Hudibras, by Samuel Butler

Canto III.

The Argument

The Knight, with various Doubts possest,

To win the Lady goes in quest

Of Sidrophel, the Rosy–Crucian,

To know the Dest’nies’ Resolution;

With whom being met, they both chop Logick

About the Science Astrologick,

Till falling from Dispute to Fight,

The Conj’rer’s worsted by the Knight.

Doubtless the pleasure is as great

Of being cheated as to cheat;

As lookers-on feel most delight,

That least perceive a jugler’s slight;

And still the less they understand,

The more th’ admire his slight of hand.

Some with a noise, and greasy light,

Are snapt, as men catch larks by night;

Ensnar’d and hamper’d by the soul,

As nooses by their legs catch fowl

Some with a med’cine, and receipt,

Are drawn to nibble at the bait;

And tho’ it be a two-foot trout,

’Tis with a single hair pull’d out.

Others believe no voice t’ an organ

So sweet as lawyer’s in his bar-gown,

Until with subtle cobweb-cheats

Th’are catch’d in knotted law, like nets;

In which, when once they are imbrangled,

The more they stir, the more they’re tangled;

And while their purses can dispute,

There’s no end of th’ immortal suit.

Others still gape t’ anticipate

The cabinet-designs of fate;

Apply to wizards, to foresee

What shall and what shall never be;

And, as those vultures do forebode,

Believe events prove bad or good:

A flam more senseless than the roguery

Of old aruspicy and aug’ry.

That out of garbages of cattle

Presag’d th’ events of truce or battle;

From flight of birds, or chickens pecking,

Success of great’st attempts would reckon:

Though cheats, yet more intelligible

Than those that with the stars do fribble.

This HUDIBRAS by proof found true,

As in due time and place we’ll shew:

For he, with beard and face made clean,

B’ing mounted on his steed agen,

(And RALPHO got a cock-horse too

Upon his beast, with much ado)

Advanc’d on for the Widow’s house,

To acquit himself, and pay his vows;

When various thoughts began to bustle,

And with his inward man to justle

He thought what danger might accrue

If she should find he swore untrue;

Or if his squire or he should fail,

And not be punctual in their tale:

It might at once the ruin prove

Both of his honour, faith, and love.

But if he should forbear to go,

She might conclude h’had broke his vow;

And that he durst not now for-shame

Appear in court to try his claim.

This was the pen’worth of his thought,

To pass time and uneasy trot.

Quoth he, In all my past adventures

I ne’er was set so on the tenters;

Or taken tardy with dilemma,

That ev’ry way I turn does hem me,

And with inextricable doubt

Besets my puzzled wits about:

For tho’ the dame has been my bail,

To free me from enchanted jail,

Yet as a dog, committed close

For some offence, by chance breaks loose,

And quits his clog, but all in vain,

He still draws after him his chain;

So, though my ankle she has quitted,

My heart continues still committed;

And like a bail’d and main-priz’d lover,

Altho’ at large, I am bound over;

And when I shall appear in court,

To plead my cause, and answer for’t,

Unless the judge do partial prove,

What will become of me and love?

For if in our account we vary,

Or but in circumstance miscarry;

Or if she put me to strict proof,

And make me pull my doublet off,

To shew, by evident record

Writ on my skin, I’ve kept my Word;

How can I e’er expect to have her,

Having demurr’d onto her favour?

But faith, and love, and honour lost,.

Shall be reduc’d t’ a Knight o’ th’ Post.

Beside, that stripping may prevent

What I’m to prove by argument,

And justify I have a tail

And that way, too, my proof may fail.

Oh that I cou’d enucleate,

And solve the problems of my fate

Or find, by necromantick art,

How far the dest’nies take my part

For if I were not more than certain

To win and wear her, and her fortune,

I’d go no farther in his courtship,

To hazard soul, estate, and worship

For though an oath obliges not

Where any thing is to be got,

(As thou last prov’d) yet ’tis profane,

And sinful, when men swear in vain.

Quoth RALPH, Not far from hence doth dwell

A cunning man, hight SIDROPHEL,

That deals in destiny’s dark counsels,

And sage opinions of the Moon sells;

To whom all people, far and near,

On deep importances repair;

When brass and pewter hap to stray,

And linen slinks out of the way;

When geese and pullen are seduc’d,

And sows of sucking-pigs are chows’d;

When cattle feel indisposition,

And need th’ opinion of physician;

When murrain reigns in hogs or sheep.

And chickens languish of the pip;

When yeast and outward means do fail,

And have no pow’r to work on ale:

When butter does refuse to come,

And love proves cross and humoursome:

To him with questions, and with urine,

They for discov’ry flock, or curing.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, This SIDROPHEL

I’ve heard of, and should like it well,

If thou canst prove the Saints have freedom

To go to Sorc’rers when they need ’em.

Says RALPHO, There’s no doubt of that

Whose principles I quoted late,

Prove that the Godly may alledge

For any thing their Privilege;

And to the Dev’l himself may go,

If they have motives thereunto.

For, as there is a war between

The Dev’l and them, it is no sin,

If they by subtle stratagem

Make use of him, as he does them.

Has not this present Parliament

A 1 Ledger to the Devil sent,

Fully impowr’d to treat about

Finding revolted witches out

And has not he, within a year,

Hang’d threescore of ’em in one shire?

Some only for not being drown’d,

And some for sitting above ground,

Whole days and nights, upon their breeches,

And feeling pain, were hang’d for witches.

And some for putting knavish tricks

Upon green geese and turky-chicks,

And pigs, that suddenly deceast

Of griefs unnat’ral, as he guest;

Who after prov’d himself a witch

And made a rod for his own breech.

Did not the Devil appear to MARTIN

LUTHER in Germany for certain;

And wou’d have gull’d him with a trick,

But Martin was too politick?

Did he not help the 2 Dutch to purge

At ANTWERP their Cathedral Church?

Sing catches to the Saints at MASCON,3

And tell them all they came to ask him

Appear’d in divers shapes to KELLY,4

And speak i’ th’ Nun of LOUDON’s belly?

Meet with the Parliament’s Committee5

At WOODSTOCK on a pers’nal treaty?

At SARUM take a cavalier6

I’ th’ Cause’s service prisoner

As WITHERS, in immortal rhime,

Has register’d to after-time!

Do not nor great Reformers use

This SIDROPHEL to forebode news?

To write of victories next year,

And castles taken yet i’ th’ air

Of battles fought at sea, and ships

Sank two years hence, the last eclipse?

