Page images

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 crookt
With-To and from my love-it lookt.
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 spiritual eaves-droppers can hear;
So Phœbus, 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 Incognita,
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.
He'd extract numbers out of matter,
And keep them in a glass, like water,
Of sov❜reign power to make men wise;
For, dropt 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 descry'd,
And seen quite through, or else he ly'd;
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 receiv'd the goods:
They'll question Mars, and, by his look,
Detect who 'twas that nimm'd a cloke;
Make Mercury confess, and 'peach
Those thieves which he himself did teach.
They'll find, in th' physiognomies

O' th' planets, all men's destinies:

Like him who took the doctor's bill,
And swallow'd it instead o' th' pill,
Cast th' nativity of th' question,
And from positions to be guest 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 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' 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 sally'd at the gate.

Few miles on horseback had they jogged,
But Fortune unto them turn'd dogged;
For they a sad adventure met,
Of which anon we mean to treat :
But e'er we venture to unfold
Achievements so resolv'd and bold,
We should, as learned poets use,
Invoke th' assistance of some 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, Pryn, 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 equal 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.



Ay me! what perils do environ

The man that meddles with cold iron?
What plaguy mischiefs and mishaps
Do dog him still with after-claps?

For though Dame Fortune seem to smile,
And leer upon him for awhile,
She'll after shew him, in the nick
Of all his glories, a dog-trick.
This any man may sing or say

I' th' ditty call'd, What if a Day?
For Hudibras, who thought he'd won
The field, as certain as a gun,
And having routed the whole troop,
With victory was cock-a-hoop,
Thinking he'd done enough to purchase
Thanksgiving-day among the Churches,
Wherein his mettle and brave worth
Might be explain'd by holder-forth,
And register'd by fame eternal,
In deathless pages of Diurnal,
Found in few minutes, to his cost,
He did but count without his host,
And that a turnstile is more certain
Than, in events of war, Dame Fortune.

For now the late faint-hearted rout,
O'erthrown and scatter'd round about,
Chas'd by the horror of their fear,
From bloody fray of Knight and Bear,
(All but the Dogs, who in pursuit
Of the Knight's victory stood to❜t,
And most ignobly fought to get
The honour of his blood and sweat)
Seeing the coast was free and clear
O' the conquer'd and the conqueror,
Took heart again, and fac'd about,
As if they meant to stand it out:
For by this time the routed Bear,
Attack'd by th' enemy i' th' rear,
Finding their number grew too great
For him to make a safe retreat,
Like a bold chieftain fac'd about;
But wisely doubting to hold out,
Gave way to fortune, and with haste
Fac'd the proud foe, and fled, and fac❜d,
Retiring still, until he found

He 'ad got the advantage of the ground,
And then as valiantly made head
To check the foe, and forthwith fled,
Leaving no art untry'd, nor trick
Of warrior stout and politic,
Until, in spite of hot pursuit,
He gain'd a pass, to hold dispute
On better terms, and stop the course
Of the proud foe. With all his force
He bravely charg'd, and for awhile
Forc'd their whole body to recoil;
But still their numbers so increas'd,
He found himself at length oppress'd,
And all evasions so uncertain,

To save himself for better fortune,

That he resolv'd, rather than yield,
To die with honour in the field,
And sell his hide and carcass at
A price as high and desperate
As e'er he could. This resolution
He forthwith put in execution,
And bravely threw himself among
The enemy, i' th' greatest throng;
But what cou'd single valour do
Against so numerous a foe?

Yet much he did, indeed too much

To be believ'd where th' odds were such ;
But one against a multitude,

Is more than mortal can make good:
For while one party he oppos'd,
His rear was suddenly enclos'd,
And no room left him for retreat,
Or fight against a foe so great.
For now the mastiffs charging home,
To blows and handy-gripes were come;
While manfully himself he bore,
And setting his right foot before,
He rais'd himself to shew how tall
His person was above them all.
This equal shame and envy stirr'd
In th' enemy, that one should beard
So many warriors, and so stout,

As he had done, and stav'd it out,
Disdaining to lay down his arms,
And yield on honourable terms,
Enraged thus, some in the rear
Attack'd him, and some ev'ry where,
Till down he fell; yet falling fought,
And being down, still laid about;
As Widdrington in doleful dumps
Is said to fight upon his stumps.

