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work in earnest in preparing it. He had sitting. And, certainly, if one did take it certainly every incentive to be busy; for up, there was little chance of his laying it much as was already going in the shape of down again without doing it justice. Fancy satire and ridicule of the parties cast down the first reader opening the book, and lightfrom power, and of general fun and scurril- ing at once on such a beginning as this : ity in literature, by way of outburst of hu
“When civil dudgeon first grew high, mor that had been repressed during the
And men fell out they knew not why; Commonwealth, and of welcome to a witty
When hard words, jealousies, and fears monarch and his courtiers just come over Set folks together by the ears, from the Continent with French mistresses
And made them fight, like mad or drunk, and French manners to inaugurate a new For Dame Religion, as for punk; era, Butler could not but foresee that such a Whose honesty they all durst swear for, poem as he was preparing would cut in Though not a man of them know wherefore; through it all, and win a place for itself in When gospel-trumpeter, surrounded the midst of the duller poems and plays with With long-eared rout, to battle sounded, which the old Royalists, Davenant, Denham, And pulpit, drum ecclesiastic, and Waller, and the new aspirants, Dryden,
Was beat with fist, instead of a stick ; Sedley, Roscommon, and Co., were bidding
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling, for the ear of the town. One interruption
And out he rode a colonelling." there was, however, which he may have This was certainly a promising set out, and permitted himself with satisfaction - that would tempt the reader to go on. And if caused by his marriage, which took place he did so, he was not likely to be disappointabout this time, with a Mrs. Herbert, a lady ed. The description of Sir Hudibras and of some property. Butler, it would appear, his qualifications, now known to every schoolwas late in love as well as in poetry ; but boy, would then come upon the reader with for this very reason there may bave been less all the freshness of its native oddity; and Jelay with his Hudibras.
he must have been a grave man indeed if his It was not at Sir Samuel Luke's, however, gravity did not give way when he came to nor in Bedfordshire, that the work was final- such rhymes as ly written out, but in a new situation to which Butler, possibly on account of his
Besides, 'tis known he could speak Greek
As naturally as pigs squeak; known loyalty, was promoted after the Res
That Latin was no more difficile toration that of Secretary to the Earl of Than for a blackbird 'tis to whistle.” Carbery, Lord President of the Principality of Wales. It has been ascertained that he The famous passage about Sir Hudibras' held this situation, and also, in association rhetoric, occurring in the third or fourth with it, as the Earl's gift, the Stewardship page, would be read twice or thrice on the of Ludlow Castle, at least as early as January spot, before going farther : 1661, and that he retained the Stewardship
« For rhetoric, he could not ope till January 1662. In that month, the Earl's
His mouth, but out there flew a trope; accounts speak of him as having vacated the
And when he happened to break off office of Steward, and having been succeeded l' the middle of his speech, or cough, by another person. The probability there H' had hard words ready to show why, fore is, that some time in 1662 he came to And tell what rules he did it by. reside in London, with the purpose of secing Else, when with greatest art he spoke, his Hudibras through the press. The im You'd think he talked like other folk; primatur of the “ First Part” of the work, For all a rhetorician's rules licensing its publication, is dated the 11th Teach nothing but to name his tools. of November 1662; and though the date But,” &c. 1663 is on the title-page, copies were really But the clenching passage would, of course, out before Christmas 1662. We have seen a copy of the original edi
be that describing the knight's religion : tion of this « First Part” of Hudibras. It “ For his religion, it was fit is a thin little volume, decently printed,
To match his learning and his wit; without the author's name, and with an in
'Twas Presbyterian, true blue; timation on the title-page that the poem was
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant ** written during the late wars,
To be the true church militant; exactly such a volume as the readers of that
Such as do build their faith upon day would be likely to take up in virtue of The holy text of pike and gun; its mere appearance ---small enough to be Decide all controversies by held between the finger and thumb as one Infallible artillery; walkçd in the streets, or lounged at home in And prove their doctrine orthodox the evening, and to be read through at one By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire, and sword, and desolation, rabble under Trulla's generalship, the forA godly, thorough Reformation,
tune of the war is reversed, Crowdero is Which always must be carried on,
rescued, and Hudibras and Ralpho, after a And still be doing, never done; As if religion were intended
plenteous thumping, are themselves put in
the stocks and left to discuss the comparative For nothing else but to be mended;
merits of Presbytery and Independency at A sect, whose chief devotion lies
their leisure. Io all this burlesque tissue In odd perverse antipathies; In falling out with that or this,
of incident, coarse enough in parts to please And finding somewhat still amiss;
à not very squeamish taste, the more inMore peevish, cross, and splenetic,
telligent readers of the poem would be comThan dog distract or monkey sick;
paratively indifferent; nor would it have That with more care keep holy-day
enhanced the interest in this respect much The wrong, than others the right way; if they had troubled themselves, as foolish Compound for sins they are inclined to commentators on the poem afterwards did, By damning those they have no mind to. with identifying the characters with noted Still so perverse and opposite,
sectaries of the day, whom Butler never As if they worshipped God for spite,
thought of or saw. It was enough that, in The self-same thing they will abhor
the course of the narration, the Puritans One way, and long another for.