A total overthrow giv’n the King

In Cornwall, horse and foot, next Spring!

And has not he point-blank foretold

Whats’e’er the Close Committee would?

Made Mars and Saturn for the Cause

The moon for Fundamental Laws?

The Ram, the Bull, and Goat declare

Against the Book of Common–Pray’r?

The Scorpion take the Protestation,

And Bear engage for Reformation?

Made all the Royal Stars recant,

Compound and take the Covenant?

Quoth HUDIBRAS, The case is clear,

The Saints may ‘mploy a Conjurer,

As thou hast prov’d it by their practice;

No argument like matter of fact is;

And we are best of all led to

Men’s principles by what they do.

Then let us straight advance in quest

Of this profound Gymnosophist

And as the Fates and he advise,

Pursue or wave this enterprise,

This said, he turn’d about his steed,

And eftsoons on th’ adventure rid;

Where leave we him and RALPH a while,

And to the Conjurer turn our stile,

To let our reader understand

What’s useful of him before-hand.

He had been long t’wards mathematicks,

Optics, philosophy, and staticks,

Magick, horoscopy, astrology,

And was old dog at physiology

But as a dog that turns the spit

Bestirs himself, and plies his feet,

To climb the wheel, but all in vain,

His own weight brings him down again,

And still he’s in the self-same place

Where at his setting out h was

So in the circle of the arts

Did he advance his nat’ral parts,

Till falling back still, for retreat,

He fell to juggle, cant, and cheat:

For as those fowls that live in water

Are never wet, he did but smatter:

Whate’er he labour’d to appear,

His understanding still was clear

Yet none a deeper knowledge boasted,

Since old 7 HODGE-BACON and BOB GROSTED.

Th’ Intelligible World he knew,

And all men dream on’t to be true;

That in this world there’s not a wart

That has not there a counterpart;

Nor can there on the face of ground

An individual beard be found,

That has not, in that foreign nation,

A fellow of the self-same fashion

So cut, so colour’d, and so curl’d,

As those are in th’ Inferior World.

H’ had read DEE’s Prefaces before,

The DEV’L, and EUCLID, o’er and o’er;

And all the intrigues ‘twixt him and KELLY,

LESCUS and th’ EMPEROR, wou’d tell ye;

But with the Moon was more familiar

Than e’er was almanack well-willer;

Her secrets understood so clear,

That some believ’d he had been there;

Knew when she was in the fittest mood

For cutting corns, or letting blood;

When for anointing scabs or itches,

Or to the bum applying leeches;

When sows and bitches may be spay’d,

And in what sign best cyder’s made:

Whether the wane be, or increase,

Best to set garlick, or sow pease:

Who first found out the Man i’ th’ Moon,

That to the ancients was unknown;

How many dukes, and earls, and peers,

Are in the planetary spheres;

Their airy empire and command,

Their sev’ral strengths by sea and land;

What factions th’ have, and what they drive at

In public vogue, or what in private;

With what designs and interests

Each party manages contests.

He made an instrument to know

If the Moon shine at full or no;

That wou’d as soon as e’er she shone, straight

Whether ’twere day or night demonstrate;

Tell what her d’meter t’ an inch is,

And prove that she’s not made of green cheese.

It wou’d demonstrate, that the Man in

The Moon’s a Sea Mediterranean;

And that it is no dog nor bitch,

That stands behind him at his breech,

But a huge Caspian Sea, or lake,

With arms, which men for legs mistake;

How large a gulph his tail composes,

And what a goodly bay his nose is;

How many German leagues by th’ scale

Cape Snout’s from Promontory Tail.

He made a planetary gin,

Which rats would run their own heads in,

And cause on purpose to be taken,

Without th’ expence of cheese or bacon.

With lute-strings he would counterfeit

Maggots that crawl on dish of meat:

Quote moles and spots on any place

O’ th’ body, by the index face:

Detect lost maiden-heads by sneezing,

Or breaking wind of dames, or pissing;

Cure warts and corns with application

Of med’cines to th’ imagination;

Fright agues into dogs, and scare

With rhimes the tooth-ach and catarrh;

Chace evil spirits away by dint

Of cickle, horse-shoe, hollow-flint;

Spit fire out of a walnut-shell,

Which made the Roman slaves rebel;

And fire a mine in China here

With sympathetic gunpowder.

He knew whats’ever’s to be known,

But much more than he knew would own;

What med’cine ’twas that PARACELSUS

Could make a man with, as he tells us;

What figur’d slates are best to make

On watry surface duck or drake;

What bowling-stones, in running race

Upon a board, have swiftest pace;

Whether a pulse beat in the black

List of a dappled louse’s back;

If systole or diastole move

Quickest when he’s in wrath or love

When two of them do run a race,

Whether they gallop, trot, or pace:

How many scores a flea will jump,

Of his own length, from head to rump;

Which 8 SOCRATES and CHAEREPHON,

In vain, assay’d so long agon;

Whether his snout a perfect nose is,

And not an elephant’s proboscis

How many diff’rent specieses

Of maggots breed in rotten cheese

And which are next of kin to those

Engender’d in a chandler’s nose;

Or those not seen, but understood,

That live in vinegar and wood.

A paultry wretch he had, half-starv’d,

That him in place of Zany serv’d.

Hight WHACHUM, bred to dash and draw,

Not wine, but more unwholesome law

To make ‘twixt words and lines huge gaps,

Wide as meridians in maps;

To squander paper, and spare ink,

And cheat men of their words, some think.

From this, by merited degrees,

He’d to more high advancement rise;

To be an under-conjurer,

A journeyman astrologer.

His business was to pump and wheedle,

And men with their own keys unriddle;

And make them to themselves give answers,

For which they pay the necromancers;

To fetch and carry intelligence,

Of whom, and what, and where, and whence,

And all discoveries disperse

Among th’ whole pack of conjurers

What cut-purses have left with them

For the right owners to redeem;

And what they dare not vent find out,

To gain themselves and th’ art repute;

Draw figures, schemes, and horoscopes,

Of Newgate, Bridewell, brokers’ shops,

Of thieves ascendant in the cart;

And find out all by rules of art;

Which way a serving-man, that’s run

With cloaths or money away, is gone:

Who pick’d a fob at holding forth;

And where a watch, for half the worth,

May be redeem’d; or stolen plate

Restor’d at conscionable rate.

