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law. He also compiled and transcribed a French Dictionary, doubtless with the same object. But the most conclusive evidence of his acquaintance with common law is to be found in his works, which abound in professional allusions and technical terms.*
After having remained some time in his employment at Earl's Croombe (how long is not known), Butler quitted it for a more agreeable situation in the household of the Earl of Kent, at Wrest in Bedfordshire. He seems to have been
* A few examples from Hudibras will show Butler's intimate knowledge of legal forms and phraseology:
Great on the bench, great in the saddle,
attached to the service of the Countess,* probably as one of her gentlemen, to whom she is said to have paid £20. a-year each.f The time when he entered upon this situation, which Aubrey says he held for several years, may be determined with some degree of accuracy by the fact that he found Selden here, and was frequently engaged by him in writing letters and making translations. It was in June, 1628, after the prorogation of the third Parliament of Charles I., that Selden, who sat in the House of Commons for Lancaster, retired to Wrest for the purpose of completing, with the advantages of quiet and an extensive library, his labours on the Marmora Arundelliana ;ş and we may presume that it was during the interval of the parliamentary recess, while Selden was thus occupied, that Butler, then in his seventeenth year,||
* Elizabeth, one of the three daughters, and co-heiresses, of Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. She is described by the early biographer of Butler as ' a great encourager of learning. After the death of the Earl of Kent in 1639, Selden is said to have been domesticated with her at Wrest, and in her town house in White Friars. Aubrey affirms that he was married to her, but that he never acknowledged the marriage till after her death, on account of some law affairs. The Countess died in 1651, and appointed Selden her executor, leaving him the house in White Friars. He is supposed to have derived from her the greater part of his fortune, which was considerable, amounting to about 40,000l.
Aubrey. f Great Selden, who was much conversant in the family of the Countess, had an esteem for, and would often employ him to write letters beyond sea, and translate for him.'- WOOD. Some time before 1628 Selden had been appointed solicitor and steward to the Earl of Kent, and his legal services were afterwards considered so important in certain law-suits between the Earls of Arundel, Pembroke, Kent, and Shrewsbury, that those noblemen interceded in 1631 to obtain his liberation from prison, in order to obtain the benefit of his assistance.
$ When the Arundel Marbles arrived in England, Sir Robert Cotton requested Selden to examine them, and he entered upon the task with enthusiasm. He was assisted in his investigations by two distinguished antiquaries, Patrick Young and Richard James. The work was finished at Wrest, and published in 1629, under the title of Marmora Arundelliana, sive Saxa Græca Incisa, with a dedication to his fellowlabourer, Patrick Young. In the preface Selden specially refers to the advantages he enjoyed of compiling the publication in the retirement of Wrest.
|| This corresponds with the account given by Aubrey, who says that Butler came when a young man to be a servant to the Countess of Kent.'
was received into the house of the Countess of Kent.* What was the nature of the duties assigned to him in his new employment, or under what circumstances he ultimately left the Countess to live with Sir Samuel Luke, a gentleman residing in the same county, cannot now be ascertained. Dr. Nash conjectures that it was during his residence at Wrest he planned Hudibras. There is not only no ground, however, for entertaining this supposition, but much reason, founded on tradition and probability, for referring the origin of the work to a later period.
Sir Samuel Luke lived at Woodend, or Cople Hoo Farm. Cople is three miles south of Bedford, and in its church are still to be seen many monuments of the Luke family, who flourished in that part of the country as early as the reign of Henry VIII. During the reign of Elizabeth, Nicholas Luke, of Woodend, served the office of sheriff twice, and Sir Oliver Luke, the father of Sir Samuel, filled the same office in the reign of James I. Sir Samuel Luke, knighted in 1624, was a rigid Presbyterian, high in the favour of Cromwell; a colonel in the army of the Parliament, a justice of
* May we not conjecture,' observes Mr. Singer, in his excellent Biographical Preface to Selden's Table Talk, 'that Butler owed this favour to Selden himself ? The conjecture is one which we should be very willing to accept; but all the circumstances with acquainted respecting Butler's connexion with the family of the Countess of Kent, lead to a different inference. He remained at Wrest long after this visit of Selden's, and, although Selden was in constant habits of intercourse with the Earl and the Countess, it does not appear that an intimacy at any time existed between him and Butler. Their
pathies, also, drew them in opposite directions. Selden was one of the most active opponents of the Court, and Butler was trained up a royalist. Amongst the men of learning and genius to whom Selden dispensed his hospitality, and with whom he preserved a correspondence, there is no trace to be found of the name of Butler. Selden's associates were men of an earlier period, such as Usher, Ben Jonson, Drayton, and Browne ; and, dying nine years before lication of Hudibras, he was not likely to have appreciated the merits of Butler, which lay mainly in his writings.
