Hudibras: Part 3 - Canto Iii
The Knight and squire's prodigious Flight
To quit th' inchanted Bow'r by Night.
He plods to turn his amorous Suit
T' a Plea in Law, and prosecute
Repairs to Counsel, to advise
'Bout managing the Enterprise;
But first resolves to try by Letter,
And one more fair Address, to get her.
WHO wou'd believe what strange bugbears
Mankind creates itself of fears
That spring like fern, that insect weed,
Equivocally, without seed;
And have no possible foundation,
But merely in th' imagination;
And yet can do more dreadful feats
Than hags, with all their imps and teats
Make more bewitch and haunt themselves
Than all their nurseries of elves?
For fear does things so like a witch,
'Tis hard t' unriddle which is which:
Sets up Communities of senses,
To chop and change intelligences;
As Rosicrucian virtuosos
Can see with ears, and hear with noses;
And when they neither see nor hear,
Have more than both supply'd by fear
That makes 'em in the dark see visions,
And hag themselves with apparitions;
And when their eyes discover least,
Discern the subtlest objects best
Do things not contrary, alone,
To th' course of nature, but its own;
The courage of the bravest daunt,
And turn poltroons as valiant:
For men as resolute appear
With too much as too little fear
And when they're out of hopes of flying,
Will run away from death by dying;
Or turn again to stand it out,
And those they fled, like lions, rout.
This HUDIBRAS had prov'd too true,
Who, by the furies left perdue,
And haunted with detachments, sent
From Marshal Legion's regiment,
Was by a fiend, as counterfeit,
Reliev'd and rescu'd with a cheat;
When nothing but himself, and fear,
Was both the imp and conjurer;
As, by the rules o' th' virtuosi,
It follows in due form of poesie.
Disguis'd in all the masks of night,
We left our champion on his flight,
At blind man's buff, to grope his way,
In equal fear of night and day,
Who took his dark and desp'rate course,
He knew no better than his horse;
And, by an unknown Devil led,
(He knew as little whither,) fled.
He never was in greater need,
Nor less capacity, of speed;
Disabled, both in man and beast,
To fly and run away his best;
To keep the enemy, and fear,
From equal falling on his rear.
And though with kicks and bangs he ply'd
The further and the nearer side,
(As seamen ride with all their force,
And tug as if they row'd the horse,
And when the hackney sails most swift,
Believe they lag, or run a-drift,)
So, though he posted e'er so fast,
His fear was greater than his haste:
For fear, though fleeter than the wind,
Believes 'tis always left behind.
But when the morn began t' appear,
And shift t' another scene his fear,
He found his new officious shade,
That came so timely to his aid,
And forc'd him from the foe t' escape,
Had turn'd itself to RALPHO's shape;
So like in person, garb, and pitch,
'Twas hard t' interpret which was which.
For RALPHO had no sooner told
The Lady all he had t' unfold,
But she convey'd him out of sight,
To entertain the approaching Knight;
And, while he gave himself diversion,
T' accommodate his beast and person,
And put his beard into a posture
At best advantage to accost her,
She order'd th' anti-masquerade
(For his reception) aforesaid:
But when the ceremony was done,
The lights put out, and furies gone,
And HUDIBRAS, among the rest,
Convey'd away, as RALPHO guess'd,
The wretched caitiff, all alone,
(As he believ'd) began to moan,
And tell his story to himself,
The Knight mistook him for an elf;
And did so still till he began
To scruple at RALPH's Outward Man;
And thought, because they oft agreed
T' appear in one another's stead,
And act the Saint's and Devil's part
With undistinguishable art,
They might have done so now, perhaps,
And put on one another's shapes
And therefore, to resolve the doubt,
He star'd upon him, and cry'd out,
What art? My 'Squire, or that bold Sprite
That took his place and shape to-night?
Some busy indepenent pug,
Retainer to his Synagogue?
Alas! quoth he, I'm none of those,
Your bosom friends, as you suppose;
But RALPH himself, your trusty 'Squire,
Wh' has dragg'd your Dunship out o' th' mire,
And from th' inchantments of a widow,
Wh' had turn'd you int' a beast, have freed you;
And, though a prisoner of war,
Have brought you safe where you now are;
Which you would gratefully repay
Your constant Presbyterian way.
That's stranger (quoth the Knight) and stranger.
Who gave thee notice of my danger?
Quoth he, Th' infernal Conjurer
Pursu'd and took me prisoner;
And knowing you were hereabout,
Brought me along to find you out;
Where I, in hugger-mugger hid,
Have noted all they said or did:
And though they lay to him the pageant,
I did not see him, nor his agent;
Who play'd their sorceries out of sight,
T' avoid a fiercer second fight.
But didst thou see no Devils then?
Not one (quoth he) but carnal men,
A little worse than fiends in hell,
And that She-Devil Jezebel,
That laugh'd and tee-he'd with derision,
To see them take your deposition.
What then (quoth HUDIBRAS) was he
That play'd the Dev'l to examine me?
A rallying weaver in the town,
That did it in a parson's gown;
Whom all the parish take for gifted;
But, for my part, I ne'er believ'd it:
In which you told them all your feats,
Your conscientious frauds and cheats;
Deny'd your whipping, and confest
The naked truth of all the rest,
More plainly than the Rev'rend Writer,
That to our Churches veil'd his Mitre;
All which they took in black and white,
And cudgell'd me to under-write.
What made thee, when they all were gone,
And none but thou and I alone,
To act the Devil, and forbear
To rid me of my hellish fear?
Quoth he, I knew your constant rate
And frame of sp'rit too obstinate
To be by me prevail'd upon
With any motives of my own;
And therefore strove to counterfeit
The Dev'l a-while, to nick your wit;
The Devil, that is your constant crony,
That only can prevail upon ye;
Else we might still have been disputing,
And they with weighty drubs confuting.
The Knight who now began to find
Th' had left the enemy behind,
And saw no farther harm remain,
But feeble weariness and pain;
Perceiv'd, by losing of their way,
Th' had gain'd th' advantage of the day;
And, by declining of the road,
They had, by chance, their rear made good;
He ventur'd to dismiss his fear,
That parting's wont to rent and tear,
And give the desperat'st attack
To danger still behind its back.
For having paus'd to recollect,
And on his past success reflect,
T' examine and consider why,
And whence, and how, they came to fly,
And when no Devil had appear'd,
What else, it cou'd be said, he fear'd;
It put him in so fierce a rage,
He once resolv'd to re-engage;
Toss'd like a foot-ball back again,
With shame and vengeance, and disdain.
Quoth he, it was thy cowardice
That made me from this leaguer rise
And when I'd half reduc'd the place,
To quit it infamously base
Was better cover'd by the new
Arriv'd detachment then I knew;
To slight my new acquests, and run
Victoriously from battles won;
And reck'ning all I gain'd or lost,
To sell them cheaper than they cost;
To make me put myself to flight,
And conqu'ring run away by night
To drag me out, which th' haughty foe
Durst never have presum'd to do
To mount me in the dark, by force,
Upon the bare ridge of my horse;
Expos'd in querpo to their rage,
Without my arms and equipage;
Lest, if they ventur'd to pursue,
I might th' unequal fight renew;
And, to preserve thy Outward Man,
Assum'd my place, and led the van.
