Hudibras, by Samuel Butler

Canto II.

The Argument

The catalogue and character

Of th’ enemies best men of war;

Whom, in bold harangue, the Knight

Defies, and challenges to fight.

H’ encounters Talgol, routs the Bear,

And takes the Fiddler prisoner,

Conveys him to enchanted castle;

There shuts him fast in wooden bastile.

THERE was an ancient sage philosopher,

That had read ALEXANDER Ross over,

And swore the world, as he cou’d prove,

Was made of fighting and of love:

Just so romances are; for what else

Is in them all, but love and battels?

O’ th’ first of these we’ve no great matter

To treat of, but a world o’ th’ latter;

In which to do the injur’d right

We mean, in what concerns just fight.

Certes our authors are to blame,

For to make some well-sounding name

A pattern fit for modern Knights

To copy out in frays and fights;

Like those that a whole street do raze

To build a palace in the place.

They never care how many others

They kill, without regard of mothers,

Or wives, or children, so they can

Make up some fierce, dead-doing man,

Compos’d of many ingredient valors,

Just like the manhood of nine taylors.

So a Wild Tartar, when he spies

A man that’s handsome, valiant, wise,

If he can kill him, thinks t’ inherit

His wit, his beauty, and his spirit

As if just so much he enjoy’d

As in another is destroy’d

For when a giant’s slain in fight,

And mow’d o’erthwart, or cleft down right,

It is a heavy case, no doubt;

A man should have his brains beat out

Because he’s tall, and has large bones;

As men kill beavers for their stones.

But as for our part, we shall tell

The naked truth of what befel;

And as an equal friend to both

The Knight and Bear, but more to troth,

With neither faction shall take part,

But give to each his due desert;

And never coin a formal lie on’t,

To make the Knight o’ercome the giant.

This b’ing profest, we’ve hopes enough,

And now go on where we left off.

They rode; but authors having not

Determin’d whether pace or trot,

(That is to say, whether 1 tollutation,

As they do term’t, or succussation,)

We leave it, and go on, as now

Suppose they did, no matter how;

Yet some from subtle hints have got

Mysterious light, it was a trot:

But let that pass: they now begun

To spur their living-engines on.

For as whipp’d tops, and bandy’d balls,

The learned hold, are animals;

So horses they affirm to be

Mere engines made by geometry;

And were invented first from engines,

As 2 Indian Britons were from Penguins.

So let them be; and, as I was saying,

They their live engines ply’d, not staying

Until they reach’d the fatal champain,

Which th’ enemy did then encamp on;

The 3 dire Pharsalian plain, where battle

Was to be wag’d ‘twixt puissant cattle

And fierce auxiliary men,

That came to aid their brethren,

Who now began to take the field,

As Knight from ridge of steed beheld.

For as our modern wits behold,

Mounted a pick-back on the old,

Much further oft; much further he,

Rais’d on his aged beast cou’d see;

Yet not sufficient to descry

All postures of the enemy;

Wherefore he bids the Squire ride further,

T’ observe their numbers, and their order;

That when their motions he had known

He might know how to fit his own.

Meanwhile he stopp’d his willing steed,

To fit himself for martial deed.

Both kinds of metal he prepar’d,

Either to give blows, or to ward:

Courage and steel, both of great force,

Prepar’d for better, or for worse.

His death-charg’d pistols he did fit well,

Drawn out from life-preserving vittle.

These being prim’d, with force he labour’d

To free’s sword from retentive scabbard

And, after many a painful pluck,

From rusty durance he bail’d tuck.

Then shook himself, to see that prowess

In scabbard of his arms sat loose;

And, rais’d upon his desp’rate foot,

On stirrup-side he gaz’d about,

Portending blood, like blazing star,

The beacon of approaching war.

RALPHO rode on with no less speed

Than Hugo in the forest did;

But far more in returning made;

For now the foe he had survey’d,

Rang’d as to him they did appear,

With van, main battle, wings, and rear.

I’ the head of all this warlike rabble,

CROWDERO march’d, expert and able.

Instead of trumpet and of drum,

That makes the warrior’s stomach come,

Whose noise whets valour sharp, like beer

By thunder turn’d to vinegar,

(For if a trumpet sound, or drum beat,

Who has not a month’s mind to combat?)

A squeaking engine he apply’d

Unto his neck, on north-east side,

Just where the hangman does dispose,

To special friends, the knot of noose:

For ’tis great grace, when statesmen straight

Dispatch a friend, let others wait.

His warped ear hung o’er the strings,

Which was but souse to chitterlings:

For guts, some write, e’er they are sodden,

Are fit for music, or for pudden;

From whence men borrow ev’ry kind

Of minstrelsy by string or wind.

His grisly beard was long and thick,

With which he strung his fiddle-stick;

For he to horse-tail scorn’d to owe,

For what on his own chin did grow.

Chiron, 4 the four-legg’d bard, had both

A beard and tail of his own growth;

And yet by authors ’tis averr’d,

He made use only of his beard.

In 5 Staffordshire, where virtuous worth

Does raise the minstrelsy, not birth;

Where bulls do chuse the boldest king,

And ruler, o’er the men of string;

(As once in Persia, ’tis said,

Kings were proclaim’d by a horse that neigh’d;)

He bravely venturing at a crown,

By chance of war was beaten down,

And wounded sore. His leg then broke,

Had got a deputy of oak:

For when a shin in fight is cropp’d,

The knee with one of timber’s propp’d,

Esteem’d more honourable than the other,

And takes place, though the younger brother.

Next march’d brave ORSIN, famous for

Wise conduct, and success in war:

A skilful leader, stout, severe,

Now marshal to the champion bear.

With truncheon, tipp’d with iron head,

The warrior to the lists he led;

With solemn march and stately pace,

But far more grave and solemn face;

Grave 6 as the Emperor of Pegu

Or Spanish potentate Don Diego.

This leader was of knowledge great,

Either for charge or for retreat.

He knew when to fall on pell-mell;

To fall back and retreat as well.

So lawyers, lest the bear defendant,

And plaintiff dog, should make an end on’t,

Do stave and tail with writs of error,

Reverse of judgment, and demurrer,

To let them breathe a while, and then

Cry whoop, and set them on agen.

