Samuel Butler.

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This takes place on the eve of the Kevolution, and the tale
ends with the landing of King William, and Pendragon's
dismay, and devices to secure his neck. This work is not
destitute of humour, but it contains no very extractable
passages, unless at greater length than we can afford, or
than the book deserves.

" The Dissenting H3rpocrite " is a very abusive and very
impotent attack on Defoe. The author has very prudently
told us at the head of his title-page, that the work was
written " in imitation of Hudibras," or we should not have
suspected him of any such intention.

We now come to the productions of a very voluminous
writer, but a very sorry imitator of Butler, the notorious
Ned Ward, an industrious retailer of ale and scurrility.
We shall not meddle with his *' London Spy,** a coarse,
but tolerably faithful portraiture of London manners, or
with his horrible version of " Don Quixote." The works
which bring him more immediately under our notice, are
his ** British Hudibras " and his " Hudibras Redivivus."
The subject of the former is the burning of Daniel
Burgess's chapel by the mob, and the conflicts and dissen-
tions which attended iU "Hudibras Redivivus" is a
violent satire on the Low Church party, and obtained for
its author an elevation to the pillory. It is a desultory
and unconnected work, and is made up of the author's
meditations in his rambles about town, and of descriptions
of the scenes of low mirth, hypocrisy, and profaneness,
which he witnessed in his perambulations. Books, and
booksellers' shops ; Daniel Defoe 5 astrologers ; meeting-
houses of puritans and quakers, with their sermons and
speeches; taverns, and tavern disputes; allegorical dreams;
quacks and merry-andrews ; Bartholomew-fair ; the lord
mayor's show ; the fifth of November ; and calves-head day ;
form the motley subjects of the twenty-four cantos, con-
nected only by the spirit of party abuse to which they are
all made subservient. Ward, however, possesses a vein of
low humour, and his descriptions of scenes and manners,

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though tediously diffuse, indicate considerable shrewdness
of observation, and have a strong appearance of truth and

**The Republican Procession" is described by Mr.
Hogg (in his " Jacobite Beliques ") as " a poem of sterling
rough humour," and as containing " more humour than
anything of the kind I ever saw/' We suspect Mr. Hogg's
political zeal had got the upper hand of his judgement when
this eulogium escaped him. The extracts which he has
given from this work are remarkable for nothing but out-
rageous scurrility and vulgar effrontery, and the whole
composition is mean, bald, and contemptible. The subject
is the Duke of Marlborough's return, after the death of
Queen Anne, and the procession which met and welcomed
him to the metropolis.^ We ai*e unable to find in this
Jacobite effusion any passage of merit or interest to lay
before our readers. " The Hudibrastic Brewer " is some-
what of a comment on the preceding work, and quite as
dull, though not so abusive.

" Four Hudibrastic Cantos " turn upon some local
scandal, and are of too mediocre a cast to be disturbed in
their oblivion.

" England's Reformation " is an ex parte history, in
doggrel, of the religious dissentions in this country, from
the time of Henry VIII. to Titus Gates, written by a
bigoted and unscrupulous papist. Thomas Ward has
heavier sins than those of coarseness and dulness to
answer for, his work being written throughout with an
utter disregard of truth, and falsifying or concealing facts,
just as it suited the purpose of the author. We hear
enough of the sanguinary persecutions of Edward VI.
and of that fiend incarnate, Elizabeth, but not a word of
the Smithfield burnings of the " good Queen Mary " or of
the torturing exploits of the ** gpod Bonner '* —

1 Mr. Hogg very erroneously makes King George the First the
hero of this libellous poem, though the personalities against the
Duke and his wife are numerous and palpable.

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" Good Glo'ster and good devil are alike.
And both prepoeteroas."

Those readers who can tolerate a work which burlesques
martyrdom, and makes merry with executions, will find it
not destitute of humour and ingenuity.

The *' Alma " of Prior is avowedly written in imitation
of ** Hudibras," but there are few points of resemblance
between the two works. The plan of Butler is sufficiently
irregular, but Prior appears to have had no plan at all, nor
even an object. The " Alma " is a mere conversational
sketch, which might have been expanded to any length,
according to the industry or caprice of the writer. Prior
has judiciously abstained from copying the mere superficial
peculiarities of Butler, his uncouth versification, and his
licentious phraseology ; but he wants the matter and sub-
stance of his original. Few writers could tell a humorous
tale with a more pleasing mixture of archness and sim-
plicity than Mat Prior ; but he had neither the keen wit,
the sound sense, or the comprehensive learning of Butler.
His good things are " thinly scattered to make up a show " ;
and there is a pervading feeling of poverty in his " Alma,"
which cannot be disguised by the sprightliness of the style
and the neatness of the versification.

