Peter's Banquet, or, The Cavalier in the Dumps

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An ancient Burrough in the West[1]
Was lately put unto the test,
Their loyalty and zeal to prove,
If King and Country they did love.
For you must know, within the town,[2]
A Trainèd Band, rose by the Crown,
Had been inrolled in buff attire.
To march when danger may require.
There also dwelt within the place[3]
A patriotic, sturdy race,
Nicknamed Roundheads, as you'll see.
By those attached to Royalty.

Peter,[4] their Captain, for to try
If good King Charles they 'd stand by,
Prepared a Banquet at his hall.[5]
And there invited one and all.
To eat, and drink, and for to sing
" God bless the cause! God bless the King! "

He was a man of wit profound.
Recorder[6] of his native town:
Humble, benign, of Norman blood,
Caressed, esteemed, for being good.
From his high rank in life was sent,
A Member twice to Parliament,
From the good town of Tiverton,
With Peter Balle of of Mapleton;[7]
But here he play'd a double game,
That brought on him disgrace and shame.

Now when the King was in the West,
And not a little in distress,
He honoured Peter with a call
By night, incog., but that's not all,
He wanted money for to spend
In waging war, that was the end,
And he knew those that had to lend.
And if report of him speak true,
He lent him one, bat some say two
Hundred pounds, from Dame Dolly's[8] purse,
To be repaid with interest.
Together with a Royal boon,
When he the sceptre should resume.
And make the pledge more firm and sure,
Etched his sign manual on the door.
A Title we suppose was meant,
To make the Captain more content:
Well, be it so, we trow his right,
The Squire should be dubbed a Knight.
For all such mighty men of fame
Wish to immortalize their name.

The twentieth was a morning gay,
To see these veterans in array,
Three Chieftains, marching in the van,
With a sword drawn, in either hand ;
Nicknamed Redhead, Blunt and Gray,
By rougish schoolboys in their play.
Some thirty corslets in the rear,
That had no rapier but a spear:
Some forty callèd muskateers.
That had a rapier, but no spears.
Those bore a muskett in their hand,
That made them look more fierce and grand.

Now take them singly, view them round,
And tell me if there can be found
Another such an awkward train
Throughout the Royal Duke's domain?
There's Jem, and Harry, Sam, and Will,
Fam'd for their pugilistic skill.
Descended from a savage clan
That neither care for God nor man;
For if you don't with them comply,
'Tis but a blow, and there you lie.
But now become a muskateer,
Look just like nudles, dead with fear.
There's Kit and Teddy, tall and big,
That wear a cap for want of wig.
There's Ben deformed, Tom looks awry,
One has no nose, another but one eye.
Sure such a group was never seen,
From sixty, downward to sixteen!
Oh, Royal Sir! oh have some pity!
And take these bumpkins to your city!
Mark how they fought, how they have bled,
To save the Crown, the King his head.
To keep the peace, and guard the nation,
From unjust laws and usurpation.
Show them some mark of your regard,
And take them for your body guard.
It will be told among your foes,
What you have done for Bradninch heroes.

Now view this Royal Trainèd Band,
Marshall'd in order by command,
Peter, their Captain, for to see,
If aught they knew of chivalry,
Advanc'd in front, and there did cry,
"Draw out your rapiers, lift them high,
Salute your Captain passing by."
Some drew his sword, some nod the head,
Some look as pale as if half dead;
Others like stock, or stone, stood mute,
Nor movèd either hand or foot;
Some did advance, some did retreat,
'Twas quite a farce throughout the street!
The Captain saw it would not do,
He had a stiff and awkward crew,
Sheath'd up his sword, and bow'd adieu.
The drum roll'd out for to depart,
All caught the sound, and forth they start;
The croud then made the air to ring,
"God bless the cause! God bless the King!"
But some we saw, whose heads were round,
That bellow'd out a different sound,
"Down with the Faggots! Down with the Lubbers!
Clodhoppers in buff, turn'd royal robbers!

