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. ,506,p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639)
- POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
- To the Right Honorable LIONEL, Earl of DORSET and MIDDLE-SEX.
- THE NAMES OF THE SUBSCRIBERS
- On Exodus iii. 14. I am that I am. An ODE. Written in 1688, as an Exercise at St. John's College, Cambridge. / Matthew Prior
- TO THE COUNTESS of EXETER, Playing on the Lute. / Matthew Prior
- Picture of Seneca dying in a Bath. By Jordain. At the Right Honorable the Earl of Exeter's at Burleigh-House. / Matthew Prior
- An ODE. / Matthew Prior
- AN EPISTLE TO FLEETWOOD SHEPHARD, Esq / Matthew Prior
- TO THE COUNTESS of DORSET. Written in her Milton. / Matthew Prior
- TO THE LADY DURSLEY On the same Subject. / Matthew Prior
- TO My LORD BUCKHURST, Very Young, Playing with a CAT. / Matthew Prior
- An ODE. / Matthew Prior
- A SONG. / Matthew Prior
- THE DESPAIRING SHEPHERD. / Matthew Prior
- To the Honorable CHARLES MONTAGUE, Esq / Matthew Prior
- HYMN to the SUN. Set by Dr. PURCEL, And Sung before their Majesties On New-Years-Day, 1694. / Matthew Prior
- THE LADY's LOOKING-GLASS. / Matthew Prior
- LOVE and FRIENDSHIP: A PASTORAL. / Elizabeth Rowe (née Singer)
- TO THE AUTHOR OF THE Foregoing PASTORAL. / Matthew Prior
- To a LADY: She refusing to continue a Dispute with me, and leaving me in the Argument. An ODE. / Matthew Prior
- SEEING THE DUKE of ORMOND's PICTURE, AT Sir GODFREY KNELLER's. / Matthew Prior
- CELIA TO DAMON. / Matthew Prior
- An ODE. Presented to the KING, on his Majesty's Arrival in Holland, AFTER The QUEEN's Death. 1695. / Matthew Prior
- IN IMITATION OF ANACREON. / Matthew Prior
- An ODE. / Matthew Prior
- An English BALLAD, On the Taking of NAMUR By the King of Great Britain, 1695. / Matthew Prior
- Presented to the KING, AT HIS ARRIVAL in HOLLAND, AFTER THE Discovery of the Conspiracy 1696. / Matthew Prior
- To CLOE Weeping. / Matthew Prior
- TO Mr. HOWARD: An ODE. / Matthew Prior
- LOVE Disarm'd. / Matthew Prior
- CLOE HUNTING. / Matthew Prior
- CUPID and GANYMEDE. / Matthew Prior
- CUPID Mistaken. / Matthew Prior
- VENUS Mistaken. / Matthew Prior
- A SONG. / Matthew Prior
- The DOVE. / Matthew Prior
- A LOVER's ANGER. / Matthew Prior
- MERCURY and CUPID. / Matthew Prior
- On BEAUTY. A RIDDLE. / Matthew Prior
- The Question, to Lisetta. / Matthew Prior
- Lisetta's Reply. / Matthew Prior
- The Garland. / Matthew Prior
- The Lady who offers her Looking-Glass to Venus. / Matthew Prior
- CLOE JEALOUS. / Matthew Prior
- Answer to CLOE Jealous, in the same Stile. The AUTHOR sick. / Matthew Prior
- A Better Answer. / Matthew Prior
- PALLAS and VENUS. AN EPIGRAM. / Matthew Prior
- TO A Young Gentleman in Love. A TALE. / Matthew Prior
- AN ENGLISH PADLOCK. / Matthew Prior
- HANS CARVEL. / Matthew Prior
- A Dutch Proverb. / Matthew Prior
- PAULO PURGANTI AND His WIFE: An Honest, but a Simple Pair. / Matthew Prior
- THE LADLE. / Matthew Prior
- Written at Paris, 1700. In the Beginning of ROBE's GEOGRAPHY. / Matthew Prior
- Written in the Beginning of MEZERAY's History of FRANCE. / Matthew Prior
- Written in the Nouveaux Interests des Princes de l'Europe. / Matthew Prior
- ADRIANI MORIENTIS ad Animam Suam. IMITATED. / Matthew Prior
- A Passage in the MORIÆ ENCOMIUM of Erasmus Imitated. / Matthew Prior
- TO Dr. SHERLOCK, ON HIS PRACTICAL DISCOURSE Concerning Death. / Matthew Prior
- CARMEN SECULARE, For the Year 1700. TO THE KING. / Matthew Prior
