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A Dialogue between Old England and New Part 2 by Anne Bradstreet

 

Old England

Well, to the matter, then. There's grown of late
'Twixt King and Peers a question of state:
Which is the chief, the law, or else the King?
One saith, it's he; the other, no such thing.
My better part in Court of Parliament
To ease my groaning land shew their intent
To crush the proud, and right to each man deal,
To help the Church, and stay the Common-Weal.
So many obstacles comes in their way
As puts me to a stand what I should say.
Old customs, new Prerogatives stood on.
Had they not held law fast, all had been gone,
Which by their prudence stood them in such stead
They took high Strafford lower by the head,
And to their Laud be 't spoke they held 'n th' Tower
All England's metropolitan that hour.
This done, an Act they would have passed fain
No prelate should his Bishopric retain.
Here tugg'd they hard indeed, for all men saw
This must be done by Gospel, not by law.
Next the Militia they urged sore.
This was denied, I need not say wherefore.
The King, displeased, at York himself absents.
They humbly beg return, shew their intents.
The writing, printing, posting to and fro,
Shews all was done; I'll therefore let it go.
But now I come to speak of my disaster.
Contention's grown 'twixt Subjects and their Master,
They worded it so long they fell to blows,
That thousands lay on heaps. Here bleeds my woes.
I that no wars so many years have known
Am now destroy'd and slaughter'd by mine own.
But could the field alone this strife decide,
One battle, two, or three I might abide,
But these may be beginnings of more woe--
Who knows, the worst, the best may overthrow!
Religion, Gospel, here lies at the stake,
Pray now, dear child, for sacred Zion's sake,
Oh, pity me in this sad perturbation,
My plundered Towns, my houses' devastation,
My ravisht virgins, and my young men slain,
My wealthy trading fallen, my dearth of grain.
The seedtime's come, but Ploughman hath no hope
Because he knows not who shall inn his crop.
The poor they want their pay, their children bread,
Their woful mothers' tears unpitied.
If any pity in thy heart remain,
Or any child-like love thou dost retain,
For my relief now use thy utmost skill,
And recompense me good for all my ill.

New England

Dear mother, cease complaints, and wipe your eyes,
Shake off your dust, cheer up, and now arise.
You are my mother, nurse, I once your flesh,
Your sunken bowels gladly would refresh.
Your griefs I pity much but should do wrong,
To weep for that we both have pray'd for long,
To see these latter days of hop'd-for good,
That Right may have its right, though 't be with blood.
After dark Popery the day did clear;
But now the Sun in's brightness shall appear.
Blest be the Nobles of thy Noble Land
With (ventur'd lives) for truth's defence that stand.
Blest be thy Commons, who for Common good
And thy infringed Laws have boldly stood.
Blest be thy Counties, who do aid thee still
With hearts and states to testify their will.
Blest be thy Preachers, who do cheer thee on.
Oh, cry: the sword of God and Gideon!
And shall I not on them wish Mero's curse
That help thee not with prayers, arms, and purse?
And for my self, let miseries abound
If mindless of thy state I e'er be found.
These are the days the Church's foes to crush,
To root out Prelates, head, tail, branch, and rush.
Let's bring Baal's vestments out, to make a fire,
Their Mitres, Surplices, and all their tire,
Copes, Rochets, Croziers, and such trash,
And let their names consume, but let the flash
Light Christendom, and all the world to see
We hate Rome's Whore, with all her trumpery.
Go on, brave Essex, shew whose son thou art,
Not false to King, nor Country in thy heart,
But those that hurt his people and his Crown,
By force expel, destroy, and tread them down.
Let Gaols be fill'd with th' remnant of that pack,
And sturdy Tyburn loaded till it crack.
And ye brave Nobles, chase away all fear,
And to this blessed Cause closely adhere.
O mother, can you weep and have such Peers?
When they are gone, then drown your self in tears,
If now you weep so much, that then no more
The briny Ocean will o'erflow your shore.
These, these are they (I trust) with Charles our king,
Out of all mists such glorious days will bring
That dazzled eyes, beholding, much shall wonder
At that thy settled Peace, thy wealth, and splendour,
Thy Church and Weal establish'd in such manner
That all shall joy that thou display'dst thy banner,
And discipline erected so, I trust,
That nursing Kings shall come and lick thy dust.
Then Justice shall in all thy Courts take place
Without respect of persons or of case.
Then bribes shall cease, and suits shall not stick long,
Patience and purse of Clients for to wrong.
Then High Commissions shall fall to decay,
And Pursuivants and Catchpoles want their pay.
So shall thy happy Nation ever flourish,
When truth and righteousness they thus shall nourish.
When thus in Peace, thine Armies brave send out
To sack proud Rome, and all her vassals rout.
There let thy name, thy fame, and valour shine,
As did thine Ancestors' in Palestine,
And let her spoils full pay with int'rest be
Of what unjustly once she poll'd from thee.
Of all the woes thou canst let her be sped,
Execute to th' full the vengeance threatened.
Bring forth the beast that rul'd the world with's beck,
And tear his flesh, and set your feet on's neck,
And make his filthy den so desolate
To th' 'stonishment of all that knew his state.
This done, with brandish'd swords to Turkey go,--
(For then what is it but English blades dare do?)
And lay her waste, for so's the sacred doom,
And do to Gog as thou hast done to Rome.
Oh Abraham's seed, lift up your heads on high,
For sure the day of your redemption's nigh.
The scales shall fall from your long blinded eyes,
And him you shall adore who now despise.
Then fullness of the Nations in shall flow,
And Jew and Gentile to one worship go.
Then follows days of happiness and rest.
Whose lot doth fall to live therein is blest.
No Canaanite shall then be found 'n th' land,
And holiness on horses' bells shall stand.
If this make way thereto, then sigh no more,
But if at all thou didst not see 't before.
Farewell, dear mother; Parliament, prevail,
And in a while you'll tell another tale.

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