Hudibras/Part 1/Canto 2
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PART I.CANTO II.
PART I.CANTO II.
HERE 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 5
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 injured right,
We mean in what concerns just fight. 10
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 do a whole stree raze, 15
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, 20
Composed 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 25
His wit, his beauty, and his spirit;
As if just so much he enjoy'd,
As in another is destroy'd:
For when a giant's slain in fight,
And mow'd o'erthwart, or cleft downright, 30
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 tell35
The naked truth of what befell.
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, 40
And never coin a formal lie on't,
To make the Knight o'ercome the giant.
This b'ing profest, we've hopes enough,
And now go on where we left off.
They rode, but authors having not 45
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; 50
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 bandied balls,55
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. 60
So let them be, and, as I was saying.
They their live engines plied, not staying
Until they reach' d the fatal champaign
Which th' enemy did then encamp on;
The dire Pharsalian plain, where battle 65
Was to be waged 'twixt puissant cattle,
And fierce auxiliary men,
That came to aid their brethren;
Who now began to take the field,
As knight from ridge of steed beheld. 70
For, as our modern wits behold,
Mounted a pick-back on the old,
Much further off; much further he
Rais'd on his aged beast, could see;
Yet not sufficient to descry 75
All postures of the enemy;
Wherefore he bids the squire ride further.
T' observe their numbers, and their order;
That when their motions he had known,
He might know how to fit his own. 80
Meanwhile he stopp'd his willing steed,
To fit himself for martial deed:
Both kinds of metal he prepared,
Either to give blows, or to ward;
Courage and steel, both of great force, 85
Prepared for better, or for worse.
His death-charged pistols he did fit well,
Drawn out from life-preserving vittle;
These being primed, with force he labour'd
To free's blade from retentive scabbard; 90
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, raised upon his desp'rate foot, 95
On stirrup-side he gazed about,
Portending blood, like blazing star,
The beacon of approaching war.
The Squire advanced with greater speed
Than could b' expected from his steed; 100
But far more in returning made;
For now the foe he had survey'd,
Ranged, as to him they did appear,
With van, main battle, wings, and rear.
I' th' head of all this warlike rabble, 105
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; 110
For if a trumpet sound, or drum beat,
Who has not a month's mind to combat?
A squeaking engine he applied
Unto his neck, on north-east side,
Just where the hangman does dispose, 115
To special friends, the fatal noose:
For 'tis great grace, when statesmen straight
Despatch a friend, let others wait.
His warped ear hung o'er the strings,
Which was but souse to chitterlings: 120
For guts, some write, ere they are sodden,
Are fit for music, or for pudden;
From whence men borrow every kind
Of minstrelsy, by string or wind.
His grisly beard was long and thick, 125
With which he strung his fiddle-stick;
For he to horse-tail scorn'd to owe
For what on his own chin did grow.
Chiron, the four-legg'd bard, had both
A beard and tail of his own growth; 130
And yet by authors 'tis averr'd,
He made use only of his beard.
In Staffordshire, where virtuous worth
Does raise the minstrelsy, not birth:
"Where bulls do choose the boldest king  135
And ruler o'er the men of string;
As once in Persia, 'tis said,
Kings were proclaim'd b' a horse that neigh'd;
He, bravely vent'ring at a crown,
By chance of war was beaten down, 40
And wounded sore: his leg, then broke,
Had got a deputy of oak;
For when a shin in fight is cropt,
The knee with one of timber's propt,
Esteem'd more honourable than the other, 145
And takes place, tho' the younger brother.
Next march'd brave Orsin, famous for
Wise conduct, and success in war;
A skilful leader, stout, severe,
Now marshal to the champion bear. 150
With truncheon tipp'd with iron head,
The warrior to the lists he led;
With solemn march, and stately pace,
But far more grave and solemn face;
Grave as the Emperor of Pegu, 155
Or Spanish potentate, Don Diego.
This leader was of knowledge great,
Either for charge, or for retreat:
Knew when t' engage his bear pell-mell,
And when to bring him off as well. 160
So lawyers, lest the bear defendant,
And plaintiff dog, should make an end on't,
Do stave and tail with writs of error,
Reverse of judgment, and demurrer,
To let them breathe awhile, and then 165
Cry whoop, and set them on again.
