Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

As wine, that with its own weight runs, is best, And counted much more noble than the prest; So is that poetry whose generous strains Flow without servile study, art, or pains.

Some call it fury, some a Muse, That, as possessing Devils use, Haunts and forsakes a man by fits, And when he 's in, he 's out of 's wits.

All writers, though of different fancies, Do make all people in romances, That are distress'd and discontent, Make songs, and sing to an instrument, And poets by their sufferings grow ; As if there were no more to do, To make a poet excellent, But only want and discontent.

It is not poetry that makes men poor; For few do write that were not so before ; And those that have writ best, had they been

rich,

Had ne'er been clapp'd with a poetic itch;
Had lov'd their ease too well to take the pains
To undergo that drudgery of brains;
But, being for all other trades unfit,
Only to avoid being idle, set up wit.

They that do write in others' praises, And freely give their friends their voices, Are not confin'd to what is true; That's not to give, but pay a due: For praise, that 's due, does give no more To worth, than what it had before; But to commend, without desert, Requires a mastery of art, That sets a gloss on what’s amiss, And writes what should be, not what is.

IN foreign universities, When a king 's born, or weds, or dies, Straight other studies are laid by, And all apply to poetry : Some write in Hebrew, some in Greek, And some, more wise, in Arabic, To avoid the critic, and th' expense Of difficulter wit and sense; And seem more learnedish than those That at a greater charge compose. The doctors lead, the students follow; Some call him Mars, and some Apollo, Some Jupiter, and give him th' odds, On even terms, of all the gods; Then Casar he 's nicknam’d, as duly as He that in Rome was christen’d Julius, And was address'd too by a crow, As pertinently, long ago; And, as wit goes by colleges, As well as standing and degrees, He still writes better than the rest, That's of the house that 's counted best.

FAR greater numbers have been lost by hopes Than all the magazines of daggers, ropes, And other ammunitions of despair, Were ever able to dispatch by fear.

There's nothing our felicities endears Like that which falls among our doubts and fears,

And in the miserablest of distress
Improves attempts as desperate with success;
Success, that owns and justifies all quarrels,
And vindicates deserts of hemp with laurels;
Or, but miscarrying in the bold attempt,
Turns wreaths of laurel back again to hemp.

The people have as much a negative voice To hinder making war without their choice, As kings of making laws in parliament; “No money" is as good as “No assent.”

When princes idly lead about, Those of their party follow suit, Till others trump upon their play, And turn the cards another way.

What makes all subjects discontent Against a prince's government, And princes take as great offence At subjects' disobedience, That neither th' other can abide, But too much reason on each side?

Authority is a disease and cure, Which men can neither want nor well endure.

DAME Justice puts her sword into the scales, With which she's said to weigh out true and false, With no design but, like the antique Gaul, To get more money from the capital.

ALL that which Law and Fquity misoalls By th' empty idle names of True and False, Is nothing else but maggots blown between False witnesses and falser iurymen. No court allows those partial interlopers Of Law and TQuity, two single paupers, To encounter hand to hand at bars, and trounce Each other gratis in a suit at once: For one at one time, and upon free cost, is Enough to play the knave and fool with Justice; And, when the one side bringeth custom in, And th' other lays out half the reckoning, The Devil himself will rather choose to play At paltry small-game than sit out, they say; But when at all there's nothing to be got, The old wife, Law and Justice, will not trot.

The law, that makes more knaves than e'er it hung, Little considers right or wrong; But, like authority, 's soon satisfy'd When 'tis to judge on its own side.

The law can take a purse in open court, Whilst it condemns a less delinquent for 't.

Who can deserve, for breaking of the laws, A greater penance than an honest cause 2

Ali, those that do but rob and steal enough, Are punishment and court-of-justice proof, And need not fear, nor be concern'd a straw, In all the idle bugbears of the law, But considently rob the gallows too, As well as other sufferers, of their due.

