England In Its Condition
And most lively Characterized,
by way of Essay.
Whereunto are annexed some
Upon the Names of severall Members of the
Honourable House of Commons, and
- Sir Tho. Fairfax.
- Lieut. Generall Cromwell.
- Major Generall Skippon.
- William Lenthall, Esquire.
- Sir Benjamin Ruddiard.
- Sir John Francklyn.
- Sir Thomas Dacres.
- Sir John Trever.
- Sir Robert Pye.
- Sir Roger North.
- Sir Francis Pile.
- Coll. Henry Martin.
- Capt. Thomas Wogan
- Sir Walter Earle.
- Tho.Earle, Esquire.
- Coll. Will. Purefoy.
- Michael Oldsworth.
- Tanfield Vachell.
- Sir John Gell.
- Sir George Gresley.
- Sir John Davers.
- Mr. Ephraim.
- George Manley, Esq.
- Capt. Richard Owen.
- John Wastell, Esquire.
By JOHN BENSON, Gent.
‘Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci.’
Printed in the Yeare 1648.
1.1. To the courteous Reader.
LOoke not for smooth lines from a Souldiers quill,
Who in the art of Retorique hath small skill:
In stead of pure phrase, hee did use to heare
The Drums and Trumpets sounding in his eare.
Accept this little Poem as it is;
Your smiles can only Crown its Fate with blisse.
Devoted truly to serve you,
1.2. The Authors Prayer for the Parliament.
PReserve good Lord this happy Parliament,
Destroy all those which any wayes invent
Mischief against them; Oh let them flourish,
And with thy paps of justice do them nourish.
Let no dissensions spring in that just Court,
Where so wise, gallant, godly men resort.
Oh grant them wisdome, that they may foresee
Those which delight so in our miserie.
Blesse their indeavours, let them never cease,
Till they have made an everlasting peace
For King and Kingdome, Church and publick State,
Against all those which Reformation hate,
That Gods true sacred word may be shown forth,
And we of his pure truth may know the worth;
And let them perish that shall go about
To raise new warre, grant you may find them out;
Let all their plots and mischiefs be prevented,
Let all their evill wayes be circumvented.
So pray shall he whilst breath is in his breast,
Your true devoted servant e're shall rest.
1.3. An Essay, or short Poeme upon the Times.
The Authour briefly here doth show,
From whence our miseries do flow.
WHen great Jehovah with out-stretched hand
Did powr his mercies on this sinfull land;
When Peace and plenty increast more and more,
And heavenly blessings did fill full our store;
Instead of rendring thanks for our great good,
Our sinnes abounded more then swiftest flood.
Fullnesse of bread begot in us great pride,
And from Religions truth we gan to slide;
Nothing but envy did our hearts possesse,
Our sinfull soules in goodnesse still grew lesse.
Sects and divisions did amongst us grow,
In works of goodnes we grew dull and slow.
In Seates of Justice sate corrupted Judges;
Instead of Peace, amongst us private grudges.
Nothing but cruell men tyrannising,
Instead of Justice, Monopolising.
Our Lordly Prelates, that most wicked stock,
False doctrine preached to their harmles flock;
Instead of Christs true Gospell, they thrust in
Romes traditions, that same man of Sinne.
Nothing but pride possest their sinfull mindes,
More cruell then the Tigers in their kinds.
England was blessed with a happy fate,
When Bishops scorn'd their faith to violate.
The Judges they who should just Fathers be
In doing justice, were fill'd with bribery,
They viper-like fed on their mothers heart,
Making her dearest children for to smart.
Those upright men were left durst hardly speak,
Their hearts within them ready were to break
To see such sinfull wayes, and unjust crimes,
As daily acted were in those sad times.
It griev'd their godly souls within their breast,
To see ungodly men so full possest
With wickednesse, treading ungodly wayes,
And from Gods sacred truth most impure strayes.
The Lord of hosts grown angry with our Sin,
D d[?] with the sword of Pestilence begin,
To try if that would make us leave our ill,
His hand of mercy being with us still.
When that would do no good on our hard hearts,
He did divide us into severall parts;
Thousand of opinions mongst us rise,
And we the sacred truth gin to despise;
Friend against Friend, brothers each other hate
And nothing but combustions in our State.
