An Elegie

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Introductory notes

On the most {Barbarous, Unparallel'd, Unsouldiery,} Murder,
Committed at COLCHESTER, upon
the persons of the two most incomparable,
Printed in the Year, 1648.



[Page 1]

On the most Incomparable,

THough all the Trophies Rebel can bring in,
Are but succesful guilt, and prosperous sin:
And each defeat their savage heat can buy,
But outrage be, and high-way victory:
Though there be Furies due for all they've slaine,
And the just Bar each conquest must arraigne:
Though what they Charge, and vigorous onset call,
Is down-right, Stand, Deliver, and that's all:
Though Forts reduc'd, and Holds suppress'd by awe,
Here's Sw [?] Siege, but Burglary i'th' Law:
And COLCHESTER it self, in Truth's free scope,
Is no Towne Taken, but a Towne Broke ope:
That from the Booty gain'd, and wealthy prize,
Not their renowne, but their Indictments rise.
Whence they can naught but Tyburne Triumphs raise,
And Sessions-Laurell, where the Hemp's the Bayes:
Yet they had some Pretext, some Title still,
Though not to virtue, yet to generous ill:
And the next Age, by our Records, might say,
They went well on, though they mistook their way.
So aged Rome ev'n in her out-lawes shines,
Some lustre gaines ev'n from her Cataline's.
[Page 2]
But ours are sunke and falne, have stain'd their Name,
Things beneath Rebels, bashfull Annals shame.
Traytour! thought the wild sound affrights beget,
Though it be Villaine deep, 'tis Manly yet:
And in the Herauldry of Crimes may find
Kin and Allyes 'mongst Sins of humane kind.
But this unpattern'd By-blow, base offence,
Must flie disclaim'd, and unaffianc'd hence.
Chain'd and immur'd in un-frequented Cell,
And live an Anchorite in Populous Hell.
The stout Besieg'd, whom Force could ne're subdue,
Now long begirt with Foes, and Famine too,
When the last drop lay gasping in the cruse,
And no accession wornes supplies renewes,
While clean, and unclean they alike imbarke,
Like the Creations shelter (once) the Arke,
When the exhausted Town defended hears,
'Bove the distresse of Troy, though not the years:
At last they doe subscribe, but leave this Fame,
They knew no Conquerour, till Hunger came:
So Tyre yeilds to th' Pellaean Youth at length,
The purchase of his patience, not his strength;
When now dis-abled, they for rescue come,
To private Shrines, to publique Altars some,
The Victor check'd their flight, and bade them know,
No Sanctuary saves like a just Foe.
But oh the difference'twixt two Heathens gon,
'Twixt him of old, and fairfax Macedon ![?]
In doubtfull conflict, where the equall day
Smiles fair on both sides, and gives neither sway,
Slaughter may prudence seem, and bloud allure,
Since 'tis not then to kill, but to secure.
But all context laid by, and steele let go,
To cull, and slay! the Shambles vanquish so.
[Page 3]
A Coward's still unsafe; but honour knowes
No other Foe, but him that doth oppose.
Nor would this blasted act such field afford,
Were't the Escape or Heat of some Rash Sword,
The gastly monster might be then disguis'd,
And savage Murder sound but Un-advis'd.
But this was Tame debate, and was let fall,
Thy coole result, deliberate Cannibal.
Is this the Mercy? are we pitied thus?
Had your Committee-Prisoners such from us?
We grant ten thousand such heap'd in one pile,
Can never poize a Lucas, or a Lile:
Yet be the difference vast, the change is true,
And you are pay'd, if those be deare to you.
If Aesop's Cock for Pearle would Barley get,
Who makes that change is nothing in his debt.
Persons and things are as their Prizers deem,
Not rated from their Worth, but our Esteeme.
With Indians Beads of Glasse 'bove Diamonds go,
The Traffick's just, because they count them so.
Safe and untouch'd we sent your men in peace,
And must our Bloud requite for their Release?
We not expect Returns in our own way,
For then we must be Free as well as They.
Yet sure a full compleat discharge from thrall,
May for un-injur'd Bondage safely call.
But since no danger in their Lives remains,
Since shackles scare not, and none awes in chains:
Nay since their Safety, is their Purchase now,
And equall Trade will men for men allow:
Since their comerce doth on a levell stand,
And all's but ware for ware at strictest hand;
[Page 4]
Why then these crimson streames, this Sea of Bloud?
