Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Butler, Samuel

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BUTLER, SAMUEL, an English satirist, born in Strensham, Worcestershire, in February, 1612. He was educated at Oxford or Cambridge, occupied his leisure in studying music and painting, became a man of wide and curious learning, and gained his living as secretary and clerk to aristocratic personages. His famous poem, “Hudibras,” a witty and sharp satire on the Puritans, secured instant favor with the King and the public; yet after the appearance of the first part in 1663, he spent 17 years in poverty and obscurity. The second and third divisions of “Hudibras” appeared in 1664 and 1678. The general design of the great poem was derived from “Don Quixote.” The situations of the mock epic are few but ludicrous, and the whole canvas is embellished with imagination, raillery, subtle casuistry, brilliant epigrams, and sparkling wit. He died in London, Sept. 25, 1680.