Samuel Butler (poet) quotes

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Samuel Butler (poet)

Birthdate: 3. February 1612
Date of death: 25. September 1680

Samuel Butler was a poet and satirist. He is remembered now chiefly for a long satirical poem titled Hudibras.

Works

Hudibras
Samuel Butler (poet)

„When civil fury first grew high,
And men fell out, they knew not why;
When hard words, jealousies, and fears,
Set folks together by the ears,
And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
For Dame Religion, as for punk; Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore:“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, first lines
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: When civil fury first grew high,
And men fell out, they knew not why;
When hard words, jealousies, and fears,
Set folks together by the ears,
And made them fight, like mad or drunk,
For Dame Religion, as for punk; Whose honesty they all durst swear for,
Though not a man of them knew wherefore:
When Gospel-Trumpeter, surrounded
With long-ear'd rout, to battle sounded,
And pulpit, drum ecclesiastick,
Was beat with fist, instead of a stick;
Then did Sir Knight abandon dwelling,
And out he rode a colonelling.

„His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell;
But oftentimes mistook th' one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 131
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry why he had a wherefore;
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms cou'd go.
All which he understood by rote
And, as occasion serv'd, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell;
But oftentimes mistook th' one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.

„For rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth, but out there flew a trope;
And when he happen'd to break off
I' th' middle of his speech, or cough,
H' had hard words,ready to show why,
And tell what rules he did it by;“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 81
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: For rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth, but out there flew a trope;
And when he happen'd to break off
I' th' middle of his speech, or cough,
H' had hard words, ready to show why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Else, when with greatest art he spoke,
You'd think he talk'd like other folk,
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.

„Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 189
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
A sect, whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetick,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick.
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to:
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipp'd God for spite.
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.
Free-will they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow:
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin...

„Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry why he had a wherefore;“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 131
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry why he had a wherefore;
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms cou'd go.
All which he understood by rote
And, as occasion serv'd, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung.
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell;
But oftentimes mistook th' one
For th' other, as great clerks have done.

„They'll say our bus'ness, to reform
The Church and State, is but a worm;
For to subscribe, unsight, unseen,
To an unknown Church-discipline,
What is it else, but before-hand
T'engage, and after understand?“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: They'll say our bus'ness, to reform
The Church and State, is but a worm;
For to subscribe, unsight, unseen,
To an unknown Church-discipline,
What is it else, but before-hand
T'engage, and after understand?
For when we swore to carry on
The present Reformation,
According to the purest mode
Of Churches best reformed abroad,
What did we else, but make a vow
To do we know not what, nor how?

„For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 81
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: For rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth, but out there flew a trope;
And when he happen'd to break off
I' th' middle of his speech, or cough,
H' had hard words, ready to show why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Else, when with greatest art he spoke,
You'd think he talk'd like other folk,
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.

„He cou'd foretel whats'ever was
By consequence to come to pass;
As death of great men, alterations,
Diseases, battles, inundations.
All this, without th' eclipse o' th' sun,
Or dreadful comet, he hath done,
By inward light; away as good,
And easy to be understood;“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: He cou'd foretel whats'ever was
By consequence to come to pass;
As death of great men, alterations,
Diseases, battles, inundations.
All this, without th' eclipse o' th' sun,
Or dreadful comet, he hath done,
By inward light; away as good,
And easy to be understood;
But with more lucky hit than those
That use to make the stars depose,
Like Knights o' th' post, and falsely charge
Upon themselves what others forge:
As if they were consenting to
All mischiefs in the world men do:
Or, like the Devil, did tempt and sway 'em
To rogueries, and then betray 'em.

„All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin…“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 189
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
A sect, whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetick,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick.
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to:
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipp'd God for spite.
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.
Free-will they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow:
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin...

„What did we else, but make a vow
To do we know not what, nor how?“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: They'll say our bus'ness, to reform
The Church and State, is but a worm;
For to subscribe, unsight, unseen,
To an unknown Church-discipline,
What is it else, but before-hand
T'engage, and after understand?
For when we swore to carry on
The present Reformation,
According to the purest mode
Of Churches best reformed abroad,
What did we else, but make a vow
To do we know not what, nor how?

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„Like men condemn'd to thunder-bolts,
Who, ere the blow, become mere dolts;
Or fools besotted with their crimes,
That know not how to shift betimes,
And neither have the hearts to stay,
Nor wit enough to run away.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Hudibras, Part III (1678)
Context: We idly sit, like stupid blockheads,
Our hands committed to our pockets,
And nothing but our tongues at large,
To get the wretches a discharge:
Like men condemn'd to thunder-bolts,
Who, ere the blow, become mere dolts;
Or fools besotted with their crimes,
That know not how to shift betimes,
And neither have the hearts to stay,
Nor wit enough to run away.

„For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Canto I, line 189
Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
A sect, whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetick,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick.
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to:
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipp'd God for spite.
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.
Free-will they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow:
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin...

„That each man Swore to do his best,
To damn and perjure all the rest!
And bid the Devil take the hin'most,
Which at this race is like to win most.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet), Hudibras

Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)
Context: Shall we that in the Cov'nant swore,
Each man of us to run before
Another, still in Reformation,
Give dogs and bears a dispensation?
How will Dissenting Brethren relish it?
What will malignants say? videlicet,
That each man Swore to do his best,
To damn and perjure all the rest!
And bid the Devil take the hin'most,
Which at this race is like to win most.

„With mortal crisis doth portend
My days to appropinque an end.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet)

Canto III, line 589
Source: Hudibras, Part I (1663–1664)

„And poets by their sufferings grow;
As if there were no more to do,
To make a poet excellent,
But only want and discontent.“

—  Samuel Butler (poet)

"Miscellaneous Thoughts" in The Poems of Samuel Butler, Volume 2, Press of C. Whittingham, 1822, p. 269
"Fragments", reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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