Hudibras/Part 1/Canto 2
PART I. CANTO II.
PART I. CANTO II.
HERE was an ancient sage philosopher
Or wives, or children, so they can
We leave it, and go on, as now
For, as our modern wits behold,
The Squire advanced with greater speed
For guts, some write, ere they are sodden,
He, bravely vent'ring at a crown,
To let them breathe awhile, and then 165
A drum! quoth Phœbus; Troth, that's true,
To get on them a race of champions,
A skilful leech is better far, 245
R. Cooper sculpr.
VINCENT LE BLANC.
From a Print prefixed to his Travels 1660
And, when these fail'd, he'd suck his claws,
Right many a widow his keen blade,
For be was of that noble trade
Profoundly skill'd in the black art, 345
R. Cooper sculpr.
MARY FRITH alias MALL CUTPURSE.
From a rare Print prefixed to her Life, 1662
Through perils both of wind and limb,
To lay their native arms aside,
R. Cooper sculpr.
SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT.
From a Print by William Faithorne prefixed to his Works 1673.
Ill has he read, that never hit 415
Last Colon came, bold man of war,
Did very learnedly decide
"What œstrum, what phrenetic mood 495
- Butler's description of the combatants resembles the list of warriors in the Iliad and Æneid, and especially the laboured characters in the Theban war, both in Æschylus and Euripides. See Septem contra Thebas, v. 383; Supplices, v. 362; Phœnis. v. 1139.
- In the first edition this and the next two lines stand thus:
To whom the Knight does make a Speech,
And they defie him: after which
He fights with Talgol, routs the Bear,
- Empedocles, a Pythagorean philosopher and poet, held that, concord and discord were the two principles (one formative, the other destructive) which regulated the four elements that compose the universe. The great anachronism in these two celebrated lines increases the humour. Empedocles lived about 2100 years before Alexander Ross.
- Alexander Ross was a very voluminous writer, and chaplain to Charles the First. He wrote a "View of all Religions," which had a large sale; an answer to Sir Thomas Browne's Pseudoxia and Religio Medici; Commentaries on Hobbes; Mystagogus Poeticus, or the Muses' Interpreter; and many other works. Addison, in the Spectator, No. 60, says, he has heard these lines of Hudibras more frequently quoted than the finest pieces of wit in the whole poem, observing that the jingle of the double rhyme has something in it that tickles the ear.
- Mr Butler, in his MS. Common Place-book, says,
Love and fighting is the sum
Of all romances, from Tom Thumb
To Arthur, Gondibert, and Hudibras.
- Alluding, it is supposed, to the Protector Somerset, who, in the reign of Edward VI., pulled down two churches, part of St Paul's, and three bishops' houses, to build Somerset House in the Strand.
- In Carazan, a province of Tartary, Dr Heylin says, "they have an use, when any stranger comes into their houses of an handsome shape, to kill him in the night; that the soul of such a comely person might remain among them." See also Spectator, No. 126.
- Alluding probably to the case of Lord Capel and other brave cavaliers, whom the Independents "durst not let live."
- Their testes were supposed to furnish a medicinal drug of value. See Juvenal, Sat. xii. 1. 34. Browne's Vulgar Errors, III. 4.
- Tollutation is paring, or ambling, moving per latera, as Sir Thomas Browne says, that is, lifting both legs of one side together.
- Suceussation, or trotting, is lifting one foot before, and the cross foot behind.
- Alluding to the atomic theory. Democritus, Epicurus, &c., and some of the moderns likewise, as Des Cartes, Hobbes, and others, deny that there is a vital principle in animals, and maintain that life and sensation are generated from the contexture of atoms, and are nothing but local motion and mechanism. By which argument tops and balls in motion are presumed to be as much animated as dogs and horses.