Is there no Head, no Spring derives this Floud?
Yes, a pale hoofe the Ruthlesse mountaine hit,
And rising thence, proclaim'd Revenge was it.
Revenge is she, the great incensed Pow'r,
Whose Altars humane sacrifice devour.
Revenge is Honour, Justice, Country, Laws;
Your selves at least should have conceal'd this clause.
Say, was that Scar receiv'd from Lucas hand,
(That which was once a Scar, but now a Brand)
Receiv'd in Fight, when what he then did give
Thy Cheek, had sped thy Heart, but He cry'd, Live?
Was it a crime thou could'st so not indure,
That Bloud must balsome it, and his Life cure?
Hast thou complexion, lines, or ought to passe
For lesse then Vizour in thy affrighted Glasse?
Then we might prize, not think the damage small,
But waile the losse of Lady Generall.
But in thy course, tough visage, home-spun face,
Wounds may imprint, and Scar, but ne're disgrace.
Yet know, who muse why Lisle and Lucas die,
They fall to Fairfax injur,d symetry.
That beauteous feminine Busse dispatch'd them hence,
That featur'd Generall, He Her Excellence.
But, there were friendship yet in destinie,
If those who kill, would but lend space to die:
Mark then how they are hudled to their fate,
How the next Sun would call their murder late:
To live till morne would seem a slow Reprieve;
To respite Death is almost to let live.
No, they are posted hence, and butcher'd go,
E're they can fansie you can murder so.
This tyranny alone belongs to you,
To slaughter Men, and expectations too.
[Page 5]
On the Tragick Amphitheater,
And see these Hero's in the Passive War,
Whose fortitude had deep this bottome laid,
The valiant must affright, not be affraid.
E're this, your busie care sweats to digest,
Some that can ayme, and act the Villains best.
Can single out the eye, the braine, the heart.
( For Murder now is but their kind of Art )
Know each recesse, and all deaths secret maze.
Which path leads to Dispatch, which to Delaies.
With nice Dissectors they must enter Lists,
And Naked combate arm'd Anatomists.
When Force doth force, and Army Army meets,
Where wounds give wounds, & slaughter slaughter greets,
Blind Fortune Fate in her own darknesse wraps,
Our falls are oft not Courage, but Mis-haps.
But here the guided ruine none can shun,
Keen death must on, and hath no track but one.
No Bullet rouves or wanders in the dark,
But unperplex'd designes one single Mark.
While they i'th'threatning storm undaunted rest,
And take th' whole peal of thunder on their Brest.
To Gideon's fleece alone the Show'r did flie,
While the whole World was else untouch'd, and drie.
Thus Peasants, England,s Worthies veines doe broach,
Who were their Terror once, now their Reproach.
Whom to Subdue, their Foes must first Betray,
Whom Fairfax durst assault no other way.
Whom Norwich, Capel, Loughborough, Compton, all
Must see aveng'd, or in that Justice fall.
Two of the matchlesse, yet a different heat,
A various mingled flame, where both defeat.
[Page 6]
LUCAS, possess'd a stout Majestick fire,
Wound up to a just pitch, but yet no high'r.
Not shunning pride as he his worth not spi'd,
But making it his Worth to scorn all Pride.
Where Vigorous was Assisting: to be strong
Inabled not t'Inflict, but Shrowd from wrong.
Not sterne, yet fit to have instructed sway,
To make none Tremble, yet make all Obay.
Soft ev'n to tears, yet stout as Adamant:
So nature doth stiffe Rocks 'mongst Waters plant.
Gentle and Melting into Valiant came,
As supplest Oyle draines in and heightens Flame.
Slaine in his Friend, expiring in his groane;
Tender of all mens bloud, besides his owne.
Both were so Peerlesse such, 'twas fit that they
Had not falne this, and yet this onely way.
Vespasian thus when his renown was full,
And could not adde to his throng'd Chronicle:
Surpris'd, despises fate, and Rouzing, cries,
The Valiant falls Erect, and Standing, dies.
This is the full version of the original text


danger, famine, sword

Source text

Title: An Elegie

Author: Anon

Publication date: 1648

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed., 1994) / E424 Bibliographic name / number: Thomason / E.465[1] Physical description: [2], 6 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Thomason / 74:E.465[1]

Digital edition

Original author(s): Anon

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > poetry

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.