Hudibras/Part 2/Canto 1

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A grace which, if I could believe,675
I've not the conscience to receive.[1]
That conscience, quoth Hudibras,
Is misinform'd; I'll state the case.
A man may be a legal donor
Of anything whereof he's owner, 680
And may confer it where he lists,
I' th' judgment of all casuists:
Then wit, and parts, and valour may
Be ali'nated, and made away,
By those that are proprietors, 685
As I may give or sell my horse.
Quoth she, I grant the case is true,
And proper twixt your horse and you;
And whether L may take, as well
As yon may give away, or sell? 690
Buyers, you know, are bid beware;[2]
And worse than thieves receivers are,
How shall I answer Hue and Cry[3]
For a roan gelding, twelve hands high.[4]
All spurr'd and switch'd, a lock on's hoof,[5]695
A sorrel mane? Can I bring proof
Where, when, by whom, and what y' were sold for,
And in the open market toll'd for?[6]
Or, should I take you for a stray,
You must be kept a year and day,[7] 700

Ere I can own you, here i' th' pound.
Where, if ye're sought, you may be found;
And in the mean time I must pay
For all your provender and hay.
Quoth he, It stands me much upon 705
T' enervate this objection,
And prove myself, by topic clear,
No gelding, as you would infer.
Loss of virility's averr'd
To be the cause of loss of beard,[8]710
That does, like embryo in the womb,
Abortive on the chin become:
This first a woman did invent,
In envy of man's ornament:
Semiramis of Babylon,715
Who first of all cut men o' th' stone.[9]
To mar their beards, and laid foundation
Of sow-geldering operation:
Look on this beard, and tell me whether
Eunuchs wear such, or geldings either? 720
Next it appears I am no horse,
That I can argue and discourse,
Have but two legs, and ne'er a tail.
Quoth she, That nothing will avail;
For some philosophers of late here, 725
Write men have four legs by nature,[10]
And that 'tis custom makes them go
Erroneously upon but two;
As 'twas in Germany made good,
B' a boy that lost himself in a wood;730

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And, tho' a grandee of the house,
Claw'd him with fundamental blows;
Tied him stark naked to a bed-post.
And firk'd his hide, as if sh' had rid post:890
And after in the sessions' court,
Where whipping's judg'd, had honour for't?
This swear you will perforin, and then
I'll set you from th' enchanted den,
And the magician's circle, clear.895
Quoth he, 1 do profess and swear,
An-d will perform what you enjoin.
Or may I never see you mine.
Amen, quoth she, then turn'd about,
And bid her squire let him out.900
But ere an artist could be found
T' undo the charms another bound.
The sun grew low, and left the skies,
Put down, some write, by ladies' eyes.
The moon pull'd off her veil of light,905
That hides her face by day from sight.
Mvsterious veil, of brightness made,
That's both her lustre and her shade,
And in the lanthorn of the night,
With shining horns, hung out her light:910
For darkness is the proper sphere
Where all false glories use t' appear.








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The Knight and Squire in hot dispute,
Within an ace of falling out,
Are parted with a sudden fright
Of strange alarm, and stranger sight;
With which adventuring to stickle,
They're sent away in nasty pickle.



IS strange how some men’s tempers suit,

Like bawd and brandy, with dispute,"
That for their own opinions stand fast.
Only to have them claw" and canvast,
That keep their consciences in cases,” 4