- This is meant to ridicule the opinion adopted by Selden, that America had formerly been discovered by the Britons or Welsh; inferred from the similarity of some words in the two languages, especially Penguin, the British name of a bird with a white head, which in America signifies a white rock. Butler implies, that it is just as likely horses were derived from engines, as that the Britons came from Penguins. Mr Selden, in his note on Drayton's Polyolbion, says, that Madoc, brother to David ap Owen, Prince of Wales, made a sea-voyage to Florida, about the year 1170, and Humphry Llwyd, in his history of Wales, reports, that one Madoc, son of Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Wales, some hundred years before Columbus discovered the West Indies, sailed into those parts, and planted a colony; an idea which Southey has beautifully developed in his "Madoc."
- That is, Hudibras and his Squire spurred their horses.
- Alluding to Pharsalia, where Julius Cæsar gained his signal victory over Pompey the Great, of which see Lucan's Pharsalia.
- Ridiculing the disputes formerly subsisting between the advocates for ancient and modern learning. Sir William Temple observes: that as to knowledge, the moderns must have more than the ancients, because they have the advantage both of theirs and their own: which is commonly illustrated by a dwarf standing upon a giant's shoulders, and therefore seeing more and further than the giant.
- These two lines, 85 and 86, were in the later editions altered to—
Courage within and steel without,
To give and to receive a rout.
- The reader will remember how the holsters were furnished. See note at p. 19.
- Altered in later editions to—He cleared at length the rugged tuck.
- It will be seen at Canto i. line 407, that he had but one stirrup.
- Comets and Meteors were held to be portentous. See Spenser on Prodigies, 1658.
- In the original edition, these two lines were:—
Ralpho rode on with no less speed
Than Hugo in the forest did.
- The first two editions read:—
But with a great deal more return'd.
For now the foe he had discern'd.
- A nick-name, taken from the instrument he used: Crowde, a fiddle, from the Welsh crwth. The original of this character is supposed to be one Jackson a milliner, who lived in the New Exchange, in the Strand. He had lost a leg in the service of the Roundheads, and was reduced to the necessity of fiddling from one ale-house to another for his bread.
- Used ironically, for no very strong desire. It has been ingeniously conjectured that the term 'a month's mind' is derived from a woman's longing in her first month of gestation.
- It is difficult to say, why Butler calls the left the north-east side. Possibly it is a conceit suggested by the card of a mariner's compass; the north point, with its Fleur-de-lis representing Crowdero's head; and then the fiddle would be placed at the north-east, when played.
- The noose is usually placed under the left ear.
- Souse is the pig's ear, and chitterlings are the pig's guts; the former alludes to Crowdero's ear, which lay upon the fiddle; the latter to the strings of the fiddle, which are made of catgut.
- This whimsical notion is borrowed from a chapter 'de peditu,' in the Facetiæ Facetiarum, afterwards amplified in Dean Switft's Benefit of F—g explained, where Dr Blow is quoted as asserting in his 'Fundaments' of Music, that the first discovery of harmony was owing to persons of different sizes and sexes sounding different notes of music from their fundaments. An Essay equally whimsical, on the origin of wind-music, will be found in the Spectator, No. 361. An anonymous Essay on this subject is attributed to the Hon. C. J. Fox.
- Chiron the Centaur, who, besides being the most famous physician of his time, and teacher of Æsculapius, was an expert musician, and Apollo's governor. He now forms the Sagittarius of the Zodiac.
- The Minstrel's Charter and Ceremonies are given in Plott's Staffordshire, p. 436.
- This alludes to the custom of bull-running in the manor of Tutbury in Staffordshire, where was a charter granted by John of Gaunt, and confirmed by Henry VI., appointing a king of the minstrels, who was to have a bull for his property, which should be turned out by the prior of Tutbury, if his minstrels, or any one of them, could cut off a piece of his skin before he ran into Derbyshire; but if the bull got into that county sound and unhurt, the prior was to have his bull again. This custom, being productive of much mischief, was, at the request of the inhabitants and by order of the Duke of Devonshire, lord of the manor, discontinued about the year 1788.
