Samuel Butler, an English poet, born at Strensham, Feb. 13, 1612, died in London, Sept. 25, 1680. The son of a farmer, he commenced his education at Worcester, and sought ineffectually the means of studying at Cambridge. As clerk to a justice of the peace he obtained leisure during several years to cultivate literature and the arts. He was afterward an inmate of the family of the countess of Kent, where he enjoyed the use of a library and the conversation of the learned Selden, who often employed him as an amanuensis. He next appears, probably as tutor, in the family of Sir Samuel Luke, one of Cromwell's officers, who is supposed to have been the original of Sir Hudibras. After the restoration he was appointed secretary to the earl of Car-bury, lord president of Wales, who made him steward of Ludlow castle. At 50 years of age he married a widow of good family and fortune, but the fortune was lost by bad investment. In 1663 appeared the first part of "Hudibras," a poem ridiculing the Puritans, abounding in wit, learning, satire, and ingenious thought, and which has remained without a rival in English burlesque poetry.
The knight Sir Hudibras and his squire Ralph are made to present a most grotesque appearance, in ludicrous exaggeration of the affected language, dress, and moral severity of the Crom-wellians. The poem suited the prevalent taste of the time, and obtained the highest popularity. It was quoted by Charles II., studied by the courtiers, and applauded by the whole royalist party. The only recompense received by Butler was a present of £300 from the king. Two other parts of it were published in 1664 and in 1678, but it was left unfinished. Although Butler enjoyed a great reputation at a brilliant court and among distinguished men, there is even less known of the later than of the earlier part of his life, and it is only certain that he died in poverty and obscurity in a mean street in London. Among his shorter poems is one on "The Elephant in the Moon," in which he ridicules the philosophical researches of the royal society. Of his few prose works, the " Characters " are the most interesting.
Samuel Butler, an English bishop and philologist, born at Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Jan. 3, 1774, died at Eccleshall castle, Staffordshire, Dec. 4, 1839. He was educated at Rugby and at St. John's college, Cambridge, in 1797 was elected fellow of his college, and in 1798 was appointed head master of the endowed school of Shrewsbury, in which he continued 38 years. While thus occupied he received several church preferments: in 1802, the vicarage of Kenil-worth; in 1817, a prebendal stall in Lichfield cathedral; in 1822, the archdeaconry of Derby. He was made D. D. in 1811, and was appointed bishop of Lichfield in 1836. His best known literary production is his edition of AEs-chylus, from the text of Stanley (4 vols. 4to, 1809-'16). He also published a "Praxis on the Latin Prepositions," several geographical works, and a number of tracts and sermons. In conjunction with the Rev. Francis Hodgson he translated Lucien Bonaparte's epic of " Charlemagne".