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and determined to stick to them, and forswear all farther botheration about long ones to mix with them. Whether the discovery was thus sudden or gradual, he and his ostosyllabics did at last come together so as to understand each other. From that moment it was all right between him and the English literature. On his octosyllabics, indeed, as on his prose, he still had to bestow all pains and labor to make them pass muster before his taste; and in one of his few subsequent pieces of heroics, he complains of the trouble that, owing to his fastidiousness, verse cost him over prose, and laments "the caprice" that had first induced him to write in rhyme at all, and invokes a hearty imprecation on the man
culty. We have his own information indeed, that he was by no means one of your easy scribblers, who have no trouble in dashing off a page, but a slow, serious, deliberate writer, for whom every sentence had its own pangs. His labor in putting his sense and wit into adequate prose, however, must have been as nothing compared with that which he at first found in cramming it into appropriate jingle. His matchless success at last was the result not only of perpetual care spent on every line as he wrote it, even after he had thoroughly acquired the knack of versification, but also, as we think, of considerable experiment in the beginning before he hit on the exact knack or trick that suited him. We have seen his first attempts in the doggrel ballad-stanza, then so much in vogue to supply the cavaliers with songs for their drinking bouts; and certainly we have no reason from such specimens to conclude that he would have ever set the Thames on fire in that style of rhythm. The "Nobody-can-deny" fellows did it much better. Then we can conceive him trying heroics, such as Dryden afterwards made his own. In these, as is proved by some samples in his later poetry, he would doubtless find himself more at ease. Pindarics, after the Cowley model, he would doubtless also try; and samples remain, among his later poems, of the skill he likewise attained in that uncomfortable species of verse. As is proved, however, by the small percentage both of Pindarics and heroics, now found in the general bulk of his poetry, he must have found himself sufficiently at home in neither. At last, in some lucky moment-perhaps when penning the short lines for some Pindaric-breed greater and worthier effects in our he made the grand discovery of his life, language." Whether Butler had ever seen and stumbled on Octosyllabics. these words of old Samuel Daniel we know not; but the sense of them he must have realized for himself. Accordingly, while he continued all his life to divide himself between plain prose, on the one hand, and his quaint octosyllabics on the other, as the two selected vehicles of his wit and satire, each having its advantages, he evidently had most pleasure in his octosyllabics, and reserved for them his strength and the most vigorous efforts of his fancy. There is evidence even that he was in the habit of making his prose a kind of jackal for his octosyllabics, jotting down in prose rough fancies as they occurred to him, that he might afterwards work them up into rhymes at his leisure.
These, however, are but words of course, used in satirizing another poet; and no one can, in his own heart, have better appreciated than Butler the force of an older English poet's defence of rhyme, when he said that, "sure in an eminent spirit, whom Nature hath fitted for that mystery, rhyme is no impediment to his conceipt, but rather gives him wings to mount, and carries him not out of his course, but, as it were, beyond his power, and a far happier flight;" and again, that "all excellencies being sold us at the hard price of labor, it follows, where we bestow most thereof, we buy the best success; and rhyme being far more laborious than loose measures, must needs, meeting with care and industry,
"And as the Pagans heretofore
If Butler, while yet in search of his proper literary form or mode, had penned this Pindaric passage, (it is one of his,) only fancy how he would have hugged the short lines, and seen them to be the very thing,
"who first found out that curse,
For some ten years, then, before the Restoration, we are to conceive Butler carrying on a sort of preparatory authorship in private, jotting down, partly in prose and partly in his favorite octosyllabic verse, his satirical observations on all things and sundry, but especially on Puritanism and the Puritans. It was his habit afterwards, we know, to enter his stray thoughts at random in a commonplace book, sometimes in a sentence or two of prose, and sometimes in a few distichs, or even in a single distich of verse; and there is no reason to doubt that such was his habit also from the time when he first began to practise as an author. The habit, however, would be confirmed, and would acquire new consequence from the moment when he had resolved on writing a connected poem. How long he was in coming to this determination, and how or when the form and scheme of his projected poem, (that the Puritans were to be the subject of it was a matter of course,) was first distinctly preconceived, we can only guess. One thing is clear-it was Cervantes's Don Quixote that suggested the form which he actually adopted. To invent, like Cervantes, an imaginary knight and an imaginary squire; to make the one the representative of English Presbyterianism, and the other the representative of English Independency; to send them forth on mock-heroic adventures, and to make the narration of these adventures a means of introducing all kinds of social allusion and invective, and of heaping ridicule on the two great revolutionary parties in the State, and on all connected with themsuch was the idea which occurred to Butler in some happy hour, when, perhaps, he was turning over the leaves of his Don Quixote, in Sir Samuel Luke's farm-house at Cople Hoo. From that moment Hudibras existed as a possibility; and Butler's commonplace-book became, as Jean Paul used to phrase it, when he adopted a similar plan in his own case, only the "quarry" for Hudibras. What was already in it could easily be worked into the fabric of the poem, and whatever was afterwards jotted down in it, was meant as so much more material. Woe to Sir Samuel Luke and his cronies from that hour; for though Butler's intended poem was to consist, in a great measure, of what may be called disquisitional invective, levelled at classes and modes of thinking rather than at individuals, yet as he required a few per
sonal portraits for it, theirs had a chance of being painted.