As fiddlers do their crowds a
  1. Conscience is here used as a word of two syllables, and in the next line as three.
  2. See Caveat emptor! Dict. of Classical Quotations.
  3. Hue and Cry was the legal notice to a neighbourhood for pursuit of a felon. See Blackstone.
  4. This is a galling reflection upon the knight's abilities, his complexion, and his height, which the widow intimates was not more than four feet.
  5. There is humour in the representation which the widow makes of the knight, under the similitude of a roan gelding, supposed to be stolen, or to have strayed. Farmers often put locks on the fore-feet of their horses, to prevent their being stolen, and the knight had his feet fast in the stocks at the time.
  6. This alludes to the custom enjoined by two Acts, 2 & 3 Phil. and Mary, and 31 Eliz., of tolling horses at fairs, to prevent the sale of any that might have been stolen, and help the owners to the recovery of them.
  7. Estrays, or cattle which came astray, were cried on two market days, and in two adjoining market towns, and if not claimed within a year and a day, they became the property of the lord of the liberty (or manor).
  8. See the note on line 114 of this Canto.
  9. Semiramis, queen of Assyria, is reputed to be the first that invented eunuchs: Semiramis teneros mares castravit omnium prima (Am. Marcellinus, i, 24), which is thought to be somewhat strange in a lady of her constitution, who is said to have received horses into her embrace. But the poet means to laugh at Dr Bulwer, who in his Artificial Changeling, scene 21, has many strange stories; and in page 208, says, "Nature gave to mankind a beard, that I might remain an index in the face of the masculine generative faculty."
  10. Sir Kenelm Digby, in his book of Bodies, has the well-known story of the wild German boy, who went on all fours, was overgrown with hair, and lived among the wild beasts; the credibility and truth of which he endeavours to establish by several natural reasons. See also Tatler, No. 105.
  11. Sir Henry Mildmay's lady, were supposed to have exercised the same authority.' Sec History of Flagellants, p. 340, 8vc; and Loyal Songs, vol. ii. p. 68, and 58. '
  12. "Legislative blows," in the two first editions.
  13. In editions subsequent to 1734, we read: I'll free you from the enchanted den.
  14. So in the corrections at the end of vol. ii. of the second edition in 1664.
  15. * One of the romance writers' extravagant conceits.
  16. 5 The rays of the sun obsruro the moon by day, and enlighten it by night. This passage is extremely beautiful and poetical, showing, among many others, Butler's powers in serious poetry, if he had chosen that path.
  17. * Altered subsequently to—And in the night as freely shone. As if her rays had been her own.
  18. This and the following line were first inserted in the edition of 1671.
ey're bent

To play a fit for argument.
Make true and false, unjust and just.
Of no use but to be discust ; 10
Dispute and set a paradox,
Like a straight boot, upon the stocks,
And stretch if more unmercifully,
Than Helmont, Montaigue, White, or Tully.*

' That is, some men love disputing, az a bawd loves brandy.

  • A pun, or jeu de mots, on cases of conscivnee.
  • That is, their fiddles and violoncetlos,

' The old phrase was, to play a fit of mirth: the word fit often oceurs in ancient ballads and metrical romances; it is gencrally applied to music, and signifies a division or part, for the convenience of the performers.

5 That is, like a tight boot on a boot-tree,

® Van Ielmont (the elder) was an eminent physician and naturalist, a warm opposer of the principles of Aristotle and Galen, and an enthusiastic student of chemistry; born at Irussels, in 1588, and died 1604. Ilis son, horn in 1618, died 1609, was likewise versed in physic and chemistry, and celebrated for his puradoxes, Michnel de Montaigne was born at Porigord, of a good family, 1544, died 1592, He was carefully but fancifnlly edueated fey his father, awakened every morning by strains of soft music, tanght Latin hy conversation, aml Greek as an amusement. Ilis Essays, however delightful, contain abundance of paradoxes and whimsical reflections, Thomas White (or Albius) was a zealous champion of the Churelh of Rome and the Aristotelian philosophy, and wrote against Joseph Glanville, whe printed ir. London, 1665, 2 book entitled, Seepsis Seientifiea, or, Confessed Lenoranee the Way to Science, He also wrote in dofence of the peculiar notions of Sir Kenclm Digby, andis said to have heen fond of dangerous singularities. He died in 1676. For Tudly, whose character deos not answer to the text, Page:Hudibras - Volume 1 (Butler, Nash, Bohn; 1859).djvu/269 Page:Hudibras - Volume 1 (Butler, Nash, Bohn; 1859).djvu/270