The Missing Cross to Purity

Thomas Ellwood

Highlights of His Life, and His Poetry


Imprisonments Begin

[Ellwood was arrested twice, once to be confined to marshall's house for a few days; and a second time to be confined in a justice's home for a few days, narrowly escaping being sent to harsh prisons. He continued to visit with the Penington's, who then arranged for him to enter the employ of John Milton in London to be his reader. While in London, attending a meeting at the Bull and Mouth meeting place, he and thirty-two other Quakers were brutally arrested by militia, drug into the street, and immediately taken to prison. We resume his narrative with his detailed description of prison conditions.]

When he had gotten as many as he could or thought fit, about thirty-two, including two were arrested in the street, who had not been at the meeting, he ordered the pikes to be opened before us; and giving the word to march, went himself at the head of us, the soldiers with their pikes making a lane to keep us from scattering.

He led us up Martin's, and so turned down to Newgate Prison, where I expected he would have lodged us. But, to my disappointment, he went on through Newgate, and turning through the Old Bailey, brought us into Fleet Street. I was then wholly at a loss to conjecture where he would lead us, unless it was to Whitehall, for I knew nothing then of Old Bridewell Prison; but on a sudden he gave a short turn, and brought us before the gate of that prison, where knocking, the wicket was quickly opened, and the master, with his porter, ready to receive us.

One of those two who were picked up in the street, being near me, and telling me his case, I stepped to the Major, and told him that this man was not at the meeting, but was taken up in the street; and showed him how hard and unjust a thing it would be to put him into prison.

I had not pleased him before when I had questioned him if he intended to massacre us with their pikes encircling us like animals, and that, I suppose, made this solicitation less acceptable to him from me than it might have been from some other; for looking sternly on me, he said: "Who are you, that take so much upon you? Seeing you are so busy, you shall be the first man that shall go into Bridewell;" and taking me by the shoulders, he thrust me in.

As soon as I was in, the porter, pointing with his finger, directed me to a fair pair of stairs on the farther side of a large court, and told me go up those stairs, and go on until I could go no farther.

Accordingly I went up the stairs; the first flight whereof brought me to a fair chapel on my left hand, which I could look into through the iron gates, but could not have gone into if I would.

I knew that was not a place for me. Therefore, following my direction and the winding of the stairs, I went up a story higher, which brought me into a room which I soon perceived to be a court-room or place of judicature. After I had stood a while there, and taken a view of it, observing a door on the farther side, I went to it, and opened it, with intention to go in, but I quickly drew back, being almost frightened at the dismalness of the place; for besides that the walls quite round were laid allover, from top to bottom, in black, there stood in the middle of it a great whipping-post, which was all the furniture it had.

In one of these two rooms judgment was given, and in the other it was executed on those ill people who for their lewdness were sent to this prison, and there sentenced to be whipped; which was so contrived that the court might not only hear, but see, if they pleased, their sentence executed. A sight so unexpected, and withal so unpleasing, gave me no encouragement either to rest or indeed to enter at all there; until looking earnestly I espied, on the opposite side, a door, which giving me hopes of a farther progress, I adventured to step hastily to it, and opened it.

This let me into one of the fairest rooms that, so far as I remember, I was ever in, and no wonder, for though it was now put to this mean use, it had for many ages past been the royal seat or palace of the kings of England, until Cardinal Wolsey built Whitehall, and offered it as a peace offering to King Henry the Eighth, who until that time had kept his court in this house, and had this, as the people in the house reported, for his dining-room, by which name it then went. This room in length, (for I lived long enough in it to have time to measure it), was threescore feet, and had width proportionate to it. In it, on the front side, were very large bay windows, in which stood a large table. It had other very large tables in it, with benches round; and at that time the floor was covered with rushes, against some solemn festival, which I heard it was bespoken for. Here was my nil ultra [end of the line], and here I found I might set up my pillar; for although there was a door out of it to a back pair of stairs which led to it, yet that was kept locked. So that finding I had now followed my keeper's direction to the utmost point, beyond which I could not go, I sat down and considered that rhetorical saying, “That the way to Heaven lay by the gate of Hell;” the black room, through which I passed into this, bearing some resemblance to the latter, as this comparatively and by way of allusion might in some sort be thought to bear to the former. But I was quickly put out of these thoughts by the flocking in of the other Friends, my fellow-prisoners, among whom yet, when all were come together, there was but one whom I knew so much as by face, and with him I had no acquaintance; for I having been but a little while in the city, and in that time kept close to my studies, I was by that means known to very few.

Soon after we were all gotten together, came up the master of the house after us and demanded our names, which we might reasonably have refused to give until we had been legally convened before some civil magistrate who had power to examine us and demand our names; but we, who were neither guileful nor willful, simply gave him our names, which he took down in writing.

It was, as I hinted before, a general storm which fell that day, but it lighted most, and most heavy, upon our meetings; so that most of our men Friends were made prisoners, and the prisons generally filled. Great work had the women to run about from prison to prison to find their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, or their servants; for according as they had disposed themselves to several meetings, so were they dispersed to several prisons. No less care and pains had they, when they had found them, to furnish them with provisions and other necessary accommodations. An excellent order, even in those early days, was practiced among the Friends of that city, by which there were certain Friends of either sex appointed to have the oversight of the prisons in every quarter, and to take care of all Friends, the poor especially, that should be committed there.

This prison of Bridewell was under the care of two honest, grave, discreet, and motherly women, whose names were Anne Menick, (afterwards Vivers), and Anne Travers, both widows.

They, so soon as they understood that there were Friends brought into that prison, provided some hot victuals, meat, and broth, for the weather was cold; and ordering their servants to bring it them, with bread, cheese, and beer, came themselves also with it, and having placed it on a table, gave notice to us that it was provided for all those that had not others to provide for them, or were not able to provide for themselves. Rhere wanted not among us a competent number of such guests.

As for my part, although I had lived as frugally as possibly I could, so I might draw out the thread of my little stock to the utmost length, yet I had by this time reduced it to ten pence, which was all the money I had about me, or anywhere else at my command.

This was but a small estate to enter upon an imprisonment with, yet was I not at all discouraged at it, nor had I a murmuring thought. I had known what it was, moderately, to abound, and if I should now come to suffer want, I knew I ought to be content; and through the grace of God I was so. I had lived by Providence before, when for a long time I had no money at all, and I had always found the Lord a good provider. I made no doubt, therefore, that He who sent the ravens to feed Elijah, and who clothes the lilies, would find some means to sustain me with needful food and raiment; and I had learned by experience the truth of that saying, “Nature is content with few things, or a little.”

Although the sight and smell of hot food was sufficiently enticing to my empty stomach, for I had eaten little that morning and was hungry, yet, considering the terms of the invitation, I questioned whether I was included in it; and after some reasonings at length concluded that, while I had ten pence in my pocket, I should be but an injurious intruder to that meal, which was provided for such as perhaps had not I two pence in theirs.

Being come to this resolution, I withdrew as far from the table as I could, and sat down in a quiet retirement of mind until the repast was over, which was not long; for there were hands enough at it to make light work of it.

When evening came the porter came up the back stairs, and opening the door, told us if we desired to have anything that was to be had in the house, he would bring it us; for there was in the house a chandler's shop, at which beer, bread, butter, cheese, eggs and bacon, might be had for money. Upon which many went to him, and spoke for what of these things they had a mind to, giving him money to pay for them. Among the rest went I, and intending to spin out my ten pence as far as I could, desired him to bring me a penny loaf only. When he returned we an resorted to him to receive our several provisions, which he delivered; and when he came to me he told me be could not get a penny loaf, but he had brought me two halfpenny loaves.

This suited me better. Therefore returning to my place again, I sat down and eat up one of my loaves, reserving the other for the next day.

This was to me both dinner and supper; and so well satisfied I was with it that I could willingly then have gone to bed, if I had had one to go to; but that was not to be expected there, nor had anyone any bedding brought in that night. Some of the company had been so considerate as to send for a pound of candles, that we might not sit all night in the dark, and having lit several of them, and placed them in several parts of that large room, we kept walking to keep us warm.

