THE RIGHT DIVINE OF KINGS TO GOVERN WRONG.
------------------------- Nations would do well
T' extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of HEROES, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief; and who spoil,
Because men suffer it, their TOY -- The
Tyrants deposed to preserve the Throne--In Europe--In England
before the Conquest--By each other since.--No right line any
where--Difference between Tyrants and Kings--Government instituted
by the People for their own good--Tyrants treat men as cattle to be
slaughtered--God decrees their fall--Ordains Revolutions by the
SEARCH we the long records of ages past,
Look back as far as antient rolls will last;
Beyond what oldest history relates,
While kings had people, people magistrates;
Nations, e'er since there has been king or crown,
Have pull'd down tyrants to preserve the throne.
The laws of nature then, as still they do,
Taught them, their rights and safety to pursue;
That if a king, who should protect, destroys,
10 He forfeits all the sanction he enjoys.
There's not a nation ever own'd a crown,
But if their kings opprest them, pull'd them down;
Concurring Providence has been content,
And always blest the action in th' event.
He that, invested with the robes of power,
Thinks 'tis his right the people to devour,
Will always find some stubborn men remain,
That have so little wit, they won't be slain;
Who always turn again when they're opprest,
20 And basely spoil the gay tyrannic jest;
Tell kings--of Nature, Laws of God and Right,
Take up their arms, and with their tyrants fight.
When passive thousands fall beneath the sword,
And freely die at the imperial word,
A stern, unyielding, self-defending few,
While they resist, will ravel all the clew;
Will all the engines of oppression awe,
And trample pow'r beneath the feet of law.
'Tis always natural for men opprest,
30 Whene'er occasion offers to resist;
They're traitors else to truth and common sense,
And rebels to the laws of Providence;
'Tis not enough to say, they may--they must;
The strong necessity declares it just; 2
'Tis Heav'n's supreme command to man, and they
Are always blest who that command obey.
So France deposed the Merovingian line,
And banish'd Childrick3 lost the right divine;
So Holy League their sacred Henry4 slew,
40 And call'd a counsel to erect a new;
For right divine must still to justice bow,
And people first the right to rule bestow:
So Spain to arbitrary kings inured,
Yet arbitrary Favila5 abjured;
Denmark four kings deposed, and Poland seven,
Swedeland but one-and-twenty, Spain eleven:
Russia, Demetrius banish'd from the throne,6
And Portugal pull'd young Alphonsus down;
Each nation that deserves the name of state,
50 Has set up laws above the magistrate;
Hence, when a self-advancing wretch acquires
A lawless rule, his government expires.
Explore the past, the steps of monarchs tread,
And view the sacred titles of the dead;
Look to the early kings of Britain's isle,
For Jus Divinum in our
Conquest, or compacts, form the rights of kings,
And both are human, both unsettled things;
Both subject to contingencies of fate,
60 And so the godship of them proves a cheat.
The crowns and thrones the greatest monarchs have,
Were either stolen, or the people gave.
What claim had colonel Cnute,7 or Captain Suene?
What right the roving Saxon, pirate Dane?
Hengist, or Horsa, Woden's blood defied,
And on their sword, not right divine, relied.
The Norman Bastard, how divine his call!
And where's his heav'nly high original?
These naked nations, long a helpless prey,
70 To foreign and domestic tyranny;--
Their infant strength unfit to guard their name--
Was left exposed to ev'ry robber's claim,
An open prey to pirates, and the isle,
To wild invaders, grew an early spoil.
The Romans ravaged long our wealthy coast,
And long our plains fed Caesar's num'rous host.
What birthright raised that rav'nous leader's name?
His sword, and not his fam'ly, formed his claim.
Where'er the Roman eagles spread their wings,
80 They conquer'd nations, and they pull'd down kings;
Caeser in triumph o'er the whole presided,
And right of conquest half the world divided.
For Liberty our sires in arms appear'd,
And in its sacred name with courage warr'd;
Made the invaders buy their conquest dear,
And legions of their bones lie buried here. 8
When these their work of slaughter had fulfill'd,
And seas of British blood bedew'd the field;
Shoals of Barbarian Goths, worse thieves than they,
90 From Caledonian Friths, and frozen Tay,
O'erspread the fruitful, now abandon'd plains,
And led the captured victims in their chains:
The weaken'd natives, helpless and distrest,
Doom'd to be plunder'd, ravish'd, and oppress'd,
Employ new thieves from the rude Northern coast,
To rob them of the little not yet lost.
The work once done, the workmen, to be paid,
Only demand themselves, and all they had!
