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need of it. He may have had a little money of his own, saved out of the earnings of his previous employments; and his wife had brought him some fortune, upon which he had calculated at the time of their marriage, as a means of their joint support. But this last, his main dependence, had, his biographers inform us, been invested in "bad securities;" so that, after a while, little or nothing was to be derived from it. A post or a pension, such as, according to the lax fashion of those times, might very well have been bestowed on the greatest anti-puritan satirist of the day without risk of public outery, would, in these circumstances, have been extremely welcome. As it was, however, in a court swarming with Buckinghams, Lady Castlemaines, and the like, any kindly intentions that may have been entertained in behalf of a poor wit about town, soon died out and were forgotten. There is a vague story of a temporary donation of £300 to Butler, out of the king's own purse, which Butler instantly expended in paying his debts; and a still more vague story of a subsequent annual pension of £100. Neither story is authenticated; at all events, the latter is false; and the literal truth seems to be, that from the first appearance of Hudibras till the poet's death in 1680, he never received a single farthing from the court, or anything more substantial than empty praise. It was Butler's strange fate to flash all at once into a notoriety which lasted precisely two years; to fill the court and town during that time with a continuous shout of laughter, intermingled with inquiries who and what he was; and then for seventeen long years to plod on in industrious obscurity, still hearing his Hudibras quoted, and still preparing more of it, or of matter similar to it, but himself forgotten and unknown-a"myth" rather than a man.

It is as a myth rather than a man, we have said-as a typical instance of talent poor, unrewarded, and miserable in its old age, rather than as an actual being of flesh and blood-that the biographer of Butler is able to follow him during those seventeen years of his life which elapsed between the publication of the "Second Part" of his great poem and his death and burial in London. One or two facts, indeed, appertaining to the actual man, break through the monotonous obscurity of these long years, and give individuality

and substance to what otherwise would be a legend altogether. It is known, for example, that Butler continued to write and to satirize his contemporaries in occasional contributions to periodicals; that the third and last part of Hudibras was published in 1678, fourteen years after the second; that for some time before his death he resided in Rose Street, Longacre; and that at this time he had a few acquaintances in town, who saw him now and then, and were kind to him. But whether even he resided during the whole of the last seventeen years of his life in London, or whether during part of the time he went back to the country, or lived on the Continent, is only matter of conjecture. On the whole, our impression is, that he remained all the time, casual absences excepted, in London-recognized there, so far as he was recognized at all, as one of the wits of the day, regularly indentured by his fate to literature and the town; and starting with this impression, and taking Rose Street, Longacre, as his probable whereabouts in the metropolis, during the whole period in question, we shall piece together the remainder of the story as we best can.

Dreadful seventeen years those were. Satirist of the Puritans as Butler was, he must have sometimes questioned with himself, whether after all the system which had come instead of that which he had satirized, was not, in essential particulars, many times worse. He had made himself a prophet of the "descendental," and here was "descendentalism" with a vengeance! Positively, as we have seen it expressed, the age of the Restoration in England was an age when it seemed as if, by one of those vicissitudes which affect the organisms of nations as well as of individuals, the universal cranium of England, without changing its actual bulk, had been suddenly contracted in every other direction, so as to permit an inordinate increase of that region which lies over the nape of the neck. The profligacy of the times was ostentatious; the public reaction against the enforced moralities and decencies of the Commonwealth immediate and immeasurable. It was not, perhaps, that the relative proportions of virtue and vice actually existing in English society were altered, for probably these proportions are more constant under all changes of system than may at first seem; but it was as in a state revolution or change of ministry-virtue went out of office and vice came in. Puri

tanism, and whatever appertained to it, had been cast down from the upper places of society, and driven back into conventicles and lurking-places and the private households of obscure citizens, there, in token of its dissociation from power, to assume the name of Non-conformity; and the new generation of courtiers and cavaliers, who had come in with the Restoration to possess themselves of the vacant government, were far worse men than their fathers of the reign of Charles I.

drew Marvell. This, too, was the age of Bunyan, whom Butler might have known and quizzed before the Restoration, when he was a Baptist preacher at Bedford, within a mile or two of Sir Samuel Luke's, and who was now, not unlike Milton, embodying, in prison and under persecution, that enthusiasm of a bygone time which still dwelt in his soul, in immortal written allegories. A remnant in another sense of the intellectual world of the Commonwealth was James Harrington, the Republican theorist, whose "Oceana," though published during the Protectorate, was still talked of. Baxter also, and other divines more or less connected with the Puritans heretofore, were now among the lights of the Nonconformists. All these men, however, were rather in the age than of it; and in speaking of the literature of the Restoration it is invariably a different order of men that we have in view-those Royalist writers who, either reappearing from their various haunts and places of exile at the time of the king's restoration, or then first emerging into notice, formed the cluster of the so-called wits of the reign of Charles II.

