Butler’s Ghost: or Hudibras. The Fourth Part. With Reflections upon these Times …

London, Printed for Joseph Hindmarsh … 1682.

8vo., pp. [8], 188, [4, advertisements]; a fine copy in contemporary polished sheep, neatly rebacked and corners restored.


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First edition of D’Urfey’s sequel to Samuel Butler’s burlesque poem Hudibras, the most celebrated satire of the seventeenth century, published in three parts in 1663-78. Written in hudibrastic metre, the two cantos of Butler’s Ghost follow the progress of Butler’s eponymous hero from an interrupted suicide attempt, to a joyous engagement to a ‘cunning’ widow, and thence to unhappy cuckoldry, when he discovers his new wife and his friend Stalliano in ‘undecent manner’ on his wedding day. D’Urfey turns Butler’s Presbyterian Knight into a Whig and paints scathing portraits of such contemporaries as Titus Oates (‘Doctoro’) and Shaftesbury (‘Pygmy’).

‘Through his talent for composing and singing witty songs [D’Urfey] became one of the King’s intimates; his resonant baritone voice, impudent, vulgar wit, and good-natured willingness to play the buffoon suited the temper of the court’ (Oxford DNB). He also wrote bawdy romps for the stage.

Wing D 2703; Wither to Prior 355; Pforzheimer 342.

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