« 이전계속 »
repute in his neighbourhood, for we learn that he was much engaged in the business of the parish, that he kept the registers, and, in the year 1611, served the office of churchwarden. It may be inferred from their local connexion with Sir William Russel that the Butlers were zealous royalists; and the influence of these early associations may be followed out in the pages of Hudibras. Sir William Russel was a distinguished adherent of the royal cause, and rendered himself so conspicuous in support of it that, when Worcester capitulated to the Parliament in 1646, he was the only person excluded from the benefit of the treaty. It is highly probable that the Butlers participated in the calamities of their party, and were scattered by the devastations of the civil war. No trace has been discovered of the subsequent fortunes of the family, which consisted of seven children,* beyond the isolated fact, that after the death of the poet one of his brothers communicated some scanty, and not very accurate, recollections concerning him to Anthony Wood. Some of their descendants are said to have settled in the neighbouring villages, but they long since disappeared from the parish of Strensham. The house in which the poet was born still remains, and is shown as his birthplace. It has the appearance of having been originally a substantial dwelling, and is now tenanted by two or three poor families.
Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, was born at Strenshamt in 1612. The entry of his baptism, dated the 8th of February, 1612, appears in the parish register in the
* Three daughters and four sons. The daughters and one of the sons were born before the poet.
† Aubrey says that • Butler was born at Pershore, in Worcestershire, as we suppose,' and then adds in a note, “hard by Barton Bridge, half a mile from Worcester, in the parish of St. John.' This is inconsistent in itself, and doubtful on other grounds. There is no such place as Barton Bridge in the parish of St. John's; at least, no place known by that name in the present day. Strensham is a little village on the banks of the Avon, about ten miles south from Worcester, and close to the Eckington station on the Midland railway.
The 13th, according to the life prefixed to the Edition of 1710, and reprinted by Dr. Grey; the 14th, according to Dr. Johnson. Charles Longueville, the son of Butler's particular friend, said that
handwriting of his father. After acquiring the rudiments of his education at home, he was placed at the College School of Worcester,* of which Mr. Henry Bright, a prebendary of the Cathedral, was then the master.f He must have entered the school between the years 1621 and 1627, according to the statutes; and if the regulations were observed strictly on his admission, his father's means must have been narrow, I as the king's scholars are required to be pauperes et amicorum ope destituti.' Under the rules of the institution, he could hold his scholarship for five years, receiving his education, and £2 138. 4d. per annum in addition,
There can be httle doubt that his progress at school was rapid. Aubrey tells us that 'when but a boy he would make observations and reflections on everything one said or did, and censure it to be either well or ill;' and we are also informed
Butler was born in 1600. Dr. Nash supplies the correct date from the register.
* Called also the King's School and the Cathedral School. Dr. Johnson says that Butler was educated at the Grammar School; and the same statement is made by Carlisle, in his History of Endowed Schools. This is a mistake. The Grammar School was a separate foundation, and Mr. Bright was not the master there.
+ Mr. Henry Bright was a native of Worcester, where he was born in 1562. Early noted for his attainments, he received the appointment of master of the College School when he was only twenty-four years of age, and was made a prebendary of the Cathedral in 1619. He died in 1626, so that it is probable Butler's education at the school was completed under his successor, Mr. Henry Monk. Mr. Bright was one of the most celebrated schoolmasters of his time, and his pupils were highly distinguished at the Universities. His merits are com. memorated in a Latin epitaph written by Dr. Joseph Hall, Dean of Worcester, and inscribed on a mural tablet in the Bishop's Chapel. * For my own part,' says Fuller, 'I behold this Master Bright placed by Divine Providence in this city, in the Marches, that he might equally communicate the lustre of grammar learning to youth both of England and Wales.:-Worthies of England. It is stated by Cooksey, in his life of Lord Somers, that that celebrated person was a pupil of Bright's ; but this is an error. Lord Somers was not born for nearly a quarter of a century after the death of Bright.
I The circumstances of Butler's father are variously represented. Wood says that he was possessed of a competent property; the writer of the life, published in 1710, tells us that he made a shift to have his son educated at the free-school;' and from Aubrey we learn that he was "a man but of slender fortune, and to breed his son at school was as much education as he was able to reach to.
that he became an excellent school-scholar.'* Amongst his schoolfellows was Thomas Hall, well known as a controversial writer on the Puritan side, and master of the free-school at King's-Norton, where he died; John Toy, afterwards an author, and master of the school at Worcester; William Rowland, who turned Romanist, and, having some talent for rhyming satire, wrote lampoons at Paris, under the title of Rolandus Palingenius ; and Warmestry, afterwards Dean of Worcester.
