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CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH CLASSICS



Characters

and

Passages from Note-Books



Samuel Butler



SAMUEL BUTLER

Born i6i2 ?
Died 1680



SAMUEL BUTLER
CHARACTERS

AND

PASSAGES FROM NOTE-BOOKS

EDITED BY

A. R. WALLER, M.A.




Cambridge :

at the University Press

1908



CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS WAREHOUSE,
C. F. CLAY, Manager.

EonUon: FETTER LANE, E.G.
CFainburg}) : loo, PRINCES STREET.




ILtipjifj: F. A. BROCKHAUS.

iSnrlin: A. ASHER AND CO.

i^cfa lorh: G P. PUTNAM'S SONS.

Bombag anU CTalcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., Ltd.



[A// Rights reserved'^



/^/^
NOTE

THE first portion of this volume (to p. 193) is
reprinted from Thyer's Edition of The Genuine
Remains in Verse and Prose of Mr Samuel Butler. The
rest of the volume (pp. 197 — 480) is now printed for
the first time from the Butler MSS in the British
Museum (Addit. 32625 — 6). When I began, about
four years ago, to prepare the material for a complete
text of Butler, I found that the prose remains still in
MS at the British Museum had already been transcribed
by Miss Edith J. Morley ; and, her plans for an
annotated edition having changed, arrangements were
made whereby her transcript of the text was handed
over to the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press.
To Miss Morley, therefore, is due the sole credit for
the very laborious work of having transcribed from,
and first collated with, the MS these further Characters
and the passages from Butler's note-books, and for
having thereby materially assisted in the production
of a complete text of Butler's works. The further
checking of the transcript and the proofs with the
original MS has been accomplished mainly by Mr
George Brown, to whom thanks are due for much
patient and careful assistance ; and my share in the
present volume has been confined to checking the
reprint of the previously published Characters^ to
reading the proofs, to correcting certain eccentricities
of the scribe in the latter portion wherever I thought

1203814



NOTE

that they might prove stumbling-blocks to the reader
and to compiling the textual notes at the end of the
volume. The Unclassified Notes at the end of the MS
have been printed as an appendix in small type. The
passages contained therein are written on folios which,
as a rule, bear no headings, and some, at any rate,
appear to be intended for further Chara5iers. Many
of ^hese passages are worked up into a more finished
form elsewhere and a few have been omitted for this
reason : it is not probable that every case of duplication
has been run down. An example of such duplication
may be found on pp. 418 11. 8 fF. and 436 11. i — 3 and,
as one would naturally suppose, there are many occasions
on which Butler repeats himself, or uses up his own
material in other forms, or writes in prose thoughts
which are elsewhere worked into verse.

The paragraphs and the original spelling of the
MS have been retained save in the instances set forth
in the notes.

This edition of the text of Butler will be completed
by a third volume, supplementary to my edition of the
text of Hudibras, in which will be printed the remaining
poems known to be Butler's, together with several
hitherto unprinted passages, and in which an attempt
will be made to separate the wheat from the chaff in the
matter of many poems attributed to him.

A. R. WALLER

Cambridge

2 August 1908



VI



CONTENTS



PAGE



Characters










A Modern Politician i


^ An Hypocritical Nonconformist .








15


^ A Republican








2 +


A Politician








27


A State-Convert .








28


A Risker ....








29


A Modern Statesman .








31


A Duke of Bucks








32


A Degenerate Noble








3+


A Huffing Courtier








35


A Court-Beggar .








38


A Bumpkin, or Country-Squire








40


An Antiquary








42


A Proud Man








44


^- A Fifth-Monarchy Man








45


The Henpeft Man








. 46


A Small Poet








• 47


•^ A Philosopher








• 57


A Fantastic








• 58


A Melancholy Man








59


An Haranguer








61


A Popish Priest .








62


A Traveller








. 6+


A Catholic ....








65


A Curious Man .








66


A Ranter ....








. 67


A Corrupt Judge








68


An Amorist








• 69



Vll



CONTENTS



\/ An Astrologer

A Lawyer

An Herald .
v^A Latitudinarian .

A Mathematician

An Epigrammatist

A Virtuoso .
V A Justice of Peace

A Fanatic .

An Intelligencer .

A Proselite .

A Clown

A Quibbler .

A Wooer

An Impudent Man

An Imitator

A Time-server

A Prater

An Hermetic Philosopher

An Alderman

A Disputant

A Sot .

An Atheist

A Jugler

A Sceptic

A Projeftor

A Complementer .

