Samuel Butler.

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^oyrr^nJ^ dl^^





Y O L U M E I .





To the Rev. William Lisle Bowles v

Memoir of Butlek, by the Eev. J. Mitford .... vii

Notes xxxvii

Appendix xli


PartL Canto 1 3

Canto 11 43

Canto m 92

Partn. Canto 1 143

Canton 177

Canto m 209

An Heroical Epistle of Hudibras to Sidrophel .... 253

Partm. Canto 1 259



Unhonour'd lay poor Butler's nameless grave,
One line, the hand of pitying friendship gave.
'Twas his with pure confiding heart to trust
The flattering minions of a monarch's lust ;
And hope that faith a private debt would OAvn,
False to the honour of a nation's throne.

Such were the lines insulted virtue pour'd.
And such the wealth of wit's exhaustless hoard:
Of keenest wisdom dallying with her scorn.
And playful jest of indignation born ;
And honest hatred of that godless crew,
To king, to country — to themselves untrue:
The hands that laid the blameless mitre low,
That gave great Weutworth to the headsman's

And theirs the deed immortalized in shame,
Which raised a monarch to a martyr's name.

Oh! friend! with me thy thoughtful sorrows
Thy heart will answer each desponding line ;
Say, when thy hand o'er Ken's neglected grave
At once the flowers of love and learning gave ;


Or when was heard, beneath each listening tree,
The lute sweet Archimage had lent to thee :
Say, while thy day was like a summer dream,
And musing leisure met thee by the stream,
Where thro' rich weeds the lulling waters crept,
And the huge forest's massive umbrage slept,
And, summon'd by thy harp's aerial spell.
The shadowy tribes came trooping from their cell ;
(For still 'twas thine, with all a poet's art.
To paint the living landscape of the heart ;
And still to nature's soft enchantments true,
Feel every charm, and catch each varying hue ;)
Couldst thou foresee how soon the poet's strain
Would wake its satire into truth again;
How soon the still-revolving wheel of time
Recall the past — each folly, and each crime ;
Again the petty tyrant boast his flame.
And raise, on fancied ills, a patriot's name ;
How soon the tremblmg altar fade away,
The hallow'd temple prove the spoiler's prey;
The throne its proud ancestral honours yield,
And faction shake the senate and the field ;
How folly seize, while bleeding freedom wept,
That sacred ark which jealous wisdom kept ;
Which, virtuous Falkland ! saw thy banners wave.
Which Somers lived, and Chatham died to save ;
While history points her awful page in vain,
And sees all Butler scorn'd, revive again.

J. M.

Benhall, Feb. 1835.



Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, was
born in the parish of Strensham, in "Worcester-
shire, in 1612,* and christened February the 14th.
A. "Wood says, that his father was competently
wealthy ; f but the anonymous author of a life
prefixed to his Poems describes him as in the
condition of a yeoman, possessing a very small
estate, and renting another; who with difficulty
found means to educate his son at the grammar-
school at "Worcester, under ]VIr. Henry Bright, a
man of high reputation as a scholar, and a Pre-
bendary of the Cathedral. Butler is said to have

* This date is contradicted by Ciiarles Longueville, the
son of Butler's friend, and who declared that the poet was
born in 1600. Nash dates his baptism Febmary 8, 1612,
and says it is entered in the writing of Nash's father, who
was churchwarden : he had four softs and three daughters;
the three daughters and one son older than the poet.

t Dr. Nash discovered that his father was owner of a
house and a httle land, worth about 10?. a year, still
called Butler''s tenement, of which he has given an engrav-
ing in the title page of his first volume. A. Wood affirms
that he had a competent estate of nearly 300?. a year,
but held on lease of WiUiam Eussell, lord of the manor of


gone from thence to Cambridge,* with the cha-
racter of a good scholar ; but tlie period and place
of his residence seem alike unknown, and indeed
it appears doubtful whether he ever received the
advantages of an academical education.

