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The vicissitudes of his condition placed him afterwards in the family of Sir Samuel Luke, one of Cromwel's officers. Here he observed so much of the character of sectaries, that he is said to have written or begun his poem at this time, and it is likely that such a design would be formed in a place where he saw the principles and practices of the rebels, audacious and undisguised in the confidence of success.
At length the king returned, and the time came in which loyalty hoped for its reward. Butler, however, was only made secretary to the earl of Carbury, president of the principality of Wales; who conferred on him the stewardship of Ludlow Castle, when the Court of the Marches was revived.
In this part of his life, he married Mrs. Herbert, a gentlewoman of a good family ; and lived, says Wood, upon her fortune, having studied the common law, but never practised it. A fortune she had, says his biographer, but it was lost by bad securities.
In 1663 was published the first part, containing three cantos, of the poem of Hudibras, which, as Prior relates, was made known at court by the taste and influence of the earl of Dorset. When it was known, it was necellarily admired : the king quoted, the courtiers studied, and the whole party of the royalists applauded it. Every eye watched for the golden shower which was to fall upon the author, who certainly was not without his part in the general expectation.
In 1664 the second part appeared; the curiosity of the nation was rekindled, and the
writer was again praised and elated. But praise was his whole reward. Clarendon, says Wood, gave him reason to hope for “ places " and employments of value and credit" but nó such advantages did he ever obtain. It is reported that the king once gave him three hundred guineas; but of this temporary bounty I find no proof.
Wood relates that he was secretary to Vil. liers duke of Buckingham, when he was Chancellor of Cambridge: this is doubted by the other writer, who yet allows the duke to have been his frequent benefactor. That both these accounts are false there is reason to suspect, from a story told by Packe, in his account of the life of Wycherley, and from some verses which Mr. Thyer has published in the author's reniains.
" Mr. Wycherley,” says Packe, « had al" ways laid hold of any opportunity which “ offered of representing to the duke of Buck“ ingham how well Mr. Butler had deserved “ of the royal family, by writing his inimita, " ble Hudibras; and that it was a reproach “ to the court that a person of his loyalty and “ wit should suffer in obscurity, and under " the wants he did. The duke always seem" ed to hearken to him with attention enough; " and, after some time, undertook to recom"s mend his pretensions 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 his new patron. “ At last an appointment was made, and the “ place of meeting was agreed to be the Roe
“ buck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended « accordingly: the duke joined them; but, “ as the di would have it, the door of the “ room where they fat was open, and his “ grace, who had seated himself near it, ob“ serving a pimp of his acquaintance (the “ creature too was a knight) trip by with a
brace of ladies, immediately quitted his en“ gagement, to follow another kind of business, “ at which he was more ready than in doing “ good offices to men of desert; though no
one was better qualified than he, both in “ regard to his fortune and understanding, to “ protect them; and from that time to the “ day of his death, poor Butler never found “ the least effect of his promise !"
Such is the story. The verses are written with a degree of acrimony, such as neglect and disappointment might naturally excite; and such as it would be hard to imagine Butler capable of expressing against a man who had any claim to his gratitude.
Notwithstanding this discouragement and neglect he still prosecuted his design*; and in 1678 published the third part, which still leaves the poem imperfect and abrubt. How much more he originally intended, or with what events the action was to be concluded, it is vain to conjecture. Nor can it be thought
hat he should stop here, however unexpectedly. To write without reward is sufficiently unpleasing; and, if his birth be placed right by Mr. Longueville, he had now arrived at an age when he might well think it proper to be in jest no longer.
He died in 1680; and Mr. Longueville, having unsuccessfully solicited a subscription for his interment in Westminster Abbey, buried him at his own cost in the church-yard of Covent Garden. Dr. Simon Patrick read the service. About sixty years afterwards, Mr. Barber, a
ter, mayor of London, and a friend to Mr. Butler's p
bestowed on him a monument in Westminster Abbey, thus inscribed :
M. S. SAMUELIS BUTLERİ, Qui Strenshamiæ in agro Vigorn. nat. 1612,
obiit Lond. 1680. Vir doctus imprimis, acer, integer; Operibus Ingenii, non item præmiis, fælix : Satyrici apud nos Carminis Artifex egregius; Quo fimulatæ Religionis Larvam detraxit, Et Perduellium scelera liberrime exagitavit : Scriptorum in suo genere, Primus et Poftremus.
Ne, cui vivo deerant ferè omnia,
Deesset etiam mortuo Tumulus, Hoc tandem pofito marmore, curavit JOHANNES BARBER, Civis Londinenss, 1721.
After his death were published three small volumes of his posthumous works: I know not by whom collected, or by what authoririty ascertained; and, lately, two volumes more have been printed by Mr. Thyer of Manchester, indubitably genuine. From none of these pieces can his life be traced, or his character discovered. Some verses, in the last collection, shew him to have been among those who ridiculed the institution of the Royal Society, of which the enemies were for some time
very numerous and very acrimonious, for what reason it is hard to conceive, since the philosophers professed not to advance doctrines, but to produce facts; and the most zealous enemy of innovation must admit the gradual progrels of experience, however he may oppose hypothetical temerity.
In this mist of obscurity passed the life of Butler, a man whose name can only perish with his language. The date of his birth is doubtful; the mode and place of his education are unknown; the events of his life are variously related; and all that can be told with certainty is, that he was poor.
THE poem of Hudibras is one of those compofitions of which a nation may justly boalt; as the images which it exhibits are domestick, the sentiments unborrowed and unexpected, and the strain of diction original and peculiar. We must not, however, luffer the pride which we assume as the countrymen of Butler to make any encroachment upon jurtice, nor appropriate those honours wħich others have a right to share. The poem of Hudibras is not wholly English; the original idea is to be found in the history of Don Quixote; a book to which a mind of the greatest powers may be indebted without disgrace.
Cervantes shews a man, who, having, by the incessant perusal of incredible tales, subjected his understanding to his imagination, and familiarised his mind by pertinacious meditation to think on incredible events and