A Churchwarden .

A Romance writer

A Cheat

A Libeller .

A Tedious Man .
J A Taylor .

A Factious Member

A Pretender

A News-monger .

An Embassador .



J



PAGE

71
72
76

77
78
80
81

83

85
86

87
89
90

91
92

94
95
96
97

[08
10
1 1
12
13
14

15
16

17
18I

19

120
122
123

[24

125



26 ^\ (^^,-

■27 ^^



vin



CONTENTS



A Play-writer

A Mountebank

A Modern Critic

A Wittal

A Busy Man

A Litigious Man

A Pedant

A Hunter

A Humorist

A Leader of a Fa6lion

A Debauched Man

The Seditious Man

An Affefted Man

A Medicine-taker

The Rude Man

The Miser .
v/' A Rabble .

A Shopkeeper
\/ K Quaker .

A Swearer .

The Luxurious

An Ungrateful Man

A Knight of the Post

An Undeserving Favourite

A Cuckold .

A Malicious Man

A Squire of Dames

A Knave
,: An Anabaptist

A Vintner .

An Hypocrite

An Opiniater

A Choleric Man

A Lover

A Translater

A Rebel

A City-wit .



PAGE
[29

30
3'
32

34

35
36

37
38

39

40

41

42

43
44
45
47
48

49
51
52
53
54
55
57

59

60

62
63

65
66

67
68
69

70
71

73



IX



CONTENTS



^' A


Superstitious Man




A


Drole




An Empiric




An Obstinate Man




A


Zealot




The Over-doer




A


Jealous Man .




An Insolent Man




The Rash Man .




A


Pimp




The AfFefted or Forma


1


A


Flatterer .




A


Prodigal .




A


Pettifogger




A


Bankrupt




The Inconstant .




A


Horse-courser .




A


Glutton .




A


Ribald .




Characters from the British


An Antisocordist .


A


Banker




A


Bowler




A


Brisk Man — Pert




A


Broker




A


Buffoon .




A


Catchpole




A


Clap'd Man .




A


Coffee Man




A


Coiner




A


Conjurer




A


Constable




A


Court-Wit




A


Coward .




A


Credulous Man




A


Cruel Man




A


Cully





Museum MS



PAGE


174


175


176


177


178


179


180


181


182


183


184


185


186


187


188


189


190


191


192


197


198


199


201


201


202


204


204


206


207


208


209


210


211


212


213


214



CONTENTS



v/



A Cutpurse .

A Dancing-Master

A Detrador

A Dueller

A Dunce

An Envious Man

A Fencer

A Fidler

A Fool

A Forger

A Gamester

An Heftor .

An Highwayman

An Host

An Ignorant Man

Impertinent .

An Impostor

An Incendiary

An Informer

A Jailor

A Juror

A Lampooner

A Liar

A Merchant

The Modish Man

A Musitian

The Negligent

An Officer .

An Oppressor

A Parasite .

The Perfidious Man

A Plagiary .

A Player

A Proud Lady

A Publican .

A Quareller .

A Rook



PAGE

216
217
218
219

220

221

222

223

224

225

226

227

228

229 =^

230

231

232

234

235
236 -«•

237
238
240
241
242

2 + 3
244

245
246

247
248 .

250 .
251
252-
253



XI



CONTENTS

















page


A Sailor . . . . . . -254


A Scold ....








255


A Scrivener ....








256


The Self Conceited or Singular








257


A Sharke ....








258


A Silenc'd Presbyterian








259


A Soldier ....








260


A Stationer ....








261


A Tennis-player .








263


An Usurer ....








264


The Vainglorious Man








265


The Voluptuous .








266


Miscellaneous Observations and Reflections on


Various Subjects


Sundry Thoughts . . . . . .270


Learning and Knowledge










276


Truth and Falshood










290


Religion












294


Wit and Folly














326


Ignorance














333


Reason














336


Virtue and Vice














34-1


Opinion














3+9


Nature














353


History














370


Physique














380


Princes and Government










382


^ Criticisms upon Books and Authors






395


Contradiftions ....






417


Appendix


Unclassified Notes on Various Subjects . . • 4-5i


Notes .














