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Prescribe all rules of right or wrong,
And scorn t'abate, for any ills, To th’ long robe, and the longer tongue,
The least punctilios of our wills. 'Gainst which the world has no defence,
Force does but whet our wits to apply But our more powerful eloquence.
Arts, born with us, for remedy, We manage things of greatest weight,
Which all your politics, as yet, In all the world's affairs of state;
Have ne'er been able to defeat: Are ministers of war and peace,
For, when ye 've try'd all sorts of ways, That sway all nations how we please.
What fools d' we make of you in plays ? We rule churches, and their flocks,
While all the favours we atford, Heretical and orthodox,
Are but to girt you with the sword, And are the heavenly vehicles
To fight our battles in our steads, O'th' spirits in all conventicles :
And have your brains beat out o' your l.eads; By us is all commerce and trade
Encounter, in despite of Nature, Improv'd, and manag’d, and decay'd;
And fight, at once, with fire and water, For nothing can go off so well,
With pirates, rocks, and storms, and seas, Nor bears that price, as what we sell.
Our pride and vanity t' appease; We rule in etery public meeting,
Kill one another, and cut throats, And make men do what we judge fitting ;
For our good graces, and best thoughts; Are magistrates in all great towns,
To do your exercise for honour, Where men do nothing but wear gowns,
And have your brains beat out the sooner ; We make the man of war strike sail,
Or crack’d, as learnedly, upon And to our braver conduct veil,
Things that are never to be known; And, when he 'as chas'd his enemies,
And still appear the more industrious, Submit to us upon his knees.
The more your projects are preposterous ; Is there an officer of state,
To square the circle of the arts, Untimely rais'd, or magistrate,
And run stark mad to show your parts ; That 's haughty and imperious ?
Expound the oracle of laws, He's but a journeyman to us,
And turn them which way we see cause ; That, as he gives us cause to do 't,
Be our solicitors and agents, Can keep him in, or turn him out.
And stand for us in all engagements. We are your guardians, that increase,
And these are all the mighty powers Or waste your fortunes how we please;
You vainly boast to cry down ours, And, as you humour us, can deal
And, what in real valde 's wanting, In all your matters, ill or well.
Supply with vapouring and ranting: Tis we that can dispose, alone,
Because yourselves are terrify'd, Whether your heirs shall be your own,
And stoop to one another's pride, To whose integrity you must,
Believe we have as little wit In spite of all your caution, trust;
To be out-hector'd, and submit: And, 'less you fly beyond the seas,
By your example, lose that right
In treaties which we gain'd in fight;
Pass on ourselves a Salique law;
Or, as some nations use, give place, Prevail, unless to make us worse;
And truckle to your mighty race; Who still, the harsher we are us’d,
Let men usurp th' unjust dominion, Are further off from being reduc'd,
As if they were the better women.
It would be very unjust to the memory of a writer so much and so justly esteemed as Butler, to suppose it necessary to make any formal apology for the publication of these Remains. Whatever is the genuine performance of a genius of his class cannot fail of recommending itself to every reader of taste ; and all that can be required from the publisher is, to satisfy the world that it is not imposed upon by false and spurious pretensions.
This has already been attempted in the printed proposals for the subscription; but as the perishing form of a loose paper seems too frail a monument to preserve a testimony of so much importance, it cannot, I hope, be judged impertinent to repeat the substance of what I observed upon that occasion-- That the manuscripts, from which this work is printed, are Butler's own handwriting, as evidently appears from some original letters of his found amongst them- That, upon his death, they fell into the hands of his good friend Mr, W. Longueville, of the Temple ; who, as the writer of Butler's life informs us, was at the charge of burying him—That, upon Mr. Longueville's decease, they became the property of his son, the late Charles Longueville, esq. who bequeathed them, at his death, to John Clarke, esq. and that this gentleman has been prevailed upon to part with them, and favoured me with an authority to insert the following certificate of their authenticity. “ I do hereby certify, that the papers now proposed to be published by Mr. Thyer are the
original manuscripts of Mr. Samuel Butler, author of Hudibras, and were bequeathed to
Althongh, from evidence of such a nature, there cannot remain the least doubt about the genuineness of this work, and it be very certain, that every thing in it is the performance of Butler, yet it must be owned, at the same time, that there is not the same degree of perfection and exactness in all the compositions here printed. Some are finished with the utmost accuracy, and were fairly transcribed for the press, as far as can be judged from outward appearance; others, though finished, and wrote with the same spirit and peculiar vein of humour, which distinguishes him from all other writers, seem as if, upon a second review, he would have retouched and amended in some little particulars ; and some few are left unfinished, or at least parts of them are lost or perished. This acknowledgment I think due to the poet's character and memory, and necessary to bespeak that candid allowance from the reader, which the posthumous works of every writer have a just claim to.
It is, I know, a common observation, that it is doing injustice to a departed genius to publish fragments, or such pieces as he had not given the last hand to.-Withont controverting the justness of this remark in general, one may, I think, venture to affirm, that it is not to be extended to every particular case, and that a writer of so extraordinary and uncommon a turn as the author of Hudibras is not to be included under it. It would be a piece of foolish fondness to purchase at a great expense, or preserve with a particular care, the unfinished works of every tolerable painter ; and yet it is esteemed a mark of fine taste to procure, at almost any price, the rough sketches and half-formed designs of a Raphael, a Rembrandt, or any celebrated master. If the elegant remains of a Greek or Roman statuary, though maimed and defective, are thought worthy of a place in the cabinets of the polite admirers of antiquity, and the learned world thinks itself obliged to laborious critics for banding down to us the half intelligible scraps of an ancient classic, no reason