Imatges de pÓgina


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 thereof was whey,
The nether, orange, mix'd with gray.
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.
Like Samson's heart-breakers, it grew
In time to make a nation rue;
Though it contributed its own fall,
To wait upon the public downfall;
It was monastic, and did grow
In holy orders by strict vow;
Of rule as sullen and severe,
As that of rigid Cordelier;
'Twas bound to suffer persecution
And martyrdom with resolution;
T'oppose itself against the hate
And vengeance of th' incensed state,
In whose defiance it was worn,
Still ready to be pull'd and torn;
With red-hot irons to be tortur'd,
Revil'd, and spit upon, and martyr'd;
Maugre all which 'twas to stand fast
As long as monarchy should last;
But when the state should hap to reel,
'Twas to submit to fatal steel,
And fall, as it was consecrate,

A sacrifice to fall of state;

Whose thread of life the fatal sisters

Did twist together with its whiskers,

And twine so close, that Time should never,

In life or death, their fortunes sever;

But with his rusty sickle mow

Both down together at a blow.

His doublet was of sturdy buff,

And though not sword, yet cudgel proof;
Whereby 'twas fitter for his use,

Who fear'd no blows but such as bruise.

His breeches were of rugged woollen,
And had been at the siege of Bullen;
To old king Harry so well-known,
Some writers held they were his own;
Though they were lin'd with many a piece
Of ammunition, bread and cheese,
And fat black puddings, proper food

For warriors that delight in blood;

For, as we said, he always chose
To carry victual in his hose,
That often tempted rats and mice
Th' ammunition to surprise;

And when he put a hand but in
The one or t' other magazine,

They stoutly on defence on 't stood

And from the wounded foe drew blood;

And till they were storm'd and beaten out,

Ne'er left the fortified redoubt;

And though knights-errant, as some think,
Of old did neither eat nor drink,
Because when thorough deserts vast,
And regions desolate they pass'd,
When belly-timber above ground,
Or under, was not to be found,

Unless they graz'd, there's not one word
Of their provision on record;
Which made some confidently write
They had no stomachs but to fight.
'Tis false; for Arthur wore in hall
Round table like a farthingal;

On which, with shirt puff'd out behind,
And eke before, his good knights din'd;
Though 'twas no table some suppose,
But a huge pair of round trunk hose,
In which he carried as much meat

As he and all the knights could eat;
When laying by their swords and truncheons,
They took their breakfasts or their luncheons.

But let that pass at present, lest
We should forget where we digress'd,

As learned authors use, to whom
We leave it, and to the purpose come.
His puissant sword unto his side,
Near his undaunted heart, was tied,
With basket hilt that would hold broth,
And serve for fight and dinner both;
In it he melted lead for bullets

To shoot at foes, and sometimes pullets,
To whom he bore so fell a grutch,
He ne'er gave quarter t' any such.
The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting, was grown rusty,
And ate into itself, for lack

Of some body to hew and hack:

The peaceful scabbard where it dwelt,
The rancour of its edge had felt;
For of the lower end two handful
It had devoured, it was so manful,
And so much scorn'd to lurk in case,
As if it durst not show its face.

In many desperate attempts
Of warrants, exigents, contempts,

It had appear'd with courage bolder
Than Serjeant Bum invading shoulder:
Oft had it ta'en possession,

And prisoners too, or made them run.
This sword a dagger had his page,
That was but little for his age;
And therefore waited on him so
As dwarfs upon knights-errant do:
It was a serviceable dudgeon,
Either for fighting, or for drudging:
When it had stabb'd or broke a head,
It would scrape trenches, or chip bread;
Toast cheese or bacon, though it were
To bait a mouse trap, would not care:
'Twould make clean shoes, and in the earth
Set leeks and onions, and so forth:
It had been 'prentice to a brewer,
Where this and more it did endure,
But left the trade as many more
Have lately done on the same score.


When civil dudgeon first grew high

And men fell out, they knew not why:
When hard words, jealousies, and fears,

Set folks together by the ears,

And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
For Dame Religion as for punk;

Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore:

When gospel-trumpeter, surrounded

With long-ear'd rout, to battle sounded,

And pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,

Was beat with fist, instead of a stick:
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling,

And out he rode a-colonelling.

A wight he was, whose very sight would
Entitle him, mirror of knighthood;
That never bow'd his stubborn knee

To any thing but chivalry;

Nor put up blow, but that which laid
Right-worshipful on shoulder blade:
Chief of domestic knights and errant,
Either for chartel or for warrant:
Great on the bench, great on the saddle,
That could as well bind o'er, as swaddle:
Mighty he was at both of these,
And styl'd of war as well as peace.
(So some rats of amphibious nature,
Are either for the land or water.)
But here our authors make a doubt,
Whether he were more wise or stout;
Some hold the one, and some the other:
But howsoe'er they make a pother,

The diff'rence was so small, his brain
Outweigh'd his rage but half a grain:
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,

He was very shy of using it;

As being loath to wear it out,
And, therefore, bore it not about;
Unless on holydays or so,

As men their best apparel do;

Beside, 'tis known he could speak Greek

As naturally as pigs squeak;

That Latin was no more difficile,

Than for 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.

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A hair 'twixt south and south-west 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

I' the 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 party-colour'd dress

Of patch'd and piebald languages;

'T was English cut on Greek and Latin, Like fustian heretofore on satin.

It had an odd promiscuous tone,

As if he had talk'd three parts in one;

Which made some think, when he did gabble,
Th' had heard three labourers of Babel;
Or Cerberus himself pronounce

A leash of languages at once.
This he as volubly would vent

As if his stock would ne'er be spent;
And truly to support that charge,
He had supplies as vast and large:
For he would coin or counterfeit
New words with little or no wit:
Words so debas'd and hard, no stone
Was hard enough to touch them on:
And when with hasty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em;

That had the orator, who once

Did fill his mouth with pebble-stones
When he harangu'd, but known his phrse,

He would have us'd no other ways.


For his religion, it was fit

To match his learning and his wit.

'T was 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;

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