481



Xll



A MODERN POLITICIAN

MAKES new Discoveries in Politics, but they are, like
those that Columbus made of the new World, very rich
but barbarous. He endeavours to restore Mankind to the
original Condition, it fell from, by forgeting to discern between
Good and Evil ; and reduces all Prudence back again to its
first Author the Serpent, that taught Adam Wisdom ; for he
was really his Tutor, and not Samhoscor^ as the Rabbins write.
He finds the World has been mistaken in all Ages, and that
Religion and Morality are but vulgar Errors, that pass among
the Ignorant, and are but mere Words to the Wise. He
despises all learning as a Pedantic little Thing ; and believes
Books to be the Business of Children, and not of Men. He
wonders how the Distinction of Virtue and Vice came into the
World's Head ; and believes them to be more ridiculous than
any Foppery of the Schools. He holds it his Duty to betray
any Man, that shall take him for so much a Fool as one fit to
be trusted. He stedfastly believes, that all Men are born in
the State of War, and that the civil Life is but a Cessation,
and no Peace, nor Accommodation : And though all open Ails
of Hostility are forborn by Consent, the Enmity continues, and
all Advantages by Treachery or Breach of Faith are very
lawful — That there is no Difference between Virtue and Fraud
among Friends, as well as Enemies ; nor any thing unjust, that
a Man can do without Damage to his own Safety or Interest
— That Oaths are but Springes to catch Woodcocks withal ;
and bind none but those, that are too weak and feeble to break
them, when they become ever so small an Impediment to their
Advantages — That Conscience is the effedl of Ignorance, and
the same with that foolish Fear, which some Men apprehend,
when they are in the dark and alone — That Honour is but the



CHARACTERS

Word, which a Prince gives a Man to pass his Guards withal,
and save him from being stopped by Law and Justice the
Sentinels of Governments, when he has not Wit nor Credit
enough to pass of himself— That to shew Respeft to Worth in
any Person is to appear a Stranger to it, and not so familiarly
acquainted with it as those are, who use no Ceremony ; because
it is no new Thing to them, as it would appear if they should
take Notice of it — That the easiest Way to purchase a
Reputation of Wisdom and Knowledge is to slight and under-
value it ; as the readiest Way to buy cheap is to bring down
the Price : for the World will be apt to believe a Man well
provided with any necessary or useful Commodity, which he
sets a small Value upon — That to oblige a Friend is but a kind
c.f casting him in Prison, after the old Roman Way, or modern
Chinese^ t'hat chains the Keeper and Prisoner together : for he
that binds another Man to himself, binds himself as much to
him, and lays a restraint upon both. For as Men commonly
never forgive those that forgive them, and always hate those
'that purchase their Estates (tho' they pay dear and more than
any Man else would give) so they never willingly endure those,
that have laid any Engagement upon them, or at what rate
soever purchased the least Part of their Freedom. — And as
Partners for the most Part cheat or suspe6t one another ; so no
Man deals fairly with another, that goes the least Share in his
Freedom.

To propose any Measure to Wealth or Power is to be
ignorant of the Nature of both : for as no Man can ever have
too much of either ; so it is impossible to determine what is
enough ; and he, that limits his Desires by proposing to
himself the Enjoyment of any other Pleasure, but that of
gaining more, shews he has but a dull Inclination, that will not
hold out to his Journey's End. And therefore he believes that
a Courtier deserves to be beg'd himself, that is ever satisfied
with begging: for Fruition without Desire is but a dull
Entertainment ; and that Pleasure only real and substantial,
that provokes and improves the Appetite, and increases in the
Enjoyment. And all the greatest Masters in the several Arts
of thriving concur unanimously, that the plain downright
Pleasure of Gaining is greater and deserves to be prefered far



A MODERN POLITICIAN

before all the various Delights of Spending, which the Curiosity,
Wit, or Luxury of Mankind in all Ao;es could ever find out.

He believes, there is no Way of thriving so easy and certain
as to grow rich by defrauding the Public : for public Thieveries
are more safe and less prosecuted than private, like Robberies
committed between Sun and Sun, which the County pays, and
no one is greatly concerned in. And as the Monster of many
Heads has less Wit in them all than any one reasonable
Person : so the Monster of many Purses is easier cheated than
any one indifferent crafty Fool. For all the Difficulty lies in
being trusted ; and when he has obtained that, the Business
does itself; and if he should happen to be questioned and called
to an Accompt, a Baudy Pardon is as cheap as a Paymaster's
Fee, not above fourteen Pence in the Pound.

