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earned a precarious living, first as clerk to a country justice, and afterwards in the family of the Countess of Kent, where he was occasionally employed by the learned Selden, her ladyship’s steward. He afterwards went into the employment of Sir Samuel Luke, a commonwealth's man, where he saw so much of the worst side of the character of the Puritans, that it is presumed Hudibras may be dated from this residence. The first part of this remarkable poem was published after the Restoration ; the other parts at long intervals. It was quoted, recited, and constantly perused at court; but admiration was the poet's sole reward, though he was from time to time buoyed up with expectation. Butler died in Lon.

don, and was buried at the expense of a friend. As a poem, Hudibras is unique in European literature. It

possesses an excess of wit, rhymes the most original and ingenious, and the most apt and burlesque metaphors, couched in an easy, gossiping, colloquial metre; yet it would be as impossible to read Hudibras to an end at once as to dine on cayenne or pickles. It administers no food to the higher and more permanent feelings of the human mind. The moral comes to be felt to be without dignity-the wit without gaiety or relief-the story lagging and flat. Even the rhymes, amusing as they are, become, after a time, like the repetitions of a mimic, tiresome and stale. Dryden regrets that Hudibras was not written in the heroic measure, instead of the slipshod rhymes adopted. It is amusing to conceive of a Hudibras thus stilted; but the metre might perhaps have been occasionally varied with good effect, and certainly with welcome relief to the reader.


His doublet was of sturdy buff,
And though not sword, yet cudgel-proof,
Whereby 'twas fitter for his use,
Who fear'd no blows but such as bruise.

His breeches were of rugged woollen,
And had been at the siege of Bullen;
To old King Harry so well known,
Some writers held they were his own :
Through they were lined with many a piece
Of ammunition bread and cheese,
And fat black-puddings, proper food
For warriors that delight in blood :
For, as we said, he always chose
To carry victual in his hose,
That often tempted rats and mice
The ammunition to surprise.

His puissant sword unto his side,
Near his undaunted heart, was tied,
With basket hilt that would hold broth,
And serve for fight and dinner both;
In it he melted lead for bullets
To shoot at foes, and sometimes pullets,
To whom he bore so fell a grutch,
He ne'er gave quarter to any such.
The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting was grown rusty,
And ate into itself, for lack
Of somebody to hew and hack :
The peaceful scabbard, where it dwelt,
The rancour of its edge had felt;

For of the lower end two handful
It had devoured, 'twas so manful,
And so much scorn'd to lurk in case,
As if it durst not shew its face.
In many desperate attempts
Of warrants, exigents, contempts,
It had appear’d with courage bolder
Than Serjeant Bum invading shoulder :
Oft had it ta'en possession,
And pris'ners too, or made them run.

This sword a dagger had, his page,
That was but little for his age;
And therefore waited on him so,
As dwarfs upon knights-errant do:
It was a serviceable dudgeon,
Either for fighting or for drudging :
When it had stabb’d or broke a head,
It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread ;
Toast cheese or bacon, though it were
To bait a mousetrap, 'twould not care :
'Twould make clean shoes, and in the earth
Set leeks and onions, and so forth :
It had been 'prentice to a brewer,
Where this and more it did endure,
But left the trade, as many more
Have lately done on the same score.

In th' holsters, at his saddle-bow,
Two aged pistols he did stow,
Among the surplus of such meat
As in his hose he could not get :
These would inveigle rats with th' scent,
To forage when the cocks were bent,
And sometimes catch 'em with a snap,
As cleverly as the ablest trap :

They were upon hard duty still,
And ev'ry night stood sentinel,
To guard th’ magazine i' th' hose
From two-legg’d and from four-legg'd foes.

Thus clad and fortify'd, Sir Knight,
From peaceful home, set forth to fight.


BORN 1613-DIED 1641,

This gay young cavalier, whose mercurial productions look

like the mere ebullition of high animal spirits, while they in fact possess the ease and grace of polished composition, was the son of the comptroller of the household of Charles I., and born and bred in the atmosphere of a court. Suckling died at the age of twenty-eight, having written five plays, lyric pieces, letters, tracts, &c. &c. He was also in parliament, and distinguished for the various accomplishments of a court-gallant. At the commencement of the civil wars, he raised what would now be called a crack regiment of horse for the King's service. His soldiers were as ridiculous, in the first instance, for the finery and effeminacy of their equipments, as they afterwards became contemptible for their cowardice when opposed to the sturdy Scottish covenanters. It is related, that the King, seeing many of the troops so finely equipped, remarked, that “ the Scots would fight stoutly were it but for the Englishmen's fine clothes." The disgrace of Suckling and his foppish regiment produced a

pasquil," as it was then called, which overwhelmed him

with shame.(a) This humorous ballad is attributed to Sir John Mennis, a contemporary versifier, though it has been given to Suckling himself. Human nature never

carried mirth so far. Suckling, being involved by an attempt to rescue Strafford

from the Tower, fled to France, where he died soon afterwards. The manner of his death is not a little painful. Having discovered that his foreign servant had robbed him and fled, Suckling hastily dressed himself to pursue the thief, and, in drawing on his boots, pierced his foot with a rusty nail, which speedily occasioned mortification

and death. His ballad of the WEDDING has ever been admired : it is

unequalled in its kind.

(a) A few stanzas from this ballad may be amusing, as a specimen of the tone of ridicule and mockery about 200 years ago. Our modern party-newspapers rarely produce any thing so good. The lack-a-daisical metre is not its least merit :

Sir John he got him an ambling nag,

To Scotland for to ride-a,
With a hundred horse more, all his own he swore,

To guard him on every side-a.

No errant-knight ever went to fight

With half so gay a bravado,
Had you seen but his look, you'd sworn on a book,

He'd have conquer'd a whole armado.
The ladies ran all to the windows to see

So gallant and warlike a sight-a,
And as he pass'd by, they said with a sigh,
“ Sir John, why will you go fight-a ?"




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