Sir Hudibras his passing worth,
The manner how he sallied forth,
His arms and equipage, are shown;
His horse's virtues and his own.
The adventure of the bear and fiddle
Is sung, but breaks off in the middle.
When civil dudgeon first grew high,
And men fell out, they knew not why;
When hard words, jealousies, and fears
Set folks together by the ears,
And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
For Dame Religion as for punk;
Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore;
When gospel-trumpeter, surrounded
With long-eared rout, to battle sounded;
And pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,
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 would
Entitle him Mirror of Knighthood,
That never bowed his stubborn knee
To anything but chivalry,
Nor put up blow but that which laid
Right Worshipful on shoulder-blade;
Chief of domestic knights and errant,
Either for chartel or for warrant;
Great on the bench, great in the saddle,
That could as well bind o'er as swaddle;
Mighty he was at both of these,
And styled 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 difference was so small, his brain
Outweighed his rage but half a grain;
Which made some take him for a tool
That knaves do work with, called a fool.
For 't has been held by many, that,
As Montaigne, playing with his cat,
Complains she thought him but an ass,
Much more she would Sir Hudibras;
(For that's the name our valiant knight
To all his challenges did write).
But they're mistaken very much;
'Tis plain enough he was no such.
We grant, although he had much wit,
He was very shy of using it,
As being loath to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holidays or so,
As men their best apparel do.
Beside, 'tis known he could speak Greek
As naturally as pigs squeak;
That Latin was no more difficile,
Than to a blackbird 'tis to whistle.
Being rich in both, he never scanted
His bounty unto such as wanted;
But much of either would afford
To many that had not one word.
For Hebrew roots, although they're found
To flourish most in barren ground,
He had such plenty as sufficed
To make some think him circumcised.
And truly so he was perhaps,
Not as a proselyte, but for claps.
He was in logic a great critic,
Profoundly skilled in analytic;
He could distinguish and divide
A hair 'twixt south and southwest 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 ow1;
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 happened 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 talked like other folk;
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
But when he pleased to show 't, his speech
In loftiness of sound was rich,
A Babylonish dialect
Which learned pedants much affect.
It was a parti-colored dress
Of patched and piebald languages;
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
Like fustian heretofore on satin.
It had an odd promiscuous tone,
As if h' had talked three parts in one;
Which made some think, when he did gabble,
Th' had heard three laborers of Babel,
Or Cerberus himself pronounce
A leash of languages at once.
This he as volubly would vent,
As if his stock would ne'er be spent;
And truly, to support that charge,
He had supplies as vast and large;
For he could coin or counterfeit
New words with little or no wit,
Words so debased and hard, no stone
Was hard enough to touch them on;
And when with hasty noise he spoke'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em
That, had the orator who once
Did fill his mouth with pebble stones
When he harangued, but known his phrase,
He would have used no other ways.
In mathematics he was greater
Than Tycho Brahe or Erra Pater
For he by geometric scale
Could take the size of pots of ale;
Resolve by sines and tangents straight
If bread or butter wanted weight;
And wisely tell what hour o' th' day
The clock does strike, by algebra.
Besides, he was a shrewd philosopher,
And had read every text and gloss aver;
Whate'er the crabbedest author hath,
He understood b' implicit faith;
Whatever skeptic could inquire for,
For every why he had a wherefore;
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms could go.
All which he understood by rote,
And, as occasion served, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell,
But oftentimes mistook the one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.
He could reduce all things to acts,
And knew their natures by abstracts;
Where entity and quiddity,
The ghosts of defunct bodies, fly;
Where Truth in person does appear,
Like words congealed in northern air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphysic wit can fly,
In school-divinity as able
As he that hight Irrefragable;
A second Thomas, or, at once
To name them all, another Duns;
Profound in all the nominal
And real ways beyond them all;
For he a rope of sand could twist
As tough as learned Sorbonist;
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for 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 catched
The itch of purpose to be scratched;
Or, like a mountebank, did wound
And stab herself with doubts profound;
Only to show with how small pain
The sores of faith are cured again;
Although by woeful proof we find
They always leave a scar behind.
He knew the seat of Paradise,
Could tell in what degree it lies,
And, as he was disposed, 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 High Dutch interpreter;
If either of them had a navel;
Who first made music malleable;
Whether the serpent at the Fall
Had cloven feet, or none at all.