Beside all this, he serv’d his master

In quality of poetaster;

And rhimes appropriate could make

To ev’ry month i’ th almanack

What terms begin and end could tell,

With their returns, in doggerel;

When the exchequer opes and shuts,

And sowgelder with safety cuts

When men may eat and drink their fill,

And when be temp’rate, if they will;

When use and when abstain from vice,

Figs, grapes, phlebotomy, and spice.

And as in prison mean rogues beat

Hemp for the service of the great,

So WHACHUM beats his dirty brains,

T’ advance his master’s fame and gains

And, like the Devil’s oracles,

Put into doggrel rhimes his spells,

Which, over ev’ry month’s blank page

I’ th’ almanack, strange bilks presage.

He would an elegy compose

On maggots squeez’d out of his nose;

In lyrick numbers write an ode on

His mistress, eating a black-pudden:

And when imprison’d air escap’d her,

It puft him with poetic rapture.

His sonnets charm’d th’ attentive crowd,

By wide-mouth’d mortal troll’d aloud,

That ‘circl’d with his long-ear’d guests,

Like ORPHEUS look’d among the beasts.

A carman’s horse could not pass by,

But stood ty’d up to poetry:

No porter’s burthen pass’d along,

But serv’d for burthen to his song:

Each window like a pill’ry appears,

With heads thrust through, nail’d by the ears

All trades run in as to the sight

Of monsters, or their dear delight

The gallow tree, when cutting purse

Breeds bus’ness for heroic verse,

Which none does hear, but would have hung

T’ have been the theme of such a song.

Those two together long had liv’d,

In mansion prudently contriv’d;

Where neither tree nor house could bar

The free detection of a star

And nigh an ancient obelisk

Was rais’d by him, found out by FISK,9

On which was a written not in words,

But hieroglyphic mute of birds,

Many rare pithy saws concerning

The worth of astrologic learning.

From top of this there hung a rope,

To a which he fasten’d telescope;

The spectacles with which the stars

He reads in smallest characters.

It happen’d as a boy, one night,

Did fly his tarsel of a kite,

The strangest long-wing’d hawk that flies,

That, like a bird of Paradise,

Or herald’s martlet, has no legs,

Nor hatches young ones, nor lays eggs;

His train was six yards long, milk-white,

At th’ end of which there hung a light,

Inclos’d in lanthorn, made of paper,

That far off like a star did appear.

This SIDROPHEL by chance espy’d,

And with amazement staring wide,

Bless us! quoth he, what dreadful wonder

Is that appears in heaven yonder?

A comet, and without a beard!

Or star that ne’er before appear’d!

I’m certain ’tis not in the scrowl

Of all those beasts, and fish, and fowl,

With which, like Indian plantations,

The learned stock the constellations

Nor those that draw for signs have bin

To th’ houses where the planets inn.

It must be supernatural,

Unless it be that cannon-ball10

That, shot i’ th’ air point-blank upright,

Was borne to that prodigious height,

That learn’d Philosophers maintain,

It ne’er came backwards down again;

But in the airy region yet

Hangs like the body of MAHOMET

For if it be above the shade

That by the earth’s round bulk is made,

’Tis probable it may from far

Appear no bullet, but a star.

This said, he to his engine flew,

Plac’d near at hand, in open view,

And rais’d it ‘till it levell’d right

Against the glow-worm tail of kite,

Then peeping thro’, Bless us! (quoth he)

It is a planet, now I see

And, if I err not, by his proper

Figure, that’s like tobacco-stopper,

It should be Saturn. Yes, ’tis clear

’Tis Saturn; but what makes him there?

He’s got between the Dragon’s Tail

And farther Leg behind o’ th’ Whale.

Pray heav’n divert the fatal omen,

For ’tis a prodigy not common;

And can no less than the world’s end,

Or Nature’s funeral, portend.

With that he fell again to pry.

Thro’ perspective more wistfully,

When by mischance the fatal string,

That kept the tow’ring fowl on wing,

Breaking, down fell the star. Well shot,

Quoth WHACHUM, who right wisely thought

H’ had levell’d at a star, and hit it

But SIDROPHEL, more subtle-witted,

Cry’d out, What horrible and fearful

Portent is this, to see a star fall?

It threatens nature, and the doom

Will not be long before it come

When stars do fail, ’tis plain enough,

The day of judgment’s not far off;

As lately ’twas reveal’d to SEDGWICK,11

And some of us find out by magick.

Then since the time we have to live

In this world’s shorten’d, let us strive

To make our best advantage of it,

And pay our losses with our profit.

This feat fell out not long before

The Knight, upon the forenam’d score,

In quest of SIDROPHEL advancing,

Was now in prospect of the mansion

Whom he discov’ring, turn’d his glass,

And found far off, ’twas HUDIBRAS.

WHACHUM, (quoth he), look yonder, some

To try or use our art are come

The one’s the learned Knight: seek out,

And pump ’em what they come about.

WHACHUM advanc’d, with all submissness,

T’ accost em, but much more their bus’ness.

He held a stirrup, while the Knight

From leathern bare-bones did alight

And taking from his hand the bridle,

Approach’d the dark Squire to unriddle.

He gave him first the time o’ th’ day,

And welcom’d him, as he might say:

He ask’d him whence he came, and whither

Their bus’ness lay? Quoth RALPHO, Hither.

Did you not lose? Quoth RALPHO, Nay.

Quoth WHACHUM, Sir, I meant your way!

Your Knight — Quoth RALPHO, Is a lover,

And pains intolerable doth suffer:

For lovers’ hearts are not their own hearts,

Nor lights, nor lungs, and so forth downwards.

What time, (quoth RALPHO), Sir? — Too long

Three years it off and on has hung. —

Quoth he, I meant what time o’the day ’tis. —

Quoth RALPHO, Between seven and eight ’tis.

Why then, (quoth Whachum) my small art

Tells me, the dame has a hard heart,

Or great estate. — Quoth RALPH, A jointer,

Which makes him have so hot a mind t’her.

Mean while the Knight was making water,

Before he fell upon the matter;

Which having done, the Wizard steps in,

To give him suitable reception

But kept his bus’ness at a bay

Till WHACHUM put him in the way;

Who having now, by RALPHO’s light.

Expounded th’ errand of the Knight,

And what he came to know, drew near,

To whisper in the Conj’rer’s ear,

Which he prevented thus: What was’t,

Quoth he, that I was saying last,

Before these gentlemen arriv’d?

Quoth WHACHUM, Venus you retriev’d,

In opposition with Mars,

And no benigne friendly stars

T’ allay the effect. — Quoth Wizard, So

In Virgo? Ha! — Quoth WHACHUM, No.

Has Saturn nothing to do in it?