Old laws have not been suffer'd to be pointed, To leave the sense at large the more disjointed,

And furnish lawyers, with the greater ease, To turn and wind them any way they please. The statute law 's their scripture, and reports The ancient reverend fathers of their courts; Records their general councils; and decisions Of judges on the bench their sole traditions, For which, like catholics, they've greater awe, As th’ arbitrary and unwritten law, And strive perpetually to make the standard Of right between the tenant and the landlord; And, when two cases at a trial meet, That, like indentures, jump exactly fit, And all the points, like chequer-tallies, suit, The court directs the obstiuat'st dispute; There's no decorum us.'d of time, nor place, Nor quality, nor person, in the case.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

While humbler plants are found to wear
Their fresh green liveries all the year:
So, when the glorious season 's gone
With great men, and hard times come on,
The great'st calamities oppress
The greatest still, and spare the less.

As when a greedy raven sees A sheep entangled by the fleece, With hasty cruelty he flies To attack him, and pick out his eyes; So do those vultures use, that keep Poor prisoners fast like silly sheep, As greedily to prey on all That in their ravenous clutches fall: For thorns and brambles, that came in To wait upon the curse for sin, And were no part o' th' first creation, But, for revenge, a new plantation, Are yet the fitt'st materials To enclose the Earth with living walls. So jailors, that are most accurst, Are found most fit in being worst.

[blocks in formation]

But man delights to have his ears Blown maggots in by flatterers.

All wit does but divert men from the road In which things vulgarly are understood, And force Mistake and Ignorance to own A better sense than commonly is known.

IN little trades, more cheats and lying Are us'd in selling than in buying; But in the great, unjuster dealing Is us'd in buying than in selling.

All smatterers are more brisk and pert Than those that understand an art; As little sparkles shine more bright Than glowing coals, that give them light.

Law does not put the least restraint Upon our freedom, but maintain’t; Or, if it does, 'tis for our good, To give us freer latitude: For wholesome laws preserve us free, By stinting of our liberty.

The world has long endeavour'd to aduce Those things to practice that are of no use; And strives to practise things of speculation, And bring the practical to contemplation; And by that errour renders both in vain, By forcing Nature's course against the grain.

IN all the world there is no vice Less prone t'excess than avarice; It neither cares for food nor clothing: Nature 's content with little, that with nothing.

In Rome no temple was so low As that of Honour, built to show How humble honour ought to be, Though there 'twas all authority.

It is a harder thing for men to rate Their own parts at an equal estimate, Than cast up fractions, in th’ account of Heaven, Of time and motion, and adjust them even; For modest persons never had a true Particular of all that is their due.

Some people's fortunes, like a weft or stray, Are only gain'd by losing of their way.

As he that makes his mark is understood To write his name, and 'tis in law as good; So he, that cannot write one word of sense, Believes he has as legal a pretence To scribble what he does not understand, As idiots have a title to their land.

WERE Tully now alive, he 'd be to seek In all our Latin terms of art and Greek; Would never understand one word of sense The most irrefragable schoolman means: As if the schools design'd their terms of art Not to advance a science, but divert; As Hocus Pocus conjures, to amuse The rabble from observing what he does.

As 'tis a greater mystery, in the art of painting, to foreshorten any part

Than draw it out; so 'tis in books the chief Of all perfections to be plain and brief.

The man, that for his profit's bought to obey, Is only hird, on liking, to betray; And, when he's bid a liberaller price, Will not be sluggish in the work, nor nice.

Opiniators naturally differ From other men; as wooden legs are stiffer Than those of pliant joints, to yield and bow, Which way soe'er they are design'd to go.

NAVIGATION, that withstood The mortal fury of the Flood, And prov'd the only means to save All earthly creatures from the wave, Has, for it, taught the sea and wind To lay a tribute on mankind, That, by degrees, has swallow'd more Than all it drown'd at once before.

The prince of Syracuse, whose destin’d fate It was to keep a school and rule a state, Found, that his sceptre never was so aw’d, As when it was translated to a rod; And that his subjects ne'er were so obedient, As when he was inaugurated pedant: For to instruct is greater than to rule, And no command's so imperious as a school

As he, whose destiny does prove To dangle in the air above, Does lose his life for want of air, That only fell to be his share; So he, whom Fate at once design'd To plenty and a wretched mind, Is but condemn'd to a rich distress, And starves with niggardly excess.

