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port. His great works were performed under discountenance, and in blindness, but difficulties vanished at his touch; he was born for whatever is arduous; and his work is not the greatest of heroick poems, only because it is not the first.




F the

author of Hudibras there is a life préixed to the latter editions of his poem, by an unknown writer, and therefore of disputable authority; and some account is incidentally given by Wood, who confesses the uncertainty of his own narrative; more however than they knew cannot now be learned, and nothing remains but to compare and copy them.

SAMUEL BUTLER was born in the parish of Strensham in Worcestershire, according to his biographer, in 1612. This account Dr. Nash finds confirmed by the register. He was christened Feb. 14.

His father's condition is variously repre« sented. Wood mentions him as competently


wealthy; but Mr. Longueville, the son of Butler's priucipal friend, says he was an honest farmer with fome small estate, who made a shift to educate his son at the

grammar school of Worcester, under Mr. Henry Bright *, from whose care he removed for a


* These are the words of the author of the short account of Butler prefixed to Hudibras, which Dr. Johnson, notwithstanding what he says above, seems to have supposed was written by Mr. Longueville, the father ; but the contrary is to be inferred from a subsequent paffage, wherein the author laments that he had neither such an acquaintance nor interest with Mr. Longueville as to procure froin him the golden remains of Butler there mentioned. probably led into this mistake by a note in the Biog. Brit. p. 1077, fignifying, that the son of this gentleman was living in 1736.

He was

Of this friend and generous patron of Butler, Mr. Wil. liam Longueville, I find an account, written by a perfo: who was well acquainted with him, to this effect, viz. that he was a conveyancing lawyer, and a bencher of the Inner Temple, and had raised himself from a low beginning to very great eminence in that profession; that he was eloquent, and learned, of spotless integrity; that he fupported an aged father who had ruined his fortunes by extravagance, and by his industry and application re-edified a ruined family; that he supported Butler, who, but for him, must literally have starved, and received from him as a recomVol. I,



short time to Cambridge; but, for want of money, was riever made a member of any college. Wood leaves us rather doubtful whether he went to Cambridge or Oxford; but at last makes him pafs íix or seven years at Cambridge, without knowing in what hall or college: yct it can hardly be imagined that he lived to long in either university, but as belonging to one house or another; and it is frill less likcly that he could have so long inhabited a place of learning with fo little distinction as to lcave his residence uncertain. Dr. Nash has discovered that his father was owner of a lioule and a little land, worth about eight pounds a year, still called Butler’ss tenement.

Wood has his inforination from his brother, whose narrative placed him at Cambridge, in opposition to that of his neighbours, which sent him to Oxford. The brother's feems the best authority, till, by confessing his inability

pence the

papers called his Remains. Life of the Lord. keeper Guilford, f. 289. These have fince been given to the public by Mr. Thyer of Manchester; and the originals are now in the hand: of the Rer. Dr. Farmer, master of Emanuel College, Cocobridves I.


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. Jeffery's 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 musick and painting ; and the reward of his pencil was the friendship of the celebrated Cooper. Some pictures, said to be his, were shewn to Dr. Nash, at Earl's Croomb; but, when he enquired for them some years afterwards, he found them destroyed, to stop windows, and owns that they hardly deserved a bettet 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. Selder, as is well known, was steward to the Countess, and is supposed to have gained much of his wealth by managing her estate.

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