The laureate of this new literature, and, ex officio, therefore, its head and representative man, during the first eight years after the Restoration, was Sir William Davenant. Except that he had no nose, and could not with propriety account for the loss of it, he was by no means a bad fellow. Milton liked him, and had been

Nor was it only in the court and matters of politics and government that the sudden change occasioned by the Restoration was apparent. The new literature which then came in was a fair reflex of the new condition of society. There were, indeed, exceptions. Just as the genuine Puritans had not ceased to exist in England, but had only vacated the topmost places, and been dispersed through the body-politic under the name of Nonconformists, so there remained in English society, even in this age of descendentalism, a few intellectual men of the old transcendental stamp. Jeremy Taylor survived the Restoration seven years; old Izaak Walton and Sir Thomas Browne lived through the whole reign of Charles II. It was chiefly, however, among men more or less connected with the Puritans during the period of their ascendency that these saving men, the salt of a corrupt time, were to be found. Conspicuous among them all was Milton. An official servant of the late Commonwealth, and more near-obliged to him for one of those offices of ly identified with the Regicides by his writings than any other Englishman of the intellectual class, he had with some difficulty escaped the pains and penalties which the Restoration brought with it for the active heads of his party; and now, blind and desolate, a spiritual relic of the past rather than an actual part of the present, he was spending the decline of his days in some obscure retreat in London, full of his own lofty thoughts, and building up slowly the scheme of his majestic epic. With what scorn he must have looked around him, and how often, before his own death in 1674, must he have remembered the lioncountenance of that "Cromwell, our chief of men," whom it was now the fashion to turn into jest, and whom, in their impotent rage, his enemies had torn from his grave and hanged and re-buried at Tyburn. Never far from Milton, and always most serious when he was nearest him, was An

kindness which an influential man of letters on the winning side was able to perform for a political adversary whom he esteemed and admired; and his poetry, if not immortal, was also not immoral, and at least better than much that was going. But Davenant was rather a poet of the old school of Charles I.; he had succeeded Ben Jonson in the laureateship in 1637, and only resumed his place at the Restoration in virtue of his proved loyalty and his prior tenure of it, when he was already verging on sixty. He was still, it is true, active enough, and took a great interest in the revival of the drama, himself writing plays for the stage; but, on the whole, the conduct of the new literature devolved upon men who were his juniors. Nor though Shirley, Waller, Denham, Cowley, and other Royalists of distinction in literature, were still alive to lend the lustre of their names to the opening reign of the

was a year or two younger; Sir George Etherege was in his twenty-fifth year; Dorset was twenty-three; Sir Charles Sedley twenty-two; and Wycherly and Shadwell were both exactly twenty. Their age, therefore, fitted them to become the rising powers in the new literature; and their tastes and faculties corresponded. They, with others not worth naming, flung themselves at once upon the town, and began to provide it with such gross entertainment as it craved. Roscommon alone was purer in his writings than in his life:


Unhappy Dryden! in all Charles's days
Roscommon only boasts unspotted lays."

restored monarch, were they exactly the representative men. Shirley lived but a few years to enjoy the pleasure of once more treading the familiar boards and seeing his own plays acted; he died in 1666 at the age of seventy. Waller was a wealthy gentleman, advanced in life; and though he lived long after the Restoration, and continued to give evidences both of his poetical talents and wit, and of the moral cowardice which had distinguished his previous career, he never lost a certain "dignity of deportment" even among the young scapegraces with whom he associated. Denham had a coarser fibre in him and was a younger man; but the few years he lived after the Restoration were clouded with insanity or the dread of it. Such is Pope's celebrated distich, at once The good and melancholy Cowley, too, absolving Roscommon and condemning was more properly a man of the previous Dryden and all the rest by contrast. And age than of this. Though only in the prime it is notorious that Dryden, perhaps perof manhood, he survived the Restoration sonally the most moral man of them all, but seven years, during which he wrote was, in the beginning of his career, the little, but lived in seclusion, neglected by most deliberately and unnaturally coarse the court he had served, and yet, his met- as a writer. He absolutely toiled and aphysical style being still in the ascendant, labored against the grain of his genius, to admired beyond bounds by all the best be sufficiently obscene to please the town. minds in England. Of other men of The reason was that the comic drama was the graver sort, surviving from among then the form of literature in greatest the royalists of the reign of the first fashion, and that he had determined to Charles and the Interregnum, so as to throw his powers into what was in fashion. witness and become subjects of the Resto- It was not till the lighter and more vivaration-Hobbes, Cudworth, Barrow, and cious wits-the Buckinghams, Ethereges, the like it is unnecessary to speak; the Sedleys, and Wycherlys-had given the most ordinary knowledge of them and town a sample of something gayer and their writings will save them from being more sprightly in the way of humorous confounded with the proper representa- profligacy than his lumbering prose cometives of the new era. These representatives, dies, that he began to give up that species as all know, were such younger men as of effort, and to confine himself to those Dryden and his contemporaries, Villiers, heroic rhymed plays of bombastic declamDuke of Buckingham, Dillon, Earl of ation after the French model, in which he Roscommon, Sir George Etherege, Lord remained the acknowledged master. And Buckhurst, afterwards Earl of Dorset, so, during the first eight years of the ResSir Charles Sedley, William Wycherly, toration, it was this cluster of young wits, and Thomas Shadwell. It was these with the solid Dryden in the centre, and men, with Dryden, the most masculine the lighter Ethereges and Sedleys skir and robust of them all, acting as the mishing around him, that represented the leader, that, mingling with the Davenants spirit of the new reign. Accordingly, and Shirleys and Wallers and Denhams when Davenant died in 1668, it was Dryand Cowleys, who belonged in part to the den that was chosen as his natural sucpast, and learning of them for awhile as cessor in the laureateship. From that time pupils, began, in the first years of the Res-forward Dryden was nominally, as well as toration, to cater, according to methods really, the head of the literature of the of their own, for the public taste. Dry- Restoration. Himself still continuing to be den was twenty-eight years old at the Re-known chiefly as a dramatist and critic of storation, and was then just beginning to be heard of; the Duke of Buckingham, the prince of profligates and court-wits, was five years older; the Earl of Roscommon