Our souls are troubled, being fully bent,
Seeking each other for to discontent;
Malicious thoughts possesse our evill hearts,
And gladly we do laugh, when others smarts,
Nor can our malice any wayes appease,
Untill the cure proves worse then the disease.
The sound of Trumpets, and the beat of Drummes,
Our onely joy and solace now becomes;
The ratling armour, and the noise of swords,
Doth louder sound then do our greatest words.
From words to blowes we fall, then to killing,
Not sparing our deare friends blood from spilling.
All Kenton field as I well witnesse can
Did see the death of many a gallant man,
And from my heart unfeignedly confesse
Gods mercies there to me; nor can I lesse,
Then with a gratefull heart hmmbly protest
The Lord of hosts me wonderfully blest.
Besides in many other dismall fights,
That I have fought in for my countries rights,
Against all those whose evill hearts did hate
The good and welfare of this publick state,
Which heaven preserve from all that seek its ill,
And with his hand of mercy keep it still.
Amongst us now are those who do foment,
Loving to swim in streames of discontent:
Because they cannot gain their ill designes,
They are disturbers in these worst of times.
They neither care for God, nor his just wayes,
If they in Luxury may spend their dayes,
Or wanton out their time in drinking down
Full bowls of wine; and when the signes i'th' crown,
They rail and fume against both Church and State,
And all the godly cruelly do hate,
Or what's averse to their most unjust wills,
Instead of mending runs to worser ills.
There is another sort which likewise doth
Invent new Tenets from the brainy froth
Of their inventions, and bring forth
A new Religion, but of slender worth,
Thinking no truth was found in former times
But what they now produce, these are great crimes;
They likewise in their mad prophetick fate,
Are great disturbers of a quiet State.
God is the God of order, and he will
Preserve true order, in spight of their ill;
Heavens fabrick doth in a just order run,
The glorious stars, and transplendent Sun,
The Moon and wandring stars that are above,
By their Creators order gently move:
If order be not both in Church and State,
It lively pourtrayes forth an evill fate.
Another sort there is, that for no cause
Would gladly alter all Religions Lawes.
Nothing but what is new they cry is good,
And such as these are, are to be withstood.
Another sort there is, within this nation,
Which fiercely bawles gainst Reformation,
Because it doth restrain their perverse will,
And in a godly way outvies their skill:
They take it to be a most grievous rod,
So strictly to observe the Law of God,
Because it crosseth their Libertine will,
They with the Egyptians would live still;
Romes reliques do them so deeply possesse,
That truth of Gospell they cannot digest.
Another sort amongst us now doth dwell,
Who nothing preach but Christ, and can you tell
The truth of Gospell, how to lead your life,
Yet in their hearts is nothing else but strife:
Follow their doctrine, let their works alone,
For they will bring you to destruction:
These are the wolves, which in Lambs clothing come,
(Whose doctrine's purely good) their vices shun,
And such as these, though they seem men of worth,
Must out of Church and state be spued forth.
The Canaanites amongst us yet do dwell,
As bad as Locusts sprung from deepest hell.
Most cruell swearers, such as do profane,
And take the glorious name of God in vain.
To you that sit at helm it doth belong
To punish such who do Gods name thus wrong,
And have a care you do it out of hand,
Lest God do cast you out of Canaans land:
And pride in cloathes is grown to great excesse
In them who chiefly should it most suppresse.
The poore and needy not regarded are,
Nor for to ask their own they hardly dare,
You rich men have a care, think on the grief
Of those which are in want, send them relief,
When as your table's full you little know,
That like to want there is no greater wo;
All these are punishments which God hath sent
Amongst us, and yet we hardly can repent,
And let me tell you, which you may believe
If we do still Gods sacred spirit grieve,
And do persist in these our sinfull wayes.
More heavy judgements shall come in our dayes,
That sword of warre, which God hath in his hand
Hath it not been unsheathed in our land?
How many souls have felt? witnesse that blood
In severall battells flowing like a flood.
If we by these cannot amend our ill,
God in his quiver hath more arrows still,
His bow is bent, and if he once more shoot,
Famine shall destroy both the branch and root.