As ROMULUS a wolf did rear,

So he was dry-nurs’d by a bear,

That fed him with the purchas’d prey

Of many a fierce and bloody fray;

Bred up, where discipline most rare is,

In military Garden Paris. 7

For soldiers heretofore did grow

In gardens, just as weeds do now,

Until some splay-foot politicians

T’APOLLO offer’d up petitions

For licensing a new invention

They’d found out of an antique engine,

To root out all the weeds that grow

In public gardens at a blow,

And leave th’ herbs standing. Quoth Sir Sun,

My friends, that is not to be done.

Not done! quoth Statesmen; yes, an’t please ye,

When it’s once known, you’ll say ’tis easy.

Why then let’s know it, quoth Apollo.

We’ll beat a drum, and they’ll all follow.

A drum! (quoth PHOEBUS;) troth, that’s true;

A pretty invention, quaint and new.

But though of voice and instrument

We are the undoubted president,

We such loud music don’t profess:

The Devil’s master of that office,

Where it must pass, if’t be a drum;

He’ll sign it with Cler. Parl. Dom. Com.

To him apply yourselves, and he

Will soon dispatch you for his fee.

They did so; but it prov’d so ill,

Th’ had better let ’em grow there still.

But to resume what we discoursing

Were on before, that is, stout ORSIN:

That which so oft, by sundry writers,

Has been applied t’ almost all fighters,

More justly may b’ ascrib’d to this

Than any other warrior, (viz.)

None ever acted both parts bolder,

Both of a chieftain and a soldier.

He was of great descent and high

For splendour and antiquity;

And from celestial origine

Deriv’d himself in a right line.

Not as the ancient heroes did,

Who, that their base-births might be hid,

(Knowing they were of doubtful gender,

And that they came in at a windore)

Made Jupiter himself and others

O’ th’ gods, gallants to their own mothers,

To get on them a race of champions,

(Of which old Homer first made Lampoons.)

ARCTOPHYLAX, in northern spheres

Was his undoubted ancestor:

From him his great forefathers came,

And in all ages bore his name.

Learned he was in med’c’nal lore;

For by his side a pouch he wore,

Replete with strange Hermetic powder,

That wounds nine miles point-blank wou’d solder;

By skilful chemist, with great cost,

Extracted from a rotten post;

But of a heav’nlier influence

Than that which mountebanks dispense;

Tho’ by Promethean fire made, 8

As they do quack that drive that trade.

For as when slovens do amiss

At others doors, by stool or piss,

The learned write, a red-hot spit

B’ing prudently apply’d to it,

Will convey mischief from the dung

Unto the part that did the wrong,

So this did healing; and as sure

As that did mischief this would cure.

Thus virtuous ORSIN was endu’d

With learning, conduct, fortitude,

Incomparable: and as the prince

Of poets, HOMER sung long since

A skilful leech is better far

Than half an hundred men of war,

So he appear’d; and by his skill,

No less than dint of sword, cou’d kill

The gallant BRUIN march’d next him,

With visage formidably grim,

And rugged as a Saracen,

Or Turk of Mahomet’s own kin;

Clad in a mantle della guerre

Of rough impenetrable fur;

And in his nose, like Indian King,

He wore, for ornament, a ring;

About his neck a threefold gorget.

As rough as trebled leathern target;

Armed, as heralds cant, and langued;

Or, as the vulgar say, sharp-fanged.

For as the teeth in beasts of prey

Are swords, with which they fight in fray;

So swords, in men of war, are teeth,

Which they do eat their vittle with.

He was by birth, some authors write,

A Russian; some, a Muscovite;

And ‘mong the Cossacks had been bred; 9

Of whom we in diurnals read,

That serve to fill up pages here,

As with their bodies ditches there.

SCRIMANSKY was his cousin-german,

With whom he serv’d, and fed on vermin;

And when these fail’d, he’d suck his claws,

And quarter himself upon his paws.

And tho’ his countrymen, the Huns,10

Did stew their meat between their bums

And th’ horses backs o’er which they straddle,

And ev’ry man eat up his saddle;

He was not half so nice as they,

But eat it raw when ‘t came in’s way.

He had trac’d countries far and near,

More than LE BLANC, the traveller;

Who writes, he spous’d in India,11

Of noble house, a lady gay,

And got on her a race of worthies,

As stout as any upon earth is.

Full many a fight for him between

TALGOL and ORSIN oft had been

Each striving to deserve the crown

Of a sav’d citizen; the one

To guard his bear; the other fought

To aid his dog; both made more stout

By sev’ral spurs of neighbourhood,

Church-fellow-membership, and blood

But TALGOL, mortal foe to cows,

Never got aught of him but blows;

Blows, hard and heavy, such as he

Had lent, repaid with usury.

Yet TALGOL was of courage stout,

And vanquish’d oft’ner than he fought:

Inur’d to labour, sweat and toil,

And like a champion shone with oil.

Right many a widow his keen blade,.

And many fatherless had made.

He many a boar and huge dun-cow

Did, like another Guy, o’erthrow;

But Guy with him in fight compar’d,

Had like the boar or dun-cow far’d

With greater troops of sheep h’ had fought

Than AJAX or bold DON QUIXOTE:

And many a serpent of fell kind,

With wings before and stings behind,

Subdu’d: as poets say, long agone

Bold Sir GEORGE, St. GEORGE did the dragon.

Nor engine, nor device polemic,

Disease, nor doctor epidemic,

Tho’ stor’d with deletory med’cines,

(Which whosoever took is dead since,)

E’er sent so vast a colony

To both the underworlds as he:

For he was of that noble trade

That demi-gods and heroes made,

Slaughter and knocking on the head;.

The trade to which they all were bred;

And is, like others, glorious when

’Tis great and large, but base if mean.

The former rides in triumph for it;

The latter in a two-wheel’d chariot

For daring to profane a thing

So sacred with vile bungling.

Next these the brave MAGNANO came;

MAGNANO, great in martial fame.

Yet when with ORSIN he wag’d fight,

’Tis sung, he got but little by’t.

Yet he was fierce as forest boar,

Whose spoils upon his back he wore,

As thick as AJAX’ seven-fold shield,

Which o’er his brazen arms he held:

But brass was feeble to resist

The fury of his armed fist:

Nor cou’d the hardest ir’n hold out

Against his blows, but they wou’d through’t.

