Hudibras, by Samuel Butler


Canto I

The Argument

Sir Hudibras his passing worth,

The manner how he sallied 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 1 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,

Though not a man of them knew wherefore:

When Gospel–Trumpeter, surrounded

With long-ear’d rout, to battle sounded,

And pulpit, drum ecclesiastick,

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 wou’d

Entitle him Mirror of Knighthood;

That never bent 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 cartel or for warrant;

Great on the bench, great in the saddle,

That 2 could as well bind o’er, as swaddle;

Mighty he was at both of these,

And styl’d 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,

And offer to lay wagers that

As MONTAIGNE, 3 playing with his cat,

Complains she thought him but an ass,

Much more she wou’d 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 such;

We grant, although 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 holy-days, or so,

As men their best apparel do.

Beside, ’tis known he could speak GREEK

As naturally as pigs squeek;

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 4 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 5 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

I’ th’ middle of his speech, or cough,

H’ had hard words,ready to show 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.

His ordinary rate of speech

In loftiness of sound was rich;

A Babylonish 6dialect,

Which learned pedants much affect.

It was a parti-colour’d dress

Of patch’d and pie-bald languages;

’Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,

Like fustian heretofore on satin;

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 7 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 cou’d 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 8 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 MATHEMATICKS he was greater


For he, by geometric scale,

Could take the size of pots of ale;

Resolve, by sines and tangents 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 crabbed’st author hath,

He understood b’ implicit faith:

Whatever 10 sceptic could inquire for,

For ev’ry why he had a wherefore;

Knew more than forty of them do,

As far as words and terms cou’d go.

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 th’ one

For th’ other, as great clerks have done.

He could 11 reduce all things to acts,

And knew their natures by abstracts;

Where entity and quiddity,

The ghosts of defunct bodies fly;

Where 12 truth in person does appear,

Like words 13 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 14 he that hight, Irrefragable;

A second 15 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 cou’d twist

As 16 tough as learned SORBONIST;

And weave fine cobwebs, fit for skull

That’s empty when the moon is full;

Such as take lodgings in a head

That’s to be let unfurnished.

He could 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;

Although by woeful proof we find,

They always leave a scar behind.

He knew 17 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:

Whether the devil tempted her

By a 18 High Dutch interpreter;

If either of them 19 had a navel:

Who first 20 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 splenetick,

Than dog distract, or monkey sick.

That with more care keep holy-day

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 worshipp’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;

Quarrel with minc’d-pies, and disparage

Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge;

Fat pig and goose itself oppose,

And blaspheme custard through the nose.

Th’ apostles of this fierce religion,

Like MAHOMET’S, 21 were ass and pidgeon,

To whom our knight, by fast instinct

Of wit and temper, was so linkt,

As if hypocrisy and nonsense

Had got th’ advowson of his conscience.

Thus was he gifted and accouter’d;

We mean on th’ inside, not the outward;

That next of all we shall discuss:

Then listen, Sirs, it follows thus

His tawny beard was th’ equal grace

Both of his wisdom and his face;

In cut and dye so like a tile,

A sudden view it would beguile:

The upper part thereof was whey;

The nether, orange mix’d with grey.

This hairy meteor did denounce

The fall of scepters and of crowns;

With grisly type did represent

Declining age of government;

And tell with hieroglyphick spade,

Its own grave and the state’s were made.

Like SAMPSON’S heart-breakers, it grew

In time to make a nation rue;

Tho’ it contributed its own fall,

To wait upon the publick downfal,

It was 22 monastick, and did grow

In holy orders by strict vow;

Of rule as sullen and severe

As that of rigid Cordeliere.

’Twas bound to suffer persecution

And martyrdom with resolution;

T’ oppose itself against the hate

And vengeance of th’ incensed state;

In whose defiance it was worn,

Still ready to be pull’d and torn;

With red-hot irons to be tortur’d;

Revil’d, and spit upon, and martyr’d.

Maugre all which, ’twas to stand fast

As long as monarchy shou’d last;

But when the state should hap to reel,

’Twas to submit to fatal steel,

And fall, as it was consecrate,

A sacrifice to fall of state;

Whose thread of life the fatal sisters

Did twist together with its whiskers,

And twine so close, that time should never,

In life or death, their fortunes sever;

But with his rusty sickle mow

Both down together at a blow.

So learned TALIACOTIUS 23 from

The brawny part of porter’s bum

Cut supplemental noses, which

Wou’d last as long as parent breech;

But when the date of NOCK was out,

Off drop’d the sympathetic snout.

His back, or rather burthen, show’d,

As if it stoop’d with its own load:

For as AENEAS 24bore his sire

Upon his shoulders thro’ the fire,

Our Knight did bear no less a pack

Of his own buttocks on his back;

Which now had almost got the upper-Hand of his head, for want of crupper.

To poise this equally, he bore

A paunch of the same bulk before;

Which still he had a special care

To keep well-cramm’d with thrifty fare;

As white-pot, butter-milk, and curds,

Such as a country-house affords;

With other vittle, which anon

We farther shall dilate upon,

When of his hose we come to treat,

The cupboard where he kept his meat.

His doublet was of sturdy buff,

And tho’ not sword, yet cudgel-proof;

Whereby ’twas fitter for his use,

Who fear’d no blows, but such as bruise.

His breeches were of rugged woollen,

And had been at the siege of Bullen;

To old King HARRY so well known,

Some writers held they were his own.

Thro’ they were lin’d with many a piece

Of ammunition bread and cheese,

And fat black-puddings, proper food

For warriors that delight in blood.

