Зображення сторінки

In it he melted lead for bullets
To shoot at foes, and sometimes pullets,
To whom he bore so fell a grutch,
He ne'er gave quarter t’ any such.
The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting, was grown rusty,
And ate into itself, for lack
Of somebody to hew and hack :
The peaceful scabbard where it dwelt,
The rancour of its edge had felt;
For of the lower end two handful
It had devour'd, it was so manful,
And so much scorn'd to lurk in case,
As if it durst not show its face.
In many desperate attempts
Of warrants, exigents, contempts,
It had appear'd with courage bolder
Than Serjeant Bum invading shoulder:
Oft had it ta'en possession,
And prisoners too, or made them run.

This sword a dagger had his page,
That was but little for his age;
And therefore waited on him so
As dwarfs upon knights-errant do:
It was a serviceable dudgeon,
Either for fighting, or for drudging :
When it had stabb'd or broke a head,
It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread;
Toast cheese or bacon, though it were
To bait a mouse-trap, would not care:
'Twould make clean shoes, and in the earth
Set leeks and onions, and so forth :
It had been 'prentice to a brewer,
Where this and more it did endure,
But left the trade, as many more
Have lately done on the same score.?

Though it contributed its own fall,
To wait upon the public downfall;
It was monastic, and did grow
In holy orders by strict vow;
Of rule as sullen and severe,
As that of rigid Cordelier;
'Twas bound to suffer persecution,
And martyrdom with resolution;
T'oppose itself against the hate
And rengeance of th’incensed state,
In whose defiance it was worn,
Still ready to be pull’d and tom;
With red hot irons to be tortur’d,
Reril'd, and spit upon, and martyr'd;
Maugre all which 'twas to stand fast
As long as monarchy should last;
But when the state should hap to reel,
'Twas to submit to fatal steel,
And fall, as it was consecrate,
A sacrifice to fall of state ;
Whose thread of life the fatal sisters
Did twist together with its whiskers,
And twine so close, that Time should never,
In life or death, their fortunes sever ;
But with his rusty sickle mow
Both down together at a blow. * *

His doublet was of sturdy buff,
And though not sword, yet cudgel proof;
Whereby 'twas fitter for his use,
Who fear'd no blows but such as bruise.

His breeches were of rugged woollen,
And had been at the siege of Bullen;
To old king Harry so well-known,
Some writers held they were his own;
Though they were lin'd with many a piece
Of ammunition, bread and cheese,
And fat black puddings, proper food
For warriors that delight in blood;
For, as we said, he always chose
To carry victual in his hose,
That often tempted rats and mice
Th'ammunition to surprise;
And when he put a band but in
The one or t’ other magazine,
They stoutly on defence on’t stood,
And from the wounded foe drew blood;
And till they were storm'd and beaten out,
Nc'er left the fortificd redoubt ;
And though knights-crrant, as some think,
Of old did neither eat nor drink,
Because when thorough deserts vast,
And regions desolate they pass’d,
Where belly-timber above ground,
Or under, was not to be found,
Unless they graz'd, there's not one word
Of their provision on record;
Which made some confidently write
They had no stomachs but to fight.
'Tis false ; for Arthur wore in hall
Round table like a farthingal ;
On which, with shirt pull'd out behind,
And eke before, his good knights din'd;
Though 'twas no table some suppose,
But a huge pair of round trunk hose,
In which he carried as much meat
As he and all the knights could eat ;
When laying by their swords and truncheons,
They took their breakfasts or their luncheons.
But let that pass at present, lest
We should forget where we digress'd,
As learned authors use, to whom
We leave it, and to the purpose come.

His puissant sword unto his side,
Near his undaunted heart, was tied,
With basket hilt that would hold broth,
And serve for fight and dinner both;

The Elephant in the Moon. [Designed as a satire upon the Royal Society, whose phil050phical researches appeared to Butler, and the wits in general, to be in many instances whimsical and absurd.]