One-tenth of’s circle to a minute.

’Tis well, quoth he. — Sir, you’ll excuse

This rudeness I am forc’d to use

It is a scheme and face of Heaven,

As the aspects are dispos’d this even,

I was contemplating upon

When you arriv’d; but now I’ve done,

Quoth HUDIBRAS, If I appear

Unseasonable in coming here

At such a tone, to interrupt,

Your speculations, which I hop’d

Assistance from, and come to use,

‘T is fit that I ask your excuse.

By no means, Sir, quoth SIDROPHEL;

The stars your coming did foretel:

I did expect you here, and knew,

Before you spake, your bus’ness too.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, Make that appear,

And I shall credit whatsoe’er

You tell me after on your word,

Howe’er unlikely, or absurd.

You are in love, Sir, with a widow,

Quoth he, that does not greatly heed you,

And for three years has rid your wit

And passion without drawing bit:

And now your bus’ness is to know,

If you shall carry her or no.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, You’re in the right;

But how the Devil you came by’t

I can’t imagine; for the Stars,

I’m sure, can tell no more than a horse;

Nor can their aspects (though you pore

Your eyes out on ’em) tell you more

Than th’ oracle of sieve and sheers,

That turns as certain as the spheres:

But if the Devil’s of your counsel,

Much may be done my noble Donzel;

And ’tis on his account I come,

To know from you my fatal doom.

Quoth SIDROPHEL, If you Suppose,

Sir Knight, that I am one of those,

I might suspect, and take the alarm,

Your bus’ness is but to inform;

But if it be, ’tis ne’er the near;

You have a wrong sow by the ear;

For I assure you, for my part,

I only deal by rules of art,

Such as are lawful, and judge by

Conclusions of Astrology:

But for the Dev’l, know nothing by him;

But only this, that I defy him.

Quoth he, Whatever others deem ye,

I understand your metonymy:

Your words of second-hand intention,

When things by wrongful names you mention;

The mystick sense of all your terms,

That are, indeed, but magick charms

To raise the Devil, and mean one thing,

And that is down-right conjuring;

And in itself more warrantable,

Than cheat, or canting to a rabble,

Or putting tricks upon the Moon,

Which by confed’racy are done.

Your ancient conjurers were wont

To make her from her sphere dismount.

And to their incantations stoop:

They scorn’d to pore thro’ telescope,

Or idly play at bo-peep with her,

To find out cloudy or fair weather,

Which ev’ry almanack can tell,

Perhaps, as learnedly and well,

As you yourself — Then, friend, I doubt

You go the furthest way about.

Your modern Indian magician12

Makes but a hole in th’ earth to piss in,

And straight resolves all questions by’t,

And seldom fails to be i’th’ right.

The Rosy–Crucian way’s more sure

To bring the Devil to the lure;

Each of ’em has a sev’ral gin

To catch intelligences in.

Some by the nose with fumes trepan ’em,

As DUNSTAN did the Devil’s grannam;

Others, with characters and words,

Catch ’em, as men in nets do birds;

And some with symbols, signs, and tricks,

Engrav’d with planetary nicks,

With their own influences will fetch ’em

Down from their orbs, arrest, and catch ’em;

Make ’em depose and answer to

All questions e’re they let them go.

BUMBASTUS kept a Devil’s bird13

Shut in the pummel of his sword,

That taught him all the cunning pranks

Of past and future mountebanks.

KELLY did all his feats upon

The Devil’s looking-glass, a stone;

Where playing with him at bo-peep,

He solv’d all problems ne’er so deep.

AGRIPPA kept a Stygian pug,14

I’ th’ garb and habit of a dog,

That was his tutor, and the cur

Read to th’ occult philosopher,

And taught him subt’ly to maintain

All other sciences are vain.

To this, quoth SIDROPHELLO, Sir,

AGRIPPA was no conjurer,

Nor PARACELSUS, no, nor BEHMEN;

Nor was the dog a Cacodaemon,

But a true dog, that would shew tricks

For th’ emperor, and leap o’er sticks;

Would fetch and carry; was more civil

Than other dogs, but yet no Devil;

And whatsoe’er he’s said to do,

He went the self-same way we go.

As for the Rosy–Cross Philosophers,

Whom you will have to be but sorcerers,

What they pretend to is no more,

Than TRISMEGISTUS did before,

PYTHAGORAS, old ZOROASTER,

And APOLLONIUS their master;

To whom they do confess they owe

All that they do, and all they know.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, Alas! what is’t t’ us,

Whether ’twas said by TRISMEGISTUS,

If it be nonsense, false, or mystick,

Or not intelligible, or sophistick?

’Tis not antiquity, nor author,

That makes Truth Truth, altho’ Times daughter;

’Twas he that put her in the pit

Before he pull’d her out of it;

And as he eats his sons, just so

He feeds upon his daughters too.

Nor does it follow, ‘cause a herald,

Can make a gentleman, scarce a year old,

To be descended of a race

Of ancient kings in a small space,

That we should all opinions hold

Authentic that we can make old.

Quoth SIDROPHEL, It is no part

Of prudence to cry down an art,

And what it may perform deny,

Because you understand not why

(As 15 AVERHOIS play’d but a mean trick

To damn our whole art for eccentrick:)

For Who knows all that knowledge contains

Men dwell not on the tops of mountains,

But on their sides, or rising’s seat

So ’tis with knowledge’s vast height.

Do not the hist’ries of all ages

Relate miraculous presages,

Of strange turns in the world’s affairs,

Foreseen b’ Astrologers, Soothsayers,

Chaldeans, learn’d Genethliacks,

And some that have writ almanacks?

The MEDIAN emp’ror dreamt his daughter16

Had pist all ASIA under water,

And that a vine, sprung from her haunches,

O’erspread his empire with its branches:

And did not soothsayers expound it,

As after by th’ event he found it?

When CAESAR in the senate fell,17

Did not the sun eclips’d foretel,

And, in resentment of his slaughter,

Look’d pale for almost a year after?

AUGUSTUS having, b’ oversight,18

Put on his left shoe ‘fore his right,

Had like to have been slain that day

By soldiers mutin’ing for pay.

Are there not myriads of this sort,

Which stories of all times report?

Is it not ominous in all countries

When crows and ravens croak upon trees?

The Roman senate, when within19

The city walls an owl was seen

Did cause their clergy, with lustrations,

(Our Synod calls humiliations),

The round-fac’d prodigy t’avert

From doing town or country hurt

And if an owl have so much pow’r,

Why should not planets have much more,

That in a region far above

Inferior fowls of the air move,

And should see further, and foreknow

More than their augury below?