For, as we said, he always chose

To carry vittle in his hose,

That often tempted rats and mice

The ammunition to surprise:

And when he put a hand but in

The one or t’ other magazine,

They stoutly in defence on’t stood,

And from the wounded foe drew blood;

And ‘till th’ were storm’d and beaten out,

Ne’er left the fortify’d redoubt.

And tho’ Knights Errant, as some think,

Of old did neither eat nor drink,

Because, when thorough desarts vast,

And regions desolate, they past,

Where belly-timber above ground,

Or under, was not to be found,

Unless they graz’d, there’s not one word

Of their provision on record;

Which made some confidently write,

They had no stomachs, but to fight.

’Tis false: for 25 ARTHUR wore in hall

Round table like a farthingal,

On which with shirt pull’d out behind,

And eke before, his good Knights din’d.

Though ’twas no table, some suppose,

But a huge pair of round trunk hose;

In which he carry’d as much meat

As he and all the Knights cou’d eat,

When, laying by their swords and truncheons,

They took their breakfasts, or their nuncheons.

But let that pass at present, lest

We should forget where we digrest,

As learned authors use, to whom

We leave it, and to th’ purpose come,

His puissant sword unto his side,

Near his undaunted heart, was ty’d;

With basket-hilt, that wou’d hold broth,

And serve for fight and dinner both.

In it he melted lead for bullets,

To shoot at foes, and sometimes pullets,

To whom he bore so fell a grutch,

He ne’er gave quarter t’ any such.

The trenchant blade, 26 Toledo trusty,

For want of fighting, was grown rusty,

And ate unto itself, for lack

Of somebody to hew and hack.

The peaceful scabbard where it dwelt

The rancour of its edge had felt;

For of the lower end two handful

It had devour’d, ’twas so manful;

And so much scorn’d to lurk in case,

As if it durst not shew its face.

In many desperate attempts,

Of warrants, exigents, contempts,

It had appear’d with courage bolder

Than Serjeant BUM invading shoulder.

Oft had it ta’en possession,

And pris’ners too, or made them run.

This sword a dagger had t’ his page,

That was but little for his age;

And therefore waited on him so,

As dwarfs upon Knights Errant do.

It was a serviceable dudgeon,

Either for fighting or for drudging.

When it had stabb’d, or broke a head,

It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread;

Toast cheese or bacon; tho’ it were

To bait a mouse-trap, ‘twould not care.

‘Twould make clean shoes; and in the earth

Set leeks and onions, and so forth.

It had been ‘prentice to a brewer,

Where this and more it did endure;

But left the trade, 27 as many more

Have lately done on the same score.

In th’ holsters, at his saddle-bow,

Two aged pistols he did stow,

Among the surplus of such meat

As in his hose he cou’d not get.

These wou’d inveigle rats with th’ scent,

To forage when the cocks were bent;

And sometimes catch ’em with a snap

As cleverly as th’ ablest trap.

They were upon hard duty still,

And ev’ry night stood centinel,

To guard the magazine i’ th’ hose

From two-legg’d and from four-legg’d foes.

Thus clad and fortify’d, Sir Knight

From peaceful home set forth to fight.

But first with nimble, active force

He got on th’ outside of his horse;

For having but one stirrup ty’d

T’ his saddle, on the further side,

It was so short, h’ had much ado

To reach it with his desp’rate toe:

But, after many strains and heaves,

He got up to the saddle-eaves,

From whence he vaulted into th’ seat,

With so much vigour, strength and heat,

That he had almost tumbled over

With his own weight, but did recover,

By laying hold on tail and main,

Which oft he us’d instead of rein.

But now we talk of mounting steed,

Before we further do proceed,

It doth behoves us to say something

Of that which bore our valiant bumkin.

The beast was sturdy, large, and tall,

With mouth of meal, and eyes of wall.

I wou’d say eye; for h’ had but one,

As most agree; tho’ some say none.

He was well stay’d; and in his gait

Preserv’d a grave, majestick state.

At spur or switch no more he skipt,

Or mended pace, than Spaniard whipt;

And yet so fiery, he wou’d bound

As if he griev’d to touch the ground:

That CAESAR’s horse 28, who, as fame goes

Had corns upon his feet and toes,

Was not by half so tender hooft,

Nor trod upon the ground so soft.

And as that beast would kneel and stoop

(Some write) to take his rider up,

So HUDIBRAS his (’tis well known)

Wou’d often do to set him down.

We shall not need to say what lack

Of leather was upon his back;

For that was hidden under pad,

And breech of Knight, gall’d full as bad.

His strutting ribs on both sides show’d

Like furrows he himself had plow’d;

For underneath the skirt of pannel,

‘Twixt ev’ry two there was a channel

His draggling tail hung in the dirt,

Which on his rider he wou’d flurt,

Still as his tender side he prick’d,

With arm’d heel, or with unarm’d kick’d:

For HUDIBRAS wore but one spur;

As wisely knowing, cou’d he stir

To active trot one side of’s horse,

The other wou’d not hang an arse.

A squire he had, whose name was RALPH,

That in th’ adventure went his half:

Though writers, for more stately tone,

Do call him RALPHO; ’tis all one;

And when we can with metre safe,

We’ll call him so; if not, plain RALPH:

(For rhyme the rudder is of verses,

With which like ships they steer their courses.)

An equal stock of wit and valour

He had laid in; by birth a taylor.

The mighty Tyrian Queen, 29 that gain’d

With subtle shreds a tract of land,

Did leave it with a castle fair

To his great ancestor, her heir.