Now see them at the banquet, all
In Peter's great and lofty hall,[9]
Seated in order for to dine,
Swig cyder, beer and meady wine,
Where all was sumptuous, nice, and free.
That made it taste more pleasantly;
Some cutting beef, and others pork,
With finger held in lieu of fork;
Some calling cyder, others beer,
Some looking round, as if for fear
That they should fall from off their seat,
Where they were plac'd to carve and eat.
The cloth being gone, the hall did ring,
"God bless the cause! God bless the King!
May all his foes be soon laid low,
And civil discord by one blow!"
A bumper then had each to fill,
To drink the health of Captain Sainthill!
Some loyal toasts were next sent round,
Which made the hall again resound,
For heads and hearts were come together,
Some talking one thing, some another.

The Chiefs were got into debate
About the War, the King, and State;
"Brethren, we say our cause is good.
Nothing has yet our force withstood.
Here's Cavalier 'gainst Roundhead still,
'Tis a crime, say some, their brats to kill.
Pugh! no such thing, we say 'tis right,
What can't be done by day, it must by night.
Hark! Essex routed, Bristol taken!
Hampden's dead, Fairfax forsaken!
The City gates are open wide,
Where we may either walk or ride;
Secure, protected without arms,
Free from all danger and alarms;
One victory more, won by the Crown,
Will make these rebels knuckle down,
Sue and implore, from our strong hands,
Their lives, their trade, and forfeit lands.
All's well, we say, old honest Pring!
We'll drink the Cause once more, — the King!
Another Charter we can crave,
The King rewards the firm and brave."

The bowl with glee was going round,
When all at once they hear a sound
Of victory! a great victory!
Which came so unexpectedly,
Like thunder bursting from the sky.
They all rose up, as if to fly
Away; and leave the Squire behind,
Midst fumes of backay, beer, and wine
For when the halloo reach'd their ears,
They were astound with doubts and fears,
None dar'd to speak, not one could sing,
Nor toast the health of our good King !
Some hum'd, some sigh'd, some groan'd, some star'd,
All knew the sound, what it declar'd,

As from the window they could see
Our little band of rivalry,
With a blue flag, and crooked horn,
Which was display'd and always blown,
Whenever we went by one consent,
To celebrate some great event.
While near the postern gate we stood,
A man advanced in pensive mood,
Sam Miller 'twas, he look'd so pale,
His face betray'd a dismal tale,
"What is the matter, Sam?" we say,
"You look so lank and pale to-day.
What, won't you speak, and tell us why
You be so low and melancholy?
Don't you no news from Ex'ter bring,
That doth relate to our good King?
Why don't you now ring out your bell,
Proclaim aloud, 'Oh yes! All's well!'
Have you not heard of our defeat,
How Cromwell's slain, in his retreat?
Two thousand men their arms laid down,
And hung as Rebels to the Crown?"
Sam shook his head, said "No! not I;
Make room, fall back, let me pass by."
A space was found, Sam enter'd in,
To tell the news that he did bring;
The gate was shut, we did not stay,
But gave a blast, and march'd away.
As soon as Sam was in the hall,
He made his bow, and then did bawl,
"Gemmen[10] Ratters, we are undone,
The Rebels have the battle won!
At Naseby: 'tis said the King is taken,
But if not so, is quite forsaken.
His veteran troops are chiefly slain,
And only a few friends remain,
No horse being near he fled on foot,
But many foes are in pursuit,
To get the premium on his head,
Should he be taken, live or dead.
The truth of which I can aver,
As 'tis arrived at Exeter;
The City there is in a pother.
Some running one way, some another,
Some jeering, taunting, others sad,
Some ranting, roaring, raving mad;
The Chamber[11] are in consultation,
If best to fly, or keep their station,
For Fairfax hies with double haste,
To hurl his vengeance on the place."

