Samuel Butler

(1612 - 1680 / England)

Samuel Butler
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Poet and satirist; born at Strensham in Worcestershire and educated at the King's School, Worcester. He then went to work as a secretary to Thomas Jefferey at Earl's Croom, near to Upton-upon-Severn. He took up painting and there are two portraits attributed to him in the nearby rectory.

Charles II is known to have had a high opinion of Butler's great religious satire Hudibras (1663-1678) and awarded him an annual pension of £100, although the writer still died in poverty.

Butler began Hudibras while lodging in Holborn around 1658. In 1661 he is recorded as being at Ludlow Castle as steward to Richard Vaughan, Earl of Carberry. During the Civil War the castle had been... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''The Athanasian Creed is to me light and intelligible reading in comparison with much that now passes for science.''
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 125, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
  • ''It is tact that is golden, not silence.''
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 229 (1951).
  • ''The dead being the majority it is a natural thing that we should have more friends among these than among the living.''
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 221, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
  • ''It is the function of vice to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.''
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 219 (1951).
  • ''America was too big to have been discovered all at one time. It would have been better for the graces if it had been discovered in pieces of about the size of France or Germany at a time.''
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 135, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
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Best Poem of Samuel Butler

Hudibras: Part 1 - Canto I

THE ARGUMENT

Sir Hudibras his passing worth,
The manner how he sallied forth;
His arms and equipage are shown;
His horse's virtues, and his own.
Th' adventure of the bear and fiddle
Is sung, but breaks off in the middle.


When civil dudgeon a first grew high,
And men fell out they knew not why?
When hard words, jealousies, and fears,
Set folks together by the ears,
And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
For Dame Religion, as for punk;
Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore:
When Gospel-Trumpeter, ...

Read the full of Hudibras: Part 1 - Canto I

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