of all sects were burlesqued as they had Free-will they one way disavow;
never been before, and their habits of talking Another, nothing else allow.
held up to ridicule, and that passages of odd All piety consists therein In them, in other men all sin.
wit and learning occurred in every page, all Rather than fail, they will defy.
hitting at some laughable topic of the day, That which they love most tenderly;
and capable of being
remembered and quoted. Quarrel with minced-pies, and disparage It was probably a circumstance in favor of Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge; the full recognition of these merits in the Fat pig and goose itself oppose,
book that the First Part” was published And blaspheme custard through the noso." by itself, so as not to overdose the reader.
The success of the book was certainly This passage alone would settle the fate instantaneous. Not a new poem of Tennyof the book with every Courtier or Royalist son's, not a new Christmas story by Dickens, that might chance to take it up. What has now-a-days a greater run through the mattered it that in going on he found very town, than, allowing for the difference of little plot or action in the book — nothing times, the first part of Hudibras had during but a rough rigmarole story miserably the Christmas-week of 1662–3. The king travestied from Don Quixote, and spun out himself had got hold of it, and was carrying through three cantos, of how the Presby- it about with him, and quoting it ; the terian knight, and his Independent squire courtiers got the passages he quoted by heart; Ralpho, sally forth, each accoutred after his and in all the coffee and chocolate-houses the fashion, in search of adventures ; how they wits discussed its merits. Mr. Pepys, who come to a place where there is to be a bear- was never the last to hear of a new thing, baiting, and where a great rabble is already lets us know the exact day on which he first Assembled to witness or take part in the heard of the poem, and what he thought of sport, including the bear Bruin himself. it. the wardrobe" is the entry he Orsin, the bear's master, the wooden-legged makes in his Diary on the 26th of December fiddler Crowdero, the warlike butcher and 1662, the day after Christmas, " and hither dog-owner Talgol, the tinker Magnano, and come Mr. Battersby; and we falling into bis female companion Trulla, the one-eyed discourse of a new book of drollery in use cobbler Cerdon, the hostler and cattle-keeper called Hudibras, I would needs go find it out, Colon, and, besides these leaders, men and and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. mastiffs innumerable from all the parishes 6d. But when I come to read it, it is 50 round; how entered the knight's head silly an abuse of the Presbyter knight going that he ought to put down this bear-baiting to the warrs, that I am ashamed of it; and as a heathenish practice, and how he and by and by meeting at Mr. Townsend's at the more reluctant Ralpho debated the dinner, I sold it him for 18d.," after point; how at last the knight, ending the which, he tells us, he went to the theatre, debate, spurs on his wall-eyed beast to the and coming home rather late found his wife encounter, and how, after a fierce tussle, in “ busy among her pies."
