Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Extracts from Hudibras: The Presbyterians
By Samuel Butler (1612–1680)
 
[From Part I.]

                THAT stubborn crew
Of errant saints whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant.
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;        5
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
With apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation        10
A godly, thorough Reformation,
Which always must be going on,
And still be doing, never done,
As if Religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended:        15
A sect whose chief devotion lies
In odd, perverse antipathies,
In falling out with that or this
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetic        20
Than dog distract or monkey sick:
That with more care keep holyday
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclined to
By damning those they have no mind to.        25
Still so perverse and opposite
As if they worshipped God for spite,
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way and long another for;
Freewill they one way disavow,        30
Another, nothing else allow;
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin.
Rather than fail they will defy
That which they love most tenderly;        35
Quarrel with mince-pies, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend plum-porridge;
Fat pig and goose itself oppose,
And blaspheme custard through the nose.
 
 
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