What does "Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of hamlet sleep" mean? (As written by Mr.Micawber in David Copperfield.)

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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is a quotation from Grey's poem "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." It is a way of showing learning.
The line itself refers to a cemetery, where all the ancestors of a specific small village "sleep" in their graves.

He's saying, when I'm done with this task, I'll be done with life. All that's left is to bury me.