PART II

CANTO III

Illustration:
Sidrophel Stargazing
Colour (147 Kb) Black & White (14 Kb)

THE ARGUMENT
------------------------------------------------- The Knight, with various Doubts possest, To win the Lady goes in quest Of Sidrophel, the Rosy-Crucian, To know the Dest'nies' Resolution; With whom being met, they both chop Logick About the Science Astrologick, Till falling from Dispute to Fight, The Conj'rer's worsted by the Knight. ------------------------------------------------- Doubtless the pleasure is as great Of being cheated as to cheat; As lookers-on feel most delight, That least perceive a jugler's slight; And still the less they understand, 5 The more th' admire his slight of hand. Some with a noise, and greasy light, Are snapt, as men catch larks by night; Ensnar'd and hamper'd by the soul, As nooses by their legs catch fowl l0 Some with a med'cine, and receipt, Are drawn to nibble at the bait; And tho' it be a two-foot trout, 'Tis with a single hair pull'd out. Others believe no voice t' an organ 15 So sweet as lawyer's in his bar-gown, Until with subtle cobweb-cheats Th'are catch'd in knotted law, like nets; In which, when once they are imbrangled, The more they stir, the more they're tangled; 20 And while their purses can dispute, There's no end of th' immortal suit. Others still gape t' anticipate The cabinet-designs of fate; Apply to wizards, to foresee 25 What shall and what shall never be; And, as those vultures do forebode, Believe events prove bad or good: A flam more senseless than the roguery Of old aruspicy and aug'ry. 30 That out of garbages of cattle Presag'd th' events of truce or battle; From flight of birds, or chickens pecking, Success of great'st attempts would reckon: Though cheats, yet more intelligible 35 Than those that with the stars do fribble. This HUDIBRAS by proof found true, As in due time and place we'll shew: For he, with beard and face made clean, B'ing mounted on his steed agen, 40 (And RALPHO got a cock-horse too Upon his beast, with much ado) Advanc'd on for the Widow's house, To acquit himself, and pay his vows; When various thoughts began to bustle, 45 And with his inward man to justle He thought what danger might accrue If she should find he swore untrue; Or if his squire or he should fail, And not be punctual in their tale: 50 It might at once the ruin prove Both of his honour, faith, and love. But if he should forbear to go, She might conclude h'had broke his vow; And that he durst not now for-shame 55 Appear in court to try his claim. This was the pen'worth of his thought, To pass time and uneasy trot. Quoth he, In all my past adventures I ne'er was set so on the tenters; 60 Or taken tardy with dilemma, That ev'ry way I turn does hem me, And with inextricable doubt Besets my puzzled wits about: For tho' the dame has been my bail, 65 To free me from enchanted jail, Yet as a dog, committed close For some offence, by chance breaks loose, And quits his clog, but all in vain, He still draws after him his chain; 70 So, though my ankle she has quitted, My heart continues still committed; And like a bail'd and main-priz'd lover, Altho' at large, I am bound over; And when I shall appear in court, 75 To plead my cause, and answer for't, Unless the judge do partial prove, What will become of me and love? For if in our account we vary, Or but in circumstance miscarry; 80 Or if she put me to strict proof, And make me pull my doublet off, To shew, by evident record Writ on my skin, I've kept my Word; How can I e'er expect to have her, 85 Having demurr'd onto her favour? But faith, and love, and honour lost,. Shall be reduc'd t' a Knight o' th' Post. Beside, that stripping may prevent What I'm to prove by argument, 90 And justify I have a tail And that way, too, my proof may fail. Oh that I cou'd enucleate, And solve the problems of my fate Or find, by necromantick art, 95 How far the dest'nies take my part For if I were not more than certain To win and wear her, and her fortune, I'd go no farther in his courtship, To hazard soul, estate, and worship 100 For though an oath obliges not Where any thing is to be got, (As thou last prov'd) yet 'tis profane, And sinful, when men swear in vain. Quoth RALPH, Not far from hence doth dwell 105 A cunning man, hight SIDROPHEL, That deals in destiny's dark counsels, And sage opinions of the Moon sells; To whom all people, far and near, On deep importances repair; 110 When brass and pewter hap to stray, And linen slinks out of the way; When geese and pullen are seduc'd, And sows of sucking-pigs are chows'd; When cattle feel indisposition, 115 And need th' opinion of physician; When murrain reigns in hogs or sheep. And chickens languish of the pip; When yeast and outward means do fail, And have no pow'r to work on ale: 120 When butter does refuse to come, And love proves cross and humoursome: To him with questions, and with urine, They for discov'ry flock, or curing. Quoth HUDIBRAS, This SIDROPHEL 125 I've heard of, and should like it well, If thou canst prove the Saints have freedom To go to Sorc'rers when they need 'em. Says RALPHO, There's no doubt of that Whose principles I quoted late, 130 Prove that the Godly may alledge For any thing their Privilege; And to the Dev'l himself may go, If they have motives thereunto. For, as there is a war between 135 The Dev'l and them, it is no sin, If they by subtle stratagem Make use of him, as he does them. Has not this present Parliament A w Ledger to the Devil sent, 140 Fully impowr'd to treat about Finding revolted witches out And has not he, within a year, Hang'd threescore of 'em in one shire? Some only for not being drown'd, 145 And some for sitting above ground, Whole days and nights, upon their breeches, And feeling pain, were hang'd for witches. And some for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese and turky-chicks, 150 And pigs, that suddenly deceast Of griefs unnat'ral, as he guest; Who after prov'd himself a witch And made a rod for his own breech. Did not the Devil appear to MARTIN 155 LUTHER in Germany for certain; And wou'd have gull'd him with a trick, But Martin was too politick? Did he not help the x Dutch to purge At ANTWERP their Cathedral Church? 