" The Knight of the Kirk, or the Ecclesiastical Adven-
tures of Sir John Presbyter,'* by Meston,^ is a close and
tolerably successful imitation of the style of Butler ; but,
whether from having studied his original so incessantly
that he confounded his ideas with his own, or actuated by
zealous admiration, like the old woman that stole a bible
through the excess of her devotion, the Scottish writer has

1 William Meston was a native of Aberdeenshire, he was born
towards the latter end of the seventeenth century, and was educated
at the Mareshall Ck>llege of Aberdeen . Being a sturdy Jacobite, he
took an active part in the insurrection of 1716, and after the defeat
at Sheriffmuir, was obliged to skulk among the hills and fastnesses,
till an act of indemnity ivas published. He afterwards turned
schoolmaster, but with little success, and in his latter years he was
dependent on the Countess of Errol for support. He died in 1745.




conveyed ("convey the wise it call,") not only thoughts
and expressions, but whole lines from bis great prototype.
He frequently expands a pithy couplet into half a page of
doggrel, and dilutes tbe concentrated spirit of Butler into
vapid and mawkish slip-slop. The author of *• Hudibras "
certainly did not bequeath him his mantle, but he has
managed to pilfer some scraps of it, with which he has
patched his thread-bare plaid. Meston, however, is de-
cidedly superior to the common herd of Hudibrastic
writers, and his propensity to plagiarism is the more to be
regretted, as he possessed wherewithal to subsist re-
spectably without it. " The Knight of the Kirk '* was
probably intended as the commencement of a work of some
length : the part which Meston completed has no action
in it, and consists of a somewhat wearisome detail of the
mental and bodily endowments of Sir John Presbyter, the
personification of the Scottish Kirk, his dress, arms,
opinions, and accomplishments

Meston's " Mob contra Mob," and some of his " Mother
Grim's Tales," are close imitations of Butler ; but we have
already devoted a suffTcient space to his productions.

Whatever quantum of merit these imitations may possess,
they have one distinguishing characteristic unlike their
great original : whether written for purposes of mirth or
malice, they never rise above their subject. Butler's path
was equally narrow, but it could not narrow his mind.
He crowds into his confined circle all the treasures of wit
and the accumulations of learning. He gives full measure
to his readers, heaped up, and running over. Thought
crowds upon thought and witticism upon witticism, in
rapid and dazzling succession. Every topic and every
incident is made the most of: his bye-play always tells.
Many of his happiest sallies appear to escape him as if by
accident ; many of his hardest hits appear to be merely
chance-blows. A description of a bear- ward brings in a
sneer at Sir Eenelm Bigby and his powder of sympathy,
and an account of a tinker's doxey introduces a pleasantry

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on Sir William Davenant's " Grondibert." There is always
an under current of satiric allusion beneath the main
stream of his satire. The juggling of astrology, the be-
sotting folly of alchemy, the transfusion of blood, the sym-
pathetic medicines, the learned trifling of experimental
philosophers, the knavery of fortune-tellers and the folly
of their dupes, the marvellous relations of travellers, the
subtleties of the school-divines, the freaks of fashion, the
fantastic extravagancies of lovers, the affectations of
poetry, and the absurdities of romance, are interwoven
vrith his subject, and soften down and relieve his dark de-
lineation of fanatical violence and perfidy. Of this con-
tinuity of satire, Butler's imitators had no conception, or
were too poor in spirit and invention to attempt to follow
in his steps. They seem to have taken it into their heads
that they had only to bid grammar and decency,
to be vulgar in thought and coarse in expression, to clip
and torture the English language without remorse, to split
occasionally an unfortunate word in two, and to attach
the dislocated syllables to different lines, adding a due
proportion of double and treble rhymes, to be perfectly
Hudibrastic. Indeed, much of their versification is so
rugged and uneven as to vie with the jolting of the road
known by the name of ** the Devil's back-bone." They
display occasionally some share of humour, but in wit
they are poor indeed. Butler was by no means deficient
in humour, but it was cast into a dim eclipse by the pre-
dominance of his wit. His characters do not show them-
selves off unconsciously as fools or coxcombs — they are set
up as marks at which the author levels all the shafts of
his ridicule and sarcasm. These imitations in general are
much too long : a burlesque in a dozen <»ntoe8 is too
serious a joke.

To conclude : we consider the manner of Butler as pe-
culiarly easy of imitation (which may account for the
number of works at the head of this article) ; his matter
as inimitable, except by an equal or a greater genius.