From him descended cross-legg’d Knights,

Fam’d for their faith, and warlike fights

Against the bloody cannibal,

Whom they destroy’d both great and small.

This sturdy Squire, he had, as well

As the 30 bold Trojan Knight, seen Hell;

Not with a counterfeited pass

Of golden bough, but true gold-lace.

His knowledge was not far behind

The Knight’s, but of another kind,

And he another way came by ‘t:

Some call it GIFTS, and some NEW-LIGHT;

A liberal art, that costs no pains

Of study, industry, or brains.

His wit was sent him for a token,

But in the carriage crack’d and broken.

Like commendation nine-pence crook’d,

With — To and from my love — it look’d.

He ne’er consider’d it, as loth

To look a gift-horse in the mouth;

And very wisely wou’d lay forth

No more upon it than ’twas worth.

But as he got it freely, so

He spent it frank and freely too.

For Saints themselves will sometimes be

Of gifts, that cost them nothing, free.

By means of this, with hem and cough,

Prolongers to enlighten’d stuff,

He cou’d deep mysteries unriddle

As easily as thread a needle.

For as of vagabonds we say,

That they are ne’er beside their way;

Whate’er men speak by this New Light,

Still they are sure to be i’ th’ right.

’Tis a dark-lanthorn of the Spirit,

Which none see by but those that bear it:

A light that falls down from on high,

For spiritual trades to cozen by

An Ignis Fatuus, that bewitches

And leads men into pools and ditches,

To make them dip themselves, and sound

For Christendom in dirty pond

To dive like wild-fowl for salvation,

And fish to catch regeneration.

This light inspires and plays upon

The nose of Saint like bag-pipe drone,

And speaks through hollow empty soul,

As through a trunk, or whisp’ring hole,

Such language as no mortal ear

But spirit’al eaves-droppers can hear:

So PHOEBUS, or some friendly muse,

Into small poets song infuse,

Which they at second-hand rehearse,

Thro’ reed or bag-pipe, verse for verse.

Thus RALPH became infallible

As 31 three or four-legg’d oracle,

The ancient cup, or modern chair;

Spoke truth point-blank, tho’ unaware.

For MYSTICK LEARNING, wond’rous able

In 32 magick Talisman and Cabal,

Whose primitive tradition reaches

As far 33 as ADAM’S first green breeches:

Deep-sighted in intelligences,

Ideas, atoms, influences;

And much of Terra Incognita, 34

Th’ intelligible world, cou’d say:


As learn’d 35 as the wild Irish are,

Or Sir AGRIPPA 36; for profound

And solid lying much renown’d.


And JACOB BEHMEN understood:

Knew many an amulet and charm,

That wou’d do neither good nor harm:

In ROSY-CRUCIAN 38 lore as learned,

As he that Vere adeptus earned.

He understood the speech of birds

As well as they themselves do words;

Cou’d tell what subtlest parrots mean,

That speak, and think contrary clean:

What Member ’tis of whom they talk,

When they cry, Rope, and walk, knave, walk.

He’d extract numbers out of matter,

And keep them in a glass, like water;

Of sov’reign pow’r to make men wise;

For drop’d in blear thick-sighted eyes,

They’d make them see in darkest night

Like owls, tho’ purblind in the light.

By help of these (as he profess’d)

He had First Matter seen undress’d:

He took her naked all alone,

Before one rag of form was on.

The Chaos too he had descry’d,

And seen quite thro’, or else he ly’d:

Not that of paste-board which men shew

For groats, at fair of Barthol’mew;

But its great grandsire, first o’ the name,

Whence that and REFORMATION came;

Both cousin-germans, and right able

T’ inveigle and draw in the rabble.

But Reformation was, some say,

O’ th’ younger house to Puppet-play.

He cou’d foretel whats’ever was

By consequence to come to pass;

As death of great men, alterations,

Diseases, battles, inundations.

All this, without th’ eclipse o’ th’ sun,

Or dreadful comet, he hath done,

By inward light; away as good,

And easy to be understood;

But with more lucky hit than those

That use to make the stars depose,

Like Knights o’ th’ post, and falsely charge

Upon themselves what others forge:

As if they were consenting to

All mischiefs in the world men do:

Or, like the Devil, did tempt and sway ’em

To rogueries, and then betray ’em.

They’ll search a planet’s house, to know

Who broke and robb’d a house below:

Examine VENUS, and the MOON,

Who stole a thimble or a spoon;

And tho’ they nothing will confess,

Yet by their very looks can guess,

And tell what guilty aspect bodes,

Who stole, and who receiv’d the goods.

They’ll question MARS, and, by his look,

Detect who ’twas that nimm’d a cloke:

Make MERCURY confess, and ‘peach

Those thieves which he himself did teach.

They’ll find, i’ th’ physiognomies

O’ th’ planets, all men’s destinies.;

Like him that took the doctor’s bill,

And swallow’d it instead o’ th’ pill

Cast the nativity o’ th’ question,

And from positions to be guess’d on,

As sure as it’ they knew the moment

Of natives birth, tell what will come on’t.

They’ll feel the pulses of the stars,

To find out agues, coughs, catarrhs;

And tell what crisis does divine

The rot in sheep, or mange in swine

In men, what gives or cures the itch;

What makes them cuckolds, poor or rich;

What gains or loses, hangs or saves;

What makes men great, what fools or knaves,

But not what wise; for only of those

The stars (they say) cannot dispose,

No more than can the Astrologians.

There they say right, and like true Trojans.

