"Compound For Sins They Are Inclined To"

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Last Updated on May 23, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 174

Context: Butler's poem is a satire in the tradition of Cervantes' Don Quixote. The poet's Sir Hudibras is a Presbyterian knight and colonel; his squire, Ralpho, is an Independent in religion. The two are rather obviously patterned after Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The poem is essentially a mock epic which, with its loose narrative, holds together a series of vituperative arguments over theology and church government. Most of the attacks are against the Puritans, although chivalry and heroism are also disparaged. The quotation here is taken from the poet's initial description of the hero. Describing Sir Hudibras and his fellow Presbyterians, Butler wrote,

A sect, whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss:
More peevish, cross, and splenetick,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick:
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way:
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to
By damning those they have no mind to;
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worship'd God for spite. . . .

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