« PreviousContinue »
IN THREE CANTO S.
VOL. I. PART I.
PRINTED BY T. RICKABY,
FOR J. EDWARDS, No 78, PALL-MALL.
SAMUEL BUTLER, ESQ.
AUTHOR OF HUDIBRAS.
THE life of a retired scholar can furnish but little matter to the biographer: fuch was the character of Mr. Samuel Butler, Author of Hudibras. His father, whose name likewife was Samuel, had an estate of his own of about ten pounds. yearly, which still goes by the name of Butler's Tenement, a Vignette of which may be seen in the Title-page of the first Volume: he held, likewife, an estate of three hundred pounds a year under Sir William Ruffell, Lord of the manor of Strenfham, in Worcestershire.* He was not an ignorant. farmer, but wrote a very clerk-like hand, kept the register, and managed all the business of the parish under the direc
* This information came from Mr. Gresley, Rector of Strensham, from the year 1706 to the year 1773, when he died, aged 100: fo that he was born feven years before the poet died.
tion of his landlord, near whofe house he lived, and from whom, very probably, he and his family received instruction and assistance. From his landlord they imbibed their principles of royalty, as Sir William was a most zealous royalist, and spent great part of his fortune in the cause, being the only perfon exempted from the benefit of the treaty, when Worcester furrendered to the parliament in the year 1646. Our poet's father was churchwarden of the parish the year before his fon Samuel was born, and has entered his baptism, dated February 8, 1612, with his own hand, in the parish register. He had four fons and three daughters, born at Strenfham; the three daughters, and one fon, older than our poet, and two sons younger: none of his descendants remain in the parish, though some of them are said to be in the neighbouring villages.
Our author received his first rudiments of learning at home; he was afterwards sent to the College School at Worcester, then taught by Mr. Henry Bright*, prebendary of
* Mr. Bright is buried in the cathedral church of Worcester, near the north pillar, at the foot of the steps which lead to the choir. He was born 1562, appointed schoolmafter 1586, made prebendary 1619, died 1626. The infcription in capitals, on a mural stone, now placed in what is called the Bishop's Chapel, is as follows:
Mane hofpes et lege,
Magifter HENRICUS BRIGHT,
Qui fcholæ regiæ iftic fundatæ per totos 40 annos
that cathedral, a celebrated scholar, and many years the famous master of the King's School there; one who made his business his delight; and, though in very easy circumftances, continued to teach for the fake of doing good, by benefiting the families of the neighbouring gentlemen, who thought themselves happy in having their fons instructed by him.
Quo non alter magis fedulus fuit, fcitusve, ac dexter,
feliciter edocendis :
Tefte utraq; academia quam inftruxit affatim
numerofa plebe literaria:
Sed et totidem annis eoq; amplius theologiam profeffus,
Vir pius, doctus, integer, frugi, de republica
A laboribus per diu noctuq; ab anno 1562.
4° Martii fuaviter requievit.
See this epitaph, written by Dr.. Jofeph Hall, Dean of Worcester, in Fuller's Worthies, P. 177.
I have endeavoured to revive the memory of this great and good teacher, wishing to excite a laudable emulation in our provincial schoolmasters; a race of men, who, if they execute their trust with abilities, induftry, and in a proper manner, deserve the highest honour and patronage their country can bestow, as they have an opportunity of communicating learning, at a moderate expence, to the middle rank of gentry, without the danger of ruining their fortunes, and corrupting their morals or their health: this, though foreign to my present. purpose, the respect and affection I bear to my neighbours extorted from me..