A Mad World, My Masters

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Cavalier Ballad; From the King's pamphlets, British Museum

We have a King, and yet no King,
For he hath lost his power;
For 'gainst his will his subjects are
Imprison'd in the Tower.

2. We had some laws (but now no laws)
By which he held his crown;
And we had estates and liberties,
But now they're voted down.

3. We had religion, but of late
That's beaten down with clubs;
Whilst that profaneness authorized
Is belched forth in tubs.

4. We were free subjects born, but now
We are by force made slaves,
By some whom we did count our friends,
But in the end proved knaves.

5. And now to such a grievous height
Are our misfortunes grown,
That our estates are took away
By tricks before ne'er known.

6. For there are agents sent abroad
Most humbly for to crave
Our alms; but if they are denied,
And of us nothing have,

7. Then by a vote ex tempore
We are to prison sent,
Mark'd with the name of enemy,
To King and Parliament:

8. And during our imprisonment,
Their lawless bulls do plunder
A license to their soldiers,
Our houses for to plunder.

9. And if their hounds do chance to smell
A man whose fortunes are
Of some account, whose purse is full,
Which now is somewhat rare;

10. A monster now, delinquent term'd,
He is declared to be,
And that his lands, as well as goods,
Sequester'd ought to be.

11. As if our prisons were too good,
He is to Yarmouth sent,
By virtue of a warrant from
The King and Parliament.

12. Thus in our royal sovereign's name,
And eke his power infused,
And by the virtue of the same,
He and all his abused.

13. For by this means his castles now
Are in the power of those
Who treach'rously, with might and main,
Do strive him to depose.

14. Arise, therefore, brave British men,
Fight for your King and State,
Against those trait'rous men that strive
This realm to ruinate.

15. 'Tis Pym, 'tis Pym and his colleagues,
That did our woe engender;
Nought but their lives can end our woes,
And us in safety render.

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