After I had warmed myself pretty thoroughly and the evening was pretty far spent, I thought about where to sleep; and cast my eye on the table which stood in the bay window, the frame which looked, I thought, somewhat like a bedstead. Therefore, willing to make sure of that, I gathered up a good armful of the rushes by which the floor was covered, and spreading them under the table, crept in upon them in my clothes, and keeping on my hat, laid my head upon one end of the table's frame, instead of a pillow.

My example was followed by the rest, who, gathering up rushes as I had done, made themselves beds in other parts of the room, and so to rest we went.

I having a quiet easy mind, was soon asleep, and slept until about the middle of the night. Then waking, finding my legs and feet very cold, I crept out of my cabin and began to walk about apace.

This waked and raised all the rest, who finding themselves cold as well as I, got up and walked about with me, until we had pretty well warmed ourselves, and then we all lay down again, and rested until morning.

Next day, all those who had families, or belonged to families, had bedding brought in of one sort or other, which they disposed at ends and sides of the room, leaving the middle void to walk in.

But I, who had nobody to look after me, kept to my pallet of rushes under the table for four nights together, in which time I did not take off my clothes; yet, through the merciful goodness of God unto me, I rested and slept well, and enjoyed health, without taking cold.

In this time several of our company, through the solicitations of some of their relations or acquaintance to Sir Richard Brown, who was at that time a great master [mayor] of misrule in the city, and over Bridewell more especially, were released; and among these one William Mucklow, who lay in a hammock. He having observed that I was the only one without bedding, came very courteously to me, and kindly offered me the use of his hammock while I should continue a prisoner. This was a providential accommodation to me, which I received thankfully, both from the Lord and from him; and from then I thought I lay as well as ever I had done in my life.

Among those who remained there were several young men who cast themselves into a club, and laying down every one an equal portion of money, put it into the hand of our outside supporter, Anne Travers, desiring her to lay it out for them in provisions, and send them in every day a meal of hot meat; and they kindly invited me to come into their club with them. These saw my person, and judged of me by that, but they saw not my purse, nor understood the lightness of my pocket. But I, who alone understood my own condition, knew I must sit down with lower commons. Therefore, not giving them the true reason, I as fairly as I could excused myself from entering at present into their mess, and went on, as before, to eat by myself and that very sparingly, as my stock would bear, and before my ten pence was quite spent, Providence, on whom I relied, sent me in a fresh supply.

For William Penington, a brother of Isaac Penington's, a Friend and merchant in London, at whose house, before I came to live in the city, I had lodged, having been at his brother's that day upon a visit, escaped this storm, and so was at liberty; and understanding when he came back what had been done, thought of me, and upon inquiry hearing where I was, came in love to see me. He in discussion, among other things, asked me how it was with me as to money, and how well I was furnished. I told him I could not boast of much, and yet I could not say I had none; though what I then had was indeed next to none. At which point he put twenty shillings (5 pence each, 1 pound total) into my hand, and desired me to accept of that for the present. I saw a Divine hand in thus opening his heart and hand in this manner to me; and though I would willingly have been excused from taking so much, and would have returned one half of it, yet he pressing it all upon me, I received it with a thankful acknowledgment as a token of love from the Lord and from him.

On the seventh day he went down again, as he usually did, to his brother's house at Chalfont, and in discussion gave them an account of my imprisonment. At which point, at his return on the second day of the week following, my affectionate friend Mary Penington sent me, by him, forty shillings, which he soon after, brought me; out of which I would have repaid him the twenty shillings he had so kindly furnished me with, but he would not admit it, telling me I might have occasion for that and more before I got my liberty.

Not many days after this I received twenty shillings from I my father, who being then at his house in Oxfordshire, and by letter from my sister understanding that I was a prisoner in Bridewell, sent this money to me for my support there, and withal a letter to my sister for her to deliver to one called Mr. Wray, who lived near Bridewell, and was a servant to Sir Richard Brown in some wharf of his, requesting him to intercede with his master, who was one of the governors of Bridewell, for my deliverance; but that letter coming to my hands, I suppressed it, and have it yet by me.

Now was my pocket from the lowest ebb risen to a full tide. I was at the brink of want, next door to nothing, yet my confidence did not fail nor my faith stagger; and now on a sudden I had plentiful supplies, shower upon shower, so that I abounded, yet was not lifted up, but in humility could say, "This is the Lord's doing.” Without defrauding any of the instruments of the acknowledgments due unto them, mine eye looked over and beyond them to the Lord, who I saw was the author thereof and prime agent therein, and with a thankful heart I returned thanksgivings and, praises to Him. This great goodness of the Lord to me I thus record, to the end that all into whose bands this may come may be encouraged to trust in the Lord, whose mercy is over all His works, and who is indeed a God near at hand, to help in the needful time.

Now I dared venture myself into the club to which I had been invited, and accordingly, having by this time gained an acquaintance with them, took an opportunity to cast myself among them; and then on, so long as we continued prisoners there together, I was one of their mess. And now the chief thing I wanted was employment, which scarce any wanted but myself; for the rest of my company were generally tradesmen of such trades as could set themselves on work. Of these, several were tailors, some masters, some journeymen, and with these I most inclined to settle. But because I was too much a novice in their art to be trusted with their work, lest I should spoil the garments, I got work from an hosier in Cheapside, which was to make night-waistcoats, of red and yellow flannel, for women and children. With this I entered myself among the tailors, sitting cross-legged as they did, and so spent those leisure hours with innocence and pleasure which want of business would have made tedious. Indeed that was in a manner the only advantage I had by it; for my master, though a very wealthy man, and one who professed not only friendship but particular kindness to me, dealt I thought but hardly with me. For though he knew not what I had to subsist by, he never offered me a penny for my work until I had done working for him, and went, after I was released, to give him a visit; and then he would not reckon with me neither, because, as he smilingly said, he would not let me so far into his trade as to acquaint me with the prices of the work, but would be sure to give me enough. Then he gave me one crown piece (25 pence) and no more; though I had wrought long for him, and made him many dozens of waistcoats, and bought the thread myself; which I thought was very poor pay. But as Providence had ordered it, I wanted the work more than the wages, and therefore took what he gave me without complaining.

About this time, while we were prisoners in our fair chamber, a Friend was brought and put in among us, who had been sent there by Richard Brown to beat hemp; whose case was thus :- He was a very poor man, who lived by mending shoes, and on a seventh-day night, late, a street car worker, or some other such laboring man, brought him a pair of shoes to mend, desiring him to mend them that night, that he might have them in the morning, for he had no other to wear. The poor man sat up at work upon them until after midnight, and then finding he could not finish them, went to bed, intending to do the rest in the morning.

Accordingly, he got up betimes, and though he wrought as privately as he could in his chamber, that he might avoid giving offence to any, yet could he not do it so privately but that an ill-natured neighbor perceived it, who went and informed against him for working on the Sunday. At which point he was had before Richard Brown, who committed him to Bridewell for a certain time, to be kept to hard labor in beating hemp, which is labor hard enough.

It so fell out that at the same time were committed there (for what cause I do not now remember), two lusty young men, who were called Baptists, to be kept also at the same labor.

The Friend was a poor little man, of a low condition and mean appearance; whereas these two Baptists were topping blades, that looked high and spoke big. They scorned to beat hemp, and made a pish [exclamation of contempt] at the whipping-post; but when they had once felt the smart of it, they soon cried guilty, and submitting to the punishment, set their tender hands to the beating of the hemp.

The Friend, on the other hand, acting upon a principle, knowing he had done no evil for which he should undergo that punishment, refused to work, and for refusing was cruelly whipped; which he bore with wonderful constancy and resolution of mind.

The manner of whipping there is, to strip the party to the skin from the waist upwards, and having fastened him to the whipping-post, so that he can neither resist nor shun the strokes, to lash the naked body with long but slender twigs of holly, which will bend almost like thongs, and lap round the body; and these having little knots upon them, tear the skin and flesh, and give extreme pain.