Evidently, how· which both knight and squire get unmerci- ever, Pepys, from his allusion to
fully belabored, they succeed in routing the Presbyter knight going to the warrs," had rabble and capturing the fiddler, whom they not read enough of the book even to know carry off in triumph and put in the stocks; its subject; and finding himself in the but how, in the end, by the rallying of the minority in his opinion of it, and its' fame
on the town growing instead of abating, he cious Pepys, after borrowing a copy in the thought it prudent to renew his acquaintance end of November, in order to avoid buying it with it. " To Lincolns' Inn Fields," he till he found out whether he liked it better writes on the 6th of February following, than the first, ended by going to his book"and it being too soon to go home to dinner, seller's at St. Paul's Churchyard on the 10th I walked up and down, and looked upon the of December, and giving an order for both outside of the new theatre building in Co- parts together. Having had a windfall that vent Garden, which will be very fine; and day of about £3, he had gone to invest it in 80 to a bookseller's in the Strand, and there books; and Iludilras being then still, he bought Hudibras again, it being certainly says," the book in greatest fashion for drollsome ill humor to be so against that which ery," he had made it one. all the world cries up to be an example of The merits of the “ Second Part” of wit; for which I am resolved once more to Hudibras were the same as those of the read him and see whether I can find it or Firsi, and the reception was very much the Do." It is no argument against the book same. Some there were who might take that Pepys, even on a second trial, could not interest in the inere continued story of the relish it much ; and, at all events, the town adventures of the Knight and the Squiro differed from him, for such a demand was - how they were released from the stocks there for copies that within a fortnight after by the intervention of a widow whom the its first appearance, the publisher had to Knight has been courting for her money, and warn his customers by advertisement against who, in releasing him, holds out hopes to a pirated cdition.
him, on condition of his giving himself a There seems no reason to doubt that, flagellation, which he swears to do ; how he though the poem was published anonymous- put it off till next day, and then, in riding to ly, Butler at once acknowledged himself as the the appointed spot, begins to reason with author. The King, it is said, in his first fit Ralpho whether such an oath is binding on a of delight with the book, proposed sending saint; how Ralpho, as his contribution to for him ; and it was natural, as Johnson this problem in casu istry, suggests that some mys, that every eye should watch for the one else should take the whipping in the golden shower which was to fall upon the Knight's stead, and the knight, catching at author of a performance so exactly to the the idea, proposes that Ralpho himself shall tune of the reigning taste. Butler, however, be the man; how Ralpho instantly backs was no Danae, but a somewhat unsocial man out, and there ensues an angry altercation of fifty, with few friends in town; and the between the two, which has almost come to golden shower did not fall through his gar- blows, when it is interrupted by the opporret. That he himself shared in the general tune appearance of a Skimmington Proexpectation that something would be done cession," that is, of a village rabble punishfor him, is very likely ; but he does not seem ing a scold by carrying her about astride on to have overrated the chance. As only the horseback, with her husband beside her, to author of a poem which, though a valuable the music of pots and pans and cleavers ; service to the Royalist cause, was in some re- how the knight attacks this as another heaspects merely a posthumous service, rendered thenish show, and he and Ralpho are diswhen the danger was past and the victory comfitted with rotten eggs; how, recovering accomplished, he probably saw that there from this disaster, the knight proposes to go were other claimants closer to the Royal Ex- to the widow and swear that he has duly chequer than he could expect to be.Sensi- performed the promised flagellation, but bly enough, therefore, he seems to have made thinks it worth while, on the
way, to go and up his mind to bide his time, and meanwhile consult the Rosicrucian astrologer Sidrophel, to labor patiently at the “ Second Part” of as to the probable success of his suit; and his poem, so as to get it out before the en- how this consultation, beginning in a learned thusiasm for the first part had subsided. discussion between Hudibras and Sidrophel, Already, in fact, besides pirated editions of on the occult sciences, ends also in a fight in that “. First Part,” the town was full of pre- which Hudibras, Sidrophel, Ralpho, and Sidtended continuations and imitations, in which rophel's man, Whachum, all take part, and the story was carried on, and the style and in which the conjurer has the worst of it. metre of the first part copied as closely as On the whole, however, as before, it would possible. It was late in 1663, or almost ex- be the wit of the poem, its quaint sense and actly a year after the publication of the first learning, its passages of sarcastic reflection part, that the true “ Second Part” made its on all manner of topics, and, above all, its appearance, and threw all the spurious imi- unsparing ridicule of men and things on the tations into the shade. The date on the Puritan side, rather than any merits it might title-page is 1664; but the imprimatur is possess of description and narration, that dated November 5, 1663, and the pertina- would recommend it in higher critical quar
ters. The Second Part is, indeed, even more is known, for example, that Butler continued readable than the First.
