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manhood, he survived the Restoration but termined to throw his powers into what was seven years, during which he wrote little, in fashion. It was not till the lighter and but lived in seclusion, neglected by the court more vivacious wits - the Buckinghams, he had served, and yet, bis metaphysical Etheregos, Sedleys, and Wycherlys - had style being in the ascendant, admired beyond given the town a sample of something gayer bounds by all the best minds in England. and more sprightly in the way of humorous of other men of the graver sort, surviving profligacy than his lumbering, prose comefrom among the royalists of the reign of the dies, that he began to give up that species of first Charles and the Interregnum, so as to effort, and to confine himself to those heroic witness and become subjects of the Restora- rhymed plays of bombastic declamation after tion – Hobbes, Cudworth, Barrow, and the the French model, in which he remained the like - it is unnecessary to speak; the most acknowledged master. And so, during the ordinary knowledge of them and their writ- first eight years of the Restoration, it was ings will save them from being confounded this cluster of younger wits, with the solid with the proper representatives of the new Dryden in the centre, and the lighter Etherera. These representatives, as all know, were eges and Sedleys skirmishing around him, such younger men as Dryden, and his con- that represented the spirit of the new reign. temporaries, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, Accordingly, when Davenant died in 1668, Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, Sir George it was Dryden that was chosen as his natural Etherege, Lord Buckhurst, afterwards Earl successor in the laurea teship. From that of Dorset, Sir Charles Sedley, William Wy- time forward Dryden was nominally, as well cherly, and Thomas Shadwell. It was these as really, the head of the literature of the men, with Dryden, the most masculine and Restoration. Himself still continuing to be robust of them all, acting as the leader, that, known chiefly as a dramatist and critic of mingling with the Davenants and Shirleys the drama, and most of all as a writer of and Wallers and Denbams and Cowleys, who rhymed heroic plays, and the Ethereges and belonged in part to the past, and learning Sedleys and Wycherlys still fluttering round of them for a while as pupils, begnp, in the him and snatching at his laurels, he in turn first years of the Restoration, to cater, ac- became a patriarch, and saw new authors cording to methods of their own, for the springing up around him, and adding thempublic taste. Dryden was twenty-eight years selves to the cluster. Of these the wretched old at the Restoration, and was just then be- Rochester was one. He was but twenty-two ginning to be heard of; the Duke of Bucking- years of age when Dryden became laureate, ham, the prince of profligates and court-wits, but had already filled the town with the was five years older; the Earl of Roscommon fame of his wit and his debaucheries. The was a year or two younger ; Sir George unhappy Otway in time became another, and Etherege was in his twenty-fifth year ; Dor- rivalled Dryden in the tragic drama. And set was twenty-three ; Sir Charles Sedley besides Rochester and Otway were many mitwenty-two; and Wycherly and Shadwell nor men, now all but forgotten. It was not were both exactly twenty. Their age, there- till towards the close of Charles' reign that fore, fitted them to become the rising powers Dryden, pressed as it were by the competiin the new literature ; and their tastes and tion of these junior wits, carried his great faculties corresponded. They, with others powers beyond the drama altogether, and, not worth naming, flung themselves at onco betaking himself in his comparatively old upon the town, and began to provide it with age to other forms of literature, acquired in such gross entertainment as it craved. Ros- them the better part of what now constitutes common alone was purer in his writings than his true fame. * Into this latter part of his in bis life :
life, however, seeing that Butler was dead “Unhappy Dryden ! in all Charles' days
before it began, it is not necessary that we Roscommon only boasts unspotted lays."
should trace him.
