Hudibras: Part 3 - Canto Iii

THE ARGUMENT

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,
Philosophers, mathematicians:
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 2 - Canto I

THE ARGUMENT

The Knight by damnable Magician,
Being cast illegally in prison,
Love brings his Action on the Case.
And lays it upon Hudibras.
How he receives the Lady's Visit,
And cunningly solicits his Suite,
Which she defers; yet on Parole
Redeems him from th' inchanted Hole.

But now, t'observe a romantic method,
Let bloody steel a while be sheathed,
And all those harsh and rugged sounds
Of bastinadoes, cuts, and wounds,
Exchang'd to Love's more gentle stile,
To let our reader breathe a while;
In which, that we may be as brief as
Is possible, by way of preface,
Is't not enough to make one strange,
That some men's fancies should ne'er change,
But make all people do and say
The same things still the self-same way
Some writers make all ladies purloin'd,
And knights pursuing like a whirlwind
Others make all their knights, in fits
Of jealousy, to lose their wits;
Till drawing blood o'th' dames, like witches,
Th' are forthwith cur'd of their capriches.
Some always thrive in their amours
By pulling plaisters off their sores;
As cripples do to get an alms,
Just so do they, and win their dames.
Some force whole regions, in despight
O' geography, to change their site;
Make former times shake hands with latter,
And that which was before, come after.
But those that write in rhime, still make
The one verse for the other's sake;
For, one for sense, and one for rhime,
I think's sufficient at one time.

But we forget in what sad plight
We whilom left the captiv'd Knight
And pensive Squire, both bruis'd in body,
And conjur'd into safe custody.
Tir'd with dispute and speaking Latin,
As well as basting and bear-baiting,
And desperate of any course,
To free himself by wit or force,
His only solace was, that now
His dog-bolt fortune was so low,
That either it must quickly end
Or turn about again, and mend;
In which he found th' event, no less
Than other times beside his guess.

There is a tall long sided dame
(But wond'rous light,) ycleped Fame
That, like a thin camelion, boards
Herself on air, and eats her words;
Upon her shoulders wings she wears
Like hanging-sleeves, lin'd through with ears,
And eyes, and tongues, as poets list,
Made good by deep mythologist,
With these she through the welkin flies,
And sometimes carries truth, oft lies
With letters hung like eastern pigeons,
And Mercuries of furthest regions;
Diurnals writ for regulation
Of lying, to inform the nation;
And by their public use to bring down
The rate of whetstones in the kingdom.
About her neck a pacquet-male,
Fraught with advice, some fresh, some stale,
Of men that walk'd when they were dead,
And cows of monsters brought to bed;
Of hail-stones big as pullets eggs,
And puppies whelp'd with twice two legs;
A blazing star seen in the west,
By six or seven men at least.
Two trumpets she does sound at once,
But both of clean contrary tones;
But whether both with the same wind,
Or one before, and one behind,
We know not; only this can tell,
The one sounds vilely, th' other well;
And therefore vulgar authors name
Th' one Good, the other Evil, Fame.

This tattling gossip knew too well
What mischief HUDIBRAS befell.
And straight the spiteful tidings bears
Of all to th' unkind widow's ears.
DEMOCRITUS ne'er laugh'd so loud
To see bawds carted through the crowd,
Or funerals with stately pomp
March slowly on in solemn dump,
As she laugh'd out, until her back,
As well as sides, was like to crack.
She vow'd she would go see the sight,
And visit the distressed Knight;
To do the office of a neighbour,
And be a gossip at his labour;
And from his wooden jail, the stocks,
To set at large his fetter-locks;
And, by exchange, parole, or ransom,
To free him from th' enchanted mansion.
This b'ing resolv'd, she call'd for hood
And usher, implements abroad
Which ladies wear, beside a slender
Young waiting damsel to attend her;
All which appearing, on she went,
To find the Knight in limbo pent.
And 'twas not long before she found
Him, and the stout Squire, in the pound;
Both coupled in enchanted tether,
By further leg behind together
For as he sat upon his rump,
His head like one in doleful dump,
Between his knees, his hands apply'd
Unto his ears on either side;
And by him, in another hole,
Afflicted RALPHO, cheek by jowl;
She came upon him in his wooden
Magician's circle on the sudden,
As spirits do t' a conjurer,
When in their dreadful shapes th' appear.