Though that once serv’d the polity

Of mighty states to govern by

And this is what we take in hand

By pow’rful art to understand

Which, how we have perform’d, all ages

Can speak th’ events of our presages

Have we not lately, in the Moon,

Found a New World, to the Old unknown?

Discover’d sea and land, COLUMBUS

And MAGELLAN cou’d never compass?

Made mountains with our tubes appear,

And cattle grazing on ’em there?

Quoth HUDIBRAS, You lie so ope,

That I, without a telescope,

Can mind your tricks out, and descry

Where you tell truth, and where you lye:

For 20 ANAXAGORAS, long agon,

Saw hills, as well as you, i’ th’ Moon;

And held the Sun was but a piece

Of red-hot ir’n, as big as Greece;

Believ’d the Heav’ns were made of stone,

Because the Sun had voided one;

And, rather than he would recant

Th’ opinion, suffer’d banishment.

But what, alas! is it to us,

Whether i’ th’ Moon men thus or thus

Do eat their Porridge, cut their corns,

Or whether they have tails or horns?

What trade from thence can you advance,

But what we nearer have from France?

What can our travellers bring home,

That is not to be learnt at Rome?

What politicks, or strange opinions,

That are not in our own dominions?

What science can he brought from thence,

In which we do not here commence?

What revelations, or religions,

That are not in our native regions?

Are sweating lanthorns, or screen-fans,

Made better there than th’ are in France?

Or do they teach to sing and play

O’ th’ gittar there a newer way?

Can they make plays there, that shall fit

The public humour, with less wit?

Write wittier dances, quainter shows,

Or fight with more ingenious blows?

Or does the man i’ th’ moon look big,

And wear a huger perriwig,

Shew in his gait or face more tricks,

Than our own native lunaticks?

And if w’ out-do him here at home,

What good of your design can come?

As wind i’ th’ hypocondries pent,

Is but a blast if downward sent,

But if it upward chance to fly,

Becomes new Light and Prophecy

So when your speculations tend

Above their just and useful end,

Although they promise strange and great

Discoveries of things far set,

They are but idle dreams and fancies,

And savour strongly of the ganzas.

Tell me but what’s the natural cause,

Why on a sign no painter draws

The full moon ever, but the half;

Resolve that with your JACOB’s staff;

Or why wolves raise a hubbub at her,

And dogs howl when she shines in water;

And I shall freely give my vote,

You may know something more remote.

At this deep SIDROPHEL look’d wise,

And staring round with owl-like eyes,

He put his face into a posture

Of sapience, and began to bluster:

For having three times shook his head

To stir his wit up, thus he said

Art has no mortal enemies,

Next ignorance, but owls and geese;

Those consecrated geese in orders,

That to the Capitol were warders;

And being then upon patrol,

With noise alone beat off the Gaul:

Or those Athenian Sceptic owls,

That will not credit their own souls;

Or any science understand,

Beyond the reach of eye or hand;

But meas’ring all things by their own

Knowledge, hold nothing’s to be known

Those wholesale criticks, that in coffee-Houses cry down all philosophy,

And will not know upon what ground

In nature we our doctrine found,

Altho’ with pregnant evidence

We can demonstrate it to sense,

As I just now have done to you,

Foretelling what you came to know.

Were the stars only made to light

Robbers and burglarers by night?

To wait on drunkards, thieves, gold-finders,

And lovers solacing behind doors,

Or giving one another pledges

Of matrimony under hedges?

Or witches simpling, and on gibbets

Cutting from malefactors snippets?

Or from the pillory tips of ears

Of Rebel–Saints and perjurers?

Only to stand by, and look on,

But not know what is said or done?

Is there a constellation there,

That was not born and bred up here?

And therefore cannot be to learn

In any inferior concern.

Were they not, during all their lives,

Most of ’em pirates, whores and thieves;

And is it like they have not still

In their old practices some skill

Is there a planet that by birth

Does not derive its house from earth?

And therefore probably must know,

What is and hath been done below.

Who made the Balance, or whence came

The Bull, the Lion, and the Ram?

Did not we here the Argo rig,

Make BERENICE’s periwig?

Whose liv’ry does the Coachman wear?

Or who made Cassiopeia’s chair?

And therefore, as they came from hence,

With us may hold intelligence.

PLATO deny’d the world can be

Govern’d without geometree,

(For money b’ing the common scale

Of things by measure, weight, and tale,

In all th’ affairs of Church and State,

’Tis both the balance and the weight;)

Then much less can it be without

Divine Astrology made out;

That puts the other down in worth,

As far as Heav’n’s above the earth.

These reasons (quoth the Knight) I grant

Are something more significant

Than any that the learned use

Upon this subject to produce;

And yet th’ are far from satisfactory,

T’ establish and keep up your factory.

Th’ Egyptians say,21 the Sun has twice

Shifted his setting and his rise

Twice has he risen in the west,

As many times set in the east;

But whether that be true or no,

The Dev’l any of you know.

Some hold the heavens like a top,22

And kept by circulation. up;

And, were’t not for their wheeling round,

They’d instantly fall to the ground:

As sage EMPEDOCLES of old,

And from him modern authors hold.

PLATO believ’d the Sun and Moon23

Below all other Planets run.

Some MERCURY, some VENUS, seat

Above the Sun himself in height.

The learned SCALIGER complain’d,24

Gainst what COPERNICUS maintain’d,

That, in twelve hundred years and odd,

The Sun had left its ancient road,

And nearer to time earth is come

‘Bove fifty thousand miles from home:

Swore ’twas a most notorious flam;

And he that had so little shame

To vent such fopperies abroad,

Deserv’d to have his rump well claw’d;

Which Monsieur BODIN hearing, swore

That he deserv’d the rod much more,

That durst upon a truth give doom;

He knew less than the Pope of Rome.

CARDAN believ’d great states depend25

Upon the tip o’ th’ Bear’s tail’s end;

That, as she whisk’d it t’wards the Sun,

Strow’d mighty empires up and down;

Which others say must needs be false,

Because your true bears have no tails.

Some say the Zodiack Constellations

Have long since chang’d their antique stations

Above a sign, and prove the same

In Taurus now once in the Ram;

Affirm the trigons chop’d and chang’d,

The wat’ry with the fiery rang’d:

Then how can their effects still hold

To be the same they were of old?

