"And Pulpit, Drum Ecclesiastic, Was Beat With Fist Instead Of A Stick"

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on May 23, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 202

Context: Samuel Butler, in Hudibras, burlesques the seventeenth century Puritans, especially the Presbyterians, who were the most influential of the dissenting sects. It is thought that Sir Samuel Luke, a colonel in the Parliamentary army under Oliver Cromwell, was in large measure the original of Sir Hudibras; at any rate, Butler worked for him in his household and knew him intimately. The poem owes much in spirit to Don Quixote, but Hudibras is filled with biting ridicule of his hero and all he stands for. Butler begins his work by saying that when conflict arose because of religious differences, his knight took the field as a colonel. He refers to the gospel-trumpeter, or Puritan divine, surrounded by his congregation of cropped-headed people (their short hair made their ears stick out and look long), pounding on the pulpit with his fist; this reference is to the extraordinary physical activity displayed by the Puritan preachers. The drum was used to summon people to war, here to a religious war. The passage runs thus:

When Gospel-trumpeter, surrounded
With long-eared rout, to battle sounded,
And pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,
Was beat with fist, instead of a stick;
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling,
And out he rode a-colonelling.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

"Compound For Sins They Are Inclined To"