Imágenes de páginas

The Pict no shelter now shall find Within his parti-colour'd mind;

But from this valour sad Shrink underneath the plaid, Happy, if in the tufted brake The English hunter him mistake, Nor lay his hounds in near The Caledonian deer.

But thou, the war's and fortune's son, March indefatigably on;

And, for the last effect,

Still keep the sword erect.

Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,
The same arts that did gain
A power, must it maintain.

BUTLER-A. D. 1612-80.


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-ear'd 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 bow'd his stubborn knee
To any thing but chivalry,

Nor put up blow, but that which laid
Right worshipful on shoulder-blade;
Chief of domestic knights and errant,
Either for 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 styl'd of war, as well as peace:
(So some rats of amphibious nature
Are either for the land or water)
But here some authors make a doubt
Whether he were more wise or stout;
Some hold the one, and some the other,
But, howsoe'er they make a pother,
The diff'rence was so small, his brain
Outweigh'd his rage but half a grain;
Which made some take him for a tool
That knaves do work with, 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 not such.

We grant, although he had much wit,
H' was very shy of using it,

As being loth to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about;
Unless on 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 suffic'd

To make some think him circumcis'd;
And truly so he was perhaps,
Not as a proselyte, but for claps.

He was in logic a great critic,
Profoundly skill'd in analytic:
He could distinguish, and divide
A hair 'twixt south and south-west side;
On either which he would dispute,
Confute, change hands, and still confute:
He'd undertake to prove, by force
Of argument, a man's no horse;
He'd prove a buzzard is no fowl,
And that a lord may be an owl;
A calf an alderman, a goose a justice,
And rooks committee-men and trustees.
He'd run in debt by disputation,
And pay with ratiocination :
All this by syllogism true,
In mood and figure he would do.
For rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth but out there flew a trope:
And when he happen'd to break off
I' th' middle of his speech, or cough,
H' had hard words ready to shew why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Else when with greatest art he spoke,
You'd think he talk'd like other folk;
For all a rhetorician's rules

Teach nothing but to name his tools.
But, when he pleas'd to shew't, his speech,
In loftiness of sound, was rich;

A Babylonish dialect,

Which learned pedants much affect;
It was a party-coloured dress

Of patch'd 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 talk'd three parts in one;
Which made some think, when he did gabble,

Th' had heard three labourers 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 debas'd and hard, no stone
Was hard enough to touch them on;
And when with hasty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em;
That had the orator, who once

Did fill his mouth with pebble stones
When he harangu'd, 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.
Beside, he was a shrewd philosopher,
And had read ev'ry text and gloss over;
Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
He understood b' implicit faith:
Whatever sceptic could enquire for,
For ev'ry 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 serv'd, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong;
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell,
But oftentimes mistook 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 congeal'd in northern air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphysic wit can fly:

In school-divinity as able
As he that hight Irrefragable;
A second Thomas; or, at once
To name them all, another Dunce:
Profound in all the Nominal
And Real ways beyond them all:
For he a rope of sand could twist
As tough as learned Sarbonist,
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for scull
That's empty when the moon is full;
Such as take lodgings in a head
That's to be let unfurnished.
He could raise scruples dark and nice,
And after solve 'em in a trice;
As if Divinity had catch'd
The itch, on purpose to be scratch'd;
Or, like a mountebank, did wound,
And stab herself with doubts profound,

Only to shew with how small pain
The sores of Faith are cur'd again;
Although by woful 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 dispos'd, could prove it
Below the moon, or else above it;
What Adam dreamt of, when his bride
Came from her closet in his side;
Whether the devil tempted her
By a 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;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;

For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true church militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;

And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword, and desolation,
A godly thorough Reformation,
Which always must be carry'd 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 kept holiday
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 worshipp'd God for spite:
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for:
Free-will they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow :
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin:
Rather than fail, they will defy

That which they love most tenderly;
Quarrel with mince pies, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend, plum porridge;

Fat pig and goose itself oppose,

And blaspheme custard through the nose.

Th' apostles of this fierce religion,
Like Mahomet's, were ass and widgeon,
To whom our knight, by fast instinct
Of wit and temper, was so linkt,
As if hypocrisy and nonsense

Had got th' advowson of his conscience.

