Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SCOTS' APOSTASY, by JOHN CLEVELAND



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THE SCOTS' APOSTASY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Is it come to this? What? Shall the cheeks of fame
Last Line: (what's easier far) renounce his nation too.
Subject(s): Campbell, John (1598-1633); Scotland - Relations With England


Is 't come to this? What? shall the cheeks of Fame,
Stretched with the breath of learned Loudoun's name,
Be flagged again? And that great piece of sense,
As rich in loyalty as eloquence,
Brought to the test, be found a trick of state?
Like chemists' tinctures, proved adulterate?
The Devil sure such language did achieve
To cheat our unforewarned Grandam Eve,
As this impostor found out to besot
Th' 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 advis'dly done,
Those hold with this no competition.
Kings only suffered then; in this doth lie
Th' assassination of Monarchy.
Beyond this sin no one step can be trod,
If not t' attempt deposing of your God.
Oh, were you so engaged that we might see
Heaven's angry lightning 'bout your ears to flee
Till you were shrivelled to dust, and your cold Land
Parched to a drought beyond the Lybian sand!
But 'tis reserved! Till Heaven plague you worse,
Be objects of an epidemic curse.
First, may your brethren, to whose viler ends
Your power hath bawded, cease to count you friends,
And, prompted by the dictate of their reason,
Reproach the traitors though they hug the treason:
And may their jealousies increase and breed
Till they confine your steps beyond the Tweed:
In foreign nations may your loath'd name be
A stigmatizing brand of infamy,
Till forced by general hate you cease to roam
The world, and for a plague go 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 general 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,
Live cherished only by the Northern Star:
No stranger deign to visit your rude coast,
And be to all but banished men as lost:
And such, in heightening of the infliction due,
Let provoked princes send them all to you:
Your State a chaos be where not the Law,
But power, your lives and liberties may awe:
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, masked hypocrisy,
Until, when Charles shall be composed in dust,
Perfumed with epithets of good and just,
HE saved, incensed Heaven may have forgot
T' afford one act of mercy to a Scot,
Unless that Scot deny himself and do
(What's easier far) renounce his Nation too.





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