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Hudibras. In three parts, written in the time of the late wars (Volume 2) online

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VOL. 11.










Vol. II. B



The Knight with various doubts possessed.

To win the Lady, goes in guest

Of Sidrophel, the Rosicrucian,

To know the Destinies resolution ;

With whom Ving met, they both chop logic

About the science astrologic :

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 ;

This whole Canto is designed to expose astrologers, for^e-
tellcrs and conjurers. In banter of whom, Dr. James Vonng
(in his>jtract entitled Sidrophcl Vapulans, Sic. 1609, p. 35) in-
forms us, " That in the pontificate of sonic such holy father as
Gregory VII. a lover of the black art, one of the tribe, craved
of his Holiness a protector or patron saint for astrologers, like
as other arts had. The good Pontilf, Milling to oblige a faculty
he loved well, gave him the choice of all in St. Peter's. The
humble servant of Urania, depending upon the direction of good
stars to a good angel, went to the choice hood-winked ; and,
groping among the images, the first he laid hold on was that of
the Devil in combat with St. Michael. Had he chosen with his
eyes open, he could not have met with a better protector for so
diabolical an art."

It was a custom in .Alexandria, formerly, for astrologers to
pay a certain tribute, Avhich they called /"oo/'s potcc, because it
was taken from the gains which astrologers made by their own
ingenious folly, and credulous dotage of their admirers. (Tur-
kish Spy, vol. >iii- book iv. chap, x.) Sec judicial astrology ex-
posed by Cervantes, Don Quixote, vol. iii. chap. xxt.

15 2 V. 3,.^.


As lookers-on feel most delight,

That least perceive a juggler's slight j
5 And still the less they understand,

The more th' admire his slight of hand.
Some with a noise, and greasy light,

Are snapp'd, as men catch larks by night,

Ensnar'd and hampered by the soul,
10 As nooses by the legs catch fowl.

Some with a med'cine and receipt

Are drawn to nibble at the bait ;

And though it be a two-foot trout,

'Tis with a single hair pull'd out.
15 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 w^hich, when once they are imbrangled,
20 The more they stir, the more they're tangled ;

V. 3, 4. As loolcers-on feel most delight ^ Tliat least perceive a
jugglefs slight.'] See the art of juggling exposed, Scot's Discore-
ty of Witchcraft, book xiii. chap. xxii. to xxxiv. inclusive.

V. 8, Are snapp'd., as men catch larks htf night.] By the low-
bcll. See Bailey's Di(5tionary.

T. 23. yjpplj/ to wizards, &c.] Run after, in the edition of 1664.

V. 37. And as those vultures do forebode.] Alluding to the opi-
nion, that vultures repair beforehand to the place where battles
will be fought. Of tliis o;)lnion l^liny seems to be, Nat. Hist,
lib. X. cap. vi. See a confutation of it, notes upon Creech's Lu-
cretius, 1714, vol. 1. p. 3G0. These birds of prey have some-
times devoured one another. V idc Chronic. Chronicor. Politic.
lib. ii. p. 115.

V. 29, 30. A Jlam more senseless than the rogueri/ Of ol lanes,
picij andaug^nj.] See Dr. Kennet's Rom. Antiq. part ii. chap. iii.
and iv ; Chronic. Chronicor. Ecclesiastic, lib. ii. p. 400. Sci' ju-
0ici^l astrology exposed, Sir J. Maundevillc's Voyages and T^a,



And while their purses can dispute,

There's no end of the immortal suit.
Otliers still gape t' anticipate

The cahinet designs of fate,
55 Apply to wizards, to foresee

What shall, and what shall never he.

And as those vultures do forebode,

Believe, events prove bad or good.

A flam more senseless than the roguery
30 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 :
35 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:

tcJs, edit. 1727, p. 199', 200, in the play entitled Two Noble
Kinsmen, by Fletcher and Shakespeare, act i. edit. 1634. p. 2,
from the best authorities both ancient and modern, by Dr. James
Yoimg ; Sidrophel Vapnlans, or Quack astrologer tossed in a
Blanket, from p, 20 to 52 inclusive ; Spectator, No. 105 ; and
augury exposed, Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, chap. i. vi. vii.
tiii. xvii. xviii. xix. xx.

