14 MARCH 1846, Page 14


The last lecture of a course on this subject, extending from Chaucer through Ben Jonson and Beaumont and Fletcher to Butler, was delivered by Mr. Cowden Clarke, at the London Institution, on Monday. Hudibras, the principal theme of the evening, afforded us not merely a repetition of the well-known eccentricities of that poem, but an animated and interesting view of the history, politics, and manners of the period, with their influence on Butler. It is pleasant to retrace this old ground in the society of se genial a commentator as Mr. Clarke; whose interest in his subject is evi- dent, and who so often successfully leads his auditory out of the track of common reading, to engage attention upon points that had before escaped it. The selection from Butler's epigrams and characters was much enjoyed in the crowded theatre-' and we are inclined to attribute the attraction of these readings as much to the hearty sympathy with literary genius, as to the simple faith in poetry, and the tone of benevolence and humanity, which distinguish them.