With these rods they tormented the Friend most barbarously, and the more for that, having mastered the two braving Baptists, they disdained to be mastered by this poor Quaker. Yet were they willingly at last to yield when they saw their utmost severity could not make him yield; and then, not willing to be troubled longer with him, they turned him up among us. When we had inquired of him how it was with him, and he had given us a brief account of both his cause and usage, it came in my mind that I had in my box, (which I had sent for from my lodging, to keep some few books and other necessaries in), a little jar with some balsam in it. Therefore, causing a good fire to be made, and setting the Friend within a blanket before the fire, we stripped him to the waist, as if he had been to be whipped again, and found his skin so cut and torn with the knotty holly rods, both back, side, arm, and breast, that it was a dismal sight to look upon. Then melting some of the balsam, I with a feather anointed all the sores, and putting a softer cloth between his skin and his shirt, helped him on with his clothes again. This dressing gave him much ease, and I continued it until he was well; and because he was a very poor man, we took him into our mess, contriving that there should always be enough for him as well as for ourselves. Thus he lived with us until the time he was committed for was expired, and then he was released.

But we were still continued prisoners by an arbitrary power, not being committed by the civil authority, nor having seen the face of any civil magistrate from the day we were thrust in here by soldiers, which was the 26th day of the eighth month, to the 19th of the tenth month following.

On that day we were had to the Sessions at the Old Bailey; but not being called there, we were brought back to Bridewell, and continued there to the 29th of the same month, and then we were carried to the Sessions again.

I expected I should have been called the first, because my name was first taken down; but it proved otherwise, so that I was one of the last that was called; which gave me the advantage of hearing the pleas of the other prisoners, and discovering the temper of the Court.

The prisoners complained of the illegality of their imprisonment, and desired to know what they had laid so long in prison for. The court regarded nothing of that, and did not stick to tell them so, "For," the Recorder said to them, “if you think you have been wrongfully imprisoned, you have your remedy at law, and may take it, if you think it worth your while. The Court," he said, “may send for any man out of the street and tender him the oath, so we take no notice how you came here, but finding you here we tender you the oath of allegiance; which if you refuse to take, we shall commit you, and at length premunire* you." Accordingly, as each one refused it, he was set aside and another called. By this I saw it was in vain for me to insist upon false imprisonment or ask the cause of my commitment; though I had before furnished myself with some authorities and maxims of law on the subject, to have pleaded, if room had been given, and I had the book out of which I took them in my bosom; for the weather, being cold, I wore a gown girt about the middle, and had put the book within it. But I now resolved to wave all that, and insist upon another plea, which just then came into my mind.

*Premunire - for failure to swear a loyalty oath to the king, forswearing any loyalty to a foreign power [the Pope], the penalty was to was to be imprisoned for life, and all property to be forfeited to the king.

As soon therefore as I was called I stepped nimbly to the bar, and stood upon the stepping, that I might the better both hear and be heard, and laying my hands upon the bar, stood ready, waiting for what they would say to me.

I suppose they took me for a confident young man, for they looked very earnestly upon me, and we faced each other, without words for a while. At length the Recorder, who was called Sir John Howel, asked me if I would take the oath of allegiance. To which I answered: “I conceive this Court has not power to tender that oath to me, in the condition in which I stand."

This so unexpected plea seemed to startle them, so that they looked one upon another, and said somewhat low one to another, “What! does he demur to the jurisdiction of the Court?" And then the Recorder asked me, “Do you then demur to the jurisdiction of the Court?"  “Not absolutely," I answered, "but conditionally, with respect to my present condition, and the circumstances I am now under." “Why, what is your present condition?" said the Recorder. “A prisoner," I replied. “And what is that," he said, "to your taking or not taking the oath?" “Enough," I said, “as I conceive, to except me from the tender thereof while I am under this condition." “Pray what is your reason for that?" he said. “This," I said, “that if I rightly understand the words of the statute, I am required to say that I do take this oath freely and without constraint, which I cannot say, because I am not a free man, but in bonds and under constraint. Therefore I conceive if you would tender that oath to me, you first ought to set me free from my present imprisonment.” “But,” said the Recorder, will you take the oath if you are set free?" “You shall see that," I said, "when I am set free. Therefore set me free first, and then ask the question.” “But," he said again, "you know your own mind here, and can tell now what you would do if you were at liberty." “Yes," I replied, “that I can; but I don't hold myself obliged to tell it until I am at liberty. Therefore set me at liberty, and you will soon hear it."

Thus we fenced a good while, until I was both weary of such trifling and doubted also lest some of those standing by would suspect I would take it if I was set at liberty. Therefore, when the Recorder put it upon me again, I told him plainly, No; though I thought they ought not to tender it me until I had been set at liberty; yet if I was set at liberty I could not take that nor any other oath, because my Lord and Master Christ Jesus had expressly commanded His disciples not to swear at all.

As His command was enough to me, so this confession of mine was enough to them. “Take him away," they said; and away I was taken, and thrust into the holding room with my other friends, who had been called before me. As soon as the rest of our company were called, and had refused to swear, we were all committed to Newgate Prison, and thrust into the common side.

When we came there we found that side of the prison very full of Friends, who were prisoners there before, (as indeed were at that time all the other parts of that prison, and most of the other prisons about the town), and our addition caused a great throng on that side. Notwithstanding which we were kindly welcomed by our friends whom we found there, and entertained by them as well as their condition would admit, until we could get in our accommodations and provide for ourselves.

We had the liberty of the hall, which is on the first story over the gate, and which in the day-time is common to all the prisoners on that side, felons as well as others, to walk in and to beg out of; and we had also the liberty of some other rooms over that hall, to walk or work in during day. But in the night we all lodged in one room, which was large and round, having in the middle of it a great pillar of oaken timber, which bore up the chapel that is over it.

To this pillar we fastened our hammocks at the one end, and to the opposite wall on the other end, quite round the room, and in three degrees, or three stories high, one over the other; so that they who lay in the upper and middle row of hammocks were obliged to go to bed first, because they were to climb up to the higher by getting into the lower. Under the lower rank of hammocks, by the wall-sides, were laid beds upon the floor, in which the sick and such weak persons as could not get into the hammocks lay. Indeed, though the room was large and pretty airy, yet the breath and steam that came from so many bodies, of different ages, conditions, and constitutions, packed up so close together, was enough to cause sickness among us, and I believe did so. For there were many sick and some very weak, though we were not long there, yet in that time one of our fellow-prisoners, who lay in one of those pallet-beds, died.

[Thought to be Anthony Skillington. Richard Hubberthorn and Edward Burrough also died in this imprisonment].

This caused some bustle in the house; for the body of the deceased being laid out and put into a coffin, was carried down and set in the room called the Lodge, that the coroner might inquire into the cause and manner of his death. The manner of their doing it is thus: As soon as the coroner comes the turnkeys run out into the street under the gate, and seizes upon every man that passes by, until they have got enough to make up the coroner's inquest. So resolute these rude fellows are, that if any man resisted or disputed it with them, they drug him in by main force, not regarding what condition he is of. No, I have been told they will not hesitate to stop a coach, and pluck the men out of it. It so happened that at this time they lighted on an ancient man, a grave citizen, who was trudging through the gate in great haste, and him they laid hold on, telling him he must come in and serve upon the coroner's inquest. He pleaded hard, begged and besought them to let him go, assuring them he was going on very urgent business, and that the stopping him would be greatly to his prejudice. But they were deaf to all entreaties, and hurried him in, the poor man chaffing without remedy.

When they had got their complement, and were shut in together, the rest of them said to this ancient man, "Come, father, you are the oldest among us; you shall be our foreman.” And when the coroner had sworn them on the jury, the coffin was uncovered, that they might look upon the body. But the old man, disturbed in his mind at the interruption they had given him, and grown somewhat fretful upon it, said to them: “To what purpose do you show us a dead body here? You would not have us think, sure, that this man died in this room! How then shall we be able to judge how this man came by his death unless we see the place in which he died, and in which he has been kept prisoner before he died? How know we but that the incommodiousness of the place in which he was kept may have occasioned his death? Therefore show us," he said, “the place in which this man died.'