V, 33, 3 J. Prom^flight of birds, or chickens pecking, Success
ofgrcaVst attempts zcould reckon.'] See the opinions of the Ro-
mans in (his case, Dr. Kennct's Roman Antiquities, part ii. chap,
iii ; and the folly of such as were of this opinion exposed, Ben
Jonson's Masque of Augurs, vol. i. p. 88 ; Scot's Discovffy of
Witchcraft, book xi. p. 193, &c. ; Spectator, No. 7.

V. 35, 36. 1/ei moreiniclUgible -Than those thatKtth the stars
dofiiblde.] Gassendus ('see. his vanity of Judiciary Astrology,
p. 106) calls the whole art of astrology a mysterious nothing, a
fietlon more vain than vanity itself.

B 3 t. 45,


For he with beard and face made clean,
40 Being mounted on his steed again ;

(And Ralpho got a cock-horse too

Upon his beast with much ado)

Advanced on for the Widow's house,

T* acquit himself, and pay his vows ;
45 When various thoujjhts bc2:an to bustle.

And with his inward man to justlc,

He thought what danger might accrue,

If she should find he swore untrue:

Or if his Squire or he should fail,
.50 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 s:o.

She might conclude h* had broke his vow ;
55 And that he durst not now for shame

Appear in court, to try his claim.

This was the penn' worth of his thought,

To pass time, and uneasy trot.

Quoth he, in all my past adventures,
60 I ne'er was set so on the tenters ;

V. 45, 46. When various thoughts began to hustle, And zcith
his ihzcard man tojustle.~\ New scruples begin to spring .up in
the Knight's brain : It is correspondent with his character to be
perpetually troubled with cases of conscience ; and accordingly
the p^et has drawn him so from the beginning to the end of the
poem. (Mr. B.)

V. 57. This KOS thpemrzsorlh of his thought.^ The sum or
whole of it.

r. 61.


Or taken tardy with dilemma.
That ev'ry way I turn does hem me ;
And with inextricable doubt
Besets my puzzled wits about :

65 For though 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,

70 He still draws after him his chain ;
So, though my ancle 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 :

75 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,

80 Or but in circumstance miscarry,
Or if she put me to strict proof,
And make me pull my doublet off,

T, 61. Or takai tardy tcith dilemma.^ An argument in logic,
consisting of two or more propositions, so disposed, that, deny
which you will of them, you will be pressed ; and grant which
yeu will of them, the conclusion will inrolve you in difficulties
not easy to be got oyer.

V. 73. And like a baiVd and main.priz'd lover."] Alluding to
his being freed from the stocks by his mistress. See Bail and
Mainprize^ Jacob's Law Dictionary.

B 4 r. 88.


To shew, by evident record,

Writ on my skin, I've kept my word,
85 How can I e'er expect to have her,

Having demurr'd unto her favour ?

Butj faith, and love, and honour lost.

Shall be reduc'd t' a knight o' th' post ?

Beside, that stripping may prevent
90 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 problem of my fate ;

V. 88. knight o' tW pout.'] One Avho for hire will

swear before a magistrate) or in a court of judicature, Avhatso-
ever you would have him. See Bailey's Dictionary, folio edit.

V. 95. Orfind^ hy necromantic art.'] Necromancy was an art
or act of communicating with devils, and doing surprising feats
by their assistance, and particularly by calling up the dead.
See a remarkable instance in the famous romance of Heliodorus,
Bishop of Tricca, /Ethiopicor, lib. vi. p. 300, &c. edit. Lug.
duni, 1611.

V. 96. Hozcfar the tlest'nies take mi/ part.'] Of all the scruples
and qualms of conscience that have hitherto -perplexed oor
Knight, it must be confessed that these with which he is now
assaulted are the most rational and best grounded : His fears arc
just, and his arguments unanswerable; and the dilemma with
which he is incumbered makes him naturally wish that all his
doubts were removed by a prognostication of his future fortune.
Ralpho, understanding the Knight's mind, takes this opportu-
nity to mention Sidrophel, Avho from this occasion is happily in-
troduced into the poem. (M. B.)

V. 103, 104, 1/et 'tis profane, yfnd sinful, rshenmeii

9rcear in vain.l These wretched hypocrites, though perjury was
w ith them a venial sin when it served their purpose, as appears
from the foregoing Canto, and indeed from all the impartial his-
torians of those times, yet, to carry an outAvard face of religion,
they were very punctual in the punishment of profane and com-
monswearing; and,accordingtoSirRobertHoward (Committee,
kc. act ii. se. i. p. 53), were more severe in the punishment of



9S Or find, by necromantic 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 this courtship,

100 To hazard soul, estate, and worship ;
For though an oath obHges not,
Where any thing is to be got,
(As thou hast prov'd) yet 'tis prophane, -A I
And sinful, wlien men swear in vain.