No sooner did the Knight perceive her,
But straight he fell into a fever,
Inflam'd all over with disgrace,
To be seen by her in such a place;
Which made him hang his head, and scoul,
And wink, and goggle like an owl.
He felt his brains begin to swim,
When thus the dame accosted him:

This place (quoth she) they say's enchanted,
And with delinquent spirits haunted,
That here are ty'd in chains, and scourg'd,
Until their guilty crimes be purg'd.
Look, there are two of them appear,
Like persons I have seen somewhere.
Some have mistaken blocks and posts
For spectres, apparitions, ghosts,
With saucer eyes, and horns; and some
Have heard the Devil beat a drum:
But if our eyes are not false glasses,
That give a wrong account of faces,
That beard and I should be acquainted,
Before 'twas conjur'd or enchanted;
For though it be disfigur'd somewhat,
As if 't had lately been in combat,
It did belong to a worthy Knight
Howe'er this goblin has come by't.

When HUDIBRAS the Lady heard
Discoursing thus upon his beard,
And speak with such respect and honour,
Both of the beard and the beard's owner,
He thought it best to set as good
A face upon it as he cou'd,
And thus he spoke: Lady, your bright
And radiant eyes are in the right:
The beard's th' identic beard you knew,
The same numerically true:
Nor is it worn by fiend or elf,
But its proprietor himself.

O, heavens! quoth she, can that be true?
I do begin to fear 'tis you:
Not by your individual whiskers,
But by your dialect and discourse,
That never spoke to man or beast
In notions vulgarly exprest.
But what malignant star, alas
Has brought you both to this sad pass?

Quoth he, The fortune of the war,
Which I am less afflicted for,
Than to be seen with beard and face,
By you in such a homely case.
Quoth she, Those need not he asham'd
For being honorably maim'd,
If he that is in battle conquer'd,
Have any title to his own beard;
Though yours be sorely lugg'd and torn,
It does your visage more adorn
Than if 'twere prun'd, and starch'd, and lander'd,
And cut square by the Russian standard.
A torn beard's like a tatter'd ensign,
That's bravest which there are most rents in.
That petticoat about your shoulders
Does not so well become a souldier's;
And I'm afraid they are worse handled
Although i' th' rear; your beard the van led;
And those uneasy bruises make
My heart for company to ake,
To see so worshipful a friend
I' th' pillory set, at the wrong end.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, This thing call'd pain
Is (as the learned Stoicks maintain)
Not bad simpliciter, nor good,
But merely as 'tis understood.
Sense is deceitful, and may feign,
As well in counterfeiting pain
As other gross phenomenas,
In which it oft mistakes the case.
But since the immortal intellect
(That's free from error and defect,
Whose objects still persist the same)
Is free from outward bruise and maim,
Which nought external can expose
To gross material bangs or blows,
It follows, we can ne'er be sure,
Whether we pain or not endure;
And just so far are sore and griev'd,
As by the fancy is believ'd.
Some have been wounded with conceit,
And dy'd of mere opinion straight;
Others, tho' wounded sore in reason,
Felt no contusion, nor discretion.
A Saxon Duke did grow so fat,
That mice (as histories relate)
Eat grots and labyrinths to dwell in
His postick parts without his feeling:
Then how is't possible a kick
Should e'er reach that way to the quick?

Quoth she, I grant it is in vain.
For one that's basted to feel pain,
Because the pangs his bones endure
Contribute nothing to the cure:
Yet honor hurt, is wont to rage
With pain no med'cine can asswage.