- An ODE. Inscribed to the Memory of the Honble Col. George Villiers, Drowned in the River Piava, in the Country of Friuli. 1703. In Imitation of Horace, Ode 28. Lib. 1. / Matthew Prior
- PROLOGUE, SPOKEN AT COURT before the QUEEN, On Her Majesty's Birth-Day, 1704. / Matthew Prior
- A LETTER TO Monsieur Boileau Despreaux; Occasion'd by the VICTORY at BLENHEIM, 1704. / Matthew Prior
- FOR The Plan of a Fountain, On which is The Effigies of the Queen on a Triumphal Arch, The Figure of the Duke of Marlborough, beneath, and The Chief Rivers of the World round the whole Work. / Matthew Prior
- THE CHAMELEON. / Matthew Prior
- MERRY ANDREW. / Matthew Prior
- A SIMILE. / Matthew Prior
- The FLIES. / Matthew Prior
- From the Greek. / Matthew Prior
- EPIGRAM. / Matthew Prior
- ANOTHER [EPIGRAM]. / Matthew Prior
- ANOTHER [EPIGRAM]. / Matthew Prior
- ANOTHER [EPIGRAM]. / Matthew Prior
- To a Person who wrote Ill, and spake Worse against Me. / Matthew Prior
- On the Same Person. / Matthew Prior
- Quid sit futurum Cras fuge quærere. / Matthew Prior
- HENRY and EMMA, A POEM, Upon the Model of The Nut-brown Maid. To CLOE. / Matthew Prior
- AN ODE, Humbly Inscrib'd to the QUEEN. ON THE Glorious Success OF Her MAJESTY's Arms, 1706. Written in Imitation of Spencer's Style. / Matthew Prior
- CANTATA. / Matthew Prior
- Her Right Name. / Matthew Prior
- Written in an OVID. / Matthew Prior
- A TRUE MAID. / Matthew Prior
- ANOTHER [TRUE MAID]. / Matthew Prior
- A Reasonable Affliction. / Matthew Prior
- Another Reasonable Affliction. / Matthew Prior
- ANOTHER [Reasonable Affliction]. / Matthew Prior
- On the same Subject. / Matthew Prior
- On the Same. / Matthew Prior
- PHYLLIS's AGE. / Matthew Prior
- Forma Bonum Fragile. / Matthew Prior
- A Critical Moment. / Matthew Prior
- An EPIGRAM. Written to the Duke de Noailles. / Matthew Prior
- EPILOGUE TO PHÆDRA. / Matthew Prior
- EPILOGUE TO LUCIUS. / Matthew Prior
- The THIEF AND THE CORDELIER, A BALLAD. / Matthew Prior
- An EPITAPH. / Matthew Prior
- Horace Lib. I. Epist. IX. Septimius, Claudi, nimirum intelligit unus, Quanti me facias: &c. Imitated. To the Right Honorable Mr. HARLEY. / Matthew Prior
- To Mr. HARLEY. Wounded by Guiscard. 1711. / Matthew Prior
- An Extempore Invitation TO THE EARL of OXFORD, Lord High Treasurer. 1712. / Matthew Prior
- Erle ROBERT's MICE. In Chaucer's Stile. / Matthew Prior
- In the same [Chaucer's] Style. / Matthew Prior
- In the same [Chaucer's] Style. / Matthew Prior
- A FLOWER, Painted by SIMON VARELST. / Matthew Prior
- TO THE Lady Elizabeth Harley, Since Marchioness of Carmarthen, On a Column of Her Drawing. / Matthew Prior
- Protogenes and Apelles. / Matthew Prior
- Democritus and Heraclitus. / Matthew Prior
- For my own Tomb-stone. / Matthew Prior
- GUALTERUS DANISTONUS. Ad Amicos. IMITATED. / Matthew Prior
- THE FIRST HYMN OF CALLIMACHUS. TO JUPITER. / Matthew Prior
- THE SECOND HYMN OF CALLIMACHUS. TO APOLLO. / Matthew Prior
- CHARITY. A PARAPHRASE On the Thirteenth Chapter of the First Epistle TO THE CORINTHIANS. / Matthew Prior
- Engraven on a COLUMN In the Church of Halstead in Essex, The spire of which, burnt down by Lightning, was rebuilt at the Expense of Mr. Samuel Fiske, 1717. / Matthew Prior
- Written in Montaigne's Essays, Given to the Duke of Shrewsbury in France, after the Peace, 1713. / Matthew Prior
- An EPISTLE, Desiring the Queen's Picture. Written at Paris, 1714. But left unfinish'd by the sudden News of Her Majesty's Death. / Matthew Prior
- ALMA: OR, THE PROGRESS OF THE MIND. In Three Cantos. / Matthew Prior
- SOLOMON ON THE VANITY OF THE WORLD. A POEM In THREE BOOKS. / Matthew Prior
- THE CONTENTS.