105 Quoth Ralph, Not far from hence doth
A cunning man, hight Sidrophel. [dwell

swearing than cursing : for when Tcague Avas punished twelve-
pence for an oath, he asked what he should pay for a curse? they
said, Sixpence, lie then threw down sixpence, and cursed the

V. 106. A cunning man hi :j^ht SldropheL~\ William Lilly, the
famous astrologer of those times, w-ho in his yearly almanacks
foretold victories for the parliament, with as much certainty as
the preachers did in their sermons ; and all or most part of what
is ascribed to him, either by Ralpho or the poet, the reader will
find verified in his letter (if we may believe it) wrote by himself
to Klias Ashmolc, Esq. and printed a few years ago for E. Curl,
J. Pemberton, and W. Taylor, booksellers in London. In this
letter, or history of his own life, we find an account of several of
his predictions (such as happened to hit right, not such as failed)
and what encouragement he had from the parliameut and otlier;*.
Cut whenhefouiUlthat the authority of parliament began to sink,
and the power of the army to increase, he was as ready to prcdii^t
against the parliament as before he was for it, though he began
to do so almost too soon for his own security : for he tells us
(p. 69), that in the year 1650, he wrote, " that the parliament
{meaning the Rump) stood upon a tottering foundation, and that
the commonalty and soldiery would join against them." For this
he was taken up by a messenger, carried before a committee of
parliament, and shewed the words of his almanack. But having
notice beforehand of what was intended against him. he had got
that leaf new printed, and those obnoxious Mords left out. So
he denied the almanack to be his, and pulled half a dozen out of

1 4J I! vxT his

to ifUDIBtlAS. 1>AHT IL

That deals in destiny's dark counsels,
And sage opinions of the moon sells ;
To whom all people, far and near,

llO 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 chous'd ;

115 When cattle feel indisposition,

his pocket which were without that passage, and said, this was
a spurious impression, in which some enemies had put in those
werds, in order to ruin him : (Life, p, 70.) In which he was
seconded by a friend in the committee, who enlarged upon the
great services he had done the parliament : (Life, p. 71.) Not-
tvithstanding wliich, he was kept a prisoner in the messenger's
hand near a fortnight, end then released. What he had said of
thd Rump was at the instance of some of Cromwell's party. He
lived to the year 1681, being then near tighty years of age, and
published predicting almanacks to his death. He was succeeded
by Henry Coley (a tailor by trade) his amanuensis (sae Life,
p. 109); audafterhimcame JohnPartridge, who,somethingmore
than thirty years ago, was so exposed and ridiculed, for his pre-
dictions, by Isaac BickerstafF, Esq. (see Tatler, No. 1, 39, 118,
124, 216.) I know of no one since that has published prophetic
almanacks. (Dr. B.^ See a remarkable account of Lilly in Mt.
Hearne's Life of Mr. Anthony Wood, p. 505, 506, 507.

T. Ill, 112. When brass and pezvter hap to stray, And linen
dinks out of the tcai/. \ Sir John Birkenhead banters Lilly upon
this head (Paul's Church-yard, cent, 1, class. 1, f, 12.) " Pan-
ciroUiE Medela, a way to find things lost, by W. Lilly ; with a
Clavis to his Book, or the Art of his Art, by INIrs. Mary Frith.''

This was an old pretence, made mention of by VN ierus (De
Pra?stigiis DEBinonum, lib. vi. cap. ii.) " Plerique insuper magi
Pythonis spiri(u inflati, artem divinandi profitentur, ct res perdi-
tas quis suifuratus fuerit, aut ubi cai reconditae sint, ct alia abdita,
vel etiam ancipitia, sc manifestare posset jactant.'' And Mr. Scot
mentions some of the charms made use of to find out a thief.
(Discovery of Witchcraft, book xii, chap. xvii. p. 2G0, 261, 262).

