New Year, New State?

England was bracing for change in 1660


In January 1660 England was in flux; the protectorates of Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard had fallen and the discredited Rump parliament briefly governed again. At this point the restoration of monarchy was in no way inevitable but it was clear that people were fearful of the executive power vacuum that had developed and the potential of the political situation was not lost on the royalist supporters. This New Years list from Thomas Jordon, former child actor and poet/actor/playwright, takes aim at the old regime:


A LETANY For the NEVV-YEAR, with a Description of the NEW STATE.


From all and more than I have written here,

I wish you well protected this New year;

From Civil war, and such uncivil things

As ruine Law and Gospel, Priests and Kings;

From those who for self-ends would all betray,

From such new Saints that Pistol when they pray,

From flattering Faces with insernal Souls,

From new Reformers, such as pull down Pauls,

From Linsy-woolsy Lords, from Town betrayers,

From Apron-Preachers, and extemp’re Prayers,

From Pulpit-blasphemy, and bold Rebellion,

From Bloud and—somthings else that I could tel ye on,

From new false Teachers which destroy the old,

From those that turn the Gospel into Gold,

From that black Pack where Clubs are alwaies Trump,

From Bodies Politique, and from the Rump,

From those that ruine when they should repair,

From such as cut off Heads instead of Hair,

From twelve Months Taxes, and abortive Votes,

From chargeable Nurse-Children in red Coats,

From such as sell their Souls to save their Sums,

From City Charters that make Heads for Drums,

From Magistrates which have no truth or knowledge,

From the red Students now in Gresham Colledge,

From Governments erected by the Rabble,

From sweet Sir Arthurs Knights of the round Table,

From City-Saints whose Anagram is Stains,

From Plots, and being choak’d with our own Chains;

From these, and ten times more which may ensue,

The Poet prays, Good Lord deliver you.


Lo here a Glorious Realm subverted stands,

Just Tumbler-like upon the Feet and Hands:

Once Europes Pride and Envy, now their Scoff.

Since the base Entrayles cut the Head on’t off,

The Body lost its form, and ‘s turn’d a Lump;

Now all the Lims are Vassals to the Rump,

Which, all the Nutriture devour’d and spent,

Yields nothing back but stink and excrement,

And all returns that ever this doth send us,

Serves only to defile us and offend us;

‘Tis by much pampring grown a strange Disease,

Which all receives, and gives nor food, nor ease

To th’ pining Body, but is craving still;

And we by feeding it our selves do kill;

Which nothing lives by that has any worth,

But those base vermin, which its stink brought forth.

If every Member in this Body would

Withdraw its strength, and influence, as they should,


This nasty Highness quickly must abate,

And yield to th’ Head, which only saves the State.




Date: 1660 Reel Position: Wing (2nd ed.) / J1033B ; Thomason / 669.f.22[68]


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