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Whereby 'tis plain thy light and gifts
Are all but plagiary shifts;
And is the same that Ranter* said
Who, arguing with me, broke my head,
And tore a handful of my beard;
The self-same cavils then I heard,
When b’ing in hot dispute about
This controversy, we fell out;
And what thou know'st I answered then
Will serve to answer thee again.'

Quoth Ralpho, ‘Nothing but th' abuse
Of human learning you produce;
Learning, that cobweb of the brain,
Profane, t erroneous, and vain ;
A trade of knowledge as replete,
As others are with fraud and cheat;

* The Ranters,' says Alexander Ross, 'held that God, Devil, Angels, Heaven and Hell, &c., were fictions and fables ; that Moses, John Baptist, and Christ, were impostors,' &c. In his Characters, Butler describes a Ranter as 'a monster produced by the madness of this latter age ; but if it had been his fate to have been whelped in old Rome he had passed for a prodigy, and been received among raining of stones, and the speaking of bulls, and would have put a stop to all public affairs, until he had been expiated. Nero clothed Christians in the skins of wild beasts ; but he wraps wild beasts in the skins of Christians.' Whitelocke says that the soldiers in the parliament army were frequently punished for being ranters.

t''Twas the opinion of those tinkers, tailors, &c., that governed Chelmsford at the beginning of the rebellion, that learning had always been an enemy to the gospel, and that it were a happy thing if there were no Universities, and that all books were burned except the Bible.'—Mercurius Rusticus.

I Human learning' was, of course, considered vain and impious by those sects that held inspiration to be the only source of truth. In a MS. of Butler's, quoted by Dr. Nash, the following reflections occur with a direct application to this subject. The modern doctrine of the court, hat men's natural parts are rather impaired than improved by study and learning, is ridiculously false ; and the design of it as plain as its ignorant nonsense-no more than what the levellers and quakers found out before them; that is, to bring down all other men, whom they have no possibility of coming near any other way, to an equality with themselves ; that no man may be thought to receive any advantage by that, which they, with all their confidence, dare not pretend to.'

An art t’incumber gifts and wit, '
And render both for nothing fit;
Makes light unactive, dull and troubled,
Like little David in Saul's doublet: *
A cheat that scholars put upon
Other men's reason and their own;
A sort of error, to ensconce
Absurdity and ignorance,
That renders all the avenues
To truth impervious, and abstruse,
By making plain things, in debate,
By art perplexed, and intricate;
For nothing goes for sense or light,

That will not with old rules jump right;
As if rules were not in the schools
Derived from truth, but truth from rules.t
This pagan, heathenish invention
Is good for nothing but contention.
For as in sword-and-buckler fight,
All blows do on the target light;
So when men argue, the great'st part
O'the contest falls on terms of art,

* 1 Samuel xvii. 38. + This observation is just; the logicians have run into strange absurdities of this kind. Peter Ramus, the best of them, in his Logic, rejects a very just argument of Cicero's as sophistical, because it did not jump right with his rules.—WARBURTON.

t Amongst the Remains published by Mr. Thyer, there is a passage in which the thought expressed in these lines is amplified, and followed out to its conclusion. It is one of several fragments upon the vanities of pedantry, and the mere jargon of scholarship, which Butler left unfinished, and which he probably intended ultimately to throw into a connected form. Some of them seem to be either germs of ideas afterwards exhausted in a different shape in Hudibras, or, as apparently in this instance, ideas elaborated from hints suggested in the progress of the poem.

As old knights-errant in their harness fought
As safe as in a castle, or redoubt;
Gave one another desperate attacks,
To storm the counterscarps upon their backs;
So disputants advance, and post their arms,
To storm the works of one another's terms;

Until the fustian stuff be spent,
And then they fall to th' argument.'