All this quoth RALPH, I did, 'tis true,
Not to preserve my self, but you;
You, who were damn'd to baser drubs
Than wretches feel in powd'ring tubs.
To mount two-wheel'd carroches, worse
Than managing a wooden-horse
Dragg'd out through straiter holes by th' ears,
Eras'd or coup'd for perjurers;
Who, though th' attempt had prov'd in vain,
Had had no reason to complain:
But since it prosper'd, 'tis unhandsome
To blame the hand that paid our ransome,
And rescu'd your obnoxious bones
From unavoidable battoons.
The enemy was reinforc'd,
And we disabled, and unhors'd,
Disarm'd, unqualify'd for fight,
And no way left but hasty flight,
Which though as desp'rate in th' attempt,
Has giv'n you freedom to condemn't.
But were our bones in fit condition
To reinforce the expedition,
'Tis now unseasonable, and vain,
To think of falling on again.
No martial project to surprize
Can ever be attempted twice;
Nor cast design serve afterwards,
As gamesters tear their losing-cards,
Beside, our bangs of man and beast
Are fit for nothing now but rest;
And for a-while will not be able
To rally, and prove serviceable;
And therefore I, with reason, chose
This stratagem t' amuse our foes;
To make an honourable retreat,
And wave a total sure defeat;
For those that fly may fight again,
Which he can never do that's slain.
Hence timely running's no mean part
Of conduct in the martial art;
By which some glorious feats atchieve,
As citizens by breaking thrive;
And cannons conquer armies, while
They seem to draw off and recoil;
Is held the gallantest course, and bravest
To great exploits, as well as safest;
That spares th' expence of time and pains,
And dangerous beating out of brains;
And in the end prevails as certain
As those that never trust to fortune;
But make their fear do execution
Beyond the stoutest resolution;
As earthquakes kill without a blow,
And, only trembling, overthrow,
If th' ancients crown'd their bravest men
That only sav'd a citizen,
What victory could e'er be won,
If ev'ry one would save but one
Or fight endanger'd to be lost,
Where all resolve to save the most?
By this means, when a battle's won,
The war's as far from being done;
For those that save themselves, and fly,
Go halves, at least, i' th' victory;
And sometimes, when the loss is small,
And danger great, they challenge all;
Print new additions to their feats,
And emendations in Gazettes;
And when, for furious haste to run,
They durst not stay to fire a gun,
Have done't with bonfires, and at home
Made squibs and crackers overcome;
To set the rabble on a flame,
And keep their governors from blame;
Disperse the news the pulpit tells,
Confirm'd with fire-works and with bells;
And though reduc'd to that extream,
They have been forc'd to sing Te Deum;
Yet, with religious blasphemy,
By flattering Heaven with a lie
And for their beating giving thanks,
Th' have rais'd recruits, and fill'd their banks;
For those who run from th' enemy,
Engage them equally to fly;
And when the fight becomes a chace,
Those win the day that win the race
And that which would not pass in fights,
Has done the feat with easy flights;
Recover'd many a desp'rate campaign
With Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champaign;
Restor'd the fainting high and mighty
With brandy-wine and aqua-vitae;
And made 'em stoutly overcome
With bachrach, hoccamore, and mum;
Whom the uncontroul'd decrees of fate
To victory necessitate;
With which, although they run or burn
They unavoidably return:
Or else their sultan populaces
Still strangle all their routed Bassas.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, I understand
What fights thou mean'st at sea and land,
And who those were that run away,
And yet gave out th' had won the day;
Although the rabble sous'd them for't,
O'er head and ears in mud and dirt.
'Tis true, our modern way of war
Is grown more politick by far,
But not so resolute, and bold,
Nor ty'd to honour, as the old.
For now they laugh at giving battle,
Unless it be to herds of cattle;
Or fighting convoys of provision,
The whole design o' the expedition:
And not with downright blows to rout
The enemy, but eat them out:
As fighting, in all beasts of prey,
And eating, are perform'd one way,
To give defiance to their teeth
And fight their stubborn guts to death;
And those atchieve the high'st renown,
That bring the others' stomachs down,
There's now no fear of wounds, nor maiming;
All dangers are reduc'd to famine;
And feats of arms, to plot, design,
Surprize, and stratagem, and mine;
But have no need nor use of courage,
Unless it be for glory or forage:
For if they fight, 'tis but by chance,
When one side vent'ring to advance,
And come uncivilly too near,
Are charg'd unmercifully i' th' rear;
And forc'd with terrible resistance,
To keep hereafter at a distance;
To pick out ground to incamp upon,
Where store of largest rivers run,
That serve, instead of peaceful barriers,
To part th' engagements of their warriors;
Where both from side to side may skip,
And only encounter at bo-peep:
For men are found the stouter-hearted,
The certainer th' are to be parted,
And therefore post themselves in bogs,
As th' ancient mice attack'd the frogs,
And made their mortal enemy,
The water-rat, their strict ally.
For 'tis not now, who's stout and bold,
But who bears hunger best, and cold;
And he's approv'd the most deserving,
Who longest can hold out at starving;
And he that routs most pigs and cows,
The formidablest man of prowess.
So th' emperor CALIGULA,
That triumph'd o'er the British Sea,
Took crabs and oysters prisoners,
Lobsters, 'stead of cuirasiers,
Engag'd his legions in fierce bustles
With periwinkles, prawns, and muscles;
And led his troops with furious gallops,
To charge whole regiments of scallops
Not like their ancient way of war,
To wait on his triumphal carr
But when he went to dine or sup
More bravely eat his captives up;
And left all war, by his example,
Reduc'd to vict'ling of a camp well.
Quoth RALPH, By all that you have said,
And twice as much that I cou'd add,
'Tis plain you cannot now do worse,
Than take this out-of-fashion'd course;
To hope, by stratagem, to woo her,
Or waging battle to subdue her
Though some have done it in romances,
And bang'd them into amorous fancies
As those who won the AMAZONS,
By wanton drubbing of their bones;
And stout Rinaldo gain'd his bride,
By courting of her back and side.
But since those times and feats are over,
They are not for a modern lover,
When mistresses are too cross-grain'd
By such addresses to be gain'd;
And if they were, wou'd have it out
With many another kind of bout.
Therefore I hold no course s' infeasible,
As this of force to win the JEZEBEL;
To storm her heart, by th' antick charms
Of ladies errant, force of arms;
But rather strive by law to win her,
And try the title you have in her.
Your case is clear; you have her word,
And me to witness the accord
Besides two more of her retinue
To testify what pass'd between you;
More probable, and like to hold,
Than hand, or seal, or breaking gold;
For which so many, that renounc'd
Their plighted contracts, have been trounc'd
And bills upon record been found,
That forc'd the ladies to compound;
And that, unless I miss the matter,
Is all the bus'ness you look after.
