The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.
§ 4. Butler in the Employ of Sir Samuel Luke and the Earl of Carbery
Some years of his early life were spent in the capacity of clerk to a succession of county magistrates; but the most important of these employments was that under Sir Samuel Luke, of Cople Hoo near Bedford, who was a fanatical puritan, one of Cromwell’s colonels in the civil war, and scoutmaster for Bedfordshire and several midland counties. In this gentleman’s house were frequent meetings of members of various religious and political sects, and Butler had an opportunity of noting the peculiarities and pretentions of a motley crew, which he afterwards mercilessly ridiculed in his comic epic. Here, no doubt, he composed many of his Characters and notes, which sometimes appear in his Hudibras, though some of the Characters were obviously written, partly, at least, after the restoration. One hundred and twenty of these Characters, by Robert Thyer, had appeared (but not till 1759) in The Genuine Remains in Verse and Prose of Mr. Samuel Butler, and, recently, sixty-eight more, together with a number of miscellaneous Observations and Reflexions, have been published. In 1660, Butler became secretary to Richard, earl of Carbery, lord president of Wales, who appointed him steward of Ludlow castle, where many Characters and other compositions were written out fair for the press, as they came afterwards into the hands of his friend William Longueville.
After the restoration, Butler published the first part of his Hudibras in 1663, the second part in 1664, but the third part did not see the light till 1678. It was at once received with great enthusiasm, especially by Charles II, to whom it became a kind of vade mecum, and who rewarded the poet with a gratuity of £300.