The Captain fell into the dumps,
The rest were seizèd with the mumps,
A painful silence now took place,
Each looking t'other in the face,
Pondering whether, Aye or No,
'Twas best to stay, or for to go;
The Cavalier essayed to speak,
But found his heart was ready t'break ;
Rose up, sat down, then rose again,
But still could not shake off the pain;
"My friends," said he, "we must not part,
I want to ---, but oh my heart!
I cannot speak, I cannot cry,
Oh 'tis so sharp, I sure shall die!"
He star'd, he sigh'd, he view'd his crew,
Then dropp'd a tear, and said, "Adieu!
Unto the Italian coast I'll fly,
To brother Bob at Tuscany,[12]
And to your charge commit my family,
And may the Lord reward your loyalty."
He said no more, his heart was big,
With grief he swoon'd, off dropt his wig!
Just then his valet op'd the door,
And saw his master on the floor;
He rung the bell, in came the groom,
Who took him to another room;
And as they bore him from the hall,
He wav'd his hand, and bow'd to all.

At this each warrior marchèd forth,
Some took the East, and others North,
With pensive look and downcast eye,
Lamenting all their destiny.
What fools we have been, thus to sing,
"God bless the Cause! God save the King!"
Had we foreseen this great event,
Our time we might have better spent,
Our money, too, have better lent.
Ruin'd for ever, past all recovery,
From ardent zeal to serve our country."
They said no more, each parted full of grief,
Not knowing how or where to seek relief.
But, ere they shuffled through the street,
We gave a blast, to sound retreat!
Now hear, ye Buffers of the Crown,
And to your children hand it down,
How vain and foolish 'tis for man,
The ways of Providence to scan.
Or to attempt to set at nought
His great decrees by deed or thought.
Mind this grand rule, and learn to do,
To others as you'd have them do to you.

Sure Parson Burchill[13] never could preach,
That murder was no sin, or breach;
Profanely for to lift the hand
Against the laws of God and man.
Because we differ in opinion
About some forms in our religion,
And will not suffer laws to stand,
Made by the King at his command,
Or money raise without consent
Of either House of Parliament.
The King we honour and respect,
But still our laws we will protect.
At your next banquet then, beware,
Don't sell the skin till you've caught the bear!

Methinks I hear you now exclaim
Against the subject of this theme.
Ask, "Why so testy with the Squire,
If you his deeds so much admire?
Is it, because in this disaster
He did not leave his Lord and Master?"
No, that we deny; it is because
He sanctioned such oppressive laws,
Subscribed his name, and gave consent
For making war 'gainst Parliament.
Our liberties did not defend,
But to serve the King was his chief end.
His country he forgot, neglected,
Therefore you have the reason why
He's treated so disdainfully.
Now fare you well! all feuds let cease,
Shake hands, be friends, and live in peace.
We ask no more, then fare you well again!
Friendship we love, but Malice we disdain.
Quies in Caelo!

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

  1. Bradninch
  2. Bradninch
  3. Bradninch
  4. Peter Sainthill (1593-1648) of Bradninch, Devon, Member of Parliament and Royalist Captain in the English Civil War
  5. Bradninch Hall
  6. Recorder of Bradninch, a legal office
  7. Solicitor-General to the Queen
  8. Dorothy Parker, wife of Peter Sainthill
  9. Bradninch Hall
  10. "Gentlemen", Westcountry dialect
  11. Government of the City of Exeter, i.e. Mayor and Aldermen, sitting in the Exeter Guildhall
  12. His younger brother was Robert Sainthill ( a merchant, who was agent at Leghorn for Ferdinando II de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany,
  13. Rev. John Burchill, Curate of Bradninch 1598-1618, per Oliver, George, Ecclesiastical antiquities in Devon: being observations on several churches ..., p.21[1]. A John Burchill was Vicar of Bovey Tracey when he died in 1630[2]