A learn'd society of late,
The glory of a foreign state,
Agreed, upon a summer's night,
To search the moon by her own light;
To take an invent'ry of all
Her real estate, and personal ;
And make an accurate survey
Of all her lands, and how they lay,
As true as that of Ireland, where
The sly surveyors stole a shire;
T'observe her country how 'twas planted,
With what sh' abounded most, or wanted ;
And make the prop’rest observations
For settling of new plantations,
If the society should incline
T'attempt so glorious a design.

This was the purpose of their meeting,
For which they chose a time as fitting,
When, at the full, her radiant light
And influence too were at their height.
And now the lofty tube, the scale
With which they heav'n itself assail,
Was mounted full against the moon,
And all stood ready to fall on,
Impatient who should have the honour
To plant an ensign first upon her.

When one, who for his deep belief
Was virtuoso then in chief,
Approv'd the most profound, and wise,
To solve impossibilities,

1 An allusion to Cromwell. It is doubtful whether Oliver ever carried on the brewing business, but his parents undoubtedly did, in the town of Hunting on.


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Advancing gravely, to apply
To th' optic glass his judging eye,
Cried, Strange! then reinforc'd his sight
Against the moon with all his might,
And bent his penetrating brow
As if he meant to gaze her through :
When all the rest began t'admire,
And, like a train, from him took fire,
Surpris'd with wonder, beforehand,
At what they did not understand,
Cried out, impatient to know what
The matter was they wonder'd at.
Quoth he, Th' inhabitants o' th’moon,
Who, when the sun shines hot at noon,
Do live in cellars under ground,
Of eight miles deep and eighty round,
(In which at once they fortify
Against the sun and th' enemy),
Which they count towns and cities there,
Because their people's civiller
Than those rude peasants that are found
To live upon the upper ground,
Callid Prevolvans, with whom they are
Perpetually in open war;
And now both armies, highly enrag'd,
Are in a bloody fight engag'd,
And many fall on both sides slain,
As by the glass 'tis clear and plain.
Look quickly then, that every one
May see the fight before 'tis done.

With that a great philosopher,
Admir'd and famous far and near,
As one of singular invention,
But universal comprehension,
Applied one eye and half a nose
Unto the optic engine close ;
For he had lately undertook
To prove and publish in a book,
That men whose nat’ral eyes are out,
May, by more powerful art, be brought
To see with th' empty holes, as plain
As if their eyes were in again!
And if they chanc'd to fail of those,
To make an optic of a nose,
As clearly it may, by those that wear
But spectacles, be made appear,
By which both senses being united,
Does render them much better sighted.
This great man, having fix'd both sights
To view the formidable fights,
Observ'd his best, and then cried out,
The battle's desperately fought;
The gallant Subvolvani rally,
And from their trenches make a sally
Upon the stubborn enemy,
Who now begin to route and fly.

These silly ranting Prevolvans Have ev'ry summer their campaigns, And muster, like the warlike sons Of Rawhead and of Bloody bones, As numerous as Solan geese, l'th' islands of the Orcades, Courageously to make a stand, And face their neighbours hand to hand, Until the long’d-for winter's come, And then return in triumph home, And spend the rest o'th' year in lies, And vap’ring of their victories; Froin th' old Arcadians they're believ'd To be, before the moon, deriv'd, And when her orb was new created, To people her were thence translated : For as th' Arcadians were reputed Of all the Grecians the most stupid, Whom nothing in the world could bring To civil life, but fiddling,

They still retain the antique course
And custom of their ancestors,
And always sing and fiddle to
Things of the greatest weight they do.

While thus the learn'd man entertains
Th’ assembly with the Prevolvans,
Another, of as great renown,
And solid judgment, in the moon,
That understood her various soils,
And which produc'd best gennet-moyles,
And in the register of fame
Had enter'd his long-living name,
After he had por'd long and hard
I'th' engine, gave a start, and star'd-

