A Sobering Reminder Even


A Sobering Reminder

Even while it's all in fun, this passage from Samuel Butler's Hudibras (can you guess the century?) has some profound implications for any resolution by conflict. Of course we all know all of this--but I had to have a reason to post from this wonderful poem--one that in even in many colleges is taught in a short excerpt, if at all. That's a shame, because, while the politics and ideals may be difficult, and after the Victorian Age we received a much scrubbed and polished image of Oliver Cromwell, the poem still is quite a amusing and quite well constructed for a mock epic.

from Hudibras Part I Canto III Samuel Butler

Ah me! what perils do environ
The man that meddles with cold iron!
What plaguy mischiefs and mishaps
Do dog him still with after-claps!
For though dame Fortune seem to smile
And leer upon him for a while,
She'll after shew him, in the nick
Of all his glories, a dog-trick.
This any man may sing or say,
I' th' ditty call'd, What if a Day?
For HUDIBRAS, who thought h' had won
The field, as certain as a gun;
And having routed the whole troop,
With victory was cock a-hoop;
Thinking h' had done enough to purchase
Thanksgiving-day among the Churches,
Wherein his mettle, and brave worth,
Might be explain'd by Holder-forth,
And register'd, by fame eternal,
In deathless pages of diurnal;
Found in few minutes, to his cost,
He did but count without his host;
And that a turn-stile is more certain
Than, in events of war, dame Fortune.

For those who enjoyed this brief taste, you can get the entire poem here.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 14, 2002 8:49 AM.

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