This RALPHO knew, and therefore took

The other course, of which we spoke.

Thus was the accomplish’d Squire endu’d

With gifts and knowledge, per’lous shrew’d.

Never did trusty Squire with Knight,

Or Knight with Squire, e’er jump more right.

Their arms and equipage did fit,

As well as virtues, parts, and wit.

Their valours too were of a rate;

And out they sally’d at the gate.

Few miles on horseback had they jogged,

But Fortune unto them turn’d dogged;

For they a sad adventure met,

Of which anon we mean to treat;

But ere we venture to unfold

Atchievements so resolv’d and bold,

We shou’d as learned poets use,

Invoke th’ assistance of some muse:

However, criticks count it sillier

Than jugglers talking to familiar.

We think ’tis no great matter which

They’re all alike; yet we shall pitch

On one that fits our purpose most

Whom therefore thus do we accost:

Thou that with ale, or viler liquors,

Did’st inspire WITHERS, PRYN 39, and VICKARS,

And force them, tho’ it was in spite

Of nature and their stars, to write;

Who, as we find in sullen writs,

And cross-grain’d works of modern wits,

With vanity, opinion, want,

The wonder of the ignorant,

The praises of the author, penn’d

B’ himself, or wit-insuring friend;

The itch of picture in the front,

With bays and wicked rhyme upon’t;

All that is left o’ th’ forked hill,

To make men scribble without skill;

Canst make a poet spite of fate,

And teach all people to translate,

Tho’ out of languages in which

They understand no part of speech;

Assist me but this once, I ‘mplore,

And I shall trouble thee no more.

In western clime there is a town,

To those that dwell therein well known;

Therefore there needs no more be said here,

We unto them refer our reader;

For brevity is very good,

When w’ are, or are not, understood.

To this town people did repair,

On days of market, or of fair,

And, to crack’d fiddle, and hoarse tabor,

In merriment did drudge and labor.

But now a sport more formidable

Had rak’d together village rabble:

’Twas an old way of recreating,

Which learned butchers call bear-baiting:

A bold advent’rous exercise,

With ancient heroes in high prize:

For authors do affirm it came

From Isthmian or Nemean game:

Others derive it from the bear

That’s fix’d in northern hemisphere,

And round about the pole does make

A circle like a bear at stake,

That at the chain’s end wheels about,

And overturns the rabble-rout.

For after solemn proclamation,

In the bear’s name, (as is the fashion,

According to the law of arms,

To keep men from inglorious harms,)

That none presume to come so near

As forty foot of stake of bear,

If any yet be so fool-hardy,

T’ expose themselves to vain jeopardy,

If they come wounded off, and lame,

No honour’s got by such a maim;

Altho’ the bear gain much, b’ing bound

In honour to make good his ground,

When he’s engag’d, and takes no notice,

If any press upon him, who ’tis;

But let’s them know, at their own cost,

That he intends to keep his post.

This to prevent, and other harms,

Which always wait on feats of arms,

(For in the hurry of a fray

’Tis hard to keep out of harm’s way,)

Thither the Knight his course did steer,

To keep the peace ‘twixt dog and bear;

As he believ’d he was bound to do

In conscience, and commission too;

And therefore thus bespoke the Squire.

We that 40 are wisely mounted higher

Than constables in curule wit,

When on tribunal bench we sit,

Like speculators shou’d foresee,

From Pharos of authority,

Portended mischiefs farther then

Low Proletarian tything-men:

And therefore being inform’d by bruit,

That dog and bear are to dispute;

For so of late men fighting name,

Because they often prove the same;

(For where the first does hap to be,

The last does coincidere;)

Quantum in nobis, have thought good,

To save th’ expence of Christian blood,

And try if we, by mediation

Of treaty and accommodation,

Can end the quarrel and compose

The bloody duel without blows.

Are not our liberties, our lives,

The laws, religion and our wives,

Enough at once to lie at stake

For Cov’nant and the Cause’s sake?

But in that quarrel dogs and bears,

As well as we must venture theirs

This feud, by Jesuits invented,

By evil counsel is fomented:

There is a MACHIAVILIAN plot,

(Tho’ ev’ry Nare olfact is not,)

A deep design in’t, to divide

The well-affected that confide,

By setting brother against brother,

To claw and curry one another.

Have we not enemies plus satis,

That Cane & Angue pejus hate us?

And shall we turn our fangs and claws

Upon our own selves, without cause?

That some occult design doth lie

In bloody 41 cynarctomachy,

Is plain enough to him that knows

How Saints lead brothers by the nose.

I wish myself a pseudo-prophet,

But sure some mischief will come of it;

Unless by providential wit,

Or force, we 42 averruncate it.

For what design, what interest,

Can beast have to encounter beast?

They fight for no espoused cause,

Frail privilege, fundamental laws,

Not for a thorough reformation,

Nor covenant, nor protestation,

Nor liberty of consciences,

Nor Lords and Commons ordinances;

Nor for the church, nor for church-lands,

To get them in their own no hands;

Nor evil counsellors to bring

To justice that seduce the King;

Nor for the worship of us men,

Though we have done as much for them.

Th’ AEgyptians worshipp’d dogs, and for

Their faith made internecine war.

Others ador’d a rat, and some

For that church suffer’d martyrdom.

The 43 Indians fought for the truth

Of th’ elephant and monkey’s tooth,

And many, to defend that faith,

Fought it out mordicus to death.

But no beast ever was so slight,

For man, as for his God, to fight.

They have more wit, alas! and know

Themselves and us better than so.