Quoth he, A stranger sight appears
Than e'er was seen in all the spheres;
A wonder more unparallel'd
Than ever mortal tube bebeld;
An elephant from one of those
Two mighty armies is broke loose,
And with the horror of the fight
Appears amaz’d, and in a fright:
Look quickly, lest the sight of us
Should cause the startled beast t' embosg.
It is a large one, far more great
Than e'er was bred in Afric yet,
From which we boldly may infer
The moon is much the fruitfuller.
And since the mighty Pyrrhus brought
Those living castles first, 'tis thought,
Against the Romans in the field,
It may an argument be held
(Arcadia being but a piece,
As his dominions were, of Greece),
To prove what this illustrious person
Has made so noble a discourse on,
And amply satisfied us all
Of th’ Prevolrans' original.
That elephants are in the moon,
Though we had now discover'd none,
Is easily made manifest,
Since, from the greatest to the least,
All other stars and constellations
Have cattle of all sorts of nations,
And heaven, like a Tartar's hoard,
With great and numerous droves is stord;
And if the moon produce by nature
A people of so vast a stature,
'Tis consequent she should bring forth
Far greater beasts, too, than the earth,
(As by the best accounts appears
Of all our great'st discoverers),
And that those monstrous creatures there,
Are not such rarities as here.

Meanwhile the rest had had a sight
Of all particulars o' the fight,
And ev'ry man, with equal care,
Perus’d of th’ elephant his share ;
When one, who, for his excellence
In height’ning words and shad'wing sense,
And magnifying all he writ
With curious microscopic wit,
Was magnified himself no less
In home and foreign colleges,
Began, transported with the twang
Of his own trillo, thus t'harangue :

Most excellent and virtuous friends,
This great discov'ry makes amends
For all our unsuccessful pains,
And lost expense of time and brains;
For, by this sole phenomenon,
We've gotten ground upon the moon,
And gain’d a pass, to hold dispute
With all the planets that stand out ;

1 Mules

To carry this most virtuous war
Home to the door of every star,
And plant the artillery of our tubes
Against their proudest magnitudes;
To stretch our victories beyond
Th’extent of planetary ground,
And fix our engines, and our ensigns,
Upon the fix'd stars' vast dimensions,
(Which Archimede, so long ago,
Durst not presume to wish to do),
And prove if they are other suns,
As some have held opinions,
Or windows in the empyreum.
From whence those bright effluvias come
Like flames of fire (as others guess)
That shine i' th’mouths of fumaces.
Nor is this all we have achiev'd,
But more, henceforth to be believ'd,
And have no more our best designs,
Because they're ours, beliey'd ill signs.
Tout-throw, and stretch, and to enlarge,
Shall now no more be laid t' our charge ;
Nor shall our ablest virtuosis
Prove arguments for coffee-houses;
Nor those devices, that are laid
Too truly on us, nor those made
Hereafter, gain belief among
Our strictest judges, right or wrong;
Nor shall our past misfortunes more
Be charg'd upon the ancient score;
No more our making old dogs young
Make men suspect us still i' th' wrong;
Vor new invented chariots draw
The boys to course us without law;
Nor putting pigs t'a bitch to nurse,
To turn 'em into mongrel curs,
Make them suspect our skulls are brittle,
And hold too much wit, or too little;
Nor shall our speculations, whether
An elder-stick will save the leather
Of schoolboy's breeches from the rod,
Make all we do appear as odd.
This one discovery 's enough
To take all former scandals off";
But since the world's incredulous
Of all our scrutinies, and us,
And with a prejudice prevents
Our best and worst experiments,
(As if they were destin'd to miscarry,
In concert tried, or solitary),
And since it is uncertain when
Such wonders will occur again,
Let us as cautiously contrive
To draw an exact narrative
Of what we ev'ry one can swear
Our eyes themselves have seen appear,
That, when we publish the account,
We all may take our oaths upon't.

This said, they all with one consent
Agreed to draw up th' instrument,
And, for the gen’ral satisfaction,
To print it in the next transaction ;
But whilst the chiefs were drawing up
This strange memoir o'th' telescope,
One, peeping in the tube by chance,
Beheld the elephant advance,
And from the west side of the moon
To th' east was in a moment gone.
This being related, gave a stop
To what the rest were drawing up ;
And ev'ry man, amaz'd anew
How it could possibly be true,
That any beast should run a race
So monstrous, in so short a space,
Resolv’d, howe'er, to make it good,
At least as possible as he could,

And rather his own eyes condemn,
Than question what he 'ad seen with them.

