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This Ralpho knew, and therefore took
The other course, of which we spoke.

Thus was th' accomplish'd Squire endued
With gifts and knowledge perilous shrewd:
Never did trusty squire with knight,
Or knight with squire, e'er jump more right.
Their arms and equipage did fit,
As well as virtues, parts, and wit:
Their valours, too, were of a rate,
And out they sally'd at the gate.
Few miles on horseback had they jogged
But fortune unto them turn'd dogged;
For they a sad adventure met,
Of which anon we mean to treat :
But ere we venture to unfold resolv'd and bold,
We should, as learned poets use,
Invoke th' assistance of some Muse;
However critics count it fillier
Than jugglers talking to familiar;
We think ’tis no great matter which,
They 're all alike, yet we fall pitch
On one that fits our purpose most,
Whom therefore thus do we accost.

Thou that with ale, or viler liquors,
Didit inspire Withers, Pryn, and Vickars,
And force them, though it was in fpite
Of Nature, and their stars, to write;
Who (as we find in sullen writs,
And cross-grain'd works of modern wits)
Votr I.





б до Witini



With vanity, opinion, want,
The wonder of the ignorant,
The praises of the author, penn'd
B' himself, or wit-infuring friend;
The itch of picture in the front,
With bays and wicked rhyme upon it,
All that is left o' th’ Forked hill
To make men scribble without skill ;
Canst make a poet, spite of Fate,
And teach all people to translate,
Though out of languages in which
They understand no part of speech ;
Affist me but this once, I'mplore,
And I shall trouble thee no more.

In western clime there is a town,
To those that dwell therein well known,
Therefore there needs no more be faid here,
We unto them refer our reader;
For brevity is very good,
When w'are, or are not understood.
To this town people did repair
On days of market or of fair,




Ver. 665.] Brentford, which is eight miles west from London, is here probably meant, as may


gathered from Part II. Cant. iii. Ver. 995, &c. where he tells the Knight what befel him there :

And though you overcame the Bear,
The dogs beat you at Brentford fair,
Where kurdy butchers broke your



And to crack'd fiddle and hoarse tabor,
In merriment did drudge and labour :
But now a sport more formidable
Had lak'd together village rabble ;
'Twas an old way of recreating,
Which learned butchers call Bear-baiting ;
A bold adventurous exercise,
With ancient heroes in high prize;

For authors do affirm it came
From Isthmian or Nemzan game ::
Others derive it from the Bear
That's fix'd in northern hemisphere,
And round about the pole does make
A circle, like a bear at stake,
That at the chain's end wheels about,
And overturns the rabble-rout:
For after solemn proclamation
In the bear's name (as is the fashion

690 According


Ver. 678.] This game is ushered into the Poem with more folemnity than those celebrated ones in Homer and Virgil. As the Poem is only adorned with this game, and the Riding Skimmington, fo it was incumbent on the Poet to be very particular and full in the description: and may we not venture to affirm, they are exactly suitable to the nature of these adventures ; and, consequently, to a Briton, preferable to those in Homer or Virgil ?

Ver. 689, 690.) Alluding to the bull-running at Tutbury in Staffordshire ; where folemn proclamation was made by the Steward, before the bull was turned

D 2



According to the law of arms,
To keep men from inglorious harms)
That none presume to come so near
As forty foot of stake of hear,
If any yet be so fool-hardy,
T'expose themselves to vain jeopardy,
If they come wounded off, and lame,
No honour 's got by such a maim,
Although the bear gain much, being bound
In honour to make good his ground

When he's engag'd, and takes no notice,
If any press upon him, who 'tis,
But lets them know, at their own colt,
That he intends to keep his post.
This to prevent, and other harms,

705 Which always wait on feats of arms (For in the hurry of a fray 'Tis hard to keep out of harm's way); Thither the Knight his course did steer, To keep the peace 'twixt Dog and Bear,

710 As he beliey'd h' was bound to do In conscience and commission too; And therefore thus bespoke the Squire : We that are wisely mounted higher

Than loose ; " That all manner of persons give way to the “ bull, none being to come near him by forty foot,

any way to hinder the minstrels, but to attend his or “ their own safety, every one at his peril.” See Dr. Plot's Staffordshire. Ver. 714.] This speech is set down, as it was deli.



Than constables in curule wit,
When on tribunal bench we fit,
Like speculators should foresee,
From Pharos of authority,
Portended mischiefs farther than
Low Proletarian tything-men;
And therefore being inform’d by bruit
That Dog and Bear are to dispute,
For fo of late men fighting name,
Because they often prove the same j
(For where the first does hap to be,
The last does coincidere)
Quantum in nobis, have thought good
To save th' expence of Christian bloui,



vered by the Knight, in his own words : but since it is below the gravity of Heroical poetry to admit of humour, hut all men are obliged to speak wisely alike, and too much of so extravagant a folly would become tedious and impertinent, the rest of his harangues have only his sense expressed in other words, unless in some few places, where his own words could not be so well avoided.

Ver. 715.) Had that remarkable motion in the House of Commons taken place, the Constables might have vied with Sir Hudibras for an equality at lealt; “ That it was necessary for the House of Commons to “ have a High Constable of their own, that will make

no fcruple of laying his Majesty by the heels ;" but they proceeded not so far as to name any body ; because Harry Martyn (out of tenderness of conscience in this particular) immediately quashed the motion, by saying, the power was too great for any man,

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