Quoth he, That honour's very squeamish
That takes a basting for a blemish;
For what's more hon'rable than scars,
Or skin to tatters rent in wars?
Some have been beaten till they know
What wood a cudgel's of by th' blow;
Some kick'd until they can feel whether
A shoe be Spanish or neat's leather;
And yet have met, after long running,
With some whom they have taught that cunning.
The furthest way about t' o'ercome,
In the end does prove the nearest home.
By laws of learned duellists,
They that are bruis'd with wood or fists,
And think one beating may for once
Suffice, are cowards and pultroons:
But if they dare engage t' a second,
They're stout and gallant fellows reckon'd.

Th' old Romans freedom did bestow,
Our princes worship, with a blow.
King PYRRHUS cur'd his splenetic
And testy courtiers with a kick.
The NEGUS, when some mighty lord
Or potentate's to be restor'd
And pardon'd for some great offence,
With which be's willing to dispense,
First has him laid upon his belly,
Then beaten back and side to a jelly;
That done, he rises, humbly bows,
And gives thanks for the princely blows;
Departs not meanly proud, and boasting
Of this magnificent rib-roasting.
The beaten soldier proves most manful,
That, like his sword, endures the anvil,
And justly's held more formidable,
The more his valour's malleable:
But he that fears a bastinado
Will run away from his own shadow:
And though I'm now in durance fast,
By our own party basely cast,
Ransom, exchange, parole refus'd,
And worse than by the enemy us'd;
In close catasta shut, past hope
Of wit or valour to elope;
As beards the nearer that they tend
To th' earth still grow more reverend;
And cannons shoot the higher pitches,
The lower we let down their breeches;
I'll make this low dejected fate
Advance me to a greater height.

Quoth she, Y' have almost made me in love
With that which did my pity move.
Great wits and valours, like great states,
Do sometimes sink with their own weights:
Th' extremes of glory and of shame,
Like East and West, become the same:
No Indian Prince has to his palace
More foll'wers than a thief to th' gallows,
But if a beating seem so brave,
What glories must a whipping have
Such great atchievements cannot fail
To cast salt on a woman's tail:
For if I thought your nat'ral talent
Of passive courage were so gallant,
As you strain hard to have it thought,
I could grow amorous, and dote.

When HUDIBRAS this language heard,
He prick'd up's ears and strok'd his beard;
Thought he, this is the lucky hour;
Wines work when vines are in the flow'r;
This crisis then I'll set my rest on,
And put her boldly to the question.

Madam, what you wou'd seem to doubt,
Shall be to all the world made out,
How I've been drubb'd, and with what spirit
And magnanimity I bear it;
And if you doubt it to be true,
I'll stake myself down against you:
And if I fail in love or troth,
Be you the winner, and take both.

Quoth she, I've beard old cunning stagers
Say, fools for arguments use wagers;
And though I prais'd your valour, yet
I did not mean to baulk your wit;
Which, if you have, you must needs know
What I have told you before now,
And you b' experiment have prov'd,
I cannot love where I'm belov'd.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, 'tis a caprich
Beyond th' infliction of a witch;
So cheats to play with those still aim
That do not understand the game.
Love in your heart as icily burns
As fire in antique Roman urns,
To warm the dead, and vainly light
Those only that see nothing by't.
Have you not power to entertain,
And render love for love again;
As no man can draw in his breath
At once, and force out air beneath?
Or do you love yourself so much,
To bear all rivals else a grutch?
What fate can lay a greater curse
Than you upon yourself would force?
For wedlock without love, some say,
Is but a lock without a key.
It is a kind of rape to marry
One that neglects, or cares not for ye:
For what does make it ravishment,
But b'ing against the mind's consent?
A rape that is the more inhuman
For being acted by a woman.
Why are you fair, but to entice us
To love you, that you may despise us?
But though you cannot Love, you say,
Out of your own fanatick way,
Why should you not at least allow
Those that love you to do so too?
For, as you fly me, and pursue
Love more averse, so I do you;
And am by your own doctrine taught
To practise what you call a fau't.

Quoth she, If what you say is true,
You must fly me as I do you;
But 'tis not what we do, but say,
In love and preaching, that must sway.