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We do not look upon successfiil imitators as little better
than the mocking-bird, who copies the melody of other
songsters without possessing any note of its own. To
catch not only the style and turn of thought of another
writer, but to express the same thoughts, clothed in the
same language, which that writer would, in all probability,
have thought and written on a given subject, requires a
considerable portion of the genius of the original, as well
as a thorough insight into the mechanism of his mind.
The author of the most successful series of imitations
which perhaps has ever appeared (the "Rejected Ad-
dresses") has shown himself an original poet of no or-
dinary powers. Sir Walter Scott's imitations of Crabbe
and Moore are eminently happy, and Hogg's half-serious,
half-ludicrous imitations, in the " Poetic Mirror," almost
strike us as fac-similes. We have no doubt Lord Byron
could write an excellent imitation either of Milton or
Butler, though, we confess, we have no wish to see him
attempt either. We shall conclude [by drawing the reader's
attention to] some scholastic pleasantries by Mr. Moore,
which, if they have not the terseness and pregnant brevity
of Butler, . . . have much of his point and ingenious

B. Other Imitations.

The preceding article contained several
lengthy quotations from the productions under
discussion, which have been here omitted on
account of space.

To those imitations of Hudibras which had
fallen under the notice of the writer of the
article may be added the following : —

I. Hudibras in a Snare by Bicha/rd Green

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TI. ScAREONiDES : or Virgile travesHe. A mock
'poem on the first book of VirgiVs ^neis in
English. Being burlesque. Imprimatur Roger
L'Estrange, London : printed by E. Cotes for
Henry Browne^ at the Oun, in Ivy Lane, 1664.

Pp. 112. 4" X 6i".
[This is often mentioned as a parody of ^ Hudibras,"
though it is more correctly described according to its own
title as " after Scarron."]


his own poem and language, 8. sh, [1674.]

[The rhythm, however, is different from that of
** Hudibras."]

TV. Tour Servant, Sir, or Balpho to Httdi-
bras, descanting on Wild's Poetry [1674],

[Containing 116 doggerel lines.]

V. In the catalogue of the Dublin Library
occurs : —

DiLDOiDES: a burlesque })oem; with a hey
explaining several names and characters in Hudi-
bras, London. 1706. Fol

written in the time of the unJmppy contest between
Great Britain and America in 1777 and 1778.
London, Printed in the year MDCCLXXVin.

[The former owner of the British Museum copy (Peri.
Bertie) has inserted on the title-page " by Joseph Peart,"
and in another hand is written : " The author I believe is
a solicitor; it was never published, only given to his

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VII. The Levellers (yr SatarCs Privy Coun-
cil. A Pasquinade in three cantos. The author
Hugh Hudihras Esq. Printed by W. Browne
(for tJie author) and sold by all the booJcsellers.
1793. [Price one shilling.'] Pp.26. 6i"x8'/.

[Containing 230 octosyllabic lines.]

VIII. HuDiBRAS IN Ireland, a burlesque on
the late holy wars in the sister kingdom London :
printed and published by W. E. Andrews No. 3
Chapterhouse court, St. PauVs atid sold by all
booksellers. Pp. 124 [1820]. 4" x 7".

[The introduction quotes from Pope, and refers to the
Methodists and the London Bible Society.]

IX. Sultan Sham and his seven wives, an
historical, romantic, heroic poem, in three cantos
by Hudibras the younger. London : printed and
publislied by W. Benbow, 269, Strand; and sold
by oil booksellers in town and country 1820.

Pp. 58. 6^" X 81-".

X. The IMoDERN Hudibras in two cantos,
London. John Murray, Albemarle Street,
mdcccxxxi. Pp. 61. 4" X 7".

XI. Mercurius Menippeus. The Loyal Satirist
or Hudibras in prose. Written by an unknown
ham>d in tlie time of the late Rebellion but never
till now published. London; printed for Jos,
Hindmarsh at the sign of the Black Bull nea/r the
Eoyal Exchange i/n Comhill. 1862.

Pp. 24. 7" X 5".
[Reprinted in " Somers' Tracts," vii. 66, and there said
to be *' probably by Butler or Birkenhead."]

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The peculiar rhythm of " Hudibras," as well
as some of its witticisms, have been traced to
various sources.

I. MusARUM Delici-E ot the muses* recreation
containing several pieces of poetique wit by Sir
J. M, amd Ja, 8. 1656.

[Reprinted in " Facetiae " vol. ii. 1817, with memoirs- of
Sir John Mennis and Dr. James Smith.]

Pope detects the original of Hudibras in
the above; where, for instance, occurs the

" He that fights and runs away
May live to fight another day,"

though the idea was originated by Demos-
thenes — see " The Apophthegms " of Erasmus.

