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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,
H’ was very shy of using it,
As being loth to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holy-days, or so,
As men their best apparel do.
Besides, '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.
He was in logic a great critic, Profoundly skill'd 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 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 ['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 talk'd like other folk;
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
But, when he pleas'd to show 't, his speech,
In loftiness of sound, was rich;
A Babylonish dialect,
Which learned pedants much affect;
It was a particolorid dress
of patch'd and pieball’d languages;
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
Like fastian heretofore on satin :
It had an old promiscuous tone,
As if h’ had talk'd 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.3
For his religion, it was fits
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 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 inclin'd 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 minc'd 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 the advowson of his conscience.
Thus was he gifted and accoutred,
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 dye 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,
Its own grave and the state's were made.
1 “ For dame Religion, as for punk.”-An old word for prostitute.
?" A calf an alderman, a goose a justice.”-As this is the only line overrunning the measure of the poem, and its length not put all necessary, I think it probable Butler wrote
A calf an alderman, goose justice.
3“ A leash of languages.”—How happy a word is this leash which means at once three in number, and a band for a dog.
4“ Erra Pater.”—The name of an obscure old astrologer applied in those days to the impostor Lilly.
5“ For his religion,” &c.- Most admirable is this description of the assumptions, perversities, and egotisms, of a fanatical creed, which identifies its will and pleasure with God's, and betrays its pretended morals and selfdenial by the most barbarous kind of self-indulgence. Nothing can surpass the subtle pungency of worshipping God “for spite,” or that of the exquisite, never-tobe-sufficiently repeated couplet,
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to.
6" Quarrel mith minc'd pies,” &c.—The Puritans set their faces against good cheer, particularly at Christmas. You were to be as uncomfortable as themselves, on pain of being denounced by
SAINTSHIP versus CONSCIENCE.
“ Why didst thou choose that cursed sin,
Hypocrisy, to set up in ?”
“ Because it is the thriving'st calling,
The only saints' bell that rings all in ;
In which all churches are concern'd,
And is the easiest to be learn'd.
Quoth he, “I am resolv'd to be
Thy scholar in this mystery ;
And therefore first desire to know
Some principles on which you go.-
What makes a knave a child of God,
And one of us ?”—“A livelihood.”
“What renders beating out of brains,
And murder godliness p"" Great gains.”
“ What's tender conscience?"_“ 'Tis a botch
That will not bear the gentlest touch;
But, breaking out, despatches more
Than th' epidemical'st plague-sore.”
“ What makes y encroach upon our trade,
And damn all others ?”—“ To be paid.”
“ What's orthodox and true believing
Against a conscience ?”—“A good living."
“What makes rebelling against kings
A good old cause _" Administrings."
“ What makes all doctrines plain and clear you “ About two hundred pounds a year.”
“And that which was prov'd true before, Prove false again ?* Two hundred more.”
“What makes the breaking of all oaths A holy duty ?”—“ Food and clothes.”
“What, laws and freedom, persecution?" “ Being out of power and contribution.”
“ What makes a church a den of thieves ?"“ A dean and chapter, and white sleeves."
“ And what would serve, if these were gone
To make it orthodox ?"_" Our own."
“ What makes morality a crime,
The most notorious of the time ;
Morality, which both the saints
And wicked too cry out against ?”
“'Cause grace and virtue are within
Prohibited degrees of kin ;
And therefore no true saint allows
They shall be suffer'd to espouse."
1- What makes rebelling against kings
A good old cause?”—“ Administrings.' Administrings were powers given by the law to appropriate the goods of persons dying intestate.
Nothing was ever wittier or better written than the whole of the passage here following, particularly the first and last four lines. I have closed the extract with the latter, in order to give it its best effect; otherwise the author goes on