In MAGIC he was deeply read12

As he that made the brazen head;

Profoundly skill’d in the black art;

As ENGLISH MERLIN for his heart;

But far more skilful in the spheres

Than he was at the sieve and shears.

He cou’d transform himself in colour

As like the devil as a collier;

As like as hypocrites in show

Are to true saints, or crow to crow.

Of WARLIKE ENGINES he was author,

Devis’d for quick dispatch of slaughter:

The cannon, blunderbuss, and saker,

He was th’ inventor of, and maker:

The trumpet, and the kettle-drum,

Did both from his invention come.

He was the first that e’er did teach

To make, and how to stop, a breach.

A lance he bore with iron pike;

Th’ one half wou’d thrust, the other strike;

And when their forces he had join’d,

He scorn’d to turn his parts behind.

He TRULLA lov’d; TRULLA, more bright

Than burnish’d armour of her Knight:

A bold virago, stout and tall,

As 13 JOAN of FRANCE, or English MALL.

Thro’ perils both of wind and limb,

Thro’ thick and thin, she follow’d him,

In ev’ry adventure h’ undertook,

And never him or it forsook.

At breach of wall, or hedge surprize,

She shar’d i’ th’ hazard and the prize:

At beating quarters up, or forage,

Behav’d herself with matchless courage;

And laid about in fight more busily

Than the 14 Amazonian dame Penthesile.

And though some criticks here cry shame,

And say our authors are to blame,

That (spite of all philosophers,

Who hold no females stout, but bears;

And heretofore did so abhor

That women should pretend to war,

‘They wou’d not suffer the stoutest dame

To swear 15 by HERCULES’S name)

Make feeble ladies, in their works,

To fight like termagants and Turks;

To lay their native arms aside,

 Their modesty, and ride astride;

 To run a-tilt at men, and wield

 Their naked tools in open field;

 As stout 16 ARMIDA, bold TRALESTRIS,

 And she that wou’d have been the mistress

 Of 17 GUNDIBERT; but he had grace,

And rather took a country lass;

They say, ’tis false, without all sense,

But of pernicious consequence

To government, which they suppose

Can never be upheld in prose;

Strip nature naked to the skin,

You’ll find about her no such thing.

It may be so; yet what we tell

Of TRULLA that’s improbable,

Shall be depos’d by those who’ve seen’t,

Or, what’s as good, produc’d in print:

And if they will not take our word,

We’ll prove it true upon record.

The upright CERDON next advanc’t,

Of all his race the valiant’st:

CERDON the Great, renown’d in song,

Like HERC’LES, for repair of wrong:

He rais’d the low, and fortify’d

The weak against the strongest side:

Ill has he read, that never hit

On him in Muses’ deathless writ.

He had a weapon keen and fierce,

That through a bull-hide shield wou’d pierce,

And cut it in a thousand pieces,

Tho’ tougher than the Knight of Greece his,

With whom his black-thumb’d ancestor

Was comrade in the ten years war:

For when the restless Greeks sat down

So many years before Troy town,

And were renown’d, as HOMER writes,

For well-soal’d boots no less than fights,

They ow’d that glory only to

His ancestor, that made them so.

Fast friend he was to REFORMATION,

Until ’twas worn quite out of fashion.

Next rectifier of wry LAW,

And wou’d make three to cure one flaw.

Learned he was, and could take note,

Transcribe, collect, translate, and quote.

But PREACHING was his chiefest talent,

Or argument, in which b’ing valiant,

He us’d to lay about and stickle,

Like ram or bull, at conventicle:

For disputants, like rams and bulls,

Do fight with arms that spring from skulls.

Last COLON came, bold man of war,

Destin’d to blows by fatal star;

Right expert in command of horse;

But cruel, and without remorse.

That which of CENTAUR long ago

Was said, and has been wrested to

Some other knights, was true of this;

He and his horse were of a piece.

One spirit did inform them both;

The self-same vigour, fury, wroth:

Yet he was much the rougher part,

And always had a harder heart;

Although his horse had been of those

That fed on man’s flesh, as fame goes.

Strange food for horse! and yet, alas!

It may be true, for flesh is grass.

Sturdy he was, and no less able

Than HERCULES to clean a stable;

As great a drover, and as great

A critic too, in hog or neat.

He ripp’d the womb up of his mother,

Dame Tellus, ‘cause she wanted fother

And provender wherewith to feed

Himself, and his less cruel steed.

It was a question, whether he

Or’s horse were of a family

More worshipful: ‘till antiquaries

(After th’ had almost por’d out their eyes)

Did very learnedly decide

The business on the horse’s side;

And prov’d not only horse, but cows,

Nay, pigs, were of the elder house:

For beasts, when man was but a piece

Of earth himself, did th’ earth possess.

These worthies were the chief that led

The combatants, each in the head

Of his command, with arms and rage,

Ready and longing to engage.

The numerous rabble was drawn out

Of sev’ral counties round about,

From villages remote, and shires,

Of east and western hemispheres

From foreign parishes and regions,

Of different manners, speech, religions,

Came men and mastiffs; some to fight

For fame and honour, some for sight.

And now the field of death, the lists,

Were enter’d by antagonists,

And blood was ready to be broach’d,

When HUDIBRAS in haste approach’d,

With Squire and weapons, to attack ’em:

But first thus from his horse bespake ’em:

What rage, O citizens! what fury

Doth you to these dire actions hurry?

What 18 oestrum, what phrenetic mood,

Makes you thus lavish of your blood,

While the proud Vies your trophies boast

And unreveng’d walks — ghost?

What towns, what garrisons might you

With hazard of this blood subdue,

Which now y’are bent to throw away

In vain, untriumphable fray!

Shall SAINTS in civil bloodshed wallow

Of Saints, and let the CAUSE lie fallow?

The Cause for which we fought and swore

So boldly, shall we now give o’er?

Then, because quarrels still are seen

With oaths and swearings to begin,


Will seem a mere God-dam-me rant;

And we, that took it, and have fought,

As lewd as drunkards that fall out.