He thinks, that when a Man comes to Wealth or Prefer-
ment, and is to put on a new Person, his first Business is to put
oiF all his old Friendships and Acquaintances as Things below
him, and no Way consistent with his present Condition ;
especially such as may have Occasion to make use of him, or
have Reason to expe6l any civil Returns from him : for
requiting of Obligations received in a Man's Necessity is the
same Thing with paying of Debts contracted in his Minority,
when he was under Age, for which he is not accountable by
the Laws of the Land. These he is to forget as fast as he can,
and by little Neglefts remove them to that Distance, that they
may at length by his Example learn to forget him : for Men,
who travel together in Company, when their Occasions lye
several Ways, ought to take leave and part. It is a hard
Matter for a Man that comes to Preferment not to forget
himself; and therefore he may very well be allowed to take
the Freedom to forget others : for Advancement, like the
Conversion of a Sinner, gives a Man new Values of Things
and Persons, so different from those he had before, that that,
which was wont to be most dear to him, does commonly after
become the most disagreeable. And as it is accounted noble to
forget and pass over little Injuries ; so it is to forget little
Friendships, that are no better than Injuries when they become
Disparagements, and can only be importune and troublesome,
instead of being useful, as they were before. All Afts of

A2 3



CHARACTERS

Oblivion have, of late Times, been found to extend, rather to
loyal and faithful Services done, than Rebellion and Treasons
committed, tor Benefits are like Flowers, sweet only and
fresh when they are newly gathered, but stink when they grow
stale and wither ; and he only is ungrateful, who makes returns
of Obligations ; for he does it merely to free himself from
owing so much as Thanks. Fair Words are all the Civility
and Humanity, that one Man owes to another ; for they are
obliging enough of themselves, and need not the Assistance of
Deeds to make them good : for he that does not believe them
has already received too much, and he that does, ought to
expedt no more. And therefore promises ought to oblige those
only to whom they are made, not those who make them ; for
he that expedls a Man should bind himself is worse than a
Thief, who does that Service for him, after he has robbed him
on the High-way — Promises are but Words, and Words Air,
which no Man can claim a Propriety in, but is equally free to
all, and incapable of being confined ; and if it were not, yet he
who pays Debts, which he can possibly avoid, does but part
with his Money for nothing, and pays more for the mere
Reputation of Honesty and Conscience than it is worth.

He prefers the Way of applying to the Vices and Humours
of great Persons before all other Methods of getting into
Favour : for he that can be admitted into these Offices of
Privacy and Trust seldom fails to arrive at greater ; and with
greater Ease and Certainty than those, who take the dull Way
of plain Fidelity and Merit. For Vices, like Beasts, are fond
of none but those that feed them ; and where they once
prevail, all other Considerations go for nothing. They are his
own Flesh and Blood, born and bred out of him ; and he has a
stronger natural Affection for them than all other Relations
whatsoever — And he, that has an Interest in these, has a
greater Power over him than all other Obligations in the
World. For though they are but his Imperfeftions and
Infirmities, he is the more tender of them ; as a lame Member,
or diseased Limb is more carefully cherished than all the rest,
that are sound and in perfeft Vigour. All Offices of this kind
are the greatest Endearments, being real Flatteries enforced by
Deeds and A(5lions, and therefore far more prevalent than



A MODERN POLITICIAN

those, that are performed but by Words and Fawning ; though
very great Advantages are daily obtained that Way — A||d
therefore he esteems Flattery as the next most sure and
successful Way of improving his Interests. For Flattery is
but a kind of civil Idolatry, that makes Images it self of Virtue,
Worth, and Honour in some Person, that is utterly void of all,
and then falls down, and worships them. And the more dull
and absurd these Applications are, the better they are always
received : for Men delight more t-o be presented with those
Things they want, than such as they have no need nor use of.
And though they condemn the Realities of those Honours and
Renowns, that are falsely imputed to them, they are wonderfully
afFe(^led with their false Pretences. For Dreams work more
upon Men's Passions, than any waking Thoughts of the same
Kind ; and many, out of an ignorant Superstition, give more
Credit to them, than the most rational of all their vigilant
Conjectures, how false soever they prove in the Event — No
wonder then if those, who apply to Men's Fancies and
Humours, have a stronger Influence upon them than those,
that seek to prevail upon their Reason and Understandings,
especially in things so delightful to them as their own Praises,
no Matter how false and apparently incredible : for great
Persons may wear counterfeit Jewels of any Caracl, with more
Confidence and Security from being discovered, than those of
meaner Quality ; in whose Hands the Greatness of their Value
(if they were true) is more apt to render them suspected. A
Flatterer is like Mahomefs Pigeon, that picks his Food out of
his Master's Ear, who is willing to have it believed, that he
whispers Oracles into it ; and accordingly sets a high Esteem
upon the Service he does him, though the Impostor only
designs his own Utilities — For Men are for the most Part
better pleased with other Men's Opinions, though false, of
their Happiness, than their own Experiences ; and find more
Pleasure in the dullest Flattery of others than all the vast
Imaginations they can have of themselves, as no Man is apt to
be tickled with his own fingers ; because the Applauses of
others are more agreeable to those high Conceits, they have of
themselves, which they are glad to find confirmed, and are the
only Music, that sets them a dancing, like those that are bitten
with a Tarantula.