- On Exodus iii. 14. I am that I am. An ODE. Written in 1688, as an Exercise at St. JOHN’s College, CAMBRIDGE. 1
- TO THE COUNTESS of EXETER, Playing on the LUTE. 6
- PICTURE of SENECA dying in a Bath. By JORDAIN. At the Right Honorable the EARL of EXETER’s at Burleigh-House. 8
- An ODE. 9
- AN EPISTLE TO FLEETWOOD SHEPHARD, Esq; Burleigh, May 14, 1689. 11
- TO THE COUNTESS of DORSET. Written in her MILTON. By Mr. BRADBURY. 19
- TO THE LADY DURSLEY On the same Subject. 19
- TO My LORD BUCKHURST, Very Young, Playing with a CAT. 20
- An ODE. 21
- A SONG. 22
- THE DESPAIRING SHEPHERD. 23
- To the Honorable CHARLES MONTAGUE, Esq; 24
- HYMN to the SUN. Set by Dr. PURCEL, And Sung before their MAJESTIES On New-Years-Day, 1694. 26
- THE LADY’s LOOKING-GLASS. 29
- …OVE and FRIENDSHIP: A PASTORAL. By Mrs. ELIZABETH SINGER. 31
- [Page]TO THE AUTHOR OF THE Foregoing PASTORAL. 34
- To a LADY: She refusing to continue a DISPUTE with me, and leaving me in the ARGUMENT. An ODE. 35
- SEEING THE DUKE of ORMOND’s PICTURE, AT Sir GOD FREY KNELLER’s. 37
- …ELIA TO DAMON. 38
- An ODE. Presented to the KING, on his MAJESTY’s Arrival in HOLLAND, AFTER THE QUEEN’s DEATH. 1695. 43
- IN IMITATION OF ANACREON. 50
- An ODE. 51
- ODE Sur la Prise De NAMUR, Par les ARMES du ROY, L' Année 1692. Par Monsieur BOILEAU DESPREAUX. 52
- An English BALLAD, On the Taking of NAMUR By the KING of GREAT BRITAIN, 1695. 53
- Presented to the KING, AT HIS ARRIVAL in HOLLAND, AFTER THE DISCOVERY of the CONSPIRACY 1696. 66
- To CLOE Weeping. 69
- TO Mr. HOWARD: An ODE. 70
- LOVE Disarm’d. 72
- CLOE HUNTING. 74
- CUPID and GANYMEDE. 75
- CUPID Mistaken. 78
- VENUS Mistaken. 78
- A SONG. 79
- The DOVE. 80
- A LOVER’s ANGER. 85
- MERCURY and CUPID. 86
- On BEAUTY. A RIDDLE. 88
- The QUESTION, to LISETTA. 90
- LISETTA’s REPLY. 90
- The GARLAND. 91
- The LADY who offers her Looking-Glass to VENUS. 93
- [Page]CLOE JEALOUS. 93
- ANSWER to CLOE JEALOUS, in the same STILE. The AUTHOR sick. 95
- A BETTER ANSWER. 96
- PALLAS and VENUS. AN EPIGRAM. 98
- TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN in LOVE. A TALE. 99
- AN ENGLISH PADLOCK. 102
- HANS CARVEL. 105
- A Dutch Proverb. 110
- PAULO PURGANTI AND His WIFE: An Honest, but a Simple Pair. 111
- THE LADLE. 118
- Written at PARIS, 1700. In the Beginning of ROBE’s GEOGRAPHY. 124
- Written in the Beginning of MEZERAY’s HISTORY of FRANCE. 126
- Written in the Nouveaux Interests des PRINCES de l’ EUROPE. 127
- ADRIANI MORIENTIS AD Animam Suam. 128
- By Monsieur FONTENELLE. 128
- IMITATED. 128
- A PASSAGE in the MORIÆ ENCOMIUM of ERASMUS Imitated. 129
- TO Dr. SHERLOCK, ON HIS PRACTICAL DISCOURSE Concerning DEATH. 130
- CARMEN SECULARE, For the Year 1700. TO THE KING. 133
- CARMEN SECULARE, Latinè redditum. Per THO. DIBBEN, è Trin: Coll: Cant: 155
