[Page 291]

Protogenes and Apelles.

1 When Poets wrote, and Painters drew,
2 As Nature pointed out the View:
3 E'er Gothic Forms were known in Greece,
4 To spoil the well-proportion'd Piece:
5 And in our Verse e'er Monkish Rhimes
6 Had jangl'd their fantastic Chimes:
7 E'er on the flow'ry Lands of Rhodes
8 Those Knights had fix'd their dull Abodes,
9 Who knew not much to paint or write,
10 Nor car'd to pray, nor dar'd to fight:
11 Protogenes, Historians note,
12 Liv'd there, a Burgess Scot and Lot;
[Page 292]
13 And, as old Pliny's Writings show,
14 Apelles did the same at Co.
15 Agreed these Points of Time, and Place,
16 Proceed We in the present Case.
17 Picqu'd by Protogenes's Fame,
18 From Co to Rhodes, Apelles came;
19 To see a Rival and a Friend,
20 Prepar'd to Censure, or Commend,
21 Here to absolve, and there object,
22 As Art with Candor might direct.
23 He sails, He lands, He comes, He rings:
24 His Servants follow with the Things:
25 Appears the Governante of th'House:
26 (For such in Greece were much in use.)
27 If Young or Handsom, Yea or No,
28 Concerns not Me, or Thee to know.
29 Does 'Squire Protogenes live here?
30 Yes, Sir, says She with gracious Air,
31 And Curt'sey low; but just call'd out
32 By Lords peculiarly devout;
33 Who came on purpose, Sir, to borrow
34 Our Venus, for the Feast To-morrow,
35 To grace the Church: 'tis Venus' Day:
36 I hope, Sir, You intend to stay,
37 To see our Venus: 'tis the Piece
38 The most renown'd throughout all Greece,
39 So like th'Original, they say:
40 But I have no great Skill that Way.
[Page 293]
41 But, Sir, at Six ('tis now past Three)
42 Dromo must make my Master's Tea:
43 At Six, Sir, if You please to come,
44 You'll find my Master, Sir, at Home.
45 Tea, says a Critic big with Laughter,
46 Was found some twenty Ages after:
47 Authors, before they write, shou'd read:
48 'Tis very true; but We'll proceed.
49 And, Sir, at present wou'd you please
50 To leave your Name Fair Maiden, yes:
51 Reach me that Board. No sooner spoke
52 But done. With one judicious Stroke,
53 On the plain Ground Apelles drew
54 A Circle regularly true:
55 And will you please, Sweet-heart, said He,
56 To shew your Master this from Me?
57 By it He presently will know,
58 How Painters write their Names at Co.
59 He gave the Pannel to the Maid.
60 Smiling and Curt'sing, Sir, She said,
61 I shall not fail to tell my Master:
62 And, Sir, for fear of all Disaster,
63 I'll keep it my own self: Safe bind,
64 Says the old Proverb, and Safe find.
65 So, Sir, as sure as Key or Lock
66 Your Servant Sir at Six a Clock.
[Page 294]
67 Again at Six Apelles came;
68 Found the same prating civil Dame.
69 Sir, that my Master has been here,
70 Will by the Board it self appear.
71 If from the perfect Line He found,
72 He has presum'd to swell the Round,
73 Or Colors on the Draught to lay;
74 'Tis thus (He order'd me to say)
75 Thus write the Painters of this Isle:
76 Let those of Co remark the Style.
77 She said; and to his Hand restor'd
78 The rival Pledge, the Missive Board.
79 Upon the happy Line were laid
80 Such obvious Light, and easie Shade;
81 That Paris' Apple stood confest,
82 Or Leda's Egg, or Cloe's Breast.
83 Apelles view'd the finish'd Piece;
84 And Live, said He, the Arts of Greece!
85 Howe'er Protogenes and I
86 May in our Rival Talents vie;
87 Howe'er our Works may have express'd,
88 Who truest drew, or color'd best;
89 When He beheld my flowing Line;
90 He found at least I cou'd design:
91 And from his artful Round, I grant,
92 That He with perfect Skill can paint.
[Page 295]
93 The dullest Genius cannot fail
94 To find the Moral of my Tale:
95 That the distinguish'd Part of Men,
96 With Compass, Pencil, Sword, or Pen,
97 Shou'd in Life's Visit leave their Name,
98 In Characters, which may proclaim
99 That They with Ardor strove to raise
100 At once their Arts, and Countrey's Praise:
101 And in their Working took great Care,
102 That all was Full, and Round, and Fair.


  • TEI/XML [chunk] (XML - 201K / ZIP - 20K) / ECPA schema (RNC - 357K / ZIP - 73K)
  • Plain text [excluding paratexts] (TXT - 3.6K / ZIP - 2.1K)

Facsimile (Source Edition)

(Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)



All Images (PDF - 6.5M)

About this text

Title (in Source Edition): Protogenes and Apelles.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: allegory

Text view / Document view

Source edition

Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 291-295. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

Editorial principles

Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Matthew Prior