A web-based edition of early seventeenth-century political poetry from manuscript sources. It brings into the public domain over 350 poems, many of which have never before been published.

L10 Heaven blesse King James our joy

Notes. In the chosen source, this scabrous poetic assault on the favourite and his much-rewarded kindred is dated 1623. Knowles (“To ‘scourge the arse’” 77-78) analyzes the poem’s use of images of sodomy to “figure the profligate acquisition of rich matches and office”, while Cogswell (Blessed Revolution 47-48) contextualizes the poem’s bitter attack on Buckingham’s kin as evidence of the hatred the favourite’s pro-Spanish policies had aroused. This particular copy of the poem includes marginal notes identifying some, but not all, of the personages targeted by the libeller.

Heaven blesse King James our joy,

And charles his baby.                      [m.note: “The prince”]

Great George our brave viceroy            [m.note: “Buckingham”]

And his fayre Lady.1

Old Bedlame buckingame,2                   [m.note: “George his mother”]


With her Lord Keeper.3                  [m.note: “Bishoppe Williams”]

Shee loves the fucking game

Hee’s her cunt creeper.

Thees bee they goe so gay,

In court and citty,


Yett no man cares for them,

Is not this pitty.

Thee fayre young Marchionesse,4

And Lady Feildinge,5

Kate for her worth heavens blesse


Su:6 for her yeildinge.

Ned Villers hath a wife7

And shee’s a good one,

Buttler8 leads an ill life,

Yett’s of the blood one


Theese be they, goe so gay

In court & citty,

And find grace in each place,

Or else t’were pitty.

Cranefeild9 I make a vow;                     [m.note: “Lord treasurer”]


Not to bee partiall,

Nan10 was us’d you know how,            [m.note: “his wife”]

By the earle Marshall,11                   [m.note: “Arundell”]

Thy horne of honour12 foole

Hee hath exalted


Tell no tales out of scoole

Least thou bee palted,13

These bee they, goe so gay

And keepe the mony,

Which hee can better keepe


Then his wifes cunny.

Old Abbott Anthony                             [m.note: “Sir Anthony Ashley”]

I thinke hath well done,

Since hee left sodomy,

To marry Sheldon.14


Shee hath a buttocke plumpe,

Keepe but thy tarse15 whole,

And shee’le hold up her rumpe,

With her black arse hole.

These bee they, goe so gay,


In court & citty,

Yett the next spring, they must singe,

Thee Cookeoes ditty.16

And Vicecount Feildinge17 too               [m.note: “Sir Wllm Feildinge”]

Is a good fellowe


But indeed Tom Comptons18 blew

Nose, doth looke yellowe

Will19 hath the better way

Hee can indure all,

What need Tom care a straw?


Lincolne20 can cure all.

These bee they, drinke & play,

In court still busy

They will supp at the cupp,

Till there braynes dizy.


Young Compton21 might have had,

Wives by the dozen,

And yet the foole was madd

For George22 his cosen

Maxwell23 swares by his sale


Hee’s not bee hindred,

They gett the divell & all,

That swive24 the kindred.

Thes be they, goe so gay,

All the Ile over.


There is no greater foole,

Then the fond lover.

Kitt25 was allmost forgott,                       [m.note: “Kitt Villers”]

Damport26 had hid him,


They two were at the pott,

While Wray out ridd him27

For at his elbowe stood

Bulching28 with sherry                       [m.note: “The drawer”]29

Cryng this breeds good blood

Hang wives, bee, merry.


Thes be they spend the day,

I drinke & swivinge30

Gentle Kitt learne more witt

Then goe a wifinge.

Thee fidler was an asse,


Hee liv’d by scraping,

His lusty kindred was,

Not worth the japing.31

Nor yett in number sure

Could they come neere us,


Wee are the chast & pure,

Hell need not feare us.

These bee they, goe so gay

In court & citty,

Yett but few love us,


Thee more is the pitty.

Harke how the wagons crack

With there rich ladinge32

Doll33 comes up with her packe,

Su’s34 fitt for tradinge.


Phill:35 will no longer stay,

With her base baby

What dare the people say

When shees a lady

Thes be they, goe so gay


In court & citty

Would you have an office pray

You must bee thiss witty.