This, though the art were true, would make

Our modern soothsayers mistake:

And in one cause they tell more lies,

In figures and nativities,

Than th’ old 26 Chaldean conjurers

In so many hundred thousand years

Beside their nonsense in translating,

For want of accidence and Latin,

Like Idus, and Calendae, Englisht

The quarter-days by skilful linguist;

And yet with canting, sleight and, cheat,

’Twill serve their turn to do the feat;

Make fools believe in their foreseeing

Of things before they are in being

To swallow gudgeons ere th’ are catch’d;

And count their chickens ere th’ are hatch’d

Make them the constellations prompt,

And give ’em back their own accompt

But still the best to him that gives

The best price for’t, or best believes.

Some towns and cities, some, for brevity,

Have cast the ‘versal world’s nativity,

And made the infant-stars confess,

Like fools or children, what they please.

Some calculate the hidden fates

Of monkeys, puppy-dogs, and cats

Some running-nags and fighting cocks,

Some love, trade, law-suits, and the pox;

Some take a measure of the lives

Of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives;

Make opposition, trine, and quartile,

Tell who is barren, and who fertile;

As if the planet’s first aspect

The tender infant did infect

In soul and body, and instill

All future good, and future ill;

Which, in their dark fatalities lurking,

At destin’d periods fall a working;

And break out, like the hidden seeds

Of long diseases, into deeds,

In friendships, enmities, and strife,

And all the emergencies of life.

No sooner does he peep into

The world, but he has done his do;

Catch’d all diseases, took all physick

That cures or kills a man that is sick;

Marry’d his punctual dose of wives;

Is cuckolded, and breaks or thrives.

There’s but the twinkling of a star

Between a man of peace and war;

A thief and justice, fool and knave,

A huffing officer and a slave;

A crafty lawyer and a pick-pocket,

A great philosopher and a blockhead;

A formal preacher and a player,

A learn’d physician and manslayer.

As if men from the stars did suck

Old age, diseases, and ill-luck,

Wit, folly, honour, virtue, vice,

Trade, travel, women, claps, and dice;

And draw, with the first air they breathe,

Battle and murder, sudden death.

Are not these fine commodities

To be imported from the skies,

And vended here amongst the rabble,

For staple goods and warrantable?

Like money by the Druids borrow’d,27

In th’ other world to be restor’d?

Quoth SIDROPHEL, To let you know

You wrong the art, and artists too,

Since arguments are lost on those

That do our principles oppose,

I will (although I’ve done’t before)

Demonstrate to your sense once more,

And draw a figure, that shall tell you

What you, perhaps, forget befel you,

By way of horary inspection,

Which some account our worst erection.

With that he circles draws, and squares,

With cyphers, astral characters;

Then looks ’em o’er, to und’erstand ’em,

Although set down hob-nab, at random.

Quoth he, This scheme of th’ heavens set,

Discovers how in fight you met

At Kingston with a may-pole idol,

And that y’ were bang’d both back and side well;

And though you overcame the bear,

The dogs beat you at Brentford fair;

Where sturdy butchers broke your noddle,

And handled you like a fop-doodle.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, I now perceive

You are no conj’rer, by your leave;

That 28 paultry story is untrue,

And forg’d to cheat such gulls as you.

Not true? quoth he; howe’er you vapour,

I can what I affirm make appear.

WHACHUM shall justify’t t’ your face,

And prove he was upon the place.

He play’d the Saltinbancho’s part,

Transform’d t’ a Frenchman by my art

He stole your cloak, and pick’d your pocket,

Chows’d and caldes’d ye like a blockhead:

And what you lost I can produce,

If you deny it, here i’ th’ house.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, I do believe

That argument’s demonstrative.

RALPHO, bear witness; and go fetch us

A constable to seize the wretches

For though th’ are both false knaves and cheats,

Impostors, jugglers, counterfeits,

I’ll make them serve for perpendiculars

As true as e’er were us’d by bricklayers.

They’re guilty, by their own confessions,

Of felony, and at the sessions,

Upon the bench, I will so handle ’em,

That the 29 vibration of this pendulum

Shalt make all taylors yards of one

Unanimous opinion,

A thing he long has vapour’d of,

But now shall wake it out of proof.

Quoth SIDROPHEL, I do not doubt

To find friends that will bear me out,

Nor have I hazarded my art,

And neck, so long on the state’s part,

To be expos’d i’ th’ end to suffer

By such a braggadocio huffer.

Huffer! quoth HUDIBRAS: this sword

Shall down thy false throat craw that word.

RALPHO, make haste, and call an officer,

To apprehend this Stygian sophister,

Meanwhile I’ll hold ’em at a bay,

Lest he and WHACHUM run away.

But SIDROPHEL who, from the aspect

Of HUDIBRAS did now erect

A figure worse portenting far

Than that of a malignant star,

Believ’d it now the fittest moment

To shun the danger that might come on’t,

While HUDIBRAS was all alone,

And he and WHACHUM, two to one.

This being resolv’d, he spy’d, by chance,

Behind the door, an iron lance,

That many a sturdy limb had gor’d,

And legs, and loins, and shoulders bor’d:

He snatch’d it up, and made a pass,

To make his way through HUDIBRAS.

WHACHUM had got a fire-fork,

With which he vow’d to do his work.

But HUDIBRAS was well prepar’d,

And stoutly stood upon his guard:

He put by SIDROPHELLO’S thrust,

And in right manfully he rusht;

The weapon from his gripe he wrung,

And laid him on the earth along.

WHACHUM his sea-coal prong threw by,

And basely turn’d his back to fly

But HUDIBRAS gave him a twitch

As quick as light’ning in the breech,

Just in the place where honour’s lodg’d,

As wise philosophers have judg’d;

Because a kick in that place more

Hurts honour than deep wounds before.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, The stars determine

You are my prisoners, base vermine!

Could they not tell you so as well

As what I came to know foretell?

By this what cheats you are we find,

That in your own concerns are blind.

Your lives are now at my dispose,

To be redeem’d by fine or blows:

But who his honour wou’d defile,

To take or sell two lives so vile?

I’ll give you quarter; but your pillage,

The conq’ring warrior’s crop and tillage,

Which with his sword he reaps and plows,

That’s mine, the law of arms allows.

This said, in haste, in haste he fell

To rummaging of SIDROPHEL.

