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He could distinguish, and divide
For rhetoric, he could not ope
Chelmsford is said, at the beginning of the wars, to have been governed by a tinker, two cobblers, two tailors, and two pedlars. Out of these unpromising materials, nevertheless, important results were achieved.
* Committees were formed in many parts of the country under the authority of Parliament, with plenary local powers.
+ Coughing and hemming were cultivated as graces by the popular preachers, to give effect to particular passages ; and when they printed their sermons it was not unusual to mark in the margin, somewhat after the manner of stage directions, the places where these embellishments were to be introduced.
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
* The fashion of slashed doublets belongs to the Vandyke period, and was introduced in the time of Charles I. The doublet of the Cavaliers was generally of silk, satin, or velvet, with large loose sleeves, slashed up the front. The description in the text of the fustian, slashed or cut to admit of the satin being seen through it, seems to apply to a fashion which had then gone out; but no such fashion ex
anterior to Charles I. During the Civil Wars, there was as much confusion and difference of opinion in the matter of costume, as in politics and religion.
† Alluding to the singular phrases invented by the Presbyterians such as out-goings, carryings-on, workings-out, nothingness, &c.--thus, says Addison, converting our whole language into a jargon of enthusiasm. Some of these phrases, however, have taken root, and are now colloquially used.
These four lines were not in the first edition, but were added in the edition of 1674. Amongst Butler's posthumous MSS., the first draught of the lines appears to be contained in the following fragment:
That had the greatest orator
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 or butter wanted weight;t And wisely tell what hour oth' day The clock does strike, by Algebra.
Beside, he was a shrewd 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 served, 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.ş
Did fill his mouth with pebble stones,
He would have used no other trick. * Erra Pater seems to be intended for Lilly, the astrologer. The nickname appears to have been previously applied in a similar way to other pretenders to the occult sciences; it was also a common name for the prophetic almanac. Tycho Brahe, the famous Danish astronomer, and author of the system which bears his name, was born 19th December, 1546, and died at Prague, 24th October, 1601.
+ The insinuation against the officious justice is that he made a great show of knowledge and authority in hunting-up small offences, and in making seizures and inflicting fines.
t This couplet was first inserted in the edition of 1674
$ This is a satire, says Warburton, against those philosophers who took their ideas of substances to be the combination of nature, and not the arbitrary workmanship of the human mind; and that the essence
He could reduce all things to acts,
of each sort is more than the abstract idea. It is more probable that the meaning is, as suggested by Dr. Nash, that Hudibras had a jumble of many confused notions in his head, which he could not apply to any useful purpose, or, rather, which frequently led him into mistakes. The whole passage shows Butler's familiarity with metaphysical studies.
* The notion of this pleasantry of frozen words occurs in Rabelais, b. iv. ch. 56.
† This couplet, which appeared in the first edition, was afterwards omitted by Butler. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican friar, born in 1224, died at the early age of 50, and was canonized. His labours upon school-divinity acquired for him the titles of Angelic Doctor and Eagle of Divines. Johannes Dunscotus, a man of great learning, flourished towards the close of the thirteenth century, and died at Cologne in 1308. He was a strong opponent of the doctrines of Thomas Aquinas, and acquired by his logical acuteness the title of the Subtle Doctor. The Irrefragable alluded to in a previous line was Alexander Hales, who lived about the middle of the thirteenth century. His high reputation in school-divinity is marked by the title applied to him of Doctor Irrefragable, or Invincible Doctor.
William Occham was the founder of the Nominals-Johannes Dun. scotus of the Reals. This couplet was introduced in the edition of 1674. $ This couplet stood originally
For he a rope of sand could twist
As tough as learned Sorbonist. The alteration was made in the edition of 1674.
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for skull
* Alluding to the vulgar notion of the influence of the moon on the brain. Hence the term lunatics.
† The geographical position of Paradise was an inquiry upon which much grave discussion was at one period expended by men of unquestionable erudition.
It had long been held to be a great absurdity to suppose that Adam and Eve, who were not born, but created, had navels. The physical reasons assigned for this opinion were sanctioned by respectable rity; amongst others that of Bishop Cumberland. See Brown's Vulgar Errors.
§ Pythagoras is said to have made the discovery of music upon passing a blacksmith's shop, and noting the different sounds produced on the anvil by the hammers, according to their different weights.
# The conjecture that the serpent must have had feet originally arises