But we, who only do infuse

The rage in them like 44 Boute-feus;

’Tis our example that instils

In them th’ infection of our ills.

For, as some late philosophers.

Have well observ’d, beasts, that converse

With man, take after him, as hogs

Get pigs all the year, and bitches dogs.

Just so, by our example, cattle

Learn to give one another battle.

We read, in NERO’s time, the heathen,

When they destroy’d the Christian brethren,

Did sew them in the skins of bears,

And then set dogs about their ears:

From thence, no doubt, th’ invention came

Of this lewd antichristian game.

To this, quoth RALPHO, Verily

The point seems very plain to me.

It is an antichristian game,

Unlawful both in thing and name.

First, for the name: the word, bear-baiting

Is carnal, and of man’s creating:

For certainly there’s no such word

In all the scripture on record;

Therefore unlawful, and a sin;

And so is (secondly) the thing.

A vile assembly ’tis, that can

No more be prov’d by scripture than

Provincial, classic, national;

Mere human-creature cobwebs all.

Thirdly, it is idolatrous;

For when men run a whoring thus

With their inventions, whatsoe’er

The thing be, whether dog or bear,

It is idolatrous and pagan,

No less than worshipping of DAGON.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, I smell a rat;

RALPHO, thou dost prevaricate:

For though the thesis which thou lay’st

Be true ad amussim, as thou say’st;

(For that bear-baiting should appear

Jure divino lawfuller

Than synods are, thou dost deny,

Totidem verbis; so do I;)

Yet there’s a fallacy in this;

For if by sly HOMAEOSIS,

Tussis pro crepitu, an art

Under a cough to slur a f — t

Thou wou’dst sophistically imply,

Both are unlawful, I deny.

And I (quoth RALPHO) do not doubt

But bear-baiting may be made out,

In gospel-times, as lawful as is

Provincial or parochial classis;

And that both are so near of kin,

And like in all, as well as sin,

That put them in a bag, and shake ’em,

Yourself o’ th’ sudden would mistake ’em,

And not know which is which, unless

You measure by their wickedness:

For ’tis not hard t’imagine whether

O’ th’ two is worst; tho’ I name neither.

Quoth HUDIBRAS, Thou offer’st much,

But art not able to keep touch.

Mira de lente, as ’tis i’ th’ adage,

Id est, to make a leek a cabbage;

Thou’lt be at best but such a bull,

Or shear-swine, all cry, and no wool;

For what can synods have at all

With bear that’s analogical?

Or what relation has debating

Of church-affairs with bear-baiting?

A just comparison still is

Of things ejusdem generis;

And then what genus rightly doth

Include and comprehend them both?

If animal both of us may

As justly pass for bears as they;

For we are animals no less,

Altho’ of different specieses.

But, RALPHO, this is not fit place

Nor time to argue out the case:

For now the field is not far off,

Where we must give the world a proof

Of deeds, not words, and such as suit

Another manner of dispute;

A controversy that affords

Actions for arguments, not words;

Which we must manage at a rate

Of prowess and conduct adequate

To what our place and fame doth promise,

And all the godly expect from us,

Nor shall they be deceiv’d, unless

We’re slurr’d and outed by success;

Success, the mark no mortal wit,

Or surest hand can always hit:

For whatsoe’er we perpetrate,

We do but row, we’re steer’d by Fate,

Which in success oft disinherits,

For spurious causes, noblest merits.

Great actions are not always true sons

Of great and mighty resolutions;

Nor do th’ boldest attempts bring forth

Events still equal to their worth;

But sometimes fail, and, in their stead,

Fortune and cowardice succeed.

Yet we have no great cause to doubt;

Our actions still have borne us out;

Which tho’ they’re known to be so ample,

We need not copy from example.

We’re not the only persons durst

Attempt this province, nor the first.

In northern clime a val’rous Knight

Did whilom kill his bear in fght,

And wound a fiddler; we have both

Of these the objects of our wroth,

And equal fame and glory from

Th’ attempt of victory to come.

’Tis sung, there is a valiant 45 Mamaluke

In foreign land, yclep’d —

To whom we have been oft compar’d

For person, parts; address, and beard;

Both equally reputed stout,

And in the same cause both have fought:

He oft in such attempts as these

Came off with glory and success;

Nor will we fail in th’ execution,

For want of equal resolution.

Honour is like a 46 widow, won

With brisk attempt and putting on;

With ent’ring manfully, and urging;

Not slow approaches, like a virgin.

’Tis said, as yerst the Phrygian Knight,

So ours with rusty steel did smite

His Trojan horse, and just as much

He mended pace upon the touch;

But from his empty stomach groan’d

Just as that hollow beast did sound,

And angry answer’d from behind,

With brandish’d tail and blast of wind.

So have I seen, with armed heel,

A wight bestride a Common-weal;

While still the more he kick’d and spurr’d,

The less the sullen jade has stirr’d.

1 When civil a dudgeon, &c.] Dudgeon. Who made the alterations in the last Edition of this poem I know not, but they are certainly sometimes for the worse; and I cannot believe the Author would have changed a word so proper in that place as dudgeon for that of fury, as it is in the last Edition. To take in dudgeon, is inwardly to resent some injury or affront; a sort of grumbling in the gizzard, and what is previous to actual fury.

2 That could as well, &c.] Bind over to the Sessions as being a Justice of the Peace in his County, as well as Colonel of a Regiment of Foot in the Parliament’s army, and a committee-Man.

3 As MONTAIGNE, &c.] Montaigne, in his Essays, supposes his cat thought him a fool, for losing his time in playing with her.

