« ZurückWeiter »
The Second Part of Hudibras, which stands at the head of our article, is one of those experiments which have been made, time out of mind, on the credulity of the public, by dishonest authors and publishers, to whose knavery the poem of Butler offered as conspicuous a mark as Don Juan and the Tales of my Landlord, in more modern times. This counterfeit continuation opens with with a description of the multitude assembling to celebrate the May-games: they erect their May-pole at Kingston-upon-Thames, where Sir Hudibras happened to be dining with a justice of the peace, and a brother knight, who,
-"did command the Cheshire forces,
pass for one, beasts know not theirs,
This zealous triumvirate sally out, attended by their squires, to put down the popish abomination of the May-pole, but are defeated and soundly banged by the rabble. The two knights propose different schemes of vengeance on their plebeian adversaries; but, finding the justice less implacable in his resentment, they leave the place in dudgeon. Falling in with a French mountebank, vending his wares on a stage, they valiantly capture him and his attendants, convey them to an inn, and condemn the prisoners to pay the whole of the reckoning. The latter, however, give them the slip during the night, and carry off the cash and cloaks of the tipsy squires. A fair, which takes place the next morning, rouses the reforming spirit of Sir Hudibras; and he and his companion, mounting their horses, advance to assail the assembled multitude, and make a dreadful havoc with the puppets and hobby horses. Their triumphal career is soon interrupted by the opposition of the butchers and their dogs, and the knights-errant are finally dismounted and vanquished. The literary merits of this unknown writer are on a par with his honesty: indeed, we have never had the misery of reading a more contemptible and worthless publication.
Butler's Ghost, or Hudibras the Fourth Part, written by Tom D'Urfey, of facetious memory, is a continuation of Butler's story. The knight, driven to despair by the fatal Epistle
Sir William Brereton.
of the Widow, resolves to end his miserable existence, and makes preparations for suspending himself in his own barn. He is, however, prevented from carrying this desperate resolve into execution by the intervention of Ralpho, who assures him of success in his amour if he will be guided by his advice. obedience to the directions of his sapient squire, Sir Hudibras lays aside his tattered warlike habiliments, orders a gay courting dress, and completely modernizes his outward man. By a well-timed bribe to the widow's trustees, (to whom that dame had been as liberal of her favours as she had been niggardly to the knight,) Sir Hudibras obtains their consent, which is followed by that of the lady. The festivity of their weddingfeast is interrupted by the squabbles of the disputatious guests, who proceed from words to blows, and it requires all the authority and eloquence of the knight to restore order. The bride. and one of her trustees had withdrawn during the scuffle; and the knight, convinced of their perfidy, with the assistance of his trusty squire, vanquishes and commits them to durance vile, and then retires to bed,
"And mourns in tears his late miscarriage,
This composition is little more than a tissue of tasteless ribaldry, without any seasoning of wit, or even of amusing absurdity. The following passage is the nearest approach to any thing Hudibrastic. The knight, on hearing of his spouse's infidelity, starts a scruple, whether sight was an evidence to be trusted in a case of such intricacy and importance.
""Tis possible, my friend (quoth he)
May be but fancies, and not true,
The laws of honour are so nice,
(And those I think were learned fellows)
But only through a grand suppose;
As thus now-if thy passive bones
Were drub'd with plant, or bruis'd with stones,
Were bastinadoed soft as wool,
Beating you must not bluntly own,
Hudibras at Court, published in Butler's Spurious Remains, is so utterly destitute of merit, that we have been unable to find a passage in it to extract. It relates, in spiritless doggrel, the return of the knight and squire from "colonelling," after the downfall of the Rump, their conferences on the best methods of securing their necks, and the resolution of Sir Hudibras to try his fortune at court. The partiality of the king for the poem of Hudibras is absurdly transferred to the hero, and his ingratitude to him, "who fitted out this knight and squire," is commented on in a very just, but a very dull manner. Dunstable Downs, in the same delectable collection, is almost as worthless as its companion, and, like that, is eked out with scraps from Hudibras,
"Like fustian heretofore with satin."
It relates the attempt of Sir Hudibras to enclose Dunstable Downs, and his capture and circumvention by the gypsie king. There are also Hudibras's Elegy and Hudibras's Epitaph, but we shall not afflict our readers with any specimens of such contemptible impositions.
Having despatched these apocryphal continuations, we shall briefly notice the principal poems which have been written
in avowed imitation of Hudibras. The Dutch Hudibras is a satirical account of the birth, parentage, and education of Hogan, the lubberly representative of their High Mightinesses. Bating the metre, it is rather an imitation of Rabelais than of Butler; and, if it does not rival the humour, it certainly does not fall short of the outrageous absurdities of its great prototype.
The Irish Hudibras, or Fingallian Prince, is a burlesque on Virgil's account of the descent of Æneas to Hell, and is levelled at the Irish adherents of James II. If not the most dull, it may claim the distinction of being the most scurrilous of the imitations of Hudibras. In addition to its being plentifully sprinkled with hibernicisms, it is so systematically gross, that we are afraid to pollute our pages with any extracts from such a filthy work.
We shall next notice, in defiance of chronology, Moffett's Irish Hudibras, which has much more merit, if not more decency, than its scurrilous predecessor. It is little more than a description of an Irish feast, given by a zealous Jacobite, and the customary row that attends it; the incidents of which are detailed with considerable spirit, but at too great a length to be extracted.
Colvil's Scotch Hudibras turns upon the insurrection of the Covenanters in Scotland, in the reign of Charles II., and describes, at great length, the mental and bodily endowments of The Good-man, their leader or representative. The action of the poem consists in deciding on and presenting a supplication to the king, which is delivered by the hero's squire, (another Ralpho in every thing but wit,) who makes a pilgrimage to London for that purpose. He there falls in with the original Ralpho, with whom he commences a dispute, defending Presbytery and Synods from the attacks of the latter, whose speeches are extracted, verbatim, from Hudibras. The poem concludes with the squire's speech to the king, and his farewell to London. This work is decidedly superior to its Hudibrastic brethren, and possesses a considerable share of originality and spirit, though not enough to rescue it from the charge of dulness and tedium. It has hardly the semblance of a story, and the juxta-position of almost every sentence might be changed without any obvious injury to the composition.
"All things created, he doth know,
That can occur the world throughout.
VOL. III. PART II.
If once he level at the moon,