1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Butt

Stephen Jones, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1812) 1:80-81.



GEORGE BUTT, D. D. was born at Lichfield, December 26, 1741, and received the rudiments of his education in the grammar-school at Stafford; from thence he was sent to Westminster school, where he distinguished himself by his poetical compositions, and his public speaking, and at length became captain of the school. From Westminster he was, in 1760, chosen student of Christ Church, Oxford. In 1765 he was ordained deacon, and appointed curate of Leigh, in Staffordshire. In 1771, he was presented, by Sir Edward Winnington, of Stanford Court, Worcestershire (to whose son he had been long tutor), to the rectory of Stanford, and the vicarage of Clifton, in Worcestershire. Here, besides composing many excellent poems and sermons, he exercised his genius on dramatic composition. In 1777, he proposed to bring on the stage a tragedy he had written, called Timoleon; but, by the opinion of Mr. Garrick, it was not put into performance. In the year 1778, the Bishop of Bristol presented Dr. Butt with the living of New-church, in the Isle of Wight; which, in 1783, he exchanged for that of Notgrove, in Gloucestershire. In the same year he was appointed one of the chaplains in ordinary to His Majesty. In 1787, he was presented to the valuable vicarage of Kidderminster, where he was attacked by a stroke of palsy, on the 30th of June, 1795. He was brought home to his family at Stanford, and died there on the 30th of September, in the same year. His sermons display a rare originality of conception, an inexhaustible richness of ideas, and an animated flow of words. In his poetry he seems to have taken Milton and Dryden for his models.