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IS strange to me, that they that love to tell
Things done of old, yea, and that do excel
Their equals in historiology,
Speak not of Mansoul's wars, but let them lie
Dead like old fables, or such worthless things
That to the reader no advantage brings:
When men, let them make what they will their own,
Till they know this, are to themselves unknown.
Of stories I well know there's divers sorts,
Some foreign, some domestic; and reports
Are thereof made, as fancy leads the writers;
(By books a man may guess at the inditers.)
Some will again of that which never was, Nor will be, feign (and that without a cause)
Such matter, raise such mountains, tell such things
Of men, of laws, of countries, and of kings;
And in their story seem to be so sage,
And with such gravity clothe every page,
That though their frontispiece says all is vain,
Yet to their way disciples they obtain.
But readers, I have somewhat else to do,
Than with vain stories thus to trouble you;
What here I say some men do know so well,*
They can with tears of joy the story tell.
The town of Mansoul is well known to many,
Nor are her troubles doubted of by any,
That are acquainted with those Histories +
That Mansoul and her wars anatomize.
Then lend thine ear to what I do relate
Touching the town of Mansoul and her state;
How she was lost, took captive, made a slave,
And how against him set, that should her save;
Yea, how by hostile ways she did oppose
Her Lord, and with his enemy did close:
For they are true, he that will them deny,
Must needs the best of records vilify.
For my own part, I myself was in the town,
Both when 'twas set up, and when pulling down;
I saw Diabolus in it's possession,
And Mansoul also under his oppression.
Yea, I was there when she own'd him for lord,
And to him did submit with one accord.
When Mansoul trampled upon things divine,
And wallowed in filth as doth a swine:
When she betook herself unto her arms,
Fought her Emanuel, and despis'd his charms ;*
Then I was there, and sorely griev❜d to see
Diabolus and Mansoul so agree.
Let no man, then, count me a fable-maker,
Nor make my name or credit a partaker
Of their derision; what is here in view,
Of mine own knowledge I dare say is true.
I saw the Prince's armed men come down
By troops, by thousands, to besiege the town;
I saw the captains, heard the trumpets sound,
And how his forces cover'd all the ground:
Yea, how they set themselves in battle 'ray,
I shall remember to my dying day.
I saw the colours waving in the wind,
And they within to mischief how combin'd
To ruin Mansoul, and to take away
Her Primum Mobile + without delay.
I saw the mounts cast up against the town, And how the slings were plac'd to beat it down. I heard the stones fly whizzing by my ears; (What's longer kept in mind, than got in fears?)
I heard them fall, and saw what work they made, And how old Mors* did cover with his shade
The face of Mansoul, and I heard her cry,
Woe worth the day, "In dying I shall die!"
I saw the battering rams, and how they play'd
To beat up Ear-gate: and I was afraid,
Not only Ear-gate, but the very town
Would by those battering rams be beaten down.
I saw the fights, and heard the captains shout,
And in battle saw who fac'd about.+
I saw who wounded were, and who were slain,
And who, when dead, would come to life again.
I heard the cries of those that wounded were
(While others fought like men bereft of fear ;)
And while the cry, "Kill, kill," was in mine ears,
The gutters ran not so with blood as tears.
Indeed the captains did not always fight, But when they would molest us day and night; They cry, 66 Up, fall on, let us take the town," How there they fought, and did their foes cut down. I heard the Prince bid Boanarges go
Up to the castle, and there seize his foe;
And saw him and his fellows bring him down
In chains of great contempt quite through the town.
I saw Emanuel, when he possest
His town of Mansoul: and how greatly blest The town, his gallant town of Mansoul was, When she receiv'd his pardon, lov'd his laws. When the Diabolonians were caught, When try'd, and when to execution brought, * Death. + Lusts.
Then I was there! yea, I was standing by
When Mansoul did the rebels crucify.
I also saw Mansoul clad all in white,
And heard her Prince call her his heart's delight;
I saw him put upon her chains of gold,
And rings and bracelets, goodly to behold.
What shall I say? I heard the peoples cries,
And saw the Prince wipe tears from Mansoul's eyes;
I heard the groans, and saw the joy of many?
Tell of all I neither will nor can I:
But by what here I say, you well may see
That Mansoul's matchless wars no fables be
Mansoul! the desire of both Princes was,
One keep his gain would, t'other gain his loss;
Diabolus would cry, "The town is mine;"
Emanuel would plead a right divine"
Unto his Mansoul: then to blows they go,
And Mansoul cries, These wars will me undo!"
Mansoul, her wars seem'd endless in her eyes,
She's lost by one, becomes another's prize;
And he again that lost her last would swear.
"Have her I will, or her in pieces tear."
Mansoul thus was the very seat of war ;
Wherefore her troubles greater were by far
Than only where the noise of war is heard,
Or where the shaking of a sword is feared!
Or only where small skirmishes are fought,
Or where the fancy fighteth with a thought.
She saw the swords of fighting men made red,
And heard the cries of those with them wounded,
Must not her frights, then, be much more by far
Than they that to such doings strangers are?
Or their's that hear the beating of a drum,
But need not fly for fear from house and home?
Mansoul not only heard the trumpet sound,
But saw the gallants gasping on the ground;
Wherefore he must not think that she could rest
With them whose greatest earnest is but jest:
Or where the blust'ring threat'nings of great wars
Do end in parlies, or in wording jars.
Mansoul her mighty wars they do portend
Her weal, her woe, and that world without end;
Wherefore she must be more concern'd than they
Whose fears begin and end the self-same day;
Or where none other harm doth come to him
That is engag'd, but loss of life or limb;
As all must needs confess that now do dwell
In Universe, and can this story tell.
Count me not, then, with them who, to amaze
The people, set them on the stars to gaze;
Insinuating with much confidence
They are the only men that have science
Of some brave creatures; yea, a world they will
Have in each star, though it be past their skill
To make it manifest unto a man,
That reason hath, or tell his fingers can.
But I have too long held thee in the porch,
And kept thee from the sun-shine with a torch.
Well, now go forward, step within the door,
And there behold five hundred times much more
Of all sorts of such inward rarities,
As please the mind will, and will feed the eyes,
With those which of a christian, thou wilt see;
Nor do thou go to work without my key*,
(In mysteries men do often lose their way)
And also turn it right; if thou would'st know
My riddle, and would'st with my heifer plow;
It lies there in the window. Fare thee well,
My next may be to ring thy passing-bell.