But the most whimsical is the charm of Sir John, or the priest,
to discover the persons who stole the miller's eels, in which the
priest was a party conccrnd. 1I


And need th' opinion of physician ;
When murrain reigns in hogs or sheep,
And chickens languish of the pip ;
When yest and outward means do fail,
120 And have no power 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 eating,

lie went into the pulpit, and with his surplice on his back,
and Jiis stole about his neck, he pronounced these words (sea
book xii. p. 2G5) :

'* All you that have stolen the miller's eels,
Laudate Doininum de ccelis ;
And all they [we] that have cousented threto,
Bcnedicaraus Domino^"
V. 121. JVhen butter does refuse to come. ^ " When a country
xvcnch (says Mr. Selden, Table-Talk, p. 120) cannot get her but-
ter to. come, she says the witch is in the churn." This is bantert>d
by Mr. Cotton (Virgil Travestie, book iv. p. 117) :
" She call'd to wash, and do you think
The Avater tum'd as black as ink.
And that by chance being churning day.
Her cream most strangely turn'd to whey.
This Dido saw, but would by no means
Tell her own sister of the omens."

See Spectator, No. 117.
Mr. Scot (Sec Discovery of Witchcraft, book xii.) observcj*
farther, <' That when the country people see that butter comcth
not, then get they out of the suspected witch's house a little but-
ter, whereof must be made three balls, in the name of the Holy
Trinity ; and so if they be put into the churn, the butter will
presently come, and the witchcraft will cease but if you put a
little sugar and soap into the churn among the cream, the butter
will never come."

Mr. Webster (see Displayof Witchcraft, book xii. chap. xxi.
p. 281) assigns natural causes for its not coming, Mith the me-
thods to make it come.

V. 122, 123. Amllove proves cross ami humour some; Tohimzcith
questions and with uritie.^ This is hinted at by Sir Robert Howard
(Commiftee-raan, aCl i. p. 19). lluti tells Arabella the heircs$



125 Quoth Hudibras, This Sidrophcl
I've heard of, and should like it well,
If thou canst prove the saints have freedom
To go to sorcerers when they need 'cm.
Says Ralpho, There's no doubt of that ;

130 Those principles I quoted late
Prove that the godiy may alledge
For any thing their privilege ;
And to the dev'l himself ;nay go,
If they have motives thereunto. '*

(whom Mr. Day the commiHce-man had got into his custody Jy
*'That Mr. and Mrs. Day had sent to Lilly, and his learning be-
ing built upon what people would have him say, he was told for
cer(ain, that Abel their son must hare a rich heiress, and that
must be you.''

And Lilly confesses (History of his Life and Times, p. 95),
*' That many peo])le of the poorer sort frequented his lodging,
many whereof were so civil, that when they brought waters,
viz. urines from infected people (in 1G65), they would stand at
a distance."

V. 127, 128. If thou ca7ist prove Ihe saints have freedom Togo
to sorc'rers uhen they need 'em.'] See Don Quixote's scruple in^
this respect, rol. iii. chap. xxv. This question is argued in a book
entitled De Veneficis, per Lamburtum Danaeum, anno 1574, cap.
Ti. " Utrum liceat homini Christiarto sortiariorum opera ctauxi-
lio in morbo aliisque rebus uti ?" who determines, p. 120, in the
negative ; '* Quamobrem hoc sit tandem conclusum et ettectum
ex superioribns, neque debere neque oportere sortiariorum opera
nti, nisi et ipsi in eorum numero esse velimus."

Constantine the Great seems to be more favourable in his opi-
nion in the following law ;

" Nullis vero criminatiortibus implicanda sunt remedia huma-
nis quassita corporibus, aut in agrostibus locis innoccnter adhibita
suifragia, nc maturis vindemiis metuerentur imbres, aut ventiu,
grandinisque lapidatione quaterentur: quibus non cujusquamsa-
lus et aRStimalio lederetur : sed quorimi proficerent actus, ne di-
vina munera et laboreshominum stcrnercntur." Cod. Justinian.
lib. ix. tit. xviii. s. iv.

Sir John Birkenhead (Paul's Church-yard, cent. ii. class, ix.
sct. clxxix.^ puts this query, " Whether the reformers of this



] 35 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 parhament
J 40 A leger to the devil sent.

Fully empower'd to treat about

Finding revolted witches out ?

And has not he, within a year,

HanQ'd threescore of *em in one shire ?


time may safely trade in magic? because Luther and Dr. Faustu*
taught both in the same town."

And Lilly, when he and Booker had an audience of Sir Tho.
mas Fairfax, observed, " That he hoped the art was lawful, and
agreeable to God's word." (Life, p. 57, and General Historical
Dictionary, vol. vii. p. 83. See Spectator, No. 46.)

