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The title of this edition of " the Poetry of George Wither” has been selected to indicate its contents as closely as possible. The satires Abuses Stript and Whipt and the Motto might fill a companion volume, but there is little of literary interest in the rest of Wither's voluminous works.
If it be objected that the biography allots too much space to the consideration of the poet's early life, my defence must be that the poetry of Wither, with which this edition is concerned, was written before 1622; hence the apparent lack of proportion.
The poet's name is spelled “Wither” throughout, that being the form for which there is most authority ; of this, “Wyther" is a mere alternative. The third form “Withers " seems, curiously enough, to have been used derogatorily, Johnson, Dryden, Swift, and Pope all mocking the poet under that title. 1
1 In Hampshire Allegations for Marriage Licenses, 1689– 1837 (Harleian Soc.), the form “Withers" occurs thirty-two tines, and "Wither" once. In a Hampshire journal of March, 1902, 'I find :-“George Withers, a tramp," charged with "soliciting alms." History repeats itself.
My best thanks are due in the first place to the Rev. R. F. Bigg-Wither, Rector of Wonston, Hants ; to Mr. Sidney Bates, the present owner of Manydown House ; the Rev. H. A. Wilson, Librarian of Magdalen College, Oxford ; to Mr. Sidney Lee; to Mr. C. W. Sutton, of the Manchester Free Library; and last but not least, to Mr. A. H. Bullen, without whose encouragement the work would never have been undertaken.