Matthew Prior

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)
...

On his death-bed poor Lubin lies:
His spouse is in despair:
With frequent sobs, and mutual cries,
They both express their care.
...

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.
...

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.
...

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?
...

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.
...

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:
...

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:
...

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:
...

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,
...

The bewailing of man's miseries hath been elegantly and copiously set forth by many, in the writings as well of
...

As the Chameleon, who is known
To have no colours of his own,
But borrows from his neighbour's hue
His white or black, his green or blue,
...

At Mary's tomb (sad sacred place!)
The Virtues shall their vigils keep,
And every Muse and every Grace
In solemn state shall ever weep.
...

Lords, knights, and squires, the num'rous band,
That wear the fair Miss Mary's fetters,
Were summon'd by her high command,
To show their passions by their letters.
...

But shall we take the Muse abroad,
To drop her idly on the road,
And leave our subject in the middle,
As Butler did his Bear and Fiddle?
...

The train of equipage and pomp of state,
The shining sideboard and the burnish'd plate,
Let other ministers, great Anne, require,
...

Some Folks are drunk, yet do not know it:
So might not Bacchus give You Law?
Was it a Muse, O lofty Poet,
...

In awful pomp and melancholy state,
See settled Reason on the judgement-seat;
Around her crowd Distrust, and Doubt, and Fear,
...

My Lord,
Our weekly friends to-morrow meet
At Matthew's palace in Duke-street,
To try for once if they can dine
...

Matthew Prior Biography

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 at the death of Queen Anne in 1715, and imprisoned for two years. During his time in prison he composed Alma or the Progress of the Mind (1715), a sceptical and humorous poem for which he is best known today. A folio edition of his work was published in 1719 and secured him a profit of 4000 guineas. He died in 1921 in Down Hall which he had purchased two years previously. At its best his work stands alongside Swift, and was admired by Samuel Johnson and William Cowper. He is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.)

The Best Poem Of Matthew Prior

A Simile

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, and talk with gods;
Still dancing in an airy round,
Still pleas'd with their own verses' sound;
Brought back, how fast soe'er they go,
Always aspiring, always low.

Matthew Prior Comments

Matthew Prior Popularity

Matthew Prior Popularity

Close
Error Success