- Darius, elected King of Persia, under the agreement of the seven princes, who met on horseback, that the crown should devolve on him whose horse neighed first. By the ingenious device of his groom, the horse of Darius was tho first to neigh, which secured the throne for his master. See the story at length in Herodotus, lib. iii.; and in Brand's Popular Antiquities (Bohn's Edit., vol. iii. p. 124).
- A person with a wooden leg generally puts that leg first in walking.
- Orsin is only a name for a bearward. See Ben Jonson's Masque of Augurs. The person intended is Joshua Gosling, who kept bears at Paris Garden, Southwark.
- See Purchas's Pilgrims, V. b. 5, c. 4, or Mandelso and Olearius's Travels.
- See Purchas's Pilgrims, also Lady's Travels into Spain (by the Countess D'Aunois) 2 vols. 12mo. London, 1722.
- In the original edition these lines were—
He knew when to fall on pell-mell,
To fall back and retreat as well.
- The comparison of a lawyer with a bearward is here kept up: the one parts his clients, and keeps them at bay by writ of error and demurrer, as the latter does the dogs and the bear, by interposing his staff or stave, and holding the dogs by the tails. The bitterness of the satire may be accounted for by the poet's having married a widow, whom he thought possessed of a great fortune; but being placed on bad security, perhaps through the unskilfulness or roguery of a lawyer, it was lost. In his MS. Common-place Book he says the lawyer never ends a suit, but prunes it, that it may grow the faster, and yield a greater increase of strife.
- That is, maintained by the profits derived by the exhibition of his bear. It probably alludes also, as Grey suggests, to Orson (in the story of Valentine and Orson), who was suckled by a bear.
- At Paris Garden, in Southwark, near the river-side, there was a circus, long noted for the entertainment of bear-baiting, which was forbidden in the time of the civil wars. The 'military garden' refers to a society instituted by James I., for training soldiers, who used to practise at Paris Garden.
- The whole passage, here a little inverted, by the satirist's humour, is taken from Boccalini's Advertisement from Parnassus, where the gardeners entreat Apollo, who had invented drums and trumpets by which princes could destroy their wild and rebellious subjects, to teach them some such easy method of destroying weeds.
- Apollo, after the fashion of chivalry, is here designated "Sir Sun." The expression is used by Sir Philip Sydney in Pembroke's Arcadia.
- During the civil wars, the Rump parliament granted patents for new inventions; these, and all other orders and ordinances, were signed by their clerk, with this addition to his name—Clerk of the Parliament House of Commons. Apollo sends the petitioners to that assembly, which he tells them is directed and governed by the devil, who will sanction the grant with the usual signature.
- The expedient of arming the discontented and unprincipled multitude is adventurous, and often proves fatal to the state.
- See Ion's address to his mother Creusa, when she had told him that he was son of Apollo. Euripides (Bohn's Transl. vol. ii. p. 121); also Spectator, p. 630.
- Wind-door is still the provincial term for "window."
- Butler makes the constellation Bootes—which lies in the rear of Ursa Major—the mythological ancestor of the bearward Orsin.
- Hermetic, i.e. chemical. The Hermetical philosophy was so called from Hermes Trismegistus.
- A banter on the famous sympathetic powder, which was to effect the cure of wounds at a distance, and was much in vogue in the reign of James the First. See Sir Kenelm Digby's "Discourse of the cure of wounds by the powder of sympathy." London, 1644.
- Useless powders in medicine are called powders of post.
- That is, heat of the sun. The story of Prometheus is very amusingly told by Dean Swift, in No. 14 of his 'Intelligeneer'.
- Still ridiculing the sympathetic powder. See Sir K. Digby's treatise, where the poet's story of the spit is seriously told.
- Thus in the first edition; altered in the later ones to "part."
- See Homer's Iliad, b. xi. line 514. Leech is the old Saxon term for physician.
