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well Mr. Butler had deserved of the royal family, by writing his inimitable Hudibras, and that it was a reproach to the court, that a person of his loyalty and wit should suffer in obscurity, and under the want he did. The duke always seemed to hearken to him with attention enough ; and after some time undertook to recommend his pretensions to his majesty. Mr. Wycherley, in hopes to keep him steady to his word, obtained of his grace to name a day when he might introduce that modest and unfortunate poet to his new patron. At last an appointment was made, and the
place of meeting was agreed to be the Roebuck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended accordingly; the duke joined them; but as the — I would have it, the door of the room wbere they sat was open, and his grace, who had seated himself near it, observing, a pimp of his acquaintance, -the creature, too, was a knight,-trip by with a brace of ladies, immediately quitted his engagement to follow another kind of business, at which he was more ready than at doing good offices to men of desert, though no one was better qualified than he, both in regard of his fortune and understanding, to protect them; and from that time to the day of his death, poor Butler never found the least effect of his promise !”
The brightest gleam of his life would seem to be between his quitting Sir Samuel Luke's and the publication of his Hudibras ; but when this exactly took place, and how long this lasted, we are not informed. It must, however, have taken place between the king's return, which was in 1659, and 1664, some five years or so. During this period he was made secretary to the Earl of Carberry, president of the principality of Wales, who made him steward of Ludlow Castle, when the Court of Marches was revived.
This was a post in which a poet might feel himself well placed. This ancient castle of the Lacys and Mortimers stands at the west end of the town of Ludlow, on a bold rock, overlooking the river Corve, and near the confluence of that river and the Teme. Many striking events had occurred here since the time that William the Conqueror bestowed it on Roger de Montgomery, from whose descendants it passed successively into the hands of the crown, the Warines, the Lacys, and the Mortimers. On the borders of Wales, it was a stronghold of the crown of England, and, after it fell again into the hands of the king, became the palace of the President of the Marches, and often the residence of princes. Here the young king Edward V. lived, and left it only to proceed to London, into the murderous hands of his uncle, Richard III, who, within two months of his quitting this quiet asylum, had him and his brother smothered in the Tower. Here Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII, was married to Catharine of Arragon, who, after his death, was married to his brother, Henry VIII; her divorce finally leading to the Reformation in England. Here Sir Philip Sidney's father, Sir Henry Sidney, had lived, as President of the Marches ; and many a scene of splendour and festivity had lit up the venerable towers, on the occasion of royal visits, and other seasons of rejoicing. Above all, it was for one of those occasions that the youthful Milton had composed his Comus ; and on a visit of Charles I, in 1631, to the Earl of Bridgwater, then President of the Marches, it was performed before him; the work being founded on a real incident occurring in the Lord President's own family, which is thus related by Nightingale :“When he had entered on his official residence, he was visited by a large assembly of the neighbouring nobility and gentry. His sons, the Lord Brackley and Sir Thomas Egerton, and his daughter, the Lady Alice, being on their journey,
* To attend their father's state,
And new intrusted sceptre,' were benighted in Haywood Forest, in Herefordshire, and the lady for a short time was lost. The adventure being related to their father on their arrival at the castle, Milton, at the request of his friend, Henry Lawes, who taught music in the family, wrote the masque. Lawes set it to music, and it was acted on Michaelmas Night; the two brothers, the young lady, and Lawes himself, each bearing a part in the representation."
This single circumstance, of being the scene of the first representation of the Mask of Comus, one of Miltou's most beautiful compo sitions, has given a perpetual interest to Ludlow Castle.
The genius of Butler was of a different stamp. It wanted the sublimity, the pathos, and tender sensibilities of that of Milton; but, on the other hand, for perception of the ridiculous,-for a diving into the closest folds of cant and fanatical pretence,—for a rough, bold, and humorous power of sketching ordinary life,—it was unrivalled. A tower is still shown as the place where he wrote a part of his Hudibras. Whether it be the precise fact or not, it is idle to inquire. There our author has resided; there he is said to have written something or other, and the very room and spot of its composition are pointed out. It is best not to be too critical ; and, on the other hand, if we believe in general that where a man of genius has lived he has also written, we shall seldom be far wrong. There is little doubt that here Butler, possessed of more leisure and independence than at any other period of his life, did really revise and prepare his work for press; of which the first part was published in 1663, and the second in the year following:
Here he married Mrs. Herbert, a lady of good family, with whom he lived in comfort, if not in affluence. Of the place where Comus was first acted by the real personages of it, and where Butler brought forth his Hudibras, some idea may be gratifying to the reader. It was deserted in the first year of William and Mary, in consequence of the dissolution of the Court of the Marches. From an inventory of the goods found in Ludlow Castle, bearing date 1708, in the eleventh year of Queen Anne, there appeared to be then forty rooms entire. Many of the royal apartments were in that condition ; and the couch of state and the velvet hangings were preserved. In the chápel there were still to be seen on the panels many coats of arms; and in the hall many of the same kind of ornaments, together with lances, spears, firelocks, and old armour. On the accession of George I, an order came down to unroof the buildings, and strip them of their lead. Decay consequently ensued. Several panels bearing the arms of the Lords President, were converted into wainscoting for a public-house in the town, a former owner of which enriched himself by the sale of materials clandestinely carried away: There remains also a rich embroidered carpet, hung up in the chancel of St. Lawrence's church, said to be part of the covering of the councilboard. The Earl of Powis, who previously held the castle in virtue of a long lease, acquired the reversion in fee by purchase from the crown in 1811.
