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On the New Forcers of Conscience Under the Long Parliament

A sonnet by John Milton, written in 1647. The poem seems to be a criticism of the split of the Anglican Church with mainstream Catholicism.

Because you have thrown off your Prelate Lord,
And with stiff vows renounc'd his Liturgy,
To seize the widowed whore Plurality
From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorred,
Dare you for this adjure the civil sword
To force our consciences that Christ set free,
And ride us with a Classic Hierarchy,
Taught ye by mere A.S. and Rutherford?
Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent,
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul
Must now be named and printed heretics
By shallow Edwards and Scotch What-d'ye-call.
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent,
That so the Parliament
May with their wholesome and preventative shears
Clip your phylacteries, though bauk1 your ears,
And succor our just fears,
When they shall read this clearly in your charge:
New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large

1. In the 1673 publication of this work, 'bauk' was originally misspelled as 'bank.' This has since been corrected.

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