The Author to Her Book
How we cite our quotes:
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge). (5-6)
“Rags” sounds like what we’d expect a poor child to be wearing, doesn’t it? Here “rags” also describes a metaphorical poverty, the “poor” and tattered quality of the speaker’s poems.
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight, (9-10)
“Unfit for light” and “irksome in my sight”—sounds like the revulsion you’d experience if you saw a kid in nasty “rags.” In other words, this is the speaker’s response to the “poverty” of her work.
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i' th' house I find. (17-18)
The speaker wishes she could “afford” to give her child “better dress,” but all she has is “home-spun cloth.” These lines echo the lines about “rags” earlier, and continue to describe the woman’s book as a poor, destitute child.