Page images
PDF
EPUB

At spur or switch no more he skipt,
Or mended pace, than Spaniard whipt;
And yet so fiery he would bound
As if he grieved to touch the ground ;
That Cæsar's horse, 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)
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 gall'd full as bad :
His strutting ribs on both sides show'd
Like furrows he himself had plough'd ;
For underneath the skirt of pannei,
'Twixt ev'ry two there was a channel :
His draggling tail hung in the dirt,
Which on his rider he would furt,
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, 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 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 tailor.
The mighty Tyrian queen, 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,
Famed 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 bold Trojan knight, seen hell,
Not with a counterfeited pass
Of golden borgh, 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 lib’ral 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 ninepence 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 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 enlighten’d stuff,
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 lantern 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 whisp'ring hole,
Such language as no mortal ear
But spirit'al eaves-droppers can hear ;
So Phæbus, 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 legg'd 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 Incognila,
Th' intelligible world, could say ;
A deep occult philosopher,
As learn'd as the wild Irish are,
Or Sir Agrippa, for profound
And solid lying much renown'd ;
He Anthroposophus, and Floud,
And Jacob Behmen understood ;
Knew many an amulet and charm,
That would do neither good nor harm;
In Rosycrucian lore as learned,
As he that Verè 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.'

T

He'd extract numbers out of matter,
And keep them in a glass, like water,
Of sov’reign power to make men wise ;
For, dropp'd 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 profest)
He had First Matter seen undrest ;
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 shew
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
T'inveigle and draw in the rabble ;
But Reformation was, some say,
O'th' younger house to puppet-play.
He could foretel whats'ever was
By consequence to come to pass :
As death of great men, alterations,
Diseases, battles, inundations :
All this without th' eclipse of th’ 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 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 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 nimm'd a cloak;
Make Mercury confess, and 'peach
Those thieves which he himself did teach.
They'll find, in 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 th' nativity o' th' question,
And from positions to be guess'd 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, 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 'f 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' accomplish'd Squire endued
With gifts and knowledge per’lous shrewd :
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 sallied at the gate.
Few miles on horseback had they jogg'd,
But Fortune unto them turn'd dogg'd ;
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 learned poets use,
Invoke th' assistance of some Muse,
However critics count it sillier
Than jugglers talking too 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 Vickars, And force them, though 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, Though 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 labour ; But now a sport more formidable Had raked 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 Nemæan game; Others derive it from the Bear That's fix'd in northern heinisphere, 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, Although the bear gain much, b'ing bound In honour to make good his ground When he's engaged, and takes 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 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 believed he was bound to do In conscience and commission too.

Then Hudibras, with furious haste,
Drew out his sword; yet not so fast
But Talgol first, with hardy thwack,
Twice bruised 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 his leader from fell bane,
And then revenged itself again.
And though the sword (some understood)
In force had much the odds of wood,
'Twas nothing so ; both sides were balanc't
So equal, none knew which was valiant'st :
For wood, with honour b’ing engaged,
Is so implacably enraged,
Though iron hew and mangle sore,
Wood wounds and bruises honour more.
And now both knights were out of breath,
Tired in the hot pursuits of death,
Whilst all the rest amazed stood still,
Expecting which should take, or kill.
This Hudibras observed ; 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 the 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 crabtree and old iron rang,
While none that saw them could 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 cropt them from the root,
He clapt 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 he'd 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 blundering still, with smarting rump,
He gave the knight's steed such a thump

PART I. CANTO II.

Hudibras commencing Battle with the Rabble, and

leading off Crowdero prisoner.

This said, with hasty rage he snatch'd
His gunshot, that in holsters watch'd,
And bending cock, he level'd full
Against th' outside of Talgol's skull,
Vowing that he should ne'er stir further,
Nor henceforth cow nor bullock murder:
But Pallas came in shape of Rust,
And 'twixt the spring and hammer thrust
Her gorgon shield, which made the cock
Stand stiff, as 'twere transform’d to stock.
Meanwhile fierce Talgol, gathering might,
With rugged truncheon charged the Knight;
But he with petronel upheaved,
Instead of shield, the blow received :
The gun recoil'd, as well it might,
Not used to such a kind of fight,
And shrunk from its great master's gripe,
Knock'd down and stunn'd with mortal stripe.