So far as the characteristic literature, Such is Pope's celebrated distich, at once therefore, of the age of the Restoration was absolving Roscommon and condemning Dry- concerned, it was a genuine reflex of the den and all the rest by contrast. And it is prevalent social morality. It was truly a notorious that Dryden, perhaps personally literature of the Occiput -- a literature in the the most moral man of them all, was, in the production of which, to talk phrenologically, beginning of his career, the most deliberately the back of the head was more exercised than and unnaturally coarso as a writer. He ab- any of the coronal or anterior organs, except solutely toiled and labored against the grain perhaps wit. There was no lack of energy of his genius, to be sufliciently obsceno to on it, but it was mainly occipital energy, please the town. The reason was that the and there was a manifest deficiency of those comic drama was then the form of literature higher qualitics which had balanced the ocin the greatest fashion, and that he had de- cipital, even when there was enough and to
spare of that, in the older literature of Eng-| did the First and Second Parts of Hudibras
Butler's Introduction to Lord Dorset. toration, but rather became more vivacious in
“ His Lordship, having a great desire to spend their action, as being no more bothered by author of Hudibras, prevailed with Mr. Fleet
an evening as a private gentleman with the any accompanying excess of ideality, won- wood Shepherd to introduce him into his comder, and veneration. Be this as it may, it pany at a tavern which they used, in the charis certain that mathematical and physical re-acter only of a common friend. This being search — the application of Bacon's hitherto done, Mr. Butler, while the first bottle was dormant method to the facts and appear- drinking, appeared very flat and heavy; at the ances of nature - came in with the reign of second bottle brisk and lively, full of wit and the witty monarch. It was in 1660 that Dr. learning, and a most agreeable companion; but, Ward, Mr. Boyle, my Lord Brouncker, Dr. before the third bottle was finished, he sunk Wilkins, Dr. Wallis, Sir William Petty, and again into such deep stupidity and dulness, that others, founded the Royal Society, and began hardly anybody could have believed him to be those readings of mathematical papers, and the author of a book which abounded with so experiments with tubs of water, phials of much wit, learning, and pleasantry. Next quicksilver, lenses, telescopes, &c., which opinion of Butler, who answered, “ He is like a
morning Mr. Shepherd asked his Lordship's procured for them the name of virtuosi, and ninepin, little at both ends, but great in the at which the town laughed. In due time middle.' Quoted by Mr. Bell from the other men of distinction added themselves to General Historical Dictionary, 1734-41. this illustrious little band, - Wren, Barrow, Butler's Introduction to the Duke of BuckEvelyn, Hooke, as really men of science; ingham.—“Mr. Wycherly had always laid Waller, Denham, Cowley, Dryden himself, hold of any opportunity of representing to the and Spratt, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, Duke of Buckingham how well Mr. Butler had as literary men and amateurs of science; and deserved of the royal family by writing bis the Duke of Buckingham, the Marquis of inimitable Hudibras, and that it was a reproach Dorchester, and a few other lords, by way wit should suffer in obscurity, and under the
to the Court that a person of his loyalty and of the necessary sprinkling of the aristocracy. In 1663, which was the year when wants he did. The Duke seemed always to Dryden joined, there were already one hun-hearken to him with attention enough, and, after dred and fifteen members; and the weekly sions to his Majesty. Mr. Wycherly, in hopes
some time, undertook to recommend his pretenproceedings of the Society were a regular part to keep him steady to his word, obtained of his of the gossip of the town. Isaac Newton Grace to name a day when he might introduce was then a youth of twenty, concluding his that modest and unfortunate poet to his new studies at Cambridge ; but it was not long patron. At last an appointment was made, and before the Society had communications from the place of meeting was agreed to be the him, both mathematical and optical, includ- Roebuck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended ing no less substantial a one than a reflecting accordingly - the Duke joined them -- but, as tolescope made by his own hands, which they the d-- would have it, the door of the room examined and showed to the King in 1668"; where they sat was open, and his Grace, who and, in 1671, by which time he had succeedhad seated himself near it, observing a pimp of ed Barrow in the mathematical chair at his acquaintance (the creature, too, was a Cambridge, he was elected a member.
knight) trip by with a brace of ladies, imme. Such, epitomized as much as possible, is an kind of business; and from that time to the day
diately quitted his engagement to follow another account of the moral and intellectual phe- of his death, poor Butler nerer found the least Domena of English society during that period effect of his promise.” – Quoted by Johnson in which corresponds with the last seventeen his “Lives of the Poets," from Pêcke's "Lifs years of Butler's life. Upon such a public of Wycherly.”