For some time he was clerk to Mr. Jefferys, of
Earls Croomb, in Worcestershire, an eminent
justice of the peace. He employed the ample
leisure which his situation afforded in studv :
while he also cultivated the arts of painting and
music. " The Hogarth of poetiy," says "Walpole,
" was a painter too : " his love of the pencil intro-
duced him to the acquaintance of the celebrated
Samuel Cooper.f Some pictures were shown by the
family as his, but we presume of no great excel-
lence, as they were subsequently employed to stop
broken windows. Dr. Nash says that he heard of
a portrait of Oliver Cromwell by him. After this,
he was recommended to the notice of the Countess
of Kent, living at Wrest, in Bedfordshire, where
he had not only the advantage of a library,! but
enjoyed the conversation of the most learned man

* A. Wood had his information from Butler's brother;
some of his neighbours sent him to Oxford. Mr. Longue-
ville asserted tliat Butler never resided at Oxford.

t Of our English poets, Flatman and George Dyer were
painters. Pope also used the brush under the tuition of
Jervas. I recollect no further union of the arts.

\ " Butler was not acquainted with the Italian poets. Of
Ruggiero he might have truly asserted what he has falsely
told of Rinaldo." — See Neve on the English Poets, p. 79.


of his age, the great Selden. Wliy he subsequently
left so advantageous and honourable a situation
does not appear, but Ave find him domesticated
under the roof of Sir Samuel Luke, at Cople, or
Wood end, a gentleman of a very ancient family
in Bedfordshire, one of Cromwell's officers, and a
rigid Presbyterian. It is in this place and at this
time that he is said to have commenced his cele-
brated poem. His pati'on's house afforded him a
gallery of living portraits, and he Avas fortunately
pei'mitted to see Puritanism in one of its strong
holds. The keenness of his observation secured
the fidelity of his descriptions, and enabled him
to fill up his outline Avith those rich and forcible
details, Avliich a familiar acquaintance Avith the
originals afforded.

At the restoration of the exiled monarch, Avhen
loyalty expected the reAvard of its fidelity and
the recompense of its losses, Butler appears to
have suffered the same disappointment that met
other claimants ; and silently and unobtrusively
retreating from the conflict of avarice and imj^or-
tunity,* he accepted the Secretaryship to Richard,

* It is supposed that Sir Samuel Luke is ridiculed under
the character of Hudibras: the reason of the conjecture is
founded on Hudib. P. i. c. 1. ver. 904: —

'Tis sung, there is a valiant Mamaluke,
In foreign land yclep'd — ;

and the ballad entitled " A Tale of the Cobbler and Vicar of
Bray," in the posthumous works, p. 285, but this ballad is


Earl of Carbury, Lord President of the Princi-
pality of Wales, who made him Steward of Lud-
low Castle, where the court of the marches was
removed. About this time, he married Mrs.
Herbert,* a gentlewoman of good family, but
who had lost most of her fortune, by placing it
on bad securities, in those very dangerous and
uncertain times. A. Wood says, that he was
Secretary to George, Duke of Buckingham, when
he was Chancellor of Cambridge ; that the Duke
treated him with kindness and generosity; and

not proved to be genuine. Nash says, " he was informed by
a bencher of Gray's Inn, who had it from an acquaintance
of Butler's, that the person intended was Sir Henry Eose-
well, of Torr Abbey, in Devonshire," but adds, " these would
be probable reasons to deprive Bedfordsliire of the hero, did
not Butler, in his Memoirs of 1649, give the same descrip-
tion of Sir Samuel Luke, and in his Dunstable Downs ex-
pressly style Sir Samuel Luke, Sir Hudibras; " the name was
borrowed from Spenser, F. Q. 11. i. 17.

He that made love unto the eldest dame
Was hight Sir Hudibras, an hardy man.

It is supposed that Lilly the astrologer was represented
under the person of Sidrophel; though Sir Paul Xeal, who
denied Butler to be the author of Hudibras, has been men-
tioned as the person intended. Vide Grey's Hudibras, ii.
388. 105. 1st edit. ; and Nash's Hudibras, vol. ii. p. -308. That
Wliaclium was meant for Sir George Wharton, does not ap-
pear to rest on any proof; v. Biographia, Art. Sherborne,
note (B).

