Biography of Samuel Butler
Poet and satirist; born at Strensham in Worcestershire and educated at the King's School, Worcester. He then went to work as a secretary to Thomas Jefferey at Earl's Croom, near to Upton-upon-Severn. He took up painting and there are two portraits attributed to him in the nearby rectory.
Charles II is known to have had a high opinion of Butler's great religious satire Hudibras (1663-1678) and awarded him an annual pension of £100, although the writer still died in poverty.
Butler began Hudibras while lodging in Holborn around 1658. In 1661 he is recorded as being at Ludlow Castle as steward to Richard Vaughan, Earl of Carberry. During the Civil War the castle had been captured by Parliamentarians and the contents sold, but during the Restoration, when the Court of the Marches was revived, Carberry (the President) undertook to make the castle inhabitable again. Part of Samuel Butler's work at the castle was towards this end, with account books apparently showing him making payments to craftsmen working on the repairs. He is supposed to have married around this time and was certainly still working on Hudibras, a satire ridiculing religious hypocrisy, while at Ludlow. He gave up his stewardship in January 1662 and the first part of Hudibras was published in December of the same year.
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Samuel Butler Poems
The Metaphysical Sectarian
HE was in Logick a great Critick, Profoundly skill'd in Analytick. He could distinguish, and divide A Hair 'twixt South and South-West side:
Hudibras: Part 1 - Canto I
Sir Hudibras his passing worth, The manner how he sallied forth; His arms and equipage are shown;
Sonnets On Miss Savage
She was too kind, wooed too persistently, Wrote moving letters to me day by day; The more she wrote, the more unmoved was I,
Puritans - (from Hudibras)
Our brethren of New England use Choice malefactors to excuse, And hang the guiltless in their stead, Of whom the churches have less need;
Hudibras: Part 3 - Canto II
The Saints engage in fierce Contests About their Carnal interests; To share their sacrilegious Preys,
Hudibras: Part 3 - Canto I
The Knight and Squire resolve, at once, The one the other to renounce. They both approach the Lady's Bower;
Hudibras: Part 2 - Canto II
The Knight and Squire, in hot dispute, Within an ace of falling out, Are parted with a sudden fright
Hudibras: Part 2 - Canto I
The Knight by damnable Magician, Being cast illegally in prison, Love brings his Action on the Case.
Hudibras: Part 3 - Canto III
The Knight and squire's prodigious Flight To quit th' inchanted Bow'r by Night. He plods to turn his amorous Suit
Hudibras - The Lady's Answer to The Knig...
That you're a beast, and turn'd to grass, Is no strange news, nor ever was; At least to me, who once you know, Did from the pound replevin you,
Hudibras, Part I (excerpts)
THE ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST CANTOSir Hudibras his passing worth, The manner how he sallied forth; His arms and equipage are shown; His horse's virtues, and his own.
An Heroic Epistle of Hudibras To His Lad...
I who was once as great as Caesar, Am now reduc'd to Nebuchadnezzar; And from as fam'd a conqueror As ever took degree in war,
Hudibras: Part 1 - Canto III
The scatter'd rout return and rally, Surround the place; the Knight does sally,
Sonnets On Miss Savage
She was too kind, wooed too persistently,
Wrote moving letters to me day by day;
The more she wrote, the more unmoved was I,
The more she gave, the less could I repay.
Therefore I grieve, not that I was not loved,
But that, being loved, I could not love again.
I liked, but like and love are far removed;
Hard though I tried to love I tried in vain.