- An ODE. Inscribed to the Memory of the Honble Col. George Villiers, Drowned in the River Piava, in the Country of Friuli. 1703. In Imitation of Horace, Ode 28. Lib. 1. 177
- [Page]PROLOGUE, SPOKEN AT COURT before the QUEEN, On Her Majesty’s Birth-Day, 1704. 181
- A LETTER TO Monsieur Boileau Despreux; Occasion’d by the VICTORY at BLENHEIM, 1704. 183
- FOR The PLAN of a FOUNTAIN, On which is The Effigies of the QUEEN on a Triumphal Arch, The Figure of the DUKE of MARLBOROUGH beneath, and The Chief Rivers of the World round the whole Work. 191
- THE CHAMELEON. 192
- MERRY ANDREW. 194
- A SIMILE. 195
- The FLIES. 196
- From the Greek. 197
- EPIGRAM. 197
- ANOTHER. 197
- ANOTHER. 198
- ANOTHER. 198
- To a Person who wrote Ill, and spake Worse against Me. 198
- On the Same Person. 199
- Quid sit futurum Cras fuge quærere. 199
- The Nut-brown Maid. A POEM, Written Three Hundred Years Since. 200
- HENRY and EMMA, A POEM, Upon the Model of The NUT-BROWN MAID. 215
- AN ODE, Humbly Inscrib’d to the QUEEN. 245
- CANTATA. Set by Monsieur GALLIARD. 266
- Her Right Name. 267
- Written in an OVID. 268
- A TRUE MAID. 269
- ANOTHER. 269
- A REASONABLE AFFLICTION. 269
- Another REASONABLE AFFLICTION. 270
- ANOTHER. 270
- [Page]On the same Subject. 271
- On the Same. 271
- PHYLLIS’s AGE. 272
- Forma Bonum Fragile. 272
- A Critical Moment. 273
- An EPIGRAM. Written to the Duke de NOAILLES. 273
- EPILOGUE TO PHÆDRA. Spoken by Mrs. OLDFIELD, who acted ISMENA. 274
- EPILOGUE TO LUCIUS. Spoken by Mrs. HORTON. 276
- The THIEF AND THE CORDELIER, A BALLAD. To the Tune of King JOHN, and the ABBOT of CANTERBURY. 278
- An EPITAPH. 281
- To the RIGHT HONORABLE Mr. HARLEY. 283
- To Mr. HARLEY. Wounded by GUISCARD. 1711. 285
- An Extempore INVITATION TO THE EARL of OXFORD, Lord High Treasurer. 1712. 286
- Erle ROBERT’s MICE. In CHAUCER’s Stile. 287
- In the same Style. 289
- In the same Style. 290
- A FLOWER, Painted by SIMON VARELST. 290
- TO THE Lady ELIZABETH HARLEY, Since Marchioness of CARMARTHEN, On a Column of Her Drawing. 291
- PROTOGENES and APELLES. 291
- DEMOCRITUS and HERACLITUS. 295
- For my own Tomb-stone. 295
- GUALTERUS DANISTONUS Ad Amicos. 296
- IMITATED. 297
- THE FIRST HYMN OF CALLIMACHUS. TO JUPITER. 298
- THE SECOND HYMN OF CALLIMACHUS. TO APOLLO. 303
- CHARITY. A PARAPHRASE On the Thirteenth CHAPTER of the First EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS. 309
- [Page]Engraven on a COLUMN In the Church of HALSTEAD in ESSEX, The Spire of which, burnt down by Lightning, was rebuilt at the Expense of Mr. SAMUEL FISKE, 1717. 312
- Written in MONTAIGNE’S Essays, Given to the Duke of SHREWSBURY in FRANCE, after the Peace, 1713. 313
- An EPISTLE, Desiring the QUEEN’S Picture. Written at PARIS, 1714. But left unfinish’d, by the sudden News of Her MAJESTY’s Death. 314
- ALMA, or the Progress of the Mind: in Three Canto's.
