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A Dialogue betwixt a Horse of Warre and a Mill-Horse (1644)

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Anon., A Dialogue betwixt a Horse of Warre, and a Mill-Horse (Jan., 1644)

[Created: January 8, 2018]

The image is James Gillray, "The British Atlas, or John Bull supporting the Peace Establishment" (1816). [See a higher resolution image and the illustrated essay on "James Gillray on War and Taxes during the War against Napoleon".

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Anon., A Dialogue betwixt a Horse of Warre, and a Mill-Horse; Wherein the content and safety of an humble and painfull life, is preferred above all the Noyse, the Tumults, and Trophies of the Warre. Full of harmelesse Mirth, and variety.
London, Printed by Bernard Alsop, and published according to order, 1643.

From the Leveller Tracts Collection, vol. 2 </pages/leveller-tracts-2nd-2#T32>.

A discourse between the Cavalliers Warre Horse, and the Country-mans Mill-Horse.

Cav. hors.

WEll met old Mill-Horse or indeed an Asse,

I must instruct thee before we doe passe

How to live bravely; look on me and view

My Bridle and my Saddle faire and new;

Warre doth exalt me, and by it I get

Honour, while that my picture is forth set

Cut out in Brasse, while on my back I beare

Some Noble Earle or valiant Cavallier.

Come therefore to the Wars, and doe not still

Subject thy selfe to beare Sacks to the Mill.

Mil-hors.

Despite me not thou Cavalliers War-Horse

For thouogh to live I take an idle course,

Yet for the common-wealth I alwayes stand,

And am imploy’d for it, though I’m nam’d

A Mill-Horse, I am free and seem not under

Malignants that doe townes and houses plunder.

Transported on thy back, while thou must be

Valse guilty of their wrong, and injurie.

Done to their country, while without just cause,

Thou fightest for the King against the Lawes.

Against Religion, Parliament and all,

And least the Pope and Bishops downe would fall.

Thou art expos’d to battle, but no thanks,

Thou bast at all when thou dost break the Ranks

Of our stout Muskettiers, whose bullets flye

In showres, as in the fight at Newbery,

And force thee to retreat with wounds, or lame,

Is this the glory of thy halting fame.

Whereof thou dost so bragge [Editor: illegible word] beside thy fault

Of fighting for them who have alwayes fought,

Against the common-wealth, is such a sin,

That doth stick closer to thee then thy skin,

What though upon my back I carry sacks;

Thy meat is plunderd out of barnes and stacks;

While thou dost feed on stolen Dates and Hay

The wronged Farmers curse the strength away

Of all thy Diet, often wishing that

Diseases may consume thy ill-got fat.

Therefore recant and never more appeare

In field a Champion for the Cavallier;

Let not his spurre nor false fame prick thee on

To fight in unjust warres as thou hast done.

Cav. hors.

Fame is not what I aime at, but the knowne

Right of the King, the trumpet that is blowne

Unto the Battell doth not give me more

Courage, then what I had in him before,

As if we did partake of more then sense

And farre exceeded mans intelligence,

In stooping unto Kings, and doe prove thus

Our selves descended from Bucephalus,

That Horse who did no loyall duty lack

But kneeling downe received on his back

Great Alexander, while men kick and fling

Against the power of so good a King

As time hath blest us with, O let this force

A change in thee who art a dull Mill-horse.

Thou art no Papist being without merit,

Nor zealous Brownist, for thou dost want spirit.

But with a Halter ty’d to block or pale,

Dost pennance, while thy master drinks his Ale

In some poore Village; such a poore thing are thou

Who Gentry scorne, beare till thy ribs doe bow

Burthens of corne or meale, while that Kings are

My Royall Masters both in Peace and Warre.

Mil-hors.

Boast not of happy fortune, since time brings

A change to setled States and greatest Kings,

England was happy; peace and plenty too

Did make their rich abode here, but now view

The alteration, Warrs hath brought in woe.

And sad destruction doth this land o’flown

Now thou art proud, but if this warre in peace

Should land thy high ambition would then cease;

Thy strength and courage would find no regard,

Thy plundering service should get no reward,

Although in warrs thou trample down and kill

Thy foe in age thou shalt beare sacks to Mill

As I doe now, and when thy skinne is grizzle

Groan underneath thy burthen, fart, and fizzle

Like an old horse, a souldier of the Kings,

“All imploy’d valour sad repentance brings,

When thou art lame, and wounded in a fight

Not knowing whether thou dost wrong or right,

Or what is the true ground of this sad warre

Where King and subjects both ingaged are;

Both doe pretend the justnesse of their cause.