The universal med'cine is a trick, That Nature never meant, to cure the sick, Unless by death, the singular receipt, To root out all diseases by the great: For universals deal in no one part Of Nature, nor particulars of Art; And therefore that French quack, that set up physic. Call'd his receipt a general specific. For, though in mortal poisons every one Is mortal universally alone, Yet Nature never made an antidote To cure them all as easy as they're got; Much less, among so many variations Of different maladies and complications, Make all the contrarieties in Nature Submit themselves to an equal moderator.

A convert's but a fly, that turns about, After his head 's pull'd off, to find it out.

All mankind is but a rabble, As silly and unreasonable As those that, crowding in the street, To see a show or monster, meet ; Of whom no one is in the right, Yet all fall out about the sight; And, when they chance to agree, the choice is Still in the most and worst of vices; And all the reasons that prevail Are measur'd, not by weight, but tale,

TRIPLETS UPON AWARICE...DESCRIPTION OF HOLLAND.

As, in all great and crowded fairs, Monsters and puppet plays are wares, Which in the less will not go off, Because they have not money enough; So men in princes’ courts will pass, That will not in another place.

Logicians use to clap a proposition, As justices do criminals, in prison, And, in as learn'd authentic nonsense, writ The names of all their moods and figures fit: For a logician 's one that has been broke To ride and pace his reason by the book, And by their rules, and precepts, and examples, To put his wits into a kind of trammels.

Those get the least that take the greatest pains, But most of all i' th' drudgery of brains; A natural sign of weakness, as an ant ls more laborious than an elephant; And children are more busy at their play, Than those that wisely'st pass their time away.

All the inventions that the world contains, Were not by reason first found out, nor brains; Bt pass for theirs who had the luck to light Upon them by mistake or oversight.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Acosmy that draws fifty foot of water, **hich men live as in the hold of Nature, ** when the sea does in upon them break, * drowns a province, does but spring a leak; That always piy the pump, and never think They can be safe, but at the rate they stink; That live as if they had been run aground, ** when they die, are cast away and drown'd; That dwell in ships, like swarms of rats, and prey "Pon the goods all nations' fleets convey; **hen their merchants are blown-up and crackt, Whole towns are cast away in storms, and wreckt; That feed, like cannibals, on other fishes, **rve their cousin-germans up in dishes:

A land that rides at anchor, and is moor'd,

la which they do not live, but go aboard.

227

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

In days of yore, when knight or squire
By Fate were summon'd to retire,
Some menial poet still was near,
To bear them to the hemisphere,
And there among the stars to leave them,
Until the gods sent to relieve them:
And sure our knight, whose very sight wou'd
Entitle him Mirror of Knighthood,
Should he neglected lie, and rot,
Stink in his grave, and be forgot,
Would have just reason to complain,
If he should chance to rise again;
And therefore, to prevent his dudgeon,
In mournful doggrel thus we trudge on.
Oh me! what tongue, what pen, can tell
How this renowned champion fell,
But must reflect, alas! alas!
All human glory fades like grass,
And that the strongest martial feats
Of errant knights are all but cheats |
Witness our knight, who sure has done
More valiant actions, ten to one,
Than of More-Hall the mighty More,
Or him that made the Dragon roar;
Has knock'd more men and women down
Than Bevis of Southampton town,

* Neither this elegy, nor the following epitaph, is to be found in The Genuine Remains of Butler, as published by Mr. Thyer. Both however having frequently been reprinted in The Posthumous Works of Samuel Butler, and as they, besides, relate to the hero of his particular poem, there needs no apology for their being thus preserved. Some other of the posthumous poems would not have disgraced their supposed author; but, as they are so positively rejected by Mr. Thyer, we have not ventured to admit them. N. .