But, though Hudibras was planned and in part written perhaps before the Restoration, it was not till two years and a half after that event that Butler had any considerable portion of it ready for the press. Probably, indeed, it was not till after the Restoration had rendered such a publication possible, by bringing into power those who could be expected to read or relish it, that Butler set to work in earnest in preparing it. He had certainly every incentive to be busy; for much as was already going in the shape of satire and ridicule of the parties cast down from power, and of general fun and scurrility in literature, by way of outburst of humor that had been repressed during the Commonwealth, and of welcome to a witty monarch and his courtiers just come over from the Continent with French mistresses and French manners to inaugurate a new era, Butler could not but foresee that such a poem as he was preparing would cut in through it all, and win a place for itself in the midst of the duller poems and plays with which the old Royalists, Davenant, Denham, and Waller, and the new aspirants Dryden, Sedley, Roscommon, and Co., were bidding for the ear of the town. One interruption there was, however, which he may have permitted himself with satisfaction
that caused by his marriage, which took place about this time, with a Mrs. Herbert, a lady of some property. Butler, it would appear, was late in love as well as in poetry; but for this very reason there may have been less delay with his Hudibras.
It was not at Sir Samuel Luke's, however, nor in Bedfordshire, that the work was finally written out, but in a new situ ation to which Butler, possibly on account of his known loyalty, was promoted after the Restoration-that of Secretary to the Earl of Carbery, Lord President of the Principality of Wales. It has been ascer tained, that he held this situation, and also, in association with it, as the Earl's gift, the Stewardship of Ludlow Castle, at least as early as January, 1661, and that he retained the stewardship till January, 1662. In that month, the Earl's accounts speak of him as having vacated the office of Steward, and having been succeeded by another person. The probability therefore is, that some time in 1662 he came to reside in London, with the purpose of
seeing his Hudibras through the press. The imprimatur of the "First Part" of the work, licensing its publication, is dated the 11th of November, 1662; and though the date 1663 is on the title-page, copies were really out before Christmas,
We have seen a copy of the original edition of this "First Part" of Hudibras. It is a thin little volume, decently printed, without the author's name, and with an intimation on the title-page that the poem was "written during the late wars." It was exactly such a volume as the readers of that day would be likely to take up in virtue of its mere appearance--small enough to be held between the finger and thumb as one walked in the streets, or lounged at home in the evening, and to be read through at one sitting. And, certainly, if one did take it up, there was little chance of his laying it down again without doing it justice. Fancy the first reader opening the book, and lighting at once on such a beginning as this:
"When civil dudgeon first grew high,
And men fell out they knew not why;
And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
Was beat with fist, instead of a stick ;
This was certainly a promising set out, and would tempt the reader to go on. And if he did so, he was not likely to be disappointed. The description of Sir Hudibras and his qualifications, now known to every school-boy, would then come upon the reader with all the freshness of its native oddity; and he must have been a grave man indeed if his gravity did not give way when he came to such rhymes
"Besides, 'tis known he could speak Greek
"For rhetoric, he could not ope
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
But the clenching passage would, of course,
To match his learning and his wit;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
As if they worshipped God for spite,
This passage alone would settle the fate of the book with every Courtier or Royalist that might chance to take it up. What mattered it that in going on he found very little plot or action in the book on-nothing but a rough rigmarole story miserably travestied from Don Quixote,
The famous passage about Sir Hudibras's rhetoric, occurring in the third or fourth page, would be read twice or thrice the spot, before going farther:
and spun out through three cantos, of| The success of the book was certainly instantaneous. Not a new poem of Tennyson's, not a new Christmas-story by Dickens, has now-a-days a greater run through the town, than, allowing for the difference of times, the first part of Hudibras had during the Christmas-week of 1662-3. The king himself had got hold of it, and was carrying it about with him, and quoting it; the courtiers got the passages he quoted by heart; and in all the coffee and chocolate houses the wits discussed its merits. Mr. Pepys, who was never the last to hear of a new thing, lets us know the exact day on which he first heard of the poem, and what he thought of it. "To the wardrobe" is the entry he makes in his Diary on the 26th of December, 1662, the day after Christmas, "and hither come Mr. Battersby; and we falling into discourse of a new book of drollery in use called Hudibras, I would needs go find it out, and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. 6d. But when I come to read it, it is so silly an abuse of the Presbyter knight going to the warrs, that I am ashamed of it; and by and by meeting at Mr. Townsend's at dinner, I sold it him for 18d.,"-after which, he tells us, he went to the theatre, and coming home rather late found his wife "busy among her pies." Evidently, however, Pepys, from his allusion to "the Presbyter knight going to the warrs," had not read enough of the book even to know its subject; and finding himself in the minority in his opinion of it, and its fame on the town growing instead of abating, he thought it prudent to renew his acquaintance with it. "To Lincolns' Inn Fields," he writes on the 6th of February following, "and it being too soon to go home to dinner, I walked up and down, and looked upon the outside of the new theatre building in Covent Garden, which will be very fine; and so to a bookseller's in the Strand, and there bought Hudibras again, it being certainly some ill humor to be so against that which all the world cries up to be an example of wit; for which I am resolved once more to read him and see whether I can find it or no." It is no argument against the book that Pepys, even on a second trial, could not relish it much; and, at all events, the town differed from him, for such a demand was there for copies that within a fortnight after its first appearance, the publisher had to warn his customers
how the Presbyterian knight, and his Independent squire Ralpho, sally forth, each accoutred after his fashion, in search of adventures; how they come to a place where there is to be a bear-baiting, and where a great rabble is already assembled to witness or take part in the sport, including the bear Bruin himself, Orsin, the bear's master, the wooden-legged fiddler Crowdero, the warlike butcher and dogowner Talgol, the tinker Magnano, and his female companion Trulla, the one-eyed cobbler Cerdon, the hostler and cattlekeeper Colon, and, besides these leaders, men and mastiffs innumerable from all the parishes round; how it entered the knight's head that he ought to put down this bearbaiting as a heathenish practice, and how he and the more reluctant Ralpho debated the point; how at last the knight, ending the debate, spurs on his wall-eyed beast to the encounter, and how, after a fierce tussle, in which both knight and squire get unmercifully belabored, they succeed in routing the rabble and capturing the fiddler, whom they carry off in triumph and put in the stocks; but how, in the end, by the ralllying of the rabble under Trulla's generalship, the fortune of the war is reversed, Crowdero is rescued, and Hudibras and Ralpho, after a plenteous thumping, are themselves put in the stocks and left to discuss the comparative merits of Presbytery and Independency at their leisure. To all this burlesque tissue of incident, coarse enough in parts to please a not very squeamish taste, the more intelligent readers of the poem would be comparatively indifferent; nor would it have enhanced the interest in this respect much if they had troubled themselves, as foolish commentators on the poem afterwards did, with identifying the characters with noted sectaries of the day, whom Butler never thought of or saw. It was enough that, in the course of the narration, the Puritans of all sects were burlesqued as they had never been before, and their habits of talking held up to ridicule, and that passages of odd wit and learning occurred in every page, all hit ting at some laughable topic of the day, and capable of being remembered and quoted. It was probably a circumstance in favor of the full recognition of these merits in the book that the "First Part" was published by itself, so as not to overdose the reader.