As made him reel. The Knight did stoop,
And sat on further side aslope ;
This Talgol viewing, who had now
By flight escaped the fatal blow,
He rallied, and again fell to't ;
For catching foe by nearest foot,
He lifted with such might and strength,
As would have hurld 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 preserved the ground,
And headlong Knight, from bruise or wound:
Like featherbed betwixt a wall,
And heavy brunt of cannon-ball.
As Sancho on a blanket fell,
And had no hurt, ours fared 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 raged, and Aung about,
To shake off bondage from his snout :
His wrath inflamed, boil'd o'er, and from
His jaws of death he threw the foam ;
Fury in stranger postures threw him,
And more than ever herald drew him :
He tore the earth which he had saved
From squelch of Knight, and storm'd and raved,
And vex'd 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 grieved him to the guts that they
For whom he'd fought so many a fray,
And served 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 enlarged,
Through thickest of his foes he charged,
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 baste
And dread as he the rabble chased;
In haste he fled, and so did they,
Each and his fear a sev'ral 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 its better, th' wooden one.

He spying Hudibras lie strew'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' th' ancle, 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 revenged 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 blue ;
Which ere he could achieve, his sconce
The leg encounter'd twice and once,
And now 't was raised 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 conqu'ring 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 oak,
And th' other half of thee as good
To bear out blows as that of wood ?
Could not the whipping-post prevail,
With all its rhetoric, 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 does fare.
This said, he gently raised 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 lodged within ;
They, waken'd with the noise, did fly
From inward room to window eye,

Will you, great Sir, that glory blot
In cold blood, which you gain’d in hot ?
Will you employ your conquering sword
To break a Fiddle, and your word ?

PART II. CANTO II, Vicarious Justice exemplified by Ralpho in the case

of the Cobbler that killed the Indian.

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' espoused cause undertake ;
And he lies pris'ner at your feet,
To be disposed 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 Outgoings 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 they 'ad their due.
What we take from 'em is no more
Than what was ours by right before ;
For we are their true landlords still,
And they our tenants but at will.
At this the Knight began to rouse,
And by degrees grow valorous :
He stared 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 raised 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 entreat his Fiddle or case :

Justice gives sentence many times
On one man for another's crimes ;
Our brethren of New England use
Choice malefactors to excuse,
And hang the guiltless in their stead,
Of whom the churches have less need;
As lately 't happened : In a town
There lived a cobbler, and but one,
That out of doctrine could cut use,
And mend men's lives, as well as shoes.
This precious brother having slain,
In times of peace, an Indian,
Not out of malice, but mere zeal,
(Because he was an Infidel,)
The mighty Tottipottymoy
Sent to our elders an envoy,
Complaining sorely of the breach
Of league, held forth by Brother Patch,
Against the articles in force
Between both churches, his and ours,
For which he craved the saints to render
Into his hands, or hang th' offender :
But they maturely having weigh'd
They had no more but him o'th' trade,
(A man that served them in a double
Capacity, to teach and cobble,)
Resolved to spare him : yet, to do
The Indian Hoghan Moghan too
Impartial justice, in his stead did
Ilang an old weaver that was bedrid.

PART III. CANTO IIL. Hudibras consulting the Lawyer.

An old dull sot, who tolld the clock
For many years at Bridewell-dock,
At Westminster, and Hicks's-hall,
And hiccius doctius play'd in all ;
Where in all governments and times,
He'd been both friend and foe to crimes,
And used to equal ways of gaining,
By hind’ring justice, or maintaining :
To many a whore gave privilege,
And whipp'd, for want of quarterage,
Cart-loads of bawds to prison sent,
For being behind a fortnight's rent;
And many a trusty pimp and crony
To Puddle-dock, for want of money :
Engaged the constable to seize
All those that would not break the peace ;
Nor give him back his own foul words,
Though sometimes commoners, or lords,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »