A New Game At Cards: Or, Win At First And Lose At Last

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Melody - "Ye gallants that delight to play"
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Cavalier Ballad

Ye merry hearts that love to play
At cards, see who hath won the day;
You that once did sadly sing
The knave of clubs hath won the king;
Now more happy times we have,
The king hath overcome the knave.

2. Not long ago a game was play'd,
When three crowns at the stakes were laid;
England had no cause to boast,
Knaves won that which kings had lost:
Coaches gave the way to carts,
And clubs were better cards than hearts.

3. Old Noll was the knave o' clubs,
And dad of such as preach in tubs;
Bradshaw, Ireton, and Pride
Were three other knaves beside;
And they play'd with half the pack,
Throwing out all cards but black.

4. But the just Fates threw these four out,
Which made the loyal party shout;
The Pope would fain have had the stock,
And with these cards have whipt his dock.
But soon the Devil these cards snatches
To dip in brimstone, and make matches.

5. But still the sport for to maintain,
Bold Lambert, Haslerigg, and Vane,
With one-eyed Hewson, took their places,
Knaves were better cards than aces;
But Fleetwood he himself did save,
Because he was more fool than knave.

6. Cromwell, though he so much had won,
Yet he had an unlucky son;
He sits still, and not regards,
Whilst cunning gamesters set the cards;
And thus, alas! poor silly Dick,
He play'd awhile, and lost his trick.

7. The Rumpers that had won whole towns,
The spoils of martyrs and of crowns,
Were not contented, but grew rough,
As though they had not won enough;
They kept the cards still in their hands,
To play for tithes and college lands.

8. The Presbyters began to fret
That they were like to lose the sett;
Unto the Rump they did appeal,
And said it was their turn to deal;
Then dealt with Presbyterians, but
The army swore that they would cut.

9. The foreign lands began to wonder,
To see what gallants we lived under,
That they, which Christians did forswear,
Should follow gaming all the year, -
Nay more, which was the strangest thing,
To play so long without a king.

10. The bold phanatics present were,
Like butlers with their boxes there,
Not doubting but that every game
Some profit would redound to them;
Because they were the gamesters' minions,
And every day broach'd new opinions.

11. But Cheshire men (as stories say)
Began to show them gamester's play;
Brave Booth and all his army strives
To save the stakes, or lose their lives;
But, oh sad fate! they were undone
By playing of their cards too soon.

12. Thus all the while a club was trump,
There's none could ever beat the Rump,
Until a noble general came,
And gave the cheaters a clear slam;
His finger did outwit their noddy,
And screw'd up poor Jack Lambert's body.

13. Then Haslerigg began to scowl,
And said the general play'd foul.
Look to him, partners, for I tell ye,
This Monk has got a king in's belly.
Not so, quoth Monk, but I believe
Sir Arthur has a knave in's sleeve.

14. When General Monk did understand
The Rump were peeping into's hand,
He wisely kept his cards from sight,
Which put the Rump into a fright;
He saw how many were betray'd
That show'd their cards before they play'd.

15. At length, quoth he, some cards we lack,
I will not play with half a pack;
What you cast out I will bring in,
And a new game we will begin:
With that the standers-by did say
They never yet saw fairer play.

16. But presently this game was past,
And for a second knaves were cast;
All new cards, not stain'd with spots,
As was the Rumpers and the Scots, -
Here good gamesters play'd their parts
And turn'd up the king of hearts.

17. After this game was done, I think
The standers-by had cause to drink,
And all loyal subjects sing,
Farewell knaves, and welcome King;
For, till we saw the King return'd,
We wish'd the cards had all been burn'd.


A popular ballad, written immediately after the restoration of Charles II.; and in which the victorious Cavaliers render honour to General Monk, Duke of Albemarle.

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