Hudibras is a 17th century mock heroic narrative poem by Samuel Butler. It is set in the context of the English Civil War, and was published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678. Publication came only four years after King Charles II’s restoration – making it a very topical work. The poem tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is conceited, arrogant, stupid, and driven by extreme religious fervour, but nonetheless heaped with immense, and ironic, praise.
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks
The poem is influenced by Cervantes’ Don Quixote, although Hudibras is a much less sympathetic character than Quixote.