1712 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Wither

Thomas Newcomb, in Bibliotheca, 1712; Nichols, Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) 3:34-35.



Melodious Wither by himself,
In learned tatters, bends a shelf,
Though none so base as to dispute
His title to a better suit;
He sadly moans, expos'd to air,
His cover thin, and livery bare;
Grinning with envy to behold
His meaner rivals shine in gold.
Thy dying Muse, when urg'd by fate,
Might sure have claim'd to lie in state;
Though living scorn'd, and never read,
Like other things, admir'd when dead:
But see! she hardly is allow'd,
Mingled among the common crowd,
The wretched honours of a shroud.
But both together must decay,
Kindly consume and turn to clay;
No curious eye shall e'er presume
To alter her appointed doom;
Her peaceful labours to molest,
But seal them up in endless rest,
That sleep allow her in the grave,
Which she to all, when living, gave!