4 To make some, &c.] Here again is an alteration without any amendment; for the following lines,

And truly, so he was, perhaps,

Not as a Proselyte, but for Claps,

Are thus changed,

And truly so, perhaps, he was;

’Tis many a pious Christian’s case.

The Heathens had an odd opinion, and have a strange reason why Moses imposed the law of circumcision on the Jews, which, how untrue soever, I will give the learned reader an account of without translation, as I find it in the annotations upon Horace, wrote by my worthy and learned friend Mr. William Baxter, the great restorer of the ancient and promoter of modern learning.

Hor. Sat. 9. Sermon. Lib. I. —

Curtis; quia pellicula imminuti sunt; quia Moses Rex Judoeorum, cujus Legibus reguntur, negligentia PHIMOZEIS medicinaliter exsectus est, & ne soles esset notabi omnes circumcidi voluit. Vet. Schol. Vocem. — (PHIMOZEIS qua inscitia Librarii exciderat reposuimus ex conjectura, uti & medicinaliter exsectus pro medicinalis effectus quae nihil erant.) Quis miretur ejusmodi convicia homini Epicureo atque Pagano excidisse? Jure igitur Henrico Glareano Diaboli Organum videtur. Etiam Satyra Quinta haec habet: Constat omnia miracula certa ratione fieri, de quibus Epicurei prudentissime disputant.

[Circumcised: Moses the King of the Jews, by whose laws they are ruled, and whose foreskin overhung (the tip of his penis), had this blockage carelessly medicinally removed, and not wishing to be alone wanted them all to be circumcised. (We have tentatively restored the word BLOCKAGE, which the scribe’s incompetence has omitted, and substituted medically removed for carried out by a doctor which was never there.) Who shall wonder that this kind of cutting caused an outcry by Epicureans and Pagans? It can be seen therefore, why Henricus Glareanus judged it an implement of the devil. So the Fifth Satire has it: It is certain that every miracle can be fitted into the philosophical systems which the Epicureans most carefully discuss.]

5 Profoundly skill’d, &c.] Analytick is a part of logic, that teaches to decline and construe reason, as grammar does words.

6 A Babylonish, &c.] A confusion of languages, such as some of our modern Virtuosi used to express themselves in.

7 Or CERBERUS himself, &c.] Cerberus; a name which poets give a dog with three heads, which they feigned door-keeper of Hell, that caressed the unfortunate souls sent thither, and devoured them that would get out again; yet Hercules tied him up, and made him follow. This dog with three heads denotes the past, the present, and the time to come; which receive, and, as it were, devour all things. Hercules got the better of him, which shews that heroic actions are always victorious over time, because they are present in the memory of posterity.

8 That had the, &c.] Demosthenes, who is said to have had a defect in his pronunciation, which he cured by using to speak with little stones in his mouth.

9 Than TYCHO BRAHE, &c.] Tycho Brahe was an eminent Danish mathematician. Quer. in Collier’s Dictionary, or elsewhere.

10 Whatever Sceptick, &c.] Sceptick. Pyrrho was the chief of the Sceptick Philosophers, and was at first, as Apollodorus saith, a painter, then became the hearer of Driso, and at last the disciple of Anaxagoras, whom he followed into India, to see the Gymnosophists. He pretended that men did nothing but by custom; there was neither honesty nor dishonesty, justice nor injustice, good nor evil. He was very solitary, lived to be ninety years old, was highly esteemed in his country, and created chief priest. He lived in the time of Epicurus and Theophrastus, about the 120th Olympiad. His followers were called Phyrrhonians; besides which they were named the Ephecticks and Aphoreticks, but more generally Scepticks. This sect made their chiefest good to consist in a sedateness of mind, exempt from all passions; in regulating their opinions, and moderating their passions, which they called Ataxia and Metriopathia; and in suspending their judgment in regard of good and evil, truth or falsehood, which they called Epechi. Sextus Empiricus, who lived in the second century, under the Emperor Antoninus Pius, writ ten books against the mathematicians or astrologers, and three of the Phyrrhonian opinion. The word is derived from the Greek SKEPTESZAI, quod est, considerare, speculare. [To consider or speculate]

11 He cou’d reduce, &c.] The old philosophers thought to extract notions out of natural things, as chymists do spirits and essences; and, when they had refined them into the nicest subtilties, gave them as insignificant names as those operators do their extractions: But (as Seneca says) the subtiler things are they are but the nearer to nothing. So are all their definitions of things by acts the nearer to nonsense.

12 Where Truth, &c.] Some authors have mistaken truth for a real thing, when it is nothing but a right method of putting those notions or images of things (in the understanding of man) into the same and order that their originals hold in nature, and therefore Aristotle says Unumquodque sicut habet secundum esse, ita se habet secundum veritatem. Met. L. ii. [As every thing has a secondary essence, therefore it has a secondary truth]

13 Like words congeal’d, &c.] Some report in Nova Zembla, and Greenland, mens’ words are wont to be frozen in the air, and at the thaw may heard.


In School–Divinity as able,

As o he that Hight, Irrefragable, &c.]

Here again is another alteration of three or lines, as I think, for the worse.

Some specific epithets were added to the title of some famous doctors, as Angelicus, Irrefragabilis, Subtilis, [Angelic, Unopposable, Discriminating] &c. Vide Vossi Etymolog. Baillet Jugemens de Scavans, & Possevin’s Apparatus


A Second THOMAS or at once,

To name them all, another DUNCE.

Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican friar, was born in 1224, and studied at Cologne and Paris. He new modelled the school-divinity, and was therefore called the Angelic Doctor, and Eagle of Divines. The most illustrious persons of his time were ambitious of his friendship, and put a high value on his merits, so that they offered him bishopricks, which he refused with as much ardor as others seek after them. He died in the fiftieth year of his age, and was canonized by Pope John XII. We have his works in eighteen volumes, several times printed.

Johannes Dunscotus was a very learned man, who lived about the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century. The English and Scotch strive which of them shall have the honour of his birth. The English say, he was born in Northumberland: the Scots alledge he was born at Duns, in the Mers, the neighbouring county to Northumberland, and hence was called Dunscotus. Moreri, Buchanan, and other Scotch historians, are of this opinion, and for proof cite his epitaph:

Scotia me genuit, Anglia suscepit,

Gallia edocuit, Germania tenet.

[Scotland bore me, England reared me,

France instructed me, Germany kept me.]

He died at Cologne, Novem. 8. 1308. In the Supplement to Dr. Cave’s Historia Literaria, he is said to be extraordinary learned in physicks, metaphysicks, mathematicks, and astronomy; that his fame was so great when at Oxford, that 30,000 scholars came thither to hear his lectures: that when at Paris, his arguments and authority carried it for the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin; so that they appointed a festival on that account, and would admit us scholars to degrees but such as were of this mind. He was a great opposer of Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine; and, for being a very acute logician, was called Doctor Subtilis; [Discriminating (or, literally, Slender) Teacher] which was the reason also, that an old punster always called him the Lathy Doctor.

16 As tough as, &c.] Sorbon was the first and most considerable college of the university of Paris, founded in time reign of St. Lewis, by Robert Sorbon, which name is sometimes given to the whole University of Paris, which was founded, about the year 741, by Charlemagne, at the persuasion of the learned Alcuinus, who was one of the first professors there; since which time it has been very famous. This college has been rebuilt with an extraordinary magnificence, at the charge of Cardinal Richlieu, and contains lodgings for thirty-six doctors, who are called the Society of Sorbon. Those which are received among them before they have received their doctor’s degree are only said to be of the Hospitality of Sorbon. Claud. Hemeraus de Acad. Paris. Spondan in Annal.

17 he knew, &c.] There is nothing more ridiculous than the various opinions of authors about the seat of Paradise. Sir. Walter Raleigh has taken a great deal of pains to collect them, in the beginning of his History of the World; where those, who are unsatisfied, may be fully informed.

18 By a High–Dutch, &c.] Goropius Becanus endeavours to prove that High–Dutch was the language that Adam and Eve spoke in Paradise.

19 If either of &c.] Adam and Eve being made, and not conceived and formed in the womb had no navels as some learned men have supposed, because they had no need of them.

20 Who first made, &c.] Musick is said to be invented by Pythagoras, who first found out the proportion of notes from the sounds of hammers upon an anvil

21 Like MAHOMET’s &c.) Mahomet had a tame dove, that used to pick seeds out of his ear that it might be thought to whisper and inspire him. His ass was so intimate with him, that the Mahometans believed it carried him to heaven, and stays there with him to bring him back again.


It was Monastick, and did grow

  In holy Orders by strict Vow.

He made a vow never to cut his beard until the Parliament had subdued the King; of which order of phanatick votaries there were many in those times.

23 So learned TALIACOTIUS &c.] Taliacotius was an Italian surgeon, that found out a way to repair lost and decayed noses. This Taliacotius was chief surgeon to the Great Duke of Tuscany, and wrote a treatise, De Curtis Membris, [Of Cut-off Parts] which he dedicates to his great master wherein he not only declares the models of his wonderful operations in restoring of lost members, but gives you cuts of the very instruments and ligatures he made use of therein; from hence our Author (cum poetica licentia [with poetic licence]) has taken his simile.

24 For as AENEAS, &c.] AEneas was the son of Anchises and Venus; a Trojan, who, after long travels, came to Italy, and after the death of his father-inlaw, Latinus, was made king of Latium, and reigned three years. His story is too long to insert here, and therefore I refer you to Virgil’s AEneids. Troy being laid in ashes, he took his aged father Anchises upon his back, and rescued him from his enemies. But being too solicitous for his son and household gods, he lost his wife Creusa; which Mr. Dryden, in his excellent translation, thus expresseth.

Haste my dear father (tis no time to wait,)

And load my shoulders with a willing freight.

Whate’er befals, your life shall be my care;

One death, or one deliv’rance, we will share.

My hand shall lead our little son; and you,

My faithful consort, shall our steps pursue.

25 — For ARTHUR, &c.] Who this Arthur was and whether any ever reigned in Britain, has been doubted heretofore, and is by some to this very day. However, the history of him, which makes him one of the nine worthies of the world, is a subject, sufficient for the Poet to be pleasant upon.

26 — Toledo trusty, &c.] The capital city of New Castile, Spain, with an archbishopric and primacy. It was very famous, amongst other things, for tempering the best metal for swords, as Damascus was and perhaps may be still.


But left the trade, as many more

  Have lately done, &c.

Oliver Cromwell and Colonel Pride had been both brewers.


That CAESAR’s Horse, who, as Fame goes,

  Had corns upon his Feet and Toes.

Julius Caesar had a horse with feet like a man’s. Utebatur equo insigni; pedibus prope humanis, modum digitorum ungulis fissis. [He rode a horse with this distinction; it had feet like a man’s, having the hooves split like toes] Suet. in Jul. Cap. 61.