The whole is now a scene of venerable ruin. The castle rises from the point of a headland, and its foundations are engrafted into a bare grey rock. The north front consists of square towers with high connecting walls, which are embattled with deep interstices; and the old fosse, and part of the rock, have been formed into walks, which in 1722 were planted with beech, elm, and lime trees by the Countess of Powis, and those trees, now grown to maturity, add exceedingly to the dignity and beauty of the scene. Through a chasm on the west runs the broad and shallow river Teme. It were too long to describe all this mass of ruins, with its various courts, remains of barracks, and escutcheoned walls. The first view of the interior of the castle is fine. The court is an irregular square area, not very spacious; but the lofty embattled structures with which it is surrounded, though in ruin, still preserve their original outlines. The spacious hall is of sixty feet by thirty, the height about thirtyfive feet, and is ornamented with a door with a beautiful pointed arch. The once elegant saloon, where the splendid scene of Comus was first exhibited; where chivalry exhausted her choicest stores, both of invention and wealth, and where hospitality and magnificence blazed for many ages in succession, without diminution or decay—is now totally dilapidated, and neither roof nor floor remains.
From the time of Butler's quitting this scene of his ease and happiness, he seems to have experienced only poverty and neglect. His wife's fortune is said to have been lost through bad securities ; his expectations from the royal person, or the royal party whom he had so immensely served, were wholly disappointed ; and in 1680 he died, where, on the authority of the son of his truest friend and benefactor, Mr. Longueville, he had lived some years, in Rose-street, Coventgarden. Mr. Longueville exerted himself to raise a subscription for his interment in Westminster Abbey, but in vain; he therefore buried him at his own cost in the churchyard of Covent-garden. About sixty years afterwards, Mr. Barber, a printer, Lord Mayor of London, and a friend to Butler's principles, bestowed on him that monument in Westminster Abbey which is well known.
Such were the life, fortunes, and death of the author of Hudibras, whose name, as Johnson justly observes, can only perish with his language. It was his misfortune to look for protection to a monarch who only protected courtezans, and the most disgusting of libertines. Butler should have been a pimp, and not a poet, and he would soon have found employment enough. His neglect is but one opprobrium more added to the mercory of a monarch whose whole life was a Quisance and a disgrace to the country which tolerated him.
DRYDEN should have been transferred to the volume of the dramatic poets, if the quality of his dramas had borne any relative proportion to their quantity, or to the quality of his poetry; but it is the latter which gives him his great and lasting distinction. They are his Satires, and Fables, and Translations; his Absalom and Achitophel ; his Hind and Panther ; his Palemon and Arcite; the Flower and the Leaf; and, in short, all those racy and beautiful stories which he threw into modern poetry from Chaucer and Boccaccio, with his Virgil, and lyrical compositions, and, at the head of these, his Ode on št. Cecilia's Day, that stamp his character with the English public as one of the most vigorous, harmonious, and truly British writers. Dryden displayed no great powers of creation ; perhaps the literary hurry of his life prevented this; but he contemplated for years a national epic on Prince Arthur; and probably, had he possessed perfect leisure for carrying out this design, he would have astonished us as much with the display of that faculty as he delights us with the masterly vigour of his reasoning powers; with his harmony and nerve of style ; and with the stiletto stabs of his annihilating satire. But from any necessity of criticism on his genius, the familiar acquaintance of every true lover of poetry with the merits and beauties which have fixed his immortality, fortunately for my space, fully exempts me. Even over the long succession of literary events in his life we must pass, and fix our attention on his homes and haunts. For nearly forty years, from 1660 to 1700, he was before the public as an active author; and on the disappearance of Milton from the field of life, he became, and continued to be, the most marked man of his time; yet it is astonishing how little is known of his town haunts and habits. Of his publications, the appearance of his dramas, the controversies into which he fell with his literary cotemporaries, his change of religion, and his clinging to the despotic government of the Stuarts, we know enough; but of his home life, next to nothing. That he lived in Gerrard-street, and was a constant frequenter of Will's coffee-house, Covent-garden, seems to be almost all that is known of his town resorts. Like Addison, and most literary men who have married titled ladies, he did not find it contribute much to his comfort. His wife was Lady Elizabeth Howard, the eldest daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, and sister of his friend Sir Robert Howard. He was married at St. Swithin's Church, London Stone, Cannon-street, and the following copy of the entry in the register has been kindly forwarded to me by the Rev. W. G. Watkins, son of the rector of that church. It is in engrossing hand : “John Dryden and Elizabeth Howard married 1st of December, 1663, by license." His wife's temper is said to have been very peculiar, and that she looked down on Dryden as of inferior rank, though he was descended from a very old family, mixed with the most distinguished men of the nobility, and was the first man of his time; but conceit or the blindness of aristocratic pride do not alter the real nature or proportion of things, except in the vision of the person afflicted with them. Dryden was the great personage, and his titled wife the little one, and on him, therefore, lay the constant pressure of the unequal yoke he bore.
What no doubt rendered the conduct of his wife worse, was the pride of her family on the one hand, and the unlucky connexion of Dryden's brothers with ordinary trades. His family, and that of his mother, the Pickerings, had taken a decided part during the civil wars for the parliament, while that of his wife had been as zealous on the royalist side. Besides this, Erasmus, his immediate younger brother, was in trade in King-street, Westminster; James, the fourth brother, was a tobacconist in London; one of his sisters was married to a bookseller in Little Britain, and another to a tobacconist in Newgate-street; these would be dreadful alliances to a family proud and poor. "No account,” says Mitford, in his life of the poet,“ has been transmitted of the person of Dryden's wife, nor has any portrait of her been discovered. I am afraid her personal attractions were not superior to her mental endowments; that her temper was wayward; and that the purity of her character was sullied by some early indiscretions. A letter from Lady Elizabeth to her son at Rome is preserved, as remarkable for the elegance of the style as the correctDess of the orthography. She says Your father is much at woon as to his health, and his defnese is wosce, but much as he was when