But all, alas! had been in vain,
And he inevitably slain,

If Trulla and Cerdon in the nick
To rescue him had not been quick:
For Trulla, who was light of foot,

As shafts which long field Parthians shoot,
(But not so light as to be borne
Upon the ears of standing corn,
Or trip it o'er the water quicker
Than witches, when their staves they liquor,
As some report) was got among
The foremost of the martial throng;
There pitying the vanquish'd Bear,
She call'd to Cerdon, who stood near,
Viewing the bloody fight; to whom,
Shall we (quoth she) stand still hum drum,
And see stout Bruin, all alone,
By numbers basely overthrown?

Such feats already he 'as achiev'd,


story not to be believ'd,

And 't would to us be shame enough
Not to attempt to fetch him off.
I would (quoth he) venture a limb
To second thee, and rescue him;
But then we must about it straight,
Or else our aid will come too late ;

Quarter he scorns, he is so stout,
And therefore cannot long hold out.
This said, they wav'd their weapons round
About their heads to clear the ground,

And joining forces, laid about

So fiercely, that the amazed rout
Turn'd tail again, and straight begun,
As if the devil drove, to run.


Meanwhile they approach'd the place where Bruin
Was now engag'd to mortal ruin.

The conqu'ring foe they soon assail'd,
First Trulla stav'd and Cerdon tail'd,
Until their Mastiffs loos'd their hold:
And yet, alas! do what they could,
The worsted Bear came off with store
Of bloody wounds, but all before:
For as Achilles, dipt in pond,
Was anabaptiz'd free from wound,
Made proof against dead-doing steel
All over, but the Pagan heel;
So did our champion's arms defend
All of him but the other end,

His head and ears, which in the martial
Encounter lost a leathern parcel;
For as an Austrian archduke once
Had one ear (which in ducatoons
Is half the coin) in battle par'd
Close to his head, so Bruin far'd;
But tugg'd and pull'd on th' other side,
Like scriv❜ner newly crucify'd:
Or like the late corrected leathern
Ears of the circumcised brethren.
But gentle Trulla into th' ring
He wore in's nose convey'd a string,
With which she march'd before, and led
The warrior to a grassy bed,

As authors write in a cool shade,
Which eglantine and roses made;
Close by a softly murm'ring stream,
Where lovers us'd to loll and dream;
There leaving him to his repose,
Secured from pursuit of foes,
And wanting nothing but a song,
And a well-tun'd theorbo hung
Upon a bough, to ease his pain
His tugg'd ears suffer'd with a strain,
They both drew up, to march in quest
Of his great leader and the rest.

For Orsin (who was more renown'd
For stout maintaining of his ground,
In standing fight, than for pursuit,
As being not so quick of foot)
Was not long able to keep pace
With others that pursu'd the chace,
But found himself left far behind,
Both out of heart and out of wind;
Griev'd to behold his Bear pursu'd
So basely by a multitude,

And like to fall, not by the prowess,
But numbers, of his coward foes.
He rag'd, and kept as heavy a coil as
Stout Hercules for loss of Hylas;

[blocks in formation]

For loss of his dear crony Bear,
That Echo, from the hollow ground,
His doleful wailings did resound,
More wistfully, by many times,
Than in small poets splayfoot rhymes,
That make her, in their ruthful stories,
To answer to int'rrogatories,
And most unconscionably depose
To things of which she nothing knows;
And when she has said all she can say,
"Tis wrested to the lover's fancy,
Quoth he, O whither, wicked Bruin,
Art thou fled? to my-Echo, Ruin.

