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things, till the web of our life he cut off; and here are mechanios of my profession, who can separate the pieces of salvation from those of damnation, measure out every man's portion, and cut it out by a thread, substantially pressing the points till they have fashionably filled up their work with a well-bottomed conclusion.” Mr. Thomas Hall, in proof of this scandalous practice, published a tract, called “The Pulpit guarded by Seventeen Arguments,” 1651, occasioned by a dispute at Henley, in Warwickshire, August 20, 1650, against Laurence Williams, a nailer, public preacher; Thomas Palmer, baker, public preacher ; Thomas Hind, a ploughwright, public preacher; Henry Oakes, a weaver, preacher 3 Hum. Rogers, late a baker's boy, public preacher.
“God keep the land from such translators, From preaching coblers, pulpit praters, Of order and allegiance haters.” V. 441. Colon, &c.] By the character of Colon was designed one Perry, an hostler. · V. 445-6. That which of Centaur long ago
Was said, and has been wrested to.] Warburton supposes this passage was intended to ridicule the false eloquence of romance writers and bad historians, who, to set out the unwearied diligence of their hero, often expressed themselves in this manner: “he was so much on horseback, that he was of a piece with his horse, like a Centaur. V. 453-4. Although his horse had been of those
That fed on man's flesh, as fame goes.] According to the ancient poets, Diomedes, King of Thrace, fed his horses upon human flesh. He was slain by Hercules, and his body thrown to be devoured by those horses to which the tyrant had exposed others.
V. 466. - -for flesh is grass.] A ridicule on the Presbyterians, who constantly interlarded their common conversation with Scripture phrases, and made as free with the Bible as modern wits do with play books.
V. 458. Than Hercules to clean a stable.] Hercules in one day cleansed the stable of Augeas, King of Elis, by turning the course of the river Alpheus through it. This stable had never been cleansed, although three thousand oxen stabled in it thirty years; whence, when we would express a work of immense toil and labour in proverbial specch, we call it cleansing the stables of Augeas. V. 461-2. He ripp'd the womb up of his mother,
Dame T'ellus, 'cause she wanted fodder.] Poetry delights in making the meanest things look sublime and mysterious; that agrecable way of expressing the wit and humour our poet was master of, is partly manifested in this verse: a poetaster would have been contented with giving this thought in Butler, the appellation of ploughing, which is all that it significs. . . V. 473-4. For beasts, when man was but a piece
Of earth himself, did th’ earth possess.] Man being the last created; cows, pig's, and other animals were undoubtedly of the elder house. The translator of Dubartus's Divino Weeks thus expresses the same thought: “Now of all creatures which His word did make,
Man was the last that living breath did take;
So great a prince, without on whom to reign." The pious Dubartus seems to have liad a much higher opinion of the dignity of man's nature than the Hindoo philosopher and legislator Menu, who thus forcibly but singularly describes the body of this great prince: “A mansion with bones for its rafters and beams; with nerves and tendons for cords; with muscles and blood for mortar; with skin for its outward covering; filled with no sweet perfume, but loaded with feces and urine. A mansion infested by age and by sorrow, the seat of malady, harassed with pains, haunted with the quality of darkness, and incapable of standing long; such a mansion of the vital soul let its occupier always cheerfully quit.”— Institutes of Menu.-— Works of Sir W. Jones. V.475-6. These worthies were the chief that led
i The combatants, &c.] The characters of the leaders of the bear-baiting being now given, a question may arise, why the Knight opposes persons of his own stamp, and of his own way of thinking in that recreation? It is plain that he took them to be so, by his manner of addressing them in the famous harangue that follows. An answer may be given several ways: he thought himself bound, in commission and conscience, to suppress a game which he and his Squire had so learnedly judged to be unlawful, and therefore he could not dispense with it even in his brethren; he insinuates, that they were ready to engage in the same pious designs with himself, and the liberty they took was by no means suitable to the character of reformers. In short, he uses all his rhetoric to cajole, and threats to terrify, them to desist from their darling sports, for the plausible saving their cause's reputation.
