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SAMUEL BUTLER (1)
English wit and poet
(1612 - 1680)
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'Tis strange how some men's tempers suit,
  Like bawd and brandy, with dispute,
    That for their own opinions stand fast,
      Only to have them claw'd and canvass'd.
      - [Dispute]

'Tis the temptation of the devil
  That makes all human actions evil;
    For saints may do the same things by
      The spirit, in sincerity,
        Which other men are tempted to,
          And at the devil's instance do:
            And yet the actions be contrary,
              Just as the saints and wicked vary.
      - [Temptation]

To have the power to forgive,
  Is empire and prerogative,
    And 'tis in crowns a nobler gem,
      To grant a pardon than condemn.
      - [Forgiveness]

Too much or too little wit
  Do only render th' owner fit
    For nothing, but to be undone
      Much easier than if they'd none.
      - [Wit]

What makes the breaking of all oaths
  A holy duty?-- food and clothes.
      - [Wealth]

When civil dudgeon first grew high,
  And men fell out, they knew not why;
    When hard words, jealousies, and fears
      Set folk together by the ears,
        And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
          For dame Religion, as for punk.
      - [Controversy]

Whipping, that's virtue's governess,
  Tutoress of arts and sciences;
    That mends the gross mistakes of nature,
      And puts new life into dull matter;
        That lays foundation for renown,
          And all the honours of the gown.
      - [Schools]

Wives in their husbands' absences grow subtler,
  And daughters sometimes run off with the butler.
      - [Absence]

A degenerate nobleman, or one that is proud of his birth, is like a turnip. There is nothing good of him but that which is underground.
      - "Characters"--A Degenerate Noblemen
        [Ancestry]

A grisly meteor on his face.
      - Cobbler and Vicar of Bray [Stars]

'Tis not amiss, ere ye're giv'n o'er,
  To try one desp'rate med'cine more;
    For where your case can be no worse,
      The desp'rat'st is the wisest course.
      - Epistle of Hudibras to Sidrophel (l. 5)
        [Medicine]

And though it be a two-foot trout,
  'Tis with a single hair pulled out.
      - Hudibras [Hair : Trout]

The truest characters of ignorance
  Are vanity, and pride, and annoyance.
      - Hudibras [Ignorance]

So justice while she winks at crimes,
  Stumbles on innocence sometimes.
      - Hudibras (canto II, pt. II, l. 1177)
        [Justice]

Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
  By damning those they have no mind to.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto !, l. 215) [Sin]

And wisely tell what hour o' th' day
  The clock does strike by Algebra.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, 125) [Learning]

This hairy meteor did announce
  The fall of sceptres and of crowns.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, 247) [Stars]

And pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,
  Was beat with fist instead of a stick.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 11)
        [Preaching]

In mathematics he was greater
  Than Tycho Brahe, or Erra Pater;
    For he, by geometric scale,
      Could take the size of pots of ale.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 119)
        [Learning]

Beside, he was a shrewd philosopher,
  And had read ev'ry text and gloss over
    Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
      He understood b' implicit faith.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 127)
        [Philosophy]

Whatever Sceptic could inquire for,
  For every why he had a wherefore.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 131)
        [Argument]

All which he understood by rote,
  And, as occasion serv'd, would quote.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 135)
        [Quotations]

Where entity and quiddity,
  The ghosts of defunct bodies, fly.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 145)
        [Apparitions]

He knew what's what, and that's as high
  As metaphysic wit can fly.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 149)
        [Knowledge]

Such as take lodgings in a head
  That's to be let unfurnished.
      - Hudibras (pt. I, canto I, l. 161) [Mind]


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