Samuel Butler (poet)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Samuel Butler (born February 8, 1612 in Strensham , Worcestershire , † September 25, 1680 in London ) was an English poet .

Samuel Butler


The farmer's son received his academic education at Worcester Cathedral School and Cambridge University . He became a clerk for a justice of the peace . After spending some time in the house of Countess Elizabeth of Kent and using her library, he entered the service of Sir Samuel Luke , an officer of Cromwell and fanatical Puritan , with whom religious and political sects were at work. Her strange demeanor put the satirical scourge in his hand, and he relentlessly brandished it in his comic epic "Hudibras" (Part 1 and 2, London 1663–64, Part 3, 1678; then often printed together, preferably in the magnificent edition by Zacharias Gray , with coppers by William Hogarth , Cambridge 1744, last 1869; with notes by Nash, first London 1793, new illustrated edition, the. 1847, 2 volumes; German von Soltau, Königsb. 1798, and Eiselein, Freiburg 1845) .

The poem, evidently an imitation of Don Quixote , depicts the adventures of the Presbyterian knight Hudibras and his squire Ralph, who roam the country to wipe out all possible evils, only when hypocrites and parasites that they are are beaten everywhere.

The work, which is sparkling with wit and written in a peculiar style, breaks off unfinished, but in this form, too, deserves great praise as a mirror of the times and customs. Butler's other poems are also of a satirical character. King Charles II read his works with keen interest and paid him the sum of £ 300.

But neither this gift nor his marriage to a rich widow protected the poet from pressing hardship. His wife's fortune was lost to unfortunate speculation, and so he died in poverty in 1680; 40 years later a memorial was erected to him in Westminster Abbey .


  • Hudibras. Written in the Time of the Late Wars. London 1674 (2 volumes)
  • Robert Thyer (Ed.): Genuine remains in prose and verse . Booker Books, London 1759 (2 volumes)
  • Reginald Bell: Poetical works . Oxford 1855 (3 volumes)
  • Charles C. Clarke (Ed.): Poetical works . London 1878 (2 volumes)


  • Samuel Johnson : The lives of the most eminent english poets. With critical observations on the works . Clarendon Press, Oxford 2005, ISBN 0-19-927897-0 (here especially volume 1)
  • Rudolf Boxberger: Butlers Hudibras. A real painting of time and morals . Teubner, Leipzig 1876 (also dissertation University of Leipzig).
  • Butler, Samuel . [poet] . In: Encyclopædia Britannica . 11th edition. tape 4 : Bishārīn - Calgary . London 1910, p. 885 (English, full text [ Wikisource ]).

Web links