For as we make war for the King

Against himself the self-same thing,

Some will not stick to swear we do

For God and for Religion too:

For if bear-baiting we allow,

What good can Reformation do?

The blood and treasure that’s laid out,

Is thrown away, and goes for nought.

Are these the fruits o’ th’ PROTESTATION,

The Prototype of Reformation,

Which all the Saints, and some, since Martyrs,

Wore 19 in their hats like wedding garters,

When ’twas 20 resolv’d by either house

Six Members quarrel to espouse?

Did they for this draw down the rabble,

With zeal and noises formidable,

And make all cries about the town

Join throats to cry the Bishops down?

Who having round begirt the palace,

(As once a month they do the gallows,)

As members gave the sign about,

Set up their throats with hideous shout.

When tinkers bawl’d aloud to settle

Church discipline, for patching kettle:

No sow-gelder did blow his horn

To geld a cat, but cry’d, Reform.

The oyster-women lock’d their fish up,

And trudg’d away, to cry, No Bishop.

The mouse-trap men laid save-alls by,

And ‘gainst Ev’l Counsellors did cry.

Botchers left old cloaths in the lurch,

And fell to turn and patch the Church.

Some cry’d the Covenant instead

Of pudding-pies and ginger-bread;

And some for brooms, old boots and shoes,

Bawl’d out to Purge the Commons House.

Instead of kitchen-stuff, some cry,

A Gospel-preaching Ministry;

And some, for old suits, coats, or cloak,

No Surplices nor Service–Book.

A strange harmonious inclination

Of all degrees to Reformation.

And is this all? Is this the end

To which these carr’ings on did tend?

Hath public faith, like a young heir,

For this ta’en up all sorts of ware,

And run int’ every tradesman’s book,

‘Till both turn’d bankrupts, and are broke?

Did Saints for this bring in their plate,

And crowd as if they came too late?

For when they thought the Cause had need on’t,

Happy was he that could be rid on’t.

Did they coin piss-pots, bowls, and flaggons,

Int’ officers of horse and dragoons;

And into pikes and musquetteers

Stamp beakers, cups, and porringers!

A thimble, bodkin, and a spoon,

Did start up living men as soon

As in the furnace they were thrown,

Just like the dragon’s teeth b’ing sown.

Then was the Cause of gold and plate,

The Brethren’s off’rings, consecrate,

Like th’ Hebrew calf, and down before it

The Saints fell prostrate, to adore it

So say the wicked — and will you

Make that 21 sarcasmus scandal true,

By running after dogs and bears?

Beasts more unclean than calves or steers.

Have pow’rful Preachers ply’d their tongues,

And laid themselves out and their lungs;

Us’d all means, both direct and sinister,

I’ th’ pow’r of Gospel-preaching Minister?

Have they invented tones to win

The women, and make them draw in

The men, as Indians with a female

Tame elephant inveigle the male?

Have they told Prov’dence what it must do,

Whom to avoid, and whom to trust to?

Discover’d th’ enemy’s design,

And which way best to countermine?

Prescrib’d what ways it hath to work,

Or it will ne’er advance the Kirk?

Told it the news o’ th’ last express,

And after good or bad success,

Made prayers, not so like petitions,

As overtures and propositions,

(Such as the army did present

To their creator, th’ Parliament,)

In which they freely will confess

They will not, cannot acquiesce,

Unless the work be carry’d on

In the same way they have begun,

By setting Church and Common-weal

All on a flame, bright as their zeal,

On which the Saints were all a-gog,

And all this for a bear and dog?

The parliament drew up petitions

To itself, and sent them, like commissions,

To well-affected persons down,

In ev’ry city and great town,

With pow’r to levy horse and men,

Only to bring them back agen:

For this did many, many a mile,

Ride manfully in rank and file,

With papers in their hats, that show’d

As if they to the pillory rode.

Have all these courses, these efforts,

Been try’d by people of all sorts,

Velis & remis, omnibus nervis

And all t’advance the Cause’s service?

And shall all now be thrown, away

In petulant intestine fray?

Shall we that in the Cov’nant swore,

Each man of us to run before

Another, still in Reformation,

Give dogs and bears a dispensation?

How will Dissenting Brethren relish it?

What will malignants say? videlicet,

That each man Swore to do his best,

To damn and perjure all the rest!

And bid the Devil take the hin’most,

Which at this race is like to win most.

They’ll say our bus’ness, to reform

The Church and State, is but a worm;

For to subscribe, unsight, unseen,

To an unknown Church-discipline,

What is it else, but before-hand

T’engage, and after understand?

For when we swore to carry on

The present Reformation,

According to the purest mode

Of Churches best reformed abroad,

What did we else, but make a vow

To do we know not what, nor how?

For no three of us will agree,

Where or what Churches these should be;

And is indeed 22 the self-same case

With theirs that swore et caeteras;

Or the 23 French League, in which men vow’d

To fight to the last drop of blood.

These slanders will be thrown upon

The Cause and Work we carry on,

If we permit men to run headlong

T’ exorbitances fit for Bedlam

Rather than Gospel-walking times,

When slightest sins are greatest crimes.

But we the matter so shall handle,

As to remove that odious scandal.

In name of King and parliament,

I charge ye all; no more foment

This feud, but keep the peace between

Your brethren and your countrymen;

And to those places straight repair

Where your respective dwellings are.

But to that purpose first surrender

The FIDDLER, as the prime offender,

Th’ incendiary vile, that is chief

Author and engineer of mischief;

That makes division between friends,

For profane and malignant ends.

He, and that engine of vile noise,

On which illegally he plays,

Shall (dictum factum) both be brought

To condign punishment, as they ought.

This must be done; and I would fain see

Mortal so sturdy as to gain-say:

For then I’ll take another course,

And soon reduce you all by force.

This said, he clapp’d his hand on sword,

To shew he meant to keep his word.

But TALGOL, who had long supprest

Inflamed wrath in glowing, breast,

Which now began to rage and burn as

Implacably as flame in furnace,

Thus answer’d him:— Thou vermin wretched

As e’er in measled pork was hatched;

Thou tail of worship, that dost grow

On rump of justice as of cow;

How dar’st thou, with that sullen luggage

O’ th’ self, old ir’n, and other baggage,

With which thy steed of bones and leather

Has broke his wind in halting hither;

How durst th’, I say, adventure thus

T’ oppose thy lumber against us?

