A Speech Against Peace At The Close Committee Poem by John Denham

A Speech Against Peace At The Close Committee



But will you now to peace incline,
And languish in the main design,
And leave us in the lurch?
I would not monarchy destroy,
But as the only way t'enjoy
The ruin of the church.

Is not the Bishops' bill denied,
And we still threaten'd to be tried?
You see the King embraces
Those counsels he approved before:
Nor doth he promise, which is more,
That we shall have their places.

Did I for this bring in the Scot?
(For 'tis no secret now) the plot
Was Saye's and mine together;
Did I for this return again,
And spend a winter there in vain,
Once more t'invite them hither?

Though more our money than our cause
Their brotherly assistance draws,
My labour was not lost.
At my return I brought you thence
Necessity, their strong pretence,
And these shall quit the cost.

Did I for this my country bring
To help their knight against their King,
And raise the first sedition?
Though I the business did decline,
Yet I contrived the whole design,
And sent them their petition.

So many nights spent in the City
In that invisible Committee,
The wheel that governs all;
From thence the change in church and state,
And all the mischief bears the date
From Haberdashers' Hall.

Did we force Ireland to despair,
Upon the King to cast the war,
To make the world abhor him,
Because the rebels used his name?
Though we ourselves can do the same,
While both alike were for him.

Then the same fire we kindled here
With what was given to quench it there,
And wisely lost that nation:
To do as crafty beggars use,
To maim themselves, thereby t'abuse
The simple man's compassion.

Have I so often pass'd between
Windsor and Westminster, unseen,
And did myself divide:
To keep his Excellence in awe,
And give the Parliament the law?
For they knew none beside.

Did I for this take pains to teach
Our zealous ignorants to preach,
And did their lungs inspire;
Gave them their texts, show'd them their parts,
And taught them all their little arts,
To fling abroad the fire?

Sometimes to beg, sometimes to threaten,
And say the Cavaliers are beaten,
To stroke the people's ears;
Then straight, when victory grows cheap,
And will no more advance the heap,
To raise the price of fears.

And now the books, and now the bells,
And now our act, the preacher tells,
To edify the people;
All our divinity is news,
And we have made of equal use
The pulpit and the steeple.

And shall we kindle all this flame
Only to put it out again,
And must we now give o'er,
And only end where we begun?
In vain this mischief we have done,
If we can do no more.

If men in peace can have their right,
Where's the necessity to fight,
That breaks both law and oath?
They'll say they fight not for the cause,
Nor to defend the King and laws,
But us against them both.

Either the cause at first was ill,
Or, being good, it is so still;
And thence they will infer,
That either now or at the first
They were deceived; or, which is worst,
That we ourselves may err.

But plague and famine will come in,
For they and we are near of kin,
And cannot go asunder:
But while the wicked starve, indeed
The saints have ready at their need
God's providence, and plunder.

Princes we are if we prevail,
And gallant villains if we fail.
When to our fame 'tis told,
It will not be our least of praise,
Since a new state we could not raise,
To have destroy'd the old.

Then let us stay and fight, and vote,
Till London is not worth a groat;
Oh! 'tis a patient beast!
When we have gall'd and tired the mule,
And can no longer have the rule,
We'll have the spoil at least.

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