160 y Sing catches to the Saints at MASCON, And tell them all they came to ask him z Appear'd in divers shapes to KELLY, And speak i' th' Nun of LOUDON's belly? a Meet with the Parliament's Committee 165 At WOODSTOCK on a pers'nal treaty? b At SARUM take a cavalier I' th' Cause's service prisoner As WITHERS, in immortal rhime, Has register'd to after-time! 170 Do not nor great Reformers use This SIDROPHEL to forebode news? To write of victories next year, And castles taken yet i' th' air Of battles fought at sea, and ships 175 Sank two years hence, the last eclipse? A total overthrow giv'n the King In Cornwall, horse and foot, next Spring! And has not he point-blank foretold Whats'e'er the Close Committee would? 180 Made Mars and Saturn for the Cause The moon for Fundamental Laws? The Ram, the Bull, and Goat declare Against the Book of Common-Pray'r? The Scorpion take the Protestation, 185 And Bear engage for Reformation? Made all the Royal Stars recant, Compound and take the Covenant? Quoth HUDIBRAS, The case is clear, The Saints may 'mploy a Conjurer, 190 As thou hast prov'd it by their practice; No argument like matter of fact is; And we are best of all led to Men's principles by what they do. Then let us straight advance in quest 195 Of this profound Gymnosophist And as the Fates and he advise, Pursue or wave this enterprise, This said, he turn'd about his steed, And eftsoons on th' adventure rid; 200 Where leave we him and RALPH a while, And to the Conjurer turn our stile, To let our reader understand What's useful of him before-hand. He had been long t'wards mathematicks, 205 Optics, philosophy, and staticks, Magick, horoscopy, astrology, And was old dog at physiology But as a dog that turns the spit Bestirs himself, and plies his feet, 210 To climb the wheel, but all in vain, His own weight brings him down again, And still he's in the self-same place Where at his setting out h was So in the circle of the arts 215 Did he advance his nat'ral parts, Till falling back still, for retreat, He fell to juggle, cant, and cheat: For as those fowls that live in water Are never wet, he did but smatter: 220 Whate'er he labour'd to appear, His understanding still was clear Yet none a deeper knowledge boasted, Since old c HODGE-BACON and BOB GROSTED. Th' Intelligible World he knew, 225 And all men dream on't to be true; That in this world there's not a wart That has not there a counterpart; Nor can there on the face of ground An individual beard be found, 230 That has not, in that foreign nation, A fellow of the self-same fashion So cut, so colour'd, and so curl'd, As those are in th' Inferior World. H' had read DEE's Prefaces before, 235 The DEV'L, and EUCLID, o'er and o'er; And all the intrigues 'twixt him and KELLY, LESCUS and th' EMPEROR, wou'd tell ye; But with the Moon was more familiar Than e'er was almanack well-willer; 240 Her secrets understood so clear, That some believ'd he had been there; Knew when she was in the fittest mood For cutting corns, or letting blood; When for anointing scabs or itches, 245 Or to the bum applying leeches; When sows and bitches may be spay'd, And in what sign best cyder's made: Whether the wane be, or increase, Best to set garlick, or sow pease: 250 Who first found out the Man i' th' Moon, That to the ancients was unknown; How many dukes, and earls, and peers, Are in the planetary spheres; Their airy empire and command, 255 Their sev'ral strengths by sea and land; What factions th' have, and what they drive at In public vogue, or what in private; With what designs and interests Each party manages contests. 260 He made an instrument to know If the Moon shine at full or no; That wou'd as soon as e'er she shone, straight Whether 'twere day or night demonstrate; Tell what her d'meter t' an inch is, 265 And prove that she's not made of green cheese. It wou'd demonstrate, that the Man in The Moon's a Sea Mediterranean; And that it is no dog nor bitch, That stands behind him at his breech, 270 But a huge Caspian Sea, or lake, With arms, which men for legs mistake; How large a gulph his tail composes, And what a goodly bay his nose is; How many German leagues by th' scale 275 Cape Snout's from Promontory Tail. He made a planetary gin, Which rats would run their own heads in, And cause on purpose to be taken, Without th' expence of cheese or bacon. 