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How long Mr. Butler continued under his care is not known, but, probably, till he was fourteen years old. Whether he was ever entered at any university is uncertain. His biographer fays he went to Cambridge, but was never matriculated: Wood, on the authority of Butler's brother, fays, the poet spent fix or seven years there*; but as other things are quoted from the fame authority, which I believe to be false, I should very much suspect the truth of this article. Some expreffions, in his works, look as if he were acquainted with the customs of Oxford. Courfing was a term peculiar to that university; fee Part iii. c. ii. v. 1244.
Returning to his native country, he entered into the fervice of Thomas Jefferies, Efquire, of Earls Croombe, who, being a very active justice of the peace, and a leading man in the business of the province; his clerk was in no mean office, but one that required a knowledge of the law and constitution of his country, and a proper behaviour to men of every rank and occupation: besides, in those times, before the roads were made good, and fhort vifits fo much in fashion, every large family was a community within itself : the upper fervants, or retainers, being often the younger fons of gentlemen, were treated as friends, and the whole family dined in one common hall, and had a lecturer or
* His refiding in the neigbourhood might, perhaps, occafion the idea of his having been at Cambridge.
clerk, who, during meal times, read to them fome useful or entertaining book.
Mr. Jefferies's family was of this fort, fituated in a retired part of the country, furrounded by bad roads, the mafter of it refiding conftantly in Worcestershire. Here Mr. Butler had the advantage of living fome time in the neighbourhood of his own family and friends: and having leisure for indulging his inclinations for learning, he probably improved himself very much, not only in the abstruser branches of it, but in the polite arts: here he ftudied painting, in the practice of which indeed his proficiency was but moderate; for I recollect seeing at Earls Croombe in my youth, fome portraits faid to be painted by him, which did him no great honour as an artist.* I have heard, lately, of a portrait of Oliver Cromwell, faid to be painted by our author.
* In his MS. common-place book is the following observation:
It is more difficult, and requires a greater mastery of art in painting, to foreshorten a figure exactly, than to draw three at their juft length; so it is, in writing, to express any thing naturally and briefly, than to enlarge and dilate:
And therefore a judicious author's blots
Are more ingenious than his first free thoughts.
This, and many other paffages from Butler's MSS. are inferted, not fo much for their intrinfic merit, as to please those who are unwilling to lose one drop of that immortal man; as Garrick fays of Shakespear,
It is my pride, my joy, my only plan,
After continuing some time in this fervice, he was recommended to Elizabeth Countefs of Kent, who lived at Wreft, in Bedfordshire. Here he enjoyed a literary retreat during great part of the civil wars, and here probably laid the groundwork of his Hudibras, as he had the benefit of a good collection of books, and the fociety of that living library, the learned Selden.-His biographers fay, he lived alfo in the service of Sir Samuel Luke, of Cople Hoo Farm, or Wood End, in that county, and that from him he drew the character of Hudibras: but such a prototype was not rare in those times. We hear little more of Mr. Butler till after the Restoration: perhaps, as Mr. Selden was left executor to the Countefs, his employment in her affairs might not cease at her death, though one might suspect by Butler's MSS. and Remains, that his friendship with that great man was not
* The Lukes were an ancient family at Cople, three miles fouth of Bedford: in the church are many monuments to the family: an old one to the memory of Sir Walter Luke, Knight, one of the juftices of the pleas, holden before the most excellent prince King Henry the Eighth, and Dame Anne his wife: another in remembrance of Nicholas Luke, and his wife, with five fons and four daughters.
On a flat stone in the chancel is written,
Here lieth the body of George Luke, Efq. he departed this life Feb. 10, 1732, aged 74 years, the laft Luke of Wood End.
Sir Samuel Luke was a rigid prefbyterian, and not an eminent commander under Oliver Cromwell; probably did not approve of the king's trial and execution, and therefore, with other presbyterians, both he and his father Sir. Oliver were among the fecluded members. See Rufhworth's collections.
without interruption, for his fatirical wit could not be restrained from difplaying itself on some particularities in the character of that eminent scholar.
Lord Dorfet is faid to have first introduced Hudibras to court.-November 11, 1662, the author obtained an imprimatur, figned J. Berkenhead, for printing his poem; accordingly in the following year he published the first part, containing 125 pages. Sir Roger L'Eftrange granted an imprimatur for the second part of Hudibras, by the author of the first, November 5, 1663, and it was printed by T. R. for John Martin, 1664.
In the Mercurius aulicus, a minifterial newspaper, from January 1, to January 8, 1662, quarto, is an advertisement faying, that," there is stolen abroad a most false and imper"fect copy of a poem called Hudibras, without name "either of printer or bookseller, the true and perfect edition,
printed by the author's original, is fold by Richard Marriott,
near St. Dunstan's church, in Fleet-street, that other name“ less impreffion is a cheat, and will but abuse the buyer, as "well as the author, whofe poem deferves to have fallen "into better hands." Probably many other editions were soon after printed: but the first and second parts, with notes to both parts, were printed for J. Martin and H. Herringman, octavo, 1674. The last edition of the third part, before the
author's death, was printed by the fame persons in 1678: this I take to be the last copy corrected by himself, and is that from which this edition is in general printed: the third part had no notes put to it during the author's life, and who furnished them after his death is not known.
In the British Museum is the original injunction by authority, figned John Berkenhead, forbidding any printer, or other person whatsoever to print Hudibras, or any part thereof, without the consent or approbation of Samuel Butler (or Boteler) Efq* or his affignees, given at Whitehall, 10 September 1677; copy of this injunction may be seen in the note t.
* Induced by this injunction, and by the office he held as secretary to Richard Earl of Carbury, Lord President of Wales, I have ventured to call our poet Samuel Butler, Efq.
+ CHARLES R.
Our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby ftrictly charge and command, that no printer, bookfeller, ftationer, or other person whatsoever within our kingdom of England or Ireland, do print, reprint, utter or fell, or caufe to be printed, re-printed, uttered or fold, a book or poem called HUDIBRAS, or any part thereof, without the consent and approbation of Samuel Boteler, Efq. or his affignees, as they and every of them will answer the contrary at their perils. Given at our Court at Whitehall, the tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord God 1677, and in the 29th year of our reign,
Plut. 11. J. original.
By His Majefty's command,
Mifcel. Papers, Muf. Brit. Bibl. Birch, No. 4293.