The mighty Tyrian Queen, that gain’d

  With subtle Shreds a Tract of Land.

Dido, Queen of Carthage, who bought as much land as she could compass with an ox’s hide, which she cut into small thongs, and cheated the owner of so much ground as served her to build Carthage upon.

30 As the bold, &c.] AEneas, whom Virgil reports to use a golden bough for a pass to hell; and taylors call that place Hell where they put all they steal.

31 As three, &c.] Read the great Geographical Dictionary, under that word.

32 In Magick, &c.] Talisman is a device to destroy any sort of vermin, by casting their images in metal, in a precise minute, when the stars are perfectly inclined to do them all the mischief they can. This has been experienced by some modern Virtuosi upon rats, mice, and fleas, and found (as they affirm) to produce the effect with admirable success.

Raymund Lully interprets cabal, out of the Arabic, to signify Scientia superabundans; which his commentator, Cornelius Agrippa, by over-magnifying, has rendered a very superfluous foppery.

33 As far as, &c.] The author of Magia Adamica endeavours to prove the learning of the ancient Magi to be derived from that knowledge which God himself taught Adam in Paradise before the fall.


And much of Terra Incognita,

The intelligible World cou’d say.

The intelligible world is a kind of Terra Del Fuego, or Psittacorum Regio[Land of Parrots], &c. discovered only by the philosophers; of which they talk, like parrots, what they do not understand.

35 learned &c.] No nation in the world is more addicted to this occult philosophy than the Wild–Irish are, as appears by the whole practice of their lives; of which see Camden in his description of Ireland.

36 Or Sir AGRIPPA, &c.] They who would know more of Sir Cornelius Agrippa, here meant, may consult the Great Dictionary.



  And JACOB BEHMEN understood.

Anthroposophus is only a compound Greek word, which signifies a man that is wise in the knowledge of men, as is used by some anonymous author to conceal his true name. Dr. Floud was a sort of an English Rosy-crucian, whose works are extant, and as intelligible as those of Jacob Behmen.


In ROSY-CRUCIAN Lore as learned

  As he that Vere Adeptus earned.

The fraternity of the Rosy-crucians is very like the sect of the ancient Gnostici, who called them selves so from the excellent learning they pretended to, although they were really the most ridiculous sots of mankind. Vere Adeptus is one that has commenced in their phanatick extravagance.


Thou that with Ale or viler Liquors,

  Didst inspire WITHERS, PRYN, and VICARS.

This Vicars was a man of as great interest and authority in the late Reformation as Pryn or Withers, and as able a poet. He translated Virgil’s AEneids into as horrible Travesty, in earnest, as the French Scaroon did in burlesque, and was only outdone in his way by the politic author of Oceana.

40 We that are, &c.] This speech is set down as it was delivered by the Knight, in his own words: But since it is below the gravity of heroical poetry to admit of humour, but all men are obliged to speak wisely alike, and too much of so extravagant a folly would become tedious and impertinent, the rest of his harangues have only his sense expressed in other words, unless in some few places, where his own words could not be so well avoided.

41 In bloody, &c.] Cynarctomachy signifies no thing in the world but a fight between dogs and bears; though both the learned and ignorant agree that in such words very great knowledge is contained: And our Knight, as one, or both, of these, was of the same opinion.

42 Or Force, &c.] Averruncate: Another of the same kind, which, though it appear ever so learned and profound, means nothing else but the weeding of corn.


The Indians fought for the Truth

  Of th’ Elephant and Monkey’s Tooth.

The History of the White Elephant and the Monkey’s-Tooth, which the Indians adored, is written by Mons. le Blanc. This monkey’s tooth was taken by the Portuguese from those that worshipped it; and though they offered a vast ransom for it, yet the Christians were persuaded by their priests rather to burn it. But as soon as the fire was kindled, all the people present were not able to endure the horrible stink that came from it, as if the fire had been made of the same ingredients with which seamen use to compose that kind of granados which they call stinkards.

44 The Rage, &c.] Boute-feus is a French word, and therefore it were uncivil to suppose any English person (especially of quality) ignorant of it, or so ill-bred as to need an exposition.

45 ’Tis sung, &c.] Mamaluke is the name of the militia of the Sultans of Egypt. It signified a servant or soldier. They were commonly captives taken from amongst the Christians, and instructed in military discipline, and did not marry. Their power was great; for besides that the Sultans were chosen out of their body, they disposed of the most important offices of the kingdom. They were formidable about 200 years; ‘till at last Selim, Sultan of the Turks, routed them, and killed their Sultan, near Aleppo, 1516, and so put an end to the empire of Mamalukes, which had lasted 267 years. No question but the rhime to Mamaluke was meant Sir Samuel Luke, of whom in the Preface.

46 Honour is like, &c.] Our English proverbs are not impertinent to this purpose:

He that woos a Maid, must seldom come in her sight:

But he that woos a Widow, must woo her Day and Night.

He that woos a Maid, must feign, lye, and flatter:

But he that woos a Widow, must down with his Breeches, and at her.

This proverb being somewhat immodest, Mr Ray says he would not have inserted it in his collection, but that he met with it in a little book, intitled, the Quakers’ Spiritual Court Proclaimed; written by Nathaniel Smith, Student in Physic; wherein the author mentions it as counsel given him by Hilkiah Bedford, an eminent Quaker in London, who would have had him to have married a rich widow, in whose house he lodged. In case he could get her, this Nathaniel Smith had promised Hilkiah a chamber gratis. The whole narrative is worth the reading.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51