As Romulus a wolf did rear,
So he was dry-nursed by a bear,
That fed him with the purchased prey
Of many a fierce and bloody fray; 170
Bred up, where discipline most rare is,
In military garden Paris:
For soldiers heretofore did grow
In gardens, just as weeds do now,
Until some splay-foot politicians 175
T' Apollo offer'd up petitions,
For licensing a new invention
They'd found out, of an antique engine
To root out all the weeds, that grow
In public gardens, at a blow, 180
And leave th' herbs standing. Quoth Sir Sun,
My friends, that is not to be done.
Not done? quoth Statesmen: Yes, an't please ye,
When 'tis once known you'll say 'tis easy.
Why then let's know it, quoth Apollo. 185
We'll beat a drum, and they'll all follow.
A drum! quoth Phœbus; Troth, that's true,
A pretty invention, quaint and new:
But tho' of voice and instrument
We are th' undoubted president, 190
We such loud music do not profess;
The devil's master of that office,
Where it must pass; if 't be a drum,
He'll sign it with Cler. Parl. Dom. Com.
To him apply yourselves, and he 195
Will soon despatch you for his fee.
They did so, but it proved so ill,
They'ad better let 'em grow there still.
But to resume what we discoursing
Were on before, that is, stout Orsin; 200
That which so oft by sundry writers,
Has been applied t' almost all fighters,
More justly may b' ascribed to this
Than any other warrior, viz.
None ever acted both parts bolder, 205
Both of a chieftain and a soldier.
He was of great descent, and high
For splendour and antiquity,
And from celestial origine,
Derived himself in a right line. 210
Not as the ancient heroes did,
Who, that their base births might be hid,
Knowing they were of doubtful gender,
And that they came in at a windore,
Made Jupiter himself, and others 215
O' th' gods, gallants to their own mothers,
To get on them a race of champions,
Of which old Homer first made lampoons.
Arctophylax, in northern sphere,
Was his undoubted ancestor; 220
From whom his great forefathers came,
And in all ages bore his name:
Learned he was in med'c'nal lore,
For by his side a pouch he wore,
Replete with strange hermetic powder, 225
That wounds nine miles point-blank would solder;
By skilful chymist, with great cost,
Extracted from a rotten post;
But of a heav'nlier influence
Than that which mountebanks dispense; 230
Tho' by Promethean fire made,
As they do quack that drive that trade.
For as when slovens do amiss
At others' doors, by stool or piss,
The learned write, a red-hot spit 235
Being prudently applied to it,
Will convey mischief from the dung
Unto the breech that did the wrong;
So this did healing, and as sure
As that did mischief, this would cure. 240
Thus virtuous Orsin was endued
With learning, conduct, fortitude
Incomparable; and as the prince
Of poets, Homer, sung long since,
A skilful leech is better far, 245
Than half a hundred men of war;
So he appear'd, and by his skill,
No less than dint of sword, could kill.
The gallant Bruin march' d next him,
With visage formidably grim, 250
And rugged as a Saracen,
Or Turk of Mahomet's own kin,
Clad in a mantle de la guerre
Of rough, impenetrable fur; 255
And in his nose, like Indian king,
He wore, for ornament, a ring;
About his neck a threefold gorget,
As rough as trebled leathern target;
Armed, as heralds cant, and langued,
Or, as the vulgar say, sharp-fanged: 260
For as the teeth in beasts of prey
Are swords, with which they fight in fray,
So swords, in men of war, are teeth,
Which they do eat their victual with.
He was by birth, some authors write, 265
A Russian, some a Muscovite,
And 'mong the Cossacks had been bred,
Of whom we in diurnals read.
That serve to fill up pages here,
As with their bodies ditches there. 270
Scrimansky was his cousin-german,
With whom he served, and fed on vermin;
R. Cooper sculpr.
VINCENT LE BLANC.
From a Print prefixed to his Travels 1660
And, when these fail'd, he'd suck his claws,
And quarter himself upon his paws.