Source. Beinecke MS Osborn b.197, pp. 187-89

Other known sources. Bodleian MS Douce 357, fol. 16r; Bodleian MS Don.c.54, fol. 60v; Bodleian MS Rawl. D. 398, fol. 192r; Bodleian MS Rawl. Poet. 160, fol. 178v; Bodleian MS Tanner 306, fol. 257r; BL Add. MS 5832, fol. 206v; BL Add. MS 61683, fol. 74r; TCD MS 806, fol. 75r


1   his fayre Lady: in 1620, Buckingham married Katherine (Kate) Manners, daughter of the Earl of Rutland. <back>

2   Bedlame buckingame: the favourite’s mother, Mary Villiers, who was created Countess of Buckingham in her own right in 1618. “Bedlame” here means “bedlam” or mad-woman. Other copies, however, have “bel-dame”, which could mean either “old woman”, or “hag” and “witch”. <back>

3   her Lord Keeper: John Williams, who had been a chaplain to the Countess of Buckingham, was created Lord Keeper and Bishop of Lincoln in the summer of 1621. <back>

4   fayre young Marchionesse: the favourite’s wife, Katherine (Kate) Villiers. <back>

5   Lady Feildinge: Susan Villiers, the favourite’s older sister, had married William Feilding, Earl of Denbigh. <back>

6   Su: i.e. Susan Feilding. <back>

7   Ned Villers hath a wife: Sir Edward Villiers, the favourite’s half-brother by his father’s first marriage, married Barbara St. John. <back>

8   Buttler: Elizabeth Villiers, the favourite’s half-sister by his father’s first marriage, married Sir John Boteler. <back>

9   Cranefeild: Sir Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex and, from 1621 to 1624, Lord Treasurer. <back>

10   Nan: Cranfield married as his second wife Anne Brett, the favourite’s cousin on his mother’s side. <back>

11   earle Marshall: Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, Earl Marshal. <back>

12   horne of honour: Cranfield’s cuckold horns. <back>

13   palted: hit with missiles. <back>

14   Sheldon: Philippa Sheldon, who married the aged Sir Anthony Ashley in January 1622. Philippa was the sister of Elizabeth Sheldon, who was married to Buckingham’s brother Christopher (Kit) Villiers. <back>

15   tarse: penis. <back>

16   Thee Cookeoes ditty: the cuckoo was notorious for laying its eggs in other birds’ nests; hence “cuckoo” was a term for “cuckold”. Perhaps the implication is that, married to the aged sodomite Ashley, Philippa Sheldon was likely to stray, and any child she might conceive would thus be illegitimate. <back>

17   Vicecount Feildinge: Sir William Feilding, appointed Earl of Denbigh in September 1622, husband of the favourite’s sister Susan. <back>

18   Tom Comptons: the favourite’s step-father, Sir Thomas Compton, who married Mary Villiers c.1609. <back>

19   Will: either Sir William Feilding or, perhaps, Thomas Compton’s brother, William Compton, Earl of Northampton. <back>

20   Lincolne: John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln and Lord Keeper, and alleged lover of Thomas Compton’s wife, the Countess of Buckingham. <back>

21   Young Compton: probably Spencer Compton, son of William Compton, Earl of Northampton, and the favourite’s cousin by marriage. <back>

22   George: i.e. the favourite Buckingham. <back>

23   Maxwell: perhaps Buckingham’s friend Robert Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale. <back>

24   swive: have sex with. <back>

25   Kitt: Sir Christopher Villiers, Buckingham’s brother, created Earl of Anglesey in 1623. <back>

26   Damport: probably a contraction of Davenport; which Davenport, however, is unknown. It is possible that it could be the lawyer Humphrey Davenport, who was at this time connected with Henry de Vere, Earl of Oxford, later blamed for facilitating Edward Wray’s elopement with Lady Elizabeth Norris. <back>

27   Wray out ridd him: Edward Wray, a Groom of the Bedchamber, eloped with Lady Elizabeth Norris in March 1622. Lady Norris, the daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, had, as Chamberlain reported, been “designed to Kit Villers” (2.429). Wray lost his court position as a result. <back>

28   Bulching: swelling, bulging. <back>

29   drawer: the server at the bar. <back>

30   swivinge: having sex. <back>

31   japing: to jape had a number of meanings that are plausible in this context, including “to deceive” and “to copulate”. <back>

32   rich ladinge: i.e. the wealth and lands the Villiers extended kindred has amassed thanks to George’s position at court. <back>

33   Doll: a nickname for Dorothy. The only plausible candidate among the Villiers extended kindred would be the favourite’s aunt on his mother’s side, Dorothy Beaumont, wife of John Hill, whose daughter Susan married Sir Edward Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, early in 1623. <back>

34   Su’s: either Susan Feilding or (more likely if Doll is Dorothy Beaumont) Buckingham’s cousin Susan Hill, who married Sir Edward Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, early in 1623. <back>

35   Phill: possibly Philippa Sheldon/Ashley, although the reference to her “base baby” is unclear. <back>