13 And shall we kindle all this flame
Only to put it out again,
And must we now give o’er,
And only end where we begun?
In vain this mischief we have done,
If we can do no more.
14 If men in peace can have their right,
Where’s the necessity to fight,
That breaks both law and oath?
They’ll say they fight not for the cause,
Nor to defend the King and laws,
But us against them both.
15 Either the cause at first was ill,
Or, being good, it is so still;
And thence they will infer,
That either now or at the first
They were deceived; or, which is worst,
That we ourselves may err.
16 But plague and famine will come in,
For they and we are near of kin,
And cannot go asunder:
But while the wicked starve, indeed
The saints have ready at their need
God’s providence, and plunder.
17 Princes we are if we prevail,
And gallant villains if we fail.
When to our fame ’tis told,
It will not be our least of praise,
Since a new state we could not raise,
To have destroy’d the old.
18 Then let us stay and fight, and vote,
Till London is not worth a groat;
Oh! ’tis a patient beast!
When we have gall’d and tired the mule,
And can no longer have the rule,
We’ll have the spoil at least.
After so many concurring petitions
From all ages and sexes, and all conditions,
We come in the rear to present our follies
To Pym, Stroud, Haslerig, Hampden, and Hollis.
Though set form of prayer be an abomination,
Set forms of petitions find great approbation;
Therefore, as others from th’bottom of their souls,
So we from the depth and bottom of our bowels,
According unto the bless’d form you have taught us,
We thank you first for the ills you have brought us: 10
For the good we receive we thank him that gave it,
And you for the confidence only to crave it.
Next in course, we complain of the great violation
Of privilege (like the rest of our nation),
But ’tis none of yours of which we have spoken,
Which never had being until they were broken;
But ours is a privilege ancient and native,
Hangs not on an ord’nance, or power legislative.
And, first, ’tis to speak whatever we please,
Without fear of a prison or pursuivants’ fees. 20
Next, that we only may lie by authority;
But in that also you have got the priority.
Next, an old custom, our fathers did name it
Poetical license, and always did claim it.
By this we have power to change age into youth,
Turn nonsense to sense, and falsehood to truth;