In dreadful strife their freedom to maintain,
100 They fought with fury, but they fought in vain;
Yet, like Antaeus, every time they fell,
Their veins with rage and indignation swell;
Not for continued losses they despair,
But for still fiercer battle they prepare;
Again their blood the Saxon chariots stains,
And heaps of heroes strew th' ensanguin'd plains;
Thus, though they leave the world, they keep the field,
And thus their lives, but not their freedom yield.
Three hundred years of bloody conquest past,
110 Plunder'd at first, and dispossest at last,
The few remains, with freedom still inspir'd,
To Western mountains, to resist retired;
Their dear abandon'd country thence they view,
And thence their thirst of Liberty renew;
Offers of peaceful bondage they defy,
What's peace to man without his liberty? 9
The conquer'd nation--fell a dear bought prey,
And Britain's island, Saxon Lords obey:
The shouting troops their victories proclaim,
120 And load their chiefs with royalty and fame:
The garland of their triumphs was their crown,
Mob set them up, and rabble pull'd them down!
Fighting was all the merit they could bring,
The bloodiest wretch appear'd the bravest King!
Nor did his kingship any longer last,
Than till by some more powerful rogue displaced.
In spoil and blood was fix'd the right divine,
And thus commenced the royal Saxon line:--
That sword that vanquish'd innocence in fight,
130 The sword that crush'd the banish'd Britons' right,
At pleasure subdivides the British crown,
And forms eight soldier kingdoms out of one.
From these we strive to date our royal line,
And these must help us to a right divine;
From actions buried in eternal night,
Priestcraft is brought, to fix the fancied right;
Priestcraft that, always on the strongest side,
Contrives, tho' kings should walk, that priests shall ride.
One master thief his fellows dispossest,
140 And gave, once more, the weeping nation rest;
For Egbert,10 English monarchy began,
By his Almighty sword--the Sacred man!
Yet who was Egbert? Search his ancient breed;
What sacred ancestors did he succeed?
What mighty princes form'd his royal line,
And handed down to him the right divine?
A high-Dutch trooper, sent abroad to fight,
Whose trade was blood, and in his arm his right:
A supernumerary Holsteineer,11
150 For want of room at home, sent out to war;
A mere Swiss 12mercenary, who for bread,
Was born on purpose to be knock'd in head;
A Saxon soldier was his high descent,
Murder his business, plunder his intent;
The poor unvalued, despicable thing,
A thief by nation, and by fate a king!
To-day the monarch glories in his crown,
A soldier thief to-morrow knocks him down,
And calls the fancied right divine his own!
160 In the next age that 'rightful' Lord's forgot,
And rampant treason triumphs on the spot:
Success gives title, makes possession just,
For if the fates obey, the subjects must.
We should be last of all that should pretend,
The long descent of princes to defend;
Since, if hereditary right's the claim,
The English line has forty times been lame;
Of all the nations in the world, there's none
Have less of true succession in their crown.
170 Britannia now, with men of blood opprest,
And all her race of tyrants lately ceased;
Ill fate prevailing, seeks at foreign shores,
And for worse monsters, ignorantly implores.
The right divine was so despised a thing,
The crown went out a begging for a king
Of foreign breed, of unrelated race,
Whore in his scutcheon, tyrant in his face;
Of spurious birth, and intermingled blood,
Who nor our laws nor language understood.
180 William the early summons soon obeys,
Ambition fills his sails, his fleets the seas;
By cruel hopes, and fatal valour sped,
The foreign legions Britain's shores o'erspread:
The sword decides the claim, the land's the prey,
Fated the conquering tyrant to obey.
Harold by usurpation gain'd the crown, 13
And ditto usurpation pull'd him down.
Nothing but patience then could Britain claim,
Oppress'd by suff'ring, suff'ring made her tame:
190 She saw the tyrant William quit the throne,
And hoped for better usage from his son;
But change of tyrants gave her small relief,
She lost the lion, and receiv'd the thief.
Rufus, his father's ill got treasure seized,
The greedy sons of mother-church appeased;
Bought up rebellion with the cash he stole,
Secured the Clergy, and seduced the whole.
So brib'ry first with robbery combined
To ride before, and treason rode behind.
200 Ambition, and the lust of rule prevail'd,
And Robert's right, on Rufus' head entail'd.14
Beau-Clerk next grasp'd his elder brother's crown,
And, by his sword, maintain'd it was his own:
The second 15Henry fights, and fighting treats,
To own the prince's title he defeats
Consents to mean conclusions of the war,
And stoops to be a base usurper's heir;
Accepts the ignominious grant, and shows
His right's as bad as Stephen's that bestows:
210 The royal tricksters thus divide the prey,
And helpless crowds the jugglers' swords obey.16
Then John, 17another branch of Henry's line,
Jumps on the throne, in spite of Right Divine.