While all were thus resolv’d, a man
Of great renown there thus began :
'Tis strange, I grant, but who can say
What cannot be, what can, and may ?
Especially at so hugely vast
A distance as this wonder 's plac'd,
Where the least error of the sight
May show things false, but never right;
Nor can we try them, so far off,
By any sublunary proof:
For who can say that Nature there
Has the same laws she goes by here?
Nor is it like she has infus'd,
In ev'ry species there produc'd.
The same efforts she does confer
Upon the same productions here,
Since those with us, of sev’ral nations,
Have such prodigious variations,
And she affects so much to use
Variety in all she does.
Hence may b’inferrd that, though I grant
We've seen i'th' moon an elephant,
That elephant may differ so
From those upon the earth below,
Both in his bulk, and force, and speed,
As being of a diff'rent breed,
That though our own are but slow-pac'd,
Theirs there may fly, or run as fast,
And yet be elephants no less
Than those of Indian pedigrees.

This said, another of great worth,
Fam'd for his leamed works put forth,
Look'd wise, then said-All this is true,
And learnedly obsery'd by you;
But there's another reason for 't,
That falls but very little short
Of mathematic demonstration,
Upon an accurate calculation;
And that is—as the earth and moon
Do both more contrary upon
Their axes, the rapidity
Of both their motions cannot be
But so prodigiously fast,
That vaster spaces may be past
In less time than the beast has gone,
Though he'd no motion of his own,
Which we can take no measure of,
As you have cleard by learned proof.
This granted, we may boldly thence

Lay claim t' a nobler inference,
· And make this great phenomenon

(Were there no other) serve alone
To clear the grand hypothesis
Of th' motion of the earth from this.

With this they all were satisfied,
As men are wont o'th' bias'd side,
Applauded the profound dispute,
And grew more gay and resolute,
By having overcome all doubt,
Than if it never had fall’n out;
And, to complete their narrative.
Agreed t’insert this strange retrieve.

But while they were diverted all
With wording the memorial,
The footboys, for diversion too,
As having nothing else to do,
Seeing the telescope at leisure,
Turn’d virtuosis for their pleasure:
Began to gaze upon the moon,
As those they waited on had done,
With monkeys' ingenuity,
That love to practise what they see;
When one, whose turn it was to peep,
Saw something in the engine creep,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

And, like the nation's patriots,
To find, or make, the truth by votes:
Others conceiv'd it much more fit
Tunmount the tube, and open it,
And for their private satisfaction,
To re-examine the transaction,
And after explicate the rest,
As they should find cause for the best.

To this, as th' only expedient,
The whole assembly gave consent;
But ere the tube was half let down,
It clear'd the first phenomenon;
For, at the end, prodigious swarms
Of flies and gnats, like men in arms,
Had all pass'd muster, by mischance,
Both for the Sub- and Prevolvans.
This being discovered, put them all
Into a fresh and fiercer brawl,
Asham'd that men so grave and wise
Should be chaldes'd by gnats and flies,
And take the feeble insects' gwarms
For mighty troops of men at arms;
As vain as those who, when the moon
Bright in a crystal river shone,
Threw casting nets as subtily at her,
To catch and pull her out o the water.
But when they had unscrew'd the glase,
To find out where the impostor was,
And saw the mouse, that, by mishap,
Had made the telescope a trap,
Amaz'd, confounded, and afflicted,
To be so openly convicted,
Immediately they get them gone,
With this discovery alone,
That those who greedily pursue
Things wonderful, instead of truc,
That in their speculations choose
To make discoveries strange news,
And natural history a gazette
Of tales stupendous and far-fet;
Hold no truth worthy to be known,
That is not huge and overgrown,
And explicate appearances,
Not as they are, but as they please;
In vain strive nature to suborn,
And, for their pains, are paid with scom.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

And, viewing well, discover'd more
Than all the learn'd had done before.
Quoth he, A little thing is slunk
Into the long star-gazing trunk,
And now is gotten down so nigh,
I have him just against mine eye.