- Sandys, in his Travels, observes, that the Turks are generally well complexioned, of good stature, except Mahomet's kindred, who are the most ill-favoured people upon earth, branded, perhaps, by God for the sin of their seducing ancestor.
- The Cossacks are a people living near Poland, on the borders of the Don, whence the term "Don Cossack." Grey derives that name from Cosa, the Polish for a goat, to which they are compared for their extraordinary nimbleness and wandering habits.
- The story of the Russian soldiers marching into the ditch at the siege of Schweidnitz is well known. The Cossacks had, in Butler's time, recently put themselves under the protection of Russia.
- Some favourite bear perhaps; or a caricatured Russian name.
- This fact is related by Ammianus Marcellinus. With such fare did Azim Khan entertain Jenkinson, and other Englishmen, in their Travels to the Caspian Sea from the river Volga. See Busbequius' Letters, Ep. iv.
- Le Blanc tells the story of Aganda, a king's daughter, who married a bear.
- He, who saved the life of a Roman citizen, was entitled to a civic crown; and so, says our author, were Talgol and Orsin, who fought hard to save the lives of their dogs and bears.
- Talgol was, we are told by Sir Roger L'Estrange, a butcher in Newgate Market, who afterwards obtained a captain's commission for his rebellious bravery at Naseby.
- The greasiness of a butcher compared with that of the Greek and Roman wrestlers, who anointed themselves with oil to make their joints supple.
- Guy, Earl of Warwick, one of whose valiant exploits was overcoming the dun-cow at Dunsmore-heath, in Warwickshire.
- Ajax, when mad with rage for having failed to obtain the armour of Achilles, attacked and slew a flock of sheep, mistaking them for the Grecian princes who had decided against him. In like manner Don Quixote encountered a flock of sheep, and imagined they were the giant Alifanfaron of Taprobana.
- Meaning the flies, wasps, and hornets, which prey upon the butchers' meat, and were killed by the valiant Talgol.
- Sir George, because tradition makes him a soldier as well as a saint. All heroes in romance have the appellation of Sir, as Sir Belianis of Greece, Sir Palmerin, &c. But there was a real Sir George St George, who in February, 1643, was made commissioner for the government of Connaught; and it is not improbable that this coincidence of names might strike the playful imagination of Mr Butler. It is whimsical too, that General George Monk (afterwards Sir George), in a collection of loyal songs, is said to have slain a most cruel dragon, meaning the Rump parliament. Or perhaps the poet might mean to ridicule the presbyterians, who refused even to call the apostles Peter and Paul saints, but in mockery called them Sir Peter, Sir Paul, &c.
- There is humour in joining the epithet epidemic to the doctor as well as the disease, intimating that there is no condition of the air more dangerous than the vicinity of a quack.
- Virgil, in his sixth Æneid, describes both the Elysian Fields and Tartarus as below, and not far asunder.
- Satirizing those that pride themselves on their military achievements. The general who massacres thousands is called great and glorious; the assassin who kills a single man is hanged at Tyburn.
- Julius Cæsar is said to have fought fifty battles, and to have killed of the Gauls alone eleven hundred ninety-two thousand men, and as many more in his civil wars. In the inscription which Pompey placed in the temple of Minerva, he professed that he had slain, or vanquished and taken, two millions one hundred and eighty-three thousand men.
- Simon Wait, a tinker, as famous an Independent preacher as Burroughs, who with equal blasphemy would style Oliver Cromwell the archangel giving battle to the devil.
- Meaning his budget made of pig's skin.
- The device of the brazen head, which was to speak a prophecy at a certain time, had by some been imputed to Grosse-tête, Bishop of Lincoln, as appears from the poet Gower; by others to Albertus Magnus. But the generality of writers, and our poet among the rest, have ascribed it to Roger Bacon, whose great knowledge caused him to be reputed a magician. Some, however, believe the story of the head to be nothing more than a moral fable.
