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Percy's Reliques - The Distracted Puritan.

The Distracted Puritan.


            This piece was written about the beginning of the seventeenth century by the witty Bishop Corbet, and is printed from the third edition of his poems, 12mo. 1672, compared with a more ancient copy in the Editor's folio manuscript.

AM I mad, O noble Festus,
When zeal and godly knowledge
Have put me in hope
To deal with the pope,
As well as the best in the college?
Boldly I preach, hate a cross, hate a surplice,
Mitres, copes, and rochets;
Come hear me pray nine times a day,
And fill your heads with crochets.

In the house of pure Emanuel[ 1]
I had my education,
Where my friends surmise I dazel'd my eyes
With the sight of revelation.
Boldly I preach, &c.

They bound me like a bedlam,
They lash'd my four poor quarters;
Whilst this I endure,
Faith makes me sure
To be one of Foxes martyrs.
Boldly I preach, &c.

These injuries I suffer
Through antichrist's perswasion
Take off this chain,
Neither Rome nor Spain
Can resist my strong invasion.
Boldly I preach, &c.

Of the beast's ten horns (God bless us!)
I have knock'd off three already;
If they let me alone I'll leave him none:
But they say I am too heady.
Boldly I preach, &c.

When I sack'd the seven-hill'd city,
I met the great red dragon;
I kept him aloof
With the armour of proof,
Though here I have never a rag on.
Boldly I preach, &c.

With a fiery sword and target,
There fought I with this monster:
But the sons of pride
My zeal deride,
And all my deeds misconster.
Boldly I preach, &c.

I un-hors'd the Whore of Babel,
With the lance of Inspiration;
I made her stink,
And spill the drink
In her cup of abomination.
Boldly I preach, &c.

I have seen two in a vision
With a flying book[ 2] between them.
I have been in despair
Five times in a year,
And been cur'd by reading Greenham.[ 3]
Boldly I preach, &c.

I observ'd in Perkin's tables[ 4]
The black line of damnation;
Those crooked veins
So stuck in my brains,
That I fear'd my reprobation.
Boldly I preach, &c.

In the holy tongue of Canaan
I plac'd my chiefest pleasure:
Till I prick'd my foot
With an Hebrew root,
That I bled beyond all measure.
Boldly I preach, &c.

I appear'd before the archbishop,[ 5]
And all the high commission;
I gave him no grace,
But told him to his face,
That he favour'd superstition.
Boldly I preach, hate a cross, hate a surplice,
Mitres, copes, and rochets:
Come hear me pray nine times a day,
And fill your heads with crotchets.


1. Emanuel College, Cambridge, was originally a seminary of Puritans.

2. Alluding to some visionary exposition of Zech. ch. v. ver. 1; or, if the date of this song would permit, one might suppose it aimed at one Coppe, a strange enthusiast, whose life may be seen in Wood's Athen. vol. ii. p. 501. He was author of a book, intitled, The Fiery Flying Roll: and afterwards published a recantation, part of whose title is, The Fiery Flying Roll's Wings clipt, &c.

3. See Greenham's Works, fol. 1605, particularly the tract intitled A sweet Comfort for an afflicted Conscience.

4. See Perkins's Works, fol. 1616, vol. i. p. ii; where is a large half sheet folded, containing "A Survey or Table, declaring the Order of the Causes of Salvation and Damnation," &c. the pedigree of Damnation being distinguished by a broad black zig-zag line.

5. Abp. Laud.


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