Could thine impertinence find out

To work t’ employ itself about,

Where thou, secure from wooden blow,

Thy busy vanity might’st show?

Was no dispute a-foot between

The caterwauling Brethren?

No subtle question rais’d among

Those out-o-their wits, and those i’ th’ wrong;

No prize between those combatants

O’ th’ times, the Land and Water Saints;

Where thou might’st stickle without hazard

Of outrage to thy hide and mazzard;

And not for want of bus’ness come

To us to be so troublesome,

To interrupt our better sort

Of disputants, and spoil our sport?

Was there no felony, no bawd,

Cut-purse, no burglary abroad;

No stolen pig, nor plunder’d goose,

To tie thee up from breaking loose?

No ale unlicens’d, broken hedge,

For which thou statute might’st alledge,

To keep thee busy from foul evil,

And shame due to thee from the Devil?

Did no committee sit, where he

Might cut out journey-work for thee?

And set th’ a task, with subornation,

To stitch up sale and sequestration;

To cheat, with holiness and zeal,

All parties, and the common-weal?

Much better had it been for thee,

H’ had kept thee where th’ art us’d to be;

Or sent th’ on bus’ness any whither,

So he had never brought thee hither.

But if th’ hast brain enough in skull

To keep itself in lodging whole,

And not provoke the rage of stones

And cudgels to thy hide and bones

Tremble, and vanish, while thou may’st,

Which I’ll not promise if thou stay’st.

At this the Knight grew high in wroth,

And lifting hands and eyes up both,

Three times he smote on stomach stout,

From whence at length these words broke out:

Was I for this entitled SIR,

And girt with trusty sword and spur,

For fame and honor to wage battle,

Thus to be brav’d by foe to cattle?

Not all that pride that makes thee swell

As big as thou dost blown-up veal;

Nor all thy tricks and sleights to cheat,

And sell thy carrion for good meat;

Not all thy magic to repair

Decay’d old age in tough lean ware;

Make nat’ral appear thy work,

And stop the gangrene in stale pork;

Not all that force that makes thee proud,

Because by bullock ne’er withstood;

Though arm’d with all thy cleavers, knives,

And axes made to hew down lives,

Shall save or help thee to evade

The hand of Justice, or this blade,

Which I, her sword-bearer, do carry,

For civil deed and military.

Nor shall those words of venom base,

Which thou hast from their native place,

Thy stomach, pump’d to fling on me,

Go unreveng’d, though I am free:

Thou down the same throat shalt devour ’em,

Like tainted beef, and pay dear for ’em.

Nor shall it e’er be said, that wight

With gantlet blue, and bases white,

And round blunt truncheon by his side,

So great a man at arms defy’d

With words far bitterer than wormwood,

That would in Job or Grizel stir mood.

Dogs with their tongues their wounds do heal;

But men with hands, as thou shalt feel.

This said, with hasty rage he snatch’d

His gun-shot, that in holsters watch’d;

And bending cock, he levell’d full

Against th’ outside of TALGOL’S skull;

Vowing that he shou’d ne’er stir further,

Nor henceforth cow nor bullock murther.

But PALLAS came in shape of rust,

And ‘twixt the spring and hammerthrust

Her Gorgon shield, which made the cock

Stand stiff, as t’were transform’d to stock.

Mean while fierce TALGOL, gath’ring might,

With rugged truncheon charg’d the Knight;

But he with petronel upheav’d,

Instead of shield, the blow receiv’d.

The gun recoil’d, as well it might,

Not us’d to such a kind of fight,

And shrunk from its great master’s gripe,

Knock’d down and stunn’d by mortal stripe.

Then HUDIBRAS, with furious haste,

Drew out his sword; yet not so fast,

But TALGOL first, with hardy thwack,

Twice bruis’d his head, and twice his back.

But when his nut-brown sword was out,

With stomach huge he laid about,

Imprinting many a wound upon

His mortal foe, the truncheon.

The trusty cudgel did oppose

Itself against dead-doing blows,

To guard its leader from fell bane,

And then reveng’d itself again.

And though the sword (some understood)

In force had much the odds of wood,

’Twas nothing so; both sides were ballanc’t

So equal, none knew which was valiant’st:

For wood with Honour b’ing engag’d,

Is so implacably enrag’d,

Though iron hew and mangle sore,

Wood wounds and bruises Honour more.

And now both Knights were out of breath,

Tir’d in the hot pursuit of death;

While all the rest amaz’d stood still,

Expecting which should take or kill.

This HUDIBRAS observ’d; and fretting

Conquest should be so long a getting,

He drew up all his force into

One body, and that into one blow.

But TALGOL wisely avoided it

By cunning sleight; for had it hit,

The upper part of him the blow

Had slit as sure as that below.

Meanwhile th’ incomparable COLON,

To aid his friend, began to fall on.

Him RALPH encounter’d, and straight grew

A dismal combat ‘twixt them two:

Th’ one arm’d with metal, th’ other with wood;

This fit for bruise, and that for blood.

With many a stiff thwack, many a bang,

Hard crab-tree and old iron rang;

While none that saw them cou’d divine

To which side conquest would incline,

Until MAGNANO, who did envy

That two should with so many men vie,

By subtle stratagem of brain,

Perform’d what force could ne’er attain;

For he, by foul hap, having found

Where thistles grew on barren ground,

In haste he drew his weapon out,

And having cropp’d them from the root,

He clapp’d them underneath the tail

Of steed, with pricks as sharp as nail.

The angry beast did straight resent

The wrong done to his fundament;

Began to kick, and fling, and wince,

As if h’ had been beside his sense,

Striving to disengage from thistle,

That gall’d him sorely under his tail:

Instead of which, he threw the pack

Of Squire and baggage from his back;

And blund’ring still with smarting rump,

He gave the Knight’s steed such a thump

As made him reel. The Knight did stoop,

And sat on further side aslope.

This TALGOL viewing, who had now

By sleight escap’d the fatal blow,

He rally’d, and again fell to’t;

For catching foe by nearer foot,

He lifted with such might and strength,

As would have hurl’d him thrice his length,

And dash’d his brains (if any) out:

But MARS, that still protects the stout,

In pudding-time came to his aid,

And under him the Bear convey’d;

The Bear, upon whose soft fur-gown

The Knight with all his weight fell down.