- William Lilly the astrologer, who adopted the title of Merlinus Anglicus in some of his publications.
- The literal sense would be, that he was skilful in the heavenly spheres; that is, astrology; but a sphere is anything round, and the tinker's skill lay in mending pots and kettles, which are commonly of that shape. There was a kind of divination practised by means of a sieve, which was put upon the point of a pair of shears, and expected to turn round when the person or thing inquired after was named. This silly method of applying for information is mentioned by Theocritus, as Coscinomancy. (See Bohn's Transl. p. 19.)
- Alluding to a common proverb, "Like will to like, as the devil said to the collier." Handbook of Proverbs, p. 111.
- Tinkers are said to mend one hole, and make two.
- Trull is a low profligate woman, that follows the camp, or takes up with a strolling tinker. Trulla signifies the same in Italian. The person here alluded to was a daughter of James Spencer, debauched by Magnano the tinker.
- Joan of Arc, celebrated as the Maid of Orleans. English Moll was famous about the year 1670. Her real name was Mary Carlton; but she was more commonly known as Kentish Moll, or the German princess. She was transported to Jamaica in 1671; and being soon after discovered at large, was hanged at Tyburn, January 22, 1672-3. So far Dr Grey. Bp Percy thinks it more probable that Butler alluded to the valorous Mary Ambree, celebrated in a ballad, contained in his 'Reliques,' 2nd ser. book ii. But it is more likely than either, that he meant Moll Cutpurse (Mary Frith), to whom Shakspeare, Twelfth Night, Act ii. s. 3, alludes. See a long note on the subject in Johnson and Steevens' Shakspeare, edited by Isaac Reed, 1803, vol. v. pages 254–56, where Dr Grey's notion is expressly corrected. The life of Moll Cutpurse was printed in 1662, with a portrait of her, copied in Caulfield's "Remarkable Persons."
- Queen of the Amazons, killed by Achilles. In the first editions it is printed Pen-thesile. See her story in any Classical Dictionary.
- Men and women, among the Romans, did not use the same oath, or swear by the same deity. According to Macrobius, the men did not swear by Castor, nor the women by Hercules; but Edepol, or swearing by Pollux, was common to both.
- The word termagant now signifies a noisy and troublesome female. In Chaucer's rhyme of Sire Thopas, it appears to be the name of a deity. And Hamlet says (Act iii. sc. 2), "I would have such a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing Termagant, it out-herods Herod." Mr Tyrwhitt states that this Saracen deity is called Tervagan, in an old MS. romance in the Bodleian Library. Bishop Warburton observes, that this passage is a fine satire on the Italian epic poets, Ariosto, Tasso, and others; who have introduced their female warriors, and are followed in this absurdity by Spenser and Davenant.
- Camden says that Anne, wife of Richard II., daughter of the Emperor Charles IV., taught the English women the present mode of riding, about the year 1388; before which time they rode astride. And Gower, in a poem dated 1394, describing a company of ladies on horseback, says, "everich one ride on side."
- Two formidable women-at-arms, in romances, that were cudgelled into love by their gallants. See Classical Dictionary.
- It was the humble Birtha, daughter of the sage Astragon, who supplanted the princess Rhodalind in the affections of Gondibert.
- Butler loses no opportunity of rallying Sir William Davenant, who, in his preface to Gondibert, endeavours to show that government could not be upheld either by statesmen, divines, lawyers, or soldiers, without the aid of poetry.
- The vulgar imagine that everything which they see in print must be true.
- A one-eyed cobbler, and great reformer: there is an equivoque upon the word upright.
- Meaning that he supplied and pieced the heels, and strengthened a weak sole.
- That is, a sharp knife, with which he cut leather.
- The shield of Ajax. See Description of it in Iliad, v. 423 (Pope)
- According to the old distich:
The higher the plum-tree, the riper the plum;
The richer the cobbler, the blacker his thumb.