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the drama, and most of all as a writer of rhymed heroic plays, and the Ethereges, and Sedleys and Wycherlys still fluttering round him and snatching at his laurels, he

in turn became a patriarch and saw new
authors springing up around him, and add-
ing themselves to the cluster. Of these
the wretched Rochester was one.
He was
but twenty-two years of age when Dryden
became laureate, but had already filled the
town with the fame of his wit and his de-
baucheries. The unhappy Otway in time
became another, and rivalled Dryden in
the tragic drama. And besides Rochester
and Otway were many minor men, now all
but forgotten. It was not till towards the
close of Charles's reign that Dryden, press-
ed as it were by the competition of these
junior wits, carried his great powers be-
yond the drama altogether, and betak-
ing himself in his comparatively old age,
to other forms of literature, acquired in
them the better part of what now consti-
tutes his true fame. Into this later part
of his life, however, seeing that Butler was
dead before it began, it is not necessary
that we should trace him.

So far as the characteristic literature, therefore, of the age of the Restoration was concerned, it was a genuine reflex of the prevalent social morality. It was truly a literature of the Occiput-a literature in the production of which, to talk phrenologically, the back of the head was more exercised than any of the coronal or anterior organs, except perhaps wit. There was no lack of energy in it, but it was mainly occipital energy, and there was a manifest deficiency of those higher qualities which had balanced the occipital, even when there was enough and to spare of that, in the older literature of England. Curiously enough, however, contemporaneous with this inordinate and reactionary development of what may be called the literature of the occiput in England, were the beginnings of an intellectual movement of another kind far more beautiful, and yet, as it would appear, mysteriously cognate. We do not know what organs the phrenologists would specify as being chiefly concerned in the prosecution of physical science, but supposing them to be number, individuality, eventuality, and causality, then we must conclude that, in addition to wit, these organs suffered no depression in that general contraction backwards which the cranium of our nation certainly underwent at the Restoration, but rather became more vivacious in their action, as being no more bothered by any accompanying excess of ideality, wonder, and

veneration. Be this as it may, it is certain that mathematical and physical research,-the application of Bacon's hitherto dormant method to the facts and appearances of nature,- came in with the reign of the witty monarch. It was in 1660 that Dr. Ward, Mr. Boyle, my Lord Brouncker, Dr. Wilkins, Dr. Wallis, Sir William Petty, and others, founded the Royal Society, and began those readings of mathematical papers, and experiments with tubs of water, phials of quicksilver, lenses, telescopes, &c., which procured for them the name of virtuosi, and at which the town laughed. In due time other men of distinction added themselves to this illustrious little band,-Wren, Barrow, Evelyn, Hooke, as really men of science; Waller, Denham, Cowley, Dryden himself, and Spratt, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, as literary men and amateurs of science; and the Duke of Buckingham, the Marquis of Dorchester, and a few other Lords, by way of the necessary sprinkling of the aristocracy. In 1663, which was the year when Dryden joined, there were already one hundred and fifteen members; and the weekly proceedings of the Society were a regular part of the gossip of the town. Isaac Newton was then a youth of twenty, concluding his studies at Cambridge; but it was not long before the Society had communications from him, both mathematical and optical, including no less substantial a one than a reflecting telescope made by his own hands, which they examined and showed to the King in 1668; and, in 1671, by which time he had succeeded Barrow in the mathematical chair at Cambridge, he was elected a member.

