[Page 303]



1 Hah! how the Laurel, great Apollo's Tree,
2 And all the Cavern shakes! far off, far off,
3 The Man that is unhallow'd: for the God,
4 The God approaches. Hark! He knocks: the Gates
5 Feel the glad Impulse: and the sever'd Bars
6 Submissive clink against their brazen Portals.
7 Why do the Delian Palms incline their Boughs,
8 Self-mov'd: and hov'ring Swans, their Throats releas'd
9 From native Silence, carol Sounds harmonious?
10 Begin, young Men, the Hymn: let all your Harps
11 Break their inglorious Silence; and the Dance,
12 In mystic Numbers trod, explain the Music.
13 But first by ardent Pray'r, and clear Lustration
14 Purge the contagious Spots of Human Weakness:
[Page 304]
15 Impure no Mortal can behold Apollo.
16 So may Ye flourish, favor'd by the God,
17 In Youth with happy Nuptials, and in Age
18 With silver Hairs, and fair Descent of Children;
19 So lay Foundations for aspiring Cities,
20 And bless your spreading Colonies Encrease.
21 Pay sacred Rev'rence to Apollo's Song;
22 Lest wrathful the far-shooting god emitt
23 His fatal Arrows. Silent Nature stands;
24 And Seas subside, obedient to the Sound
25 Of Io, Io Pean! nor dares Thetis
26 Longer bewail Her lov'd Achilles' Death:
27 For Phoebus was his Foe. Nor must sad Niobe
28 In fruitless Sorrow persevere, or weep
29 Ev'n thro' the Phrygian Marble. Hapless Mother!
30 Whose Fondness cou'd compare her Mortal Off-spring
31 To those which fair Latona bore to Jove.
32 Io! again repeat Ye, Io Pean!
33 Against the Deity 'tis hard to strive.
34 He that resists the Power of Ptolemy,
35 Resists the Pow'r of Heav'n: for Pow'r from Heav'n
36 Derives; and Monarchs rule by Gods appointed.
37 Recite Apollo's Praise, 'till Night draws on,
38 The Ditty still unfinish'd; and the Day
39 Unequal to the Godhead's Attributes
40 Various, and Matter copious of your Songs.
[Page 305]
41 Sublime at Jove's right Hand Apollo sits,
42 And thence distributes Honor, gracious King,
43 And Theme of Verse perpetual. From his Robe
44 Flows Light ineffable: his Harp, his Quiver,
45 And Lictian Bow are Gold: with golden Sandals
46 His Feet are shod; how rich! how beautiful!
47 Beneath his Steps the yellow Min'ral rises;
48 And Earth reveals her Treasures. Youth and Beauty
49 Eternal deck his Cheek: from his fair Head
50 Perfumes distill their Sweets; and chearful Health,
51 His dutious Handmaid, thro' the Air improv'd,
52 With lavish Hand diffuses Scents Ambrosial.
53 The Spear-man's Arm by Thee, great God, directed,
54 Sends forth a certain Wound. The Laurel'd Bard,
55 Inspir'd by Thee, composes Verse Immortal.
56 Taught by thy Art Divine, the sage Physician
57 Eludes the Urn; and chains, or exiles Death.
58 Thee Nomian We adore; for that from Heav'n
59 Descending, Thou on fair Amphrysus' Banks
60 Did'st guard Admetus' Herds. Sithence the Cow
61 Produc'd an ampler Store of Milk; the She-Goat
62 Not without Pain dragg'd her distended Udder;
63 And Ewes, that erst brought forth but single Lambs,
64 Now drop'd their Two-fold Burdens. Blest the Cattle,
65 On which Apollo cast his fav'ring Eye!
66 But, Phoebus, Thou to Man beneficent,
67 Delight'st in building Cities. Bright Diana,
[Page 306]
68 Kind Sister to thy infant-Deity
69 New-wean'd, and just arising from the Cradle,
70 Brought hunted wild Goats-Heads, and branching Antlers
71 Of Stags, The Fruit and Honor of her Toil.
72 These with discerning Hand Thou knew'st to range,
73 (Young as Thou wast) and in the well-fram'd Models,
74 With Emblematic Skill, and mystic Order,
75 Thou shew'dst, where Towers, or Battlements should rise;
76 Where gates should open; or where Walls should compass:
77 While from thy childish Pastime Man receiv'd
78 The future Strength, and Ornament of Nations.
79 Battus, our great Progenitor, now touch'd
80 The Lybian Strand; when the fore-boding Crow
81 Flew on the Right before the People, marking
82 The Country destin'd the auspicious Seat