Besides, encounters at the bar
Are braver now than those in war,
In which the law does execution
With less disorder and confusion
Has more of honour in't, some hold
Not like the new way, but the old
When those the pen had drawn together,
Decided quarrels with the feather,
And winged arrows kill'd as dead,
And more than bullets now of lead.
So all their combats now, as then,
Are manag'd chiefly by the pen;
That does the feat with braver vigours,
In words at length, as well as figures;
Is judge of all the world performs
In voluntary feats of arms
And whatsoe'er's atchiev'd in fight,
Determines which is wrong or right:
For whether you prevail, or lose
All must be try'd there in the close;
And therefore 'tis not wise to shun
What you must trust to ere y' have done.
The law, that settles all you do,
And marries where you did but woo;
That makes the most perfidious lover
A lady, that's as false, recover;
And if it judge upon your side,
Will soon extend her for your bride;
And put her person, goods, or lands,
Or which you like best int' your hands.
For law's the wisdom of all ages,
And manag'd by the ablest sages;
Who, though their bus'ness at the bar
Be but a kind of civil war,
In which th' engage with fiercer dudgeons
Than e'er the GRECIANS did and TROJANS,
They never manage the contest
T' impair their public interest;
Or by their controversies lessen
The dignity of their profession:
Not like us Brethren, who divide
Our Commonwealth, the Cause, and Side;
And though w' are all as near of kindred
As th' outward man is to the inward,
We agree in nothing, but to wrangle
About the slightest fingle-fangle;
While lawyers have more sober sense
Than t' argue at their own expence,
But make their best advantages
Of others' quarrels, like the Swiss;
And, out of foreign controversies,
By aiding both sides, fill their purses;
But have no int'rest in the cause
For which th' engage, and wage the laws;
Nor further prospect than their pay,
Whether they lose or win the day:
And though th' abounded in all ages,
With sundry learned clerks and sages,
Though all their business be dispute,
Which way they canvass ev'ry suit,
Th' have no disputes about their art,
Nor in Polemicks controvert:
While all professions else are found
With nothing but disputes t' abound
Divines of all sorts, and physicians,
The Galenist and Paracelsian
Condemn the way each other deals in:
Anatomists dissect and mangle,
To cut themselves out work to wrangle
Astrologers dispute their dreams,
That in their sleeps they talk of schemes:
And heralds stickle, who got who
So many hundred years ago.
But lawyers are too wise a nation
T' expose their trade to disputation;
Or make the busy rabble judges
Of all their secret piques and grudges;
In which whoever wins the day,
The whole profession's sure to pay.
Beside, no mountebanks, nor cheats,
Dare undertake to do their feats,
When in all other sciences
They swarm, like insects, and increase.
For what bigot durst ever draw,
By inward light, a deed in law?
Or could hold forth, by revelation,
An answer to a declaration?
For those that meddle with their tools
Will cut their fingers, if they're fools;
And if you follow their advice,
In bills, and answers, and replies,
They'll write a love-letter in chancery,
Shall bring her upon oath to answer ye,
And soon reduce her to b' your wife,
Or make her weary of her life.
The Knight, who us'd with tricks and shifts
To edify by RALPHO's Gifts,
But in appearance cry'd him down,
To make them better seem his own,
(All Plagiaries' constant course
Of sinking when they take a purse),
Resolv'd to follow his advice,
But kept it from him by disguise;
And, after stubborn contradiction,
To counterfeit his own conviction,
And by transition fall upon
The resolution as his own.
Quoth he, This gambol thou advisest
Is of all others the unwisest;
For if I think by law to gain her,
There's nothing sillier or vainer
'Tis but to hazard my pretence,
Where nothing's certain, but th' expence;
To act against myself, and traverse
My suit and title, to her favours
And if she shou'd (which Heav'n forbid)
O'erthrow me, as the fidler did,
What aftercourse have I to take,
'Gainst losing all I have at stake?
He that with injury is griev'd,
And goes to law to be reliev'd,
Is sillier than a sottish chowse,
Who, when thief has robb'd his house,
Applies himself to cunning men,
To help him to his goods agen;
When all he can expect to gain,
Is but to squander more in vain;
And yet I have no other way
But is as difficult to play.
For to reduce her by main force,
Is now in vain; by fair means, worse;
But worst of all, to give her over,
'Till she's as desp'rate to recover
For bad games are thrown up too soon,
Until th' are never to be won.
But since I have no other course,
But is as bad t' attempt, or worse,
He that complies against his will,
Is of his own opinion still;
Which he may adhere to, yet disown,
For reasons to himself best known:
But 'tis not to b' avoided now,
For SIDROPHEL resolves to sue;
Whom I must answer, or begin
Inevitably first with him.
For I've receiv'd advertisement,
By times enough, of his intent;
And knowing he that first complains
Th' advantage of the business gains;
For Courts of Justice understand
The plaintiff to be eldest hand;
Who what he pleases may aver;
The other, nothing, till he swear;
Is freely admitted to all grace,
And lawful favour, by his place;
And, for his bringing custom in,
Has all advantages to win.
I, who resolve to oversee
No lucky opportunity,
Will go to council, to advise
Which way t' encounter, or surprize,
And, after long consideration,
Have found out one to fit th' occasion;
Most apt for what I have to do,
As counsellor and justice too.
And truly so, no doubt, he was,
A lawyer fit for such a case.
An old dull sot, who told the clock
For many years at Bridewell-dock,
At Westminster, and Hicks's-Hall,
And Hiccius Doctius play'd in all;
Where, in all governments and times,
H' had been both friend and foe to crimes,
And us'd two equal ways of gaining
By hind'ring justice or maintaining;
To many a whore gave priviledge,
And whipp'd for want of quarteridge:
Cart-loads of bawds to prison sent
For b'ing behind a fortnight's rent
And many a trusty pimp and croney
To a Puddle-dock for want of money;
Engag'd the constable to seize
All those that would not break the peace,
Nor give him back his own foul words,
Though sometimes Commoners or Lords,
And kept 'em prisoners of course,
For being sober at ill hours;
That in the morning he might free
Or bind 'em over for his fee;
Made monsters fine, and puppet-plays,
For leave to practise in their ways;
Farm'd out all cheats, and went a share
With th' headborough and scavenger;
And made the dirt i' th' streets compound
For taking up the publick ground;
The kennel, and the King's highway,
For being unmolested, pay;
Let out the stocks, and whipping-post,
And cage, to those that gave him most;
Impos'd a tax on bakers' ears,
And for false weights on chandelers;
Made victuallers and vintners fine
For arbitrary ale and wine;
But was a kind and constant friend
To all that regularly offend;
As residentiary bawds,
And brokers that receive stol'n goods;
That cheat in lawful mysteries,
And pay church duties and his fees;
But was implacable, and awkward,
To all that interlop'd and hawker'd.
To this brave man the Knight repairs
For council in his law-affairs
And found him mounted in his pew,
With books and money plac'd for shew,
Like nest-eggs to make clients lay,
And for his false opinion pay
To whom the knight, with comely grace,
Put off his hat to put his case
Which he as proudly entertain'd
As th' other courteously strain'd;
And, to assure him 't was not that
He look'd for, bid him put on's hat.
