Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
Humorous Poems: II. Miscellaneous
Hudibras’ Sword and Dagger
Samuel Butler (1612–1680)
From “Hudibras,” Part I.

  HIS puissant sword unto his side
Near his undaunted heart was tied,
With basket hilt that would hold broth,
And serve for fight and dinner both.
In it he melted lead for bullets        5
To shoot at foes, and sometimes pullets,
To whom he bore so fell a grutch
He ne’er gave quarter to any such.
The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting was grown rusty,        10
And ate into itself, for lack
Of somebody to hew and hack.
The peaceful scabbard, where it dwelt,
The rancor of its edge had felt;
For of the lower end two handful        15
It had devoured, it was so manful;
And so much scorned to lurk in case,
As if it durst not show its face.
*        *        *        *        *
This sword a dagger had, his page,
That was but little for his age,        20
And therefore waited on him so
As dwarfs unto knight-errants do.
It was a serviceable dudgeon,
Either for fighting or for drudging.
When it had stabbed or broke a head,        25
It would scrape trenchers or chip bread,
Toast cheese or bacon, though it were
To bait a mouse trap ’t would not care;
’T would make clean shoes, and in the earth
Set leeks and onions, and so forth:        30
It had been ’prentice to a brewer,
Where this and more it did endure;
But left the trade, as many more
Have lately done on the same score.

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