II. Dr. Farmer has noticed many of Butler's
mannerisms in Cleveland, while Mr. Gosse
suggests as additional sources the works of
Robert Wild (particularly his " Iter Borealis "),
and " Men-Miracles " by M. Lluellin, student
of Christ-Church, Oxford, and sometime mayor
of High Wycombe, which was first published
in 1646, and is composed of such doggerel as
the following : —

** Come, come, your cups shall never boast
They drowne a nation like a toast :

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A toast I say which till 'tis mouldy,
You doe reserve to feed your poultry,
But dudgeon dagger throat I stick in's
That pigmie throws to fat his chickens."

P. 8, Two and Twentieth Miracle. Pigmies.

Wild may very well be the author of any
poem supposed " on internal evidence," to be
by Butler.

III. An Epitaph on James, Duhe of Hamilton,

Digitus Dei, or Ooc^s Justice wpon Treachery
a/nd Treason, exemjpUfied in the Life and Death
of the late James Duke of Ha/milton, etc., whereto
is added an Epitaph. 4^. London, 1649.

He that three kingdoms made one flame
Blasted their beauty, burnt the frame.
Himself now here in ashes lies,
A part of this great Sacrifice :
Here all of Hamilton remains,
Save what the other world contains.
But {Beader) it is hard to tell
Whether that world be Heav'n, or Hell,
A Scotch man enters Hell at 's birth,
And 'scapes it when he goes to earth,
Assur'd no worse a Hell can come
Than that which he enjoy'd at home.

Now did the Royall Workman botch
This Duke, hAUe-English, and hvMe- Scotch!
A Scot an English Earldom fits
As Purple doth your Marmuzets;
Suits like Nol Cromwell with the Crown,
Or Bradshaw in his Scarlet-gown.

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Yet might he thus disguis'd (no lesse)
Have slipt to Heay'n in/8 English dresse,
But that he in hope of life became
This mystick Proteus too as well
Might cheat the Devill, 'scape his Hell,
Since to those pranks he pleasM to play
Beligion ever pav'd the way ;
Which he did to 2kJ^acti(m tie,
Not to reforme but crucifie.
'Twas he that first alarm'd the KirJee
To this preposterous bloody worke.
Upon the King's to place Chrisfs throne^
A step and foot-stoole to his owne ;
Taught Zeal a hundred tumbling tricks,
And Scriptures twin'd with Politicks ;
The Pulpit made a Jugler's Box,
Set Law and Gospell in the Stocks,
As did old Buchanan and KnoXf
In those daies when (at once ^) the Pa*'
And Presbyters a way did find
Into the world to plague mankind.
'Twas he patch'd up the new Divine,
Part Calvin, and part Catiline,
Could too transforme (without a Spell)
Satan into a Gabriel;
Just like those pictures which we paint
On this side Fiend, on that side Saint,
Both this, and that, and every thing
He was ; for and against the King :
Rather than he his ends would misse,
Betray'd his master with a kisse,
And buri'd in one common Fate
The glory of our Church and State:
The Orown too levell'd on the ground ;
And having rook't all parties round,

1 The Pox, Presbytery, and Jesuitisme, are of the same standing.

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'Faith it was time then to be gone,
Since he had all his businesse done.
Next on the f&ttH-Block expir'd,
He to this Marble-Cell retirM ;
Where all of Hamilton remains
But what Eternity contains.

This poem is ascribed to Marchamont Need-
ham. It is curious as being much in the
style of Butler, and being published fourteen
years before Hudibras appeared.

IV. Butler is also supposed to have bor-
rowed from Scarron, Remy Belleau, ("Notes
and Queries," 4th s., v. 358) and Rabelais
(" Notes and Queries," 6th s., iii. 605).


A. Biographers of Butler are plentiful but
they knew little of their subject, and were oc-
cupied chiefly with contradicting one another's

I. The earliest account is Aubeet's, printed
below, p. xc, and next comes Anthony Wood's.
In his "Athense Oxoniensis" the subject is in-
troduced in the course of an article on W.
Prynne. Prynne was supposed to have written
the answer to John Audland, which, says Wood,
was really the work of *' Samuel Butler, author
of the much celebrated poem called Hudibras ;
of whom by the way I desire the reader to
know." . . . — AthenoB^ iii. 874.

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The events are related partly on the autho-
rity of Butler's brother, and the later editions
contain footnotes by Baker.

Some further notes on Butler may be found in the
" Athenae," iii. 1205, iv. 209, 211, and 725; and in the
"Fasti,"!. 488, and ii. 37.