Quoth he, There is one SIDROPHEL,
Whom I have cudgell'd - Very well.
And now he brags t' have beaten me. -
Better and better still, quoth he. -
And vows to stick me to a wall
Where-e'er he meets me - Best of all.
'Tis true, the knave has taken's oath
That I robb'd him - Well done, in troth
When h' has confess'd he stole my cloak,
And pick'd my fob, and what he took;
Which was the cause that made me bang him,
And take my goods again - Marry hang him.
Now whether I should before-hand,
Swear he robb'd me? - I understand.
Or bring my action of conversion
And trover for my goods? - Ah, Whoreson!
Or if 'tis better to indite,
And bring him to his trial? - Right.
Prevent what he designs to do,
And swear for th' State against him? - True.
Or whether he that is defendant
In this case has the better end on't;
Who, putting in a new cross-bill,
May traverse th' action? - Better still.
Then there's a Lady too - Aye, marry
That's easily prov'd accessary;
A widow, who, by solemn vows
Contracted to me for my spouse,
Combin'd with him to break her word,
And has abetted all. - Good Lord
Suborn'd th' aforesaid SIDROPHEL
To tamper with the Dev'l of Hell;
Who put m' into a horrid fear,
Fear of my life. - Make that appear.
Made an assault with fiends and men
Upon my body. - Good agen,
And kept me in a deadly fright,
And false imprisonment, all night
Mean while they robb'd me, and my horse,
And stole my saddle. - Worse and worse.
And made me mount upon the bare ridge,
T' avoid a wretcheder miscarriage.
Sir, quoth the Lawyer, not to flatter ye,
You have as good and fair a battery
As heart can wish, and need not shame
The proudest man alive to claim.
For if th' have us'd you as you say;
Marry, quoth I, God give you joy.
I wou'd it were my case, I'd give
More than I'll say, or you'll believe.
I would so trounce her, and her purse;
I'd make her kneel for better or worse;
For matrimony and hanging here
Both go by destiny so clear,
That you as sure may pick and choose,
As Cross, I win; and, Pile, you lose;
And, if I durst, I would advance
As much in ready maintenance,
As upon any case I've known,
But we that practise dare not own.
The law severely contrabands
Our taking bus'ness off men's hands;
'Tis common barratry, that bears
Point-blank an action 'gainst our ears
And crops them till there is not leather
To stick a pin in left of either;
For which some do the Summer-sault,
And o'er the bar, like tumblers, vault,
But you may swear, at any rate,
Things not in nature, for the State;
For in all courts of justice here
A witness is not said to swear,
But make oath; that is, in plain terms,
To forge whatever he affirms.
(I thank you, quoth the Knight, for that,
Because 'tis to my purpose pat - )
For Justice, though she's painted blind,
Is to the weaker Side inclin'd,
Like Charity; else right and wrong
Could never hold it out so long,
And, like blind Fortune, with a slight
Convey mens' interest and right
From Stiles's pocket into Nokes's,
As easily as Hocus Pocus;
Play fast and loose; make men obnoxious,
And clear again, like Hiccius Doctius.
Then whether you wou'd take her life,
Or but recover her for your wife,
Or be content with what she has,
And let all other matters pass,
The bus'ness to the law's alone,
The proof is all it looks upon:
And you can want no witnesses
To swear to any thing you please,
That hardly get their mere expences
By th' labour of their consciences;
Or letting out to hire their ears
To affidavit customers,
At inconsiderable values,
To serve for jury-men or tallies,
Although retain'd in th' hardest matters,
Of trustees and administrators.
For that, quoth he, let me alone;
W' have store of such, and all our own;
Bred up and tutor'd by our teachers,
The ablest of conscience-stretchers.
That's well, quoth he; but I should guess,
By weighing all advantages,
Your surest way is first to pitch
On BONGEY for a water-witch;
And when y' have hang'd the conjurer,
Y' have time enough to deal with her.
In th' int'rim, spare for no trepans
To draw her neck into the bans
Ply her with love-letters and billets,
And bait 'em well, for quirks and quillets
With trains t' inveigle, and surprize,
Her heedless answers and replies;
And if she miss the mouse-trap lines,
They'll serve for other by-designs;
And make an artist understand
To copy out her seal or hand;
Or find void places in the paper
To steal in something to intrap her
Till, with her worldly goods and body,
Spight of her heart, she has endow'd ye,
Retain all sorts of witnesses,
That ply i' th' Temple under trees;
Or walk the round, with knights o' th' posts,
About the cross-legg'd knights, their hosts;
Or wait for customers between
The pillars-rows in Lincoln's-Inn
Where vouchers, forgers, common-bail,
And affidavit-men, ne'er fail
T' expose to sale all sorts of oaths,
According to their ears and cloaths,
Their only necessary tools,
Besides the Gospel and their souls;
And when y' are furnish'd with all purveys,
I shall be ready at your service.
I would not give, quoth HUDIBRAS,
A straw to understand a case,
Without the admirable skill
To wind and manage it at will;
To vere, and tack, and steer a cause
Against the weather-gage of laws;
And ring the changes upon cases
As plain as noses upon faces,
As you have well instructed me,
For which you've earn'd (here 'tis) your fee.
I long to practise your advice,
And try the subtle artifice;
To bait a letter, as you bid;
As not long after, thus he did
For having pump'd up all his wit,
And humm'd upon it, thus he writ.
Hudibras: Part 1 - Canto I
Sir Hudibras his passing worth,
The manner how he sallied forth;
His arms and equipage are shown;
His horse's virtues, and his own.
Th' adventure of the bear and fiddle
Is sung, but breaks off in the middle.
When civil dudgeon a first grew high,
And men fell out they knew not why?
When hard words, jealousies, and fears,
Set folks together by the ears,
And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
For Dame Religion, as for punk;
Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore:
When Gospel-Trumpeter, surrounded
With long-ear'd rout, to battle sounded,
And pulpit, drum ecclesiastick,
Was beat with fist, instead of a stick;
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling,
And out he rode a colonelling.
A wight he was, whose very sight wou'd
Entitle him Mirror of Knighthood;
That never bent his stubborn knee
To any thing but Chivalry;
Nor put up blow, but that which laid
Right worshipful on shoulder-blade;
Chief of domestic knights and errant,
Either for cartel or for warrant;
Great on the bench, great in the saddle,
That could as well bind o'er, as swaddle;
Mighty he was at both of these,
And styl'd of war, as well as peace.
(So some rats, of amphibious nature,
Are either for the land or water).
But here our authors make a doubt
Whether he were more wise, or stout:
Some hold the one, and some the other;
But howsoe'er they make a pother,
The diff'rence was so small, his brain
Outweigh'd his rage but half a grain;
Which made some take him for a tool
That knaves do work with, call'd a fool,
And offer to lay wagers that
As MONTAIGNE, playing with his cat,
Complains she thought him but an ass,
Much more she wou'd Sir HUDIBRAS;
(For that's the name our valiant knight
To all his challenges did write).
But they're mistaken very much,
'Tis plain enough he was no such;
We grant, although he had much wit,
H' was very shy of using it;
As being loth to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holy-days, or so,
As men their best apparel do.
