John Cleveland (16 June 1613 – 29 April 1658 / Loughborough, England)
The Scots Apostasie
Is't come to this? What shall the cheeks of fame
Stretch'd with the breath of learned Loudon's name,
Be flogg'd again? And that great piece of sense,
As rich in loyalty and eloquence,
Brought to the test be found a trick of state,
Like chemist's tinctures, proved adulterate;
The devil sure such language did achieve,
To cheat our unforewarned grand-dam Eve,
As this imposture found out to be sot
The experienced English to believe a Scot,
Who reconciled the Covenant's doubtful sense,
The Commons argument, or the City's pence?
Or did you doubt persistence in one good,
Would spoil the fabric of your brotherhood,
Projected first in such a forge of sin,
Was fit for the grand devil's hammering?
Or was't ambition that this damned fact
Should tell the world you know the sins you act?
The infamy this super-treason brings.
Blasts more than murders of your sixty kings;
A crime so black, as being advisedly done,
Those hold with these no competition.
Kings only suffered then; in this doth lie
The assassination of monarchy,
Beyond this sin no one step can be trod.
If not to attempt deposing of your God.
O, were you so engaged, that we might see
Heav'ns angry lightning 'bout your ears to flee,
Till you were shrivell'd to dust, and your cold land
Parch't to a drought beyond the Libyan sand!
But 'tis reserv'd till Heaven plague you worse;
The objects of an epidemic curse,
First, may your brethren, to whose viler ends
Your power hath bawded, cease to be your friends;
And prompted by the dictate of their reason;
And may their jealousies increase and breed
Till they confine your steps beyond the Tweed.
In foreign nations may your loathed name be
A stigmatizing brand of infamy;
Till forced by general hate you cease to roam
The world, and for a plague live at home:
Till you resume your poverty, and be
Reduced to beg where none can be so free
To grant: and may your scabby land be all
Translated to a generall hospital.
Let not the sun afford one gentle ray,
To give you comfort of a summer's day;
But, as a guerdon for your traitorous war,
Love cherished only by the northern star.
No stranger deign to visit your rude coast,
And be, to all but banisht men, as lost.
And such in heightening of the indiction due
Let provok'd princes send them all to you.
Your State a chaos be, where not the law,
But power, your lives and liberties may give.
No subject 'mongst you keep a quiet breast
But each man strive through blood to be the best;
Till, for those miseries on us you've brought
By your own sword our just revenge be wrought.
To sum up all ... let your religion be
As your allegiance--maskt hypocrisie
Until when Charles shall be composed in dust
Perfum'd with epithets of good and just.
He saved--incensed Heaven may have forgot--
To afford one act of mercy to a Scot:
Unless that Scot deny himself and do
What's easier far--Renounce his nation too.
Comments about this poem (The Scots Apostasie by John Cleveland )
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