And tho' his countrymen, the Huns, 275
Did stew their meat between their bums
And th' horses' backs o'er which they straddle,
And every man ate up his saddle;
He was not half so nice as they,
But ate it raw when't came in's way. 280
He had traced countries far and near,
More than Le Blanc the traveller;
Who writes, he 'spoused in India,
Of noble house, a lady gay,
And got on her a race of worthies, 285
As stout as any upon earth is.
Full many a fight for him between
Talgol and Orsin oft had been.
Each striving to deserve the crown
Of a saved citizen; the one 290
To guard his bear, the other fought
To aid his dog; both made more stout
By sev'ral spurs of neighbourhood,
Church-fellow-membership, and blood;
But Talgol, mortal foe to cows, 295
Never got ought of him but blows;
Blows hard and heavy, such as he
Had lent, repaid with usury.
Yet Talgol was of courage stout,
And vanquish'd oft'ner than he fought; 300
Inured to labour, sweat, and toil,
And like a champion, shone with oil.
Right many a widow his keen blade,
And many fatherless, had made.
He many a boar and huge dun-cow 305
Did, like another Guy, o'erthrow;
But Guy, with him in fight compared,
Had like the boar or dun-cow fared.
With greater troops of sheep h' had fought
Than Ajax, or bold Don Quixote; 310
And many a serpent of fell kind,
With wings before, and stings behind,
Subdued; as poets say, long agone,
Bold Sir George St George did the dragon.
Nor engine, nor device polemic, 315
Disease, nor doctor epidemic,
Tho' stored with deletery med'cines,
Which whosoever took is dead since,
E'er sent so vast a colony
To both the under worlds as he. 320
For be was of that noble trade
That demi-gods and heroes made,
Slaughter, and knocking on the head.
The trade to which they all were bred;
And is, like others, glorious when 325
'Tis great and large, but base, if mean:
The former rides in triumph for it,
The latter in a two-wheel'd chariot,
For daring to profane a thing
So sacred, with vile bungle-ing. 330
Next these the brave Magnano came,
Magnano, great in martial fame;
Yet, when with Orsin he waged fight,
'Tis sung he got but little by't:
Yet he was fierce as forest boar, 335
Whose spoils upon his back he wore,
As thick as Ajax' seven-fold shield,
"Which o'er his brazen arms he held;
But brass was feeble to resist
The fury of his armed fist; 340
Nor could the hardest iron hold out
Against his blows, but they would through't.
In magic he was deeply read.
As he that made the brazen head;
Profoundly skill'd in the black art, 345
As English Merlin, for his heart;
But far more skilful in the spheres,
Than he was at the sieve and shears.
He could transform himself to colour,
As like the devil as a collier; 350
As like as hypocrites in show
Are to true saints, or crow to crow.
Of warlike engines he was author,
Devised for quick despatch of slaughter:
The cannon, blunderbuss, and saker, 355
He was th' inventor of, and maker:
The trumpet and the kettle-drum
Did both from his invention come.
He was the first that e'er did teach
To make, and how to stop, a breach. 360
A lance he bore with iron pike,
Th' one half would thrust, the other strike;
And when their forces he had join'd,
He scorn'd to turn his parts behind.
He Trulla loved, Trulla, more bright 365
Than burnish'd armour of her knight;
A bold virago, stout, and tall,
As Joan of France, or English Mall.
R. Cooper sculpr.
MARY FRITH alias MALL CUTPURSE.
From a rare Print prefixed to her Life, 1662
Through perils both of wind and limb,
Through thick and thin she follow'd him 370
In every adventure h' undertook;
And never him, or it forsook.
At breach of wall, or hedge surprise,
She shared i' th' hazard, and the prize:
At beating quarters up, or forage, 375
Behaved herself with matchless courage;
And laid about in fight more busily
Than th' Amazonian Dame Penthesile.
And tho' some critics here cry Shame,
And say our authors are to blame, 380
That; spite of all philosophers,
Who hold no females stout but bears,
And heretofore did so abhor
That women should pretend to war,
They would not suffer the stout'st dame 385
To swear by Hercules his name;
Make feeble ladies, in their works,
To fight like termagants and Turks;
To lay their native arms aside,
Their modesty, and ride astride; 390
To run a-tilt at men, and wield
Their naked tools in open field;
As stout Armida, bold Thalestris,
And she that would have been the mistress
Of Gondibert, but he had grace, 395
And rather took a country lass:
They say 'tis false, without all sense
But of pernicious consequence
To government, which they suppose
Can never be upheld in prose; 400
Strip nature naked to the skin,
You'll find about her no such thing.