From school he is said to have been sent to one of the Universities. The testimony on this point is loose and contradictory. Butler's brother informed Wood that the poet spent six or seven years at Cambridge, but could not tell the name of the hall or college, which he can scarcely be believed to have been ignorant of, had his information been founded on a knowledge of the fact. It seems as if he thought it necessary to Butler's reputation to have it supposed that he had been at one of the Universities, and that he threw out the assertion in this irresponsible shape to evade inquiry. Another authority affirms that Butler 'went for some little time to Cambridge, but was never matriculated into that University, his father's abilities not being sufficient to be at the charge of an academical education.'t These statements are at variance with each other; and the last is irreconcileable with itself. If Butler resided for six or seven years at Cambridge, it could not be said that he was there only for some little time; and if his father was unable to be at the charge of an academical education, it is not only unlikely that he would have incurred the expense of sending him to a University, but incomprehensible for what purpose he should have sent him there. The testimony in reference to Oxford is still more vague. It rests upon the report of some people in the neighbourhood, and is contradicted by Mr. Charles Longueville, who affirmed that Butler never resided at Oxford. Wood says that one Samuel Butler was elected from Westminster-school a student
of Christchurch in 1623, and that he made little stay, and · never was matriculated. This fact, however, sheds no light
on the inquiry, as it is clear they were different persons. If internal evidence, in such a case, were of any value, Butler's frequent and familiar use of logical terms, and allusions to the theories of Aristotle, might be thought to favour the supposition that he was educated at Oxford ; and Dr. Nash observes that some expressions in his works look as if he were acquainted with its customs, instancing the term 'coursing' as being peculiar to that University.* But this kind of knowledge might have been easily acquired without going to Oxford ; and as the speculation is entirely unsupported by circumstantial proofs, it may be safely rejected. Upon the whole, the probability is that Butler never went to either of the Universities. His father was not rich enough to defray the expenses of a collegiate course, and could not have effected it by any other means, there being at that time no exhibitions at the Worcester School.
Some time after Butler had completed his education, he obtained, through the interest of the Russels, the situation of clerk to Thomas Jefferies, of Earl's Croombe, Esq., an active justice of the peace. Earl's Croombe was situated in a retired part of the country, surrounded, says Dr. Nash, by bad roads; and in this retirement Butler had sufficient leisure to cultivate his tastes, chiefly devoting himself to the study of history and poetry, and the practice of music and painting. What proficiency he made in music does not appear, but he was so passionately fond of painting that at one time he thought of making it his profession. Amongst other pictures, he is said to have painted a portrait of Oliver Cromwell; and, although the reliques that have been preserved of his performances in this way do not exhibit much skill, f his love of the art, and, it may be presumed, the promise of excellence he displayed in its pursuit, procured for him the intimate friendship of Mr. Samuel Cooper, one of the most celebrated painters of his time.*
* As if the unreasonable fools
Hud. Part iii. c. 2. + I remember about the year 1738 being at Earl's Croombe, and seeing some pictures, said to be painted by Mr. Butler, the author of Hudibras. In the year 1774, I went to take another view of them, and found they had served to stop windows, and save the tax; and, indeed, they were not fit for much else.'-Dr. NAȘII. Horace Walpole says that several of Butler's pictures were preserved by a person in Worcestershire.
The situation Butler held under Mr. Jefferies, which, as Dr. Nash observes, 'was one that required a knowledge of the law and constitution of his country,' leads to the supposition that he must have previously given some time to the study of law, perhaps in the office of an attorney. It is not unlikely, therefore, that the interval between his leaving school and his residence at Earl's Croombe was occupied in this pursuit. We are told by Aubrey and Wood that he studied the common law, but never practised it; Chambers says that he was a member of Gray's Inn; and Dr. Nash had in his possession a MS., purchased from some of Butler's relations at the Hay, in Brecknockshire, which contained a complete syllabus of Coke upon Littleton in the handwriting of the poet. This laborious abridgment was written in Norman, or law French; and Dr. Nash conjectures that it was compiled by Butler with no other object than to impress strongly on his mind the sense of his author, and to familiarize himself with the language which, at that time, was indispensable to the study of the
* • His love to, and skill in, painting, made a great friendship between him and Mr. Samuel Cooper, the prince of limners in this age.'-AUBREY. Samuel Cooper was born in 1609. He was instructed in his art by Hoskins, a famous miniature-painter, whose reputation he lived to eclipse. Walpole says that Cooper took Vandyck for his model, and that he was the first who gave the strength and freedom of oil to miniature. The resemblance to Vandyck was so remarkable that, if a glass,' says Walpole, could expand Cooper's pictures to the size of Vandyck's, they would appear to have been painted for that proportion.' Cooper's portraits obtained for him the patronage of the court of France, where he painted several pieces larger than his usual size, for which his widow received a pension. He was married to a sister of Pope's mother ; lived many years in France and Holland, and died in London in 1672. There is a monument to him in Pancraschurch, where he was buried.