had been made prisoner at the taking of Hereford, and committed first to Newgate and afterwards to the Tower. He refused to acknowledge the authority of the Parliament, and was the author of several tracts published during the year (while he was prisoner in the Tower), which made a great noise. - T. W.

(6) Sir Francis Wortley, Bart., was made a prisoner in 1644, at the taking of Walton House, near Wakefield, by Sir Thomas Fairfax.

(7) Sir Edward Hales, Bart., of Woodchurch, in Kent, had been member for Queenborough in the Isle of Sheppey. He was not a Royalist.

(8) Sir George Strangways, Bart., according to the marginal note in the original. Another of the name, Sir John Strangways, was taken at the surrender of Sherborne Castle.

(9) Sir Henry Bedingfield, Bart., of Norfolk; Sir Walter Blount, Bart., of Worcester; and Sir Francis Howard, Bart., of the North, were committed to the Tower on the 22nd of January, 1646.

(10) The horrible barbarities committed by the Irish rebels had made the Catholics so much abhorred in England, that every English member of that community was suspected of plotting the same massacres in England. - T. W.

(11) Sir John Hewet, of Huntingdonshire, was committed to the Tower on the 28th of January, 1645(-6).

(12) Sir Thomas Lunsford, Bart., the celebrated Royalist officer, was committed to the Tower on the 22nd of January, 1646. The violence and barbarities which he and his troop were said to have perpetrated led to the popular belief that he was in the habit of eating children.

From Fielding and from Vavasour,
Both ill-affected men;
From Lunsford eke dilver us,
That eateth up children.

Loyal Songs, ed. 1731, i. 38.

(13) Sir William Lewis, one of the eleven members who had been impeached by the army.

(14) Col. Giles Strangwaies, of Dorsetshire, taken with Sir Lewis Dives, at the surrender of Sherborne, was committed to the Tower on the 28th August, 1645. He was member for Bridport in the Long Parliament, and was one of those who attended Charles's "Mongrel" Parliament at Oxford.

(15) Sir Lewis Dives, an active Royalist, was governor of Sherborne Castle for the King, and had been made a prisoner by Fairfax in August, 1645, when that fortress was taken by storm. He was brother-in-law to Lord Digby.

(16) Sir John Morley, of Newcastle, committed to the Tower on the 18th of July, 1645.

(17) King was a Royalist general, in the north, who was slain July, 1643.

(18) Sir William Morton, of Gloucestershire, committed to the Tower on the 17th August, 1644. Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, brought about the marriage between King Henry VII. and the daughter of Edward IV., and thus effected the unison of the rival houses of York and Lancaster.

(19) Thomas Coningsby, Esq., of Northmyus in Hertfordshire, committed to the Tower in November, 1642, for reading the King's commission of array in that county.

(20) Sir Wingfield Bodenham, of the county of Rutland, committed to the Tower on the 31st of July, 1643.

(21) Sir Henry Vaughan, a Welsh knight, committed to the Tower on the 18th July, 1645.

(22) Lilburn was, as has been observed, in the Tower for his practices against the present order of things, he being an advocate of extreme democratic principles; and he was there instructed in knotty points of law by Judge Jenkins, to enable him to torment and baffle the party in power. It was Jenkins who said of Lilburne that "If the world were emptied of all but John Lilburne, Lilburne would quarrel with John, and John with Lilburne." - T. W.

(23) Mr Thomas Violet, of London, goldsmith, committed to the Tower January 6th, 1643(-4), for carrying a letter from the King to the mayor and common council of London.

(24) Dr Hudson had been concerned in the King's transactions with the Scots, previous to his delivering himself up to them, and he and Ashburnham had been his sole attendants in his flight from Oxford for that purpose. - T. W.

A Loyall Song of the Royall Feast kept by the Prisoners in the Towre, August last, with the Names, Titles, and Characters of every Prisoner.

"In the negotiations between the King and the Parliament during the summer and autumn of this year," says Mr Thomas Wright in his Political Ballads of the Commonwealth, published for the Percy Society, "the case of the royalist prisoners in the Tower was frequently brought into question. The latter seized the occasion of complaining against the rigours (complaints apparently exaggerated) which were exerted against them, and on the 16th June, 1647, was published 'A True Relation of the cruell and unparallel'd Oppression which hath been illegally imposed upon the Gentlemen Prisoners in the Tower of London.'

The several petitions contained in this tract have the signatures of Francis Howard, Henry Bedingfield, Walter Blount, Giles Strangwaies, Francis Butler, Henry Vaughan, Thomas Lunsford, Richard Gibson, Tho. Violet, John Morley, Francis Wortley, Edw. Bishop, John Hewet, Wingfield Bodenham, Henry Warren, W. Morton, John Slaughter, Gilbert Swinhow."

On the 19th of August (according to the Moderate Intelligencer of that date) the King sent to the royal prisoners in the Tower two fat bucks for a feast. This circumstance was the origin of the present ballad.


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