Samuel Butler

(1612 - 1680 / England)

Biography of Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler poet

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 captured by Parliamentarians and the contents sold, but during the Restoration, when the Court of the Marches was revived, Carberry (the President) undertook to make the castle inhabitable again. Part of Samuel Butler's work at the castle was towards this end, with account books apparently showing him making payments to craftsmen working on the repairs. He is supposed to have married around this time and was certainly still working on Hudibras, a satire ridiculing religious hypocrisy, while at Ludlow. He gave up his stewardship in January 1662 and the first part of Hudibras was published in December of the same year.

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Sonnets On Miss Savage

She was too kind, wooed too persistently,
Wrote moving letters to me day by day;
The more she wrote, the more unmoved was I,
The more she gave, the less could I repay.
Therefore I grieve, not that I was not loved,
But that, being loved, I could not love again.
I liked, but like and love are far removed;
Hard though I tried to love I tried in vain.