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1135

Until quite through the town they 'ad gone;

At further end of which there stands 1130 An ancient castle, that commands

Th' adjacent parts; in all the fabric
You shall not see one stone nor a brick,
But all of wood, by powerful spell
Of magic made impregnable :
There's neither iron-bar nor gate,
Portcullis, chain, nor bolt, nor grate;
And yet men durance there abide,
In dungeon scarce three inches wide ;

With roof so low, that under it 1140 They never stand, but lie or sit;

And yet so foul, that whoso is in,
Is to the middle-leg in prison ;
In circle magical confined,
With walls of subtle air and wind,
Which none are able to break thorough,
Until they're freed by head of borough.
Thither arrived, th' adventurous knight
And bold squire from their steeds alight

At th' outward wall, near which there stands 1150 A Bastile, built t' imprison hands;

By strange enchantment made to fetter
The lesser parts, and free the greater :
For tho' the body may creep through,
The hands in grate are fast enow:
And when a circle 'bout the wrist
Is made by beadle exorcist,
The body feels the spur and switch,
As if 'twere ridden post by witch

At twenty miles an hour pace,
1160 And yet ne'er stirs out of the place.

On top of this there is a spire,

1145

1.155

On which sir knight first bids the squire
The fiddle, and its spoils, the case,

In manner of a trophy, place. 1165 That done, they ope the trap-door gate,

And let Crowdero down thereat.
Crowdero making doleful face,
· Like hermit poor in pensive place,'
To dungeon they the wretch commit,
And the survivor of his feet;
But th' other that had broke the peace,
And head of knighthood, they release,
Though a delinquent false and forged,
Yet being a stranger, he's enlarged;
While his comrade, that did no hurt,
Is clapped up fast in prison for 't.
So justice, while she winks at crimes,
Stumbles on innocence sometimes.

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1175

PART 1.-CANTO III.

THE ARGUMENT.

The scattered rout return and rally,
Surround the place ; the knight does sally,
And is made prisoner : then they seize
Th'enchanted fort by storm, release
Crowdcro, and put the squire in 's place :
I should have first said Hudibras.

A
Y me! what perils do environ

The man that meddles with cold iron !
What plaguy mischiefs and mishaps
Do dog him still with after-claps !
5 For though dame Fortune seem to smile,
And leer upon him for a while,
She'll after show him, in the nick
Of all his glories, a dog-trick.

This any man may sing or say
10 ' th' ditty called, "What if a day?'

For Hudibras, who thought he 'ad won
The field, as certain as a gun,
And having routed the whole troop,

With victory was cock-a-hoop; 15 Thinking he 'ad done enough to purchase

Thanksgiving-day among the churches,
Wherein his mettle and brave worth
Might be explained by holder-forth,

25

And registered by fame eternal, 20 In deathless pages of diurnal;

Found in few minutes, to his cost,
He did but count without his host;
And that a turn-stile is more certain
Than, in events of war, dame Fortune.

For now the late faint-hearted rout,
O’erthrown and scattered round about,
Chased by the horror of their fear,
From bloody fray of knight and bear,

All but the dogs, who in pursuit 30 Of the knight's victory stood to't,

And most ignobly sought to get
The honour of his blood and sweat,
Seeing the coast was free and clear

O'the conquered and the conqueror, 35 Took heart again, and faced about,

As if they meant to stand it out:
For now the half-defeated bear,
Attacked by th' enemy i'th' rear,

Finding their number grew too great 40 For him to make a safe retreat,

Like a bold chieftain faced about ;
But wisely doubting to hold out,
Gave way to fortune, and with haste

Faced the proud foe, and fled, and faced, 45 Retiring still, until he found

He’ad got th' advantage of the ground;
And then as valiantly made head
To check the foe, and forthwith fled,
Leaving no art untried, nor trick
Of warrior stout and politic,
Until, in spite of hot pursuit,
He gained a pass, to hold dispute

50

F

On better terms, and stop the course

Of the proud foe. With all his force 55 He bravely charged, and for a while

Forced their whole body to recoil ;
But still their numbers so increased,
He found himself at length oppressed,

And all evasions so uncertain,
60 To save himself for better fortune,

That he resolved, rather than yield,
To die with honour in the field,
And sell his hide and carcase at

A price as high and desperate
65 As e'er he could. This resolution

He forthwith put in execution,
And bravely threw himself among
Th' enemy, i' th' greatest throng;

But what could single valour do, 70 Against so numerous a foe ?

Yet much he did, indeed too much
To be believed, where th' odds were such ;
But one against a multitude,
Is more than mortal can make good :
For while one party he opposed,
His rear was suddenly enclosed,
And no room left him for retreat,
Or fight against a foe so great.

For now the mastiffs, charging home,
80 To blows and handy-gripes were come;

While manfully himself he bore,
And, setting his right foot before,
He raised himself to show how tall

His person was above them all.
85 This equal shame and envy stirred

In th' enemy, that one should beard

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