Hudibras "What Makes All Doctrines Plain And Clear?"

Samuel Butler

"What Makes All Doctrines Plain And Clear?"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Hudibras, a burlesque of the typical Puritan, having had an encounter with a magician, astrologer, and wise man named Sidrophel, whom he robs, repairs to his ladylove, a widow of some wealth. She sets upon him infernal spirits who beat him and then put him through an inquisition. When a spirit demands to know why Hudibras has wooed the lady, he readily admits that money makes all matches. He denies that he loves her and admits that if he had married her, he would have taken possession of her wealth and put her on an allowance. He admits having lied to her, having thought that she had little sense. The spirit then puts Hudibras through a catechism about why certain things are done: What makes a wretch a child of God or one of the infernal spirits, what justifies beating out others' brains and murdering them, what makes people orthodox in new sects in which they do not believe, what makes rebelling against kings a true and worthy cause? The answer in every instance is money. People believe new doctrines for money and repudiate them and believe still others for more money. The dialogue goes:

What makes all doctrines plain and clear?
About two hundred pounds a year.
And that which was proved true before
Prove false again?–Two hundred more.