Though God comes slowly with his leaden heele,
His iron hands shall make the stoutest reel.
1.4. The Authours most humble Petiti-on to the Honourable House of Commons.
Most worthy Senatours,
LEt me beseech you pity my sad fate,
And let your goodnesse help my poore estate.
I alwayes faithfull to the State have stood,
Adventuring many times my dearest bloud
In your most just defence, nor did I seek
Mine own advantage, but did fight to keep
Your Noble persons for to sit in Peace,
That truth by your grave wisdomes might increase.
Commiserate my wants, think on my grief,
And let your Honours quickly grant relief,
And I as bound in duty ever shall,
For your prosperity to heavens call.
2.1. On his Excellencie Sir THOMAS FAIRFAX, Capt. Generall of the Parliaments Forces.
T rue nobly valiant, and of courage stout,
H ave you not put the Kingdomes foes to rout?
O f you it may be said without controule,
M an ne're injoyed a more purer soule;
A nd for your valour, who can paralell,
S ure many may surmise, but few can tell.
F idelitie with true religion plac't,
A re of such worth, they cannot be disgrac't;
I n these 'tis known your honour hath them both,
R eligion linckt with vertue is your troth;
F or sure I am, that after ages will
A dmire your Feats in Militarie skill,
X erxes in wisdome had not halfe your fill.
2.2. On Oliver Cromwell, Esquire, Lieutenant Generall, and a Member of the honourable House of Commons.
O ft hath your valour in the field bin shown,
L oud hath the Trump of fame your merits blown;
I n Winchby field, and upon Marston More
V ndauntedly you fought, and kill'd goodstore:
E ternall blisses shall for you statues raise
R emembrancers to be of your just praise.
C ourage and valour have you in every par,
R eligions purities plac'd in your heart;
O nly true love unto Gods sacred word
M ade you unsheath your keen well tempred sword:
W hat have you left undone for Countries right?
E nforc't you have their enemies to flight,
L eaving a name shall live so long as light.
2.3. On Major Generall Skippon.
P hilip of Macedon was not more stout,
H ow many Battells have you fiercely fought?
I n Cornwall was your valour bravely shown,
L eaving true trophies, to the world well known;
L et Newb'ries witnesse, besides Kenton field,
I n which the stoutest you did make to yeild,
P roudly your brandish'd sword you there did weild.
S tand firme and sure, as you have begun,
K eeping truth fast untill your glasse be run:
I nvalid merits tends upon all those
P refers true vertue, hates the publique foes:
O ft have you ventur'd life for Countries cause,
N or have you swerv'd from justnesse of the lawes.
2.4. On William Lenthall Esquire, Speaker of the Honourable House of Commons.
W isdome with vertue joyn'd dwells in your brest,
I nflam'd with zeale to seek your Countries rest:
L earned you are in Lawes concernes this State,
L ending your aide to punish all that hate
I n their most cruell mindes the publique good,
A ttesting against those which have withstood
M aliciously to ruine all our good.
L oud let the trump of fame sound out your praise,
E recting statues, and true trophies raise
N ever to fade, that your deserved worth
T o after ages clearly may shine forth;
H ave you not spent your time enacting Lawes,
A ll in defence of Parliamentall cause;
L ive shall your pious name while England is
L eaving a fame shall crown your end with blisse.
2.5. On Sir Benjamin Rudyard,Knight, a worthy Member of the honourable House of Commons.
B lest are you in your just and pious wayes,
E nvie it selfe cannot detract your praise;
N or can the worst of hate blame your true worth,
J n spight of ill, your vertues shines more forth:
A ll godly men are happy in your good,
M ore vigour hath it, then the greatest flood;
I n your religious, and pure harmlesse life,
N one can outvie, with all their greatest strife.
R emain a Pillar fixt on Englands Land,
U nblemisht shall your name for ever stand:
D eeds of your goodnesse, and in smoother verse,
Y ou shall have writ upon your sable hearse;
A nd af er ages shall admire your fame
R ightly deserved, and your spotlesse name
D oth speak the goodnesse of your pious flame.