All this, without a gloss or comment,
He could unriddle in a moment,
In proper terms, such as men smatter
When they throw out and miss the matter.
For his religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
I go '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
And prove their doctrine orthodox,
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation
A godly, thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended —
A sect whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies,
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetic,
Than dog distract or monkey sick;
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclined to,
By damning those they have no mind to;
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipped 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 minced-pies, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge;
Fat pig and goose itself oppose,
And blaspheme custard through the nose. 230
Th' apostles of this fierce religion,
Like Mahomet's, were ass and widgeon ,
To whom our knight, by fast instinct
Of wit and temper, was so linked,
As if hypocrisy and nonsense
Had got th' advowson of his conscience.
Thus was he gifted and accoutered,
We mean on th' inside, not the outward:
That next of all we shall discuss;
Then listen, sirs, it followeth thus:
His tawny beard was th' equal grace
Both of his wisdom and his face,
In cut and die so like a tile,
A sudden view it would beguile;
The upper part thereof was whey,
The nether orange mixed with gray.
This hairy meteor did denounce
The fall of scepters and of crowns,
With grizzly type did represent
Declining age of government,
And tell, with hieroglyphic spade, 251
Its own grave and the state's were made.
Like Samson's heart-breakers, it grew
In time to make a nation rue;
Though it contributed its own fall,
To wait upon the public downfall.
It was monastic, and did grow
In holy orders by strict vow;
Of rule as sullen and severe
As that of rigid Cordelier.
'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 pulled and torn,
With red-hot irons to be tortured,
Reviled, and spit upon, and martyred;
Maugre all which 'twas to stand fast
As long as monarchy should 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 learnèd Taliacotius, from
The brawny part of porter's bum,
Cut supplemental noses, which
Would last as long as parent breech;
But when the date of Nock was out,
Off dropped the sympathetic snout.
His back, or rather burthen, showed
As if it stooped with its own load;
For as Aeneas bore his sire
Upon his shoulders through 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 crammed with thrifty fare,
As white-pot ,buttermilk, and curds,
Such as a country-house affords;
With other victual which anon
We further 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 though not sword, yet cudgel-proof,
Whereby 'twas fitter for his use
Who feared 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.
Through they were lined with many a piece
Of ammunition-bread and cheese
And fat black-puddings , proper food
For warriors that delight in blood.
For, aw we said, he always chose
To carry victual in his hose
That often tempted rats and mice
The ammunition to surprise;
And when he put a hand but in
The one or th' other magazine ,
They stoutly in defense on 't stood,
And from the wounded foe drew blood;
And till th' were stormed and beaten out,
Ne'er left the fortified redoubt.
And though knights-errant, as some think ,
Of old did neither eat nor drink,
Because, when thorough deserts vast
And regions desolate they passed,
Where belly-timber above ground
Or under was not to be found,
Unless they grazed, 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 Arthur wore in hall
Round table like a farthingal ,
On which, with shirt pulled out behind
And eke before, his good knights dined.
Though 'twas no table, some suppose,
But a huge pair of round trunk-hose ,
In which he carried as much meat
As he and all his knights could 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 digressed,
As learnèd authors use, to whom
We leave it, and to th' purpose come.
His puissant sword unto his side,
Near his undaunted heart, was tied,
With basket-hilt that would 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, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting was grown rusty,
And ate into itself for lack
Of somebody to hew and hack.
The peaceful scabbard where it dwelt
The rancor of its edge had felt;
For of the lower end two handful
It had devoured, 'twas so manful,
And so much scorned to lurk in case,
As if it durst not show its face.
In many desperate attempts
Of warrants, exigents contempts,
It had appeared with courage bolder,
Than Sergeant Bum invading shoulder;
Oft had it ta'en possession,
And prisoners too, or made them run.
This sword a dagger had, 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 stabbed, or broke a head,
It would scrape trenchers or chip bread,
Toast cheese or bacon; though 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 , 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 could not get.
These would 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 every night stood sentinel,
To guard the magazine i' th' hose
From two-legg'd and from four-legg'd foes.
Thus clad and fortified, 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 tied
To his saddle on the further side,
It was so short h' had much ado
To reach it with his desperate toe;
But after many strains and heaves,
He got up to the saddle eaves,
From whence he vaulted into th' seat
With so much vigor, strength, and heat,
That he had almost tumbled over
With his own weight, but did recover
By laying hold on tail and mane,
Which oft he used instead of rein.
