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Hudibras - The Lady's Answer to The Knight

Samuel Butler 1613 (Strensham) – 1680 (London)



That you're a beast, and turn'd to grass,
Is no strange news, nor ever was;
At least to me, who once you know,
Did from the pound replevin you,
When both your sword and spurs were won
In combat by an Amazon.
That sword, that did (like Fate) determine
Th' inevitable death of vermine,
And never dealt its furious blows,
But cut the throats of pigs and cows,
By TRULLA was, in single fight,
Disarm'd and wrested from its knight;
Your heels degraded of your spurs,
And in the stocks close prisoners;
Where still they'd lain, in base restraint,
If I, in pity of your complaint,
Had not on honourable conditions,
Releast 'em from the worst of prisons
And what return that favour met
You cannot (though you wou'd) forget;
When, being free, you strove t' evade
The oaths you had in prison made;
Forswore yourself; and first deny'd it,
But after own'd and justify'd it
And when y' had falsely broke one vow,
Absolv'd yourself by breaking two.
For while you sneakingly submit,
And beg for pardon at our feet,
Discourag'd by your guilty fears,
To hope for quarter for your ears,
And doubting 'twas in vain to sue,
You claim us boldly as your due;
Declare that treachery and force,
To deal with us, is th' only course;
We have no title nor pretence
To body, soul, or conscience;
But ought to fall to that man's share
That claims us for his proper ware.
These are the motives which, t' induce
Or fright us into love, you use.
A pretty new way of gallanting,
Between soliciting and ranting;
Like sturdy beggars, that intreat
For charity at once, and threat.
But since you undertake to prove
Your own propriety in love,
As if we were but lawful prize
In war between two enemies,
Or forfeitures, which ev'ry lover,
That wou'd but sue for, might recover,
It is not hard to understand
The myst'ry of this bold demand,
That cannot at our persons aim,
But something capable of claim.

'Tis not those paultry counterfeit
French stones, which in our eyes you set,
But our right diamonds, that inspire
And set your am'rous hearts on fire.
Nor can those false St. Martin's beads,
Which on our lips you lay for reds,
And make us wear, like Indian dames,
Add fuel to your scorching flames;
But those true rubies of the rock,
Which in our cabinets we lock.
'Tis not those orient pearls our teeth,
That you are so transported with;
But those we wear about our necks,
Produce those amorous effects.
Nor is't those threads of gold, our hair,
The periwigs you make us wear,
But those bright guineas in our chests,
That light the wild fire in your breasts.
These love-tricks I've been vers'd in so,
That all their sly intrigues I know,
And can unriddle, by their tones,
Their mystick cabals and jargones;
Can tell what passions, by their sounds,
Pine for the beauties of my grounds;
What raptures fond and amorous
O' th' charms and graces of my house;
What extasy and scorching flame,
Burns for my money in my name;
What from th' unnatural desire
To beasts and cattle takes its fire;
What tender sigh, and trickling tear,
Longs for a thousand pounds a year;
And languishing transports are fond
Of statute, mortgage, bill, and bond.

These are th' attracts which most men fall
Inamour'd, at first sight, withal
To these th' address with serenades,
And court with balls and masquerades;
And yet, for all the yearning pain
Y' have suffer'd for their loves in vain,
I fear they'll prove so nice and coy
To have, and t' hold and to enjoy
That all your oaths and labour lost,
They'll ne'er turn ladies of the post.
This is not meant to disapprove
Your judgment in your choice of love;
Which is so wise, the greatest part
Of mankind study 't as an art;
For love shou'd, like a deodand,
Still fall to th' owner of the land;
And where there's substance for its ground,
Cannot but be more firm and sound
Than that which has the slightest basis
Of airy virtue, wit, and graces;
Which is of such thin subtlety,
It steals and creeps in at the eye,
And, as it can't endure to stay,
Steals out again as nice a way.

But love, that its extraction owns
From solid gold and precious stones
Must, like its shining parents, prove
As solid and as glorious love.
Hence 'tis you have no way t'express
Our charms and graces but by these:
For what are lips, and eyes, and teeth,
Which beauty invades and conquers with,
But rubies, pearls, and diamonds,
With which a philter-love commands?

This is the way all pa
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:06 min read
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Samuel Butler

Samuel Evan Butler was an English cricketer. more…

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