Such, epitomized as much as possible, is an account of the moral and intellectual phenomena of English society during that period which corresponds with the last seventeen years of Butler's life. Upon such a public did the First and Second Parts of Hudibras fall, and in the midst of such a medley of persons, things, and interests, so far as it was represented in the metropolis, did the author of Hudibras, after his first temporary flash of success, trudge out and in on his daily peregrina tions from his domicile in or about Rose Street, Longacre. His personal relations with men of the time, we have already said, or at least with men of the time who, from their station, could be of any use to him,- seem to have been few.

Here are two passages which give us all the knowledge of him in this respect that we are ever likely to have:

Butler's Introduction to Lord Dorset.-"His Lordship, having a great desire to spend an evening as a private gentleman with the author of Hudibras, prevailed with Mr. Fleetwood Shepherd to introduce him into his company at a tavern which they used, in the character only of a common friend. This being done, Mr. Butler, while the first bottle was drinking, appeared very flat and heavy; at the second bottle brisk and lively, full of wit and learning, and a most agreeable companion; but, before the third bottle was finished, he sunk again into such deep stupidity and dulness, that hardly anybody could have believed him to be the author of a book which abounded with so much wit, learning, and pleasantry. Next morning Mr. Shepherd asked his Lordship's opinion of Butler, who answered, 'He is like a ninepin, little at both ends, but great in the middle."-Quoted by Mr. Bell from the General Historical Dictionary,


Butler's Introduction to the Duke of Buckingham." Mr Wycherly had always laid hold of any opportunity of representing to the Duke of Buckingham how well Mr. Butler had deserved of the royal family by writing his inimitable Hudibras, and that it was a reproach to the Court that a person of his royalty and wit should suffer in obscurity, and under the wants he did. The Duke seemed always to hearken to him with attention enough, and, after some time, undertook to recommend his pretentions to his Majesty. Mr. Wycherly, in hopes to keep him steady to his word, obtained of his Grace to name a day when he might introduce that modest and unfortunate poet to his new patron. At last an appointment was made, and the place of meeting was agreed to be the Roebuck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended accordingly-the Duke joined them-but, as the d-I would have it, the door of the room where they sat was open, and his Grace, who had seated himself near it, observing a pimp of his acquaintance (the creature, too, was a knight) trip by with a brace of ladies, immediately quitted his engage ment to follow another kind of business; and from that time to the day of his death, poor Butler never found the least effect of his promise." -Quoted by Johnson in his "Lives of the Poets," from Packe's "Life of Wycherly."

From these passages, and one or two other stray notices, we are able to form a guess as to Butler's habits after he became a resident in town. He was known to Wycherly, to Hobbes, to Davenant, and, in a general way, as we may fancy, to all the more celebrated wits, Dryden included. There were very few men of any pretensions to literature, either as authors or amateurs, who would miss a


casual opportunity of at least seeing the author of Hudibras, and London was not then too large, nor the habits of men, as regards means of meeting at taverns, coffeehouses, and the like, too formal, to prevent such opportunities from being com

mon. There are traditions also to the effect that at first he had offers from his more influential admirers of secretaryships and what not, but that, as he "would not accept anything but what was very good," they fell off from him, and left him to himself. On the whole, how. ever, the truth seems to be that there was something about him which unfitted him for making many friends, or being pushed on in the world. Whether from a natural moroseness, or from a morbid shyness which prevented him from seeking those who did not seek him, and even from retaining acquaintances who would have been glad to be intimate with him if they had had any encouragement, he seems to have been more solitary than almost any other man of his time equally known. There were a few persons who cultivated his friendship, and, as it were, drew him out in spite of himself; but they were mostly men of inferior note themselves, who, having a passion for the society of men of genius, had fastened on the author of Hudibras as the man of genius whom, by reason of his very shyness and eccentricity, they could most easily monopolize. Such a man was the gossip Aubrey, a kind of Boswell of his day, who fluttered about from one place of resort to another, and collected scraps for which we are now much obliged to him; such a man perhaps was the Mr. Fleetwood Shepherd, mentioned in one of the foregoing quotations; and such a man, above all, if indeed he was not a man of a higher class, was Mr. William Longueville, a bencher of the Temple, mentioned by a contemporary as having been a man of great powers of talk and of the kindest heart in the world, who had, by industry at the bar, acquired a comfortable fortune. This Mr. Longueville is known to have been poor Butler's best friend-perhaps the only real friend he had. Three times out of every four that he dined out, it would be at Mr. Longueville's chambers; and if ever in the course of his day's walk through town he paid a call, it would be by some appointment in which Mr. Longueville was concerned. Very seldom, however, if we guess aright, would he pay a call at all;


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