Quoth he, To bid me not to love,
Is to forbid my pulse to move,
My beard to grow, my ears to prick up,
Or (when I'm in a fit) to hickup:
Command me to piss out the moon,
And 'twill as easily be done:
Love's power's too great to be withstood
By feeble human flesh and blood.
'Twas he that brought upon his knees
The hect'ring, kill-cow HERCULES;
Transform'd his leager-lion's skin
T' a petticoat, and made him spin;
Seiz'd on his club, and made it dwindle
T' a feeble distaff, and a spindle.
'Twas he that made emperors gallants
To their own sisters and their aunts;
Set popes and cardinals agog,
To play with pages at leap-frog.
'Twas he that gave our Senate purges,
And flux'd the House of many a burgess;
Made those that represent the nation
Submit, and suffer amputation;
And all the Grandees o' the Cabal
Adjourn to tubs at Spring and Fall.
He mounted Synod-Men, and rode 'em
To Dirty-Lane and Little Sodom;
Made 'em curvet like Spanish jenets,
And take the ring at Madam [Bennet's]
'Twas he that made Saint FRANCIS do
More than the Devil could tempt him to,
In cold and frosty weather, grow
Enamour'd of a wife of snow;
And though she were of rigid temper,
With melting flames accost and tempt her;
Which after in enjoyment quenching,
He hung a garland on his engine

Quoth she, If Love have these effects,
Why is it not forbid our sex?
Why is't not damn'd and interdicted,
For diabolical and wicked?
And sung, as out of tune, against,
As Turk and Pope are by the Saints?
I find I've greater reason for it,
Than I believ'd before t' abhor it.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, These sad effects
Spring from your Heathenish neglects
Of Love's great pow'r, which he returns
Upon yourselves with equal scorns;
And those who worthy lovers slight,
Plagues with prepost'rous appetite.
This made the beauteous Queen of Crete
To take a town-bull for her sweet,
And from her greatness stoop so low,
To be the rival of a cow:
Others to prostitute their great hearts,
To he baboons' and monkeys' sweet-hearts;
Some with the Dev'l himself in league grow,
By's representative a Negro.
'Twas this made vestal-maids love-sick,
And venture to be bury'd quick:
Some by their fathers, and their brothers,
To be made mistresses and mothers.
'Tis this that proudest dames enamours
On lacquies and valets des chambres;
Their haughty stomachs overcomes,
And makes 'em stoop to dirty grooms;
To slight the world, and to disparage
Claps, issue, infamy, and marriage.

Quoth she, These judgments are severe,
Yet such as I should rather bear,
Than trust men with their oaths, or prove
Their faith and secresy in love,

Says he, There is as weighty reason
For secresy in love as treason.
Love is a burglarer, a felon,
That at the windore-eyes does steal in
To rob the heart, and with his prey
Steals out again a closer way,
Which whosoever can discover,
He's sure (as he deserves) to suffer.
Love is a fire, that burns and sparkles
In men as nat'rally as in charcoals,
Which sooty chymists stop in holes
When out of wood they extract coals:
So lovers should their passions choak,
That, tho' they burn, they may not smoak.
'Tis like that sturdy thief that stole
And dragg'd beasts backwards into's hole:
So Love does lovers, and us men
Draws by the tails into his den,
That no impression may discover,
And trace t' his cave, the wary lover,
But if you doubt I should reveal
What you entrust me under seal.
I'll prove myself as close and virtuous
As your own secretary ALBERTUS.

Quoth she, I grant you may be close
In hiding what your aims propose.
Love-passions are like parables,
By which men still mean something else,
Though love be all the world's pretence,
Money's the mythologick sense;
The real substance of the shadow,
Which all address and courtship's made to.