This much displeased the keepers, and they began to banter the old man, thinking to have beaten him off it. But he stood up tightly to them: “Come, come," he said, “though you have made a fool of me in bringing me in here, you will not find a child of me now I am here. Mistake not yourselves; I understand my place and your duty; and I require you to conduct me and my brethren to the place where this man died; refuse it at your peril." They now wished they had let the old man go about his business, rather than by troubling him have brought this trouble on themselves. But when they saw he persisted in his resolution and was peremptory, the coroner told them they must go show him the place.

It was in the evening when they began this work, and by this time it was grown bedtime with us, so that we had taken down our hammocks, which in the day were hung up by the walls, and had made them ready to go into, and were undressing ourselves in readiness to go into them; when on a sudden we heard a great noise of tongues and of trampling of feet coming up towards us. By and by one of the turnkeys, opening our door, said: “Hold, hold; do not undress yourselves: here is the coroner's inquest coming to see you.”

As soon as they had come to the door, for within the door there was scarce room for them to come, the foreman, who led them, lifting up his hand, said: “Lord bless me! What a sight is here! I did not think there had been so much cruelty in the hearts of Englishmen to use Englishmen in this manner. We need not now question," he said to the rest of the jury, “how this man came by his death; we may rather wonder that they are not all dead, for this place is enough to breed an infection among them. Well,” he added, “if it please God to lengthen my life until tomorrow, I will find means to let the King know how his subjects are dealt with."

Whether he did so or not I cannot tell; but I am apt to think that he applied himself to the Mayor or the Sheriffs of London, for the next day one of the Sheriffs called Sir William Turner, a woolen-draper in Paul's Yard, came to the press-yard, and having ordered the porter of Bridewell to attend him there, sent up a turnkey among us, to told all the Bridewell prisoners come down to him, for they knew us not, but we knew our own company.

Being come before him in the press-yard, he looked kindly on us and spoke courteously to us. “Gentlemen," he said, "I understand the prison is very full, and I am sorry for it. I wish it were in my power to release you and the rest of your friends that are in it. But since I cannot do that, I am willing to do what I can for you, and therefore I have come here to inquire how it is; and I would have all you who came from Bridewell to return there again, which will be a better accommodation to you, and your removal will give the more room to those that are left behind; and here is the porter of Bridewell, your old keeper, to attend you there." We duly acknowledged the favor of the Sheriff to us and our friends above, in this removal of us, which would give them more room and better air. But before we parted from him I spoke particularly to him on another occasion, which was this :- When we came into Newgate we found a shabby fellow there among the Friends, who upon inquiry we understood had thrust himself among our friends when they were taken at a meeting, on purpose to be sent to prison with them, in hopes to be maintained by them. They knew nothing of him until they found him shut in with them in the prison, and then took no notice of him, as not knowing how or why he came there. But he soon gave them cause to take notice of him, for wherever he saw any victuals brought forth for them to eat he would be sure to thrust in, with knife in hand, and make himself his own carver; and so impudent was he, that if he saw the provision was short, whoever wanted, he would be sure to take enough.

Thus lived this lazy drone upon the labors of the industrious bees, to his high content and their no small trouble, to whom his company was as offensive as his ravening was oppressive; nor could they get any relief by their complaining of him to the keepers.

This fellow hearing the notice which was given for the Bridewell men to go down in order to be removed to Bridewell again, and hoping, no doubt, that fresh quarters would produce fresh commons, and that he would fare better with us than where he was, thrust himself among us, and went down into the press-yard with us, which I didn’t know until I saw him standing there with his hat on, and looking as demurely as he could, that the Sheriff might take him for a Quaker; at the sight of which my spirit was much stirred. Therefore, as soon as the Sheriff had done speaking to us and we had made our acknowledgment of his kindness, I stepped a little nearer to him, and pointing to that fellow, said: "That man is not only none of our company, for he is no Quaker, but is an idle, dissolute fellow who has thrust himself in among our friends to be sent to prison with them, that he might live upon them; therefore I desire we may not be troubled with him at Bridewell.”

At this the Sheriff smiled, and calling the fellow forth, said to him: “Why are you in prison?” “I was taken at a meeting," he said, “But what business had you there?" said the Sheriff. “I went to hear," he said. "Yes, you went upon a worse design, it seems," replied the Sheriff; “but I'll disappoint you," he said, “for I'll change your company and send you to them that are like yourself." Then calling for the turnkey, he said: “Take this fellow, and put him among the felons, and be sure let him not trouble the Quakers any more.”

Thus far this fellow had stood with his hat on, as willing to have passed, if he could, for a Quaker, but as soon as he heard this doom passed on him, off went his hat, and to bowing and scraping he fell, with “Good your worship, have pity upon me, and set me at liberty.”  “No, no," said the Sheriff, “I will not so far disappoint you; since you had a mind to be in prison, in prison you shall be for me." Then telling the jailor take him away, he had him up, and put him among the felons, and so Friends had a good deliverance from him.

The Sheriff then told us farewell. The porter of Bridewell came to us, and told us we knew our way to Bridewell without him, and he could trust us; therefore he would not stay nor go with us, but left us to take our own time, so we were in before bedtime.

Then went we up again to our friends in Newgate, and gave them an account of what had passed, and having taken a solemn leave of them, we made up our packs to be gone. But before I pass from Newgate, I think it not amiss to give the reader some little account of what I observed while I was there.

The common side of Newgate is generally accounted, as it really is, the worst part of that prison; not so much from the place as the people, it being usually stocked with the roughest rogues and meanest sort of felons and pickpockets, who not being able to pay chamber-rent on the master's side, are thrust in there. If they come in bad, to be sure they do not go out better; for here they have the opportunity to instruct one another in their arts of crime, and teach each other what improvements they have made therein.

The common hall, which is the first room over the gate, is a good place to walk in when the prisoners are out of it, saving the danger of catching some cattle which they may have left in it, and there I used to walk in a morning before they were let up, and sometimes in the daytime when they have been there.

They all carried themselves respectfully towards me, which I imputed chiefly to this, that when any of our women friends came there to visit the prisoners, if they had not relations of their own there to take care of them, I, as being a young man and more at leisure than most others, for I could not work as a tailor there, was forward to go down with them to the grate, and see them safely out. Sometimes they would leave money in my hands for the felons, who at such times were very importunate beggars, which I quickly distributed among them in bread, which was to be had in the place. But so troublesome an office it was, that I thought one had as good have had a pack of hungry hounds about one, as these, when they knew there was a dole to be given. Yet this, I think, made them a little the more observant to me; for they would dispose themselves to one side of the room, that they might make way for me to walk on the other. When I walked there I had usually a book in my hand on which I had mine eye; which made them think I did not heed what they said. By this means, my ear being attentive to them, I heard them relate one to another many of their roguish pranks.

One day, as I was thus walking beside them, I heard them recounting one to another what feats they had done at pick-pocketing and shop-lifting. At which point, turning short upon them, I asked them: "Which of you all will undertake to pick my pocket? “They were not very forward to answer, but viewed me round. I wore a long gown which was lapped over before and tied about the middle, and had no pocket holes in it. When they had considered it awhile, and I having taken another turn had come up again to them, one of them said: "Why, master, if you will promise not to prosecute us, we will show you a piece of our skill.” "No, hold there," I said, "I won't encourage you in evil as to promise not to prosecute;" and away I turned again, having my eye on my book, but my ears to them. In a while I heard them contriving how they would have done it. One said, “one would give him the budge, and before he can recover himself you, he said to another of them, "having your penknife ready should slit his gown; and then," he said, "let Honeypot alone for the diving part." This Honeypot was a little boy then in prison with them for picking a pocket, who by his stature did not seem above ten or a dozen years old; but for his dexterity for pocket-picking was held to be one of the top of the trade. As for the budge, I had had it given me often in the street, but understood not the meaning of it until now; and now I found it was a jostle enough to throw one almost upon his nose.

I have sometimes occasionally been in the hall in an evening, and have seen the whores let in unto them, which I take to be a common practice. Nasty sluts indeed they were, and in that respect more suitable. As I have passed them I have heard the rogues and they making their bargains, which and which of them should company together that night. Which abominable wickedness must be imputed to the dishonesty of the turnkeys, who, for vile gain to themselves, not only allow but further this lewdness.

