Brian Morris and Eleanor Withington (eds), The Poems of John Cleveland

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On the Archbishop of Canterbury

  • 1I need no Muse to give my passion vent,
  • Editor’s Note2He brews his teares that studies to lament.
  • Editor’s Note3Verse chymically weeps; that pious raine
  • 4Distill'd with Art, is but the sweat o' th' braine.
  • 5Who ever sob'd in numbers? can a groane
  • Editor’s Note6Be quaver'd out by soft division?
  • 7Tis true, for common formall Elegies,
  • Editor’s Note8Not Bushells Wells can match a Poets eyes
  • Editor’s Note9In wanton water-works: hee'l tune his teares
  • 10From a Geneva Jig up to the Spheares.
  • Critical Apparatus11But then he mournes at distance, weeps aloof,
  • Editor’s Note12Now that the Conduit head is our owne roof,
  • Critical Apparatus13Now that the fate is publique, (we may call
  • Editor’s Note14It Britaines Vespers, Englands Funeral)
  • Editor’s Note15Who hath a Pensill to expresse the Saint,
  • 16But he hath eyes too, washing off the paint?
  • 17There is no learning but what teares surround
  • Editor’s Note18Like to Seths Pillars in the Deluge drown'd.
  • pg 3919There is no Church, Religion is growne
  • 20From much of late, that shee's encreast to none;
  • 21Like an Hydropick body full of Rhewmes,
  • 22First swells into a bubble, then consumes.
  • 23The Law is dead, or cast into a trance,
  • Editor’s Note24And by a Law dough-bak't, an Ordinance.
  • Editor’s Note25The Lyturgie, whose doome was voted next,
  • 26Died as a Comment upon him the Text.
  • 27There's nothing lives, life is since he is gone,
  • Editor’s Note28But a Nocturnall Lucubration.
  • 29Thus you have seen deaths inventory read
  • 30In the sum totall-Canterburie's dead.
  • Editor’s Note31A sight would make a Pagan to baptize
  • Critical Apparatus32Himselfe a Convert in his bleeding eyes:
  • Critical Apparatus33Would thaw the rable, that fierce beast of ours,
  • Critical Apparatus34(That which Hyena-like weeps and devoures)
  • 35Tears that flow brackish from their soules within,
  • 36Not to repent, but pickle up their sin.
  • 37Meane time no squallid griefe his looke defiles,
  • 38He guilds his sadder fate with noble smiles.
  • 39Thus the worlds eye with reconciled streames
  • Editor’s Note40Shines in his showers as if he wept his beames.
  • 41How could successe such villanies applaud?
  • 42The state in Strafford fell, the Church in Laud:
  • 43The twins of publike rage adjudg'd to dye,
  • Editor’s Note44For Treasons they should act, by Prophecy.
  • 45The facts were done before the Lawes were made,
  • 46The trump turn'd up after the game was plai'd.
  • 47Be dull great spirits and forbeare to climbe,
  • 48For worth is sin and eminence a crime.
  • 49  No Church-man can be innocent and high,
  • Editor’s Note50  'Tis height makes Grantham steeple stand awry.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
On the Archbishop of Canterbury D1. MSS.: EG27 O
by] in CV MSS.
Editor’s Note
l. 2. He brews his teares. Cf. Troilus and Cressida, iv. iv. 6–8.
Editor’s Note
l. 3. chymically. By alchemy.
Editor’s Note
l. 6. quaver'd out. Prolonged in song with trills and quavers.
Editor’s Note
l. 8. Bushells Wells. Thomas Bushell (1594–1674), first the page and later the friend of Bacon, is chiefly remembered as a mining engineer who in 1636 completed a grotto at Enstone, near Woodstock, which included 'all the curious fine water-works and artificial conclusions that could be imagined' (Wood, Athenae Oxonienses, iii. 1007 ff.)
Editor’s Note
l. 9. hee'l tune his teares. Cf. 'Upon the death of M. King', 1–2.
Critical Apparatus
11 then CV MSS.: when D1
Editor’s Note
l. 12. Conduit head. The reservoir.
Critical Apparatus
13–14 (we … Funeral) CV: we … Funerall. D1
Editor’s Note
l. 14. Britaines Vespers. As compared with the Sicilian Vespers of 1282.
Editor’s Note
l. 15. expresse. Represent by drawing or painting.
Editor’s Note
l. 18. Seths Pillars. See Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, i. 70–71, where it is said of the descendants of Seth, the son of Adam:

Moreover, to prevent their discoveries from being lost to mankind and perishing before they became known … they erected two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, and inscribed these discoveries on both; so that, if the pillar of brick disappeared in the deluge, that of stone would remain to teach man what was graven thereon and to inform them that they had also erected one of brick. It exists to this day in the land of Seiris. (Loeb translation)

Cf. Donne's 'The Progresse of the Soule', i. 9 and An Elegie on the Most Reverend Father in God William, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, 179–180 (dated 10 January 1645 in the Thomason Catalogue), reprinted in The Rump, 1662, i. 71–79:
  •                     On Marble Columns thus the Arts have stood,
  •                     As wise Seth's Pillars sav'd 'em in the Flood.
Editor’s Note
l. 24. And by a Law dough-bak't. 'Dough-baked' means 'half-baked'. The laws of Parliament lack the King's consent. Originally an Ordinance had been a declaration by the King without the necessary concurrence of Parliament; after August 1641 it became a declaration of the two Houses without the necessary concurrence of the King. 'Act' was not used again until January 1649.
Editor’s Note
ll. 25–26. The Lyturgie … Text. On the 4th of January 1645 the Lords assented to the Bill of Attainder against Laud and accepted the Commons' amendments to the Ordinance declaring the Book of Common Prayer abolished forever and replaced by the Westminster Assembly's Directory of Public Worship. See Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, ed. Firth and Rait, 1911.
Editor’s Note
l. 28. Nocturnall Lucubration. Night thoughts. A lucubration is a study or meditation. Cf. Robert Chamberlain, Nocturnall lucubrations. Whereunto are added Epigrams and Epitaphs, 1638, and 'The Political Satire of Mildmay Fane', Harvard Library Bulletin, xi, Winter 1957, pp. 55–56.
Editor’s Note
ll. 31–36. A sight … their sin. The general sense is:

This is a sight which would convert a Pagan, or make the rabble weep. Just as the Hyena weeps as it eats, so the tears of the rabble serve only to pickle their sins.

Alvin Kernan notes (Jonson's Volpone, New Haven, 1962, p. 223) that in emblems the Hyena was associated with the Mantichora, a man-eater with red eyes (see Pliny, Natural Historie, trans. Philemon Holland, 1634, i. 206); these eyes may have suggested weeping to Cleveland. Cf. Samson's 'Out, out, hyena' to Dalila who, the Chorus says, enters weeping in Samson Agonistes, 748.
Critical Apparatus
32 eyes:] eyes. D1
Critical Apparatus
33 rable,] rable D1
Critical Apparatus
34 Hyena-like D5 D6 P5P10 P12P17 CV MSS.: Agona-like D1
Editor’s Note
l. 40. After l. 40 EG27 inserts six lines, nowhere else attributed to Cleveland:
  •                     The Persians insufficient to dye
  •                     Descend into their dust by Simony.
  •                     Passe not without allowance, but interre
  •                     Their Treasure too, and bribe the Sepulcher.
  •                     Their Gold commutes for man, he payes his fine
  •                     In kind, his body makes his graue a mine.
Editor’s Note
l. 44. by Prophecy. Cleveland is probably thinking of the anonymous A Prophecie of the Life, Reigne, and Death of William Laud, … By an Exposition on part of the 13. and 15. Chapters of the Revelation of Iohn …, 1644, with the MS. date 'Novemb. 23' on the Thomason copy. This judges the acts of Laud to be those of the horned beast.
Editor’s Note
l. 50. 'Tis height makes Grantham steeple stand awry. A common proverb. The earliest reference in Tilley is to Lodge, Wit's Misery, 1596, p. 14: 'His beard is cut like the spier of Grantham Steeple.'
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