Thought he, I understand your play,
And how to quit you your own way:
He that will win his dame, must do
As Love does when he bends his bow;
With one hand thrust the lady from,
And with the other pull her home.
I grant, quoth he, wealth is a great
Provocative to am'rous heat.
It is all philters, and high diet,
That makes love rampant, and to fly out:
'Tis beauty always in the flower,
That buds and blossoms at fourscore:
'Tis that by which the sun and moon
At their own weapons are out-done:
That makes Knights-Errant fall in trances,
And lay about 'em in romances:
'Tis virtue, wit, and worth, and all
That men divine and sacred call:
For what is worth in any thing,
But so much money as 'twill bring?
Or what, but riches is there known,
Which man can solely call his own
In which no creature goes his half;
Unless it be to squint and laugh?
I do confess, with goods and land,
I'd have a wife at second-hand;
And such you are. Nor is 't your person
My stomach's set so sharp and fierce on;
But 'tis (your better part) your riches,
That my enamour'd heart bewitches.
Let me your fortune but possess,
And settle your person how you please:
Or make it o'er in trust to th' Devil;
You'll find me reasonable and civil.

Quoth she, I like this plainness better
Than false mock-passion, speech, or letter,
Or any feat of qualm or sowning,
But hanging of yourself, or drowning.
Your only way with me to break
Your mind, is breaking of your neck;
For as when merchants break, o'erthrown,
Like nine-pins they strike others down,
So that would break my heart; which done,
My tempting fortune is your own,
These are but trifles: ev'ry lover
Will damn himself over and over,
And greater matters undertake
For a less worthy mistress' sake:
Yet th' are the only ways to prove
Th' unfeign'd realities of love:
For he that hangs, or beats out's brains,
The Devil's in him if he feigns.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, This way's too rough
For mere experiment and proof:
It is no jesting, trivial matter,
To swing t' th' air, or douce in Water,
And, like a water-witch, try love;
That's to destroy, and not to prove;
As if a man should be dissected
To find what part is disaffected.
Your better way is to make over,
In trust, your fortune to your lover.
Trust is a trial; if it break,
'Tis not so desp'rate as a neck.
Beside, th' experiment's more certain;
Men venture necks to gain a fortune:
The soldier does it ev'ry day.
(Eight to the week) for sixpence pay:
Your pettifoggers damn their souls,
To share with knaves in cheating fools:
And merchants, vent'ring through the main,
Slight pirates, rocks, and horns, for gain.
This is the way I advise you to:
Trust me, and see what I will do.

Quoth she, I should be loth to run
Myself all th' hazard, and you none;
Which must be done, unless some deed
Of your's aforesaid do precede.
Give but yourself one gentle swing
For trial, and I'll cut the string:
Or give that rev'rend head a maul,
Or two, or three, against a wall,
To shew you are a man of mettle,
And I'll engage myself to settle.

Quoth he, My head's not made of brass,
As Friar BACON'S noodle was;
Nor (like the Indian's skull) so tough
That, authors say, 'twas musket-proof,
As yet on any new adventure,
As it had need to be, to enter.
You see what bangs it has endur'd,
That would, before new feats, be cur'd.
But if that's all you stand upon,
Here, strike me luck, it shall be done.

Quoth she, The matter's not so far gone
As you suppose: Two words t' a bargain:
That may be done, and time enough,
When you have given downright proof;
And yet 'tis no fantastic pique
I have to love, nor coy dislike:
'Tis no implicit, nice aversion
T' your conversation, mein, or person,
But a just fear, lest you should prove
False and perfidious in love:
For if I thought you could be true,
I could love twice as much as you.

Quoth he, My faith as adamanatine,
As chains of destiny, I'll maintain:
True as APOLLO ever spoke,
Or Oracle from heart of oak;
And if you'll give my flame but vent,
Now in close hugger-mugger pent,
And shine upon me but benignly,
With that one, and that other pigsney,
The sun and day shall sooner part,
Than love or you shake off my heart;
The sun, that shall no more dispense
His own but your bright influence.
I'll carve your name on barks of trees,
With true-loves-knots and flourishes,
That shall infuse eternal spring,
And everlasting flourishing:
Drink ev'ry letter on't in stum,
And make it brisk champaign become;
Where-e'er you tread, your foot shall set
The primrose and the violet:
All spices, perfumes, and sweet powders,
Shall borrow from your breath their odours:
Nature her charter shall renew,
And take all lives of things from you;
The world depend upon your eye,
And when you frown upon it, die:
Only our loves shall still survive,
New worlds and natures to out-live:
And, like to heralds' moons, remain
All crescents, without change or wane.

