Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RUPERTISMUS, by JOHN CLEVELAND



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RUPERTISMUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O that I could but vote myself a poet
Last Line: Kimbolton's but a rumbling wheelbarrow.
Subject(s): Cavaliers; Hay, Lucy. Countess Of Carlisle; Lunsford, Sir Thomas (1610-1653); Maynard, John (1602-1690); Serjeants, John Glyn (1607-166)


O THAT I could but vote myself a poet,
Or had the legislative knack to do it!
Or, like the doctors militant, could get
Dubbed at adventure Verser Banneret!
Or had I Cacus' trick to make my rhymes
Their own antipodes, and track the times!
'Faces about,' says the remonstrant spirit,
'Allegiance is malignant, treason merit.'
Huntingdon colt, that posed the sage recorder,
Might be a sturgeon now and pass by order.
Had I but Elsing's gift (that splay-mouthed brother
That declares one way and yet means another),
Could I thus write asquint, then, Sir, long since
You had been sung a great and glorious Prince!
I had observed the language of these days,
Blasphemed you, and then periwigged the phrase
With humble service and such other fustian,
Bells which ring backward in this great combustion.
I had reviled you, and without offence;
The literal and equitable sense
Would make it good. When all fails, that will do't;
Sure that distinction cleft the Devil's foot!
This were my dialect, would your Highness please
To read me but with Hebrew spectacles;
Interpret counter what is cross rehearsed;
Libels are commendations when reversed.
Just as an optic glass contracts the sight
At one end, but when turned doth multiply 't.
But you're enchanted, Sir, you're doubly free
From the great guns and squibbing poetry,
Whom neither bilbo nor invention pierces,
Proof even 'gainst th' artillery of verses.
Strange that the Muses cannot wound your mail!
If not their art, yet let their sex prevail.
At that known leaguer, where the bonny Besses
Supplied the bow-strings with their twisted tresses,
Your spells could ne'er have fenced you, every arrow
Had lanced your noble breast and drunk the marrow.
For beauty, like white powder, makes no noise
And yet the silent hypocrite destroys.
Then use the Nuns of Helicon with pity
Lest Wharton tell his gossips of the City
That you kill women too, nay maids, and such
Their general wants militia to touch.
Impotent Essex! Is it not a shame
Our Commonwealth, like to a Turkish dame,
Should have an eunuch guardian? May she be
Ravished by Charles, rather than saved by thee!
But why, my Muse, like a green-sickness girl,
Feed'st thou on coals and dirt? A gelding earl
Gives no more relish to thy female palate
Than to that ass did once the thistle sallet.
Then quit the barren theme and all at once,
Thou and thy sisters like bright Amazons,
Give Rupert an alarum. Rupert! one
Whose name is wit's superfetation,
Makes fancy, like eternity's round womb,
Unite all valour, present, past, to come!
He who the old philosophy controls
That voted down plurality of souls!
He breathes a Grand Committee; all that were
The wonders of their age constellate here.
And as the elder sisters, Growth and Sense,
Souls paramount themselves, in man commence
But faculties of reasons queen; no more
Are they to him (who was complete before),
Ingredients of his virtue. Thread the beads
Of Caesar's acts, great Pompey's and the Swede's,
And 'tis a bracelet fit for Rupert's hand,
By which that vast triumvirate is spanned.
Here, here is palmistry; here you may read
How long the world shall live and when 't shall bleed.
What every man winds up, that Rupert hath,
For Nature raised him of the Public Faith;
Pandora's brother, to make up whose store
The gods were fain to run upon the score.
Such was the painter's brief for Venus' face;
Item, an eye from Jane; a lip from Grace.
Let Isaac and his cits flay off the plate
That tips their antlers, for the calf of state;
Let the zeal-twanging nose, that wants a ridge,
Snuffling devoutly, drop his silver bridge;
Yes, and the gossip spoon augment the sum
Although poor Caleb lose his christendom;
Rupert outweighs that in his sterling self
Which their self-want pays in commuting pelf.
