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The husbandmen with high-rais'd banks secure
Their greedy hopes, and this he can endure ;
But if with bays and dams they strive to force
His channel to a new or narrow course,
No longer then within his banks he dwells,
First a torrent, then a deluge, swells;
Stronger and fiercer by restraint, he roars,
And knows no bound, but makes his power his shores.
When civil dudgeon first grew high,
And men fell out they knew not why ;
When hard words, jealousies and fears,
Set folks together by the ears,
When gospel-trumpeter, surrounded
With long ear'd rout, to battle sounded,
And pulpit, drum ecclesiastick,
Was beat with fist instead of a stick;
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling,
And out he rode a-colonelling.
A wight he was, whose very sight would Intitle him, Mirrour of Knighthood; That never bow'd his stubborn knee To any thing but chivalry ; Nor put up blow, but that which laid Right Worshipful on shoulder-blade : Chief of domestic knights and errant, Either for chartel or for warrant: Great on the bench, great in the saddle, That could as well bind o'er as swaddle; Mighty he was at both of these, And styl’d of war, as well as peace. (So some rats, of amphibious nature, Àre either for the land or water.) But here our authors make a doubt, Whether he were more wise or stout. Some hold the one, and some the other, But howsoe'er, they make a pother; The diff'rence was so small, his brain Outweigh'd his rage but half a grain ; What made some take him for a tool That knaves do work with, callid a fool. For't has been held by many, that As Montaigne, playing with his cat, Complains she thought him but an ass, Much more she would Sir Hudibras, (For that's the name our valiant Knight To all his challenges did write.) But they're mistaken very much, 'Tis plain enough he was no such. We grant, although he had much wit, H' was very shy of using it ; As being loath to wear it out, And therefore bore it not about : Unless on holidays, or so, As men their best apparel do. Beside, 'tis known he could speak Greek As naturally as pigs squeak : That Latin was no more difficile, Than for a blackbird 'tis to whistle. Being rich in both, he never scanted His bounty into such as wanted ; But much of either would afford To many, that had not one word.
He was in logic a great critic, Profoundly skill'd in analytic;
He could distinguish and divide
A hair, 'twixt south and south-west side:
On either which he would dispute,
Confute, change hands, and still confute.
He'd undertake to prove, by force
Of argument, a man's no horse ;
He'd prove a buzzard is no fowl,
And that a lord may be an owl;
A calf an alderman, a goose a jus
And rooks committee-men and trustees.
He'd run in debt by disputation,
And pay with ratiocination :
All this by syllogism, true
In mood and figure he would do.
For rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth, but out their flew a trope ;
And when he happen'd to break off
I'th' middle of his speech or cough,
H' had hard words, ready to shew why,
And tell what rules he did it by :
Else when with greatest art he spoke,
You'd think he talk'd like other folk.
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
But, when he pleas'd to shew't, his speech
In loftiness of sound was rich;
A Babylonish dialect,
Which learned pedants much affect :
It was a party-colour'd dress
Of patch'd and py-ball’d languages :
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
Like fustain heretofore on satin.
It had an odd promiscuous tone,
As if he had talk'd three parts in one;
Which made some think, when he did gabbie
Th' had heard three labourers of Babel;
Or Cerberus himself pronounce
A leash of languages at once,
This he as volubly would vent
As if his stock would ne'er be spent;
And truly to support that charge,
He had supplies as vast and large :
For he could coin or counterfeit
New words, with little or no wit;
Words so debas'd and hard, no stone
Was hard enough to touch them on :
And when with hasty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em,
That had the orator, who once
Did fill his mouth with pebble-stones
When he harangu'd, but known his phrase,
He would have us'd no other ways.
In mathematics he was greater
Than Tycho Brahe, or Erra Pater :
For he, by geometric scale,
Could take the size of pots of ale;
Resolve by sines and tangents, straight,
If bread and butter wanted weight;
And wisely tell what hour o'th' day
The clock does strike, by algebra.
Beside, he was a slırew'd philosopher,
And had read ev'ry text and gloss over ;
Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
He understood b’implicit faith :
Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry why he had a wherefore:
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms could go.
All which he understood by rote,
And, as occasion serv'd, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell;
But oftentimes mistook the one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.
He could reduce all things to acts,
And knew their natures by abstracts;
Where entity and quiddity,
The ghost of defunct bodies, fly;
Where Truth in person does appear,
Like words congeal'd in northern air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphysic wit can fly.
In school-divinity as able,
As he that hight, Irrefragable;
A second Thomas, or at once
To name them all, another Duns :
Profound in all the nominal
And real ways beyond them all
For he a rope of sand could twist
As tough as learned Sorbonist;