The friendly rug preserv’d the ground,

And headlong Knight, from bruise or wound;

Like feather-bed betwixt a wall

And heavy brunt of cannon-ball.

As Sancho on a blanket fell,

And had no hurt, our’s far’d as well

In body; though his mighty spirit,

B’ing heavy, did not so well bear it,

The Bear was in a greater fright,

Beat down and worsted by the Knight.

He roar’d, and rak’d, and flung about,

To shake off bondage from his snout.

His wrath inflam’d, boil’d o’er, and from

His jaws of death he threw the foam:

Fury in stranger postures threw him,

And more than herald ever drew him.

He tore the earth which he had sav’d

From squelch of Knight, and storm’d and rav’d,

And vext the more because the harms

He felt were ‘gainst the law of arms:

For men he always took to be

His friends, and dogs the enemy;

Who never so much hurt had done him,

As his own side did falling on him.

It griev’d him to the guts that they

For whom h’ had fought so many a fray,

And serv’d with loss of blood so long,

Shou’d offer such inhuman wrong;

Wrong of unsoldier-like condition;

For which he flung down his commission;

And laid about him, till his nose

From thrall of ring and cord broke loose.

Soon as he felt himself enlarg’d,

Through thickest of his foes he charg’d,

And made way through th’ amazed crew;

Some he o’erran, and some o’erthrew,

But took none; for by hasty flight

He strove t’ escape pursuit of Knight;

From whom he fled with as much haste

And dread as he the rabble chas’d.

In haste he fled, and so did they;

Each and his fear a several way.

CROWDERO only kept the field;

Not stirring from the place he held;

Though beaten down and wounded sore,

I’ th’ fiddle, and a leg that bore

One side of him; not that of bone,

But much it’s better, th’ wooden one.

He spying HUDIBRAS lie strow’d

Upon the ground, like log of wood,

With fright of fall, supposed wound,

And loss of urine, in a swound,

In haste he snatch’d the wooden limb,

That hurt i’ the ankle lay by him,

And fitting it for sudden fight,

Straight drew it up t’ attack the Knight;

For getting up on stump and huckle,

He with the foe began to buckle;

Vowing to be reveng’d for breach

Of crowd and skin upon the wretch,

Sole author of all detriment

He and his fiddle underwent.

But RALPHO (who had now begun

T’ adventure resurrection

From heavy squelch, and had got up

Upon his legs, with sprained crup)

Looking about, beheld pernicion

Approaching Knight from fell musician.

He snatch’d his whinyard up, that fled

When he was falling off his steed,

(As rats do from a falling house,)

To hide itself from rage of blows;

And, wing’d with speed and fury, flew

To rescue Knight from black and blew;

Which, e’er he cou’d atchieve, his sconce

The leg encounter’d twice and once;

And now ’twas rais’d to smite agen,

When RALPHO thrust himself between.

He took the blow upon his arm,

To shield the Knight from further harm;

And, joining wrath with force, bestow’d

On th’ wooden member such a load,

That down it fell, and with it bore

CROWDERO, whom it propp’d before.

To him the Squire right nimbly run,

And setting conquering foot upon

His trunk, thus spoke: What desp’rate frenzy

Made thee (thou whelp of Sin!) to fancy

Thyself, and all that coward rabble,

T’ encounter us in battle able?

How durst th’, I say, oppose thy curship

‘Gainst arms, authority, and worship?

And HUDIBRAS or me provoke,

Though all thy limbs, were heart of oke,

And th’ other half of thee as good

To bear out blows, as that of wood?

Cou’d not the whipping-post prevail

With all its rhet’ric, nor the jail,

To keep from flaying scourge thy skin,

And ankle free from iron gin?

Which now thou shalt — But first our care

Must see how HUDIBRAS doth fare.

This said, he gently rais’d the Knight,

And set him on his bum upright.

To rouse him from lethargic dump,

He tweak’d his nose; with gentle thump

Knock’d on his breast, as if ‘t had been

To raise the spirits lodg’d within.

They, waken’d with the noise, did fly

From inward room to window eye,

And gently op’ning lid, the casement,

Look’d out, but yet with some amazement.

This gladded RALPHO much to see,

Who thus bespoke the Knight: quoth he,

Tweaking his nose, You are, great Sir,

A self-denying conqueror;

As high, victorious, and great,

As e’er fought for the Churches yet,

If you will give yourself but leave

To make out what y’ already have;

That’s victory. The foe, for dread

Of your nine-worthiness, is fled:

All, save CROWDERO, for whose sake

You did th’ espous’d Cause undertake;

And he lies pris’ner at your feet,

To be dispos’d as you think meet;

Either for life, or death, or sale,

The gallows, or perpetual jail;

For one wink of your powerful eye

Must sentence him to live or die.

His fiddle is your proper purchase,

Won in the service of the Churches;

And by your doom must be allow’d

To be, or be no more, a crowd.

For though success did not confer

Just title on the conqueror;

Though dispensations were not strong

Conclusions, whether right or wrong,

Although out-goings did confirm,

And owning were but a mere term;

Yet as the wicked have no right

To th’ creature, though usurp’d by might,

The property is in the Saint,

From whom th’ injuriously detain ‘t;

Of him they hold their luxuries,

Their dogs, their horses, whores, and dice,

Their riots, revels, masks, delights,

Pimps, buffoons, fiddlers, parasites;

All which the Saints have title to,

And ought t’ enjoy, if th’ had their due.

What we take from them is no more

Than what was our’s by right before;

For we are their true landlords still,

And they our tenants but at will.

At this the Knight began to rouze,

And by degrees grow valorous.

He star’d about, and seeing none

Of all his foes remain, but one,

He snatch’d his weapon, that lay near him,

And from the ground began to rear him;

Vowing to make CROWDERO pay

For all the rest that ran away.

But RALPHO now, in colder blood,

His fury mildly thus withstood:

Great Sir, quoth he, your mighty spirit

Is rais’d too high: this slave does merit

To be the hangman’s bus’ness, sooner

Than from your hand to have the honour

Of his destruction. I, that am

A nothingness in deed and name

Did scorn to hurt his forfeit carcase,

Or ill intreat his fiddle or case:

Will you, great Sir, that glory blot

In cold blood which you gain’d in hot?

