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Wood, gave him reason to hope for “ places and employments of value and “ credit;” but no such advantages did he ever obtain. It is reported that the king once gave him three hundred guineas; but of this temporary bounty I find no proof.
Wood relates that he was secretary to Villiers duke of Buckingham, when he was Chancellor of Cambridge: this is doubted by the other writer, who yet allows the duke to have been his fre, quent benefactor. That both these ac. counts are false there is reason to suspect, from a story told by Packe, in his account of the life of Wycherley, and from fome verses which Mr. Thyer has published in the author's remains.
“ Mr. .“ Mr. Wycherley,” says Packe, “had “ always laid hold of any opportunity “ which offered of representing to the “ duke of Buckingham how well Mr. “Butler had deserved of the royal fa“ mily, by writing his inimitable Hu« dibras; and that it was a reproach to « the court that a person of his loyalty " and wit should suffer in obscurity, 6 and under the wants he did. The 66 duke always seemed to hearken to “ him with attention enough; and, af« ter some time, undertook to recom-“ mend his pretensions to his majefty. “ Mr. Wycherley, in hopes to keep “ him steady to his word, obtained of “his grace to name a day, when he « might introduce that modeft and un-i
“ fortunate poet to his new patron. At “ laft 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 d---] « would have it, the door of the room “ where they sat was open, and his “ grace, who had seated himself near “ it, observing a pimp of his acquain“ tance (the creature too was a knight) 66 trip by with a brace of ladies, im« mediately quitted his engagement, to “ follow another kind of business, at “ which he was more ready than in “ doing good offices to men of desert; “ though no one was better qualified “ than he, both in regard to his for
“ tune IL « tune and understanding, to protect " them; and from that time to the day 6 of his death, poor Butler never found * the least effect of his promise !"
- Such is the story. The verses are written with a degree of acrimony, fuch as neglect and disappointment might naturally excite; and such as it would be hard to imagine Butler capable of expressing against a man who had any claim to his gratitude.
Notwithstanding this discouragement: and neglect, he still prosecuted his defign; and in 1678 published the third. part, which still leaves the poem imperfect and abrupt.. How much more he originally intended; or, with what
events the action was to be concluded, it is vain to conjecture. Nor can it be thought itrange that he should stop here, howerer unexpectedly. To write without reward is fufciently unpleasing; and, if his birth be placed right by Mr. Longueville, he had now arrived at an age when he might well think it proper to be in jest no longer.
He died in 1680; and Mr. Longue ville, having unsuccessfully folicited a subfcription for his interment in Westminster Abbey, buried him at his own cost in the church-yard of Covent Garden. Dr. Simon Patrick read the fervice.
About fixty years afterwards, Mr. Barber, a printer, mayor of London,