Thus was he gifted and accouter'd,
We mean on th' inside, not the outward:
That next of all we shall discuss;
Then listen, sirs, it follows thus:
His tawny beard was th' equal grace
Both of his wisdom and his face;
In cut and die so like a tile,
A sudden view it would beguile;
The upper part whereof was whey,
The nether orange, mix'd with grey.
This hairy meteor did denounce
The fall of sceptres and of crowns;
With grisly type did represent
Declining age of government,
And tell, with hieroglyphic spade,

It's own grave and the state's were made:
Like Sampson'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 pull'd and torn,
With red-hot irons to be tortur'd,
Revil'd, and spit upon, and martyr'd;
Maugre all which 'twas to stand fast
As long as monarchy 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 learned 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 dropt the sympathetic snout.

His back, or rather burthen, shew'd
As if it stoop'd with its own load:
For as Eneas 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 cramm'd with thrifty fare;
As white-pot, butter-milk, and curds,
Such as a country house affords ;
With other victual, which anon
We farther shall dilate upon,
When of his hose we come to treat,
The cupboard where he kept his meat.
His doublet was of sturdy buff,
And though not sword, yet cudgel-proof,
Whereby 'twas fitter for his use,
Who fear'd no blows but such as bruise.

His breeches were of rugged woollen,
And had been at the seige 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, as 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 t' other magazine,

They stoutly on defence on't stood,
And from the wounded foe drew blood,
And till they were storm'd and beaten out,
Ne'er left the fortify'd redoubt:
And though knights errant, as some think,
Of old did neither eat nor drink,
Because when thorough deserts vast,
And regions desolate, they past,
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 pull'd 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 carry'd as much meat
As he and all the knights could eat,
When laying by their swords and truncheons,
They took their breakfasts, or their luncheons.
But let that pass at present, lest
We should forget where we digrest,
As learned authors use, to whom
We leave it, and to the purpose come.

His puissant sword unto his side,
Near his undaunted heart was ty'd,
With basket hilt that would hold broth,
And served 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 to 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 rancour of its edge had felt;
For of the lower end two handful
It had devour'd, 'twas so manful,
And so much scorn'd to lurk in case,
As if it durst not shew its face.
In many desperate attempts
Of warrants, exigents, contempts,
It had appear'd with courage bolder
Than Serjeant Bum invading shoulder:
Oft had it ta'en possession,

And pris'ners too, or made them run.
This sword a dagger had, his page,
That was but little for his age,
And therefore waited on him so,
As dwarfs upon knights errant do:
It was a serviceable dudgeon,
Either for fighting or for drudging:
When it had stabb'd, or broke a head,
It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread;
Toast cheese or bacon, 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 the ablest trap:
They were upon hard duty still,
And ev'ry night stood centinel,
To guard the magazine i' th' hose
From two-legg'd and from four-legg'd foes.
Thus clad and fortify'd, Sir Knight,
From peaceful home, set forth to fight:
But first, with nimble active force,
He got on th' outside of his horse!
For having but one stirrup ty'd
This saddle on the further side,
It was so short h' had much ado
To reach it with his desp'rate toe;
But after many strains and heaves,
He got up to the saddle-eaves,
From whence he vaulted into th' seat

With so much vigour, strength, and heat,
That he had almost tumbled over

With his own

weight, but did recover,

By laying hold on tail and mane,
Which oft' he used instead of rein.
But now we talk of mounting steed,
Before we further do proceed,

It doth behove us to say something
Of that which bore our valiant Bumkin.
The beast was sturdy, large, and tall,
With mouth of meal, and eyes of wall;
I wou'd say eye; for h' had but one,
As most agree, though some say none.
He was well stay'd, and in his gait
Preserv'd a grave, majestic state;
At spur or switch no more he skipt,
Or mended pace, than Spaniard whipt;
And yet so fiery, he would bound
As if he griev'd 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 shew'd
Like furrows he himself had plough'd;
For underneath the skirt of panel,
'Twixt ev'ry 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 prickt,
With arm'd heel, or with unarm'd, kickt;
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.
that gain'd,

The mighty Tyrian queen,
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 bough, but true gold lace :

« AnteriorContinuar »