- THE FIRST CANTO. 319
- THE SECOND CANTO. 339
- THE THIRD CANTO. 359
- SOLOMON: a Poem in Three Books
- KNOWLEDGE: THE FIRST BOOK. 397
- PLEASURE: THE SECOND BOOK. 431
- POWER; THE THIRD BOOK. 473
LONDON: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII.
IT looks like no great Compliment to Your Lordship, that I prefix Your Name to this Epistle; when, in the Preface, I declare the Book is publish'd almost against my Inclination. But, in all Cases, My Lord, You have an Hereditary Right to whatever may be called Mine. Many of the following Pieces were written by the Command of Your Excellent Father; and most of the rest, under His Protection and Patronage.
The particular Felicity of Your Birth, My Lord; The natural Endowments of Your Mind, (which, without[Page] suspicion of Flattery) I may tell You, are very Great; The good Education with which these Parts have been improved; and Your coming into the World, and seeing Men very early; make Us expect from Your Lordship all the Good, which our Hopes can form in Favour of a young Nobleman. Tu Marcellus eris, — Our Eyes and our Hearts are turned on You. You must be a Judge and Master of Polite Learning; a Friend and Patron to Men of Letters and Merit; a faithful and able Counsellor to Your Prince; a true Patriot to your Countrey; an Ornament and Honor to the Titles You possess; and in one Word, a Worthy Son to the Great Earl of DORSET.
It is as impossible to mention that Name, without desiring to Commend the Person; as it is to give Him the Commendations which His Virtues deserved. But I assure my self, the most agreeable Compliment I can bring Your Lordship, is to pay a grateful Respect to Your Father's Memory. And my own Obligations to Him were such; that the World must pardon my Endeavoring at His Character, however I may miscarry in the Attempt.
A Thousand Ornaments and Graces met in the Composition of this Great Man; and contributed to make Him universally Belov'd and Esteem’d. The Figure of His Body was Strong, Proportionable, Beautiful: and were His Picture well Drawn, it must deserve the Praise given to the Pourtraits of RAPHAEL; and, at once, create Love and Respect. While the Greatness of His Mein inform'd Men, they were approaching the Noble-man; the Sweetness of it invited them to come nearer to the Patron. There was in His Look and Gesture something that is easier conceived than described; that gain’d upon You in His Favor, before He spake one Word. His Behavior[Page] was Easie and Courteous to all; but Distinguished and Adapted to each Man in particular, according to his Station and Quality. His Civility was free from the Formality of Rule, and flowed immediately from His good Sense.
Such were the Natural Faculties and Strength of His Mind, that He had occasion to borrow very little from Education: and He owed those Advantages to His own Good Parts, which Others acquire by Study and Imitation. His Wit was Abundant, Noble, Bold. Wit in most Writers is like a Fountain in a Garden, supply'd by several Streams brought thro' artful Pipes, and playing sometimes agreeably. But the Earl of DORSET's was a Source rising from the Top of a Mountain, which forced it's own way, and with inexhaustible Supplies, delighted and inriched the Country thro' which it pass'd. This extraordinary Genius was accompany'd with so true a Judgment in all Parts of fine Learning, that whatever Subject was before Him, He Discours'd as properly of it, as if the peculiar Bent of His Study had been apply'd That way; and He perfected His Judgment by Reading and Digesting the best Authors, tho’ He quoted Them very seldom. Contemnebat potiks literas, quâm nesciebat:and rather seem'd to draw His Knowledge from His own Stores, than to owe it to any Foreign Assistance.
The Brightness of His Parts, the Solidity of His Judgment, and the Candor and Generosity of His Temper distinguish'd Him in an Age of great Politeness, and at a Court abounding with Men of the finest Sense and Learning. The most eminent Masters in their several Ways appeal’d to His Determination. WALLER thought it an Honor to consult Him in the Softness and Harmony of his[Page] Verse: and Dr. SPRAT, in the Delicacy and Turn of his Prose. DRYDEN determines by Him, under the Character of Eugenius; as to the Laws of Dramatick Poetry. BUTLER ow’d it to Him, that the Court tasted his Hudibras: WICHERLEY, that the Town liked his Plain Dealer: and the late Duke of BUCKINGHAM deferr'd to publish his Rehearsal; ’till He was sure (as He expressed it) that my Lord DORSET would not Rehearse upon Him again. If We wanted Foreign Testimony; LA FONTAINE and ST. EVREMONT have acknowledg'd, that He was a Perfect Master in the Beauty and Fineness of their Language, and of All that They call les Belles Lettres. Nor was this Nicety of His Judgement confined only to Books and Literature; but was the Same in Statuary, Painting, and all other Parts of Art. BERNINI would have taken His Opinion upon the Beauty and Attitude of a Figure; and King CHARLES did not agree with LELY, that my Lady CLEVELAND's Picture was Finished, ’till it had the Appro - bation of my Lord BUCKEHURST.