But now we talk of mounting steed,
Before we further do proceed,
It doth behoove 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 would say eye, for h' had but one,
As most agree, though some say none.
He was well stayed, and in his gait
Preserved a grave, majestic state;
At spur or switch no more he skipped
Or mended pace, than Spaniard whipped
And yet so fiery, he would bound,
As if he grieved to touch the ground;
That Caesar's horse, who as fame goes,
Had corns upon his feet and toes ,
Was not by half so tender-hoofed,
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)
Would 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 galled full as bad.
His strutting ribs on both sides showed
Like furrows he himself had plowed;
For underneath the skirt of pannel ,
'Twixt every two there was a channel.
His draggling tail hung in the dirt,
Which on his rider he would flirt
Still as his tender side he pricked
With armed heel, or with unarmed, kicked:
For Hudibras wore but one spur,
As wisely knowing could he stir
To active trot one side of's horse,
The other would 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 meter safe,
We'll call him so; if not, plain Raph;
(For rhyme the rudder is of verses,
With which like ships they steer their courses).
An equal stock of wit and valor
He had laid in, by birth a tailor.
The mighty Tyrian queen, that gained
With subtle shreds a tract of land,
Did leave it with a castle fair
To his great ancestor, her heir;
From him descended cross-legged knights,
Famed for their faith and warlike fights
Against the bloody cannibal,
Whom they destroyed both great and small.
This sturdy Squire had, as well
As the 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 wits were sent him for a token,
But in the carriage cracked and broken;
Like commendation nine-pence crooked
With "To and from my love" it looked.
He ne'er considered it, as loath
To look a gift horse in the mouth,
And very wisely would 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 enlightened snuff,
He could 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 bagpipe drone ,
And speaks through hollow empty soul,
As through a trunk or whispering hole,
Such language as no mortal ear 519
But spiritual eavesdropper's can hear:
So Phoebus or some friendly Muse
Into small poets song infuse,
Which they at second hand rehearse,
Through reed or bagpipe, verse for verse.
Thus Ralph became infallible
As three or four-legged oracle,
The ancient cup, or modern chair,
Spoke truth point-blank, though unaware.
For mystic learning, wondrous able
In magic talisman and cabal ,
Whose primitive tradition reaches
As far as Adam's first green breeches;
Deep-sighted in intelligences,.
Ideas, atoms, influences;
And much of Terra Incognita,
Th' intelligible world, could say;
A deep occult philosopher,
As learned as the wild Irish are,
Or Sir Agrippa, for profound
And solid lying much renowned:
He Anthroposophus and Fludd
And Jacob Behmen understood;
Knew many an amulet and charm,
That would do neither good nor harm;
In Rosicrucian lore as learned
As he that Vere adeptus earned.
He understood the speech of birds
As well as they themselves do words;
Could 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 sovereign power to make men wise;
For, dropped in blear thick-sighted eyes,
They'd make them see in darkest night,
Like owls, though purblind in the light.
By help of these (as he professed)
He had First Matter seen undressed:
He took her naked, all alone,
Before one rag of form was on.
The Chaos, too, he had descried,
And seen quite through, or else he lied:
Not that of pasteboard, which men show
For groats at fair of Barthol'mew;
But its great grandsire, first o' th' name,
Whence that and Reformation came,
Both cousin-germans, and right able
To inveigle and draw in the rabble.
But Reformation was, some say,
O' th' younger house to Puppet-play.
He could foretell whats'ever was
By consequence to come to pass;
As death of great men, alterations,
Diseases, battles, inundations:
All this without th' eclipse of sun,
Or dreadful comet, he hath done
By inward light, a way 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 mischief 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 robbed a house below;
Examine Venus and the Moon,
Who stole a thimble or a spoon;
And though they nothing will confess,
Yet by their very looks can guess,
And tell what guilty aspect bodes,
Who stole, and who received the goods.
They'll question Mars, and by his look
Detect who 'twas that nimmed a cloak;
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 swallowed it instead o' th' pill;
Cast the nativity o' th' question,
And from positions to be guessed on,
As sure as if they knew the moment
Of native's birth, tell what will come on't.