2.6. On Sir John Francklin, Knight; a Member of tbe Honourable House of Commons.
J nspir'd with vertue, inricht with noble brest
O f learning, wisdome, goodnesse full possest:
H ave you not spent much time in taking pain,
N ot for your own byends, but Countries gain.
F aithfull and trusty to the State you are;
R eligious in performing arts most rare:
A ll Souldiers prayers is, that you may bee
N ot happy here, but to Eternitie.
C ourage (most noble sir) in your brave waies,
K nowing your merits do deserve great praise;
L et envie speak its worst, sure you shall have
I mmortall fame to bring you to your grave,
N or shall the evillest tongue your merits wave.
2.7. On Sir Tho. Dacres, Knight, a Member of the honourable House of Commons.
T rusty and faithfull are you to the State,
H ave you not spent your time to extirpate
O pen known vices, and for to expell
M any grosse errors which amongst us dwell;
A rming your heart, with power and might,
S ins to demolish that stop Gospells light;
D eserving here on earth a spotlesse name,
A pious, zealous, and religious fame?
C ourage most godly Sir, in your just waies
R eward from heaven shall crowne your age with praise:
E ach Souldiers prayers sure shall you have,
S o long untill death calls you to your grave.
2.8. On Sir John Trevers, Knight, a Member of the honourable House of Commons.
J ndued with a most pure godly mind,
O ft in Gods sacred book you look to find
H ow you should lead your life in these sad times,
N ow when this worlds best things are full of crimes.
T rue refotmation is your only aime,
R egarding that more then all worldly gaine;
E ndeavouring in your most pious soule
V ertue to cherish, all evill to controule,
E recting trophies of deserved fame,
R emembrancers to be of your good name.
2.9. On Sir Robert Pye, Knight, a Member of the honourable House of Commons.
R ight freely have you spent a many daies
O n businesse concernes the publique raise;
B e sure you faint not in so just renown,
E re long such actions heavens will crown;
R eligious acts the purest treasure is,
T o bring your soule unto eternall blisse.
P rosperitie is but times fickle wheele
Y ou see, whereon great men doe often reele,
E very good act's more durable then steele.
Though you have lost much for the publick cause,
By such as neither feared God, nor lawes,
Yet have you gain'd a name shall last for aye,
So long as Moon shines, or Sun lights the day.
2.10. On Sir Roger North, Knight, a Member of the honourable, House of Commons.
R ightly upright you have bin in your life,
O f all that knowes you, you are free from strife,
G iving rare examples to all those that will
E ncline their hearts to good, as you do still,
R efraining wayes that may incline to ill.
N or have you spar'd to spend your best of paines
O n others not seeking your own private gaines.
R eward that's just shall keep you from disdains,
T rusty have you continued to the State:
H eaven for that will prosper your estate.
2.11. On Sir Francis Pile Knight a Member of the Honou-rable House of Commons,
F aithfull unto your country have you alwayes been
R ebuking those who wallow'd in their sin.
A ll good men love you, and admire your worth,
N or can the ablest men your praise set forth,
C ontentment to do good, the stream in which you swim
I nspir,d with goodnesse which your sins controul
S hall make you happy when your bell doth toll.
P iety adornes your most godly mind,
I n your just wayes you will true comfort find;
L eave not to prosecute such pious wayes,
E ternall blisse shall crown your head with praise.
2.12. On my Honoured Collonell Henry Martin, a Member Of the Honourable House of Commons.
H eroick spirit of Heroick blood,
E ver spending your self for countries good,
N ever but striving with all force and might.
R eligions purity to bring to light.
Y our fame for such good deeds will shine more bright
M ay you live happy in a pious life,
A nd may your soul be ever free from strife,
R esting assured your good God shall send
T ruth to wait on you to your latter end,
I n spight of envy, you shall have a story,
N ot writ by mortall pen, but crown'd with glory.
H elp noble Collonel, for want I faint,
E ncline your eares unto my sad complaint,
N or let me perish now for want of food.
R etarded pity is but seldome good
Y our favours heretofore hath that withstood
M ay you be pleased out of pious love
A rrears so due to us, the House to move,
R emembring them how many poore starv'd soule
T o hunger destin'd is without controll,
E xcept some monies speedily we have;
N or can we live much longer from a grave.