One for Religion, Liberty, and Lawes;

Doth stand, while that the King doth strive again

His Right and due Prerogative to maintaine;

The king keeps close to this, while subjects be

Growne mad to eclipse the sonne of Majestie

By enterposing differences; how canst thou judge

Where the fault is: both at each other grudge,

I know that this discourse is farre too high

For us, yet now to talke of Majesty;

In boldest manner is a common thing

While every cobler will condemn a King,

And be so politick in their discourse.

Yet know no more then I a poore Mill-horse;

Who for the common-wealth doe stand and goe,

Would every commonwealths man did doe so.

Cav hors.

Mill-horse in this thy space and speech agree

Both wanting spirit dull and tedious bee;

The King and commonwealth are vexed theames

Writ on by many; prethee think on Beanes

And Oates well ground, what need hast thou to care

How the deplored commonwealth doth fare;

For policy this rule in mind doth keep,

“Laugh when thou hast made others grieve and weep

What care we how the State of things doe goe?

“While thou art well, let others feele the woe.

If I have store of provender I care not,

Let Cavalliers full plunder on and spare not,

When Ockingham was burned I stood by

And like each widdowes wept at ne’re an eye,

When the town burnt a fellow said in leather

“He lov’d to see a good fire in cold weather;

And with the simple clowne I doe say still

“If I doe well I care not who doth ill;

For with the Cavalliers I keep one course,

And have no more Religion then a Horse,

I care not for the Liberty nor Lawes.

Nor priviledge of Subjects, nor the cause,

Let us stand well affected to good Oates,

While that the ship of State and Kingdome floates

On bloody waves, the staved rack shall be

Crammeed with hey, a commonwealth to me.

Mill-hors.

Alasse I pitty thee thou great war-horse

Who art like Cavalliers without remorse:

The sad affliction which the Kingdome feeles,

Regarding not, thou caste it at thy heeles

And so dost prove that horses have no braine

Or if they have they little wit containe.

Unto the Kingdomes tale thy prick eares lend

Whose griefe I will describe, and right defend.

Cav-hors.

Thou defend right, thy right to the high way

Is lost, as sure as thou dost live by hey,

In telling of a tale without all doubt

Thou needs must stumble, and wilt soon run out

Of breath and sense, good Mill-horse, therefore prethee

Leave tales, there are too many tales already,

That weekly flye with more lies without faile

Then there be haires within a horses taile;

And if the writers angry be I wish,

You would the Cavalliers horse arse both kisse,

Not as the Miller thy back doth kisse with whip,

But as a Lover doth his Mistresse sip;

For know the Cavalliers brave warlick horse

Scornes vulgar Jades, and bids them kisse his arse.

Mill-hors.

Thou pamperd Jade that liv’st> by plunderd oates

My skin’s as good as thine and worth ten groates,

Though slow of foot, I come of a good kind,

Of Racers, gotten by the boistrous wind

When the mare turned her back side in the mouth

Of Boreas, being Northerne breed not South.

The Millers horse before the warres began,

Would take the way of Lord or Gentleman;

And when Peace shall Malignants keep in aw,,

I shall see thee in Cauch or Dung-cart draw,

Cav. hors.

I scorne thy motion, after this sad Warre,

Perhaps I may draw in some Coach or Carre;

And which doth grieve me, Cavaliers most high-born

I may be forced to draw on to Tiburne:

In time of Peace my blood shall not be spilt,

But like to Noble Beere, shall run at Tilt.

In Peace I serve for Triumphs, more then that

I shall be made a Bishop, and grow fat,

As Archey said, when Bishops rul’d ’twas worse,

That had no more Religion then a Horse.

But thou shalt weare thy selfe out, and be still

An everlasting Drudge unto some Mill.

Mil-hors.

No matter, I wil spend my life and health,

Both for my Country and the common-wealth,

And it is Prince-like (if well understood)

To be ill-spoken off for doing good,

And if a horse may shew his good intent,

Some Asses raile thus at the Parliament.

Scorn is a burthen laid on good men still.

Which they must beare, as I do Sackes to Mill:

But thou delighted to bear trumpets rattle.

An animall rushing into lawlesse battle;

If thou couldst think of those are slain and dead,

Thy skin would blush, and all thy haires look red

With blood of men, but I do with for peace,

On that condition Dogs might eate thy flesh.