They'll feel the pulses of the stars,
To find out agues, cough, 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 th' accomplished Squire endued
With gifts and knowledge perilous shrewd.
Never did trusty squire with knight,
Or knight with squire, jump more right.
Their arms and equipage did fit,
As well as virtues, parts , and wit:
Their valors too were of a rate ,
And out they sallied at the gate.
Few miles on horseback had they jogged
But Fortune unto them turned dogged;
For they a sad adventure met,
Of which anon we mean to treat.
But ere we venture to unfold
Achievements so resolved and bold,
We should, as learne poets use,
Invoke th' assistance of same Muse;
However critics count it sillier
Than jugglers talking t' a 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,
Didst inspire Withers, Prynne, and Vicars ,
And force them, though it were in spite
Of nature and their stars, to write;
Who (as we find in sullen writs ,
And cross-grained works of modern wits)
. With vanity, opinion, want,
The wonder of the ignorant,
The praises of the author penned
By himself or wit-ensuring 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 o translate,
Though out of languages in which
They understand no part of speech;
Assist me but this once I' plore,
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 cracked fiddle and hoarse tabor,
In merriment did drudge and labor.
But now a sport more formidable
Had raked together village rabble;
'Twas an old way of recreating,
Which learned butchers call bear-baiting;
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 foolhardy,
T' expose themselves to vain jeopardy,
If they come wounded off and lame,
No honor's got by such a maim;
Although the bear gain much, being bound
In honor to make good his ground
When he's engaged, and take no notice,
If any press upon him, who'tis,
But lets 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 a 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 believed he was bound to do
In conscience and commission too;
And therefore thus bespoke the Squire:
"We that are wisely mounted higher
Than constables in curule wit,
When on tribunal bench we sit,
A bold adventurous exercise,
With ancient heroes in high prize;
For authors do affirm it came
From Isthmian or Nemean game;
Other derive it from the Bear
That's fixed in northern hemisphere,
And round about the pole does make.
A circle, like a bear at stake,
Like speculators should foresee,
From Pharos of authority,
Portended mischiefs further than
Low proletarian tithing-men;
And therefore being informed 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' expense 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 Covenant 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 Machiavellian plot
(Though every nare olfact it 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 et angue pejus hate us?
And shall we turn our fangs and claws
Upon ourselves, without a cause?
That some occult design doth lie
In bloody 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 averruncate it.
For what design, what interest,
Can beast have to encounter beast?
They fight for no espoused Cause ,
Frail privilege, fundamental laws,
Nor 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' Egyptians worshipped dogs, and for
Their faith made fierce and zealous war;
Others adored a rat, and some
For that church suffered martyrdom;
The 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, we only do infuse
The rage in them like boute feus;
'Tis our example that instils
In them th' infection of our ills.
For, as some late philosophers
Have well observed, beasts that converse
With man take after him, as hogs
Get pigs all th' 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 destroyed the Christian brethren,
They sewed them in the skins of bears,
And then set dogs about their ears;
From whence, no doubt, th' invention came
Of this lewd antichristian game."
To this quoth Ralpho, "Verily
The point seems very plain to be;
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 proved 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 homoeosis ,
(Tussis pro crepitu, an art
Under a cough to slur a fart)
Thou wouldst 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'em 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, though 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 canst at best but overstrain
A paradox and thy own hot brain;
For what can synods have at all
With bears 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,
Although of different specieses.
But, Ralpho, this in no 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 deceived, unless
We're slurred 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 steered 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 the bold'st 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 though they're known to be so ample,
We need no copy from example;
We're not the only person durst
Attempt this province, nor the first.
In northern clime a valorous knight
Did whilom kill his bear in fight,
And wound a fiddler: we have both
Of these the objects of our wroth,
And equal fame and glory from
Th' attempt or victory to come.
'Tis sung there is a valiant Mamaluke,
In foreign land ycleped —
To whom we have been oft compared
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.
Honor is like a widow, won
With brisk attempt and putting on;
With entering manfully, and urging,
Not slow approaches, like a virgin."
This said, as once 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 groaned
Just as that hollow beast did sound,
And angry, answered from behind,
With brandished tail and blast of wind.
So I have seen, with armed heel,
A wight bestride a Commonweal ,
While still the more he kicked and spurred,
The less the sullen jade has stirred.