† Aubrey says that while he was with the Countess of Kent, 'he employed his time much in painting and drawing, and also in music.' It may have been at this period, during his intercourse with Selden, that he painted the portrait of Oliver Cromwell.
the peace for Bedford and Surrey, scoutmaster-general for Bedfordshire, which he represented in the Long Parliament, and Governor of Newport Pagnell.* He possessed ample estates in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire,f and devoted his fortune to the promotion of the popular cause. His house was the open resort of the Puritans, whose frequent meetings for the purposes of council, prayer, and preparation for the field, afforded Butler an opportunity of observing, under all their phases of inspiration and action, the characters of the men whose influence was working a revolution in the country. It has been generally supposed that the scenes he witnessed on these occasions suggested to him the subject of his great poem. That it was at this period he conceived the idea, and threw into their first crude shape some of the striking points of Hudibras, is extremely probable. He kept a common-place book, in which he was in the habit of noting down particular thoughts and fugitive criticisms; and Mr. Thyer, the editor of his Remains, who had this book in his possession, says that it was full of shrewd remarks, paradoxes, and witty sarcasms. In this way he collected and preserved his materials, to be afterwards, as opportunity served, wrought into a connected form. The daily occurrences, of which he was a spectator in the house of Sir Samuel Luke, supplied him with abundant hints, which he slowly accumulated, in the manner of the fragments published under the title of Miscellaneous Thoughts, many
Dr. Grey, in his notes on Hudibras, refers to some original letters of Sir Samuel Luke to Pym and Lenthall, preserved in the MS. col. lections of Dr. Williams, formerly president of St. John's College, Cambridge. These letters were written while Sir Samuel held the office of Governor of Newport. In one of them he informs Pym that the Earl of Essex had beaten the King's garrison out of the place; and in another he desires that a weekly sum of £1000 shall be levied on the counties of Bedford, Hertford, and Northampton, for the support of the garrison. In a third letter, to Lenthall, he gives a description of the state of the town and the troops. From a passage in Lilly's Life and Times, it appears that Sir Samuel Luke was Governor of New port in the year 1645.
† Pepys tells us that Sir George Carteret bought an estate in Northamptonshire from Sir Samuel Luke, for which he paid £3000.
of which he subsequently drafted into his larger poems; and we may conclude, from the imperfect state in which Hudibras was left by its author, who lived long enough to complete it if he had a clear conception of how it was to end, and from the remarkable want of unity throughout, that the work was commenced without any definite plan, and written piecemeal, from time to time, during the Interregnum. Nor is it probable that the design took a distinct shape till the return of Charles II. gave security to the writer. The boldness of the satire seems to indicate feelings of triumph and impunity.
Cople Hoo not only suggested to Butler the subject of his poem, but supplied him with its hero. The following passage leaves little doubt as to the person intended to be represented in the character of Hudibras :
'Tis sung, there is a valiant Mamaluke
The name of Sir Samuel Luke accurately fills the blank ; and that such was the design of the author seems to be clear from the prominence he gives to this particular couplet, which is in a different measure from the rest of the poem, and requires the full style of the knight to make it complete. Some writers have maintained that as this passage is spoken by Hudibras in person, it proves that the character could not have been drawn for Sir Samuel Luke, it being a very unusual thing to compare a person with himself; but, on the other hand, the fact that Hudibras goes out of his way in the first canto to apprise his readers of the resemblance he bears to a well-known leader amongst the Puritans, may be assumed as placing beyond controversy the intention of the satire. Other circumstances tend to confirm this assumption. The description that has come down to us, in the memoirs of 1659, of the person and character of Sir Samuel Luke, corresponds exactly with Butler's portrait of Hudibras; and it is certain that his contemporaries generally understood that he