A Ballad of the Regicides
This is from a collection of Cavalier songs. The Cavaliers supported the King and fought against the Puritan Roundheads. So, this ballad from 1661 expresses delight with the vengeance on the 10 regicides executed in October, 1660. Gen. Thomas Harrison was the first executed, on October 13, and is not mentioned by name in the ballad. Col. Daniel Axtell is the last one executed in 1660, on October 19. Three other regicides (Okey, Barkstead, and Corbet) were later captured in Holland and executed on Tyburn Hill in 1662.
From The Cavalier Songs and Ballads of England from 1642 to 1684
Edited by Charles Mackay c. 1862
The entire text is available online at Project Gutenberg.
Ballad: A Relation
Of Ten grand infamous
Traytors, who, for their horrid murder and detestable villany against our late
soveraigne Lord King Charles the First, that ever blessed martyr, were
arraigned, tryed, and executed in the moneth of October, 1660, which in
perpetuity will be had in remembrance unto the world's end.
This is one of the Six
Ballads of the Restoration found in a trunk, and sent by Sir W. C. Trevelyan to
the British Museum. "No
measure threw more disgrace on the Restoration," says Mr Wright, "than
the prosecution of the regicides; and the heartless and sanguinary manner in
which it was conducted tended more than any other circumstance to open the eyes
of the people to the real character of the government to which they had been
betrayed." Pepys observes on
the 20th Oct., "A bloody week this and the last have been; there being ten
hanged, drawn, and quartered."
The tune is "Come
let us drinke, the time invites."
Hee that can impose a
And shew forth a reason
For what was done against the King,
From the palace to the prison;
Let him here with me recite,
For my pen is bent to write
The horrid facts of treason.
Since there is no learned scribe
Ever able to decide
The usurp'd base ambition,
Which in truth I shall declare,
Traytors here which lately were,
Who wanted a phisitian.
For the grand disease that bred
Nature could not weane it;
From the foot unto the head,
Was putrefacted treason in it;
Doctors could no cure give,
Which made the squire then beleeve
That he must first begin it.
And the phisick did compose,
Within a pound of reason;
First to take away the cause,
Then to purge away the treason,
With a dosse of hemp made up,
Wrought as thickly as a rope,
And given them in due season.
The doctors did prescribe at last
To give 'um this potation,
A vomit or a single cast,
Well deserved, in purgation;
After that to lay them downe,
And bleed a veine in every one,
As traytors of the nation.
So when first the physicke wrought,
The thirteenth of October,
The patient on a sledge was brought,
Like a rebell and a rover,
To the execution tree;
Where with much dexterity
Was gently turned over.
THE SECOND PART - To the same tune.
Monday was the fifteenth day,
As Carew then did follow,
Of whom all men I thinke might say
In tyranny did deeply wallow;
Traytor proved unto the King,
Which made him on the gallowes swing,
And all the people hallow.
Tuesday, after Peters, Cooke,
Two notorious traytors,
That brought our soveraigne to the blocke,
For which were hang'd and cut in quarters;
'Twas Cooke which wrought the bloody thing
To draw the charge against our King,
That ever blessed martyr.
Next, on Wednesday, foure came,
For murthur all imputed,
There to answer for the same,
Which in judgement were confuted.
Gregorie Clement, Jones, and Scot,
And Scroop together, for a plot,
Likewise were executed.
Thursday past, and Friday then,
To end the full conclusion,
And make the traytors just up ten,
That day were brought to execution,
Hacker and proud Axtell he,
At Tyburne for their treachery
Received their absolution.
Being against the King and States,
The Commons all condemn'd 'um,
And their quarters on the gates
Hangeth for a memorandum
'Twixt the heavens and the earth;
Traytors are so little worth,
To dust and smoake wee'l send 'um.
Let now October warning make
To bloody-minded traytors,
That never phisicke more they take,
For in this moneth they lost their quarters;
Being so against the King,
Which to murther they did bring,
The ever blessed martyr.
London, printed for
Fr. Coles, T. Vere, M. Wright, and W. Gilbertson.
Back to Col. Daniel Axtell, Regicide.
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