Then should the Mil-horse meat both fetch and bring.

Towns brew good Ale, and drink healthe to the King.

Cav. hors.

Base Mill-horse have I broke my bridle, where

I was tyed by my Master Cavaliere

To come and prattle with thee, and doest thou

Wish Dogs might eat my flesh? I scorn thee now.

My angry sense a great desire now feeles.

To kick thee into manners with my heeles.

But for the present I will curb my will.

If thou wilt tell me some newes from the mill.

Mil-hors.

If thou wilt tell me newes from Camp & Court,

Ile tell thee Mill-newes that shall make thee sport.

Cav. hors.

If Country news thou wilt relate and shew me,

Halters of love shall binde me fast unto thee,

Mil-hors.

It chanced that I carried a young Maid

To Mill, and was to stumble much afraid,

She rid in handsome manner on my back,

And seem’d more heavie then the long meale sacke

On which she sate, when she alighted, I

Perceiv’d her belly was grown plump and high;

I carried many others, and all were

Gotten with childe still by the Cavaleer,

So that this newes for truth I may set downe,

There’s scarce a Maid left in a Market towne;

An woman old with Mufler on her chin,

Did tell the Miller she had plundered been

Thrice by the Cavaliers, and they had taken.

Her featherbeds, her brasse, and all her bacon,

And she her daughter Bridget that would wed

Clodes sonne was plundered of her maidenhead,

Besides I heare your Cavaliers doe still,

Drinke sacke like water that runs from the Mill;

We heare of Irish Rebels comming over,

Which was a plot that I dare not discover.

And that the malignant Army of the King,

Into this Land blinde Popery would bring.

Cav. hors.

Peace, peace, I see thou dost know nothing now,

Thy fleeting jests I cannot well allow;

And there are Mercuriés abroad that will,

Tell better news then a horse of the Mill;

But I will answer thee, and tell thee thus,

Thou lyest as bad as ere did Aulicus.

Who though he writ Court-newes ile tell you what,

Heele lye as fast as both of us can trot.

You tell of Maydens that have been beguild,

And by the Cavaleers are got with childe,

And hast not thou when thou wast fat and idle,

Often times broke thy halter and thy bridle,

And rambled over hedge and ditch to come,

Unto some Mare, whom thou hast quickly wonne

To thy desire, and leapt her in the place,

Of dull Mill-horses to beget a race;

While that the Cavaliers when they do fall

To worke, will get a race of souldiers all.

It had been newes whereas I would have smilde,

If the maids had got the Cavalliers with childe.

Mill-hors.

I ramble over hedge, thou meanst indeed

The Cavalliers, who were compelt’d with speed

Both over hedge and ditch away to flye.

When they were lately beat at Newbery.

The Proverb to be true is prov’d by thee>

That servants like unto their masters bee;

Those plundering devills on thy back doe ride,

Have fill’d thee with a pamper’d spirit of pride,

And thou hast eaten so much Popish Dates,

That in thy belly thou hast got three Popes;

The great Grand-father of that race did come

That bore Pope Joane in triumph through Rome

I beare to Mill of corne a plump long sack.

Thou carried a great Pluto on thy back.

Oh Cavallier, and who can then abide thee.

When that malignant Fooles and Knaves doe ride thee.

From town to town, and plunder where they come,

The country is by Cavalliers undone.

And these thy masters are, who fight and kill

And seek the blood of Protestants to spill;

For thus the newes abroad both alwayes runns,

That the Kings forces are in horse most strong.

Whereby it doth appeare the war-horse are

Guilty of blood-shed, in this cruell war

And yet the Cavalliers horse as I beare

At Kenton field beshit themselves for feare.

And the Cavalliers being kill’d, they run about

The field to seek another master out,

Therefore love war, and have of wounds thy fill.

While I in Peace doe walk unto the Mill;

I will be alwayes true unto my selfe,

And love the Kingdome and the Commonwealth.

Cav. hors.

Mill-horse, because thou shew’st thy railing wits

Ile give thee a round answer with some kicks,

Which Ile bestow upon thee, but I am undone,

Yonder my master Cavallier doth come

To fetch me back, and Yonder too I see

The Miller comming for to take up thee;

If thou lik’st not my discourse very well,

Mill-horse take up my taile, and so farwell.

FINIS.

Last modified January 08, 2018