1723 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

Anonymous, "On Hudibras's Monument" Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer (5 January 1723) 2437.



In sordid Themes we count it vain
To ask Apollo for a Strain,
Or to invoke the tuneful Nine,
To honour Hudibras's Shrine.

The noble Luke first took him in,
And foster'd a Mass of Sin;
The base unworthy Butler fed,
At Table with the Childrens Bread;
Like Dog he then could cringe and fawn,
And bawl the loudest at the Lawn,
'Till pamper'd up he rais'd his Head,
And like the Viper Venome shed;
With high Ingratitude accurs'd,
Abus'd his Benefactor first;
It was his proper Element
To villify the Government,
Reproach the Heroes of our Nation,
Who wrought a glorious Reformation,
To keep the Cavaleer in awe.

From wounding of the best of Men,
He snatch'd up his venom'd Pen,
Resolv'd upon more wicked Theme,
And dar'd his Maker to blaspheme;
Banter'd the Holy Spirit's Work,
Beyond a Pagan or a Turk;
Unto the last Degree prophane,
And true Religion's greatest Bane;
So loudly wicked in his Rhimes,
The Nation's tainted with his Crimes;
The vicious Clergy wax the worse,
Instead of Blessings, prove a Curse;
The dark Divine most sadly quotes
His filthy Labours in his Notes,
And to his Shame he wounds the Air
With Curses louder than his Prayer:
'Tis fine and brave the Prelate crys,
Approves the horrid Blasphemies;
And Royal Rowley, like the Priest,
From a lewd Churchman, turn'd a Deist,
Yet had so much of Sense in Brains,
As not reward the Poet's Pains:
But as he liv'd he dy'd a Sot,
And by the Virtuous was forgot;
Had nothing left but Infamy
To keep alive his Memory.

But now to make us some Amends,
It was resolved by his Friends,
That as a Scarecrow he should stand,
To fright the Vermin from the Land;
That so his Statue may atone
For all the Evils he has done;
As Serpents dead are often found
To heal, as well as give a Wound,
So Jackdaws hung aloft they say,
Do fright the Vermin all away,
And Traytors whom we hang and draw,
See how his Countenance doth look,
As foul and filthy as his Book,
The perfect Index of a Mind,
That is to Wickedness inclin'd;
His nasty greasy Face do show it,
More like a Scavenger than Poet:
See laurell'd Shadwell Smiles with Scorn
And Dryden at a Distance jeers
To see how paltry he appears.

But since he had the worst of Wit,
His modest Patron thought it fit,
That in regard he was most poor,
To place him begging at the Door;
And for his Rhimes they may suffice,
To place beneath our Christmass-Pies.