V. 139, 140. Has not iMs present parliament A leger to the
devil sent .^] Leger ambassadors were not more ancient than the
year 1500, as Mr. Anstis observes from Grotius (Register of the
Garter, part i. p. 394.)

V. 143, 144. Andhas not he, xcitldn a year, Hang'd threescore
qfcm in one shire.} Hopkins, the noted witch finder for the as*
soclated counties, hang'd threescore suspected witches in one year
in the county of Suffolk. See Dr. Hutchinson's Historical I'Issay
on Witchcraft, p. 37, 38.

Dr. Merle Casaubon, in his preface to Dr. Dee's Book of Spi-
rits, observes, That nine hundred men and women suffered in Lo-
rain for witchcraft in the compass of a few years; and Ludovicus
Paramo, that the inquisition, Mithin the space of one hundred
and fifty years, had burnt thirty thousand witches. Baker's
History of the Inquisition, p. 18G.

But our enthusiasms much exceeded both. Mr. Ady says, that
in Scotland some thousands were burnt in those times (Dr. Hut-
chinson, p. 38). I have somewhere seen an account of betwixt
three and four thousand that suftcr'd in the King's dominions
from the year 1G40 to the King's restoration. See a remarkable
incident of this kind in Bretagne, a province of Franco, Turkish
Spy, vol. iv. book iv. letter ix.

T. 145,


145 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

150 Upon green geese and turkey chicks.
Or pigs that suddenly deceased
Of griefs unnat'ral, as he guess'd ;

T. 145. Some only for not beittg drowii'd.'] This was another
method of trial, by water ordeal, of which Mr. Scot observes Irom
divers writers (book xiii. chap. ix. p. 303), " That a woman
above the age of fifty years, being bound liand and foot, her
cloaths being upon her, and being laid dawn softly in the water,
siuketh not in a long time, some say not at all." Dr. Hutchinson
somewhere observes, that not one in ten can sink in this position
of their bodies ; and, p. 55, " That we can no more convict a
witch upon the tricks of swimming, scratching, touching, or any
other such experiments, than we may convict a thief upon the
trial of the sieve and sheers."

V. 146,147, 148. ylnd some for silting above ground^ JVhole
days and nights, upon their breeches , And feeling pain, zvere
hang- df or icitchcs.] Alluding to one of the methods of trial made
use of in those days, mentioned by Dr. Hutchinson (Historical
Essay, p. 63). " Do but imagine (f^ays he) a poor creature, un-
der all the weakness and infirmities of old ago, set like a fool in
the middle of a room, with the rabble of ten towns round about
her house ; then her legs tied cross, that all the weight of her body
might rest upon her seat : by that means, after some hours that
the circulation of the blood would be much stopped, her sitting
would be as painful as the wooden horse. Then she must con-
tinue in her pain four and twenty hours without either sleep or
meat. And since this was their ungodly way of trial, what won-
der was it, if, when they were weary of thei^^lives, they confessed
many tales that would please them, and sometimes they knew not,
what ?" (See some remarkable methods of trial from Mr. White-
lock's Memorials ; Impartial Examination of Mr. Neale's 4th
vol. of the History of the Puritans, p. 97, 98. 99, 100; and in
Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, book ij. chap. xii. p.
?,7y &c. published in 1584).

v. 153*


Who after prov'd himself a witch,

And made a rod for his own breech,
1^5 Did not the devil appear to Martin

Luther in Germany, for certain ?

And wou*d have gull'd him with a trick,

But Mart, was too too politic.

Did he not help the Dutch to purge
160 At Antwerp their cathedral church ?

V. 153, 154. fVho a fier proved himself a zcitch, /In J made a
rod for his ovon breech.~\ " These two verses (says Dr. Hutchin.
son. Historical Essay, p. 65) relate to that which I have often
heard, that Hopkins went on searching and swimming the jioor
creatures, till some gentlemen, out of indignation at the barba.
rity, took him and tied his own thumbs and toes, as he used fa
tie others ; and when he was put into the water, he himself swam
as they did. This cleared the country of him ; and it was a great
deal-X)f pity that they did not think of the experiment sooner."

V. 155, 156. Did not the devil appear to Martin Luther in
Germany^ for certain?^ Luther, in his Mcnsalia, speaks of the
devil's appearing to him frequently, and how he used to drive
him away by scoffing and jeering him ; for he observes, that tho
devil, being a proud spirit, cannot bear to be contemned and

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