280 With lute-strings he would counterfeit Maggots that crawl on dish of meat: Quote moles and spots on any place O' th' body, by the index face: Detect lost maiden-heads by sneezing, 285 Or breaking wind of dames, or pissing; Cure warts and corns with application Of med'cines to th' imagination; Fright agues into dogs, and scare With rhimes the tooth-ach and catarrh; 290 Chace evil spirits away by dint Of cickle, horse-shoe, hollow-flint; Spit fire out of a walnut-shell, Which made the Roman slaves rebel; And fire a mine in China here 295 With sympathetic gunpowder. He knew whats'ever's to be known, But much more than he knew would own; What med'cine 'twas that PARACELSUS Could make a man with, as he tells us; 300 What figur'd slates are best to make On watry surface duck or drake; What bowling-stones, in running race Upon a board, have swiftest pace; Whether a pulse beat in the black 305 List of a dappled louse's back; If systole or diastole move Quickest when he's in wrath or love When two of them do run a race, Whether they gallop, trot, or pace: 310 How many scores a flea will jump, Of his own length, from head to rump; Which d SOCRATES and CHAEREPHON, In vain, assay'd so long agon; Whether his snout a perfect nose is, 315 And not an elephant's proboscis How many diff'rent specieses Of maggots breed in rotten cheese And which are next of kin to those Engender'd in a chandler's nose; 320 Or those not seen, but understood, That live in vinegar and wood. A paultry wretch he had, half-starv'd, That him in place of Zany serv'd. Hight WHACHUM, bred to dash and draw, 325 Not wine, but more unwholesome law To make 'twixt words and lines huge gaps, Wide as meridians in maps; To squander paper, and spare ink, And cheat men of their words, some think. 330 From this, by merited degrees, He'd to more high advancement rise; To be an under-conjurer, A journeyman astrologer. His business was to pump and wheedle, 335 And men with their own keys unriddle; And make them to themselves give answers, For which they pay the necromancers; To fetch and carry intelligence, Of whom, and what, and where, and whence, 340 And all discoveries disperse Among th' whole pack of conjurers What cut-purses have left with them For the right owners to redeem; And what they dare not vent find out, 345 To gain themselves and th' art repute; Draw figures, schemes, and horoscopes, Of Newgate, Bridewell, brokers' shops, Of thieves ascendant in the cart; And find out all by rules of art; 350 Which way a serving-man, that's run With cloaths or money away, is gone: Who pick'd a fob at holding forth; And where a watch, for half the worth, May be redeem'd; or stolen plate 355 Restor'd at conscionable rate. Beside all this, he serv'd his master In quality of poetaster; And rhimes appropriate could make To ev'ry month i' th almanack 360 What terms begin and end could tell, With their returns, in doggerel; When the exchequer opes and shuts, And sowgelder with safety cuts When men may eat and drink their fill, 365 And when be temp'rate, if they will; When use and when abstain from vice, Figs, grapes, phlebotomy, and spice. And as in prison mean rogues beat Hemp for the service of the great, 370 So WHACHUM beats his dirty brains, T' advance his master's fame and gains And, like the Devil's oracles, Put into doggrel rhimes his spells, Which, over ev'ry month's blank page 375 I' th' almanack, strange bilks presage. He would an elegy compose On maggots squeez'd out of his nose; In lyrick numbers write an ode on His mistress, eating a black-pudden: 380 And when imprison'd air escap'd her, It puft him with poetic rapture. His sonnets charm'd th' attentive crowd, By wide-mouth'd mortal troll'd aloud, That 'circl'd with his long-ear'd guests, 385 Like ORPHEUS look'd among the beasts. A carman's horse could not pass by, But stood ty'd up to poetry: No porter's burthen pass'd along, But serv'd for burthen to his song: 390 Each window like a pill'ry appears, With heads thrust through, nail'd by the ears All trades run in as to the sight Of monsters, or their dear delight The gallow tree, when cutting purse 395 Breeds bus'ness for heroic verse, Which none does hear, but would have hung T' have been the theme of such a song. Those two together long had liv'd, In mansion prudently contriv'd; 400 Where neither tree nor house could bar The free detection of a star And nigh an ancient obelisk e Was rais'd by him, found out by FISK, On which was a written not in words, 405 But hieroglyphic mute of birds, Many rare pithy saws concerning The worth of astrologic learning. From top of this there hung a rope, To a which he fasten'd telescope; 410 The spectacles with which the stars He reads in smallest characters. It happen'd as a boy, one night, Did fly his tarsel of a kite, The strangest long-wing'd hawk that flies, 415 That, like a bird of Paradise, Or herald's martlet, has no legs, Nor hatches young ones, nor lays eggs; His train was six yards long, milk-white, At th' end of which there hung a light, 420 Inclos'd in lanthorn, made of paper, That far off like a star did appear. This SIDROPHEL by chance espy'd, And with amazement staring wide, Bless us! quoth he, what dreadful wonder 425 Is that appears in heaven yonder? A comet, and without a beard! Or star that ne'er before appear'd! I'm certain 'tis not in the scrowl Of all those beasts, and fish, and fowl, 430 With which, like Indian plantations, The learned stock the constellations Nor those that draw for signs have bin To th' houses where the planets inn. It must be supernatural, 435 f Unless it be that cannon-ball That, shot i' th' air point-blank upright, Was borne to that prodigious height, That learn'd