V. 484. Of diff'rent manners, speech, religion.] Never were there so many different sects and religions in any nation as were then in England. Mr. Case, in a thanksgiving sermon, preached before. the Parliament, on occasion of the taking of Chester, told them, “That there was such a numerous increase of errors and heresies, that he blushed to repeat what some had affirmed, namely, that there were no less than one hundred and fourscore several heresies propagated and spread in the neighbouring city (London), and many of them of such a nature (says he) as I may truly say, in Calvin's language, the errors and innovations under which they groaned of late years were but tolerable trifles, children's play, compared with these damnable doctrines of devils." And Mr. Ford, a celebrated divine of those times, observed in an assize sermon preached at Reading, “ That, in the little town of Reading, he was verily persuaded, if Augustines's and Epiphanius's catalogues of heresies were lost, and all other modern and ancient records of that kind, yet it would be no hard matter to restore them, with considerable enlargements, from that place; that they have Anabaptism, Familianism, Socinianism, Pelagianism, ranting, and what not: and that the devil was served in heterodox assemblies as frequently as God in theirs, and that one of the most eminent church livings in that county was possessed by a blasphemer, one in whose house he believed some there could testify that the devil was as visibly familiar as any one of the family.” V. 493-4. What rage, 0 citizens! what fury
Doth you to these dire actions hurry.] A paraphrase of those lines of Lucan, beginning Quis furo, 0 cives, &c. and thus translated by Sir Arthur Gorges :
“Dear citizens, what brain-sick charms,
What outrage of disorder'd arms,
Leads you to feast your envious foes,
Roams wailing through the Parthian coast.” V. 495. What cestrum, &c.] Estrum is not only a Greek word for madness, but signifies also a gad-bee or horse-fly, which torments the cattle in summer, and makes them run about as if they were mad. In Bewick's History of Quadrupeds, the following relation occurs in the account of the Rein-deer. “Besides the gnat, the gad-fly is a common pest to the rein-deer. In the autumn, this insect deposits its eggs in their skin, where the worms burrow, and often prove fatal to them. The moment a single fly is seen, the whole herd is in motion: they know their enemy, and endeavour to avoid it by tossing up their heads, and running among one another; but all this too often proves ineffectual. Every morning and evening during the summer, the herdsman returns to his cottage with the deer to be milked, where a large fire of moss is prepared to drive off the gnats, and keep the deer quiet whilst milking.”
V. 497. While the proud Vies, &c.] This refers to the great defeat given to Sir William Waller at the Devises; and the blank in the following line is to be filled up with the word Waller; for though Sir William Waller made a considerable figure among the generals of the rebel parliament before this defeat, yet afterwards he made no figure, but appeared as the ghost or shadow of what he had been before. Sir John Denham, in a loyal song, speaking of the bursting of eight barrels of gunpowder at this battle, whereby Sir Ralph Hopton was in danger of being killed, has the following lines: “Heard you of that wonder, of the lightning and thunder,
Which made the lie so much the louder;
Which was done by a firkin of powder.
But as for honest Sir Ralph,
V. 502. In vain, untriumphable fray.] This is an allusion to the Roman custom, which denied a triumph to a conqueror in civil war; the reason of which was, because the men there slain were citizens, and not strangers. V. 503-4. Shall saints in civil bloodshed wallow
Of saints, and let the cause lie fallow.] Walker, in his History of Independency, observes, “ that all the cheating, covetous, ambitious persons of the land were united together under the title of the godly, the saints, and shared the fat of the land among them.” In another place he calls them saints who were canonized no where but in the devil's calendar. And Sir Roger l'Estrange, their mortal enemy, says of them, “when I consider the behaviour of these pretended saints to the members of the church of England, whom they plundered unmercifully, and to brother saints of other sects, whom they did not spare in that respect when a proper occasion offered, I cannot help comparing them with Dr. Rondibilis, in Rabelais, who told Panurge, “ that from wicked folks he never got enough, and from honest people he refused nothing.”: , ; V. 513-4. make war for the King
Against himself, &c.] The Presbyterians, when they first took up arms against the King, maintained still that they fought for him; for they pretended to distinguish his political person from his natural one. His political person, they said, must be and was with the Parliament, though his natural person was at war with them; and therefore, when at the end of his speech, the Knight charges them to keep the peace, he does it in the name of the King and Parliament; that is, the political, not the natural King. This was the method observed by the rebels at the breaking out of the civil war; but, after their forces had gained great advantages over the royal party, they became less delicate in their measures. In 1645, when Sir Thomas Fairfax was appointed generallissimo of the parliamentary forces, it was remarked, that in his commission the preservation of the King's person and name was omitted, he being constituted general to the Parliament only; and not to the King and Parliament, as the preceding commissions had run; and a very different method of carrying on the war now com