to write and to satirize his contemporaries It was high time now that the golden in occasional contributions to periodicals; shower" should descend, if it was to descend that the third and last part of Hudibras was at all; and the truth seems to be, that by published in 1678, fourteen years after the this time Butler was sorely in need of it. He second ; that for some time before his death, may have had a little money of his own, he resided in Rose Street, Longacre; and saved out of the earnings of his previous em- that at this time he had a few acquaintances ployments; and his wife had brought him in town, who saw him now and then, and some fortune, upon which he had calculated were kind to him. But whether eyen he at the time of their marriage, as a means of resided during the whole of the last seventheir joint support. But this last, his main teen years of his life in London, or whether dependence, had, his biographers inform us, during part of the time he went back to the been invested in a bad securities ;" so that, country, or lived on the Continent, is only after a while, little or nothing was to be de- matter of conjecture. On the whole, our rived from it. A post or a pension, such as, impression is, that he remained all the time, according to the lax fashion of those times, casual absences excepted, in London - remight very well have been bestowed on the cognized there, so far as he was recognized greatest anti-puritan satirist of the day with- at all, as one of the wits of the day, reguout risk of public outcry, would, in these larly indentured by his fate to literature and circumstances, have been extremely welcome. the town; and starting with this impression, As it was, however, in a court swarming and taking Rose Street, Longacre, as his with Buckinghams, Lady Castlemaines, and probable whereabouts in the metropolis, the like, any kindly intentions that may have during the whole period in question, we been entertained in behalf of a poor wit about shall piece together the remainder of the . town, soon died out and were forgotten. story as we best can. There is a vague story of a temporary dona- Dreadful seventeen years those were. tion of £300 to Butler, out of the king's own Satirist of the Puritans as Butler was, he purse, which Butler instantly expended in must have sometimes questioned with himpaying his debts ; and a still more vague self whether after all the system which had story of a subsequent annual pension of £100. come, instead of that which he had satirized, Neither story is authenticated ; at all events, was not, in essential particulars, many times the latter is false ; and the literal truth worse. He had made himself a prophet of seems to be, that from the first appearance the “ descendental," and here was "descenof Hudibras till the poet's death in 1680, he dentalism” with a vengeance ! Positively, never received a single farthing from the as we have seen it expressed, the age of the court, or anything more substantial than Restoration in England was an age when it empty praise. It was Butler's strange fate seemed as if, by one of those vicissitudes to flash all at once into a notoriety which which affect the organisms of nations as well lasted precisely two years; to fill the court as of individuals, the universal cranium of and the town during that time with a con- England, without changing its actual bulk, tinuous shout of laughter, intermingled with had been suddenly contracted in every other inquiries who and what he was ; and then direction, so as to permit an inordinate for seventeen long years to plod on in indus- increase of that region which lies over the trious obscurity, still hearing his Hudibras nape of the neck. The profligacy of the quoted, and still preparing more of it, or of times was ostentatious; the public reaction matter similar to it, but himself forgotten against the enforced moralities and decencies and unknown -a - myth” rather than a of the Commonwealth, immediate and imman.
measurable. It was not, perhaps, that the It is as a myth rather than a man, we relative proportions of virtue and vice have said — as a typical instance of talent actually existing in English society were poor, unrewarded, and miserable in its old altered, for probably these proportions are age, rather than as an actual being of Aesh more constant under all changes of system and blood — that the biographer of Butler than may at first seem ; but it was as in a is able to follow him during those seventeen state revolution or change of ministry years of his life which elapsed between the Virtue went out of office and Vice came in. publication of the “ Second Part” of his Puritanism, and whatever appertained to it, great poem and his death and burial in had been cast down from the upper places London. One or two facts, indeed, apper- of society, and driven back into conventicles taining to the actual man, break through and lurking-places and the private housethe monotonous obscurity of these long years, holds of obscure citizens, there, in token of and give individuality and substance to what its dissociation from power, to assume the otherwise would be a legend altogether. It name of Non-conformity; and the new
generation of courtiers and cavaliers, who was still talked of. Baxter, also, and other had come in with the Restoration to possess divines more or less connected with the themselves of the vacant governinent, were Puritans heretofore, were now among the far worse men than their fathers of the reign lights of the Nonconformists. All these of Charles I.
