Hudibras: Part 2 - Canto III

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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,
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
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
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;
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
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.
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
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,
(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,
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:
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
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;
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,
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;
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,
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;
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,
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,
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,
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
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
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;
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,
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:
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.

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,
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
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 Ledger to the Devil sent,
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,
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,
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
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 Dutch to purge
At ANTWERP their Cathedral Church?
Sing catches to the Saints at MASCON,
And tell them all they came to ask him
Appear'd in divers shapes to KELLY,
And speak i' th' Nun of LOUDON's belly?
Meet with the Parliament's Committee
At WOODSTOCK on a pers'nal treaty?
At SARUM take a cavalier
I' th' Cause's service prisoner
As WITHERS, in immortal rhime,
Has register'd to after-time!
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
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?
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,
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,
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
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;
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,
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,
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 was
So in the circle of the arts
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:
Whate'er he labour'd to appear,
His understanding still was clear
Yet none a deeper knowledge boasted,
Th' Intelligible World he knew,
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,
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,
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;
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,
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:
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,
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.
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,
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,
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
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.
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,
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;
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
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;
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
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: 
How many scores a flea will jump,
Of his own length, from head to rump;
In vain, assay'd so long agon;
Whether his snout a perfect nose is,
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; 
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,
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.
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,
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,
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,
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;
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
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
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,
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,
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
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:
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,
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:
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
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;
Where neither tree nor house could bar
The free detection of a star
And nigh an ancient obelisk
Was rais'd by him, found out by FISK,
On which was a written not in words,
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;
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,
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,
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
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,
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,
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;
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
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,
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
'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;
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,
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,
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,
The day of judgment's not far off;
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
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,
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
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
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:
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,
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. -
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,
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
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,
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,
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?
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,
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,
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:
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,
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:
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,
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:
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,
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;
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;
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;
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,
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.
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,
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,
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
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;
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
All questions e're they let them go.
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.
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,
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.

To this, quoth SIDROPHELLO, Sir,
AGRIPPA was no conjurer,
Nor was the dog a Cacodaemon,
But a true dog, that would shew tricks
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.
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,
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,
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
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,
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
Of prudence to cry down an art,
And what it may perform deny,
Because you understand not why
(As AVERHOIS play'd but a mean trick
To damn our whole art for eccentrick):
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
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?
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,
As after by th' event he found it?
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?
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,
Which stories of all times report?
Is it not ominous in all countries
When crows and ravens croak upon trees?
The Roman senate, when within
The city walls an owl was seen
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,
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?
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
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?
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
Where you tell truth, and where you lye:
For 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;
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,
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?
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,
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?
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,
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?
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,
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,
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;
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.
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
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;
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,
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,
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,
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,
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
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?
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
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.
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?
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,
(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
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
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
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.
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.
PLATO believ'd the Sun and Moon
Below all other Planets run.
Some MERCURY, some VENUS, seat
Above the Sun himself in height.
The learned SCALIGER complain'd,
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:
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
That he deserv'd the rod much more,
That durst upon a truth give doom;
He knew less than the Pope of Rome.
CARDAN believ'd great states depend
Upon the tip o' th' Bear's tail's end;
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
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:
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:
And in one cause they tell more lies,
In figures and nativities,
Than th' old Chaldean conjurers
In so many hundred thousand years
Beside their nonsense in translating,
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;
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,
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,
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,
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;
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,
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.
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;
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;
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
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.
Are not these fine commodities
To be imported from the skies,
And vended here amongst the rabble,
For staple goods and warrantable?
Like money by the Druids borrow'd,
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,
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,
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.
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,
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;
That 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,
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:
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
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.
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
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,
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
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.

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
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,
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,
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;
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
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.

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,
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?
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
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;
A copper-plate, with almanacks
Engrav'd upon't; with other knacks,
And blank-schemes to discover nimmers;
A moon-dial, with Napier's bones,
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;
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,
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,
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
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)
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,
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,
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,
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:
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,
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,
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,
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;
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,
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;
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,
'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,
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,
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.

© Samuel Butler