Philosophers maintain, It ne'er came backwards down again; 440 But in the airy region yet Hangs like the body of MAHOMET For if it be above the shade That by the earth's round bulk is made, 'Tis probable it may from far 445 Appear no bullet, but a star. This said, he to his engine flew, Plac'd near at hand, in open view, And rais'd it 'till it levell'd right Against the glow-worm tail of kite, 450 Then peeping thro', Bless us! (quoth he) It is a planet, now I see And, if I err not, by his proper Figure, that's like tobacco-stopper, It should be Saturn. Yes, 'tis clear 455 'Tis Saturn; but what makes him there? He's got between the Dragon's Tail And farther Leg behind o' th' Whale. Pray heav'n divert the fatal omen, For 'tis a prodigy not common; 460 And can no less than the world's end, Or Nature's funeral, portend. With that he fell again to pry. Thro' perspective more wistfully, When by mischance the fatal string, 465 That kept the tow'ring fowl on wing, Breaking, down fell the star. Well shot, Quoth WHACHUM, who right wisely thought H' had levell'd at a star, and hit it But SIDROPHEL, more subtle-witted, 470 Cry'd out, What horrible and fearful Portent is this, to see a star fall? It threatens nature, and the doom Will not be long before it come When stars do fail, 'tis plain enough, 475 The day of judgment's not far off; g As lately 'twas reveal'd to SEDGWICK, And some of us find out by magick. Then since the time we have to live In this world's shorten'd, let us strive 480 To make our best advantage of it, And pay our losses with our profit. This feat fell out not long before The Knight, upon the forenam'd score, In quest of SIDROPHEL advancing, 485 Was now in prospect of the mansion Whom he discov'ring, turn'd his glass, And found far off, 'twas HUDIBRAS. WHACHUM, (quoth he), look yonder, some To try or use our art are come 490 The one's the learned Knight: seek out, And pump 'em what they come about. WHACHUM advanc'd, with all submissness, T' accost em, but much more their bus'ness. He held a stirrup, while the Knight 495 From leathern bare-bones did alight And taking from his hand the bridle, Approach'd the dark Squire to unriddle. He gave him first the time o' th' day, And welcom'd him, as he might say: 500 He ask'd him whence he came, and whither Their bus'ness lay? Quoth RALPHO, Hither. Did you not lose? Quoth RALPHO, Nay. Quoth WHACHUM, Sir, I meant your way! Your Knight -- Quoth RALPHO, Is a lover, 505 And pains intolerable doth suffer: For lovers' hearts are not their own hearts, Nor lights, nor lungs, and so forth downwards. What time, (quoth RALPHO), Sir? -- Too long Three years it off and on has hung. -- 510 Quoth he, I meant what time o'the day 'tis. -- Quoth RALPHO, Between seven and eight 'tis. Why then, (quoth Whachum) my small art Tells me, the dame has a hard heart, Or great estate. -- Quoth RALPH, A jointer, 515 Which makes him have so hot a mind t'her. Mean while the Knight was making water, Before he fell upon the matter; Which having done, the Wizard steps in, To give him suitable reception 520 But kept his bus'ness at a bay Till WHACHUM put him in the way; Who having now, by RALPHO's light. Expounded th' errand of the Knight, And what he came to know, drew near, 525 To whisper in the Conj'rer's ear, Which he prevented thus: What was't, Quoth he, that I was saying last, Before these gentlemen arriv'd? Quoth WHACHUM, Venus you retriev'd, 530 In opposition with Mars, And no benigne friendly stars T' allay the effect. -- Quoth Wizard, So In Virgo? Ha! -- Quoth WHACHUM, No. Has Saturn nothing to do in it? 535 One-tenth of's circle to a minute. 'Tis well, quoth he. -- Sir, you'll excuse This rudeness I am forc'd to use It is a scheme and face of Heaven, As the aspects are dispos'd this even, 540 I was contemplating upon When you arriv'd; but now I've done, Quoth HUDIBRAS, If I appear Unseasonable in coming here At such a tone, to interrupt, 545 Your speculations, which I hop'd Assistance from, and come to use, 'T is fit that I ask your excuse. By no means, Sir, quoth SIDROPHEL; The stars your coming did foretel: 550 I did expect you here, and knew, Before you spake, your bus'ness too. Quoth HUDIBRAS, Make that appear, And I shall credit whatsoe'er You tell me after on your word, 555 Howe'er unlikely, or absurd. You are in love, Sir, with a widow, Quoth he, that does not greatly heed you, And for three years has rid your wit And passion without drawing bit: 560 And now your bus'ness is to know, If you shall carry her or no. Quoth HUDIBRAS, You're in the right; But how the Devil you came by't I can't imagine; for the Stars, 565 I'm sure, can tell no more than a horse; Nor can their aspects (though you pore Your eyes out on 'em) tell you more Than th' oracle of sieve and sheers, That turns as certain as the spheres: 570 But if the Devil's of your counsel, Much may be done my noble Donzel; And 'tis on his account I come, To know from you my fatal doom. Quoth SIDROPHEL, If you Suppose, 575 Sir Knight, that I am one of those, I might suspect, and take the alarm, Your bus'ness is but to inform; But if it be, 'tis ne'er the near; You have a wrong sow by the ear; 580 For I assure you, for my part, I only deal by rules of art, Such as are lawful, and judge by Conclusions of Astrology: But for the Dev'l, know nothing by him; 585 But only this, that I defy him. Quoth he, Whatever others deem ye, I understand your metonymy: Your words of second-hand intention, When things by wrongful names you mention; 590 The mystick sense of all your terms, That are, indeed, but magick charms To raise the Devil, and mean one thing, And that is down-right conjuring; And in itself more warrantable, 595 Than cheat, or canting to a rabble, Or putting tricks upon the Moon, Which by confed'racy are done. Your ancient conjurers were wont To make her from her sphere dismount. 