Beside, 'tis known he could speak GREEK
As naturally as pigs squeek;
That LATIN was no more difficile,
Than to a blackbird 'tis to whistle:
Being rich in both, he never scanted
His bounty unto such as wanted;
But much of either would afford
To many, that had not one word.
For Hebrew roots, although they're found
To flourish most in barren ground,
He had such plenty, as suffic'd
To make some think him circumcis'd;
And truly so, he was, perhaps,
Not as a proselyte, but for claps.
He was in LOGIC a great critic,
Profoundly skill'd in analytic;
He could distinguish, and divide
A hair 'twixt south, and south-west side:
On either which he would dispute,
Confute, change hands, and still confute,
He'd undertake to prove, by force
Of argument, a man's no horse;
He'd prove a buzzard is no fowl,
And that a lord may be an owl,
A calf an alderman, a goose a justice,
And rooks Committee-men and Trustees.
He'd run in debt by disputation,
And pay with ratiocination.
All this by syllogism, true
In mood and figure, he would do.
For RHETORIC, he could not ope
His mouth, but out there flew a trope;
And when he happen'd to break off
I' th' middle of his speech, or cough,
H' had hard words,ready to show why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Else, when with greatest art he spoke,
You'd think he talk'd like other folk,
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
His ordinary rate of speech
In loftiness of sound was rich;
A Babylonish fdialect,
Which learned pedants much affect.
It was a parti-colour'd dress
Of patch'd and pie-bald languages;
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
Like fustian heretofore on satin;
It had an odd promiscuous tone,
As if h' had talk'd three parts in one;
Which made some think, when he did gabble,
Th' had heard three labourers of Babel;
Or CERBERUS himself pronounce
A leash of languages at once.
This he as volubly would vent
As if his stock would ne'er be spent:
And truly, to support that charge,
He had supplies as vast and large;
For he cou'd coin, or counterfeit
New words, with little or no wit:
Words so debas'd and hard, no stone
Was hard enough to touch them on;
And when with hasty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em;
That had the orator, who once
Did fill his mouth with pebble stones
When he harangu'd, but known his phrase
He would have us'd no other ways.
In MATHEMATICKS he was greater
Than TYCHO BRAHE, or ERRA PATER:
For he, by geometric scale,
Could take the size of pots of ale;
Resolve, by sines and tangents straight,
If bread or butter wanted weight,
And wisely tell what hour o' th' day
The clock does strike by algebra.
Beside, he was a shrewd PHILOSOPHER,
And had read ev'ry text and gloss over;
Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
He understood b' implicit faith:
Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry why he had a wherefore;
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms cou'd go.
All which he understood by rote,
And, as occasion serv'd, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell;
But oftentimes mistook th' one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.
He could reduce all things to acts,
And knew their natures by abstracts;
Where entity and quiddity,
The ghosts of defunct bodies fly;
Where truth in person does appear,
Like words congeal'd in northern air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphysic wit can fly;
In school-divinity as able
As he that hight, Irrefragable;
A second THOMAS, or, at once,
To name them all, another DUNCE:
Profound in all the Nominal
And Real ways, beyond them all:
For he a rope of sand cou'd twist
As tough as learned SORBONIST;
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for skull
That's empty when the moon is full;
Such as take lodgings in a head
That's to be let unfurnished.
He could raise scruples dark and nice,
And after solve 'em in a trice;
As if Divinity had catch'd
The itch, on purpose to be scratch'd;
Or, like a mountebank, did wound
And stab herself with doubts profound,
Only to show with how small pain
The sores of Faith are cur'd again;
Although by woeful proof we find,
They always leave a scar behind.
He knew the seat of Paradise,
Could tell in what degree it lies;
And, as he was dispos'd, could prove it,
Below the moon, or else above it.
What Adam dreamt of, when his bride
Came from her closet in his side:
Whether the devil tempted her
By a High Dutch interpreter;
If either of them had a navel:
Who first made music malleable:
Whether the serpent, at the fall,
Had cloven feet, or none at all.
All this, without a gloss, or comment,
He could unriddle in a moment,
In proper terms, such as men smatter
When they throw out, and miss the matter.
For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
A sect, whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetick,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick.
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to:
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipp'd God for spite.
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.
Free-will they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow:
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin:
Rather than fail, they will defy
That which they love most tenderly;
Quarrel with minc'd-pies, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge;
Fat pig and goose itself oppose,
And blaspheme custard through the nose.
Th' apostles of this fierce religion,
Like MAHOMET'S, were ass and pidgeon,
To whom our knight, by fast instinct
Of wit and temper, was so linkt,
As if hypocrisy and nonsense
Had got th' advowson of his conscience.
Thus was he gifted and accouter'd;
We mean on th' inside, not the outward;
That next of all we shall discuss:
Then listen, Sirs, it follows thus
His tawny beard was th' equal grace
Both of his wisdom and his face;
In cut and dye so like a tile,
A sudden view it would beguile:
The upper part thereof was whey;
The nether, orange mix'd with grey.
This hairy meteor did denounce
The fall of scepters and of crowns;
With grisly type did represent
Declining age of government;
And tell with hieroglyphick spade,
Its own grave and the state's were made.
Like SAMPSON'S heart-breakers, it grew
In time to make a nation rue;
Tho' it contributed its own fall,
To wait upon the publick downfal,
It was monastick, and did grow
In holy orders by strict vow;
Of rule as sullen and severe
As that of rigid Cordeliere.
'Twas bound to suffer persecution
And martyrdom with resolution;
T' oppose itself against the hate
And vengeance of th' incensed state;
In whose defiance it was worn,
Still ready to be pull'd and torn;
With red-hot irons to be tortur'd;
Revil'd, and spit upon, and martyr'd.
Maugre all which, 'twas to stand fast
As long as monarchy shou'd last;
But when the state should hap to reel,
'Twas to submit to fatal steel,
And fall, as it was consecrate,
A sacrifice to fall of state;
Whose thread of life the fatal sisters
Did twist together with its whiskers,
And twine so close, that time should never,
In life or death, their fortunes sever;
But with his rusty sickle mow
Both down together at a blow.
So learned TALIACOTIUS from
The brawny part of porter's bum
Cut supplemental noses, which
Wou'd last as long as parent breech;
But when the date of NOCK was out,
Off drop'd the sympathetic snout.
His back, or rather burthen, show'd,
As if it stoop'd with its own load:
For as AENEAS zbore his sire
Upon his shoulders thro' the fire,
Our Knight did bear no less a pack
Of his own buttocks on his back;
Which now had almost got the upper-
Hand of his head, for want of crupper.
To poise this equally, he bore
A paunch of the same bulk before;
Which still he had a special care
To keep well-cramm'd with thrifty fare;
As white-pot, butter-milk, and curds,
Such as a country-house affords;
With other vittle, which anon
We farther shall dilate upon,
When of his hose we come to treat,
The cupboard where he kept his meat.
His doublet was of sturdy buff,
And tho' not sword, yet cudgel-proof;
Whereby 'twas fitter for his use,
Who fear'd no blows, but such as bruise.
