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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 circumstances, continued to teach for the sake of doing good, by benefiting the families of the neighbouring gentlemen, who thought themselves happy in having their fons in. structed by him.
Quo non alter magis sedulus fuit, scitusve, ac dexter,
feliciter edocendis :
numerosa plebe literaria:
magno cum zelo et fructu egit.
deq; ecclesia optime meritus.
Ad 1626 ftrenue usq; exantlatis
See this epitaph, written by Dr. Joseph Hall, Dean of Worcester, in Fuller's Worthiesa, 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, industry, 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..
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 says he went to Cambridge, but was never matriculated : Wood, on the authority of Butler's brother, says, the poet spent fix or seven years there * ; but as other things are quoted from the same authority, which I believe to be false, I should very much suspect the truth of this article. Some expressions, in his works, look as if he were acquainted with the customs of Oxford. Coursing was a term peculiar to that university ; see Part iii. c. ii. v. 1244.
Returning to his native country, he entered into the service of Thomas Jefferies, Esquire, 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 short visits so much in fashion, every large family was a community within itself: the upper servants, or retainers, being often the younger sons of gentlemen, were treated as friends, and the whole family dined in one common hall, and had a lecturer or
* His residing in the neigbourhood might, perhaps, occasion the idea of his having been at Cambridge.
clerk, who, during meal times, read to them some useful or entertaining book.
Mr. Jefferies's family was of this fort, situated in a retired part of the country, surrounded by bad roads, the master of it residing constantly in Worcestershire. Here Mr. Butler had the advantage of living some 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 studied painting, in the practice of which indeed his proficiency was but moderate; for I recollect seeing at Earls Croombe in my youth, some portraits said to be painted by him, which did him no great honour as an artist.* I have heard, lately, of a portrait of Oliver Cromwell, said to be painted by our author.
* In his MS. common-place book is the following observation :
It is more difficult, and requires a greater maftery of art in painting, to foreshorten a figure exactly, than to draw three at their just 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.
It is my pride, my joy, my only plan,
After continuing some time in this service, he was recommended to Elizabeth Countess of Kent, who lived at Wrest, 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 society of that living library, the learned Selden.—His biographers say, he lived also 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 Countess, his employment in her affairs might not cease at her death, though one might fufpect 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 south 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 justices 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, Esq. he departed this life Feb. 10, 1732, aged 74 years, the last Luke of Wood End.
Sir Samuel Luke was a rigid presbyterian, 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 secluded members. See Rush worth's collections.
without interruption, for his satirical wit could not be restrained from displaying itself on some particularities in the character of that eminent scholar.
Lord Dorset is said 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'Estrange 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 ministerial newspaper, from January 1, to January 8, 1662, quarto, is an advertisement saying, 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 sold by Richard Marriott,
near St. Dunstan's church, in Fleet-street, that other name“ less impression is a cheat, and will but abuse the buyer, as “ well as the author, whose poem deserves 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