Will you employ your conqu’ring sword

To break a fiddle and your word?

For though I fought, and overcame,

And quarter gave, ’twas in your name.

For great commanders only own

What’s prosperous by the soldier done.

To save, where you have pow’r to kill,

Argues your pow’r above your will;

And that your will and pow’r have less

Than both might have of selfishness.

This pow’r which, now alive, with dread

He trembles at, if he were dead,

Wou’d no more keep the slave in awe,

Than if you were a Knight of straw:

For death would then be his conqueror;

Not you, and free him from that terror.

If danger from his life accrue;

Or honour from his death, to you,

’Twere policy, and honour too,

To do as you resolv’d to do:

But, Sir, ‘twou’d wrong your valour much,

To say it needs or fears a crutch.

Great conquerors greater glory gain

By foes in triumph led, than slain:

The laurels that adorn their brows

Are pull’d from living not dead boughs,

And living foes: the greatest fame

Of cripple slain can be but lame.

One half of him’s already slain,

The other is not worth your pain;

Th’ honour can but on one side light,

As worship did, when y’ were dubb’d Knight.

Wherefore I think it better far

To keep him prisoner of war;

And let him fast in bonds abide,

At court of Justice to be try’d;

Where, if he appear so bold and crafty,

There may be danger in his safety.

If any member there dislike

His face, or to his beard have pique;

Or if his death will save or yield,

Revenge or fright, it is reveal’d.

Though he has quarter, ne’er the less

Y’ have power to hang him when you please.

This has been often done by some

Of our great conqu’rors, you know whom;

And has by most of us been held

Wise Justice, and to some reveal’d.

For words and promises, that yoke

The conqueror, are quickly broke;

Like SAMPSON’s cuffs, though by his own

Direction and advice put on.

For if we should fight for the CAUSE

By rules of military laws,

And only do what they call just,

The Cause would quickly fall to dust.

This we among ourselves may speak;

But to the wicked, or the weak,

We must be cautious to declare

Perfection-truths, such as these are.

This said, the high outrageous mettle

Of Knight began to cool and settle.

He lik’d the Squire’s advice, and soon

Resolv’d to see the business done

And therefore charg’d him first to bind

CROWDERO’S hands on rump behind,

And to its former place and use,

The wooden member to reduce

But force it take an oath before,

Ne’er to bear arms against him more.

RALPHO dispatch’d with speedy haste,

And having ty’d CROWDERO fast,

He gave Sir Knight the end of cord,

To lead the captive of his sword

In triumph, whilst the steeds he caught,

And them to further service brought.

The Squire in state rode on before,

And on his nut-brown whinyard bore

The trophee-fiddle and the case,

Leaning on shoulder like a mace.

The Knight himself did after ride,

Leading CROWDERO by his side;

And tow’d him, if he lagg’d behind,

Like boat against the tide and wind.

Thus grave and solemn they march’d on,

Until quite thro’ the town th’ had gone;

At further end of which there stands

An ancient castle, that commands

Th’ adjacent parts: in all the fabrick

You shall not see one stone nor a brick;

But all of wood; by pow’rful spell

Of magic made impregnable.

There’s neither iron-bar nor gate,

Portcullis, chain, nor bolt, nor grate,

And yet men durance there abide,

In dungeon scarce three inches wide;

With roof so low, that under it

They never stand, but lie or sit;

And yet so foul, that whoso is in,

Is to the middle-leg in prison;

In circle magical conflu’d,

With walls of subtile air and wind,

Which none are able to break thorough,

Until they’re freed by head of borough.

Thither arriv’d, th’ advent’rous Knight

And bold Squire from their steeds alight

At th’ outward wall, near which there stands

A bastile, built to imprison hands;

By strange enchantment made to fetter

The lesser parts and free the greater;

For though the body may creep through,

The hands in grate are fast enough:

And when a circle ‘bout the wrist

Is made by beadle exorcist,

The body feels the spur and switch,

As if ’twere ridden post by witch

At twenty miles an hour pace,

And yet ne’er stirs out of the place.

On top of this there is a spire,

On which Sir Knight first bids the Squire

The fiddle and its spoils, the case,

In manner of a trophee place.

That done, they ope the trap-door gate,

And let CROWDERO down thereat;

CROWDERO making doleful face,

Like hermit poor in pensive place.

To dungeon they the wretch commit,

And the survivor of his feet

But th’ other, that had broke the peace

And head of Knighthood, they release;

Though a delinquent false and forged,

Yet be’ing a stranger, he’s enlarged;

While his comrade, that did no hurt,

Is clapp’d up fast in prison for’t.

So Justice, while she winks at crimes,

Stumbles on innocence sometimes.


That is to say, whether Tollulation,

 As they do term’t, or Succussation.

Tollulation and succussation are only Latin words for ambling and trotting; though I believe both were natural amongst the old Romans; since I never read they made use of the trammel, or any other art, to pace their horses.

2 As Indian Britons, &c.] The American Indians call a great bird they have, with a white head, a penguin, which signifies the same thing in the British tongue: from whence (with other words of the same kind) some authors have endeavoured to prove, that the Americans are originally derived from the Britons.

3 The dire, &c.] Pharsalia is a city of Thessaly, famous for the battle won by Julius Caesar against Pompey the Great, in the neighbouring plains, in the 607th year of Rome, of which read Lucan’s Pharsalia.

4 Chiron, the &c.] Chiron, a Centaur, son to Saturn and Phillyris, living in the mountains, where, being much given to hunting, he became very knowing in the virtues of plants and one of the most famous physicians of his time. He imparted his skill to AEsculapius and was afterwards Apollo’s governor, until being wounded by Hercules, and desiring to die, Jupiter placed him in heaven, where he forms the sign of Sagittarius or the Archer.


In Staffordshire, where virtuous Worth

  Does raise the Minstrelsy, not Birth, &c.

The whole history of this ancient ceremony you may read at large in Dr. Plot’s History of Staffordshire, under the town Tutbury.

