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What we take from them is no more
Than what was ours by right before: 1090
For we are their true landlords still,
And they our tenants but at will.
At this the Knight began to rouse,
And by degrees grew valorous.
He star'd about, and seeing none
Of all his foes remain, but one,
He snatch'd his weapon that lay near him,
And from the ground began toʻrear him;
Vowing to make Crowdero pay
For all the rest that ran away.
1030 But Ralpho, now in colder blood, His fury mildly thus withstood: Great Sir, quoth he, your mighty spirit Is rais'd too high: this slave does merit To be the hangman's bus'ness, sooner 1035 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 intreat his Fiddle or case:
1040 Will you, great Sir, that glory blot, In cold blood, which you gain’d in hot?
Will you employ your conqu’ring sword,
To break a Fiddle and your word?
For tho' I fought and overcame,
And quarter gave, 't was in your name:
For great commanders always own
What's prosperous by the soldier done.
To save, where you have pow'r to kill,
Argues your pow'r above your will; 1050
And that your will and pow'r have less
Than both might have of selfishness.
This pow'r, which now alive, with dread
He trembles at, if he were dead,
Would no more keep the slave in awe, 1055
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,
Or honour from his death, to you;
1060 'Twere policy and honour too, To do as you resolv'd to do: But, Sir, 't would wrong your valour much,
To say it needs or fears a crutch. · Great conqu’rors greater glory gain, 1065 By foes in triumph led, than slain:
The laurels that adorn their brows
Are pulld from living, not dead boughs,
And living foes: the greatest fame
Of cripple slain can be but lame.
One half of him's already slain,
The other is not worth your pain;
T'honour can but on one side light,
As Worship did when y' were dubb’d Knight.
Wherefore I think it better far,
1075 To keep him prisoner of war; And let him fast in bonds abide, At court of justice to be try'd: Where if he appear so bold or crafty, There may be danger in his safety: 1080 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 reveald; Tho' he has quarter, ne'ertheless
1085 Y' have pow'r to hang him when you please; This has been often done by some Of our great conqu’rors, you know whom; And has by most of us been held Wise justice, and to some reveal’d: 1090
For words and promises, that yoke
The conqueror, are quickly broke:
Like Samson's cuffs, tho' by his own
Direction and advice put on.
For if we should fight for the cause
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;
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.
He lik’d the Squire's advice, and soon
Resolv'd to see th' bus’ness done:
And therefore charg'd him first to bind
Crowdero's hands on rump behind,
And to its former place and use
The wooden member to reduce:
But force it take an oath before,
Ne'er to bear arms against him more.
Ralpho dispatch'd with speedy haste,
And having ty'd Crowdero fast,
He gave Sir Knight the end of cord, 1115
To lead the captive of his sword
In triumph, whilst the steeds he caught,
And them to further service brought.
The Squire in state rode on before,
And on his nut-brown whinyard bore 1120
The trophy Fiddle and the case,
Leaning on shoulder like a mace.
The Knight himself did after ride,
Leading Crowdero by his side;
And tow'd him, if he lagg'd behind, 1125
Like boat against the tide and wind.
Thus grave and solemn they march'd on,
Until quite through the town th' had gone;
It further end of which there stands
In 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 pow’rful spell
Of magic made impregnable:
There's neither iron bar nor gate,
1135 Portcullis, chain, nor bolt, nor grate; And yet men durance there abide, In dungeons scarce three inches wide;