I thought th' hadst scorned to budge a step
For fear. Quoth Echo, Marry guep.
Am not I here to take thy part?
Then what has quail'd thy stubborn heart?
Have these bones rattled and this head
So often in thy quarrel bled?
Nor did I ever winch or grudge it
For thy dear sake. Quoth she, Mum, budget.
Think'st thou t'will not be laid i' th' dish
Thou turn'd'st thy back? Quoth Echo, Pish.
To run from those th' hadst overcome
Thus cowardly? Quoth Echo, Mum.
But what a vengeance makes thee fly
From me too, as thine enemy?
Or, if thou hast no thought of me,
Nor what I have endur'd for thee,
Yet shame and honour might prevail
To keep thee thus from turning tail:
For who would grutch to spend his blood in
His honour's cause? Quoth she, a Puddin.
This said, his grief to anger turn'd,
Which in his manly stomach burn'd;
Thirst of revenge, and wrath, in place
Of sorrow now began to blaze.
He vow'd the authors of his wo
Should equal vengeance undergo,
And with their bones and flesh pay dear
For what he suffer'd, and his Bear.
This being resolv'd, with equal speed
And rage he hasted to proceed
To action straight, and giving o'er
To search for Bruin any more,
He went in quest of Hudibras,
To find him out where'er he was;
And, if he were above ground, vow'd,
He'd ferret him, lurk where he wou'd.
But scarce had he a furlong on
This resolute adventure gone,
When he encounter'd with that crew
Whom Hudibras did late subdue.
Honour, revenge, contempt, and shame,
Did equally their breasts inflame.
'Mong these the fierce Magnano was
And Talgol, foe to Hudibras ;
Cerdon and Colon, warriors stout,
And resolute, as ever fought;

Whom furious Orsin thus bespoke:
Shall we (quoth he) thus basely brook
The vile affront that paltry ass,
And feeble scoundrel, Hudibras,
With that more paltry ragamuffin,
Ralpho, with vapouring and huffing,
Have put upon us, like tame cattle,
As if th' had routed us in battle?
For my part, it shall ne'er be said
I for the washing gave my head:
Nor did I turn my back for fear
O' th' rascals, but loss of my Bear,
Which now I'm like to undergo;
For whether these fell wounds, or no,
He has receiv'd in fight, are mortal,
Is more than all my skill can foretel;
Nor do I know what is become
Of him, more than the Pope of Rome.
But if I can but find them out
That caus'd it (as I shall no doubt,
Where'er they in hugger-mugger lurk)
I'll make them rue their handy work,
And wish that they had rather dar'd
To pull the devil by the beard.

Quoth Cerdon, Noble Orsin, th' hast
Great reason to do as thou say'st,
And so has ev'ry body here,
As well as thou hast, or thy Bear:
Others may do as they see good;
But if this twig be made of wood
That will hold tack, I'll make the fur
Fly 'bout the ears of that old cur,
And the other mongrel vermin, Ralph,

That brav'd us all in his behalf.

Thy Bear is safe, and out of peril,

Though lugg'd indeed, and wounded very ill;
Myself and Trulla made a shift

To help him out at a dead lift;
And having brought him bravely off,
Have left him where he's safe enough:
There let him rest; for if we stay,
The slaves may hap to get away.

This said, they all engag'd to join
Their forces in the same design,
And forthwith put themselves in search
Of Hudibras upon their march:
Where leave we them awhile, to tell
What the victorious Knight befel;
For such, Crowdero being fast
In dungeon shut, we left him last.
Triumphant laurels seem'd to grow
No where so green as on his brow.
Laden with which, as well as tir'd
With conqu'ring toil, he now retir'd
Unto a neighb'ring castle by,
To rest his body, and apply

Fit med'cines to each glorious bruise
He got in fight, reds, blacks, and blues;
To mollify th' uneasy pang

Of ev'ry honourable bang,
Which being by skilful midwife drest,
He laid him down to take his rest.


There was an ancient sage philosopher
That had read Alexander Ross over,
And swore the world, as he could prove,
Was made of fighting and of love.
Just so romances are, for what else
Is in them all but love and battles?

O' th' first of these w' have 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 valours,
Just like the manhood of nine tailors:
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 destroyed.
For when a giant's slain in fight,

And mow'd o'erthwart, or cleft downright;
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 being 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 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 Indian Britons were from Penguins.

So let them be, 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 dire Pharsalian plain, where battle
Was to be wag'd 'twixt puissant cattle,
And fierce auxiliary men,

That came to aid their bretheren;
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 farther off, much farther he,
Rais'd on his aged beast, could see;
Yet not sufficient to descry
All postures of the enemy:

Wherefore he bids the squire ride further,
Tobserve 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' th' 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, ere they are sodden,

« PreviousContinue »