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Dispute, and set a paradox,
Like a straight boot, upon the stocks,
And stretch it more unmercifully,
Than Helmont, Montaign, White, or Lully.
So th' ancient Stoics in their porch,
With fierce dispute maintain’d their church,
Beat out their brains in fight and study,
To prove that virtue is a body;
That bonum is an animal,
Made good with stout polemic brawl:
In which some hundreds on the place
Were slain outright, and many a face :
Retrench'd of nose, and eyes, and beard,
To maintain what their sect averr’d,
All which the Knight and Squire in wrath
Had like thave suffer'd for their faith :
Koch strivino to make and his artin.
As by the sequel shall be shown. '
· The sun had long since, in the lap .
Of Thetis, taken out his nap;
And like a lobster hoil'd, the morn,
From black to red began to turn;
When Hudibras, whom thoughts and aking,
”Twixt sleeping kept all night, and waking,
Began to rub his drowsy eyes,
And from his couch prepar'd to rise,
Resolving to dispatch the deed
He vow'd to do with trusty speed.
But first, with knocking loud, and bawling,
He rous'd the Squire, in truckle lolling:
And, after many circumstances,
Which vulgar authors in romances .
Do use to spend their time and wits on,
To make impertinent description,
They got, with much ado, to horse,
And to the castle bent their course,
In which he to the dame before
To suffer whipping duly swore:
Where now arriv’d, and half unharnest,
To carry on the work in earnest,
He stopp’d, and paus’d upon the sudden,
And with a serious forehead plodding,
Sprung a new scruple in his head,
Which first he scratch'd, and after said:
Whether it be direct infringing
An oath, if I should wave this swinging,
And what I've sworn to bear, forbear,
And so b’equivocation swear:
Or whether 't be a lesser sin: . ..
To be forsworn, than act the thing, . 60
Are deep and subtle points which must,
T'inform my conscience, be discust;
In which to err a tittle, may
To errors infinite make way:
And therefore I desire to know
Thy judgment, ere we further go.
Quoth Ralpho, Since you do enjoin ’t,
I shall enlarge upon the point; .
And for my own part, do not doubt
Th’affirmative may be made out.
But first, to state the case aright,
For best advantage of our light; .
And thus 't is, Whether 't be a sin
To claw and curry your own skin,
Greater, or less, than to forbear,
75 And that you are forsworn, forswear. But first o'th' first: the inward man, And outward like a clan and clan, Have always been at daggers-drawing, And one another clapper-clawing: Not that they really cuff, or fence, But in a spiritual mystic sense;