1687 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Wither

William Winstanley, Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687) 165-66.



George Withers was one who loved to Fish in troubled Waters, being never more quiet then when in Trouble, of a restless Spirit, and contradicting Disposition; gaining more by Restraint then others could by their Freedom, which his ungoverned (not to say worse) Pen often brought him unto, so that the Marshalsea and Newgate were no Strangers unto him. He was born in Hantshire (if it be every whit the more honour to the County of his Birth) a prodigious Pourer forth of Rhime, which he spued from his Maw, as Tom Coriat formerly used to spue Greek, and that with a great pretence to a Poetical Zeal, against the Vices of the Times; which he mightily exclaim'd against in his Abuses Stript and Whipt, his Motto, Brittains Remembrancer, &c. and other Satyrical Works of the like nature: He turn'd also into English Verse the Songs of Moses, and other Hymns of the Old Testament; besides these he wrote a Poem called Philaret, the Shepherds Hunting, his Emblems, Campo Musae, Opo-balsamum, the Two Pitchers, and others more then a good many, had not his Muse been more Loyal than it was; he was living about the year 1664. when I saw him, and suppose he lived not long after.