Hold, hold, quoth she; no more of this,
Sir Knight; you take your aim amiss:
For you will find it a hard chapter
To catch me with poetic rapture,
In which your mastery of art
Doth shew itself, and not your heart:
Nor will you raise in mine combustion
By dint of high heroic fustian.
She that with poetry is won,
Is but a desk to write upon;
And what men say of her, they mean
No more than on the thing they lean.
Some with Arabian spices strive
T' embalm her cruelly alive;
Or season her, as French cooks use
Their haut-gousts, bouillies, or ragousts:
Use her so barbarously ill,
To grind her lips upon a mill,
Until the facet doublet doth
Fit their rhimes rather than her mouth:
Her mouth compar'd to an oyster's, with
A row of pearl in't - stead of teeth.
Others make posies of her cheeks,
Where red and whitest colours mix;
In which the lily, and the rose,
For Indian lake and ceruse goes.
The sun and moon by her bright eyes
Eclips'd, and darken'd in the skies,
Are but black patches, that she wears,
Cut into suns, and moons, and stars:
By which astrologers as well,
As those in Heav'n above, can tell
What strange events they do foreshow
Unto her under-world below.
Her voice, the music of the spheres,
So loud, it deafens mortals ears;
As wise philosophers have thought;
And that's the cause we hear it not.
This has been done by some, who those
Th' ador'd in rhime, would kick in prose;
And in those ribbons would have hung
On which melodiously they sung;
That have the hard fate to write best
Of those still that deserve it least;
It matters not how false, or forc'd:
So the best things be said o' th' worst:
It goes for nothing when 'tis said;
Only the arrow's drawn to th' bead,
Whether it be a swan or goose
They level at: So shepherds use
To set the same mark on the hip
Both of their sound and rotten sheep:
For wits, that carry low or wide,
Must be aim'd higher, or beside
The mark, which else they ne'er come nigh,
But when they take their aim awry.
But I do wonder you should choose
This way t' attack me with your Muse,
As one cut out to pass your tricks on,
With fulhams of poetic fiction:
I rather hop'd I should no more
Hear from you o' th' gallanting score:
For hard dry-bastings us'd to prove
The readiest remedies of love;
Next a dry-diet: but if those fail,
Yet this uneasy loop-hol'd jail,
In which ye are hamper'd by the fetlock,
Cannot but put y' in mind of wedlock;
Wedlock, that's worse than any hole here,
If that may serve you for a cooler,
T' allay your mettle, all agog
Upon a wife, the heavi'r clog:
Or rather thank your gentler fate,
That for a bruis'd or broken pate,
Has freed you from those knobs that grow
Much harder on the marry'd brow:
But if no dread can cool your courage,
From vent'ring on that dragon, marriage,
Yet give me quarter, and advance
To nobler aims your puissance:
Level at beauty and at wit;
The fairest mark is easiest hit.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, I'm beforehand
In that already, with your command
For where does beauty and high wit
But in your constellation meet?

Quoth she, What does a match imply,
But likeness and equality?
I know you cannot think me fit
To be th' yoke-fellow of your wit;
Nor take one of so mean deserts,
To be the partner of your parts;
A grace which, if I cou'd believe,
I've not the conscience to receive.

That conscience, quoth HUDIBRAS,
Is mis-inform'd: I'll state the case
A man may be a legal donor,
Of any thing whereof he's owner,
And may confer it where he lists,
I' th' judgment of all casuists,
Then wit, and parts, and valour, may
Be ali'nated, and made away,
By those that are proprietors,
As I may give or sell my horse.

