Remember

Unknown, King Charles I, National Portrait Gallery.

REMEMBER.

But here, O Lord, we offer unto Thee all possible praise and thanks for all the glory of Thy grace that shined forth in Thine anointed, our late Sovereign, and that Thou wert pleased to own him (this day, especially) in the midst of his enemies and in the hour of his death, and to endue him with such eminent meekness, humility, charity, and other Christian virtues, according to the example of his own Son, suffering the fury of his and Thine enemies, for the preservation of Thy Church and people. And we beseech Thee to give us all grace to remember and provide for our latter end, by a careful, studious imitation of this Thy blessed Saint and Martyr, and all other Thy Saints and Martyrs that have gone before us, that we may be made worthy to receive benefit by their prayers, which they in communion with thy Church Catholick offer up to thee for that part of it here militant, and yet in flight with and danger from the flesh: that following the blessed steps of their holy lives and deaths, we may also show forth the light of a good example; for the glory of Thy Name, the conversion of our enemies, and the improvement of those generations we shall shortly leave behind us; and then, all those who have borne the heat and burthen of the day (Thy servant particularly, whose sufferings and labours we this day commemorate), receive the reward of our labours, the harvest of our hopes, even the salvation of our souls: and that for the merits and through the mediation of Thy Son, our Blessed SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. Amen.

— Form of Service for the Martyrdom of King Charles (1661).

This Unhappy Warre

Royal Arms of King Charles the Martyr, from Εἰκὼν Βασιλική, 1649.

For Thou, O Lord, seest clearly through all the cloudings of humane affaires; Thou judgest without prejudice: Thy Omniscience eternally guides thy unerrable Judgement.

O my God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soule, and have not set Thee before their eyes.

Consider My enemies, O Lord, for they are many, and they hate me with a deadly hatred without a cause.

For Thou knowest, I had no passion, designe or preparation to embroyle My Kingdomes in a Civill Warre; whereto I had least temptation; as knowing I must adventure more then any, and could gaine least of any by it.

Thou, O Lord, art my witnesse how oft I have deplored, and studied to divert the necessity thereof, wherein I cannot well be thought so prodigally thirsty of my Subjects blood, as to venture my own Life, which I have been oft compelled to doe in this unhappy Warre; and which were better spent to save then to destroy my People.

O Lord, I need much of thy grace, with patience to bear the many afflictions thou hast suffered some men to bring upon me; but much more to bear the unjust reproaches of those, who not content that I suffer most by the Warre, will needs perswade the world that I have raised first, or given just cause to raise it.

The confidence of some mens false tongues is such, that they would make me almost suspect my own innocency: Yea, I could be content (at least by my silence) to take upon me so great a guilt before men, If by that I might allay the malice of my Enemies, and redeeme my People from this miserable Warre; since thou O Lord knowest my Innocency in this thing.

Thou wilt finde out bloudy and deceitfull men; many of whom have not lived out half their daies, in which they promised themselves the enjoyment of the fruits of their violent and wicked Counsells.

Save, O Lord, thy servant, as hitherto thou hast, and in thy due time scatter the people that delight in Warre.

Arise O Lord, lift up thy self, because of the rage of mine Enemies, which encreaseth more and more. Behold them that have conceived mischief, travelled with iniquity, and brought forth falshood.

Thou knowest the chief designe of this Warre is, either to destroy My Person, or force My Judgment, and to make me renege my Conscience and thy Truth.

I am driven to crosse Davids choise and desire, rather to fall into the hands of men, by denying them, (thought their mercies be cruell) then into thy hands by sinning against My Conscience, and in that against thee, who art a consuming fire; Better they destroy Me, then thou shouldst damne Me.

Be thou ever the defence of My soul, who wilt save the upright in heart.

If nothing but My bloud will satisfie My Enemies, or quench the flames of My Kingdomes, or thy temporall Justice, I am content, if it be thy will, that it be shed by Mine owne Subjects hands.

But O let the bloud of Me, though their King, yet a sinner, be washed with the Bloud of My Innocent and peace-making Redeemer, for in that thy Justice will find not only a temporary expiation, but an eternall plenary satisfaction; both for my sins, and the sins of my People; whom I beseech thee still own for thine, and when thy wrath is appeased by my Death, O Remember thy great mercies toward them, and forgive them! O my Father, for they know not what they doe.

Eikon Basilike, ix.

The White King’s Chastened Soul

CHARLES I.
AN OLD HARPER’S TALE.

The tide of time hath swept the land, and the blight of blackened grain
Lies withered, and ungarnered, that encumbered England’s plain;
The sowers cast the seeds of death, and reaped with blood-stained sword,
That day they sent the white king’s soul to meet their Judge and Lord.

I knew him in his youth, my Lords! and loved his winsome ways,
The scholars’ or the artists’ taste for quiet and restful days;
I said ‘Tis well for England’s need, bold Harry holds the helm,
And not this gentle boy whom adverse winds would soon o’erwhelm.

I trembled, for I loved him so, that day I saw him crowned,
To mark the dreamer’s listless gaze unheed the lowering brows around.
‘No power to stand between thy will and God’s—O! Sovereign Lord, and King,
‘Twas much to place in that frail hand, the power of one man’s seal and ring.

Of mind too delicate to bear the glare and dazzle of a throne,
I ne’er had feared for Harry’s sake—had he to stand alone!
God willed it otherwise, my Lords! the strong was ta’en in death,
To leave the sceptre of his race to pass—with one poor victim’s death.