* A. Wood says, that she was a -vvidow, and that Butler
supported himself by her jointure, deriving nothing from the
Dractice of the law.


tliat, in common with almost all men of wit and
learning, he enjoyed the friendship of the cele-
brated Earl of Dorset. The author of his Life,
prefixed to his Poems, says, that the mtegrity of his
life, the acuteness of his wit, and the easmess of his
conversation, rendered him acceptable to all ; but
that he avoided a multiplicity of acquaintance.
The accounts both of the patronage of the Duke
of Buckingham and the Secretaryship are disbe-
lieved by Dr Johnson, on the following grounds :
— "Mr. Wycherley," says Major Packe, "had
always laid hold of an opportunity which offered
of representing to the Duke of Buckingham how
well Mr. Butler had deserved of the royal family,
by writing his inimitable Hudibras, and that it
was a reproach to the Court that a person of liis
loyalty and wit should suffer in obscurity, and
under the wants he did. The Duke always seemed
to hearken to him with attention enough, and
after some tune undertook to recommend his pre-
tensions to his Majesty. Mr. Wycherley, in hopes
to keep him steady to his word, obtained of his
Grace to name a day, when he might introduce
that modest and unfortunate poet to liis new pa-
tron. At last an appointment was made, and the
place of meeting was agreed to be the Roebuck.
Mr. Butler and his friend attended accordingly ;
the Duke joined them, but as the devil would have
it, the door of the room where they sat was open,
and his Grace, Avho had seated himself near it,


observing a pimp of his acquaintance (the creature
too was a knight) trip by with a brace of ladies,
immediately quitted his engagement to follow an-
other kind of business, at which he was more
ready than to do good offices to those of desert,
though no one was better qualified than he, both
in regard to his fortune and understanding, to pro-
tect them ; and from that time to the day of his
death, poor Butler never found the least effect of
his promise."

This story may be believed or not ; to me, I con-
fess, it appears more like a well-dressed fiction of
"Wycherley's than the truth ; why the accidental in-
terruption of the interview should never after have
been repaired, does not appear; but there is a
better testimony in some verses of Butler, which
were published by Mr. Thyer : " which are writ-
ten (says Johnson) with a degree of acrimony,
such as neglect and disappointment might natu-
rally excite, and such as it would be hard to ima-
gine Butler capable of expressing against a man
who had any claim to his gratitude."

In 1663, the first part of Hudibras, in three
cantos, was published,* when more than fifty years

* Some verses in the first edition of Hudibras were after-
wards omitted for reasons of state, as

Did not the learned Glynne and Maynard,
To malce good subjects traitors, strain hard.
Was not the king, by proclamation,
Declared a traitor through the nation.


had matured the author's genius, and given large
scope to his experience of mankind. It was
speedily known at Court, through the influence
of the Earl of Dorset.* The king praised, the
courtiers, of course, admired, and tlae royahsts
greeted a production which certainly covered their
now fallen enemies with all the derision and con-
tempt which wit and genius could command. In
1664, the second part appeared ; and the author, as
well as the public, watched with anxiety for the re-
ward which he was to receive from the gratitude
of the king ; like the other expectants of Charles's
bounty, which was drained off into very different
channels, they watched in vain. Clarendon, says
Wood, gave him reason to hope for places and
employments of value and credit, but he never
received them ; and the story of the king's pre-
senting him with a purse of three hundred guineas
appears also to rest on no competent authority.
To compensate for the neglect of the court,
and of a king, who, in truth, cared for no one
but himself, and who possessed neither pubhc
honour nor private principle, it is difficult to
say, whether Butler may have been satisfied with
the approbation of the people ; or how far the love
of his art, confidence in his own genius, and a
natural fondness for a successful production, may
have induced him to continue his poem ; certainly

* See Prior's Dedication to his Poems.


in four years more he published the third part,
which still leaves the work unfinished. What
he ultimately intended, it is impossible to con-
jecture from a narrative which has no consistent
plan, or progress. He may have been wearied
of it, or he may not have had time to continue
it ; for he died two years after its appearance,
on the 25th of September, in the year 1680;*
and was buried very privately by his friend Mr.
Longueville, in the church-yard of St. Paul,
Covent Garden, at his private expense ; for he
had in vain solicited an honourable and public
funeral in Westminster Abbey. About seven or
eight persons followed his remains. His grave,
which, according to his desire, was six feet deep,
was at the west end of the church-yard on
the north side ; and the burial service was read
over him by the learned Dr. Patrick, then minister
of the parish, and afterwards Bishop of Ely.
Dr. Johnson says, that Mr. Lowndes of the
Treasury informed Dr. Zachary Pearce,t that
Butler was allowed a yearly pension of a hundred
pounds ; but this, as Johnson says, is contradicted