83 Of future Kings, and Favor of the God,
84 Whose Oath is sure, and Promise stands Eternal.
85 Or Boedromian hear'st Thou pleas'd, or Clarian,
86 Phoebus, great King? for diff'rent are Thy Names,
87 As Thy kind Hand has founded many Cities,
88 Or dealt benign Thy various Gifts to Man.
89 Carnean let Me call Thee; for my Country
90 Calls Thee Carnean: the fair Colony
91 Thrice by Thy gracious Guidance was transported,
92 E'er settl'd in Cyrene; there W'appointed
93 Thy annual Feasts, kind God, and bless thy Altars
94 Smoaking with Hecatombs of slaughter'd Bulls;
95 As Carnus, thy High-Priest, and favor'd Friend,
96 Had er'st ordain'd; and with mysterious Rites,
[Page 307]
97 Our great Forefathers taught their Sons to worship.
98 Io Carnean Phoebus! Io Pean!
99 The yellow Crocus there, and fair Narcissus
100 Reserve the Honors of their Winter-Store,
101 To deck Thy Temple; 'till returning Spring
102 Diffuses Nature's various Pride; and Flow'rs
103 Innumerable, by the soft South-west
104 Open'd, and gather'd by Religious Hands,
105 Rebound their Sweets from th'odorif'rous Pavement.
106 Perpetual Fires shine hallow'd on Thy Altars.
107 When Annual the Carnean Feast is held,
108 The warlike Libyans clad in Armor, lead
109 The Dance, with clanging Swords and Shields They beat
110 The dreadful Measure: in the Chorus join
111 Their Women, Brown but Beautiful: such Rites
112 To Thee well-pleasing. Nor had yet Thy Votaries,
113 From Greece transplanted, touch'd Cyrene's Banks,
114 And Lands determin'd for their last Abodes;
115 But wander'd thro' Azilis' horrid Forrest
116 Dispers'd; when from Myrtusa's craggy Brow,
117 Fond of the Maid, auspicious to the City,
118 Which must hereafter bear her favor'd Name,
119 Thou Gracious deign'st to let the Fair One view
120 Her Typic People; Thou with Pleasure taught'st Her
121 To draw the Bow, to slay the shaggy Lyon,
122 And stop the spreading Ruin of the Plains.
123 Happy the Nymph, who honor'd by Thy Passion,
124 Was aided by thy Pow'r! The monstrous Python
125 Durst tempt Thy Wrath in vain: for dead He fell,
126 To thy great Strength, and golden Arms unequal.
[Page 308]
127 Io! while Thy unerring Hand elanc'd
128 Another, and another Dart; The People
129 Joyful repeated, Io! Io Pean!
130 Elance the Dart, Apollo: for the Safety,
131 And Health of Man, gracious Thy Mother bore Thee.
132 Envy Thy latest Foe suggested thus:
133 Like Thee I am a Pow'r Immortal; therefore
134 To Thee dare speak. How can'st Thou favor partial
135 Those Poets who write little? Vast and Great
136 Is what I Love: The far extended Ocean
137 To a small Riv'let I prefer. Apollo
138 Spurn'd Envy with His Foot; and thus the God:
139 Dæmon, the head-long Current of Euphrates,
140 Assyrian River, copious runs, but Muddy;
141 And carries forward with his stupid Force
142 Polluting Dirt; His Torrent still augmenting,
143 His Wave still more defil'd: mean while the Nymphs
144 Melissan, Sacred and Recluse to Ceres,
145 Studious to have their Off'rings well receiv'd,
146 And fit for Heav'nly Use, from little Urns
147 Pour Streams select, and Purity of Waters.
148 Io! Apollo, mighty King, let Envy
149 Ill-judging and Verbose, from Lethe's Lake
150 Draw Tons unmeasurable; while Thy Favor
151 Administers to my ambitious Thirst
152 The wholesome Draught from Aganippe's Spring
153 Genuine, and with soft Murmurs gently rilling
154 Adown the Mountains, where Thy Daughters haunt.


  • TEI/XML [chunk] (XML - 334K / ZIP - 35K) / ECPA schema (RNC - 357K / ZIP - 73K)
  • Plain text [excluding paratexts] (TXT - 6.8K / ZIP - 3.7K)

About this text

Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: blank verse; imitation

Text view / Document view

Source edition

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. 303-308. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639)

Editorial principles

The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Matthew Prior