Charles IX (1550-1574) ascended to the throne in December 1560 following the death of his brother Francis, and was deeply tormented by his sanctioning, intentional or otherwise, of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacres. In this grotesque but clever epigram, Melville suggests that the haemorrhaging that killed the king after a prolonged bout of tuberculosis is a sign from God that he is too weak to stomach the slaughter. See Mack P. Holt, The French Wars of Religion 1562-1629 (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 57-61, 63-70, 72, 82-5, 88, 90, 93, 95. Metre: elegiac couplets.
Ad Carolum Galliarum tyrannum, sanguinis inusitato fluxu pereuntem (c. 1573)
Ad Carolum Galliarum tyrannum, sanguinis inusitato fluxu pereuntem 1
Naribus, ore, oculis, atque auribus, undique et ano,
et pene erumpit qui tibi, Carle, cruor;
non tuus iste cruor: sanctorum at caede cruorem
quem ferus hausisti, concoquere haud poteras.
To Charles, tyrant of the French, perishing from a strange discharge of blood
The blood, Charles, which practically bursts on all sides from your nostrils, mouth, eyes and ears, and anus; this is not your own blood: but the blood from the massacre of the saints which you, a wild beast, a lapped up but could not digest.