Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

970

Made thee, thou whelp of sin, to fancy
Thyself, and all that coward rabble,
T encounter us in battle able !

How durst th', I say, oppose thy curship 960 'Gainst arms, authority, and worship,

And Hudibras or me provoke,
Though all thy limbs were heart of oak,
And th' other half of thee as good

To bear out blows as that of wood ? 965 Could not the whipping-post prevail,

With all its rhetoric, nor the jail,
To keep from flaying scourge thy skin,
And ankle free from iron gin ?
Which now thou shalt-but first our care
Must see how Hudibras does fare.'

This said, he gently raised the knight.
To rouse him from lethargic dump,

He tweaked his nose, with gentle thump 975 Knocked on his breast, as if 't had been

To raise the spirits lodged within:
They, wakened with the noise, did fly
From inward room, to window eye,

And gently opening lid, the casement 980 Looked out, but yet with some amazement.

This gladded Ralpho much to see,
Who thus bespoke the knight : quoth he,
Tweaking his nose, 'You are, great Sir,

A self-denying conqueror ;
985 As high, victorious, and great,

As e'er fought for the churches yet,
If you will give yourself but leave
To make out what y' already have;
That's victory. The foe, for dread
Of your nine-worthiness, is fled,

990

995

All, save Crowdero, for whose sake
You did th' espoused cause undertake ;
And he lies prisoner at your feet,
To be disposed as you think meet,
Either for life, or death, or sale,
The gallows, or perpetual jail ;
For one wink of your powerful eyo
Must sentence him to live or die.

His fiddle is your proper purchase, 1000 Won in the service of the churches;

And by your doom must be allowed
To be, or be no more, a crowd :
For though success did not confer

Just title on the conqueror ;
1005 Though dispensations were not strong

Conclusions, whether right or wrong;
Although out-goings did confirm,
And owning were but a mere term ;

Yet as the wicked have no right 1010 To th' creature, though usurped by might,

The property is in the saint,
From whom th' injuriously detain't ;

Of him they hold their luxuries, 1015 Their riots, revels, masks, delights,

Pimps, buffoons, fiddlers, parasites;
All which the saints have title to,
And ought t' enjoy, if they ’ad their due.

What we take from them is no more 1020 Than what was ours by right before ;

For we are their true landlords still,
And they our tenants but at will.'

At this the knight began to rouse,
And by degrees grow valorous :
He stared about, and seeing none

1025

1030

1035

100

Of all his foes remain but one,
He snatched his weapon that lay near him
And from the ground began to rear him,
Vowing to make Crowdero pay
For all the rest that ran away.
But Ralpho now, in colder blood,
His fury mildly thus withstood :
* Great Sir,' quoth he, your mighty spirit
Is raised too high; this slave does merit
To be the hangman's business, sooner
Than from your hand to have the honour
Of his destruction; I that am
A nothingness in deed and name,
Did scorn to hurt his forfeit carcase,
Or ill entreat his fiddle or case :
Will you, great Sir, that glory blot
In cold blood, which you gained in hot ?
Will you employ your conquering sword

To break a fiddle, and your word ? 1045 For though I fought and overcame,

And quarter gavę, 'twas in your name:
For great commanders always own
What's prosperous by the soldier done.

To save, when you have power to kill, 1050 Argues your power above your will ;

And that your will and power have less
Than both might have of selfishness.
This power which, now alive, with dread
He trembles at, if he were dead,
Would no more keep the slave in awe,
Than if you were a knight of straw;
For death would then be his conqueror,
Not you, and free him from that terror,
If danger from his life accrue,

1055

1075

1060 Or honour from his death, to you

'Twere policy and honour too,
To do as you resolved to do:
But, Sir, 'twould wrong your valour much
To

say it needs, or fears a crutch. 1065 Great conquerors greater glory gain

By foes in triumph led, than slain :
The laurels that adorn their brows
Are pulled from living not dead boughs,

And living foes: the greatest fame 1070 Of cripples slain can be but lame:

One half of him 's already slain,
The other is not worth your pain ;
Th' honour can but on one side light,
As worship did, when y' were dubbed knight.
Wherefore I think it better far
To keep him prisoner of war ;
And let him fast in bonds abide,
At court of justice to be tried;

Where if h' appear so bold or crafty, 1080 There may be danger in his safety:

If any member there dislike
His face, or to his beard have pique :
Or if his death will save, or yield

Revenge or fright, it is revealed, 1085 Though he has quarter, ne'ertheless

Y' have power to hang him when you please;
This has been often done by some
Of our great conquerors, you know whom;
And has by most of us been held
Wise justice, and to some revealed :
For words and promises, that yoke
The conqueror, are quickly broke;
Like Samson's cuffs, though by his own

logo

Direction and advice put on.
1095 For if we should fight for the Causo

By rules of military laws,
And only do what they call just,
The Cause would quickly fall to dust.

This we among ourselves may speak; 1100 But to the wicked or the weak

We must be cautious to declare
Perfection-truths, such as these are.'

This said, the high outrageous mettle

Of knight began to cool and settle. 1105 He liked the squire's advice, and soon

Resolved to see the business done;
And therefore charged him first to bind
Crowdero's hands on rump behind,

And to its former place, and use, 1110 The wooden member to reduce ;

But force it take an oath before,
Ne'er to bear arms against him more.

Ralpho despatched with speedy haste,

And having tied Crowdero fast,
1115 He gave sir knight the end of cord,

To lead the captive of his sword
In triumph, while the steeds he caught,
And them to further service brought.

The squire in state rode on before, 1120 And on his nut-brown whinyard bore

The trophy-fiddle and the case,
Leaning on shoulder like a mace.
The knight himself did after ride,

Leading Crowdero by his side ;
1123 And towed him, if he lagged behind,

Like boat against the tide and wind.
Thus grave and solemn they march on,

« ForrigeFortsett »