600 And to their incantations stoop: They scorn'd to pore thro' telescope, Or idly play at bo-peep with her, To find out cloudy or fair weather, Which ev'ry almanack can tell, 605 Perhaps, as learnedly and well, As you yourself -- Then, friend, I doubt You go the furthest way about. h Your modern Indian magician Makes but a hole in th' earth to piss in, 610 And straight resolves all questions by't, And seldom fails to be i'th' right. The Rosy-Crucian way's more sure To bring the Devil to the lure; Each of 'em has a sev'ral gin 615 To catch intelligences in. Some by the nose with fumes trepan 'em, As DUNSTAN did the Devil's grannam; Others, with characters and words, Catch 'em, as men in nets do birds; 620 And some with symbols, signs, and tricks, Engrav'd with planetary nicks, With their own influences will fetch 'em Down from their orbs, arrest, and catch 'em; Make 'em depose and answer to 625 All questions e're they let them go. i BUMBASTUS kept a Devil's bird Shut in the pummel of his sword, That taught him all the cunning pranks Of past and future mountebanks. 630 KELLY did all his feats upon The Devil's looking-glass, a stone; Where playing with him at bo-peep, He solv'd all problems ne'er so deep. k AGRIPPA kept a Stygian pug, 635 I' th' garb and habit of a dog, That was his tutor, and the cur Read to th' occult philosopher, And taught him subt'ly to maintain All other sciences are vain. 640 To this, quoth SIDROPHELLO, Sir, AGRIPPA was no conjurer, Nor PARACELSUS, no, nor BEHMEN; Nor was the dog a Cacodaemon, But a true dog, that would shew tricks 645 For th' emperor, and leap o'er sticks; Would fetch and carry; was more civil Than other dogs, but yet no Devil; And whatsoe'er he's said to do, He went the self-same way we go. 650 As for the Rosy-Cross Philosophers, Whom you will have to be but sorcerers, What they pretend to is no more, Than TRISMEGISTUS did before, PYTHAGORAS, old ZOROASTER, 655 And APOLLONIUS their master; To whom they do confess they owe All that they do, and all they know. Quoth HUDIBRAS, Alas! what is't t' us, Whether 'twas said by TRISMEGISTUS, 660 If it be nonsense, false, or mystick, Or not intelligible, or sophistick? 'Tis not antiquity, nor author, That makes Truth Truth, altho' Times daughter; 'Twas he that put her in the pit 665 Before he pull'd her out of it; And as he eats his sons, just so He feeds upon his daughters too. Nor does it follow, 'cause a herald, Can make a gentleman, scarce a year old, 670 To be descended of a race Of ancient kings in a small space, That we should all opinions hold Authentic that we can make old. Quoth SIDROPHEL, It is no part 675 Of prudence to cry down an art, And what it may perform deny, Because you understand not why (As l AVERHOIS play'd but a mean trick To damn our whole art for eccentrick:) 680 For Who knows all that knowledge contains Men dwell not on the tops of mountains, But on their sides, or rising's seat So 'tis with knowledge's vast height. Do not the hist'ries of all ages 685 Relate miraculous presages, Of strange turns in the world's affairs, Foreseen b' Astrologers, Soothsayers, Chaldeans, learn'd Genethliacks, And some that have writ almanacks? 690 m The MEDIAN emp'ror dreamt his daughter Had pist all ASIA under water, And that a vine, sprung from her haunches, O'erspread his empire with its branches: And did not soothsayers expound it, 695 As after by th' event he found it? n When CAESAR in the senate fell, Did not the sun eclips'd foretel, And, in resentment of his slaughter, Look'd pale for almost a year after? 700 o AUGUSTUS having, b' oversight, Put on his left shoe 'fore his right, Had like to have been slain that day By soldiers mutin'ing for pay. Are there not myriads of this sort, 705 Which stories of all times report? Is it not ominous in all countries When crows and ravens croak upon trees? p The Roman senate, when within The city walls an owl was seen 710 Did cause their clergy, with lustrations, (Our Synod calls humiliations), The round-fac'd prodigy t'avert From doing town or country hurt And if an owl have so much pow'r, 715 Why should not planets have much more, That in a region far above Inferior fowls of the air move, And should see further, and foreknow More than their augury below? 720 Though that once serv'd the polity Of mighty states to govern by And this is what we take in hand By pow'rful art to understand Which, how we have perform'd, all ages 725 Can speak th' events of our presages Have we not lately, in the Moon, Found a New World, to the Old unknown? Discover'd sea and land, COLUMBUS And MAGELLAN cou'd never compass? 730 Made mountains with our tubes appear, And cattle grazing on 'em there? Quoth HUDIBRAS, You lie so ope, That I, without a telescope, Can mind your tricks out, and descry 735 Where you tell truth, and where you lye: For q ANAXAGORAS, long agon, Saw hills, as well as you, i' th' Moon; And held the Sun was but a piece Of red-hot ir'n, as big as Greece; 740 Believ'd the Heav'ns were made of stone, Because the Sun had voided one; And, rather than he would recant Th' opinion, suffer'd banishment. But what, alas! is it to us, 745 Whether i' th' Moon men thus or thus Do eat their Porridge, cut their corns, Or whether they have tails or horns? What trade from thence can you advance, But what we nearer have from France? 