Or than our modern heroes can,
To take them singly man by man.
No, sure, the grisly king of terrour -
Has been to blame, and in an errour,
To issue his dead-warrant forth
To seize a knight of so much worth,
Just in the nick of all his glory;
I tremble when I tell the story.
Oh! help me, help me, some kind Muse,
This surly tyrant to abuse,
Who, in his rage, has been so cruel
To rob the world of such a jewel !
A knight, more learned, stout, and good,
Sure ne'er was made of flesh and blood:
All his perfections were so rare,
The wit of man could not declare
Which single virtue, or which grace,
Above the rest had any place,
Or which he was most famous for,
The camp, the pulpit, or the bar;
Of each he had an equal spice,
And was in all so very nice,
That, to speak truth, th' account it lost,
In which he did excel the most.
When he forsook the peaceful dwelling,
And out he went a colonelling,
Strange hopes and fears possest the nation,
How he could manage that vocation,
Until he show'd it to a wonder,
How nobly he could fight and plunder.
At preaching, too, he was a dab,
More exquisite by far than Squab;
He could fetch uses, and infer,
Without the help of metaphor,
From any scripture text, howe'er
Remote it from the purpose were;
And with his fist, instead of a stick,
Beat pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,
Till he made all the audience weep,
Excepting those that fell asleep.
Then at the bar he was right able,
And could bind o'er as well as swaddle;
And famous, too, at petty sessions,
'Gainst thieves and whores, for long digressions,
He could most learnedly determine
To Bridewell, or the stocks, the vermin.
For his address and way of living,
All his behaviour, was so moving,
That, let the dame be ne'er so chaste,
As people say, below the waist,
If Hudibras but once came at her,
He'd quickly made her chaps to water;
Then for his equipage and shape,
On vestals they'd commit a rape;
Which often, as the story says,
Have made the ladies weep both ways.
Ill has he read, that never heard
How he with widow Tomson far’d,
And what hard conflict was between
Our knight and that insulting quean.
Sure captive knight ne'er took more pains,
For rhymes for his melodious strains,
Nor beat his brains, or made more faces,
To get into a jilt's good graces,
Than did sir Hudibras to get
Into this subtle gipsy's met;
Who, after all her high pretence
To modesty and innocence,
Was thought by most to be a woman
That to all other knights was common.

Hard was his fate in this, I own, Nor will I for the trapes atone; Indeed to guess I am not able, What made her thus inexorable, Unless she did not like his wit, Or, what is worse, his perquisite. Howe'er it was, the wound she gave The knight, he carry'd to his grave: Vile harlot! to destroy a knight, That could both plead, and pray, and fight. Oh! cruel, base, inhuman drab, To give him such a mortal stab, That made him pine away and moulder, As though that he had been no soldier: Could'st thou find no one else to kill, Thou instrument of Death and Hell ? But Hudibras, who stood the bears So oft against the cavaliers, And in the very heat of war Took stout Crowdero prisoner; And did such wonders all along, That far exceed both pen and tongue?

If he had been in battle slain, We 'ad had less reason to complain; But to be murder'd by a whore, Was ever knight so serv'd before ? But, since he's gone, all we can say, He chanc'd to die a lingering way; If he had liv'd a longer date, He might, perhaps, have met a fate More violent, and fitting for A knight so fam'd in civil war. To sum up all—from love and danger He 's now (O happy knight!) a stranger; And, if a Muse can aught foretell, His fame shall fill a chronicle, And he in after-ages be Of errant knights th' epitome.

HUDIBRASPS EPITAPH.

UNDER this stone rests Hudibras,
A knight as errant as e'er was ;
The controversy only lies,
Whether he was more stout than wise;
Nor can we here pretend to say,
Whether he best could fight or pray;
So, till those questions are decided,
His virtues must rest undivided.
Full oft he suffer'd bangs and drubs,
And full as oft took pains in tubs;
Of which the most that can be said,
He pray'd and fought, and fought and pray'd.
As for his personage and shape,
Among the rest we’ll let them 'scape;
Nor do we, as things stand, think fit
This stone should meddle with his wit.
One thing, 'tis true, we ought to tell,
He liv'd and dy'd a colonel;
And for the good old cause stood buff,
'Gainst many a bitter kick and cuff.
But, since his worship 's dead and gone,
And mouldering lies beneath this stone,
The reader is desir'd to look,
For his achievements in his book;
Which will preserve of knight the tale,
Till Time and Death itself shall fail.

« ZurückWeiter »