Kings That Chase the Beast

The refusal of the city of Hull to allow entry to King Charles was one of the first major acts of open rebellion in the build up to the English Civil War, and the siege which followed saw some of the earliest fighting of the conflict. Andrew Marvell was MP for Hull, a close political ally of Oliver Cromwell, and went on to become one of the finest English writer-poets of the day. His poem “The First Anniversary Of the Government under Oliver Cromwell” inspired both the title of this song and the words to its final verse.

Grey April day, 1642
A thousand horse and footmen strong and true
The Right of Kings, Divine and for the few
To break the city walls and claim his due
To march as one into this mighty garrison
Till carriages and treasure troves are full
To steal away again before the day is done
And take the shot and powder all from Hull

On Silver Street, there lies a plotting den
And round a table, there’s Hotham and his men
Now of a mind that a message will be sent
All for to warn the King of their intent
And to his camp on the road to Beverley
A herald rides a stallion through the rain
To bring the word that his city will stay free
No more the Royal Standard raise again

And very soon, a meeting at the gate
But all by noon are told that it’s too late
A thousand men just to take away their store
A royal army wanting something more
All through the day and until the darkness fell
The King’s men drive their bargain at the door
Now turned away with a promise to bring hell
The first act of The English Civil war

A King to rule alone questioned only by The Lord
A King to rule alone with no answer to the sword
A King to rule alone questioned only by The Lord
A King to rule alone with no answer to the sword
With no answer to the sword
With no answer to the sword

They swear an oath to grant the King his will
To flood the fields and to burn away the mill
But local men don’t want to see their city fall
And now they’re firing muskets from the wall
In tempest full with the Royals in their sights
A battle raged and soon the raiders fled
But men of Hull they came a-calling in the night
And slew them while they lay upon their beds

Unhappy princes, ignorantly bred
By malice some, by error more misled
If gracious heaven will to my life give length
And God above gives to my weakness strength
Then shall I once with a graver accent shake
Your regal sloth and your long slumbers wake
And when the hunter is rewarded at the feast
To sound his horn at Kings that chase the beast