by advertisement against a pirated edi- | First, and the reception was very much tion. the same. Some there were who might take interest in the mere continued story of the adventures of the Knight and the Squire-how they were released from the stocks by the intervention of a widow whom the knight has been courting for her money, and who, in releasing him, holds out hopes to him, on condition of his giving himself a flagellation, which he swears to do; how he puts it off till next day, and then, in riding to the appointed spot, begins to reason with Ralpho whether such an oath is binding on a saint; how Ralpho, as his contribution to this problem in casuistry, suggests that some one else should take the whipping in the knight's stead, and the knight, catching at the idea, proposes that Ralpho himself shall be the man; how Ralpho instantly backs out, and there ensues an angry altercation between the two, which has almost come to blows, when it is interrupted by the opportune appearance of a "Skimmington Procession," that is, of a village rabble punishing a scold by carrying her about astride on horseback, with her husband beside her, to the music of pots and pans and cleavers; how the knight attacks this as another heathenish show, and he and Ralpho are discomfited with rotten eggs; how, recovering from this disaster, the knight proposes to go to the widow and swear that he has duly performed the promised flagellation, but thinks it worth while, on the way, to go and consult the Rosicrucian astrologer, Sidrophel, as to the probable success of his suit; and how this consultation, beginning in a learned discussion between Hudibras and Sidrophel on the occult sciences, ends also in a fight in which Hudibras, Sidrophel, Ralpho, and Sidrophel's man, Whachum, all take part, and in which the conjurer has the worst of it. On the whole, however, as before, it would be the wit of the poem, its quaint sense and learning, its passages of sarcastic reflection on all manner of topics, and, above all, its unsparing ridicule of men and things on the Puritan side, rather than any merits it might possess of description and narration, that would recommend it in higher critical quarters. The Second Part is, indeed, even more readable than the First.
There seems no reason to doubt that, though the poem was published anonymously, Butler at once acknowledged himself as the author. The king, it is said, in his first fit of delight with the book, purposed sending for him; and it was natural, as Johnson says, that every eye should watch for the golden shower which was to fall upon the author of a performance so exactly to the tune of the reigning taste. Butler, however, was no Danae, but a somewhat unsocial man of fifty, with few friends in town; and the golden shower did not fall through his garret. That he himself shared in the general expectation that something would be done for him, is very likely; but he does not seem to have overrated the chance. As only the author of a poem which, though a valuable service to the Royalist cause, was in some respects merely a posthumous service, rendered when the danger was past and the victory accomplished, he probably saw that there were other claimants closer to the Royal Exchequer than he could expect to be. Sensibly enough, therefore, he seems to have made up his mind to bide his time, and meanwhile to labor patiently at the "Second Part" of his poem, so as to get it out before the enthusiasm for the first part had subsided. Already, in fact, besides pirated editions of that "First Part," the town was full of pretended continuations and imitations, in which the story was carried on, and the style and metre of the first part copied as closely as possible. It was late in 1663, or almost exactly a year after the publication of the first part that the true "Second Part" made its appearance, and threw all the spurious imitations into the shade. The date on the title-page is 1664; but the imprimatur is dated November 5, 1663, and the pertinacious Pepys, after borrowing a copy in the end of November, in order to avoid buying it till he found out whether he liked it better than the first, ended by going to his bookseller's at St. Paul's Churchyard on the 10th of December, and giving an order for both parts together. Having had a windfall that day of about £3, he had gone to invest it in books; and Hudibras being then still, he says, "the book in greatest fashion for drollery," he had made it one.
The merits of the "Second Part" of Hudibras were the same as those of the
It was high time now that the "golden shower" should descend, if it was to descend at all; and the truth seems to be, that by this time Butler was sorely in