men, however, were rather in the age than Nor was it only in the court and in of it; and in speaking of the literature of matters of politics and government that the the Restoration it is invariably a different sudden change occasioned by the Restoration order of men that we have in view - those was apparent, The new literature which Royalist writers who, either reäppearing then came in was a fair reflex of the new from their various haunts and places of condition of society. There were, indeed, exile at the time of the king's restoration, exceptions. Just as the genuine Puritans or then first emerging into notice, formed the had not ceased to exist in England, but had cluster of the so-called wits of the reign of only vacated the topmost places, and been Charles II. dispersed through the body-politic under the The laureate of this new literature, and, name of Nonconformists, so there remained ex officio, therefore, its head and representain English society, even in this age of des- tive man, during the first eight years after cendentalism, a few intellectual men of the the Restoration, was Sir William Davenant. old transcendental stamp. Jeremy Taylor Except that he had no nose, and could not survived the Restoration seven years; old with propriety account for the loss of it, he Izaak Walton and Sir Thomas Browne lived was by no means a bad fellow. Milton liked through the whole reign of Charles, II. It him, and had been obliged to him for one of was chiefly, however, among men more or those offices of kindness which an influential less connected with the Puritans during the man of letters on the winning side was able period of their ascendency that these saving to perform fora political adversary whom he men, the salt of a corrupt time, were to be esteemed and admired ; and his poetry, if found. Conspicuous among them all was not immortal, was also not immoral, and at Milton. An official servant of the late least better than much that was going. But Commonwealth, and more nearly identified Davenant was rather a poet of the old school with the Regicides by his writings than any of Charles I.; he had succeeded Ben Jonson other Englishman of the intellectual class, in the laureatship in 1637, and only resumed he had with some difficulty escaped the pains his place at the Restoration in virtue of his and penalties which the Restoration brought proved loyalty and his prior tenure of it, with it for the active heads of his party; and when he was already verging on sixty. He now, blind and desolate, a spiritual relic of was still, it is true, active enough, and took the past rather than an actual part of the a great interest in the revival of the drama, present, he was spending the decline of his himself writing plays for the stage ; but, on days in some obscure retreat in London, full the whole, the conduct of the new literature of his own lofty thoughts, and building up devolved upon men who were his juniors. slowly the scheme of his majestic epic. With Nor, though Shirley, Waller, Denham, Cowwhat scorn he must have looked around him, ley, and other Royalists of distinction in and how often, before his own death in 1674, literature, were still alive to lend the lustre must he have remembered the lion-counter of their names to the opening reign of the nance of that “ Cromwell, our chief of restored monarch, were they exactly the men,” whom it was now the fashion to turn representative men. Shirley lived but a few into jest, and whom, in their impotent rage, years to enjoy the pleasure of once more his enemies had torn from his grave and treading the familiar boards and seeing his hanged and re-buried at Tyburn. Never far own plays acted; he died in 1666 at the age from Milton, and always most serious when of seventy. Waller was a wealthy gentlehe was nearest him, was Andrew Marvell. man, advanced in life ; and though he lived This
, too, was the age of Bunyan, whom long after the Restoration, and continued to Butler might have known and quizzed before give evidences both of his poetical talents and the Restoration, when he was a Baptist wit, and of the moral cowardice which had preacher at Bedford, within a mile or two distinguished his previous career, he never of Sir Samuel Luke's, and who was now, not lost a certain dignity of deportment” unlike Milton, embodying, in prison and even among the young scapegraces with under persecution, that enthusiasm of a whom he associated? Denham had a coarser bygone time which still dwelt in his soul, in fibre in him and was a younger man; but immortal written allegories. A remnant in the few years he lived after the Restoration another sense of the intellectual world of were clouded with insanity or the dread of the Commonwealth was James Harrington, it. The good and melancholy Cowley, too, the Republican theorist, whose “ Oceana,” was more properly a man of the previous age though published during the Protectorate, than of this. Though only in the prime of