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A wight he was, whofe very fight would
Entitle him Mirror of Knighthood,
That never bow'd his ftubborn knee
To any thing but Chivalry,
Nor put up blow, but that which laid-
Right Worshipful on shoulder-blade;
Chief of domeftic knights and errant,
Either for chartel or for warrant ;
Great on the bench, great in the faddle,
That could as well bind o'er as fwaddle;
Mighty he was at both of these,
And ftyl'd of War, as well as Peace
(So fome rats, of amphibious nature,..
Are either for the land or water):
But here our Authors make a doubt
Whether he were more wife or ftout:-
Some hold the one, and fome the other,
But, how foe'er they make a pother,
peregrinations are fo confiftent with his office and humour, that they are no longer to be called fabulous or improbable. The fucceeding Cantos are introduced with large prefaces, but here the Poet feems impatient till he get into the defcription and character of his hero.
Ver. 17, 18.] i. e. He kneeled to the King, when he knighted him, but feldom upon any other occafion.
Ver. 22.] Chartel is a challenge to a duel.
Ver. 23.] In this character of Hudibras all the abuses of human learning are finely fatirized: philofophy, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, metaphyfics, and school-divinity.
The difference was fo fmall, his brain
Outweigh'd his rage but half a grain;
Which made fome 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 the thought him but an ass,
Much more fhe 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 no fuch.
We grant, although he had much wit,
H' was very fhy of ufing it,
As being loth to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about;
Unless on holy-days, or fo,
As men their best apparel do.
Befide 'tis known he could fpeak Greek
As naturally as pigs fqueak;
That Latin was no more difficile,
'Than to a blackbird 'tis to whistle:
Being rich in both, he never fcanted
His bounty unto fuch as wanted;
Ver. 55, 56.] This is the property of a pedantic coxcomb, who prates moft learnedly amongft illiterate perfons, and makes a mighty pother about books and languages there, where he is fure to be admired, though not understood.
But much of either would afford
To many that had not one word.
For Hebrew roots, although they 're found
To flourish moft in barren ground,
He had fuch plenty, as fuffic'd
To make fome think him circumcis'd;
And truly fo he was, perhaps,
Not as a profelyte, but for claps.
He was in logic a great critic,
Profoundly skill'd in analytic;
He could distinguish, and divide
A hair 'twixt fouth and fouth-weft fide;
On either which he would difpute,
Confute, change hands, and ftill confute:
He'd undertake to prove, by force
Of argument, a man 's no horfe;
prove a buzzard is no fowl,
And that a lord may be an owl;
And truly fo perhaps he was,
'Tis many a pious Chriftian's cafe,
Reftored in the edition of 1704.
Ver. 62.] Here is an alteration without any amendment; for the following lines,
And truly fo he was, perhaps,
Not as a profelyte, but for claps,
are thus changed in the editions of 1674, 1684, 1689, 16949.
A calf an alderman, a goose a justice,
And rooks Committee-men and Trustees..
He'd run in debt by difputation,
And pay with ratiocination:
All this by fyllogifm, 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 fpeech or cough,
H' had hard words ready to fhew why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Elfe 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..
Ver. 75.] Such was Alderman Pennington, who sent a person to Newgate for finging (what he called) a malignant psalm.
Ibid. Lord Clarendon obferves, "That after the declaration of No more Addreffes to the King, they who were not "above the condition of ordinary conftables fix or seven years "before, were now the juftices of the peace." Dr. Bruno Ryves informs us, That the town of Chelmsford in Effex was go"verned, at the beginning of the Rebellion, by a tinker, two
coblers, two tailors, and two pedlars."
Ver. 76.] In the feveral counties, especially the Affociated ones (Middlefex, Kent, Surrey, Suffex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire) which fided 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 Houfes at Westminster, to fine and imprifon whom they pleased.
But, when he pleas'd to fhew 't, his fpeech,
In loftiness of found, was rich;
A Babylonish dialect,
Which learned pedants much affect;
It was a party-colour'd dress
Of patch'd and py-ball'd languages;
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
Like fuftian heretofore on fattin;
It had an old promifcuous tone,
As if h' had talk'd three parts in one;
Which made fome think, when he did gabble,
Th' had heard three labourers of Babel,
Or Cerberus himself pronounce
A leafh of languages at once.
This he as volubly would vent,
As if his stock would ne'er be spent:
And truly, to fupport that charge,
He had fupplies as vaft and large;
For he could coin or counterfeit
New words, with little or no wit;.
Words fo debas'd and hard, no ftone
Was hard enough to touch them on ;
And when with hafty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em;
Ver. 109.] The Prefbyterians coined a great number, fuch as Out-goings, Carryings-on, Nothingnefs, Workings-out, Gospelwaking-times, &c. which we shall meet with hereafter, in the fpeeches of the Knight and Squire, and others, in this Poem; for which they are bantered by Sir John Birkinhead.