Pardon, great Sir, for that ignoble crew
Gains when made bankrupt in the scales with you.
As he, who in his character of Light
Styled it God's shadow, made it far more bright
By an eclipse so glorious (light is dim
And a black nothing when compared to Him),
So 'tis illustrious to be Rupert's foil
And a just trophy to be made his spoil.
I'll pin my faith on the Diurnal's sleeve
Hereafter, and the Guildhall creed believe;
The conquests which the Common Council hears
With their wide listening mouth from the great Peers
That ran away in triumph. Such a foe
Can make them victors in their overthrow;
Where providence and valour meet in one,
Courage so poised with circumspection
That he revives the quarrel once again
Of the soul's throne; whether in heart, or brain,
And leaves it a drawn match; whose fervour can
Hatch him whom Nature poached but half a man;
His trumpet, like the angel's at the last,
Makes the soul rise by a miraculous blast.
Was the Mount Athos carved in shape of man
As 'twas designed by th' Macedonian
(Whose right hand should a populous land contain,
The left should be a channel to the main),
His spirit would inform th' amphibious figure
And, strait-laced, sweat for a dominion bigger.
The terror of whose name can out of seven,
Like Falstaff's buckram men, make fly eleven.
Thus some grow rich by breaking. Vipers thus,
By being slain, are made more numerous.
No wonder they'll confess no loss of men,
For Rupert knocks 'em till they gig again.
They fear the giblets of his train, they fear
Even his dog, that four-legged cavalier;
He that devours the scraps that Lunsford makes;
Whose picture feeds upon a child in steaks;
Who, name but Charles, he comes aloft for him,
But holds up his malignant leg at Pym.
'Gainst whom they have these articles in souse:
First, that he barks against the sense o' th' House;
Resolved delinquent, to the Tower straight,
Either to th' Lions' or the Bishop's Grate:
Next, for his ceremonious wag o' th' tail.
(But there the sisterhood will be his bail,
At least the Countess will, Lust's Amsterdam,
That lets in all religions of the game.)
Thirdly, he smells intelligence; that's better
And cheaper too than Pym's from his own letter,
Who 's doubly paid (Fortune or we the blinder!)
For making plots and then for fox the finder:
Lastly, he is a devil without doubt,
For, when he would lie down, he wheels about,
Makes circles, and is couchant in a ring;
And therefore score up one for conjuring.
'What canst thou say, thou wretch!' 'O quarter, quarter!
I'm but an instrument, a mere Sir Arthur.
If I must hang, O let not our fates vary,
Whose office 'tis alike to fetch and carry!'
No hopes of a reprieve; the mutinous stir
That strung the Jesuit will dispatch a cur.
'Were I a devil as the rabble fears,
I see the House would try me by my peers!'
There, Jowler, there! Ah, Jowler! 'st, 'tis nought!
Whate'er the accusers cry, they're at a fault:
And Glyn and Maynard have no more to say
Than when the glorious Strafford stood at bay.
Thus libels but annexed to him, we see,
Enjoy a copyhold of victory.
Saint Peter's shadow healed; Rupert's is such
'Twould find Saint Peter's work and wound as much.
He gags their guns, defeats their dire intent;
The cannons do but lisp and compliment.
Sure, Jove descended in a leaden shower
To get this Perseus; hence the fatal power
Of shot is strangled. Bullets thus allied
Fear to commit an act of parricide.
Go on, brave Prince, and make the world confess
Thou art the greater world and that the less.
Scatter th' accumulative king; untruss
That five-fold fiend, the State's Smectymnuus,
Who place religion in their vellum ears
As in their phylacters the Jews did theirs.
England's a paradise (and a modest word)
Since guarded by a cherub's flaming sword.
Your name can scare an atheist to his prayers,
And cure the chincough better than the bears.
Old Sibyl charms the toothache with you; Nurse
Makes you still children; and the ponderous curse
The clowns salute with is derived from you,
'Now, Rupert take thee, rogue, how dost thou do?'
In fine the name of Rupert thunders so,
Kimbolton's but a rumbling wheelbarrow.





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