Matthew Prior, poet and diplomat, was born near Wimborne Minster, Dorset. His family moved to London while he was still a child. He was educated at Westminister School, but was taken out when his father died and apprenticed to his uncle, a tavern-keeper. In 1680 he went to Cambridge on a scholarship from the Earl of Dorset and while there he co-wrote with Charles Montague, The Hind and the Panther Transversed to the Story of the Country and City Mouse (1687), a burlesque on Dryden's Hind and the Panther which cuts it down to size by making it absurd.
Prior held various diplomatic posts, and in 1700 entered parliament with the Tories. He was Ambassador at Paris when he was recalled... more »
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Matthew Prior Poems
Dear Thomas, didst thou never pop Thy head into a tin-man's shop? There, Thomas, didst thou never see ('Tis but by way of simile)
A Reasonable Affliction
On his death-bed poor Lubin lies: His spouse is in despair: With frequent sobs, and mutual cries, They both express their care.
Interr'd beneath this marble stone, Lie saunt'ring Jack and idle Joan. While rolling threescore years and one Did round this globe their courses run;
Gualterus Danistonus, Ad Amicos. - And I...
Dum studeo fungi fallentis munere vitae, Adfectoque viam sedibus Elysiis Arctoa florens sophia, Samiisque superbus
The merchant, to secure his treasure, Conveys it in a borrowed name: Euphelia serves to grace my measure; But Cloe is my real flame.
A Better Answer
Dear Cloe, how blubber'd is that pretty Face? Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurl'd: Pr'ythee quit this caprice; and (as old Falstaf says) Let us e'en talk a little like folks of this world.
A Letter To Lady Margaret Cavendish Holl...
MY noble, lovely, little Peggy, Let this my First Epistle beg ye, At dawn of morn, and close of even, To lift your heart and hands to Heaven.
A Song. If Wine And Music Have The Power
If wine and music have the power To ease the sickness of the soul, Let Phoebis every string explore, And Bacchus fill the sprightly bowl:
A Song. In Vain You Tell Your Parting Lo...
In vain you tell your parting lover You wish fair winds may waft him over Alas! what winds can happy prove That bear me far from what I love?
A Lover's Anger
As Cloe came into the Room t'other Day, I peevish began; Where so long cou'd You stay? In your Life-time You never regarded your Hour:
Jinny The Just
Releas'd from the noise of the butcher and baker Who, my old friends be thanked, did seldom forsake her, And from the soft duns of my landlord the Quaker,
Alma; Or, The Progress Of The Mind. In T...
Matthew met Richard, when or where From story is not mighty clear: Of many knotty points they spoke,
On My Birthday, July 21
I, MY dear, was born to-day-- So all my jolly comrades say: They bring me music, wreaths, and mirth, And ask to celebrate my birth:
An Ode - Humbly Inscribed To The Queen, ...
When great Augustus govern'd ancient Rome, And sent his conquering bands to foreign wars, Abroad when dreaded, and beloved at home,
Comments about Matthew Prior
Dear Thomas, didst thou never pop
Thy head into a tin-man's shop?
There, Thomas, didst thou never see
('Tis but by way of simile)
A squirrel spend his little rage
In jumping round a rolling cage?
The cage, as either side turn'd up,
Striking a ring of bells a-top?--
Mov'd in the orb, pleas'd with the chimes,
The foolish creature thinks he climbs:
But here or there, turn wood or wire,
He never gets two inches higher.
So fares it with those merry blades,
That frisk it under Pindus' shades.
In noble songs, and lofty odes,
They tread on stars, ...