750 What can our travellers bring home, That is not to be learnt at Rome? What politicks, or strange opinions, That are not in our own dominions? What science can he brought from thence, 755 In which we do not here commence? What revelations, or religions, That are not in our native regions? Are sweating lanthorns, or screen-fans, Made better there than th' are in France? 760 Or do they teach to sing and play O' th' gittar there a newer way? Can they make plays there, that shall fit The public humour, with less wit? Write wittier dances, quainter shows, 765 Or fight with more ingenious blows? Or does the man i' th' moon look big, And wear a huger perriwig, Shew in his gait or face more tricks, Than our own native lunaticks? 770 And if w' out-do him here at home, What good of your design can come? As wind i' th' hypocondries pent, Is but a blast if downward sent, But if it upward chance to fly, 775 Becomes new Light and Prophecy So when your speculations tend Above their just and useful end, Although they promise strange and great Discoveries of things far set, 780 They are but idle dreams and fancies, And savour strongly of the ganzas. Tell me but what's the natural cause, Why on a sign no painter draws The full moon ever, but the half; 785 Resolve that with your JACOB's staff; Or why wolves raise a hubbub at her, And dogs howl when she shines in water; And I shall freely give my vote, You may know something more remote. 790 At this deep SIDROPHEL look'd wise, And staring round with owl-like eyes, He put his face into a posture Of sapience, and began to bluster: For having three times shook his head 795 To stir his wit up, thus he said Art has no mortal enemies, Next ignorance, but owls and geese; Those consecrated geese in orders, That to the Capitol were warders; 800 And being then upon patrol, With noise alone beat off the Gaul: Or those Athenian Sceptic owls, That will not credit their own souls; Or any science understand, 805 Beyond the reach of eye or hand; But meas'ring all things by their own Knowledge, hold nothing's to be known Those wholesale criticks, that in coffee- Houses cry down all philosophy, 810 And will not know upon what ground In nature we our doctrine found, Altho' with pregnant evidence We can demonstrate it to sense, As I just now have done to you, 815 Foretelling what you came to know. Were the stars only made to light Robbers and burglarers by night? To wait on drunkards, thieves, gold-finders, And lovers solacing behind doors, 820 Or giving one another pledges Of matrimony under hedges? Or witches simpling, and on gibbets Cutting from malefactors snippets? Or from the pillory tips of ears 825 Of Rebel-Saints and perjurers? Only to stand by, and look on, But not know what is said or done? Is there a constellation there, That was not born and bred up here? 830 And therefore cannot be to learn In any inferior concern. Were they not, during all their lives, Most of 'em pirates, whores and thieves; And is it like they have not still 835 In their old practices some skill Is there a planet that by birth Does not derive its house from earth? And therefore probably must know, What is and hath been done below. 840 Who made the Balance, or whence came The Bull, the Lion, and the Ram? Did not we here the Argo rig, Make BERENICE's periwig? Whose liv'ry does the Coachman wear? 845 Or who made Cassiopeia's chair? And therefore, as they came from hence, With us may hold intelligence. PLATO deny'd the world can be Govern'd without geometree, 850 (For money b'ing the common scale Of things by measure, weight, and tale, In all th' affairs of Church and State, 'Tis both the balance and the weight;) Then much less can it be without 855 Divine Astrology made out; That puts the other down in worth, As far as Heav'n's above the earth. These reasons (quoth the Knight) I grant Are something more significant 860 Than any that the learned use Upon this subject to produce; And yet th' are far from satisfactory, T' establish and keep up your factory. rTh' Egyptians say, the Sun has twice 865 Shifted his setting and his rise Twice has he risen in the west, As many times set in the east; But whether that be true or no, The Dev'l any of you know. 870 s Some hold the heavens like a top, And kept by circulation up; And, were't not for their wheeling round, They'd instantly fall to the ground: As sage EMPEDOCLES of old, And from him modern authors hold. 875 t PLATO believ'd the Sun and Moon Below all other Planets run. Some MERCURY, some VENUS, seat Above the Sun himself in height. u The learned SCALIGER complain'd, 880 Gainst what COPERNICUS maintain'd, That, in twelve hundred years and odd, The Sun had left its ancient road, And nearer to time earth is come 'Bove fifty thousand miles from home: 885 Swore 'twas a most notorious flam; And he that had so little shame To vent such fopperies abroad, Deserv'd to have his rump well claw'd; Which Monsieur BODIN hearing, swore 890 That he deserv'd the rod much more, That durst upon a truth give doom; He knew less than the Pope of Rome. w