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appointed expectations. In the dedication, he alludes to the imagination of some preferment, and confesses, that being unable to procure any employment, he had applied himself to watching the vices of the times.
He refers, mysteriously, to the destruction of his prospects, in the Shepherd's Hunting, where, after detailing, in an allegory, the ravages made by the wild beasts of the Metropolis among the flocks of innocent shepherds, he says,
Yea, I among the rest did fare as bad,
This roaring crew consisted of his Satyrs, which Wither followed in full cry through
Hamlets, tithings, parishes, and boroughs,
! Far, however, from lamenting his ill-success, Wither rejoiced that God, “by dashing his hopes," had called him to himself again. Considered as the work of a young man, who came to the task with no preparation
of books or study, Abuses Whipt and Stript merits our approbation*. In the Address to the Reader, we are
cautioned not to look “ for Spenser's or Daniel's well
composed numbers, or the deep conceits of now flourishing Jonson.” He purposely avoided speaking in “dark parables,” and rejected as useless, all “poetical additions and feigned allegories.” Warton says that Wither's poem is characterized by
a vein of severity unseasoned by wit; but I have yet to
learn that wit, in the common acceptation of the word, is necessary to the formation of a satirist. We find little of it in Juvenal, and still less in Dr. Johnson's noble imitation of his manner. The vices and crimes of men are not to be cured or restrained by laughing at them. The light arrows of mirthful irony and humour make no impression on their coat of steel; it is only by the “mailed and resolved hand” of virtuous indignation that their coverings can be rent away, and their matural deformity and loathsomeness exposed. If Wither had not the hand to do this, he had at least the desire, and he came up to Milton's idea of the duties of a satirist, by striking high, and adventuring dangerously “at the most eminent vices among the greatest persons;” and he afforded an example, in his own person, that if a satire was not always “born out of a Tragedy,” it frequently terminated in one t. Appended to the Satire are several epigrams addressed to various individuals, and among others to Lord Ridgeway, whom Wither commemorates as the first that “graced and gratified his Muse.” Henry, Earl of * When he this book composed, it was more Than he had read in twice twelve months before.
Introduct. to Abuses, &c. * Apology for Smectynnnus.
Southampton *, the patron of Shakspeare, and one of the founders of Virginia; William, Earl of Pembroke, of whose almost universal generosity to poets I shall have another opportunity of speaking ; and Lady Mary Wroth, the niece of Sir Philip Sydney, and the authoress of a long and tedious romance, in imitation of the Arcadia, entitled Uraniaf.
At the end of Abuses, &c., is a poem called the Scourge, in which Wither appears to have gratified his malignity at the expense of his honesty. Wood, who had never seen the Scourge, speaks of it as a separate publication, but it forms a postscript to the edition of Abuses Whipt and Stript, in 1615, and from the terms in which the Author refers to it, may be supposed to have occupied he same place in the earlier edition. The following attack upon an upright and honourable man cannot be justified.
| And prithee tell the B. Chancellor,
The individual here alluded to must have been Lord Ellesmere, a man whose excellence of heart and purity f mind obtained the suffrages of his contemporaries. He died in 1616, and James received the seals with his own hand from the expiring Chancellor. Hacket says of him, in the Life of Archbishop Williams, that he never did, spoke, or thought anything undeserving of praise. It is a singular fact, that Lord Bacon and Bishop Williams, who both partook of his generous patronage, should have succeeded him in his high office. The poet Donne, who, on his return from Spain, had become Secretary to Lord Ellesmere, was deprived of the benefit of the connexion by his secret marriage with the daughter of Sir George More*. The Satire produced, it is to be feared, no salutary effects upon the public morals, but it sent the imprudent author to the Marshalsea prisont. Of the sufferings he endured there, Wither has left an affecting account in the Scholler's Purgatory. “All my apparent good intentions," he says, “were so mistaken by the aggravation of some ill affected towards my endeavours, that I was shut up from the society of mankind, and, as one unworthy the compassion vouchsafed to thieves and murderers, was neither permitted the use of my pen, the access or sight of acquaintance, the allowances usually afforded other close prisoners, nor means to send for necessaries befitting my present condition: by which means I was for many days compelled to feed on nothing but the coarsest bread, and sometimes locked up four* Ben Jonson, who, as Mr. Gifford has observed, knew Lord Ellesmere, and judged him well, has in more than one place, recorded his worth; he describes him, in the Discoveries, as " a grave and great orator, best when he was Provoked;" and, he also eulogized the purity of the Chancellor's judgments in one of the most beautiful of his epi. o: and in the Underwoods, made him the theme of his praise. aylor says, in the Aqua-Musar, 1644, p. 7, of Wither, Tis known that once, within these thirty years, Thom wert in jail for slandering some peers.
* * Braithwaite, in the Scholar's Medley, calls him “learning's best avourite."
3 to Shenstone was thankful that his name presented no facilities to the
unster. Lady Wroth could not boast of the same immunity. In her ase, however, the ingenuity of flattery alone was evinced. Davies, of Hereford, in his Twenty-nine Epigrams, addressed to contemporary poets, has one inscribed to the “all-worthily commended Lady Mary Wroth," whose name, he says, in the abstract, is not Wroth, but IWorth. Ben Jonson inscribed two of his ::::::::: and a Sonnet in the Under...; o: Lady, and he also dedicated to her his exquisite comedy of The Michentist.
and-twenty hours together, without so much as a drop of water to cool my tongue : and being at the same time in one of the greatest extremities of sickness that was ever inflicted upon my body, the help both of physician and apothecary was uncivilly denied me. So that
if God had not, by resolutions of the mind which he
infused into me, extraordinarily enabled me to wrestle with those and such other afflictions as I was then exercised with all, I had been dangerously and lastingly overcome. But of these usages,” he adds, “I complain not; He that made me, made me strong enough to despise them.” Wither's account of his sufferings may have been somewhat exaggerated; for Taylor, the Water-poet, who knew him well, informs us that multitudes of people came to him “in pilgrimage during his imprisonment,” and provided him with every necessary. But though multitudes might have made a pilgrimage to the Marshalsea, it does not follow that either they or the provisions were admitted to the prisoner. Indeed the banishment of his friends, and the “exclusion from the Sacred Rites," were the constant subjects of the poet's lamentation. It was not in the heart of Wither to be idle, or to yield to the depressing influence of his fortune; he seemed to experience, in its truest meaning, the sentiment afterwards expressed by the accomplished Lovelace, when confined in the Gatehouse at Westminster; Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet, take
During his imprisonment he composed the Shepherd's