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It would appear from a communication in the Gentleman's Magazine that Butler prepared a body of notes to the whole poem. The writer states, on the authority of a MS. memorandum of Dr. Ducarel, 1755, that ‘Mr. Lydal, late fellow of Magdalen College, Cambridge, had Hudibras with Butler's own MS. notes;' he adds, however, that he can find no such name among the Cambridge graduates.*
Subsequent editions appeared in 1684, 1689, 1694, 1700, 1704, 1710, and 1726. Dr. Richard Wilkes, the historian of Staffordshire, contemplated an edition of Hudibras with notes, which he did not live to carry into execution ;t and Mr. Samuel Wesley formed collections for the same purpose, but what progress he made, or what became of his materials, is not known. I
In 1744, Dr. Grey published an edition of Hudibras with elaborate annotations. The work had a considerable subscription, and realized a sum of £1500. It was severely attacked by the critics; but it has survived its assailants. The industry and learning of Dr. Grey enabled him to throw floods of light into the most obscure passages of the poem ; and, although his judgment is not always sound, and he heaps up much extraneous matter in his notes, he laid a solid foundation for the labours of all succeeding editors. He committed the mistake of adopting the text of the early editions instead of that of 1674, which contains Butler's final alterations; and, believing in the genuineness of the Posthumous Works, afterwards shown by Mr. Thyer to be spurious, he frequently quotes them in illustration and support of facts and points of criticism. This latter error was rectified in a costly reprint of his edition published in 1819, to which some useful matter was added.
Dr. Nash published an annotated edition of Hudibras in 1793, the main object of which was, as stated in the preface, 'to remove the difficulties arising from fluctuations of language, disuse of customs, &c., and to point out some of the passages in the Greek and Roman authors to which the poet alludes. In this edition, Dr. Nash judiciously availed himself of the labours of Dr. Grey, and by adopting the text of 1674, presented the poem in a purer form.
* Gentleman's Magazine. October, 1792. + Censura Literaria, iii. 222.
t Nash's Hudibras, i. xxxi.
The edition now submitted to the public is founded upon a careful examination of former editions, from the earliest to the last reprint of that by Dr. Nash. The text has been carefully collated, and cleared of obsolete orthography; obscurities arising from vague or false punctuation have been removed; and many errors of the press, which had been implicitly copied in successive impressions, have been corrected. The edition of 1674, containing the First and Second Parts revised by Butler, has been, with few exceptions, followed throughout; and wherever any variances occur they are explained and reasons assigned for them at the foot of the pages. In the annotations, special regard has been had to the brief notes which are either known, or supposed, to have been written by Butler; and additional illustrations have been drawn from the fragments published by Mr. Thyer, in some of which are to be traced the germs of passages afterwards enlarged in Hudibras. The researches of Drs. Grey and Nash have been attentively examined, and none of their essential features have escaped observation. Notes taken directly from them are indicated by the initials, G. and N., affixed to them; and in other cases authorities are acknow, ledged in other forms. Much new matter has been added, particularly in reference to the social life of the period, towards a fuller knowledge of which many valuable contributions have been made since the appearance of the edition by Dr. Nash; and the notes have been compiled with the utmost brevity, consistent with perspicuity of statement and popular exposition.
Some account of the translations that have been made of Hudibras, which Voltaire declared to be untranslateable, will be found in the Supplemental Notes.]
PART 1.—CANTO I.
W HEN civil furyt first grew high,
And men fell out, they knew not why;
* Ronsarde's Franciade and Davenant's Gondibert, both unfinished, are supposed by Warburton to be ridiculed in this line.
† Originally printed civil dudgeon, altered by Butler, in the second edition, to civil fury. The alteration was followed in the four succeeding editions ; but in 1704 the original reading was reverted to, and has been adopted by all subsequent editors, including Dr. Grey, till Dr. Nash restored the author's emendation. Except in a purely burlesque sense, the word dudgeon does not convey the meaning obviously intended to be expressed.
The jargon of the sectaries, such as gospel-walking, soul-saving, the elect, the predestinate, the saints, the malignants, the godless. They set the people, says Dr. Grey, against the Common Prayer, which they made them believe was the Mass in English, and nicknamed it Porridge, and enraged them also against the surplice, calling it a rag of popery, the whore of Babylon's smock, &c. $ And pricks up his predestinating ears.
DRYDEN.-Hind and Panther. The ears of the Presbyterians appeared long from the same cause which procured for them the name of Round-heads—the custom of cutting their hair close, which gave great prominence to the ears.
|| The whole description refers to the violence of the preachers, who, from the pulpit, excited the people to take up arms against the king.
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling,
A wight he was, whose very sight would
* Sir Samuel Luke, in addition to his scout-mastership and his other offices, was colonel of a regiment of foot. The passage, however, is equally applicable to the whole class, of which Sir Samuel wa minent member.
† The Presbyterians refused to kneel at the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and insisted upon receiving it in a sitting or standing posture. -See Baxter's Life, &c. In some of the kirks in Scotland, the pews are so made, that it is very difficult for any one to kneel.-N.
I Swaddle has two legitimate meanings—to beat, or cudgel, and to swathe, or bind up with bandages or clothing. From the latter is derived the verb swathe, and the adjective swaddling clothes. The sense in which it is here used is not very certain. The term swaddler was also applied in derision as a nickname to the sectaries; in that sense, to swaddle meant to affect the puritanical forms.
$ When I am playing with my cat, says Montaigne in his Essays,
Complains she thought him but an ass,
He was in logic a great critic,
who knows but I make her more sport than she makes me ?-nay, that she laughs at and censures my folly in making sport for her, and even pities me that I do not understand her better?
* As to.
† This couplet is an alteration of one in the first edition, which contained a coarseness Butler afterwards struck out.
The succeeding passage may be regarded not only as a general satire on the abuses and affectation of learning, but as having a special application to the period, in reference to people who rose during the Civil Wars to places of trust and responsibility. These justices of peace, observes Lord Clarendon, were raised out of a class of pers previously been of no higher grade than constables ; and the town of