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.

Fareweel Our Ancient Glory

Scottish association football supporter waives the Saltire in Trafalgar Square with Gig Ben in the background.
Scottish association football supporter waives the Saltire in Trafalgar Square with Big Ben in the background.

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam’d in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro’ many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor’s wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour’s station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I’ll mak this declaration;
We’re bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Such a Parcel o’ Rogues in a Nation, Robert Burns, 1791.

Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. Vivit?

Representation of a sitting of the Roman Senate: Cicero attacks Catiline, from a 19th century fresco in Palazzo Madama, Rome, house of the Italian Senate. It is worth noting that idealistic medieval and subsequent artistic depictions of the forum in session are almost uniformly inaccurate. Illustrations commonly show the senators arranged in a semicircle around an open space where orators were deemed to stand; in reality the structure of the existing Curia Julia building, which dates in its current form from the Emperor Diocletian, shows that the senators sat in straight and parallel lines on either side of the interior of the building. In current media depictions in film this is shown correctly in The Fall of the Roman Empire, and incorrectly in, for example, Spartacus.
Representation of a sitting of the Roman Senate: Cicero attacks Catiline, from an idealistic XIX century fresco in Palazzo Madama, Rome, house of the Italian Senate. Cicero Denounces Catiline, fresco by Cesare Maccari, 1882-1888.

Shame on the age and on its principles! The senate is aware of these things; the consul sees them; and yet this man lives. Lives! aye, he comes even into the senate. He takes a part in the public deliberations; he is watching and marking down and checking off for slaughter every individual among us. And we, gallant men that we are, think that we are doing our duty to the republic if we keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks. You ought, O Catiline, long ago to have been led to execution by command of the consul. That destruction which you have been long plotting against us ought to have already fallen on your own head.

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O tempora, o mores! Senatus haec intellegit. Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. Vivit? immo vero etiam in senatum venit, fit publici consilii particeps, notat et designat oculis ad caedem unum quemque nostrum. Nos autem fortes viri satis facere rei publicae videmur, si istius furorem ac tela vitemus. Ad mortem te, Catilina, duci iussu consulis iam pridem oportebat, in te conferri pestem, quam tu in nos [omnes iam diu] machinaris.

— Oratio in L. Catilinam Prima, ii.