Speech of Tom. Ross’s Ghost, to his Pupil, the Duke of Monmouth by Wentworth Dillon

Shame of my life, disturber of my tomb,
Base as thy mother’s prostituted womb;
Huffing to cowards, fawning to the brave,
To knaves a fool, to cred’lous fools a knave,
The king’s betrayer, and the peoples slave.
Like Samuel, at thy negromantic call,
I rise, to tell thee, God has left thee, Saul.
I strove in vain th’infected blood to cure;
Streams will run muddy when the spring’s impure.
In all your meritorious life, we see
Old Taff’s invincible sobriety.
Places of master of the horse, and spy,
You, like Tom. Howard, did at once supply:
From Sidney’s blood your loyalty did spring;
You show us all your parents, but the king,
From whose too tender, and too bounteous arms,
(Unhappy he who such a viper warms;
As dutiful a subject, as a son)
To your true parent, the whole town, you run.
Read, if you can, how th’ old apostate fell,
Out-do his pride, and merit more than hell:
Both he and you were glorious and bright,
The first and fairest of the sons of light;
But when, like him, you offer’d at the crown,
Like him, your angry father kick’d you down.

From: Dillon, Wentworth, The Poetical Works of the Right Honourable, Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, 1749, R. Urie: Glasgow, pp. 58-59.

Date: 1683

By: Wentworth Dillon (c1633-1685)

Note: James Scott (also known as James Croft), Duke of Monmouth, was Charles II’s illegitimate son with Lucy Waters. He was born in 1649 and Thomas Ross (died 1675) was appointed as his tutor around 1658. In 1683, the Duke of Monmouth was accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate Charles II and the Duke of York which aimed to put him on the throne. Charles II spared him but is said to never have trusted him again. In 1685, after Charles II’s death, Monmouth was involved in a rebellion to gain the kingship. He was executed for this at Tower Hill. The executioner took five strokes to partially behead him and then had to complete the job with a knife.


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