CHARACTERS

He accounts it an Argument of great Discretion, and as
great Temper, to take no Notice of Affronts and Indignities
put upon him by great Persons. For he that is insensible of
Injuries of this Nature can receive none ; and if he lose no
Confidence by them, can lose nothing else ; for it is greater
to be above Injuries, than either to do, or revenge them ; and
he, that will be deterred by those Discouragements from
prosecuting his Designs, will never obtain what he proposes to
himself. When a Man is once known to be able to endure
Insolencies easier than others can impose them, they will raise
the Siege, and leave him as impregnable ; and therefore he
resolves never to omit the least Opportunity of pressing his
Affairs, for Fear of being baffled and affronted ; for if he can
at any Rate render himself Master of his Purposes, he would
not wish an easier, nor a cheaper Way, as he knows how to
repay himself, and make others receive those Insolencies of him
for good and current Payment, which he was glad to take
before — And he esteems it no mean Glory to shew his Temper
of such a Compass, as is able to reach from the highest
Arrogance to the meanest, and most dejefted Submissions. A
Man, that has endured all Sorts of Affronts, may be allowed,
like an Apprentice that has served out his Time, to set up for
himself, and put them off upon others ; and if the most common
and approved Way of growing rich is to gain by the Ruin and
loss of those, who are in necessity, why should not a Man be
allowed as well to make himself appear great by debasing those,
that are below him? For Insolence is no inconsiderable Way
of improving Greatness and Authority in the Opinion of the
World. If all Men are born equally fit to govern, as some
late Philosophers affirm, he only has the Advantage of all
others, who has the best Opinion of his own Abilities, how
mean soever they really are ; and, therefore, he stedfastly
believes, that Pride is the only great, wise, and happy Virtue
that a Man is capable of, and the most compendious and easy
Way to Felicity — For he, that is able to persuade himself
impregnably, that he is some great and excellent Person, how
far short soever he falls of it, finds more Delight in that Dream
than if he were really so ; and the less he is of what he fancies
himself to be, the better he is pleased, as Men covet those
things, that are forbidden and denied them, more greedily than

6



A MODERN POLITICIAN

those, that are in their Power to obtain ; and he, that can enjoy
all the best Rewards of Worth and Merit without the Pains
and Trouble that attend it, has a better Bargain than he, who
pays as much for it as it is worth. This he performs by an
obstinate implicit believing as well as he can of himself, and as
meanly of all other Men ; for he holds it a kind of Self-Pre-
servation to maintain a good Estimation of himself : And as no
Man is bound to love his Neighbour better than himself ; so he
ought not to think better of him than he does of himself; and
he, that will not afford himself a very high Esteem, will never
spare another Man any at all. He who has made so absolute a
"Conquest over himself (which Philosophers say is the greatest
of all Vi6lories) as to be received for a Prince within himself,
is greater and more arbitrary within his own Dominions, than he
that depends upon the uncertain Loves or Fears of other Men
without him. — And since the Opinion of the World is vain,
and for the most Part false, he believes it is not to be attempted
but by Ways as false and vain as it self; and therefore to appear
and seem is much better and wiser, than really to be,
whatsoever is well esteemed in the general Value of the
World.

Next Pride he believes Ambition to be the only generous
and heroical Virtue in the World, that Mankind is capable of.
For as Nature gave Man an ereft Figure, to raise him above
the groveling Condition of his fellow Creatures the Beasts : so
he, that endeavours to improve that, and raise himself higher,
seems best to comply with the Design and Intention of Nature.
Though the Stature of Man is confined to a certain Height,
yet his Mind is unlimited, and capable of growing up to
Heaven : And as those, who endeavour to arrive at that
Perfection, are adored and reverenced by all ; so he, that
endeavours to advance himself as high as possibly he can in this
World, comes nearest to the Condition of those holy and divine
Aspirers. All the purest Parts of Nature always tend upwards,
and the more dull and heavy downwards : so in the little World



Online LibrarySamuel ButlerCharacters and passages from note-books → online text (page 1 of 43)