No man so happy doth enjoy that fate
But gaines from one or other perfect hate.
I dare be bold to write without controll,
If such there be, they are not made of mold,
Go on and prosper in your pious wayes
Regard not ill men, good men give you praise.
2.13. On my honoured friend Captain Thomas Wogan a member of the Honorable House of Commons.
T imes nee'r produced a more valiant man,
H eroick acts that own you, witnesse can,
O ft in the field your valour hath been shown
M ongst thickest of your enemies well known,
A s witnesse Edge-hill, where with force and might
S toutly you kept your standard in that fight.
W hen you left warres, then did your noble fate
O rdain a place for you in publick State.
G oodnesse with vertue in you is combin'd,
A gallant spirit, and a pious mind,
N or are you any wayes to vice inclin'd.
2.14. On Sir Walter Earl, a Member of the Honourable House of Commons.
W hen as in armes this Kingdome first did rise,
A ssuredly you highly then did prise
L iberties freedome, and with force withstood
T 'oppose the hurters of your countries good,
E v'n with the hazard of your dearest blood;
R endring[?] to the world, that you were truly good.
E xpect that when you have spun out your dayes,
A Trophy shall be rear'd of your just praise.
R eligious zeal flames in your pious breast,
L ove to your maker hath your heart possest.
E ternall blisse shall bring your soul to rest.
2.15. On Thomas Earl Esquire, a Member of the Honoura-ble House of Commons.
T rue happy, son unto a pious father,
H ow little wealth esteeming, chusing rather
O f all men to be loved, then to gain
M uch worldly treasure, counting that but vain
A mongst the godly shall be writ your storie,
S Standing forever to your endlesse glory
E ternall merit shall wait on your soul
A nd pious statues raise without controull,
R estoring memory to your good name,
L ending more smoother verses, mine's but lame,
E ternall blisse shall crown your worth with fame.
2.16. On Collonell William Purefoy, a Member of the Honourable House of Commons.
W hen as this Kingdome first asunder rent,
I n men whose hearts were fil'd with discontent,
L ittle regarding God, or his just Lawes
L oving their self ends more then publick cause;
I n that same hint of time did you begin,
A mongst the first for to extirpate Sinne.
M uch good hereafter will you find therein.
P erplexed thoughts possessed many hearts,
U ntill we were divided into parts;
R eligion then was made a laughing stock,
E ven to the good became a stumbling block.
F aithfull to Church and State did you remain,
O ft venturing your life for both the same,
Y ou have by that gain'd a ne'r dying fame.
Purefoy Pure faith.
You have a faithfull piller firmly stood
(In acting, doing, for the countries good)
On which we will a pious altar raise,
To burn the incense of your purer praise.
2.17. On Master Michael Oldsworth Esquire, a member of the Honourable House of Commons.
M ay you live happy, in a harmlesse fate,
I n hating those that do oppose the State.
C arefull and trustie in the publick cause,
H ave you not striven to maintain our Lawes?
A dmired vertue springs within your breast,
E ternall blisse shall bring you to your rest.
L et envy speak its worst in spire of fead,
L ive shall your famous acts, when you are dead.
O h you have gain'd a never dying name.
L oving Religion more then mundane gain,
D rawing your actions in so just a line
S urely few have outvi'd you in your time.
W hen fatall death shall seise your harmles heart,
O h we shall weep sad teares for your depart;
R ejoycing yet, that you have left behind
T riumphant trophies of a godly mind,
H ow many men have sought, but few could find?
2.18. On Master Tanfield Vachell Esquire, a member of the Honourable House of Commons.
T rue pious wisdome, justly in you shown
A mongst all those whch of your worth have known
N or can the worst of envy speak you ill,
F aithfull unto the State, you have proved still,
E ndeavouring with all your force and might,
I n acting things that are both just and right,
L abouring with zeal, and striving against those
D urst any wayes the Parliament oppose.
V ertues true tincture, doth adorn your mind,
A nd few such good men in our time we find.
C reated goodnesse springs within your breast
H eavens shall receive your blessed soul to rest.
E ternall merit shall your praise set forth,
L eaving true trophies of your noble worth.