Quoth she, I grant the case is true
And proper 'twixt your horse and you;
But whether I may take as well
As you may give away or sell?
Buyers you know are bid beware;
And worse than thieves receivers are.
How shall I answer hue and cry,
For a roan gelding, twelve hands high,
All spurr'd and switch'd, a lock on's hoof,
A sorrel mane? Can I bring proof
Where, when, by whom, and what y' were sold for,
And in the open market toll'd for?
Or should I take you for a stray,
You must be kept a year and day
(Ere I can own you) here i' the pound,
Where, if y' are sought, you may be found
And in the mean time I must pay
For all your provender and hay.

Quoth he, It stands me much upon
T' enervate this objection,
And prove myself; by topic clear
No gelding, as you would infer.
Loss of virility's averr'd
To be the cause of loss of beard,
That does (like embryo in the wom
Abortive on the chin become.
This first a woman did invent,
In envy of man's ornament;
SEMIRAMIS, of Babylon,
Who first of all cut men o' th' stone,
To mar their beards, and lay foundation
Of sow-geldering operation.
Look on this beard, and tell me whether
Eunuchs wear such, or geldings either?
Next it appears I am no horse;
That I can argue and discourse
Have but two legs, and ne'er a tail.

Quoth she, That nothing will avail
For some philosophers of late here,
Write, men have four legs by nature,
And that 'tis custom makes them go
Erron'ously upon but two;
As 'twas in Germany made good
B' a boy that lost himself in a wood,
And growing down to a man, was wont
With wolves upon all four to hunt.
As for your reasons drawn from tails,
We cannot say they're true or false,
Till you explain yourself, and show,
B' experiment, 'tis so or no.

Quoth he, If you'll join issue on't,
I'll give you satisfactory account;
So you will promise, if you lose,
To settle all, and be my spouse.

That never shall be done (quoth she)
To one that wants a tail, by me
For tails by nature sure were meant,
As well as beards, for ornament:
And though the vulgar count them homely,
In men or beast they are so comely,
So gentee, alamode, and handsome,
I'll never marry man that wants one;
And till you can demonstrate plain,
You have one equal to your mane,
I'll be torn piece-meal by a horse,
Ere I'll take you for better or worse.
The Prince of CAMBAY's daily food
Is asp, and basilisk, and toad;
Which makes him have so strong a breath,
Each night he stinks a queen to death;
Yet I shall rather lie in's arms
Than yours, on any other terms.

Quoth he, What nature can afford,
I shall produce, upon my word;
And if she ever gave that boon
To man, I'll prove that I have one
I mean by postulate illation,
When you shall offer just occasion:
But since y' have yet deny'd to give
My heart, your pris'ner, a reprieve,
But made it sink down to my heel,
Let that at least your pity feel;
And, for the sufferings of your martyr,
Give its poor entertainer quarter;
And, by discharge or main-prize, grant
Deliv'ry from this base restraint.

