A Free Parliament Litany

Line
Melody - "An Old Courtier of the Queen's"
Line

Cavalier Ballad; 1655

More ballads! - here's a spick and span new supplication,
By order of a Committee for the Reformation,
To be read in all churches and chapels of this nation,
Upon pain of slavery and sequestration.
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

2. From those that ha' more religion and less conscience than their fellows;
From a representative that's fearful and zealous;
From a starting jadish people that is troubled with the yellows,
And a priest that blows the coal (a crack in his bellows);
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

3. From shepherds that lead their flocks into the briars,
And then fleece 'em; from vow-breakers and king-tryers;
Of Church and Crown lands, from both sellers and buyers;
From the children of him that is the father of liars;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

4. From the doctrine and discipline of now and anon,
Preserve us and our wives from John T. and Saint John,
Like master like man, every way but one, -
The master has a large conscience, and the man has none;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

5. From major-generals, army officers, and that phanatique crew;
From the parboil'd pimp Scot, and from Good-face the Jew;
From old Mildmay, that in Cheapside mistook his queu,
And from him that won't pledge - Give the devil his due;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

6. From long-winded speeches, and not a wise word;
From a gospel ministry settled by the sword;
From the act of a Rump, that stinks when 'tis stirr'd;
From a knight of the post, and a cobbling lord;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

7. From all the rich people that ha' made us poor;
From a Speaker that creeps to the House by a back-door;
From that badger, Robinson (that limps and bites sore);
And that dog in a doublet, Arthur - that will do so no more;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

8. From a certain sly knave with a beastly name;
From a Parliament that's wild, and a people that's tame;
From Skippon, Titchbourne, Ireton, - and another of the same;
From a dung-hill cock, and a hen of the game;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

9. From all those that sat in the High Court of Justice;
From usurpers that style themselves the people's trustees;
From an old Rump, in which neither profit nor gust is,
And from the recovery of that which now in the dust is;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

10. From a backsliding saint that pretend t' acquiesce;
From crossing of proverbs (let 'um hang that confess);
From a sniveling cause, in a pontificall dress,
And two lawyers, with the devil and his dam in a mess;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

11. From those that trouble the waters to mend the fishing,
And fight the Lord's battles under the devil's commission,
Such as eat up the nation, whilst the government's a-dishing;
And from a people when it should be doing, stands wishing;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

12. From an everlasting mock-parliament - and from none;
From Strafford's old friends - Harry, Jack, and John;
From our solicitor's wolf-law deliver our King's son;
And from the resurrection of the Rump that is dead and gone;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

13. From foreign invasion and commotions at home;
From our present distraction, and from work to come;
From the same hand again Smectymnus, or the bum,
And from taking Geneva in our way to Rome;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

14. From a hundred thousand pound tax to keep knaves by the score
(But it is well given to these that turn'd those out of door);
From undoing ourselves in plaistering old sores;
He that set them a-work, let him pay their scores;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

15. From saints and tender consciences in buff;
From Mounson in a foam, and Haslerig in a huff;
From both men and women that think they never have enough;
And from a fool's head that looks through a chain and a duff;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

16. From those that would divide the gen'ral and the city;
From Harry Martin's girl, that was neither sweet nor pretty;
From a faction that has neither brain nor pity:
From the mercy of a phanatique committee;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

17. Preserve us, good Heaven, from entrusting those
That ha' much to get and little to lose;
That murther'd the father, and the son would depose
(Sure they can't be our friends that are their country's foes);
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.

18. From Bradshaw's presumption, and from Hoyle's despairs;
From rotten members, blind guides, preaching aldermen, and false may'rs;
From long knives, long ears, long parliaments, and long pray'rs;
In mercy to this nation - Deliver us and our heirs;
From fools and knaves in our Parliament free,
Libera nos, Domine.


From the King's Pamphlets, British Museum

Line
| Song Index | Home Page |
Line