This being overheard by one
Who was not so far overgrown
In any virtuous speculation,
To judge with mere imagination,
Immediately he made a guess
At solving all appearances,
A way far more significant
Than all their hints of th’ elephant,
And found, upon a second view,
His own hypothesis most true;
For he had scarce applied his eye
To th’ engine, but immediately
He found a mouse was gotten in
The hollow tube, and, shut between
The two glass windows in restraint,
Was swell’d into an elephant,
And prov'd the virtuous occasion
Of all this learned dissertation :
And, as a mountain heretofore
Was great with child they say, and bore,
A silly mouse, this mouse, as strange,
Brought forth a mountain in exchange.

Meanwhile the rest in consultation
Had penu'd the wonderful narration,
And set their hands, and seals, and wit,
T'attest the truth of what they 'ad writ,
When this accurs'd phenomenon
Confounded all they'd said or done:
For 'twas no sooner hinted at,
But they all were in a tumult straight,
More furiously enrag'd by far,
Than those that in the moon made war,
To find so admirable a hint,
When they had all agreed to have scen't,
And were engag'd to make it out,

Obstructed with a paltry doubt. [At this crisis, a learned member, devoted to natural history, told his brethren that Truth was of a coy character, and so obscure, that mistakes were often made about her, and he was of opinion that each man should in the meantime restrict himself to one department of science, and not pretend to decide on things half made out by others.]

This said, the whole assembly allow'd
The doctrine to be right and good,
And, from the truth of what they 'ad heard,
Resolv'd to give truth no regard,
But what was for their turn to rouch,
And either find, or make it such :
That 'twas inore noble to create
Things like truth out of strong conceit,
Than with vexatious pains and doubt
To find, or think t' have found, her out.

This being resolv'd, they, one by one,
Review'd the tube, the mouse, and moon;
But still the narrower they pried,
The more they were unsatisfied,
In no one thing they saw agreeing,
As if they ’ad sev'ral faiths of secing;
Some swore, upon a second view,
That all they 'ad seen before was true,
And that they never would recant
One syllable of th' elephant ;
Avow'd his snout could be no mouse's,
But a true elephant's proboscis.
Others began to doubt and waver,
Uncertain which o' th' two to favour,
And knew not whether to espouse
The cause of th' elephant or mouse.
Some held no way so orthodox
To try it, as the ballet-box,


[Miscellancous Thoughts.]

[From Butler's Romains.] The truest characters of ignorance Arc vanity, and pride, and arrogance; As blind men use to bear their noses higher Than those that have their eyes and sight entire.

All wit and fancy, like a diamond,
The more exact and curious 'tis ground,
Is forc'd for every carat to abate
As much in value as it wants in weight.

[ocr errors]

Love is too great a happiness
For wretched mortals to possess;
For could it hold inviolate
Against those cruelties of fate
Which all felicities below
By rigid laws are subject to,
It would become a bliss too high
For perishing mortality;
Translate to earth the joys abore;
For nothing goes to Heaven but Love.
All love at first, like generous wine,
Ferments and frets until 'tis fine;
For when 'tis settled on the lee,
And from the impurer matter free,
Becomes the richer still the older,
And proves the pleasanter the colder.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

As at the approach of winter, all

Thus do we rise ill sights to see, The leaves of great trees use to fall,

And 'gainst ourselves to prophecy ; And leave them naked, to engage

When the prophetic fear of things With storms and tempests when they rage,

A more torinenting mischief brings, While humbler plants are found to wear

More full of soul-tormenting gall Their fresh green liveries all the year;

Than direst mischiefs can befall. So when their glorious season's gone

But stay! but stay! methinks my sight, With great men, and hard times come on,

Better inform’d by clearer light, The greatest calamities oppress

Discerny sereneness in that brow, The greatest still, and spare the less.

That all contracted seem'd but now.

His reversed face may show distaste, In Rome no temple was so low

And frown upon the ills are past; As that of Honour, built to show

But that which this way looks is clear, How humble honour ought to be,

And smiles upon the New-born Year. Though there 'twas all authority.