CARDAN believ'd great states depend Upon the tip o' th' Bear's tail's end; 895 That, as she whisk'd it t'wards the Sun, Strow'd mighty empires up and down; Which others say must needs be false, Because your true bears have no tails. Some say the Zodiack Constellations 900 Have long since chang'd their antique stations Above a sign, and prove the same In Taurus now once in the Ram; Affirm the trigons chop'd and chang'd, The wat'ry with the fiery rang'd: 905 Then how can their effects still hold To be the same they were of old? This, though the art were true, would make Our modern soothsayers mistake: 910 And in one cause they tell more lies, In figures and nativities, Than th' old x Chaldean conjurers In so many hundred thousand years Beside their nonsense in translating, 915 For want of accidence and Latin, Like Idus, and Calendae, Englisht The quarter-days by skilful linguist; And yet with canting, sleight and, cheat, 'Twill serve their turn to do the feat; 920 Make fools believe in their foreseeing Of things before they are in being To swallow gudgeons ere th' are catch'd; And count their chickens ere th' are hatch'd Make them the constellations prompt, 925 And give 'em back their own accompt But still the best to him that gives The best price for't, or best believes. Some towns and cities, some, for brevity, Have cast the 'versal world's nativity, 930 And made the infant-stars confess, Like fools or children, what they please. Some calculate the hidden fates Of monkeys, puppy-dogs, and cats Some running-nags and fighting cocks, 935 Some love, trade, law-suits, and the pox; Some take a measure of the lives Of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives; Make opposition, trine, and quartile, Tell who is barren, and who fertile; 940 As if the planet's first aspect The tender infant did infect In soul and body, and instill All future good, and future ill; Which, in their dark fatalities lurking, 945 At destin'd periods fall a working; And break out, like the hidden seeds Of long diseases, into deeds, In friendships, enmities, and strife, And all the emergencies of life. 950 No sooner does he peep into The world, but he has done his do; Catch'd all diseases, took all physick That cures or kills a man that is sick; Marry'd his punctual dose of wives; 955 Is cuckolded, and breaks or thrives. There's but the twinkling of a star Between a man of peace and war; A thief and justice, fool and knave, A huffing officer and a slave; 960 A crafty lawyer and a pick-pocket, A great philosopher and a blockhead; A formal preacher and a player, A learn'd physician and manslayer. As if men from the stars did suck 965 Old age, diseases, and ill-luck, Wit, folly, honour, virtue, vice, Trade, travel, women, claps, and dice; And draw, with the first air they breathe, Battle and murder, sudden death. 970 Are not these fine commodities To be imported from the skies, And vended here amongst the rabble, For staple goods and warrantable? y Like money by the Druids borrow'd, 975 In th' other world to be restor'd? Quoth SIDROPHEL, To let you know You wrong the art, and artists too, Since arguments are lost on those That do our principles oppose, 980 I will (although I've done't before) Demonstrate to your sense once more, And draw a figure, that shall tell you What you, perhaps, forget befel you, By way of horary inspection, 985 Which some account our worst erection. With that he circles draws, and squares, With cyphers, astral characters; Then looks 'em o'er, to und'erstand 'em, Although set down hob-nab, at random. 990 Quoth he, This scheme of th' heavens set, Discovers how in fight you met At Kingston with a may-pole idol, And that y' were bang'd both back and side well; And though you overcame the bear, 995 The dogs beat you at Brentford fair; Where sturdy butchers broke your noddle, And handled you like a fop-doodle. Quoth HUDIBRAS, I now perceive You are no conj'rer, by your leave; 1000 That z paultry story is untrue, And forg'd to cheat such gulls as you. Not true? quoth he; howe'er you vapour, I can what I affirm make appear. WHACHUM shall justify't t' your face, 1005 And prove he was upon the place. He play'd the Saltinbancho's part, Transform'd t' a Frenchman by my art He stole your cloak, and pick'd your pocket, Chows'd and caldes'd ye like a blockhead: 1010 And what you lost I can produce, If you deny it, here i' th' house. Quoth HUDIBRAS, I do believe That argument's demonstrative. RALPHO, bear witness; and go fetch us 1015 A constable to seize the wretches For though th' are both false knaves and cheats, Impostors, jugglers, counterfeits, I'll make them serve for perpendiculars As true as e'er were us'd by bricklayers. 