His breeches were of rugged woollen,
And had been at the siege of Bullen;
To old King HARRY so well known,
Some writers held they were his own.
Thro' they were lin'd with many a piece
Of ammunition bread and cheese,
And fat black-puddings, proper food
For warriors that delight in blood.
For, as we said, he always chose
To carry vittle in his hose,
That often tempted rats and mice
The ammunition to surprise:
And when he put a hand but in
The one or t' other magazine,
They stoutly in defence on't stood,
And from the wounded foe drew blood;
And 'till th' were storm'd and beaten out,
Ne'er left the fortify'd redoubt.
And tho' Knights Errant, as some think,
Of old did neither eat nor drink,
Because, when thorough desarts vast,
And regions desolate, they past,
Where belly-timber above ground,
Or under, was not to be found,
Unless they graz'd, there's not one word
Of their provision on record;
Which made some confidently write,
They had no stomachs, but to fight.
'Tis false: for a ARTHUR wore in hall
Round table like a farthingal,
On which with shirt pull'd out behind,
And eke before, his good Knights din'd.
Though 'twas no table, some suppose,
But a huge pair of round trunk hose;
In which he carry'd as much meat
As he and all the Knights cou'd eat,
When, laying by their swords and truncheons,
They took their breakfasts, or their nuncheons.
But let that pass at present, lest
We should forget where we digrest,
As learned authors use, to whom
We leave it, and to th' purpose come,
His puissant sword unto his side,
Near his undaunted heart, was ty'd;
With basket-hilt, that wou'd hold broth,
And serve for fight and dinner both.
In it he melted lead for bullets,
To shoot at foes, and sometimes pullets,
To whom he bore so fell a grutch,
He ne'er gave quarter t' any such.
The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting, was grown rusty,
And ate unto itself, for lack
Of somebody to hew and hack.
The peaceful scabbard where it dwelt
The rancour of its edge had felt;
For of the lower end two handful
It had devour'd, 'twas so manful;
And so much scorn'd to lurk in case,
As if it durst not shew its face.
In many desperate attempts,
Of warrants, exigents, contempts,
It had appear'd with courage bolder
Than Serjeant BUM invading shoulder.
Oft had it ta'en possession,
And pris'ners too, or made them run.
This sword a dagger had t' his page,
That was but little for his age;
And therefore waited on him so,
As dwarfs upon Knights Errant do.
It was a serviceable dudgeon,
Either for fighting or for drudging.
When it had stabb'd, or broke a head,
It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread;
Toast cheese or bacon; tho' it were
To bait a mouse-trap, 'twould not care.
'Twould make clean shoes; and in the earth
Set leeks and onions, and so forth.
It had been 'prentice to a brewer,
Where this and more it did endure;
But left the trade, as many more
Have lately done on the same score.
In th' holsters, at his saddle-bow,
Two aged pistols he did stow,
Among the surplus of such meat
As in his hose he cou'd not get.
These wou'd inveigle rats with th' scent,
To forage when the cocks were bent;
And sometimes catch 'em with a snap
As cleverly as th' ablest trap.
They were upon hard duty still,
And ev'ry night stood centinel,
To guard the magazine i' th' hose
From two-legg'd and from four-legg'd foes.
Thus clad and fortify'd, Sir Knight
From peaceful home set forth to fight.
But first with nimble, active force
He got on th' outside of his horse;
For having but one stirrup ty'd
T' his saddle, on the further side,
It was so short, h' had much ado
To reach it with his desp'rate toe:
But, after many strains and heaves,
He got up to the saddle-eaves,
From whence he vaulted into th' seat,
With so much vigour, strength and heat,
That he had almost tumbled over
With his own weight, but did recover,
By laying hold on tail and main,
Which oft he us'd instead of rein.
But now we talk of mounting steed,
Before we further do proceed,
It doth behoves us to say something
Of that which bore our valiant bumkin.
The beast was sturdy, large, and tall,
With mouth of meal, and eyes of wall.
I wou'd say eye; for h' had but one,
As most agree; tho' some say none.
He was well stay'd; and in his gait
Preserv'd a grave, majestick state.
At spur or switch no more he skipt,
Or mended pace, than Spaniard whipt;
And yet so fiery, he wou'd bound
As if he griev'd to touch the ground:
That CAESAR's horse, who, as fame goes
Had corns upon his feet and toes,
Was not by half so tender hooft,
Nor trod upon the ground so soft.
And as that beast would kneel and stoop
(Some write) to take his rider up,
So HUDIBRAS his ('tis well known)
Wou'd often do to set him down.
We shall not need to say what lack
Of leather was upon his back;
For that was hidden under pad,
And breech of Knight, gall'd full as bad.
His strutting ribs on both sides show'd
Like furrows he himself had plow'd;
For underneath the skirt of pannel,
'Twixt ev'ry two there was a channel
His draggling tail hung in the dirt,
Which on his rider he wou'd flurt,
Still as his tender side he prick'd,
With arm'd heel, or with unarm'd kick'd:
For HUDIBRAS wore but one spur;
As wisely knowing, cou'd he stir
To active trot one side of's horse,
The other wou'd not hang an arse.
A squire he had, whose name was RALPH,
That in th' adventure went his half:
Though writers, for more stately tone,
Do call him RALPHO; 'tis all one;
And when we can with metre safe,
We'll call him so; if not, plain RALPH:
(For rhyme the rudder is of verses,
With which like ships they steer their courses.)
An equal stock of wit and valour
He had laid in; by birth a taylor.
The mighty Tyrian Queen, that gain'd
With subtle shreds a tract of land,
Did leave it with a castle fair
To his great ancestor, her heir.
From him descended cross-legg'd Knights,
Fam'd for their faith, and warlike fights
Against the bloody cannibal,
Whom they destroy'd both great and small.
This sturdy Squire, he had, as well
As the bold Trojan Knight, seen Hell;
Not with a counterfeited pass
Of golden bough, but true gold-lace.
His knowledge was not far behind
The Knight's, but of another kind,
And he another way came by 't:
Some call it GIFTS, and some NEW-LIGHT;
A liberal art, that costs no pains
Of study, industry, or brains.
His wit was sent him for a token,
But in the carriage crack'd and broken.
Like commendation nine-pence crook'd,
With - To and from my love - it look'd.
He ne'er consider'd it, as loth
To look a gift-horse in the mouth;
And very wisely wou'd lay forth
No more upon it than 'twas worth.
But as he got it freely, so
He spent it frank and freely too.
For Saints themselves will sometimes be
Of gifts, that cost them nothing, free.
By means of this, with hem and cough,
Prolongers to enlighten'd stuff,
He cou'd deep mysteries unriddle
As easily as thread a needle.
For as of vagabonds we say,
That they are ne'er beside their way;
Whate'er men speak by this New Light,
Still they are sure to be i' th' right.
'Tis a dark-lanthorn of the Spirit,
Which none see by but those that bear it:
A light that falls down from on high,
For spiritual trades to cozen by
An Ignis Fatuus, that bewitches
And leads men into pools and ditches,
To make them dip themselves, and sound
For Christendom in dirty pond
To dive like wild-fowl for salvation,
And fish to catch regeneration.