He looks, too, from a place so high,

The year lies open to his eve: All smatterers are more brisk and pert

And all the moments open are Than those that understand an art;

To the exact discoverer As little sparkles shine more bright

Yet more and more he smiles upon Than glowing coals that give them light.

The happy revolution.

Why should we then suspect or fear [To his Mistress.]

The influences of a year, Do not unjustly blame

So smiles upon us the first morn, My guiltless breast,

And speaks us good as soon as born ? For venturing to disclose a flame

Plague on't ! the last was ill enough, It had so long supprest.

This cannot but make better proof; In its own ashes it design'd

Or, at the worst, as we brush'd through For ever to have lain;

The last, why so we may this too ; But that my sighs, like blasts of wind,

And then the next in reason should
Made it break out again.

Be super-excellently good :
For the worst ills, we daily see,

Have no more perpetuity

Than the best fortunes that do fall;
The name of CHARLES COTTON (1630-1687) calls Which also brings us wherewithal
up a number of agreeable associations. It is best Longer their being to support,
known from its piscatory and affectionate union Than those do of the other sort :
with that of good old Izaak Walton; but Cotton

And who has one good year in three, was a cheerful, witty, accomplished man, and only And yet repines at destiny, wanted wealth and prudence to have made him one

Appears ungrateful in the case, of the leading characters of his day. His father,

And merits not the good he has. Sir George Cotton, died in 1658, leaving the poet

Then let us welcome the new guest an estate at Ashbourne, in Derbyshire, near the

With lusty brimmers of the best : river Dove, so celebrated in the annals of trout

Mirth always should good fortune mcet, fishing. The property was much encumbered, and

And renders e'en disaster sweet ; the poet soon added to its burdens. As a means of

And though the princess turn her back, pecuniary relief, as well as recreation, Cotton tran

Let us but liue ourselves with sack, slated several works from the French and Italian,

We better shall by far hold out including Montaigne's Essays. In his fortieth

Till the next year she face about. year he obtained a captain's commission in the army; and afterwards made a fortunate second

[Invitation to Izaak Walton.] marriage with the Countess Dowager of Ardglass, (In his eighty-third year, Walton professed a resolution to who possessed a jointure of £1500 a-year. It does begin a pilgrimage of more than a hundred iniles into a country not appear. however, that Cotton ever got out of then the most difficult and hazardous that can be conceived for his difficulties. The lady's fortune was secured an aged man to travel in, to visit his friend Cotton, and, doubt. from his mismanagement, and the poet died insol

less, to enjoy his favourite diversion of angling in the delightful

streams of the Dove. To this journey he seems to have been vent. His happy, careless disposition, seems to have

invited by Mr Cotton in the following beautiful stanzas, printed enabled him to study, angle, and delight his friends,

with other of his poems in 1689, and addressed to his dear and amidst all his embarrassments. He published seve

ned seve most worthy friend, Mr Izaak Walton.] ral burlesques and travesties, some of them grossly indelicate ; but he wrote, also, some copies of verses

Whilst in this cold and blustering clime, full of genuine poetry. One of his humorous pieces,

Where bleak winds howl, and tempests roar, a journey to Ireland, seems to have anticipated, as

We pass away the roughest time Mr Campbell remarks, the manner of Anstey in the

Has been of many years before; *New Bath Guide. As a poet, Cotton may be ranked Whilst from the most tempestuous nooks with Andrew Marvell.

The chillest blasts our peace invade,

And by great rains our smallest brooks [The New Year.]

Are almost navigable made; Hark, the cock crows, and yon bright star

Whilst all the ills are so improv'd Teils us the day himself's not far;

Of this dead quarter of the year, And see, where, breaking from the night,

That even you, so much belov'd, He gilds the western hills with light.

We would not now wish with us here: With him old Janus doth appear,

In this estate, I say, it is Peeping into the future year,

Some comfort to us to suppose, With such a look, as seems to say

That in a better clime than this, The prospect is not good that way.

You, our dear friend, have more repose; qra


« НазадПродовжити »