These are some of the common evils which make the common side of Newgate in measure a type of hell upon earth. But there was at that time something of another nature which was very offensive to me.

When we came first into Newgate there lay in a little by place like a closet, near the room where we lodged, the quartered bodies [bodies beheaded and cut into quarters] of three men, who had been executed some days before, for a real or pretended plot; which was the ground, or at least pretext, for that storm in the city which had caused this imprisonment. The names of these three men were Philips, Tongue and Gibs; and the reason why their quarters lay so long there was, the relations were all that while petitioning to have leave to bury them; which at length with much ado was obtained for the quarters, but not for the heads, which were ordered to be set up in some parts of the city.

I saw the heads when they were brought up to be boiled. The hangman fetched them in a dirty dust basket out of some by-place, and setting them down among the felons, he and they made sport with them. They took them by the hair, flouting, jeering and laughing at them; and then giving them some ill names, boxed them on the ears and cheeks. When done the hangman put them into his kettle and parboiled them with bay salt and cumin seed; that to keep them from putrefaction, and this to keep off the fowls from seizing on them. The whole sight, as well that of the bloody quarters first, as this of the heads afterwards, was both frightful and loathsome and begat an abhorrence in my nature. Which as it had rendered my confinement there by much the more uneasy, so it made our removal from there to Bridewell, even in that respect, the more welcome; where we now go.

For having, as I hinted before, made up our packs and taken our leave of our friends, whom we were to leave behind, we took our bundles on our shoulders, and walked two and two abreast through the Old Bailey into Fleet Street, and so to Old Bridewell. Being about the middle of the afternoon, and the streets pretty full of people, both the shopkeepers at their doors and passengers in the way would stop us, and ask us what we were and where we were going; and when we had told them we were prisoners going from one prison to another, from Newgate to Bridewell, “What!" they said, “without a keeper?" "No," we said, “for our word, which we have given, is our keeper." Some then would advise us not to go to prison, but to go home. But we told them we could not do so; we could suffer for our testimony, but could not flee from it. I do not remember we had any abuse offered us, but were generally pitied by the people. When we had come to Bridewell, we were not put up into the great room in which we had been before, but into a low room in another fair court, which had a pump in the middle of it. Here we were not shut up as before, but had the liberty of the court to walk in, and of the pump to wash or drink at. Indeed we might easily have gone quite away if we would, for there was a passage through the court into the street; but we were true and steady prisoners, and looked upon this liberty, arising from their confidence in us, to be a kind of parole upon us; so that both conscience and honor stood now engaged for our true imprisonment. Adjoining to this room in which we were was such another, both newly fitted up for workhouses, and accordingly furnished with very great blocks for beating hemp upon, and a lusty whipping-post there was in each. It was said that Richard Brown had ordered those blocks to be provided, for the Quakers to work on, resolving to try his strength with us in that case; but if that was his purpose, it was overruled, for we never had any work offered us, nor were we treated after the manner of those that are to be so used. Yet we set ourselves to work on them; for being very large, they served the tailor for shop-boards, and others wrought upon them as they had occasion; and they served us very well for tables to eat on.

We had also, besides this room, the use of our former chamber above, to go into when we thought fit; and there sometimes I withdrew, when I found a desire for retirement and privacy, or had something on my mind to write, which could not so well be done in company. Indeed about this time my spirit was more than ordinarily exercised, though on very different subjects. For, on the one hand, the sense of the exceeding love and goodness of the Lord to me, in His gracious and tender dealings with me, did deeply affect my I heart, and caused me to break forth in a song of thanksgiving and praise to Him; and on the other hand, a sense of the profaneness, debaucheries, cruelties, and other horrid impieties of the age, fell heavy on me, and lay as a pressing weight upon my spirit. And this drew from me a close reproachful accusation, which my mournful muse vented in the following lines; to which I gave for a title :-

(Which began with this postulating preface.)

Why should my modest muse forbidden be
To speak of what but too many see?
Why should she by conniving seem to uphold
Men's wickedness, and thereby make them bold
Still to persist in it, Why should she be shy
To call them beasts, who want humanity?
Why should she any longer silence keep
And lie secure as one that's fast asleep?
Or how indeed can it expected be
That she should hold her tongue, and daily see
Those wicked and enormous crimes committed
Which she in modesty has permitted;
Which but to name would with their filth defile
Chaste ears, and cast a blemish on her stile? (pillar)
Yet of so many she can not cease
To mention some, which here detected are.

Loud were the cries which long had pierced my ear,
Foul the reports which I did daily hear.
Unheard-of new-invented crimes were brought
By fame unto my knowledge, which I thought
Too foul and loathsome to have found a place
In any heart though never so void of grace.
This made me take a more observant view
Whether report spoke what of men is true.

But as the celebrated Southern Queen,
When she the court of Solomon had seen,
And had with more than usual diligence,
Observed his splendor and magnificence,
Considered well his pomp, his port, his state,
The great retinue that on him did wait;
As one with admiration filled, no doubt,
Not able longer to contain, burst out,
Into such words as these: "Thrice happy King
Whose fame throughout the universe does ring,
Though of your acts I thought report too bold,
Yet now I see one half has not been told.”
Just so did I, though in another kind,
After I had intently fixed my mind,
Upon men's actions, and had duly weighed,
Not only what they did, but what they said.
Awhile I stood like one that's struck with thunder,
Filled with astonishment and silent wonder.
At length my heart, swelling with indignation,
Vented itself in such an exclamation:

O hellish doings! O infernal crew!
Of whom, who says the worst he can says true,
I overheard of lustful satyrs, monsters, brutes!
(For of such a name to such a nature suits;)
What ink is black enough to write what I pen!
Fit to delineate such beasts - not men?
Words are too shallow to express the rage,
The fury, madness, of this frantic age.
Numbers fall short to reckon up the crimes,
Which are the recreations of these times.

Was Sodom ever guilty of a sin,
Which England is not now involved in?
By custom, drunkenness so common's grown,
That most men count it a small sin or none.
Ranting and roaring they affirm to be,
The true characters of gentility.
Swearing and cursing is so much in fashion,
That it is esteemed a badge of reputation.
What dreadful oaths, what direful detestations
On others; on themselves what imprecations,
They tumble out like roaring claps of thunder,
As if they meant to rend the clouds asunder.
Mockers do so abound in every place,
That rare it is to meet a sober face.
Ambition, boasting, vanity and pride,
With numbers numberless of sins beside,
Are grown, through use, so common, that men call
Them misdeeds small, or none at all.

But, oh! the luxury and great excess,
Which by this wanton age is used in dress!
What names do men and women take, alas!
To make themselves for errant Bedlams pass!
The fool's color patched coat, which all wise men detest,
Is grown a garment now in great request;
More colors in one waistcoat now they wear
Than in the rainbow ever did appear,
As if they were ambitious to put on,
All colors that they cast their eyes upon:
Thereby outstripping the chameleon quite
Which cannot change itself to red or white.
Each man, like Proteus, his shape does change,
To whatsoever seems new or strange,
And he that in a modest garb is dressed
Is made the laughing stock of all the rest.
Nor are they with their baubles satisfied,
But sex distinctions too are laid aside,
The women wear the trousers and the vest,
While men in muffs, fans, petticoats are dressed,
Some women,( oh, the shame), like ramping rigs,
Ride flaunting in their powdered periwigs;
Astride they sit, and not ashamed either,
Dressed up like men in jacket, cap and feather.
All things to lust and wantonness are fitted:
Nothing that tends to vanity omitted.
To give a touch on every antic fashion,
Which has been worn of late within this nation
Might fill a volume, which would tire, no doubt,
The reader's patience, if not wear it out.

Come now ye ranting gallants of the times,
Who nothing have to boast of but your crimes;
You Satan's Hectors, who disdain to swear
An oath beneath "God damn me if He dare.”
Blasphemous wretches: whose impieties,
With rude assaults have stormed the very skies,
And dared the God of Heaven, a dreadful stroke,
Shall ye receive by which you will be broke,
And in the fiery lake those torments find,
Which for such desperadoes are assigned.