2.19. On my honoured Collonell Sir John Gell Knight.
J nspir'd with virtue, inricht with noble breast
O f courage, valour, goodnesse full possest,
H aving drawn your sword, and hath us'd the same,
N ot for your own by ends, but countries gain.
G iving a reall teste that you wood,
E ven spend your dearest life for Englands good.
L et envy speak it's worst in spite of fraud,
L ive shall your famous acts, when you are dead.
Accept these lines, sprung from that harmlesse breast
Your true devoted servant e'r shall rest,
Were not his Muse with froward fate cast down,
In smoother lines she would chant your renown,
Yet whilst she lives, shall evermore set forth,
Your deserved merits, and heroick worth.
2.20. On my Honoured Capt. Sir George Gresley, Knight.
G racious and good, are attributes belongs
E nobled spirits free from harm or wrongs;
O h these must needs derive a birth from you
R ightly, for they are your just proper due.
G o on most worthy Sir, in your brave wayes,
E ternall praise shall crown your age with baies.
G iving more verdure then the Spring gives flow-ers,
R efreshing memory, and when sad houres
E nlarge themselves upon your sable herse,
S ending forth sighes instead of smoother verse,
L ive shall your pious acts while time remains,
E ternall blisse shall be your finall gains.
Y our name lives spotlesse from all blots or stains.
2.21. On the truly noble, Sir John Davers Knight, a Mem-ber of the Honourable House of Commons.
I nspir'd with valour, enricht with vertues breast,
O f learning, courage, goodnesse full possest.
H ave you not spent your self in taking pain?
N ot for your own by ends, but Countries fame.
D oing and acting all for publick good
A nd firmly to the state y' ave alwayes stood,
V ertues tresnoble orb springs in your brain,
E ngraving trophies to your worthy fame,
R endring you happy, and in stead of bayes,
S urely you'l gain immortall wreaths of praise.
Your pious valour an unfeigned worth.
An abler pen then mine cannot set forth.
2.22. On my much honoured friend Master Ephraim Thorn Merchant.
E ternall merit waits upon all those,
P referres true vertues lore before vain Oathes.
H ave you not in your pious lives set forth,
R eligion in its true esteem and worth.
A mongst many men of you it may be writ
I n golden letters faln from purest wit,
M ore just desert by man was ne're gain'd yet.
T rusty and faithfull are you to your friend,
H eavens for that will crown you in the end
O h that my muse were able to set forth,
R ightly your noble acts, and reall worth,
N or need you care for best of Poets praise,
E ternall blisse shall crown your head with bayes.
2.23. On George Manley, Esquire.
G reatnesse with goodnesse properly belongs
E nobled spirits free from harm or wrongs.
O ft for your doing good y'ave gained losse,
R egarding justice more then earthly drosse.
G iving a reall teste that you wood,
E ven spend your dearest life for countries good.
M ay you much prosper in your pious wayes,
A mongst good men you shall receive much praise
N or need you care for idle envious elves,
L et them have rope, they'l quickly hang themselves.
E nlivening verse shal for you statues raise;
Y ou shall enjoy a never dying praise.
2.24. On my much honoured friend, Captain Richard Owen.
R estor'd you have that most renowned name,
I n Wales, of so brave, and so auntique fame.
C reated manhood dwells in your noble breast.
H ave you not done much for your countries rest?
A ctions most gallant hath by you been known,
R edoubled courage from your arm hath flown,
D id but your valour need for to be shown.
O ft hath your worth been tri'd in many a field.
W here you have made the stoutest for to yield.
E ternall merit shall your statues raise.
N or after death shall end your deserv'd praise.
Your wisdome valour, and heroick worth,
An abler pen, then mine cannot set forth.
2.25. On my honoured kinsman, John Wastell esquire a Member of the Honourable House of Commons.
J ustice with wisdome joyn'd, springs in your mind,
O f a pure judgement, and a wit refin'd.
H ave you not pleaded oft? the poore mans cause,
N or left you them toth' rigour of the Lawes,
W hen warres, and jarres did first amongst us rise,
A ll such fomentors you did them despise.
S toutly you stood up for the publick good,
T o punish such as liberty withstood.
E ternall blisse from heavens shall you crown
L eaving true emblemes of your just renown.