II. His Life, prefixed to the 1704 edition of
*'Hudibras " has frequently been reprinted ani
contains "information received from those
who had the happiness of being acquainted
with Butler," being intended " to rectify the
mistakes of the Oxford Antiquary." See
Section I.

III. A General Dictionaet, historical and
criiicaZ, in which a new and accurate translation
of that of the celebrated Mr, Bayle, with the cor-
rections a/nd observations printed in the late edition
at Pa/ris^ is vnclvded ojnd interspersed with several
thousand lives never before printed. The whole
containing the history of the most illustrious
persons of all ages and nations, particula/rly
those of Great Britain and Ireland, distinguished
by their rank, actions, learning and other accom-
plishments. With reflections on such passages
of Mr, Bayle as seem to favour scepticism and the
Manichee system, by the Bev, T, P, Bernard', the
Bev. T, Birch, a/nd Bev, J, Loclcma/n, London

[Vol. vi., 289. Article " Hudibras."]

In Diary of William Oldys, Esq., see Section XI (vii)
July 7, 1737 we find John Lockman, the author of
Butler's Life in the General Dictionary, described as " a

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secretary to the Eritish Herring fishery, a very honest
man, but very indifferent poetaster. He died Feb, 2,

The writer of this article corrects former biographers
on the authority of one Charles Longueville, the son of
**Mr. Longueville who was the last patron and friend
that poor old Butler, the author of * Hudibras,' had, and
in his old age he supported him, otherwise he might have
been literally starved." It was Longueville to whom
Butler's " golden remains" were entrusted, and in North's
** Life of Lord Keeper Guildford " we are told that his
"discourse was fluent, witty, literate, copious, instructive ;
and those who did not well attend to him or did not
understand him thought he talked too much."

IV. BioGRAPHiA Britannica 1748 IL 1077.
Article " Batler."

The writer speaks with some scorn of the " anonymous
life-writer" and the "Oxford Antiquary." He sum-
marises his own impressions from the General Dictionary
and quotes a great deal of criticism on Butler.

V. British Biography or an accurate and
impa/rtial accownt of the lives and writings of
eminent persons in Great Britain and Ireland,

Vol. V. p. 436-443, contains a summary of earlier
statements with a portrait.

VI. Critical and Historical and explanatory
notes v/pon Hudibras, by way of supplement to the
two eddtio7is ^published in the years 1744 anid
1745, by Zachery Orey LL,D,, to which is pre-
fixed a dissertation upon bwrlesque poetry, by the
late learned and ingerdous Montagu Bacon, Esq.,
and an appendix added, in vjhich is a translation

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of part of the first canto of the first book into
Latin doggreh London ; printed for G, N orris
behind the Chapter-House in St. PauVs Chwrch-
yard; J, Beecroft in Lombard Street and W.
Thurlbowm in Cambridge, mdcclii.

VIII. Samuel Butler, a/nd his Hudibras and
other works, by A, Ramsay. London. Charles
Knight a^tid Co. Ludgate Street. 1846.

VII. JolmsorHs Lives op the Poets. Butler,

Note. — Summaries of such facts of Butler's life as are
known may be read in the dictionaries of Chambers and
Charles Knight, and in similar productions.

B. Allnsions to Bntler or his " Hudibras "
may also be found in the following places : —

*' Cursory Remarks on some of the ancient English
Poets," particularly Milton [by P. Neve] 1789. Page 73

Hume's "History of England," viii. 296 seq.

Shenstone's " Works," II. p. 182. 3rd ed.

Theophilus Gibber's "Lives of the Poets," 1753, ii.
233 seq.

Spence's " Anecdotes," p. 208.

M. Taine on " English Literature," (trans, by H. Van
Laun, 1874), ii., 328 seq,

"Posthumous Works" of Wycherley, published by
Mr. Theobald. 1728. Memour by Major Pack, p. 6 seq*

Scott's " Life of Dryden."

** Literary Illnstrations " and " Literary Anecdotes of
the Eighteenth Century," by Nichols.

Mr. Dobson's " Hogarth."

Hallam's "Literature of Europe," 3 vols. 1854. Vol.
iii. p. 472 seq., 484.

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In the "Additions to Pope's Works," published by
George Steevens, i. p. 13, are some lines said to bo written
by Pope on Butler's monnment in Westminster Abbey.

" Eespect to Dryden Sheffield justly paid.
And noble Villiera honour'd Cowley's shade.
Sut whence this Barber P that a name so mean

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Online LibrarySamuel ButlerThe poetical works of Samuel Butler; → online text (page 5 of 22)