From these passages, and one or two other ever, if we guess aright, would he pay a call stray notices, we are able to form a guess as at all; and most days of the week, when to Butler's habits after he became a resident Mr. Longueville or sume other crony did not in town. He was known to Wycherly, to waylay him, it would be his habit, after his Hobbes, to Davenant, and, in a general way, hodiernal ramble among the old bookshops as we may fancy, to all the more celebrated and other similar temptations, to return quiwits, Dryden included. There were very etly home to his prose and his octosyllabics. few men of any pretensions to literature, Whether Mrs. Butler remained long alive to either as authors or amateurs, who would make his evenings at home more cheery for miss a casual opportunity of at least seeing him ; and if so, what thoughts of her old the author of Hudibras ; and London was days and their vanished chances passed not then too large, nor the habits of men, as through her head as, sitting on one side of regards means of meeting at taverns, coffee- the fire with her knitting, she saw him sihouses, and the like, too formal, to prevent lently worming on the other among his such opportunities from being common. There books and papers, history does not tell us. are traditions also to the effect that at first And yet the life of every man and woman be had offers, from his more influential ad- that once lived and is now dead, was, like mirers, of secretaryships and what not, but our own while it lasted, an infinite series of that, as he “ would not accept anything but sanall sensitive advances through a medium what was very good," they fell off from him, of circumstances; and every day of each such and left him to himself. On the whole, life contained twenty-four complete hours, however, the truth seems to be that there and every hour of the twenty-four contained was something about him which unfitted him sixty minutes, and each minute of every sucfor making many friends, or being pushed on cessive sixty had to be gone through individin the world. Whether from a natural ually, and enjoyed or endured to the full. moroseness, or from a morbid shyness which And so, though it is two hundred years, or prevented bim from seeking those who did about eight trillions of pulse-beats since Butnot seek him, and even from retaining ac- ler trudged about London, and Mrs. Butler quaintances who would have been glad to be waited for him in Rose Street, that time intimate with him if they had had any encour- really was once, and those two elderly peragement, he seems to have been more solitary sons had their thoughts and their miseries, than almost any other men of his time equal- whatever they were. ly known. There were a few persons who Regarding Butler's spiritual relations to cultivated his friendship, and, as it were, the various phenomena of the time in which drew him out in spite of bimself; but they he lived, we have the information of his own were mostly men of inferior note themselves, writings. And, first of all, it is abundantly who, having a passion for the society of men clear that he never recanted his aversion to of genius, had fastened on the author of Puritanism, but persevered to the last in his Hudibras as the man of genius whom, by original vocation as the satirist of it and its reason of his very shyness and eccentricity, professors. Besides doing this in short incithey could most easily monopolize. Such a dental writings, some of which seem to have man was the gossip Aubrey, a kind of Bos- been published in periodicals and newspapers, well of his day, who fluttered about from one he continued to do it on the same scale and place of resort to another, and collected in the same systematic form as before by scraps for which we are now much obliged (foolishly enough, we think ; for there had to him; such a man perhaps was the Mr. been quite enough of it) going on with his Fleetwood Shepherd, mentioned in one of the Hudibras. After fourteen years of slow foregoing quotations ; and such a man, above quarrying, the “ Third Part” of this interall, if indeed he was not a man of a higher minable work was given to the world in 1678, class, was Mr. William Longueville, a bench- or two years before his death-a second and er of the Temple, mentioned by a contempo- revised edition of the two preceding parts tary as having been a man of great powers having been published in 1674. How the of talk and of the kindest heart in the world, “ Third Part” was received. we do not know, who had, by industry at the bar, acquired a but probably with less noise than its prede comfortable fortune. This Mr. Longueville cessors. As before, the story was the least is known to have been poor Butler's best of the merits of the poem - a mere thread friend - perhaps the only real friend he had. on which to append all sorts of digressions Three times out of every four that he dined and dissertations. In the first canto we are out, it would be at Mr. Longueville's cham- re-introduced to Hudibras and Ralpho just bers ; and if ever in the course of his day's after their adventures with the conjurer, as walk through town he paid a call, it would related in the Second Part.” They begin be by some appointment in which Mr. Lon- to quarrel, and make up their minds to part gueville was concerned. Very seldom, how- company i Hudibras then makes for the
widow's, to swear he has performed his vow well as in his own bitter experience of human in the matter of the whipping, and to ask fickleness and ingratitude, new food for his her hand in reward ; Ralpho, however, has constitutional habit of censure. his revenge by going there before him, and Anti-Puritan as he was, and disposed to making the widow acquainted with the true loyalty in church and state, as on the whole state of the case ; whereupon a nocturnal the best arrangementa man could make with masquerade of furies and hobgobling is got his conscience where all was as bad as it up by the widow, Ralpho assisting, and Hu- could be, the state of public morals and dibras, after being pinched and cudgelled, is manners which the Restoration had brought forced by the ghostly terrors of his situation with it, found no apologist in Butler. A to confess himself a hypocrite and scoundrel. man advanced in life, bred up too in honest In canto second, the poet leaves the knight English ways, and with a natural austerity and the equire altogether, and interpolates, of disposition which had probably always totally without any connection with the saved him from even the more veníal forms story, a satire on Puritanism generally in of vice, he seems to have looked about him the shape of a historical recapitulation of at the on-goings of the restored court, and the whole course of the Civil Wars down to the public men of his latter days, with no the Restoration, with references by name to other feelings than those of contempt and Cromwell, Fleetwood, Lentham, Calamy, disgust. There are evidences of this in the Case, Henderson, Owen, Nye, Prynne, and last part of his great poem, where he almost others, both Presbyterians and Independents, shows an intention of falling foul of the and with more detailed but covert allusions existing powers and scourging them as he to the politician Shaftesbury, the quaker had scourged the opposite side ; but the Lilburn, &c. Finally, in the third canto, most express evidence of the fact is to be We find the knight, just released from his found in those scraps of prose and verse last scrape by the deceitful Ralpho, taking which he left behind him — jottings, so to counsel with a lawyer in order to obtain the speak, in his commonplace book to be widow and her property by inveigling her published when he was no more.
Here are into a lawsuit ; as preliminary to which he two illustrations - the first from the collecwrites her a letter and receives her answer. tion of his “ Prose Thoughts upon various And so, the story abruptly breaks off; nor, Subjects," printed in Thyer's Remains ; the at the same rate of progress, can any one say
cond from a short poetical piece there when it might have been finished.
published under the title of " Å Satire on But though Butler continued to lash the the Licentiousness of the Age of Charles II." Puritans, both retrospectiveiy by references to the Commonwealth period, and also by tation are like merchants inevitably destined to
“ Princes that have lost their credit and repusingling out subjects of ridicule from among ruin; for all men immediately call in their loyalthem in their reduced condition as Noncon
ty and respect from the first, as they do their formists and Sectaries, Puritanism was by money from the latter." ao means the sole subject of his satire. Indeed, it had never been so. In the earlier
“ 'Tis a strange age we've lived in and a lewd
As e'er the sun in all his travels view.d. parts of his Hudibras, although satire of Puritanism and the Puritans constituted the direct and main drift of the story and its in Twice have men turned the world (that silly cessant argumentations and disquisitions, blockhead) yet, as all who are acquainted with the poem The wrong side outward, like & juggler's know, there were passages innumerable, pocket; glaneing off from the main topic at sociai Shook out hypocrisy as fast and loose
As e'er the devil could teach or sinners use, abuses and by-topics — at quackery in med
And on the other side at once put in icine ; at the absurdities of the law and the frauds of its practitioners ; at astrology and
As impotent iniquity and sin. false learning : at statecraft and its tricks ; at the virtuosi of the Royal Society and their
For those who heretofore sought private holes experiments; at love, widows, matrimony,
Securely in the dark to damn their souls,
Wore vizards of hypocrisy, to steal and the foibles of men and women in general. And so, even more conspicuously, in the
And slink away, in masquerade, to hell,
Now bring their crimes into the open sun “ Third Part” of the poem, notwithstanding For all mankind to gaze their worst upon." the attempt made in the second canto to hash ap the old subject so as to serve it afresh to Nor did Butler confine himself to general the cloyed publie palate. In short, though and wholesale denunciations. He dissected Butler was consistent in his old hatred to contemporary society into its specific parts the end of his life, he found in the new social and atoms - statesmen, lawyers, poets, phy. condition in which his old age was cast, as sicians, divines, wits, &o., and returned
Devi. LIVING AGE. VOL. XII.
apparently the same merciless perdict on 81. A rabble.
100. A rebel. each part that he did on the whole. Tho 82. A shopkeeper. 101. A city wit. (man. most interesting and complete of all his 83. A quaker. 102. A superstitious
103. A drole. prose writings, for example — that which, 84. A swearer.
104. An empiric. under the name of “ Characters,” fills the 85. A luxurious man. whole of the second volume of Thyer's “ Re- 86. An ungrateful man. 105. An obstinate man. mains, and which must evidently, from the 87. A Knight of the Post 106. A zealot. care with which every page is written, have 88. An undeserving for 108. A jealous man.