And ye who take such great delight to curse,
As that you think yourselves a deal the worse
Unless unto the highest strain ye swell
And with the devil make your bed in Hell:
This know, the long-provoked God is come
From whom ye must receive the dreadful doom:
"Depart ye cursed and forever dwell
Where beds of torment are prepared in Hell.”

'Twas wonderful to see in what a trice
This zealous nation was overrun with vice,
As when the boiling gulf with furious gales
Puffed up, overflows its banks and drowns the vales;
And when again it ebbs it leaves, we find,
A loathsome scum and noisome stink behind.

So great was, in a word, the wickedness
Of that black day; such the uncurbed excess
As if the fatal hour had then been come
For the delivery of Hell's pregnant womb,
And that the Devil had a patent got
To vend whatever merchandise he brought;
Or that Pandora's box, which poets feign
Did all calamities in it contain,
Had then been newly opened and from there
Had fluttered out this raging pestilence;
Which since the common body has overspread
With such a leprous scab from foot to head
That is a lamentable sight to see,
How each sex, old and young, debauched be.

A sort of men have overrun this nation
Who are a burden to the whole creation;
Men shall I call them, or the viper's-brood?
Lovers of evil, haters of all good.
These swelled with envy, in a great despite
To Christ, with fist of wickedness do smite,
Not their own fellow-servants; for they are
The devil's slaves, by him bored through the ear,
But God's ambassadors whom He has sent
To warn them of their sins and cry "Repent" ;
Or to denounce His judgments against those
That set themselves His message to oppose.
These persecute the innocent and say:
"When they are gone 'twill be a merry day.”
These grind the poor; the needy these oppress;
Widows devour; tread on the fatherless;
Far from themselves they put the evil day,
Remove impending judgments far away;
And yet in vain they strive to escape the stroke
Of that just God whom boldly they provoke.
For they afflict His people; slay His sheep;
Beat those whom He appointed as to keep
And feed His tender lambs; rend, tear, devour,
Suppress God's worship to their utmost power,
A cursed generation who are bent
To spare the wicked, slay the innocent
Whose blood does cry, whose blood does cry aloud,
As loud as Abel's pierces through the cloud,
Presents itself before the judgment seat,
And justice does of the just Judge entreat,
That speedy vengeance He will take on all
Who persecute His saints and them enthrall.

Nor is He deaf; its cry with Him prevails
And He has promised, who never fails
In the performance, that He will arise
And put a period to their cruelties.
And that He will with more than winged speed
Send comfort to his poor afflicted seed,
Which under Pharaoh's heavy yoke has groaned
And in captivity itself bemoaned.

Oh, bloody sin of persecution!
Tis thou that plucks judgments down upon
The heads of kings, princes, plebeians, all
That act thee and by thee the saints enthrall.
This is that sin, that sin which cries aloud,
Louder than all the rest, the guilt of blood;
Which is the strongest cord the devil has
To draw down on mankind God's heavy wrath.
Weeping I sigh, and sighing weep to see
The rod which God prepares has for thee,
O England, who does evilly entreat
His messengers, and does His prophets beat.

Ah, England! Ah, poor England! I bewail
Your sad estate, oh, that I might prevail
In my desires for thee: then should thou be
As full of joy as now of misery.
For then should plenty in your fields be found,
And all your garners should with grain abound.
Then peace, long-lasting peace, should in thee dwell
For God would all your enemies repel;
And He Himself would take delight in thee,
So thou the glory of the world would be.

But, ah, alas! small hope have I to see
Such happy symptoms of good health in thee.
No, no, sad isle, my reason it does tell me
That all the crosses which have yet befell thee
Are but an earnest of that dreadful day
In which God will upon your head repay
Wrath, fury, vengeance and destruction
The just reward of persecution.

The due consideration of your state,
And your, I fear, inevitable fate,
Does move my heart with pity and compassion,
And leads me to this short expostulation.

Who to the eye gave sight? what shall not He
The cruel sufferings of His people see?
And shall not He that formed as the ear
The mournful groans of us dear children hear?
Are men so stupid grown, they think God's blind
Or that He does not heed, or cannot find
A way to ease the sufferings of His seed?
Whose cry unto Him is, "Father, with speed
Arise, arise: rend thou the clouds, descend,
Avenge us of our enemies; defend
Us from their cruelties, and let them see
Your care of us exceeds our love to Thee."

Nor are these sighs in vain; for He indeed
Is rising, yes has risen our cause to plead
In righteousness; and then us who kicks
Shall know 'tis hard to kick against the pricks.

Be warned then ye ruler's, and let all
Of whatsoever rank, both great and small,
Tremble before the Lord, and cease to rage
Against our God's peculiar heritage:
For of a truth, His long-provoked Hand
Is stretched out in judgment o'er this land,
And we must feel it; for He has decreed
To Vindicate His long-oppressed seed
And in His fury He will vengeance take
In our behalfs who suffer for His sake:
Then shall ye know that He who sits on high
Regards us as the apple of His eye.

To this occasionally, I subjoined a postscript, thus:

Since what precedes was written I have found
An accusation formed, but without ground
Against me. That with uncontrolled pen
I too severely lash the faults of men,
And take upon me in satiric rhymes
To pass a rigid censure on the times.
This drew me on to add another line
To show them that the fault's their own, not mine.
No crime can justly to my charge be laid
Unless it is a crime that truth be said,
Nor can, without injustice, any blame
My muse for echoing the common fame.

If any should object, that wise men hold
That truth at all times ought not to be told,
Nor that whatever comes into one's head
Should straight, because 'tis true, be published;
I readily assent, because I know
Pearls before swine we are forbid to throw.
Some truths, I grant, may better be concealed
Than if they out of season were revealed :
Yet would I not that any through mistake
Should of my words a misconstruction make,
Than that should happen I had rather be
Taxed by the reader for prolixity.

Thus then, in brief, would I be understood,
If what I know concerns my brother's good
For him to know; ought I not then unfold
It to him, rather than from him withhold
A benefit? So on the other side
It is, I think, too plain to be denied
That if I see what certainly does tend
To the hurt of my neighbor or my friend
I am obliged, by Christian charity,
To give them warning of the danger nigh;
To show them that they stand upon the brink
Of certain ruin; and then if they sink
By willful running on, I shall be free
From guilt, their blood on their own heads will be.
'Tis plain, I think; yet if he can't believe it
Without a Scripture proof , so, here I give it.
This is the very case; which if well weighed
Will fully justify what I have said.

I saw men running to a precipice
At foot of which was such a vast abyss
As could have swallowed nations, so immense
That 'twas impossible to climb out there.
For if a man we see but chance to pitch
Over head and ears into some miry ditch
How quickly is he smothered, unless
Some friendly hand assist in that distress.
And if with struggling, out at length he get
Yet how besmeared is he with dirt and wet.
But into this deep pit who falls, in vain
Expects a hand to help him out again.
No, 'tis of Grace that men forewarned are
1 Lev 19:17; Eze 33
And, if their feet are taken, showed the snare.

And warned they must be. For so was I
While roving in their paths of vanity;
Toiled and bewildered in a dismal night
Of thick Egyptian darkness from the light:
From where the Lord has by His love me drawn
And in my heart has caused His day to dawn,
His glorious day, His never-setting sun
To rise, and darkness to expel begun.
This love as it arises warms my heart,
And fills it with desires to impart
To others of its goodness, that none may
For want of good direction miss their way.