- "Well-greaved Achaeans: "the "greave" (κνημὶς) was armour for the legs, which Butler ludicrously calls boots. In allusion, no doubt, to a curious "Dissertation upon Boots "(in the Phœnix Britannicus, p. 268,) written in express ridicule of Col. Howson, and perhaps having in mind Alexander Ross, who says that Achilles was a shoemaker's boy in Greece, and had he not pawned his boots to Ulysses, would not have been pierced in the heel by Paris. In further illustration, the Shakspearian reader will remember Hotspur's punning reply to Owen Glendower's brag, "I sent thee bootless home," Henry IV. p. 1, Act iii. sc. 1.
- The encouragement of preaching by persons of every degree amongst the laity was one of the principal charges brought against the dominant party under the Commonwealth, by their opponents.
- Ned Perry, an ostler.
- The horses of Diomedes, king of Thrace, were said to have "been fed with human flesh, and that he himself was ultimately eaten by them, his dead body having been thrown to them by Hercules. The moral, perhaps, may be, that Diomedes was ruined by keeping his horses, as Actæon was said to be devoured by his dogs, because he was ruined by keeping them.
- A banter on the following passage in Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici: "All flesh is grass, not only metaphorically, but literally: for all those creatures we behold are but the herbs of the field digested into flesh in them, or more remotely carnified in ourselves," &c. See Works (Bohn's Edit. vol. ii. p. 317).
- Alluding to the fabulous story of Hercules, who cleansed the stables of Augeas, king of Elis, by turning the river Alpheus through them.
- This means no more than his ploughing the ground. A happy example of the magniloquence which belongs to mock epics.
- In a thanksgiving sermon preached before Parliament, on the taking of Chester, Mr Case said that there were no less than 180 new sects then in London, who propagated the "damnable doctrines of devils." And Mr Ford, in an assize sermon, stated "that in the little town of Reading, he was verily persuaded, if St Augustin's and Epiphanius's Catalogues of Heresies were lost, and all other modern and ancient records of the kind, yet it would be no hard matter to restore them, with considerable enlargements, from that place; that they have Anabaptism, Familism, Socinianism, Pelagianism, Ranting, and what not? and that the devil was served in heterodox assemblies, as frequently as God in theirs. And that one of the most eminent church-livings in that country was possessed by a blasphemer, in whose house he believed some of them could testify that the devil was as visibly familiar as any one of the family."
- Butler certainly had the following lines of Lucan in view (Phars. 1—8):
"What rage, citizens! has turned your swords
Against yourselves, and Latian blood affords
To envious foes?———"
- Œstrum is not only a Greek word for madness, but signifies also a gad-bee or horse-fly, which torments cattle in summer, and makes them run about as if they were mad.
- Vies, or Devizes, in Wiltshire. The blank should be filled up with Waller. This passage alludes to the defeat of Sir William Waller, by Wilmot, near that place, July 13, 1643. After the battle, Sir William was entirely neglected by his party. Clarendon calls it the battle of Roundway-down, and some in joke call it Runaway-down.
- The Romans never granted a triumph to the conqueror in a civil war.
- Walker, in his History of Independency, observes that all the cheating, ambitious, covetous persons of the land were united together under the title of 'the Godly,' 'the Saints,' and shared the fat of the land between them. He calls them "Saints who were canonized in the Devil's Calendar." The support of the discipline, or ecclesiastical regimen by presbyters, was called the Cause.
- "To secure the king's person from danger," says Lord Clarendon, "was an expression they were not ashamed always to use, when there was no danger that threatened, but what themselves contrived and designed against him." They not only declared that they fought for the king, but that the raising and maintaining of soldiers for their own army would be an acceptable service to the king, parliament, and kingdom. They insisted on a difference between the king's political and his natural person; and that his political must be, and was, with the Parliament, though his natural person was at war with them.