1020 They're guilty, by their own confessions, Of felony, and at the sessions, Upon the bench, I will so handle 'em, That the a vibration of this pendulum Shalt make all taylors yards of one 1025 Unanimous opinion, A thing he long has vapour'd of, But now shall wake it out of proof. Quoth SIDROPHEL, I do not doubt To find friends that will bear me out, 1030 Nor have I hazarded my art, And neck, so long on the state's part, To be expos'd i' th' end to suffer By such a braggadocio huffer. Huffer! quoth HUDIBRAS: this sword 1035 Shall down thy false throat craw that word. RALPHO, make haste, and call an officer, To apprehend this Stygian sophister, Meanwhile I'll hold 'em at a bay, Lest he and WHACHUM run away. 1040 But SIDROPHEL who, from the aspect Of HUDIBRAS did now erect A figure worse portenting far Than that of a malignant star, Believ'd it now the fittest moment 1045 To shun the danger that might come on't, While HUDIBRAS was all alone, And he and WHACHUM, two to one. This being resolv'd, he spy'd, by chance, Behind the door, an iron lance, 1050 That many a sturdy limb had gor'd, And legs, and loins, and shoulders bor'd: He snatch'd it up, and made a pass, To make his way through HUDIBRAS. WHACHUM had got a fire-fork, 1055 With which he vow'd to do his work. But HUDIBRAS was well prepar'd, And stoutly stood upon his guard: He put by SIDROPHELLO'S thrust, And in right manfully he rusht; l060 The weapon from his gripe he wrung, And laid him on the earth along. WHACHUM his sea-coal prong threw by, And basely turn'd his back to fly But HUDIBRAS gave him a twitch 1065 As quick as light'ning in the breech, Just in the place where honour's lodg'd, As wise philosophers have judg'd; Because a kick in that place more Hurts honour than deep wounds before. 1070 Quoth HUDIBRAS, The stars determine You are my prisoners, base vermine! Could they not tell you so as well As what I came to know foretell? By this what cheats you are we find, 1075 That in your own concerns are blind. Your lives are now at my dispose, To be redeem'd by fine or blows: But who his honour wou'd defile, To take or sell two lives so vile? 1080 I'll give you quarter; but your pillage, The conq'ring warrior's crop and tillage, Which with his sword he reaps and plows, That's mine, the law of arms allows. This said, in haste, in haste he fell 1085 To rummaging of SIDROPHEL. First, he expounded both his pockets, And found a watch, with rings and lockets, Which had been left with him t' erect A figure for, and so detect; 1090 A copper-plate, with almanacks Engrav'd upon't; with other knacks, Of BOOKER's LILLY's, SARAH JIMMERS', And blank-schemes to discover nimmers; A moon-dial, with Napier's bones, 1095 And sev'ral constellation stones, Engrav'd in planetary hours, That over mortals had strange powers To make 'em thrive in law or trade, And stab or poison to evade; 1100 In wit or wisdom to improve, And be victorious in love, WHACHUM had neither cross nor pile; His plunder was not worth the while; All which the conq'rer did discompt, 1105 To pay for curing of his rump. But SIDROPHEL, as full of tricks As Rota-men of politicks, Straight cast about to over-reach Th' unwary conqu'ror with a fetch, 1110 And make him clad (at least) to quit His victory, and fly the pit, b Before the Secular Prince of Darkness Arriv'd to seize upon his carcass? And as a fox, with hot pursuit 1115 Chac'd thro' a warren, casts about To save his credit, and among Dead vermin on a gallows hung, And while the dogs run underneath, Escap'd (by counterfeiting death) 1120 Not out of cunning, but a train Of atoms justling in his brain, As learn'd philosophers give out, So SIDROPHELLO cast about, And fell to's wonted trade again, 1125 To feign himself in earnest slain: First stretch'd out one leg, than another, And seeming in his breath to smother A broken sigh; quoth he, Where am I, Alive or dead? or which way came I, 1130 Through so immense a space so soon But now I thought myself in th' Moon And that a monster with huge whiskers, More formidable than a Switzer's, My body through and through had drill'd, 1135 And WHACHUM by my side had kill'd: Had cross-examin'd both our hose, And plunder'd all we had to lose. Look, there he is; I see him now, And feel the place I am run through: 1140 And there lies WHACHUM by my side Stone dead, and in his own blood dy'd. Oh! Oh! with that he fetch'd a groan, And fell again into a swoon; Shut both his eyes, and stopp'd his breath, 1145 And to the life out-acted death; That HUDIBRAS, to all appearing, Believ'd him to be dead as herring. He held it now no longer safe To tarry the return of RALPH, 1150 But rather leave him in the lurch: Thought he, he has abus'd our Church, Refus'd to give himself one firk To carry on the publick work; Despis'd our Synod-men like dirt, 1155 And made their discipline his sport; Divulg'd the secrets of their classes, And their conventions prov'd high places; Disparag'd their tythe-pigs as Pagan, And set at nought their cheese and bacon; 1160 Rail'd at their Covenant, and jeer'd Their rev'rend parsons to my beard: For all which scandals, to be quit At once, this juncture falls out fit, I'll make him henceforth to beware, 1165 And tempt my fury, if he dare. He must at least hold up his hand, By twelve freeholders to be scann'd; Who, by their skill in palmistry, Will quickly read his destiny; 1170 And make him glad to read his lesson, Or take a turn for it at the session; Unless his Light and Gifts prove truer Then ever yet they did, I'm sure; For if he scape with whipping now, 1175 'Tis more than he can hope to do; And that will disengage my conscience Of th' obligation in his own sense, I'll make him now by force abide What he by gentle means deny'd, 1180 To give my honour satisfaction, And right the Brethren in the action. This being resolv'd, with equal speed And conduct he approach'd his steed, And with activity unwont, 1185 Assay'd the lofty beast to mount; Which once atchiev'd, he spurr'd his palfrey, To get from th' enemy, and RALPH, free Left dangers, fears, and foes behind, And beat, at least three lengths, the wind. 1190

PreviousNext