The Cryes of Ulster by Payne Fisher

To my much honored Friend and Coll.: Sr. J. CI. [Sir John Clotworthy]

Up sad Melpomene; up; and condole
The Ruines of a Realme: attire thy soule
In sorrowes Dresse; and let thy Fountaines rise
And overflow the Floud-gates of thine eyes.
Fill up thy sanguine Cisternes to the Brimme:
Spread forth thy expanded armes, and learne to swim
In thine owne Teares, that thus thou maist make knowne
The Griefes of others, fully as thine own.
Oh! here’s a Theame indeed! If mortalls could
Not now lament, the Rocks and Mountains would:
The melting Heavens, whose Influences steepe
The tender stones, would teach us how to weepe.
The Blood-imbrued-Earth doth Blush to see
Such horrid Massakers ; and shall not wee?
Sure should wee not; wee had lesse shame than Those
Hard Hearts that were first Authors of these Woes.

Disastrous state! how beautifull, how faire
Thy Buildings, and how foule thy Vices were!
How were thy glorious Blossomes turn’d to Dust,
And blasted with the lightning of thy lust!
Brim’d with Excesse how did thy cuppes o’reflowe
More fast than all thy trickling Teares doe now!
How have thy crimes ecclips’d thee, and crying loud
For Vengance masqued thy Forhead in a cloud!
Thy Greatnesse but encreas’d thy Griefe: and that
Which was thy Glory, usherd on thy Fate.
Thy Store and Plenty, have but centuplied
Thy greater Plauges, and made thy wound more wide;
And what should most revive thee and restoare
Thine Health, did most exulcerat the Soare.
Thy stately woods, whose beauty did excite
In the spectator, wonder, and delight:
Proved but thy Funerall Faggots, to consume
Thee in cinders; and to exaggerat thy Doome
And all thy Blazing Territories have
But Torches beene, to light thee to thy Grave.

And shall Shee perish; and wee sorrow thus,
And is there none to help Hir, or pitty us?
O happy England! who wilt scarce confesse
Lulld with security thine Happinesse!
Thy Troubles were but triviall, and thy Feares
But merely Fantasies compar’d with Hirs.
‘Tis Shee, ’tis Shee hath suffer’ d: and drunck up
Those Dregges whereof Thou ‘hast onely kiss’d the cup.
Those puny Plauges, which partially have met
In Thee, have beene soe ample, soe compleat
And numerous in Hir; that nothing more
Could once be heapt or added to Hir Score.

But ah! complaints are Shaddowes and too breife
And short to ‘expresse the Substance of my Griefe!
Thou that wert once great Brittanes only glory
And now become a Gazing-stock, a story:
Exiled from Humane Joyes, and Heaven’s smiles,
Or’ewhelmed, and sepulchred in thine owne spoiles.
Famine! thou Sister of the Sword; and Sonne
Of Death; how many worlds hast thou undone!
How dost thou tyrannize! and keep thy Leets
And constant Stations in all Hir streets!
Oh how the pale -face’t Sucklings roare for food
And from their milke-lesse Mother’s Breast draw blood.
They crye’d for bread that had scarce breath to crye
And wanting Meanes to live, found Meanes to die.
The gasping Father lies; and to his Heire
Bequeathes his pined coarse: The Nurses teare
And quarter out their Infants; whiles they Feast
Upon the one halfe, and preserve the rest.
O cruell Famine; which compells the Mother
To kill one hungry Child to feed another!

Thus is thy Glory vanisht in a Trice
And all thy Braveryes buried in abysse.
Yet bee not thou dismay’d with too much sorrow:
These Nights of griefe may finde a joy full Morrow:
Cleare then thy clouded Countenance; and calme
Thy discomposed Soule: Heaven, Heaven has Balme
As well as Thunder Bolts; and bee thou sure
Thou canst not Bleed soe fast as hee can cure.
‘Tis Hee, ’tis Hee, can heale thee; and bruise those
That have triumphed in these Overthrowes.
There is a time for them : when Heaven’s Decree
Shall call Them to accompt as well as Thee;
And a Day there is: if Souldiers may divine,
To worke their Ruines, who have thus wrought Thine.

From: Pinkerton, William, “Unpublished Poems Relating to Ulster in 1642-43” in The Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 1860, Volume 8, 1860, Hodges & Smith: Dublin, pp. 156-158.
(https://archive.org/stream/ulsterjournalofa1860ulstiala#page/156/mode/2up)

Date: 1645-1646

By: Payne Fisher (1616-1693)

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