1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine 8 (October 1738) 521.



The next who took his Seat was a jolly Person, who at first sight seemed to have a heavy Look, but upon a nearer View I observ'd a great deal of Spirit in his Eye, together with as much good Nature as I think I have ever beheld. Several of his Company were beginning to be merry upon his Dress, which was comical enough; but he soon silenc'd them by being harder upon it than any of them. I turn'd to my Guide, who I saw was still employ'd in surveying Sir William, and ask'd who the last Member was. He answer'd that it Samuel Butler, happy, continued he, in his Muse, but still happier in his natural Temper, which bore him up amidst a Variety of Disappointments and Pressures. His Conversation with the other Members of this Assembly has a good deal brighten'd up that Fund of Genius he possessed when he was alive; but the facetious Humour, which he display'd in writing, was so much hid in his Conversation, that King Charles, who had a Curiosity to see the Author of Hudibras, could never be brought to believe that he wrote that incomparable Poem.