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but as belonging to one house or another; and it is still less likely that he could have so long inhabited a place of learning with so little distinction as to leave his residence uncertain. Dr. Nash has discovered that his father was owner of a house and a little land, worth about eight pounds a-year, still called Butler's tenement.
Wood has his information from his brother, whose narrative placed him at Cambridge, in opposition to that of his neighbours, which sent him to Oxford. The brother's seems the best authority, till, by confessing his inability to tell his hall or college, he gives reason to suspect that he was resolved to bestow on him an academical education ; but durst not name a college, for fear of a detection.
He was for some time, according to the author of his Life, clerk to Mr. Jefferys, of Earl's Croomb in Worcestershire, an eminent justice of the peace. In his service he had not only leisure for study, but for recreation : his amusements were music and painting; and the reward of his pencil was the friendship of the celebrated Cooper. Some pictures, said to be his, were shown to Dr. Nash, at Earl's Croomb; but, when he inquired for them some years afterwards, he found them destroyed, to stop windows, and owns that they hardly deserved a better fate.
He was afterwards admitted into the family of the Countess of Kent, where he had the use of a library; and so much recommended himself to Selden, that he was often employed by him in literary business. Selden, as is well known, was steward to the Countess, and is supposed to have gained much of his wealth by managing her estate.
In what character Butler was admitted into that lady's service, how long he continued in it, and why he left it, is, like the other incidents of his life, utterly unknown.
The vicissitudes of his condition placed him afterwards in the family of Sir Samuel Luke, one of Cromwell's officers. Here
2 Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, daughter of Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. She lived at Wrest in Bedfordshire, died in 1651, and was buried at Flitton.
3 Of Woodend, near Cople, in Bedfordshire, and scoutmaster for Bedfordshire during Cromwell's government. He died in 1670, and was buried at Cople. + He does not seem to have held the situation of Steward after 1662, when he was succeeded by Edward Lloyd. See · Notes and Queries,' vol. v. p. 5.
he observed so much of the character of the 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 necessarily 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.
$ Dr. Grey.
6 1662, Dec. 26th.-... falling into discourse of a new book of drollery in use, called Hudibras, I would needs go find it out, and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. 60. But when I come to read it, it is so silly an abuse of the Presbyter Knight going to the wars that I am ashamed of it; and by and by, meeting at Mr. Townsend's at dinner, I sold it to him for 18d.
1663, Feb. 6.-... to a bookseller's in the Strand, and there bought Hudibras again, it being certainly some ill humour to be so against that which all the world cries up to be the example of wit; for which I am resolved once more to read him, and see whether I can find it or no.
1663, Nov. 28.-To Paul's Church Yard, and there looked upon the second part of Hudibras, which I buy not, but borrow to read, to see if it be as good as the first, which the world cried so mightily up, though it hath not a good liking in me, though I had tried but twice or three times reading to bring myself to think it witty.
1663, Dec. 10.-To St. Paul's Church Yard, to my booksellers ... chose .... Hudibras, both parts, the book now in greatest fashion for drollery, though I cannot, I confess, see enough where the wit lies.-PEPYS.
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 no such advantages did he ever obtain. It is reported that the King once gave him three hundred guineas ;8 but of this temporary bounty I find no proof.
Wood relates 10 that he was secretary to Villiers 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 “Remains.'
7 As the three parts of Hudibras in the first editions are far from common, I transcribe their title-pages :
Hudibras. The First Part. Written in the time of the late Wars. London: printed by J. G. for Richard Marriot, under Saint Dunstan's Church, in Fleetstreet, 1663, pp. 268. The imprimatur of Sir John Berkenhead is dated 11th Nov., 1662.
Hudibras. The Second Part. By the authour of the first. London: printed by T. R. for John Martyn and James Allestry, at the Bell in St. Paul's Churchyard, 1664, pp. 216, 8vo. The imprimatur of Roger L'Estrange is dated 5th November, 1663.
Hudibras. The Third and Last Part. Written by the author of the First and Second Parts. London: printed for Simon Miller, at the sign of the Star, at the West End of St. Paul's, 1678, pp. 285. On reverse of title, 'Licensed and Entred according to the Act of Parliament for Printing.'
The second and third parts are uniform in size. The first is smaller than the second.
8 Life of Butler in Birch's General Dictionary.'
9 The original of the following warrant is in the British Museum.-Birch, MSS. 4293:CHARLES R.
Our Will and Pleasure is, and Wee do hereby strictly charge and command, that no Printer, Bookseller, Stationer, or other person whatsoever, within our Kingdomes of England or Ireland, do print, reprint, utter, or sell, or cause to be printed, reprinted, uttered, or sold, a Book or Poem call’d Hudibras, or any part therof (without the consent and approbation of Samuel Boteler, Esq., or his Assignes), as they and every of them will answer the contrary at their perills. Given at our Court at Whitehall the tenth day of September, in the year of our La God 1677, and in the 29th year of our Reign.
By his Mats Command,
Jo. BERKENHEAD. 10 On the authority of Aubrey. " Grey in his 'Life of Butler,' 1744.
“ Mr. Wycherley,” says Packe, “ had always laid hold of any 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 his loyalty and wit should suffer in obscurity, and under the wants he did. The Duke seemed always to hearken to him with attention enough ; and after some time undertook to recommend 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 Roebuck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended accordingly: the Duke joined them ; but, as the 0- 1 would have it, the door of the room where they sat was open, and his Grace, who 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 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 was, 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!” 12
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 abrupt. 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 strange that he should stop here, however unexpectedly. To write without reward is sufficiently unpleasing. He had
12 Packe's Miscellanies in Verse and Prose,' 8vo. 1719, p. 183.
now arrived at an age when he might think it proper to be in jest no longer, and perhaps his health might now begin to fail.
He died in 1680; and Mr. Longueville, 13 having unsuccessfully solicited a subscription for his interment in Westminster Abbey,l4 buried him at his own cost in the churchyard of Covent Garden.15 Dr. Simon Patrick read the service.16
Granger was informed by Dr. Pearce, who named for his authority Mr. Lowndes of the Treasury, that Butler had a yearly pension of an hundred pounds.? This is contradicted by all tradition, by the complaints of Oldham,18 and by the reproaches of Dryden,19 and, I am afraid, will never be confirmed.
13 Of whom Roger North has given so pleasing an account in his 'Life of the Lord Keeper Guildford.'
14 This is stated on the authority of the writer of the Life of Butler,' in Birch's General Dictionary.' The Life of Butler'in Birch is under the article • Hudibras. This blunder was not uncommon. Dryden calls him “our excellent Hudibras, whom I ought to have mentioned when I spoke of Donne." The same confusion of name is made by Dryden in his ‘Hind and Panther,'— “ Unpitied Hudibras.”
15 Broughton, in a note in the ‘Biographia Britannica,' fol. 1748, vol. ii. p. 1075, states, on the authority of the younger Longueville, that Butler “ lived for some years in Rose Street, Covent Garden, and probably died there."
16 Grey's Life,' 1744, p. viii. Patrick (afterwards Bishop of Ely) was then rector of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. 17 Granger's ‘Biographical History of England,' iv. 40, ed. 1775, 8vo.
18 On Butler who can think without just rage,
The glory and the scandal of his age ?
OLDHAM: A Satire dissuading from Poetry. 19 It is enough for our age to have neglected Mr. Cowley, and starved Mr. Butler.-DRYDEN: Letter to Hyde, Lord Rochester.