O J burne in hell

by Nick

By way of follow-up to yesterday’s post about pro- and anti-Cromwellian manuscript poems, here is a short manuscript libel about John Lilburne which I came across today. It was doing the rounds in the summer of 1658, but I suspect it may date back to the late 1640s. Bonus marks to the author for managing to combine both anagram and acrostic, two favorite devices of the seventeenth-century pamphleteer:

The anagram of John Lilburne
O J burne in hell

If a bold traitour gainst his god & King
Of money may have share, John Lilburne bring.
He kicks gainst King, gainst parish, gainst prophett too
No mischiefe under heaven that he’ll not doe,
Laws sacred, national, and most humane
Illegall are, if Jack (the Jew) complaine
Lend mee your aid, you limners that can paint
Brittaine’s white devils, or his black grime saint
Vaine, Mildmay, Bradshaw, Martin, and Jack Pim,
(Rouges most compleat) punies unto him.
None but himselfe, himselfe can parallell.
Expect thus by him, O J burne in hell.

The image is an anonymous engraving commemorating Lilburne’s acquittal in 1649: AN514450001, © The Trustees of the British Museum.