Turn we to mighty Edward's deathless name;
Or to his son's, whose conquests were the same;
That mighty hero of right royal race,
His father still alive, usurp'd his place. 18
As Edward on his parent's murder stood,
So Richard's tyrant reign was closed in blood:
220 Deposed and murder'd, Edward's father lies;
Deposed and murder'd--thus the grandson19 dies.
Lancastrian Henry from his feeble head,
The bauble wrench'd, and wore it in his stead;
Three of his name by due succession reign,
And York demands the right of line in vain.
Thro' seas of slaughter, for this carnaged crown
Edward, not went, but waded to the throne;20
Three times deposed, three times restored by force,
Priest-ridden Henry's title 21
yields of course.
230 Short lived the right the conquering king enjoy'd,
Treason and crime his new-crown'd race destroy'd;
As if the crimson hand of Power pursued
The very crown, and fated it to blood,
Richard by lust of government allured,
By double murders, next that crown procured;
For silent records trumpet-tongued proclaim
The jails and graves of princes are the same.
At Bosworth field, the crookback was dethroned;
Slain in the fight, and then the victor own'd! 22
240 So men of blood, incited by its taste,
By lust of rule urged on, laid England waste;
Oppression then upon oppression grew,
One royal wretch another overthrew;
They made a football of the People's crown,
And brother-tyrant brother-king pull'd down,
Succeeding robberies revenged the past,
And every age of crime outdid the last.
Look on once more--the tangled line survey,
By which kings claim to bind men to obey.
250 In the right line they say their title lies:
But if its twisted?--then the title dies.
Look at it!--knotted, spliced in every place!
Closely survey the intersected race--
So full of violations, such a brood
Of false successions, spurious births, and blood;
Such perjuries, such frauds, to mount a throne,
That Kings might blush their ancestors to own!
Oh! but Possession SUPERSEDES the Line!
Indeed!--then king, as king, has Right Divine;
260 And, coy Succession fled from majesty,
Makes Usurpation as divine as he;
De Facto is de Jure, and a throne,
To every dog that steals it is his bone!
Hence tyrants--and from these infected springs,
Flows the best title of the Best of Kings!23
Right of Succession, or what other claim
Of right to rule, by whatsoever name
Or title call'd, by whomsoever urged,
Is in the people's right of choosing merged.
270 The right's the People's, and the People's choice
Binds kings in duty to obey their voice;
The Public Will, the ONLY Right Divine,
Sanctions the office, or divides the line;
Topples the crown from off the tyrant's head,
And puts a king to govern in his stead.
Tyrant and king are vastly different things--
We're robb'd by tyrants, but obey'd by kings!
If it be ask'd, how the distinction's known,
Oppression marks him out--the nations groan,
280 The broken laws, the cries of injur'd blood,
Are languages by all men understood!24
Just laws and liberty make patriot kings;
Tyrants and tyranny are self-made things. 25
As government was ever understood
To be a measure for the people's good;
So when perverted to a wrong intent,
It's stark oppression, not a government.
Blest are the days, and wing'd with joy they fly,
When kings protect the people's liberty;
290 When settled peace in stated order reigns,
And, nor the nation, nor the king complains;
If kings may ravish, plunder, and destroy,
Oppress the world, and all its wealth enjoy;
May harass nations, with their breath may kill,
And limit liberty by royal will;
Then was the world for ignorance design'd,
And God gave kings to blast the human mind;
And Kings but general farmers of the land;
And men their stock for slaughter at command;
300 Mere beasts of draught, to crouch and be opprest,
Whom God, the mighty landlord, form'd in jest.
Yet who believes that Heaven in vain creates,
And gives up what it loves to what it hates;
That man's great Maker call'd him into birth,
To be destroy'd by tyrant-fiends on earth;
That nations are but footstools to a throne,
And millions born to be the slaves of one?
Priestcraft! search Scripture, shew me God's decree,
That crime shall rule by his authority.
310 Kingcraft! search Scripture too, and from it prove
Thy right to ravage from the God of Love. 26
No! HE has issued no such foul command,
But dooms down Despots by the People's hand;
Marks tyrants out for fall in every age,
Directs the justice of the people's rage;
And hurling vengeance on all royal crimes,
Ordains the REVOLUTIONS of the times!
Tyrants deposed to preserve the Throne--In Europe--In England before the Conquest--By each other since.--No right line any where--Difference between Tyrants and Kings--Government instituted by the People for their own good--Tyrants treat men as cattle to be slaughtered--God decrees their fall--Ordains Revolutions by the People.
All notes are Hone's except when indicated by the editor's initials, [KG].