A Battle between Courage and Prudence

Courage against Prudence a war did make,
For Rashness (her foe, his favorite)’s1 sake.
For Rashness ’gainst2 Queen Prudence had a spite,
And did persuade great Courage for to fight.
Courage did raise3 an army vast and great,                            5
That for the4 numbers Tamberlaine might beat,
Cloathed all in glist’ring5 coats,6 which made a show,
And tossing feathers7 which their pride did blow.
Such fiery horses8 men could hardly wield,
And in this equipage they took the field.                                10
Loud Noise9 spoke of this10 Army everywhere,
Until at last it came to Prudence’s11 ear.
Prudence a council called of all the wise,
And aged12 experience, her13 to advise.
Then Industry14 was called, which close did wait,               15
And orders had to raise an army straight.
But out, alas!15 her kingdom was so small,
That scarce an army could be raised of all.
At last they did about ten thousand get,
And16 care employèd was their17 arms to fit;                        20
Discipline trained and taught each several man,18
How they should move, and in what posture stand.
Great store of victuals Prudence did provide,
And ammunition of all sorts beside.
The foot were clothed in coarse yet19 warm array,              25
Their wages small, yet had they constant pay.
Well armed they were all, breast, back, and pot,
Not for to tire them, but to keep out shot.
Each had their muskets, pikes, and banners right,
That nothing might be wanting when they20 fight.              30
The cavalry was armèd as in frocks,21
Gauntlet and pistols, and some firelocks,22
Swords by their sides, and at their saddle bow
Hung poleaxes to strike, and give a blow.
Horses they had, not23 pampered in a stable,                        35
But from the plow, which were both strong and able
To make24 a long march, or25 endure a shock,
That quietly will stand firm26 as a rock,
Not starting, though27 the guns shot28 in their face,
But as they’re guided, went29 from place to place.               40
Prudence for men and horses30 did provide
Physicians, surgeons, farriers, smiths beside,31
Wagons and carts, all luggages to bear,
That none might want when in the field they were.
Strict order she did give to everyone,                                      45
Lest through mistake some wrong there might be done,32
And as they marched, scouts every way did go,
To bring intelligence where lay the foe.
And when the army stayed some rest to take,
Prudence had care what sentinels to make:                          50
Men that were watchful, full of industry,
Not such as are debauched, or33 lazy lie,
For armies oft by negligence are lost,
Which had they fought, might of their valor boast.
But Prudence, she with care still had an eye                         55
That everyone had match and powder by.
Besides, through a wise care, and34 not afraid,
She always lay entrenchèd where she stayed.
At last the armies both drew near in sight,
Then both began to order for the35 fight.                               60
Courage his army was so vast and great,
As they did scorn the en’my36 when they met.
Courage did many a scornful message send,
But Prudence still made Patience by her stand;
Prudence did call37 to Doubt for his advice,38                       65
But in his answers he was very nice.
Hope, of that army great, did make39 but light,
Persuaded Prudence by all40 means to fight:
“For why,” said Hope, “they do us so despise
That they grow careless; error blinds their eyes.                 70
Whereby we may such great advantage make,
As we may win, and many prisoners take.”
Then Prudence set her army in array,
Choosing the41 Roman custom, and their way.
In bodies small her army she did part,                                   75
In dollops,42 which was done with care and art.
Ten in43 a rank, and sev’n files44 deep they were;
Between each part a lane of ground lay bare,
For single and loose men about to run,
To skirmish first, before the fight begun.                               80
The battle ordered, in three parts was set;
The next supplied45 when the first part was46 beat,
And47 Prudence rode about from rank to rank,
Taking great care to strengthen well the flank.
Prudence the van did lead, Hope the right wing,                 85
Patience the left, and Doubt the rear did bring.
The en’my’s48 army fiercely up did ride,
As thinking presently them to divide.
But they were much deceived, for when they met,
They saw an army small, whose force was great.                90
Then did they fight, where49 Courage bore up high,
For though the worst he had, he scorned to fly.

  1. (her foe, his favorite)’s] her foe, his favourites 1653; her Foe’s, but his Favourit’s 1664; her Foe’s, but his Favourit’s 1668
  2. For Rashness ’gainst] Rashnesse against 1653
  3. Courage did raise] Then Courage rais’d 1664, 1668
  4. That for the] Which for their 1664; Which, for their 1668
  5. glist’ring] glistering 1653
  6. a marginal note reads, “Vanity.” In 1668, a superscript letter specifically marks this note as belonging to the phrase “glist’ring coats”.
  7. a marginal note reads, “Pride.” In 1668, a superscript letter specifically marks this note as belonging to the phrase “tossing feathers”.
  8. a marginal note reads, “Ambition.” In 1668, a superscript letter specifically marks this note as belonging to the phrase “fiery horses”.
  9. a marginal note reads, “Fame.” In 1668, a superscript letter specifically marks this note as belonging to the phrase “Loud Noise”.
  10. spoke of this] of this great 1653
  11. Prudence’s] Prudence 1653, 1664, 1668
  12. And aged] Aged 1653
  13. her] for her 1653
  14. Then Industry] Industry 1653
  15. alas!] alas, 1653
  16. And] Then 1653
  17. their] them 1653
  18. and taught each several man,] each Man, taught and Command, 1664; each Man, taught and command, 1668
  19. in coarse yet] though course, in 1653
  20. when they] for to 1664, 1668
  21. was armèd as in frocks,] all arm’d as in a Frock, 1653
  22. Gauntlet and pistols, and some firelocks,] Gauntlets they had, and Pistols with Fire-locks, 1664; Gauntlets they had, and Pistols with Fire-locks: 1668
  23. they had, not] e’ne such, as 1653
  24. To make] For 1664, 1668
  25. or] or to 1664, 1668
  26. That quietly will stand firm] For they stood firm and quiet 1664, 1668
  27. Not starting, though] Nor start, although 1653
  28. shot] shoot 1653
  29. went] goe 1653
  30. Men and Horses] man, and Horse she 1653
  31. smiths beside,] and Smiths beside, 1664; and Smiths beside; 1668
  32. Lest through mistake some wrong there might be done,] For feare that by mistake they should doe wrong. 1653
  33. or] and 1664, 1668
  34. and] though 1653
  35. the] their 1664, 1668
  36. en’my] others 1653; Enemy 1664; Enemy, 1668
  37. did call] call’d 1653
  38. for] to aske 1653
  39. did make] she made 1653
  40. all] any 1653
  41. the] their 1653
  42. dollops,] Mollops, 1653, 1668; Mollops, 1664
  43. in] on 1653
  44. sev’n files] seven file 1653
  45. supplied] supplyes, 1653
  46. was] is 1653
  47. And] Then 1653
  48. The en’my’s] The other 1653; The Enemy’s 1664; The Enemy’s 1668
  49. where] but 1664, 1668