Page images
PDF
EPUB

HUDIBRAS.

PART 1. CANTO I.

ARGUMENT.
Sir Hudibras his passing worth,
The manner how he sallied forth,
His arnis and equipage are shown,
His horse's virtues, and his own;
The' adventure of the Bear and Fiddle
Is sung, but breaks off in the middle.

When civil dudgeon* first grew high,
And men fell out they knew not why it
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;

* To take in dudgeon, is inwardly to resent some injury or affront, and what is previous to actual fury.

+ It may be justly said They knew not why; since, as Lord Clarendon observes, “The like peace and plenty, and universal tran. quillity, was never enjoyed by any nation for ten years together, before those unhappy troubles began.'

By hardwords, he probably means the cant words used by the Presbyterians and sectaries of those times, such as Gospel-walking. Gospel-preaching, Soul-saving, Elect, Saints, The Godly, the Predestinate, and the like; which they applied to their own preachers and themselves,

VOL. IX

B

Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore:
When gospel-trumpeter, surrounded
With long-eard rout, to battle sounded;
And pulpit, drum, ecclesiastic,
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 would
Entitle him Mirror of Knighthood,
That never bow'd 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 chartel or for warrant;
Great on the bench, great in the saddle, $
That could as well bind o’e as swaddle;
Mighty he was at both of these,
And styld of war as well as peace :
(So some rats, of amphibious nature,
Are either for the land or water)

* Alluding to their vehement action in the pulpit, and their beating it with their fists, as if they were beating a drum.

+ The Knight (if Sir Samuel Luke was Mr. Butler's hero) was not only a Colonel in the Parliament.army, but also Scoutipastergeneral in the counties of Bedford, Surry, &c. This gives us some light into his character and conduct; for he is now entering upon his proper office, full of pretendedly pious and sanctified resolutions for the good of his country.

# He kneeled to the King, when he knighted him, but seldom upon any other occasion.

§ In this character of Hudibras all the abuses of human learning are finely satirized; philosophy, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, me. taphysics, and school-divinity.

a

a

a

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 difference 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. Fort has been held by many, that As Montaigne, playing with his cat, Complains she thought him but an ass, Much more she would 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 not such. We grant, although he had much wit, He 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 squeak; 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,t a goose a justice,
And rooks committee-ment and trustees,
He'd run in debt by disputation,
And pay with ratiocination :
All this by syllogism, true
În mood and figure, he would do.

• Thus changed in the editions of 1674, 1684, 1689, 1694, 1700,

And truly so perhaps he was,

'Tis many a pious Christian's case. + Such was Alderman Pennington, who sent a person to Newgate for singing (what he called) a malignant psalm.

Ib. Lord Clarendon observes, .Thit after the declaration of No more Addresses to the King, they who were not above the condition of ordinary con tables six or seven years before, were now the justices of the peace.' Dr. Bruno Ryves informs us, that the town of Chelmsford in Essex was governed, at the beginning of the Re. bellion, by a tinker, two coblers, two txilors, and two pedlars.'

# In the several counties, especially the associated ones. (Middlesex, Kent. Surrey, Sussex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire,) which sided with the Parliament, committees were erected of such men as were for the Good Cause, as they called it, who had authority, from the members of the two Holises at Westminster, to fijie and imprison whom they pleased.

« PreviousContinue »