1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

L. L., in "English Poets" Southern Literary Messenger [Richmond] 1 (June 1835) 563.



Butler, the comic satirist, was well drugged with the burlesque sentiments and humorous conceits so prevalent in the reign of Charles the second.

Hudibras is well known as a rough satire, but few, even of those familiar with that poem, I presume, ever thought of giving Butler credit for the refinement of thought and style so frequently entwined about masses of obscurity and ridiculous vulgarity. These silver threads are often visible to the searching eye, and lead the student to believe, that had the satirist not fallen into the vein, since his day called Hudibrastic, he would have taken fair place among the followers of Wyat.

Butler was, in his intercourse with the world, dull and unmoved, wholly wanting in the rich humor for which his writings are so famous. King Charles could scarcely be persuaded, that a man, to all appearances, so stupid, could be the author of so much written wit.