Quoth Hudibras, "Friend Ralph, thou hast
Out-run the constable at last:
For thou art fallen on a new
Dispute, as senseless as untrue,
But to the former opposite,
And contrary as black to white;
Mere disparata,* that concerning
Presbytery, this human learning;
Two things s' averse, they never yet,
But in thy rambling fancy, met.
But I shall take a fit occasion
T evince thee by' ratiocination,
Some other time, in place more proper
Than this we're in; therefore let's stop here,
And rest our wearied bones a while,
Already tired with other toil.'+

Fall foul on some extravagant expression,
But ne'er attempt the main design and reason
So some polemics use to draw their swords
Against the language only, and the words :
As he who fought at barriers with Salmasius,
Engaged with nothing but his stile and phrases ;
Waved to assert the murder of a prince,
The author of false Latin to convince ;
But laid the merits of the cause aside,
By them that understood them to be tried,
And counted breaking Priscian's head a thing
More capital, than to behead a king.
For which h’has been admired by all the learned,

Of knaves concerned, and pedants unconcerned. The disputant assailed in these lines is Milton, in reference to his controversy with Salmasius.

* Things separate and totally dissimilar. The Knight evidently feels that he has got the worst of the argument, and is glad of an excuse to postpone the dispute. Dryden has fol. : lowed the example closely in the discussion between the twochurches :

Thus did the gentle Hind her fable end,
Nor would the Panther blame it, or commend
But with affected yawnings at the close,
Seemed to require her natural repose.

Hind and Panther.


The knight, being clapped by th’ heels in prison,
The last unhappy expedition, *
Love brings his action on the case,
And lays it upon Hudibras.
How he receives the lady's visit,
And cunningly solicits his suit,
Which she defers ; yet on parole,
Redeems him from th' enchanted hole.

BUT now, t' observe romantiquo method,
D Let rusty steel a while be sheathèd ;
And all those harsh and rugged sounds
Of bastinados, cuts, and wounds,
Exchanged to love's more gentle style,
To let our reader breathe a while:
In which, that we may be as brief as
Is possible, by way of preface.

Is't not enough to make one strange,||
That some men's fancies should ne'er change,
But make all people do and say
The same things still the self-same way?

* Originally this couplet stood

The Knight, by damnable magician,

Being cast illegally in prison, &c. † An example of Butler's familiarity with the terms and practice of law. An action on the case is an action for damages, brought for an offence done without force, and not specially provided against by law.

To the opening of this part, Butler attaches the following note. • The beginning of this Second Part may perhaps seem strange and abrupt to those who do not know that it was written on purpose in imitation of Virgil, who begins the Fourth Book of his Æneids in the very same manner, At regina gravi, &c. And this is enough to satisfy the curiosity of those who believe that invention and fancy ought to be measured, like cases in law, by precedents, or else they are in the power of the critic.'

§ Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

Richard III. i. i. | That is, to make one wonder.

Some writers make all ladies purloined,
And knights pursuing like a whirlwind.
Others make all their knights, in fits
Of jealousy, to lose their wits;
Till drawing blood o' th' dames, like witches,
They ’re forthwith cured of their capriches. *
Some always thrive in their amours,
By pulling plaisters off their sores;
As cripples do to get an alms,
Just do so they, and win their dames.
Some force whole regions, in despite
O’ geography, to change their site;t
Make former times shake hands with latter,
And that which was before, come after;
But those that write in rhyme still make
The one verse for the other's sake;
For one for sense, and one for rhyme,
I think's sufficient at one time.

But we forget in what sad plight
We whilom left the captived knight
And pensive squire, both bruised in body,
And conjured into safe custody.
Tired with dispute, and speaking Latin,
As well as basting and bear-baiting,

* It was a common superstition that by drawing the blood of a witch, you deprived her of her power of sorcery. Glanvil gives an instance in his account of the demon of Tedworth, who had bewitched a boy. The boy drew towards Jane Brooks, the woman who had bewitched him, who was behind her two sisters, and put his hand upon her, which his father perceiving, immediately scratched her face, and drew blood from her. The youth then cried out that he was well.' Thus, also, Shakspeare:

- I'll have a bout with thee;
Devil, or devil's dam, I'll conjure thee:
Blood will I draw on thee, thou art a witch.

Henry VI., Part I., i. 5. + The dramatic poets who had set aside the unities are bantered in this passage. A similar charge is brought against the Spanish dramatists in Don Quixote, where the Canon speaks of having seen a play .in which the first act begins in Europe, the second in Asia, and the third ending in Africa ; probably,' he adds, “if there had been another act, they had carried it into Amerioa.'

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