I saw him in his spotless garb, that winter’s day he died!
The dreamer’s gaze had gone, my Lords! the gold was there in furnace tried.
Not Harry in his boldest mood, more fearless could have stood,
Nor sweeter smile have lit that face, the day his Spanish bride he woo’ed.

Had he but waked to clearer sight, nor tried to quell with cold disdain,
But one short year o’er this, he had not reigned a king in vain!
Yet ah! the cruel destiny that erst pursued his race, he shared:
To nerve the murderer Cromwell’s hand, to raise the flashing steel unbared.

I saw him die, my Lords! I wept the blood-stain on our land,
I never wept for him, my Lords! he was too high and grand.
White was his chastened soul, my Lords! white were the robes he wore,
And the white snow fell from God’s own hand on the purple pall they bore.
White to his cruel grave he went, so quiet, so calm, so pale,
For kingly race will tell, my Lords! where baser blood would fail.

— Alice C. MacDonell of Keppoch.

The Crying Bloud of Our Pious Souveraigne

Speech of Sir Wm. Berkeley before the Grand Assembly in Virginia, March 1651 (1650/51).

GENTLEMEN you perceave by the Declaration that the men of Westminster have set out, which I beleeve you have all seene, how they meane to deal with you hereafter, who in the time of their wooing and courting you propound such hard Conditions to be performed on your parts, & on their own nothing but a benigne acceptance of your duties to them.

Indeed me thinks they might have proposed something to us which might have strengthned us to beare those heavy chaines they are making ready for us, though it were but an assurance that we shall eat the bread for which our owne Oxen plow, and with our owne sweat we reape; but this assurance (it seemes) were a franchise beyond the Condition they have resolu’d on the Question we ought to be in: For the reason why they talke so Magisterially to us in this, we are forsooth their worships slaves, bought with their money and by consequence ought not to buy, or sell but with those they shall Authorize with a few trifles to Coszen us of all for which we toile and labour.

If the whole Current of their reasoning were not as ridiculous, as their actions have been Tyrannicall and bloudy; we might wonder with what browes they could sustaine such impertinent assertions: For if you looke into it, the strength of their argument runs onely thus: we have laid violent hands on your Land-Lord, possess’d his Manner house where you used to pay your rents, therfore now tender your respects to the same house you once reverenced: I call my conscience to witnes, I lie not, I cannot in all their Declaration perceave a stronger argument for what they would impose on us, then this which I have now told you: They talke indeed of money laid out on this Country in its infancy: I will not say how little, nor how Centuply repaid, but will onely aske, was it theirs? They who in the beginning of this warr were so poore, & indigent, that the wealth and rapines of three Kingdomes & their Churches too, cannot yet make rich, but are faine to seeke out new Territories and impositions to sustaine their Luxury amongst themselves. Surely Gentlemen we are more slaves by nature, then their power can make us if we suffer ourselves to be shaken with these paper bulletts, & those on my life are the heaviest they either can or will send us.

‘Tis true with us they have long threatned the Barbados, yet not a ship goes thither but to beg trade, nor will they do to us, if we dare Honourably resist their Imperious Ordinance. Assuredly Gentlemen you have heard under what heavy burthens, the afflicted English Nation now groanes, and calls to heaven for relief: how new and formerly unheard of impositions make the wifes pray for barreness and their husbands deafnes to exclude the cryes of their succourles, starving children: And I am confident you
do believe, none would long endure this slavery, if the sword at their throats Did not Compell them to Languish under the misery they howrely suffer. Looke on their sufferings with the eyes of understanding, and that will prevent all your teares but those of Compassion. Consider with what prisons and Axes they have paid those that have served them to the hazard of their soules: Consider your selves how happy you are and have been, how the Gates of wealth and Honour are shut on no man, and that there is not here an Arbitrary hand that dares to touch the substance of either poore or rich: But that which I woud have you chiefly consider with thankfullnes is: That God hath seperated you from the guilt of the crying bloud of our Pious Souveraigne of ever blessed memory: But mistake not Gentlemen part of it will yet staine your garments if you willingly submit to those murtherers hands that shed it: I tremble to thinke how the oathes they will impose will make those guilty of it, that have long abhor’d the traiterousnesse of the act: But I confesse having had so frequent testimonies of your truths and courages, I cannot have a reasonable suspition of any cowardly falling of from the former resolutions, and have onely mentioned this last, as a part of my duty and care of you, not
of my reall doubts and fears: or if with untryed men we were to argue on this subject, what is it can be hoped for in a change, which we have not allready? Is it liberty? The sun looks not on a people more free then we are from all oppression. Is it wealth? Hundreds of examples shew us that Industry & Thrift in a short time may bring us to as high a degree of it, as the Country and our Conditions are yet capable of: Is it securety to enjoy this wealth when gotten? With out blushing I will speake it, I am confident theare lives not that person can accuse me of attempting the least act against any mans property? Is it peace? The Indians, God be blessed round about us are subdued; we can onely feare the Londoners, who would faine bring us to the same poverty, wherein the Dutch found and relieved us; would take away the liberty of our consciences, and tongues, and our right of giving and selling our goods to whom we please. But Gentlemen
by the Grace of God we will not so tamely part with our King, and all these blessings we enjoy under him; and if they oppose us, do but follow me, I will either lead you to victory, or loose a life which I cannot more gloriously sacrifice then for my loyalty, and your security.