1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 241-43.



Butler stands without a rival in burlesque poetry. His Hudibras is, in its kind, almost as great an effort of genius as the Paradise Lost itself. It abounds with uncommon learning, new rhymes, and original thoughts. Its images are truly and naturally ridiculous: we are never shocked with excessive distortion or grimace; nor is human nature degraded to that of monkeys and yahoos. There are in it many strokes of temporary satire, and some characters and allusions which cannot be discovered at this distance of time. The character of Hudibras is, with good reason, believed to have been intended for Sir Samuel Luke, and that of Whachum, but with much less probability, for Captain George Wharton. Ob. Sept. 1680.