1847 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Wither

Edward Farr, in Select Poetry, chiefly sacred, of the Reign of King James the First (1847) xxvi-xxvii.



This celebrated poet was born in 1588, and died in 1667. His chief works are, "Prince Henry's Obsequies; or Mournful Elegies upon his Death;" "A Satire, written to the King's most Excellent Majesty;" "Epithalamia: or Nuptial Poems upon the most blessed and happy Marriage between the High and Mightie Prince Frederic the Fifth, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavier, etc. and the most virtuous, gracious, and thrice-excellent Princess Elizabeth, sole daughter of our dread Sovereign James etc.;" "The Shepherds Hunting;" "The Moth;" "Hymns and Songs of the Church;" "Fair Virtue, or Mistress of Phil'arete;" "Abuses Stript and Whipt;" "Britain's Remembrancer;" "Emblems, Ancient and Modern;" and "Epigrams." These works were all collected and printed "for John Budge, dwelling in St. Paul's Church Yard, at the Sign of the Dragon, 1622." A reprint of this collection appeared not many years ago, and a few copies may now occasionally be met with. Of this writer, Mr. Montgomery observes: "There are scattered throughout his multifarious and very unequal productions, many passages of great beauty and excellence. He was avowedly a Christian poet, though he frequently lost his Christian meekness in the heat of polemics; but his zeal carried with it every evidence of honesty; and he was a sufferer, almost to martyrdom, both for his loyalty and his orthodoxy, in the troublous times in which he lived. That he was a poet can never be questioned by any reader, who has taste and sensibility enough to understand and enjoy the exquisitely affecting confession of his obligations to the Muse. That he was a Christian will be as little questioned by those who are most extensively acquainted with the character of his religious compositions."