This light inspires and plays upon
The nose of Saint like bag-pipe drone,
And speaks through hollow empty soul,
As through a trunk, or whisp'ring hole,
Such language as no mortal ear
But spirit'al eaves-droppers can hear:
So PHOEBUS, or some friendly muse,
Into small poets song infuse,
Which they at second-hand rehearse,
Thro' reed or bag-pipe, verse for verse.
Thus RALPH became infallible
As three or four-legg'd oracle,
The ancient cup, or modern chair;
Spoke truth point-blank, tho' unaware.
For MYSTICK LEARNING, wond'rous able
In magick Talisman and Cabal,
Whose primitive tradition reaches
As far as ADAM'S first green breeches:
Deep-sighted in intelligences,
Ideas, atoms, influences;
And much of Terra Incognita,
Th' intelligible world, cou'd say:
A deep OCCULT PHILOSOPHER,
As learn'd as the wild Irish are,
Or Sir AGRIPPA; for profound
And solid lying much renown'd.
He ANTHROPOSOPHUS, and FLOUD,
And JACOB BEHMEN understood:
Knew many an amulet and charm,
That wou'd do neither good nor harm:
In ROSY-CRUCIAN lore as learned,
As he that Vere adeptus earned.
He understood the speech of birds
As well as they themselves do words;
Cou'd tell what subtlest parrots mean,
That speak, and think contrary clean:
What Member 'tis of whom they talk,
When they cry, Rope, and walk, knave, walk.
He'd extract numbers out of matter,
And keep them in a glass, like water;
Of sov'reign pow'r to make men wise;
For drop'd in blear thick-sighted eyes,
They'd make them see in darkest night
Like owls, tho' purblind in the light.
By help of these (as he profess'd)
He had First Matter seen undress'd:
He took her naked all alone,
Before one rag of form was on.
The Chaos too he had descry'd,
And seen quite thro', or else he ly'd:
Not that of paste-board which men shew
For groats, at fair of Barthol'mew;
But its great grandsire, first o' the name,
Whence that and REFORMATION came;
Both cousin-germans, and right able
T' inveigle and draw in the rabble.
But Reformation was, some say,
O' th' younger house to Puppet-play.
He cou'd foretel whats'ever was
By consequence to come to pass;
As death of great men, alterations,
Diseases, battles, inundations.
All this, without th' eclipse o' th' sun,
Or dreadful comet, he hath done,
By inward light; away as good,
And easy to be understood;
But with more lucky hit than those
That use to make the stars depose,
Like Knights o' th' post, and falsely charge
Upon themselves what others forge:
As if they were consenting to
All mischiefs in the world men do:
Or, like the Devil, did tempt and sway 'em
To rogueries, and then betray 'em.
They'll search a planet's house, to know
Who broke and robb'd a house below:
Examine VENUS, and the MOON,
Who stole a thimble or a spoon;
And tho' they nothing will confess,
Yet by their very looks can guess,
And tell what guilty aspect bodes,
Who stole, and who receiv'd the goods.
They'll question MARS, and, by his look,
Detect who 'twas that nimm'd a cloke:
Make MERCURY confess, and 'peach
Those thieves which he himself did teach.
They'll find, i' th' physiognomies
O' th' planets, all men's destinies.;
Like him that took the doctor's bill,
And swallow'd it instead o' th' pill
Cast the nativity o' th' question,
And from positions to be guess'd on,
As sure as it' they knew the moment
Of natives birth, tell what will come on't.
They'll feel the pulses of the stars,
To find out agues, coughs, catarrhs;
And tell what crisis does divine
The rot in sheep, or mange in swine
In men, what gives or cures the itch;
What makes them cuckolds, poor or rich;
What gains or loses, hangs or saves;
What makes men great, what fools or knaves,
But not what wise; for only of those
The stars (they say) cannot dispose,
No more than can the Astrologians.
There they say right, and like true Trojans.
This RALPHO knew, and therefore took
The other course, of which we spoke.
Thus was the accomplish'd Squire endu'd
With gifts and knowledge, per'lous shrew'd.
Never did trusty Squire with Knight,
Or Knight with Squire, e'er jump more right.
Their arms and equipage did fit,
As well as virtues, parts, and wit.
Their valours too were of a rate;
And out they sally'd at the gate.
Few miles on horseback had they jogged,
But Fortune unto them turn'd dogged;
For they a sad adventure met,
Of which anon we mean to treat;
But ere we venture to unfold
Atchievements so resolv'd and bold,
We shou'd as learned poets use,
Invoke th' assistance of some muse:
However, criticks count it sillier
Than jugglers talking to familiar.
We think 'tis no great matter which
They're all alike; yet we shall pitch
On one that fits our purpose most
Whom therefore thus do we accost:
Thou that with ale, or viler liquors,
Did'st inspire WITHERS, PRYN, and VICKARS,
And force them, tho' it was in spite
Of nature and their stars, to write;
Who, as we find in sullen writs,
And cross-grain'd works of modern wits,
With vanity, opinion, want,
The wonder of the ignorant,
The praises of the author, penn'd
B' himself, or wit-insuring friend;
The itch of picture in the front,
With bays and wicked rhyme upon't;
All that is left o' th' forked hill,
To make men scribble without skill;
Canst make a poet spite of fate,
And teach all people to translate,
Tho' out of languages in which
They understand no part of speech;
Assist me but this once, I 'mplore,
And I shall trouble thee no more.
In western clime there is a town,
To those that dwell therein well known;
Therefore there needs no more be said here,
We unto them refer our reader;
For brevity is very good,
When w' are, or are not, understood.
To this town people did repair,
On days of market, or of fair,
And, to crack'd fiddle, and hoarse tabor,
In merriment did drudge and labor.
But now a sport more formidable
Had rak'd together village rabble:
'Twas an old way of recreating,
Which learned butchers call bear-baiting:
A bold advent'rous exercise,
With ancient heroes in high prize:
For authors do affirm it came
From Isthmian or Nemean game:
Others derive it from the bear
That's fix'd in northern hemisphere,
And round about the pole does make
A circle like a bear at stake,
That at the chain's end wheels about,
And overturns the rabble-rout.
For after solemn proclamation,
In the bear's name, (as is the fashion,
According to the law of arms,
To keep men from inglorious harms,)
That none presume to come so near
As forty foot of stake of bear,
If any yet be so fool-hardy,
T' expose themselves to vain jeopardy,
If they come wounded off, and lame,
No honour's got by such a maim;
Altho' the bear gain much, b'ing bound
In honour to make good his ground,
When he's engag'd, and takes no notice,
If any press upon him, who 'tis;
But let's them know, at their own cost,
That he intends to keep his post.
This to prevent, and other harms,
Which always wait on feats of arms,
(For in the hurry of a fray
'Tis hard to keep out of harm's way,)
Thither the Knight his course did steer,
To keep the peace 'twixt dog and bear;
As he believ'd he was bound to do
In conscience, and commission too;
And therefore thus bespoke the Squire.
