Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

LONDON:
ALEX. MURRAY AND SON, 30, QUEEN SQUARE, W.C.

1869.

280. n. ll.

MURRAY'S REPRINT

OF

H U DI BRAS

Will be found unique and complete as to the Text, having been

carefully Edited by

A. MURRAY.

June 25.

HUDIBRAS.

CANTO 1.-ARGUMENT,
Sir Hudibras his passing worth,

The manner how he sally'd 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 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,
Tho' 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 hé 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'er 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.)
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.
For’t 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, altho' 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 holidays, or so,

As men their best apparel do.

a

[ocr errors]

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, altho’ 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 In th' middle of his speech, or cough, H' had hard words ready to shew 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.
But, when he pleas'd to shew't, his speech In loftiness of sound was rich;
A Babylonish dialect,

Which learned pedants much affect;
It was a party-colour'd dress Of patch'd and piebald languages :
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin, Like fustian heretofore on sattin.
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 could 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 mathematics 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 tagents, 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 crabbedst author hath, He understood b'implicit faith :
Whatever sceptic cou'd enquire for, For every why he had a wherefore ;
Knew more than forty of them do As far as words and terms could go.

a

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 the 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 could twist As tough as learned Sorbonist; And weave fine cobwebs, fit for scull That's empty when the moon is full; Such as take lodgings in a head That's to be let unfurnished, He cou'd 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 ; Altho' by woful 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; Whither 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

Infallible artillery ; 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 splenetic, Than dog distract, or monkey sick.

That with more care keep holiday
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 worship'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 ;

« PreviousContinue »