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Westrow died in 1653, and Wither honoured h memory with a poem, apparently inspired by unfeigne gratitude and esteem. Walker, in his History of Ind pendency, has not left so favourable a picture of th individual ; he numbers him with those persons who ha enriched themselves from poverty and a low degree, ar says he was worth nothing until he became “a capta and a parliament man, when he got the Bishop Worcester's manor of Hartlerow, which proved he hi two good and beneficial offices *." Wither indignant repelled this accusation against his friend, and represen him as one who,
Living, walk'd upright in crooked ways,
And chose the best part in the worst of days. Lord Essex also endeavoured to allevi the poet distresses. On the 12th of September, 1643, he issue a warrant for immediate payment of 2871. 12s.,
and c the 13th of the same month another warrant for tł further sum of 294.; and on the 3rd of March in ti following year, for the like payment of 1901. +
Wither lent the cause he had adopted the aid of b pen as well as his sword. About the first year after th commencement of the war, he wrote the Mercurii Rusticus, a country messenger, in imitation of th Weekly Intelligencers. The newspapers published durin the civil war bave long since passed into the collectior of antiquarians, and are become almost inaccessible eve by what means I was necessitated (and how unlikely I was to repe him), brought nevertheless unto me without my asking ought (witho obliging by a note under my hand, and without so much as requiring promise of repayment), 5001., by parcels at several times during the co linuance of my wants."- Epistolium- Vagum Prosa-Metricum, p. 6.
• Walker's History of Independency, p. 171, ed. 1660.
+Recited in the report of Colonel Dove's Committee, to whic Wither's claims were referred. - Journal of the House of Common January 2nd, 1650.
gratitude and esteem. Walker, in his History of Inde. pendency, has not left so favourable a picture of this individual; be numbers him with those persons who had enriched themselves from poverty and a low degree, and says he was worth nothing until he became “a captain and a parliament man, when he got the Bishop of
repelled this accusation against bis friend, and represents
further sum of 2941.; and on the 3rd of March in the
commencement of the war, he wrote the Mercurius
Are al repaymeni), 5001., by parcels at several times during the code
Westrow died in 1653, and Wither honoured his memory with a poem, apparently inspired by unfeigned
Worcester's manor of Hartlerow, which proved he had two good and beneficial offices *." Wither indignantly
him as one who,
Living, walk al upright in crooked ways,
And chase the best part in the worst of days. Lord Esser also endeavoured to alleviate the poet's distresses. On the 12th of September, 1643, be issued A partant for immediate payment of 2871. 12., and on the 13th of the same month another warrant for the
, for the like payment of 1901. + Wither lent the cause he had adopted the aid of his pero as well as bis sword. About the first year after the
Rustices, & country messenger, in imitation of the
brought nevertheless unto me without my asking ought (without
Recited in the report of Colonel Dorel Committee, to which
arms for the King and Parliament." The king and th parliament was a phrase constantly in the mouth of th republicans, even while they were using every means i overthrow the monarchy. Through the Field Musing are scattered several interesting anecdotes of the writer military life. His colonel, he tells us, was Middleton, valiant Scot, on whose left flank he led his own troopt the charge*. His fare and lodging were of the tru martial kind; he had the open fields for his quarter and was very happy to make a comfortable bed in "well-made barley-cock," with the starry sky for h canopy and curtains. Yet even here, amid the din an tumult of arms, he prophesied the fall of nations, an prepared for publication his own views of the Bible, an the mysteries of the Apocalypse.
But Wither's tergiversation did not pass unnoticed an opponent rose up in the person of the Water-poet Honest John Taylor was now at Oxford, whither be har fled from the persecutions of his enemies in London and he tells us, in that strange but amusing medley Mad verse, Sad verse, Glad verse, and Bad verse, tha upon his arrival at Oxford, he found the king and large party of nobility in “Christ Church garden," and that the monarch, on perceiving him, immediately came towards him, and “put forth his royal hand strait, which, says Taylor, with no small exultation,
On my knees I humbly kneeld and kist. This mark of the king's favour lent a fresh vigour to his feelings, and he applied the lash with an unsparing
A description of the poet's flag is given by Prestwich in his ResPublica, p: 35. Captain George Withers, the poet-gules; in saltier a sword bladed proper, hilted or over which a golden pen ; over both ir fest
, a scroll, and thereon Pro Rege, Lege, Grege,-fringed argent and
arms for the King and Parliament." The king and the
overthrow the monarchy. Through the Field Musings
But Wither's tergiversation did not pass i
No uera, Sud verse, Glad verse, and Bad verse, that
large party of nobility in "Christ Church garden," and
parliament was a phrase constantly in the mouth of the republicans
, even while they were using every means to
the change". His fare and lodging were of the true
ebe mysteries of the Apocalypse.
hand to the political dereliction of his former friend. He entitled his reply to the Campo-Muse, Aqua Musa, or Cacofago, Cacodæmon, Captain George Wither wrung in the Withers*. The contents of the poem are not more euphonious than the title. In the preface he declares, that he had loved and respected Wither thirty-five years, because he thought him “simply honest," and takes leave of him in a strain of no common malevolence and scorn. The Skuller, as Ben Jonson called him, possessed a vocabulary rich in epithets of abuse.
If Wither's narrative be true, and of his veracity no doubt can be fairly entertained, he was at this period esteemed a person of considerable political influence. In the Cordial Confection he tells the following singular anecdote:—That during the King's residence at Oxford, he received two letters from Lord Butler, which, at the time of writing the Confection, in 1659, were still preserved among his papers, offering to settle half of his estate upon the poet, only as a small earnest of greater rewards from Charles himself, if he wouid embrace the royal cause t. This offer was rejected. Of Lord Butler I know nothing. Butler was the family name of the Marquis of Ormond, whose devotion to his royal master has been commemorated by Clarendon and Burnet. But he could not have been at Oxford, and his son Thomas, Earl of Ossory, wos only a boy.
• Printed at Oxford, in 1644. The author of the Aqua-Musa was not altogether free from the charge of fickleness. Of Wither's Motto, which we have before seen him praising as a "better book," he now said,
And in his Motto did with brags declare,
That in himself all virtues perfect were.
Wither, that dainty darling of the dolts.
Hogest John Taylor was now at Oxford, whither he had
that the monarch, on perceiving him, immediately came
On my knees I humbly kneeld and kist. This mark of the king's favour lent a fresh vigour to
of deseription of the poet's flag is given by Prestwich in his Reso Pakiran, p. 35. Captain George Withen, the poet-sules; in seltier :
Before the publication of the Field-Musings, Withe had disbanded his troop; his reasons are briefly giver in the Nil Ultra
But so divisions them enraged
That I my troop did soon disband;
And took my pen again in hand. He declared in "the speech without door," delivere July 9, 1644, that he had served the republic in military capacity while he had any thing to serve with, and had kept his horses until they had "twic eaten out their heads." A MS. note, in a contemporar hand-writing in the copy of the speech among the King pamphlets, says that the author was at the time Por Laureat, a title never claimed or even mentioned b Wither himself.
Our poet did not again take up his sword. He ha told Lord Essex in the dedication of the Field-Musing that his pen would probably strengthen the Parliamer army more than a regiment of horse; and the showe himself quite as active in one employment as he he been in the other. Polemical pens are rarely idle exhausted. In the same year he addressed " Letters Advice" to all the counties and corporations of England particularly Southampton and Surrey, "touching th choice of Knights and Burgesses;" and in the followin year he lifted up a “Voice of Peace," tending, as be hope to the pacification of God's wrath, and the healing of the wounded commonwealth. But they whose assistanc