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any light on the history of the times of which Butler treats. Among the modern works which have been consulted with the greatest advantage, may be mentioned, particularly, Hume's and Smollett’s. Histories of England, the Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, Cobbett's Parliamentary Debates, and Mr. Fox's Introductory Chapter to his History of the Reign of James the Second.

The Preliminary Discourse on the Civil War and Usurpation, compiled for the most part from sources of authority which were not in existence when Dr. Grey published his edition of our poet, will, it is confidently hoped, not only be found extremely useful to facilitate the understanding of oùr author, by freeing his work at the threshold from many of its obscurities, but will likewise be considered valuable as conveying a new and interesting picture of the most remarkable era in our history.

To conclude, there are at this time many editions of Hudibras on sale ; but Hudibras without copious, explanatory Notes, must be in a great measure lost to a reader of the present day, for, as Dr. Johnson says, “ Much of that humour which transported the 17th century is lost to us, who do not know the sour solemnity--the sullen superstition-the gloomy moroseness--and the stubborn scruples of the ancient Puritans. We have never been witnesses of animosities excited by the use of mince-pies and plumb-porridge ; nor seen with abhorrence those who could eat them at all times of the year, shrink from them in December. An old Puritan who was alive in my childhood, being at one of the feasts of the church invited by a neighbour to partake his cheer, told him, that if he would treat him at an alehouse with beer brewed at all times and seasons, he should accept his kindness, but would have none of his superstitious meats and drinks.”





SAMUEL BUTLER was born in the parish of Strensham, in Worcestershire, in the year 1612. His father, a reputable country farmer, perceiving in his son an early inclination to learning, sent him for education to the grammar-school at Worcester, under the care of Mr. Henry Bright, where having laid in a good foundation of scholastic learning, he was sent to the university of Cambridge, but for want of money was never made a member of any college. On quitting the university our author returned to his native county, and became clerk to one Mr. Jeffries, of Earl's-Coom, a justice of the peace, with whom he lived some years in an easy and reputable service. Here he had sufficient leisure to apply himself to the cultivation of his mind; and his inclination led him chiefly to the study of poetry and history, to which, for his amusement, he joined music and painting. “ I have seen,” says Dr. Grey, “ some pictures, said to be of his drawing, which I mention not for the excellence of them, but to satisfy the reader of his early inclinations to that


noble art; for which also he was afterwards entirely beloved by Mr. Samuel Cooper, one of the most eminent painters of his time.”

From the family of Mr. Jeffries, Butler removed to that of Elizabeth, Countess of Kent, a situation highly favourable for a young man desirous of acquiring knowledge, and where he had not only the use of an excellent library, but the farther advantage of being introduced to the great Mr. Selden, who probably gave him some useful instructions for the prosecution of his less studies.

His next employment was in the service of Sir Samuel Luke, a gentleman of an ancient family in Bedfordshire, and a justice of the peace, and colonel in the Parliamentary army. The period that Butler lived with this Knight formed the most remarkable era in his life. Sir Samuel was in principles a Presbyterian; and distinguished himself by the outrageousness of his zeal against church and kingly government. It has been generally thought that the person and politics of Sir Samuel Luke suggested to Butler the idea of Hudibras, and this indeed is confirmed by what he makes Hudibras say of himself towards the conclusion of the first Canto :

there is a valiant Mamaluke
In foreign land y'clep'd -
To whom we have been oft compar'd
For person, parts, address, and beard ;
Both equally reputed stout,

And in the same cause both have fought.” But though the poem of Hudibras may have been suggested by the hypocrisy and fanaticism of an individual, it appears clear that Butler in writing it had a far more material object in view than merely to expose an individual character to ridicule. His situation in the family of Sir Samuel Luke must have afforded him many opportunities of gaining a right insight into the true principles of the Presbyterian party, and he probably saw so much of the selfishness, intolerance, and wickedness of that sect, as to cause him to hold them in abhorrence ever afterwards. The design of his poem was to expose the hypocrisy and wickedness of those who began and carried on the rebellion, under a pretence of promoting religion and godliness, at the same time that they acted against all the precepts of religion and morality; and to show how different the real motives of those who acted the principal parts in the civil war were from their ostensible motives.

How well he executed this design, the applause of his contemporaries, and the admiration of posterity, amply prove. Hudibras was no sooner published, than it was in the hands of every one at court. Charles II, who was no mean judge of wit and humour, was delighted with it, and frequently quoted it in conversation; but, with his usual inattention to his friends, neglected to reward the author. The King's excessive fondness for the poem, and his surprising disregard and neglect of the author, is fully and movingly related by Butler himself, in his poem entitled “Hudibras at Court," where he speaks of himself in the following lines :

Now you must know, Sir Hudibras
With such perfections gifted was,
And so peculiar in his manner,
That all that saw him did him honor ;
Among the rest this prince was one
Admir'd his conversation ;
This prince, whose ready wit and parts
Conquer'd both men and women's hearts,
Was so o'ercome with Knight and Ralph,
That he could never claw it off :

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