First, he expounded both his pockets,

And found a watch, with rings and lockets,

Which had been left with him t’ erect

A figure for, and so detect;

A copper-plate, with almanacks

Engrav’d upon’t; with other knacks,

Of BOOKER’s LILLY’s, SARAH JIMMERS’,

And blank-schemes to discover nimmers;

A moon-dial, with Napier’s bones,

And sev’ral constellation stones,

Engrav’d in planetary hours,

That over mortals had strange powers

To make ’em thrive in law or trade,

And stab or poison to evade;

In wit or wisdom to improve,

And be victorious in love,

WHACHUM had neither cross nor pile;

His plunder was not worth the while;

All which the conq’rer did discompt,

To pay for curing of his rump.

But SIDROPHEL, as full of tricks

As Rota-men of politicks,

Straight cast about to over-reach

Th’ unwary conqu’ror with a fetch,

And make him clad (at least) to quit

His victory, and fly the pit,

Before the Secular Prince of Darkness30

Arriv’d to seize upon his carcass?

And as a fox, with hot pursuit

Chac’d thro’ a warren, casts about

To save his credit, and among

Dead vermin on a gallows hung,

And while the dogs run underneath,

Escap’d (by counterfeiting death)

Not out of cunning, but a train

Of atoms justling in his brain,

As learn’d philosophers give out,

So SIDROPHELLO cast about,

And fell to’s wonted trade again,

To feign himself in earnest slain:

First stretch’d out one leg, than another,

And seeming in his breath to smother

A broken sigh; quoth he, Where am I,

Alive or dead? or which way came I,

Through so immense a space so soon

But now I thought myself in th’ Moon

And that a monster with huge whiskers,

More formidable than a Switzer’s,

My body through and through had drill’d,

And WHACHUM by my side had kill’d:

Had cross-examin’d both our hose,

And plunder’d all we had to lose.

Look, there he is; I see him now,

And feel the place I am run through:

And there lies WHACHUM by my side

Stone dead, and in his own blood dy’d.

Oh! Oh! with that he fetch’d a groan,

And fell again into a swoon;

Shut both his eyes, and stopp’d his breath,

And to the life out-acted death;

That HUDIBRAS, to all appearing,

Believ’d him to be dead as herring.

He held it now no longer safe

To tarry the return of RALPH,

But rather leave him in the lurch:

Thought he, he has abus’d our Church,

Refus’d to give himself one firk

To carry on the publick work;

Despis’d our Synod-men like dirt,

And made their discipline his sport;

Divulg’d the secrets of their classes,

And their conventions prov’d high places;

Disparag’d their tythe-pigs as Pagan,

And set at nought their cheese and bacon;

Rail’d at their Covenant, and jeer’d

Their rev’rend parsons to my beard:

For all which scandals, to be quit

At once, this juncture falls out fit,

I’ll make him henceforth to beware,

And tempt my fury, if he dare.

He must at least hold up his hand,

By twelve freeholders to be scann’d;

Who, by their skill in palmistry,

Will quickly read his destiny;

And make him glad to read his lesson,

Or take a turn for it at the session;

Unless his Light and Gifts prove truer

Then ever yet they did, I’m sure;

For if he scape with whipping now,

’Tis more than he can hope to do;

And that will disengage my conscience

Of th’ obligation in his own sense,

I’ll make him now by force abide

What he by gentle means deny’d,

To give my honour satisfaction,

And right the Brethren in the action.

This being resolv’d, with equal speed

And conduct he approach’d his steed,

And with activity unwont,

Assay’d the lofty beast to mount;

Which once atchiev’d, he spurr’d his palfrey,

To get from th’ enemy, and RALPH, free

Left dangers, fears, and foes behind,

And beat, at least three lengths, the wind.

1 Ledger, &c.] The Witch-finder in Suffolk, who, in the Presbyterian times, had a commission to discover witches, of whom (right or wrong) he caused 60 to be hanged within the compass of year; and, among the rest, the old minister, who been a painful preacher for many years.

2 Did he not help the Dutch, &c.] In the beginning of the Civil Wars of Flanders, the common people of Antwerp in a tumult broke open the cathedral church, to demolish images and shrines, and did so much mischief in a small time, that Strada writes, there were several Devils seen very busy among them, otherwise it had been impossible.

3 Sing catches, &c.] This Devil at Mascon delivered all his oracles, like his forefathers, in verse, which he sung to tunes. He made several lampoons upon the Hugonots, and foretold them many things which afterwards came to pass; as may be seen his Memoirs, written in French.

4 Appear’d in divers, &c.] The History of Dee and the Devil, published by Mer. Casaubon, Isaac Fil. Prebendary of Canterbury, has a large account of all those passages, in which the stile of the true and false angels appears to be penned by one and the same person. The Nun of Loudon, in France, and all her tricks, have been seen by many persons of quality of this nation yet living, who have made very good observations upon the French book written on that occasion.

5 Met with, &c] A Committee of the Long Parliament, sitting in the King’s-house in Woodstock Park, were terrified with several apparitions, the particulars whereof were then the news of the whole nation.

6 At Sarum, &c.] Withers has a long story, in doggerel, of a soldier in the King’s army, who being a prisoner at Salisbury, and drinking a health to the Devil upon his knees, was carried away by him through a single pane of glass.

7 Since old Hodge Bacon, &c.] Roger Bacon, commonly called Friar Bacon, lived in the reign of Edward I. and, for some little skill he had in the mathematicks, was by the rabble accounted a conjurer, and had the sottish story of the Brazen Head fathered upon him by the ignorant Monks of those days. Robert Grosthead was Bishop of Lincoln in the of Henry III. He was a learned man for those times, and for that reason suspected by the Clergy to be a Conjurer; for which crime, being degraded by Innocent IV. and summoned to appear at Rome, appealed to the tribunal of Christ; which our lawyers say is illegal, if not a Praemunire, for offering to sue in a Foreign Court.

8 Which Socrates, &c.] Aristophanes, in his comedy of the Clouds, brings in Socrates and Chaerephon, measuring the leap of a flea from the one’s beard to the other’s.

9 Was rais’d by him, &c.] This Fisk was a famous astrologer, who flourished about the time of Subtile and Face, and was equally celebrated by Ben Jonson.

10 Unless it be, &c.] This experiment was tried by some foreign Virtuosos, who planted a piece of ordnance point-blank against the Zenith, and having fired it, the bullet never rebounded back again; which made them all conclude that it sticks in the mark: but Des Cartes was of opinion, that it does but hang in the air.

11 As lately ‘t was, &c.] This Sedgwick had many persons (and some of quality) that believed in him, and prepared to keep the day of judgment with him, but were disappointed; for which the false prophet was afterwards called by the name of Dooms-day Sedgwick.