(hired perjurer). 107. An overdoer. occupied much of Butler's time after the
109. An insolent man. first two parts of Hudibras were off his hands, 89. A cuckold. 110. A rash man. and have been destined by him for indepen- 90. A malicious man. 111. A pimp. dent publication - consists of nothing else 91. A squire of dames. 112. A formal man. than a series of sketches, written with an 92. A knave.
113. A flatterer. unvarying acerbity and harshness hardly 93. An anabaptist. 114. A prodigal. paralleled in our literature, of what Butler 94. A vintner. 115. A pettifogger. must have considered the typical forms and 95. A hypocrite. 116. A bankrupt. phases of English human nature in his time. 96. An opiniaster. 117. The inconstant.
118. A horse-courser. We do not know how we can better give an 97. A choleric man.
119. A glutton. idea of Butler's real character and temper 98. A lover,
120. A ribald. than by copying out this little-known list 99. A translator. of “ characters" — Butler's analysis, as it may be called, of contemporary, English in the above list are unsparing invectives,
The fact that each and all of the characters society, so far as he was acquainted with it, without
one qualifying word in praise of any into its constituent particles.
living thing or person, may arise in part 1. A modern politician. 40. A quibbler. from the circumstance that Butler's literary 2. A hypocritical non- 41. A wooer.
forte was satire, and that he deliberately conformist.
42. An impudent man. restricted himself, in writing them, to the 3. A republican. 43. An imitator. 4. A politician. 44. A time-server.
mean and ugly side of things. But whoever
reads the characters will see in their uniform 6. A state convert.
45. A prater. 6. A risker. 46. An hermetic philos- than this — a positive dissatisfaction of But
and inexhaustible bitterness something more 7. A modern states opher. 47. An alderman.
ler's own mind with all that he saw, and a 8. A Duke of Bucks. 48. A disputant. habit of finding nothing in the world that 9. A degenerate noble. 49. A sot.
was not, if well looked into, evil and intoler10. A huffing courtier. 50. An atheist. able. Were the “ characters" classified, it 11. A court beggar. 61. A juggler.
would be found that only a certain propor 12. A country squire. 52. A sceptic.
tion of them are taken from the Puritan or 13. An antiquary. 53. A projecter. Nonconformist side of things. A good many 14. A proud man. 54. A complimenter. of them are taken from the opposite side of 15. The henpecked man. 55. A church-warden.
society and politics altogether; some are 16. A small poet. 56. A romance-writer.
taken from the literary department, and 17. A philosopher. 57. A cheat.
some from the scientific department, of Eng18. A fantastic. 58. A libeller.
lish life in that day; and many are altogether 19. A melancholy man. 69. A tedious man 20. An haranguer. 60. A tailor.
general, and have reference to lasting forms 21. A Popish priest.
61. A factious member. of human weakness, imposture, crime, and 22. A traveller. 62. A pretender.
folly. 23. A Catholic. 63. A newsmonger.
It was in the nature of Butler's satire, 24. A curious man. 64. An ambassador. that, finding all to be equally censurable, it 25. A ranter. 65. A play-writer.
should express itself rather in representative 26. A corrupt judge 66. A mountebank. portraits of classes, than in personalities. 27. An amorist. 67. A modern critic. Occasionally, however, as in the character 28. An astrologer. 68. A wittol.
entitled “A Duke of Bucks," and in inci29. A lawyer.
69. A busy man. dental allusions to Prynne and other sea80. A herald.
70. A litigious man. taries, whom Butler seems to have particu31. A latitudinarian. 71. A pedant.
larly disliked, this rule is broken through ; 32. A mathematician, 72. A hunter.
and in some of his posthumous scraps of 33. An epigrammatist. 73. A humorist.
there is evidence that his satire could, 84. A virtuoso. 74. A leader of a faction. when he liked, single out individual victims. 85. A justice of peace. 75. A debauched man. 36. A fanatic. 76. A seditious man.
Thus, among the scraps, we find a violent 37. An intelligencer 77. An affected man.
personal lampoon on Denham ; a squib on (newsman). 78. A medicine-taker. Philip Nye's beard ; two mock panegyrics on 38. A proselyte. 79. The rude man., Dryden's brother-in-law, the Honorable Ed39. A clown, 80.. A misega.
ward Howard, on the occasion of a heroic