« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
could tolerate, was probably humming over their exile in France and Holland, we hear
of sweet verse ; and Cowley was but a flow- ishing Justice of Peace in his native county
century, there were some portraits and other
They stole him from his nurse's arms,
to have been painted by Butler during his
residence there. They do not seem to have
been worth much ; and, though Butler kept A much tougher subject, if we guess aright, up his taste for the art in after-life so as to was young Butler, and not the kind of infant become acquainted with Samuel Cooper, the for any Muse to dandle. “When but a first English portrait-painter of his day, his boy," says Aubrey, "he would make obser- own practice in it was probably never more rations and reflections on everything one than that of an amateur. There was more said or did, and censure it to be either well feasibility in the plan which he is said also or ill;" and, wherever Aubrey got his infor- to have entertained about this time of becommation, it has a singular smack of truth about ing a lawyer, or at least a country attorney ; it. Not a flowing-haired poetic child of the and, as evidence of some such intention, there Cowley stamp at all, milâly stealing away is not only a tradition of his having entered from his companions into the fields to read, himself at Gray's Inn, but also the fact of but a decidedly hard-headed if not stubby- bis having left behind him among his papers haired bog, keeping uncomfortably near to a syllabus of Coke upon Littleton, drawn up people when they were talking, and " censur- in law French' in his own handwriting. ing things to be either well or ill ;” such, Not even to the dignity of an independent even without Aubrey's hint, but merely on country attorney, however, was Butler to be the principle of the boy being father to the promoted. From being law-clerk to the man, should we have conceived young Butler Worcestershire Justice of Peace, we find him to bare been in his school-days. If he did - through what intermediate stages of go to college he doubtless made the most of amateur portrait-painting, and law-studenthis time there, and read books and acquired ship, is unknown — transferred to a superior knowledge assiduously, as would become a situation, as secretary, or the like, in the sensible farmer's son, receiving education at household of the Countess of Kent, at Wrest, some expense to his family ; but to Spenser's in Bedfordshire. Here, besides leisure tó " Faery Queene," and all that class of influ- amuse himself with painting and music, he ences, we suspect he would have presented a had the advantage of an excellent library, cuticle of greater resistance than either Mil- and of the conversation of the learned Seltop or Cowley did. In short, if he was at den, then steward of the Countess's estate, the University, we can well believe that he and, according to Aubrey's account, privately left it without ever having perpetrated verse married to her. It is this circumstance of at all
, or at least anything more than a few Selden's being domesticated at Wrest at the lines of such hard downright doggrel as time of Butler's service there that enables would not matter much one way or another. us to form a guess as to dates. Mr. Bell, He may, bowever, have written good sound finding that Selden spent the Parliamentary prose, of a quality quite sufficient for his pur- recess of the year 1628 at the Earl of Kent's poses as a scholar,
seat in Wrest, employing himself in the prepAccording to the very scanty notices that aration of his work on the Arundel marbles, remain, that period of Butler's life which assigns that year as the probable date of extends from his early youth till after the Butler's admission into the Countess' serRestoration, is to be considered as dividing vice. This supposition seems quite untenitself into three parts. First of all, from his able. Butler would then bave been only early youth onwards, for an uncertain num- sixteen years of age, and there would be no ber of years, but probably till about 1639, room at all for his prior service at Earl's when he would be twenty-seven years of age, Croombe, not to speak of his painting and We find him acting as clerk in the service of other occupations attributed to him while Thomas Jeffries, of Earl's Croombe, a flour- there. It seems more natural to suppose,
as we have done, that he did not leave Earl's immediately antecedent to the King's recall.
His face is round and decent
" As close as a goose
Sat a Parliament House
To hatch the royal gull ;
After much fiddle-faddle,
The egg proved addle,
And Oliver came forth Noll."
date at about 1656-1657, when the propriety
inf Oliver's exchanging the title of Protector
for that of King was a matter of general dis-
cussion. Butler, among others, had his no-
tions on the subject, of which he relieved Upon a thing's brow
himself, for his own satisfaction, or probably Did ye ever see the like ?
for the amusement of those about him, as " He has no skull, 't is well known
above, After the death of Cromwell, and To thousands of beholders' ;
amid the confusions of Richard's brief ProtecNothing but a skin
torate and the second Rump, there was less Does keep his brains in
reason for reserve in such expressions of opinFrom running about his shoulders."
ion; and, accordingly, during the year im-
, enables one to assign the year 1648, or be certainly attributed to the year 1659–1660,
. He never did so, however, and it cause of the Restoration, while that question
papers. . It may be was being debated, and Monk's intentions
it was not till about the 37th year of Butler's
Inscriptions on Watch-Papers,
** Over the Hills and Far Away,"
179 Rope-walk, The,
388 Rupert's March,