6 Grave as, &c.] For the history of Pegu, read Mandelsa and Olearius’s Travels.

7 In military, &c.] Paris Garden, in Southwark, took its name from the possessor.

8 Though by, &c.] Promethean fire. Prometheus was the son of Iapetus, and brother of Atlas, concerning whom the poets have feigned, that having first formed men of the earth and water, he stole fire from heaven to put life into them; and that having thereby displeased Jupiter, he commanded Vulcan to tie him to mount Caucasus with iron chains, and that a vulture should prey upon his liver continually: but the truth of the story is, that Prometheus was an astrologer, and constant in observing the stars upon that mountain; and, that, among other things, he found the art of making fire, either by the means of a flint, or by contracting the sun-beams in a glass. Bochart will have Magog, in the Scripture, to be the Prometheus of the Pagans.

He here and before sarcastically derides those who were great admirers of the sympathetic powder and weapon salve, which were in great repute in those days, and much promoted by the great Sir Kenelm Digby, who wrote a treatise ex professo [of his own knowledge] on that subject, and, I believe, thought what he wrote to be true, which since has been almost exploded out of the world.

9 And ‘mong, &c.] Cossacks are a people that live near Poland. This name was given them for their extraordinary nimbleness; for cosa, or kosa, in the Polish tongue, signifies a goat. He that would know more of them, may read Le Laboreur and Thuldenus.

10 And tho’, &c.] This custom of the Huns is described by Ammianus Marcellinus, Hunni semicruda cujusvis Pecoris carne vescuntur, quasi inter femora sua & equorum terga subsertam, calefacient brevi. P. 686. [The Huns stoutheartedly eat half-raw meat, which is warned briefly by being hedl between their thighs and their hoeses’ backs.]


— He spous’d in India,

Of noble House, a Lady gay.

The Story in Le Blanc, of a bear that married a king’s daughter, is no more strange than many others, in most travellers, that pass with allowance; for if they should write nothing but what is possible, or probable, they might appear to have lost their labour, and observed nothing but what they might have done as well at home.


In MAGIC he was deeply read,

As he that made the Brazen–Head;

Profoundly skill’d in the Black Art;

As ENGLISH MERLIN for his Heart.

Roger Bacon and Merlin. See Collier’s Dictionary.

13 As JOAN, &c.] Two notorious women; the last was known here by the name of Moll Cutpurse.

14 Than the Amazonian, &c.] Penthesile, Queen of the Amazons, succeeded Orythia. She carried succours to the Trojans, and after having given noble proofs of her bravery, was killed by Achilles. Pliny saith, it was she that invented the battle-ax. If any one desire to know more of the Amazons, let him read Mr. Sanson.


They wou’d not suffer the stout’st Dame

  To swear by HERCULES’s Name.

The old Romans had particular oaths for men and women to swear by, and therefore Macrobius says, Viri per Castorum non jurabant antiquitus, nec Mulieres per Herculem; AEdepol autem juramentum erat tum mulieribus, quam viris commune, &c. [Men did not swear by Castor in ancient times, nor women by Hercules; however women swore by AEdepol as much as men did.]

16 As stout, &c.] Two formidable women at arms, in romances, that were cudgelled into love by their gallants.

17 Of GUNDIBERT &c.] Gundibert is a feigned name, made use of by Sir William d’ Avenant in his famous epic poem, so called; wherein you may find also that of his mistress. This poem was designed by the author to be an imitation of the English Drama: it being divided into five books, as the other is into five acts; the Cantos to be parallel of the scenes, with this difference, that this is delivered narratively, the other dialoguewise. It was ushered into the world by a large preface, written by Mr. Hobbes, and by the pens of two of our best poets, viz. Mr. Waller and Mr. Cowley, which one would have thought might have proved a sufficient defence and protection against snarling critics. Notwithstanding which, four eminent wits of that age (two of which were Sir John Denham and Mr. Donne) published several copies of verses to Sir William’s discredit, under this title, Certain Verses written by several of the Author’s Friends, to be reprinted with the second Edition of Gundibert in 8vo. Lond. 1653. These verses were as wittily answered by the author, under this title, The incomparable Poem of Gundibert vindicated from the Wit Combat of four Esquires, Clinias, Damoetas, Sancho, and Jack–Pudding; printed in 8vo. Lond. 1665, Vide Langbain’s Account of Dramatic Poets.

18 What OEstrum, &c.] OEstrum is not only a Greek word for madness, but signifies also a gad-bee or horse-fly, that torments cattle in the summer, and makes them run about as if they were mad.

19 Wore in their Hats, &c.] Some few days after the King had accus’d the five Members of Treason in the House of Commons, great Crowds of the rabble came down to Westminster–Hall, with printed copies of the Protestation tied in their hats like favours.


When ’twas resolv’d by either House

  Six Members Quarrel to espouse.

The six Members were the Lord Kimbolton, Mr. Pym, Mr. Hollis, Mr. Hampden, Sir Arthur Haslerig, and Mr. Stroud, whom the King ordered to be apprehended, and their papers seized; charging them of plotting with the Scots, and favouring the late tumults; but the House voted against the arrest of their persons or papers; whereupon the King having preferred articles against those Members, he went with his guard to the House to demand them; but they, having notice, withdrew.

21 Make that, &c.] Abusive or insulting had been better; but our Knight believed the learned language more convenient to understand in than his own Mother-tongue.


And is indeed the self same Case

  With theirs that swore t’ Et caeteras.

The Convocation, in one of the short Parliaments, that ushered in the long one, (as dwarfs are wont to do knights-errant,) made an oath to be taken by the clergy for observing canonical obedience; in which they enjoined their brethren, out of the abundance of their consciences, to swear to articles with, &c.


Or the French League, in which men vow’d

  To fight to the last Drop of Blood.

The Holy League in France, designed and made for the extirpation of the Protestant Religion, was the original out of which the Solemn League and Covenant here was (with the difference only of circumstances) most faithfully transcribed. Nor did the success of both differ more than the intent and purpose; for after the destruction of vast numbers of people of all sorts, both ended with the murder of two Kings, whom they had both sworn to defend: And as our Covenanters swore every man to run one before another in the way of Reformation, so did the French, in the Holy League, to fight to the last drop of blood.

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