It may be so, yet what we tell
Of Trulla, that's improbable,
Shall be deposed by those have seen't, 405
Or, what's as good, produced in print;
And if they will not take our word,
We'll prove it true upon record.
The upright Cerdon next advanc't,
Of all his race the valiant'st; 410
Cerdon the Great, renown'd in song,
Like Herc'les, for repair of wrong:
He raised the low, and fortified
The weak against the strongest side.
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
On him in muses' deathless writ.
He had a weapon keen and fierce,
That thro' a bull-hide shield would pierce,
And cut it in a thousand pieces,
Tho' tougher than the Knight of Greece his, 420
With whom his black-thumb'd ancestor
Was comrade in the ten years' war:
For when the restless Greeks sat down
So many years before Troy town,
And were renown'd, as Homer writes, 425
For well-soled boots no less than fights;
They owed that glory only to
His ancestor, that made them so.
Fast friend he was to Reformation,
Until 'twas worn quite out of fashion; 430
Next rectifier of wry law,
And would make three to cure one flaw.
Learned he was, and could take note,
Transcribe, collect, translate, and quote:
But preaching was his chiefest talent, 433
Or argument, in which being valiant,
He used to lay about, and stickle,
Like ram or bull at conventicle:
For disputants, like rams and bulls,
Do fight with arms that spring from skulls. 440
Last Colon came, bold man of war,
Destined to blows by fatal star;
Right expert in command of horse,
But cruel, and without remorse.
That which of Centaur long ago 445
Was said, and has been wrested to
Some other knights, was true of this:
He and his horse were of a piece.
One spirit did inform them both,
The self-same vigour, fury, wrath; 450
Yet he was much the rougher part,
And always had the harder heart,
Altho' his horse had been of those
That fed on man's flesh, as fame goes.
Strange food for horse! and yet, alas! 455
It may be true, for flesh is grass.
Sturdy he was, and no less able
Than Hercules to cleanse a stable;
As great a drover, and as great
A critic too, in hog or neat. 460
He ripp'd the womb up of his mother,
Dame Tellus, 'cause he wanted fother,
And provender, wherewith to feed
Himself and his less cruel steed.
It was a question, whether he, 465
Or's horse, were of a family
More worshipful; till antiquaries,
After they'd almost pored out their eyes,
Did very learnedly decide
The business on the horse's side; 470
And proved not only horse, but cows,
Nay pigs, were of the elder house:
For beasts, when man was but a piece
Of earth himself, did th' earth possess.
These worthies were the chief that led 475
The combatants, each in the head
Of his command, with arms and rage
Ready and longing to engage.
The numerous rabble was drawn out
Of several countries round about, 480
From villages remote, and shires,
Of east and western hemispheres.
From foreign parishes and regions,
Of different manners, speech, religions,
Came men and mastiffs; some to fight 485
For fame and honour, some for sight.
And now the field of death, the lists,
Were enter'd by antagonists.
And blood was ready to be broach'd,
When Hudibras in haste approach'd, 490
With Squire and weapons to attack 'em;
But first thus from his horse bespake 'em:
"What rage, O Citizens! what fury
Doth you to these dire actions hurry?
"What œstrum, what phrenetic mood 495
Makes you thus lavish of your blood,
While the proud Vies your trophies boast,
And unrevenged walks ——— ghost?
What towns, what garrisons might you,
With hazard of this blood, subdue, 500
Which now ye're bent to throw away
In vain, untriumphable fray?
Shall saints in civil bloodshed wallow
Of saints, and let the Cause lie fallow?
The Cause, for which we fought and swore 505
So boldly, shall we now give o'er?
Then because quarrels still are seen
With oaths and swearings to begin.
The Solemn League and Covenant
Will seem a mere God-damme rant, 510
And we that took it, and have fought.
As lewd as drunkards that fall out.
For as we make war for the king
Against himself, the self-same thing
- 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.