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And to the devil himself may go,
If they have motives thereunto :
For as there is a war between
The dev'l and them, it is no sin:
If they, by subtle stratagem,
Make use of him, as he does them.
Has not this present parlament
A ledger to the devil sent,
Fully empower'd to treat about
Finding revolted witches out?
And has not he, within a year,
Hang'd threescore of 'em in one shire?
Some only for not being drown'd,
And some for sitting above ground,
Whole days and nights upon their breeches,
Not feeling pain, were hang'd for witches ;
And some for putting knavish tricks
Upon green geese and turkey-chicks,
Or pigs, that suddenly deceast,
Of griefs unnat'ral, as he guest;
Who after prov'd himself a witch,
And made a rod for his own breech.
Did not the devil appear to Martin
Luther in Germany for certain ?
And wou'd have gulld him with a trick,
But Mart. was too, too politick.
Did he not help the Dutch to purge,
At Antwerp, their cathedral church?
Sing catches to the faints at Mascon,
And tell them all they came to ask him ?
Appear in divers shapes to Kelly,
And speak i' th’ nun of Loudon's belly?
Met with the parlament's committee,
At Woodstock, on a pers'nal treaty ?
At Sarum take a cavalier,
l'th'cause's service, prisoner ?
As Withers, in immortal rhyme,
Has register'd to after-time.
Do not our great reformers use
This Sidrophel to forebode news;
To write of victories next year,
And castles taken, yet i’ th' air?
Of battles fought at sea, and ships
Sunk, two years hence, the last eclipse ?
A total o'erthrow giv'n the king
In Cornwall, horse and foot, next spring ?
And has not he point-blank foretold
What s'e'er the close committee would?
Made Mars and Saturn for the cause,
The Moon for fundamental laws?
The ram, the bull, the goat, declare
Against the book of common prayer?
The scorpion take the protestation,
And bear engage for reformation ?
Made all the royal stars recant,
Compound, and take the covenant?
Quoth Hudibras, the case is clear
The saints may ʼmploy a conjurer,
As thou hast prov'd it by their practice;
No argument like matter of fact is :
And we are best of all led to
Men’s principles, by what they do.
Then let us strait advance in quest
Of this profound gymnosophist,
And as the fates and he advise,
Pursue, or wave this enterprise.
This said, he turn'd about his steed,
And eftfoons on th' adventure rid;
Where leave we him and Ralph awhile,
And to the conj’rer turn our style,
To let our reader understand
What's useful for him before hand,
He had been long t’wards mathematics,
Optics, philosophy, and statics,
Magic, horoscopy, astrology,
And was old dog at physiology;
But as a dog, that turns the spit,
Bestirs himself, and plies his feet
To climb the wheel, but all in vain,
His own weight brings him down again ;
And still he's in the self-fame place
Where at his setting out he was :
So in the circle of the arts
Did he advance his nat'ral parts,
Till falling back still, for retreat,
He fell to juggle, cant, and cheat:
For as those fowls that live in water
Are never wet, he did but smatter;
What e'er he labour'd to appear,
His understanding still was clear ;