12 Your modern Indian &c.] This compendious new way of magick is affirmed by Monsieur Le Blanc (in his travels) to be used in the East Indies.

13 Bumbastus kept, &c.] Paracelsus is said to have kept a small devil prisoner in the pummel of his sword, which was the reason, perhaps, why he was so valiant in his drink. Howsoever, it was to better purpose than Hannibal carried poison in his, to dispatch himself; for the sword alone would have done the feat much better, and more soldier-like; and it was below the honour of so great a commander, to go out of the world like a rat.

14 Agrippa kept &c.] Cornelius Agrippa had a dog which was suspected to be a spirit, for some tricks he was wont to do beyond the capacity of a dog, as it was thought; but the author of Magia Adamica has taken a great deal of pains to vindicate both the doctor and the dog from the aspersion, in which he has shewn a very great respect and kindness for them both.

15 As Averrhois, &c.] Averrhois Astronomium propter Excentricos contempsit. [Averroes despised the eccentriciticites of astronomy]. Phil. Melanchthon in Elem. Phil. P 781.

16 The Median Emperor dreamt his daughter, &c.] Astyages, King of Media, had this dream of his daughter Madane, and the interpretation of the Magi, wherefore he married her to a Persian of mean quality, by whom she had Cyrus, who conquered all Asia, and translated the empire from the Medes to the Persians. — Herodot. L. i.

17 When Caesar, &c.] Fiunt aliquando prodigiosi, & longiores Solus Defectus, quales occisa Caesare Dictatore, & Antoniano Bello, totius Anni Pallore continuo. [Other miracles occurred, and the sun was dimmed for a longer time, for example, at the death of the Dictator Caesar, and the Antonine war, its dimness continued for a whole year] — Phil.

18 Augustus having &c.] Divus Augustus laevum sibi prodidit calceum praepostere idutum, qua die seditione Militum prope afflictus est. [The Divine Augustus put on his left boot before the right one, that same day he was afflicted by a mutiny of the soldiers] — Idem L. 2.

19 The Roman Senate, &c.] Romani L. Crasso & Mario Coss. Bubone viso orbem lustrabant. [The Romans L Crasso and Mario Coss. ritually purified the country from (the evil influence caused by) seeing the owl.]

20 For Anaxagoras, &c.] Anaxagoras affirmabat Solem candens Ferrum esse, & Peloponneso majorem: Lunam Habitacula in se habere, & Colles, & Valles. Fertur dixisse Coelum omne ex Lapidibus esse compositum; Damnatus & in exilium pulsus est, quod impie Solem candentem luminam esse dixisset. [Anaxogaras stated that the sun was made of white-hot iron, and bigger than the Peloponnese: the moon had buildings, and hills, and valleys. He was so carried away that he said that the whole sky was made of stone. He was condemned and driven into exile, for speaking impiously about the pure white light of the sun] — Diog. Laert. in Anaxag. p. 11, 13.

21 Th’ Egyptians say &c.] Egyptii decem millia Annorum & amplius recensent; & observatum est in hoc tanto Spatio, bis mutata esse Loca Ortuum & Occasuum Solis, ita ut Sol bis ortus sit ubi nunc occidit, & bis descenderit ubi nunc oritur. [The Egyptians have records for ten thousand years and more, and it has been observed that during this space of time, the rising and setting places of the sun have changed twice, so that twice the sun has risen where it now sets, and twice set where it now rises] — Phil. Melanct. Lib. 1 Pag. 60.

22 Some hold the heavens, &c.] Causa quare Coelum non cadit (secundem Empedoclem) est velocitas sui motus. [ The reason the sky does not fall is (according to Empedocles) the speed it is moving at] — Comment. in L. 2. Aristot. de Coelo.

23 Plato believ’d, &c.] Plato Solem & Lunam caeteris Planetis inferiores esse putavit. [Plato believed that the Sun and Moon were lower than the other planets] — G. Gunnin in Cosmog. L. 1. p. 11.

24 The learned Scaliger, &c.] Copernicus in Libris Revolutionem, deinde Reinholdus, post etiam Stadius Mathematici nobiles perspicuis Demonstrationibus docuerunt, solis Apsida Terris esse propiorem, quam Ptolemaei aetate duodecem partibus, i. e. uno & triginta terrae semidiameteris. [Copernicus in his Book of Revolutions, and afterwards Reinholdus, very cleverly showed by mathematical means that the perihelion of the earth was (become) nearer in the twelve centuries since Ptolemy, that is, thirty-one times the radius of the earth.] — Jo. Bod. Met. Hist. p. 455.

25 Cardan believ’d, &c.] Putat Cardanus, ab extrema Cauda Halices seu Majoris Ursae omne magnum Imperium pendere.[Cardanus believed that the fate of every great empire depended on the end of the tail of the Thumb or Great Bear] — Idem p. 325.

26 Than th’ old Chaldean, &c.] Chaldaei jactant se quadringinta septuaginta Annorum millia in periclitandis, experiundisque Puerorum Animis possuisse.[The Chaldeans alleged that they were forty or seventy thousand years in experiments to possess the souls of boys] — Cicero

27 Like Money, &c.] Druidae pecuniam mutuo accipiebant in posteriore vita reddituri. [The Druids accepted money from one another to be repaid in the next life] — Patricius. Tom.2 p.9.

28 That paltry story, &c.] There was a notorious ideot (that is here described by the name and character of Whachum) who counterfeited a second part of Hudibras, as untowardly as Captain Po, who could not write himself, and yet made a shift to stand on the pillory for forging other men’s hands, as his fellow Whachum no doubt deserved; in whose abominable doggerel this story of Hudibras and a French mountebank at Brentford fair is as properly described.

29 That the vibration &c.] The device of the vibration of a Pendulum was intended to settle a certain measure of ells and yards, &c. (that should have its foundation in nature) all the world over: For by swinging a weight at the end of a string, and calculating by the motion of the sun, or any star, how long the vibration would last, in proportion to the length of the string, and the weight of the pendulum, they thought to reduce it back again, and from any part of time to compute the exact length of any string that must necessarily vibrate into so much space of time; so that if a man should ask in China for a quarter of an hour of satin, or taffeta, they would know perfectly what it meant; and all mankind learn a new way to measure things, no more by the yard, foot or inch, but by the hour, quarter, and minute.

30 Before the Secular, &c.] As the Devil is the Spiritual Prince of Darkness, so is the Constable the Secular, who governs the night with as great authority as his colleague, but far more imperiously.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/butler/samuel_1612-1680/hudibras/canto6.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31