Quoth she, I grieve to see your leg
Stuck in a hole here like a peg;
And if I knew which way to do't
(Your honour safe) I'd let you out.
That Dames by jail-delivery
Of Errant-Knights have been set free,
When by enchantment they have been,
And sometimes for it too, laid in,
Is that which Knights are bound to do
By order, oath, and honour too:
For what are they renown'd, and famous else,
But aiding of distressed damosels?
But for a Lady no ways errant,
To free a Knight, we have no warrant
In any authentical romance,
Or classic author, yet of France;
And I'd be loth to have you break
An ancient custom for a freak,
Or innovation introduce
In place of things of antique use;
To free your heels by any course,
That might b' unwholesome to your spurs;
Which, if I should consent unto,
It is not in my pow'r to do;
For 'tis a service must be done ye
With solemn previous ceremony;
Which always has been us'd t' untie
The charms of those who here do lie
For as the ancients heretofore
To Honour's Temple had no door,
But that which thorough Virtue's lay,
So from this dungeon there's no way
To honour'd freedom, but by passing
That other virtuous school of lashing,
Where Knights are kept in narrow lists,
With wooden lockets 'bout their wrists;
In which they for a while are tenants,
And for their Ladies suffer penance:
Whipping, that's Virtue's governess,
Tutress of arts and sciences;
That mends the gross mistakes of Nature,
And puts new life into dull matter;
That lays foundation for renown,
And all the honours of the gown.
This suffer'd, they are set at large,
And freed with hon'rable discharge.
Then in their robes the penitentials
Are straight presented with credentials,
And in their way attended on
By magistrates of ev'ry town;
And, all respect and charges paid,
They're to their ancient seats convey'd.
Now if you'll venture, for my sake,
To try the toughness of your back,
And suffer (as the rest have done)
The laying of a whipping on,
(And may you prosper in your suit,
As you with equal vigour do't,)
I here engage myself to loose ye,
And free your heels from Caperdewsie.
But since our sex's modesty
Will not allow I should be by,
Bring me, on oath, a fair account,
And honour too, when you have done't,
And I'll admit you to the place
You claim as due in my good grace.
If matrimony and hanging go
By dest'ny, why not whipping too?
What med'cine else can cure the fits
Of lovers when they lose their wits?
Love is a boy by poets stil'd;
Then spare the rod and spoil the child.
A Persian emp'ror whipp'd his grannam
The sea, his mother VENUS came on;
And hence some rev'rend men approve
Of rosemary in making love.
As skilful coopers hoop their tubs
With Lydian and with Phrygian dubs,
Why may not whipping have as good
A grace, perform'd in time and mood,
With comely movement, and by art,
Raise passion in a lady's heart?
It is an easier way to make
Love by, than that which many take.
Who would not rather suffer whipping,
Than swallow toasts of bits of ribbon?
Make wicked verses, treats, and faces,
And spell names over with beer-glasses
Be under vows to hang and die
Love's sacrifice, and all a lie?
With china-oranges and tarts
And whinning plays, lay baits for hearts?
Bribe chamber-maids with love and money,
To break no roguish jests upon ye?
For lilies limn'd on cheeks, and roses,
With painted perfumes, hazard noses?
Or, vent'ring to be brisk and wanton,
Do penance in a paper lanthorn?
All this you may compound for now,
By suffering what I offer you;
Which is no more than has been done
By Knights for Ladies long agone.
Did not the great LA MANCHA do so
For the INFANTA DEL TOBOSO?
Did not th' illustrious Bassa make
Himself a slave for Misse's sake?
And with bull's pizzle, for her love,
Was taw 'd as gentle as a glove?
Was not young FLORIO sent (to cool
His flame for BIANCAFIORE) to school,
Where pedant made his pathic bum
For her sake suffer martyrdom?
Did not a certain lady whip
Of late her husband's own Lordship?
And though a grandee of the House,
Claw'd him with fundamental blows
Ty'd him stark naked to a bed-post,
And firk'd his hide, as if sh' had rid post
And after, in the sessions-court,
Where whipping's judg'd, had honour for't?
This swear you will perform, and then
I'll set you from th' inchanted den,
And the magician's circle clear.

Quoth he, I do profess and swear,
And will perform what you enjoin,
Or may I never see you mine.
Amen, (quoth she); then turn'd about,
And bid her Esquire let him out.
But ere an artist could be found
T' undo the charms another bound,
The sun grew low, and left the skies,
Put down (some write) by ladies eyes,
The moon pull'd off her veil of light
That hides her face by day from sight,
(Mysterious veil, of brightness made,
That's both her lustre and her shade,)
And in the lanthorn of the night
With shining horns hung out her light;
For darkness is the proper sphere,
Where all false glories use t' appear.
The twinkling stars began to muster,
And glitter with their borrow'd lustre,
While sleep the weary 'd world reliev'd,
By counterfeiting death reviv'd;
His whipping penance till the morn
Our vot'ry thought it best t' adjourn,
And not to carry on a work
Of such importance in the dark,
With erring haste, but rather stay,
And do't in th' open face of day;
And in the mean time go in quest
Of next retreat to take his rest.

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