Know therefore thou who thus far hast spent
Your time in vanity, and wholly bent
Your utmost strength your lusts to satisfy,
And surfeit with delights your wanton eye;
The Lord has in your conscience placed a light
To teach you how to guide your steps aright.
This checks when into evil you have run,
And gives you warning if you have begun.
Have you not heard when in your full career
Something within thee say, "What do I here?"
And when your mind is cool another day,
Does it not sometimes cause thee thus to say:
"O that I had not run into excess!
O that I had not done this wickedness!
My conscience tells me that I have done ill
In yielding to my own corrupted will;
And though no eye did see me, yet my heart
I feel is full of torment, pain and smart;
Were it to do again I'd have more care
And not run willfully into the snare? "
Consider what that is which thus does raise
A trouble in thee for your evil ways;
And what that is which many times does grieve thee
And often makes you cry out, " God forgive me ",

When thus it checks thee next straight call to mind
That word, your ear shall hear a voice behind
You saying, "Here turn, this is the way,"
When to the right or left you go astray.
And having heard, obedience quickly give
To its reproof: hear and your soul shall live.
For were men subject to Christ's light within,
It certainly would lead men out of sin,
And, through believing, bring them into Heaven,
For that's the end for which by Him 'tis given.

Thus have I faithfully discharged a part
Which long lay as a weight upon my heart,
Regardless of what danger might ensue
For seasonably speaking what is true.
And if ungrateful men will ill requite
My signal love with enmity and spite,
I let them know that my undaunted pen
Scorns the contracted brows of angry men.
Prepared I am to suffer with content
The wont that cankered malice can invent
Which is no more than to my Lord befell
To suffer evil things for doing well
To suffer evil for well-doing brings
The sufferer to share renown with kings.

After I had in the foregoing poem somewhat eased my spirit of what for some time had laid as a load upon me, I breathed forth the following hymn to God, in acknowledgment of His great goodness to me, profession of my grateful love to Him, and supplication to Him for the continuance of His kindness to me, in preserving me from the sowers of the enemy, and keeping me faithful unto Himself:

You, You alone, O God, I fear,
In You do I confide;
Your presence is to me more dear
Than all things else beside.
Your virtue, power, life, and light,
Which in my heart do shine,
Above all things are my delight:
O make them always mine!
Your matchless love constrains my life,
Your life constrains my love,
To be to You as chaste a wife
As is the turtle-dove
To her elect, espoused mate,
Whom she will not forsake,
Nor can be brought to violate
The bond she once did make;
Just so my soul does cleave to Thee
As to her only head,
With whom she longs conjoined to be
In bond of marriage-bed.
But, ah, alas! her little fort
Is compassed about;
Her foes about her thick resort,
Within and lurk without.
How numerous are they now grown!
How wicked their intent!
O let your mighty power be shown,
Their mischief to prevent.
They make assaults on every side,
But You stand in the gap;
Their battering-rams make breaches wide,
But still You make them up.
Sometimes they use alluring wiles
To draw into their power;
And sometimes weep like crocodiles;
But all is to devour.
Thus they beset my feeble heart
With fraud, deceit, and guile,
Alluring her from You to start,
And Your pure rest defile.
But, oh! the breathing and the moan,
The sighs of the seed,
The groans of the grieved one,
Do sorrows in me breed.
And that immortal, holy birth,
The offspring of Your breath.
(To whom Your love brings life and mirth,
As does Your absence, death);
That babe, that seed, that panting child,
Which cannot Thee forsake,
In fear to be again beguiled,
Does supplication make:
O suffer not your chosen one.
Who puts her trust in Thee,
And has made Thee her choice alone,
Ensnared again to be.

Bridewell, London, 1662.

[Reflecting on his imprisonment in Bridewell, Ellwood wrote:]

They who would write in measure,
Retire where they may, stillness have and pleasure.

[Upon release soon after, Ellwood was asked by the Peningtons to become their children's teacher, particularly instructing them in Latin. He eagerly accepted the position and remained their for seven years until his marriage.]

But, alas! not many days, (not to say weeks), had I been there, before we were almost overwhelmed with sorrow for the unexpected loss of Edward Burrough, who was justly very dear to us all.

This not only good, but great good man, by a long and close confinement in Newgate through the cruel malice and malicious cruelty of Richard Brown,* was taken away by hasty death, to the unutterable grief of very many, and unspeakable loss to the Church of Christ in general.

*Edward Burrough, nicknamed the Son of Thunder, (the same name Jesus gave to John and James), had pleaded several causes with King Charles II, and the King had a respect and admiration for Burrough. When the king heard Burrough was in prison and in danger of death, he promptly sent an order for his release. But the London officials, their chief being Richard Brown, deliberately delayed the release. Burrough then shortly died of jail fever, probably a typhus spread by lice. Burrough was also beautifully lamented by his comrade and dear brother, Francis Howgill, in a wonderful, loving tribute.

The particular obligation I had to him as the immediate instrument of my convincement, and the resulting high affection for him, did so deeply affect my mind that it was some pretty time before my passion could prevail to express itself in words, so true I found those of the tragedy:

Light griefs break forth, and easily get vent,
Great ones are through amazement closely pent.

At length, my muse, not bearing to be any longer mute, broke forth in the following acrostic, [ a poem in which the first letter in each line, has a message also - which is ELLWOODS LAMENTATION FOR HIS ENDEARED EDWARD BURROUGH] which she called-


Who died 14th of the Twelfth Month, 1662.
And thus she introduced it:-

How long shall grief lie smothered? ah! how long
Shall sorrow's signet seal my silent tongue?
How long shall sighs me suffocate, and make
My lips to quiver and my heart to ache?
How long shall I with pain suppress my cries,
And seek for holes to wipe my watery eyes?
Why may not I, by sorrow thus oppressed,
Pour forth my grief into another's breast?
If that be true which once was said by one,
That "He mourns truly who does mourn alone:”
Then may I truly say, my grief is true,
Since it has yet been known to very few.
Nor is it now mine aim to make it known
To those to whom these verses may be shown;
But to assuage my sorrow-swollen heart,
Which silence caused to taste so deep of smart.
This is my end, that so I may prevent
The vessel's bursting by a timely vent.

Who can forbear, when such things spoke he hears,
His grave to water with a flood of tears ?

E cho ye woods, resound ye hollow places,
L et tears and paleness cover all men's faces.
L et groans, like claps of thunder, pierce the air,
W hile I the cause of my just grief declare.
O that mine eyes could, like the streams of Nile,
O verflow their watery banks; and thou meanwhile
D rink in my trickling tears, oh thirsty ground.
S o might you henceforth fruit fuller be found.

L ament, my soul, lament; your loss is deep,
A nd all that Zion love sit down and weep
M ourn, O ye virgins, and let sorrow be
E ach damsel's dowry, and, (alas, for me!)
N 'er let my soul and sighs have an end
T ill I again embrace my ascended friend;
A nd until I feel the virtue of his life
T o console me, and repress my grief:
I nfuse into my heart the oil of gladness
O need more, and by its strength remove that sadness
N ow pressing down my spirit, and restore

F ully that joy I had in him before;
O f whom a word I willingly would stammer forth,
R ather to ease my heart than show his worth:

H is worth, my grief, which words too shallow are
I n demonstration fully to declare,
S ighs, sobs, my best interpreters now are.

E nvy begone; black Momus quit the place;
N ever more, Zoilus, show your wrinkled face.
D raw near, ye bleeding hearts, whose sorrows are
E qual with mine; in him you had like share.
A dd all your losses up, and you will see
R emainder will be naught but woe is me.
E ndeared lambs, ye that have the white stone,
D o know full well his name - it is your own.

E ternitized be that right worthy name;
D eath has but killed his body, not his fame,
W hich in its brightness shall forever dwell,
A nd like a box of ointment sweetly smell.
R ighteousness was his robe; bright majesty
D ecked his brow; his look was heavenly.

B old was he in his Master's quarrel, and
U ndaunted; faithful to his Lord's command.
R equiting good for ill; directing all
R ight in the way that leads out of the fall.
O pen and free to every thirsty lamb;
U nspotted, pure, clean, holy, without blame.
G lory, light, splendor, luster, was his crown,
H appy his change to him; the loss our own.

Virtue alone, which evidence ought to have,
Does make men happy, if beyond the grave.

While I had thus been breathing forth my grief,
In hopes thereby to get me some relief,
I heard, I thought, his voice say, "Cease to mourn:
I live; and though the veil of flesh once worn
Be now stripped off, dissolved, and laid aside,
My spirit's with thee, and shall so abide.”
This satisfied me; down I threw my quill,
Willing to be resigned to God's pure will.