We that are wisely mounted higher
Than constables in curule wit,
When on tribunal bench we sit,
Like speculators shou'd foresee,
From Pharos of authority,
Portended mischiefs farther then
Low Proletarian tything-men:
And therefore being inform'd by bruit,
That dog and bear are to dispute;
For so of late men fighting name,
Because they often prove the same;
(For where the first does hap to be,
The last does coincidere);
Quantum in nobis, have thought good,
To save th' expence of Christian blood,
And try if we, by mediation
Of treaty and accommodation,
Can end the quarrel and compose
The bloody duel without blows.
Are not our liberties, our lives,
The laws, religion and our wives,
Enough at once to lie at stake
For Cov'nant and the Cause's sake?
But in that quarrel dogs and bears,
As well as we must venture theirs
This feud, by Jesuits invented,
By evil counsel is fomented:
There is a MACHIAVILIAN plot,
(Tho' ev'ry Nare olfact is not,)
A deep design in't, to divide
The well-affected that confide,
By setting brother against brother,
To claw and curry one another.
Have we not enemies plus satis,
That Cane & Angue pejus hate us?
And shall we turn our fangs and claws
Upon our own selves, without cause?
That some occult design doth lie
In bloody cynarctomachy,
Is plain enough to him that knows
How Saints lead brothers by the nose.
I wish myself a pseudo-prophet,
But sure some mischief will come of it;
Unless by providential wit,
Or force, we averruncate it.
For what design, what interest,
Can beast have to encounter beast?
They fight for no espoused cause,
Frail privilege, fundamental laws,
Not for a thorough reformation,
Nor covenant, nor protestation,
Nor liberty of consciences,
Nor Lords and Commons ordinances;
Nor for the church, nor for church-lands,
To get them in their own no hands;
Nor evil counsellors to bring
To justice that seduce the King;
Nor for the worship of us men,
Though we have done as much for them.
Th' AEgyptians worshipp'd dogs, and for
Their faith made internecine war.
Others ador'd a rat, and some
For that church suffer'd martyrdom.
The Indians fought for the truth
Of th' elephant and monkey's tooth,
And many, to defend that faith,
Fought it out mordicus to death.
But no beast ever was so slight,
For man, as for his God, to fight.
They have more wit, alas! and know
Themselves and us better than so.
But we, who only do infuse
The rage in them like Boute-feus;
'Tis our example that instils
In them th' infection of our ills.
For, as some late philosophers.
Have well observ'd, beasts, that converse
With man, take after him, as hogs
Get pigs all the year, and bitches dogs.
Just so, by our example, cattle
Learn to give one another battle.
We read, in NERO's time, the heathen,
When they destroy'd the Christian brethren,
Did sew them in the skins of bears,
And then set dogs about their ears:
From thence, no doubt, th' invention came
Of this lewd antichristian game.
To this, quoth RALPHO, Verily
The point seems very plain to me.
It is an antichristian game,
Unlawful both in thing and name.
First, for the name: the word, bear-baiting
Is carnal, and of man's creating:
For certainly there's no such word
In all the scripture on record;
Therefore unlawful, and a sin;
And so is (secondly) the thing.
A vile assembly 'tis, that can
No more be prov'd by scripture than
Provincial, classic, national;
Mere human-creature cobwebs all.
Thirdly, it is idolatrous;
For when men run a whoring thus
With their inventions, whatsoe'er
The thing be, whether dog or bear,
It is idolatrous and pagan,
No less than worshipping of DAGON.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, I smell a rat;
RALPHO, thou dost prevaricate:
For though the thesis which thou lay'st
Be true ad amussim, as thou say'st;
(For that bear-baiting should appear
Jure divino lawfuller
Than synods are, thou dost deny,
Totidem verbis; so do I);
Yet there's a fallacy in this;
For if by sly HOMAEOSIS,
Tussis pro crepitu, an art
Under a cough to slur a f-t
Thou wou'dst sophistically imply,
Both are unlawful, I deny.
And I (quoth RALPHO) do not doubt
But bear-baiting may be made out,
In gospel-times, as lawful as is
Provincial or parochial classis;
And that both are so near of kin,
And like in all, as well as sin,
That put them in a bag, and shake 'em,
Yourself o' th' sudden would mistake 'em,
And not know which is which, unless
You measure by their wickedness:
For 'tis not hard t'imagine whether
O' th' two is worst; tho' I name neither.
Quoth HUDIBRAS, Thou offer'st much,
But art not able to keep touch.
Mira de lente, as 'tis i' th' adage,
Id est, to make a leek a cabbage;
Thou'lt be at best but such a bull,
Or shear-swine, all cry, and no wool;
For what can synods have at all
With bear that's analogical?
Or what relation has debating
Of church-affairs with bear-baiting?
A just comparison still is
Of things ejusdem generis;
And then what genus rightly doth
Include and comprehend them both?
If animal both of us may
As justly pass for bears as they;
For we are animals no less,
Altho' of different specieses.
But, RALPHO, this is not fit place
Nor time to argue out the case:
For now the field is not far off,
Where we must give the world a proof
Of deeds, not words, and such as suit
Another manner of dispute;
A controversy that affords
Actions for arguments, not words;
Which we must manage at a rate
Of prowess and conduct adequate
To what our place and fame doth promise,
And all the godly expect from us,
Nor shall they be deceiv'd, unless
We're slurr'd and outed by success;
Success, the mark no mortal wit,
Or surest hand can always hit:
For whatsoe'er we perpetrate,
We do but row, we're steer'd by Fate,
Which in success oft disinherits,
For spurious causes, noblest merits.
Great actions are not always true sons
Of great and mighty resolutions;
Nor do th' boldest attempts bring forth
Events still equal to their worth;
But sometimes fail, and, in their stead,
Fortune and cowardice succeed.
Yet we have no great cause to doubt;
Our actions still have borne us out;
Which tho' they're known to be so ample,
We need not copy from example.
We're not the only persons durst
Attempt this province, nor the first.
In northern clime a val'rous Knight
Did whilom kill his bear in fght,
And wound a fiddler; we have both
Of these the objects of our wroth,
And equal fame and glory from
Th' attempt of victory to come.
'Tis sung, there is a valiant Mamaluke
In foreign land, yclep'd -
To whom we have been oft compar'd
For person, parts; address, and beard;
Both equally reputed stout,
And in the same cause both have fought:
He oft in such attempts as these
Came off with glory and success;
Nor will we fail in th' execution,
For want of equal resolution.
Honour is like a widow, won
With brisk attempt and putting on;
With ent'ring manfully, and urging;
Not slow approaches, like a virgin.
'Tis said, as yerst the Phrygian Knight,
So ours with rusty steel did smite
His Trojan horse, and just as much
He mended pace upon the touch;
But from his empty stomach groan'd
Just as that hollow beast did sound,
And angry answer'd from behind,
With brandish'd tail and blast of wind.
So have I seen, with armed heel,
A wight bestride a Common-weal;
While still the more he kick'd and spurr'd,
The less the sullen jade has stirr'd.