Samuel Butler

(1612—1680) poet

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was probably secretary to the countess of Kent, and by 1661 he was steward at Ludlow Castle to Richard Vaughan, earl of Carbery. The most significant event in an otherwise obscure life was the publication of his Hudibras (1663), which instantly became the most popular poem of its time. It was probably as a result of its success that he became secretary to the second duke of Buckingham. In 1677 he was awarded an annual pension of £100 by Charles II, but by then he himself appears to have given currency to the complaint that, though a loyal satirist, he had been left to endure his old age in poverty. He wrote a number of shorter satirical poems, including ‘The Elephant in the Moon’, an attack on the Royal Society, and a great many prose ‘Characters’.

Subjects: Literature.

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