Having discharged this duty to the memory of my deceased friend, I went on in my new province, instructing my little pupils in the rudiments of the Latin tongue, to the mutual satisfaction of both their parents and myself. As soon as I had gotten a little money in my pocket, which as a premium without compact I received from them, I took the first opportunity to return to my friend William Penington the money which he had so kindly furnished me with in my need, at the time of my imprisonment in Bridewell, with a due acknowledgment of my obligation to him for it. He was not at all forward to receive it, so that I was willingly to press it upon him.

While thus I remained in this family various suspicions arose in the minds of some concerning me with respect to Mary Penington's fair daughter Guli; for she having now arrived at a marriageable age, and being in all respects a very desirable woman - whether regard was had to her outward person, which lacked nothing to render her completely comely; or to the endowments of her mind, which were every way extraordinary and highly obliging; or to her outward fortune, which was fair, and which with some has not the last nor the least place in consideration - she was openly and secretly sought and solicited by many, and some of them almost of every rank and condition, good and bad, rich and poor, friend and foe. To whom, in their respective turns, until he at length came for whom she was reserved, she carried herself with so much evenness of temper, such courteous freedom, guarded with the strictest modesty, that as it gave encouragement or ground of hopes to none, so neither did it administer any matter of offence or just cause of complaint to any. But such as were thus either engaged for themselves or desirous to make themselves advocates for others, could not, I observed, but look upon me with an eye of jealousy and fear, that I would improve the opportunities I had by frequent and familiar conversation with her, to my own advantage, in working myself into her good opinion and favor, to the ruin of their pretences.

According therefore to the several kinds and degrees of their fears of me, they suggested to her parents their ill surmises against me.

Some stuck not to question the sincerity of my intentions in coming at first among the Quakers, urging, with a "why may it not be so," that the desire and hopes of obtaining by that means so fair a fortune might be the prime and chief inducement to me to trust myself among that people? But this surmise could find no place with those worthy friends of mine, her father-in-law and her mother, who, besides the clear sense and sound judgment they had in themselves, knew very well upon what terms I came among them, how straight and hard the passage was to me, how contrary to all worldly interest, which lay fair another way, how much I had suffered from my father for it, and how regardless I had been of attempting or seeking anything of that nature in these three or four years that I had been among them.

Some others, measuring me by the propensity of their own inclinations, concluded I would steal her, run away with her, and marry her; which they thought I might be the more easily induced to do, from the advantageous opportunities I frequently had of riding and walking abroad with her, by night as well as by day, without any other company than her maid. For so great indeed was the confidence that her mother had in me, that she thought her daughter safe if I was with her, even from the plots and designs that others had upon her; and so honorable were the thoughts she entertained concerning me, as would not allow her to admit a suspicion that I could be capable of so much baseness as to betray the trust she with so great freedom reposed in me.

I was not ignorant of the various fears which filled the jealous heads of some concerning me, neither was I so stupid nor so divested of all humanity as not to be sensible of the real and innate worth and virtue which adorned that excellent dame, and attracted the eyes and hearts of so many with the greatest importunity to seek and solicit her; nor was I so devoid of natural heat as not to feel some sparks of desire as well as others. But the force of truth and sense of honor suppressed whatever would have risen beyond the bounds of fair and virtuous friendship. For I easily foresaw that if I should have attempted anything in a dishonorable way by force or fraud upon her, I should have thereby brought a wound upon my own soul, a foul scandal upon my religious profession, and an infamous stain upon mine honor; either of which was far more dear onto me than my life. Therefore, having observed how some others had befooled themselves by misconstruing her common kindness, expressed in an innocent, open, free, and familiar conversation, springing from the abundant affability, courtesy, and sweetness of her natural temper, to be the effect of a singular regard and peculiar affection to them, I resolved to shun the rock on which I had seen so many run and split; and remembering that saying of the poet:

Happy is he
Whom others' dangers wary make to be,

I governed myself in a free yet respectful carriage towards her, that I thereby both preserved a fair reputation with my friends and enjoyed as much of her favor and kindness in a virtuous and firm friendship as was fit for her to show or for me to seek. [The below verse, written by Ellwood and published elsewhere, was not in his autobiography but accurately describes true love - what does not seek its own end, but rather the happiness of the one loved - true love gives, with no expectation of return.]

He's a true lover, not who can subdue
Monsters and giants for his mistress' sake.
And sighs perhaps and weeps, with much ado,
For fear she should some other happy make
But, who so far her happiness prefers
Before his own, that he can be content
To sacrifice his own to purchase hers,

Though with the price of his own banishment.
A hearty lover wholly does devote
Himself, to make her happy whom he loves.
And does with might and main her good promote,
Although destructive to his hopes it proves.

Thus leading a quiet and contented life, I had leisure sometimes to write a copy of verses on one occasion or another, as the poetic vein naturally opened, without taking pains to polish them. Such was this which follows, occasioned by the sudden death of some lusty people in their full strength :-

EST VITA CADUCA (The Fall in Life)

As is the fragrant flower in the field,
Which in the spring a pleasant smell does yield,
And lovely sight, but soon is withered;
So is Man: today alive, tomorrow dead.

And as the silver dew-bespangled grass,
Which in the morn bedecks its mother's face,
But before the scorching summer's passed looks brown,
Or by the scythe is suddenly cut down.

Just such is man, who vaunts himself to-day,
Decking himself in all his best array;
But in the midst of all his bravery
Death sounds him in the ear, "Friend, you must die.”
Or like a shadow in a sunny day,
Which in a moment vanishes away;

Or like a smile or spark, such is the span
Of life allowed this microcosm, Man.

Cease then vain Man to boast; for this is true,
Your brightest glory's as the morning dew,
Which disappears when first the rising sun
Displays his beams above the horizon.

As the consideration of the uncertainty of human life drew the foregoing lines from me, so the sense I had of the folly of mankind, in misspending the little time allowed them in evil ways and vain sports, led me more particularly to trace the several courses in which the generality of men run unprofitably at best, if not to their hurt and ruin, which I introduced with that axiom of the Preacher, (Eccl 1:2):-


See here the state of man as in a glass,
And how the fashion of this world does pass.
Some in a tavern spend the longest day,
While others hawk and hunt the time away.
Here one his mistress courts; another dances;
A third incites to lust by wanton glances.
This wastes the day in dressing; the other seeks
To set fresh colors on her withered cheeks,
That, when the sun declines, some dapper spark
May take her to spring garden or the park.
Plays some frequent, and balls; others their prime
Consume at dice; some bowl away their time.
With cards some wholly captivated are;
From tables others scarce an hour can spare.
One to soft music enslaves his ear;
At shovel-board another spends the year.
The Pall Mall this accounts the only sport;
That keeps a racket in the tennis-court.
Some strain their very eyes and throats with singing,
While others strip their hands and backs at ringing.
Another sort with greedy eyes are waiting
Either at cock-pit or some great bull-baiting.
This dotes on running horses; the other fool
Is never well but in the fencing-school.
Wrestling and football, nine-pins, prison-base,
Among the rural clowns find each a place.
Nay, Joan unwashed will leave her milking-pail
To dance at May-pole, or a Whitsun ale.

Thus wallow most in sensual delight,
As if their day should never have a night,
Until Nature's pale-faced sergeant them surprise,
And as the tree then falls, just so it lies.

Now look at home, you who these lines do read,
See which of all these paths yourself do tread,
And before it is too late that path forsake,
Which, followed, will you miserable make.

After I had thus enumerated some of the many vanities in which the generality of men misspent their time, I sang the following ode in praise of virtue :-

Wealth, beauty, pleasures, honors, all adieu;
         I value virtue, far, far more than you.
         You are all but toys
         For girls and boys
To play withal; at best deceitful joys.

She lives forever; you are transitory,
Her honor is unstained; but your glory
         Is mere deceit,
         A painted bait,
Hung out for such as sit on folly's gate.

True peace, content, and joy on her attend;
You, on the contrary, your forces bend
         To blear men's eyes
         With fopperies,
Which fools embrace, but wiser men despise.


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