The pope in his fury doth answer returne,


The pope in his fury doth answer returne,


To a letter ye which to Rome is late come,


A reply to 'A letter to Rome...'

In this the Pope praises the steadfastness of the English Catholics John Felton, the Nortons, and Ball, and declares that he would welcome the opportunity to reward Peele and William Elderton for their missives to (ie against) him.

Set to tune of...


The pope in his fury doth answer returne,
To a letter ye which to Rome is late come,

I Doe esteme your kyndnes much
For sendyng worde so sone,
Your diligence it hath ben such
It is ariued at Rome:
But when I had pervsd your byl
In that you set thereto your wyl
And eke your mynd applyed vntyl
The writyng of the same.
I did beleue it to be true
But surely I must say to you
It greued mee those lines to vew
Were wrtten in your name.

[leaf motif]And sure it is no maruell loe
For daylye I doe heare,
The matter semeth to be so
As amply doth appeare:
For euery man doth tell for true
The same that late was sent of you
But out alas, your tidynges new
Doth much appall my spirite.
And makes me sweare and makes me teare
To pull and hale, and rend my heare
And brynges me dayly in dispaire
To thinke on this despite.

Œ_But sith there is no remedye
That mine obedient chylde,
Is hanged vp vpon a tree
And to to much reuylde:
What shoulde I doe but curse and ban
And hurte them toe the worst I can
For hanging vp so good a man
That bare mee such good wyll?
But yf I had him here at Rome
His body should be shryned soone
And masse at mornyng and at noone
With chantyng of each bell.

Œ_For euer shoulde be sayd and soung
The deuyls to controvle,
And prayers all aboute his tombe
With senceyng for his soule:
That neuer a deuyll so deepe in hell
Shoulde once presume with him to mell
Nor once approch his body tyll
To vexe him any way.
And I wolde kepe his body so
That it from hence should neuer go
And dyuers of my fryers mo
For him should dayly pray.

Œ_And gladly wolde I be reuengd
On England yf I might,
Because they haue toe much a abusd
My Bull with great despight:
And make thereat a laughing game
And set but little by my name
And much my holynes defame
And dayly me dispyse.
Their Queene hath chast the rebels all
That loued to bow their knees to Ball
And hanged their quarters on the wall
As meat for crowes and pyes.

Œ_But I wyll walke and dayly seke
My Purgatorie thorow,
And cause all the deuyls at my becke
To me their knees to bow:
And where as I may any fynde
That to their Prince haue ben vnkynde
Be sure, with mee they shall be shrynde
As they deserued haue.
And cheefly now Iohn Felton hee
Shall euer be beloued of mee
Because that he so louinglye
My Bull did seeme to saue.

Œ_But yf that I coulde haue at once
The paryng of his toe,
His head, his quarters, or his bones
That with the wynde doe bloe:
Then shoulde they be layd vp by mee
As reliques of great dignitie
For euery man that comes to see
Those Iewels of such grace.
The Nortons bones should so be shrynd
That now hanges wauering in the wynd
Yf that I coulde deuyse or fynd
To bryug them to this place.

Œ_And I wyll curse and ban them all
That speake against my powre,
And seekes to make my kyngdome fall
My curse shall them deuowre:
And yf that here I might you see
For wrytyng lately vnto mee
Be sure, ye should rewarded bee
As best I coulde bethynke.
And as for Wylliam Elderton
That lately sent me worde to Rome
Be sure that he should haue lyke dome
To bye him pen and ynke.

Œ_Take this as written from our grace
That vnto you we send,
Because we want both time and place
To recompence you frend:
As for the boyes that trump and scoff
And at my holynes doe laugh
I mynd to dresse them wel enough
Yf case I had them here.
And for my seruants that abyde
And long haue had their pacience tryde
From Romaine faith that wyl not slyde
I wysh them all good there.

S. P.


Composer of Ballad

S. P. (Steven Peele)


Printing Location

London, by Alexander Lacie for Henrie Kyrkham, dwellyng at the signe of the blacke Boy: at the middle North dore of Paules church.

Tune Data

Livingston assumes it is Row Well Ye Mariners, but rhyme scheme is wrong...


“The pope in his fury doth answer returne,,” Execution Ballads, accessed June 16, 2024,

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