1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 53.



From a Picture by Sir Peter Lely, in the Collection of Lord Kinnoul.

What a shrewd, bold, jolly-looking portrait is this of BUTLER. He seems built up on a foundation as big as Babel or St. Paul's, and to rise till his head is hid in the vast cloud of hair with which the preposterous fashion of the times has crowned it. This is the parent of the "colonelling knight," reader; the celebrated historian of Hudibras. Does not his face bear fine testimony to the character of his wit? It is full, free, merry, shrewd, and reminds one of the portraits of Fielding; which, however, seem scarcely to contain such a body of humour, as lies half-hid in the more portly countenance of Butler. There is almost a meagreness in the face of the author of Tom Jones; but there is nothing of the sort in his works, which are still unequalled.