* A. Wood says he died of a consumption; Oldham says
he was carried off by a fever; but as he was near foui-
score, we may be spared any further investigation. Mr.
LonguevUle says he hved for some years in Rose Street,
Covent Garden, and probably died there : that notwithstand
ing his disappointments he was never reduced to want or beg
gary, and that he did not die in any person's debt.

t See Granger's Biog. Hist, of England, vol. iv. p. 40.


by all tradition, by the complaints of Oldham * and
the reproaches of Dryden. About sixty years
after, Mr. Barber, whose name is familiar to
all persons conversant with the literature of that
tune, who was printer and mayor of London,
erected a monument in Westminster Abbey to
the poet's memory ; the inscription will prove how
warmly he approved his prmciples.

M. S.

Samuelis Butleei,

Qui Strenshami^ in agro Vigorn. nat. 1612,

obiit Lond. 1680.

Vir doctus imprimis, acer, integer;

Operibus ingenii, non item pra;miis foelix:

Satyrici apud nos carminis artifex egregius ;

Quo simulatse religionis larvam detraxit,

Et perduellium scelera libeiTime exagitavit;

Scriptoram in suo genere, primus et postremus.

Ne, cui vivo deerant fere omnia,

Deessit etiam mortuo tumulus,

Hoc tandem posito marmore, curavit

Johannes Barber, civis Loudinensis, 1721. t

* See Oldham's 'Satire agamst Poetry,' and Dryden's
' Hind and Panther,' and Otway's ' Prologue to the Tragedy of
Constantine the Great.' Butler t-wice transcribed the follow-
ing distich in his Common-place Book:

To think how Spenser died, how Cow7e_v mourn' d,
How Butler's faith and service were return' d.

t In the additions to Pope's works, publislied by George
Steevens, 1. p. 13, are some lines said to be written by Pope oa
this monument erected by Barber.

Respect to Dryden Sheffield justly paid.
And noble Villars honour'd Cowley's shade.


After his death, three small volumes were pub
lished bearing the title of his posthumous pieces in
verse and prose ; * they are, however, all spuri-
ous, except the ode on Duval and two of the prose
tracts : but the volumes subsequently given to the
world by Mr. Thyer, keeper of the public library
at Manchester, are genuine f and valuable. " As

But whence this Barber? that a name so mean
Should, join'd with Butler's, on a tomb be seen;
The pyramid would better far proclaim
To future ages humbler Settle's name ;
Poet and patron then had been well pau-'d,
The city printer and the city bard.

The lines also by Samuel Wesley are well known (vide Poems,
4to. 1736, p. 62.)

While Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,

No generous patron would a dinner give ;

See him, when starved to death and turn'd to dust,

Presented with a monumental bust.

The poet's fate is here in emblem shown.

He ask'd for bread, and he received a stone.

* See Delineation of Butler's Monument in Dart's West-
minster Abbey, pi. 3, tom. 1, pp. 78, 79. With regard to the
monument erected in 1786, when the church was repaired, at
the expense of some of the parishioners, on the south side of
the church (inside) with the inscription, see Nash's Life of
Butler, xiii. See engi-aving of it in Nash's Life of Butler, p.
xxxix. An engi-aving of the monument in Westminster Ab-
bey is in the same work, p. 678.

f What genuine remains of Butler Thyer did not publish,
were all in the hands either of Dr. R. Farmer or Dr. Nash, and
had been seen by Atterbury. See Life by Nash, xvi. James
Massey, Esq. of Rosthern, Cheshire, had Butler's Common
place Book. Some law cases from Coke upon Littleton, drawn


to these remains of Butler," says Warburton in

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Online LibrarySamuel ButlerThe poetical works of Samuel Butler (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 19)