Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MIXED ASSEMBLY, by JOHN CLEVELAND



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THE MIXED ASSEMBLY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Flea-bitten synod, an assembly brewed
Last Line: Is clergy-lay, party-per-pale compounded.
Subject(s): Burges, Cornelius (1589-1665); Conventions; Kimbolton, Edward, Lord (1602-1671); Politics & Government; Religion; Twisse, William (1578-1646); Wharton, Philip, 4th Lord (1613-1696); Assemblies; Meetings; Theology


FLEA-BITTEN synod, an assembly brewed
Of clerks and elders ana, like the rude
Chaos of Presbyt'ry, where laymen guide
With the tame woolpack clergy by their side.
Who asked the banns 'twixt these discoloured mates?
A strange grotesco this; the Church and states,
Most divine tick-tack, in a piebald crew,
To serve as table-men of divers hue!
She, that conceived an Ethiopian heir
By picture, when the parents both were fair,
At sight of you had born a dappled son,
You checkering her imagination.
Had Jacob's flock but seen you sit, the dams
Had brought forth speckled and ring-streaked lambs.
Like an impropriator's motley kind
Whose scarlet coat is with a cassock lined;
Like the lay-thief in a canonic weed,
Sure of his clergy ere he did the deed;
Like Royston crows, who are (as I may say)
Friars of both the Orders, Black and Gray;
So mixed they are, one knows not whether's thicker,
A layer of burgess, or a layer of vicar.
Have they usurped what Royal Judah had,
And now must Levi too part stakes with Gad?
The sceptre and the crosier are the crutches,
Which if not trusted in their pious clutches,
Will fail the cripple State. And were't not pity
But both should serve the yardwand of the City?
That Isaac might stroke his beard and sit
Judge of delivering over to Satan and elegerit?
Oh that they were in chalk and charcoal drawn!
The miscellany-satyr and the faun
And all th' adulteries of twisted nature
But faintly represent this riddling feature;
Whose members being not tallies, they'll not own
Their fellows at the Resurrection.
Strange scarlet doctors these! They'll pass in story
For sinners half refined in Purgatory,
Or parboiled lobsters, where there jointly rules
The fading sables and the coming gules.
The flea that Falstaff damned thus lewdly shows
Tormented in the flames of Bardolph's nose.
Like him that wore the dialogue of cloaks
This shoulder John-a-Stiles, that John-a-Nokes;
Like Jews and Christians in a ship together
With an old neck-verse to distinguish either;
Like their intended discipline to boot,
Or whatsoe'er hath neither head nor foot;
Such may their stript-stuff-hangings seem to be,
Sacrilege matched with codpiece simony.
Be sick and dream a little, you may then
Fancy these linsey-woolsey vestry-men.
Forbear, good Pembroke, be not over-daring.
Such company may chance to spoil thy swearing,
And thy drum-major oaths, of bulk unruly,
May dwindle to a feeble 'By my truly'!
He that the noble Percy's blood inherits,
Will he strike up a Hotspur of the spirits?
He'll fright the Obadiahs out of tune
With his uncircumcised Algernoon;
A name so stubborn, 'tis not to be scanned
By him in Gath with the six-fingered hand.
See, they obey the magic of my words!
Presto! they're gone, and now the House of Lords
Looks like the withered face of an old hag,
But with three teeth like to a triple gag.
A jig! a jig! and in this antic dance
Fielding and Doxie Marshall first advance.
Twisse blows the Scotch-pipes, and the loving brace
Puts on the traces and treads cinque-a-pace.
Then Saye and Sele must his old hamstrings supple,
And he and rumpled Palmer make a couple.
Palmer's a fruitful girl if he'll unfold her;
The midwife may find work about her shoulder.
Kimbolton, that rebellious Boanerges,
Must be content to saddle Dr. Burges.
If Burges get a clap, 'tis ne'er the worse,
But the fifth time of his compurgators.
Noll Bowles is coy; good sadness, cannot dance
But in obedience to the ordinance.
Here Wharton wheels about till mumping Lidy,
Like the full moon, hath made his lordship giddy.
Pym and the members must their giblets levy
T' encounter Madam Smec, that single bevy.
If they two truck together, 'twill not be
A child-birth, but a gaol-delivery.
Thus every Ghibelline hath got his Guelph
But Selden, -- he's a galliard by himself;
And well may be; there's more divines in him
Than in all this, their Jewish Sanhedrim:
Whose canons in the forge shall then bear date
When mules their cousin-germans generate.
Thus Moses' law is violated now;
The ox and ass go yoked in the same plough.
Resign thy coach-box, Twisse; Brooke's preacher he
Would sort the beasts with more conformity.
Water and earth make but one globe; a Roundhead
Is clergy-lay, party-per-pale compounded.





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