As the Judgement which He made of Others Writings, could not be refuted; the Manner in which He wrote, will hardly ever be Equalled. Every one of His Pieces is an Ingot of Gold, intrinsically and solidly Valuable; such as, wrought or beaten thinner, would shine thro’ a whole Book of any other Author. His Thought was always New; and the Expression of it so particularly Happy, that every body knew immediately, it could only be my Lord DORSET's: and yet it was so Easy too, that Every body was ready to imagine himself capable of writing it. There is a Lustre in His Verses, like That of the Sun in CLAUDE LORAINE’s Landskips; it looks Natural,[Page] and is Inimitable. His Love-Verses have a Mixture of Delicacy and Strength: they convey the Wit of PETRONIUS in the Softness of TIBULLUS. His Satyr indeed is so severely Pointed, that in it He appears, what His Great Friend the Earl of ROCHESTER (that other Prodigy of the Age) says He was;The best good Man, with the worst-natur'd Muse. Yet even here, That Character may justly be Applied to Him, which PERSIUS gives of the best Writer in this Kind, that ever lived:
And the Gentleman had always so much the better of the Satyrist, that the Persons touched did not know where to fix their Resentments; and were forced to appear rather Ashamed than Angry. Yet so far was this great Author from Valuing himself upon His Works, that He cared not what became of them, though every body else did. There are many Things of His not Extant in Writing, which however are always repeated: like the Verses and Sayings of the Ancient DRUIDS, they retain an Universal Veneration; tho’ they are preserved only by Memory.
As it is often seen, that those Men who are least Qualified for Business, love it most; my Lord DORSET's Character was, that He certainly understood it, but did not care for it.
Coming very Young to the Possession of two Plentiful Estates, and in an Age when Pleasure was more in Fashion than Business; He turned his Parts rather to[Page] Books and Conversation, than to Politicks, and what more immediately related to the Public. But whenever the Safety of His Countrey demanded His Assistance, He readily entred into the most Active Parts of Life; and underwent the greatest Dangers, with a Constancy of Mind, which shewed, that He had not only read the Rules of Philosophy, but understood the Practice of them.
In the first Dutch War He went a Voluntier under the Duke of YORK: His Behavior, during That Campaigne, was such, as distinguish'd the SACKVILLE descended from that HILDEBRAND of the Name, who was one of the greatest Captains that came into ENGLAND with the Conqueror. But His making a Song the Night before the Engagement (and it was one of the prettiest that ever was made) carries with it so sedate a Presence of Mind, and such an unusual Gallantry, that it deserves as much to be Recorded, as ALEXANDER's jesting with his Soldiers, before he passed the GRANICUS: or WILLIAM the First of ORANGE, giving Order over Night for a Battel, and desiring to be called in the Morning, lest He should happen to Sleep too long.
From hence, during the remaining Part of King CHARLES’s Reign, He continued to Live in Honorable Leisure. He was of the Bed-chamber to the King; and Possessed not only His Master's Favor, but (in a great Degree) His Familiarity; never leaving the Court, but when He was sent to That of FRANCE, on some short Commissions and Embassies of Compliment: as if the King designed to show the FRENCH, (who would be thought the Politest Nation) that one of the Finest Gentlemen in EUROPE was His Subject; and that We had[Page] a Prince who understood His Worth so well, as not to suffer Him to be long out of His Presence.
The succeeding Reign neither relish'd my Lord's Wit, nor approved His Maxims: so He retired altogether from Court. But as the irretrievable Mistakes of That unhappy Government, went on to Threaten the Nation with something more Terrible than a Dutch War: He thought it became Him to resume the Courage of His Youth, and once more to Engage Himself in defending the Liberty of His Countrey. He entred into the Prince of ORANGE’s Interest; and carried on His Part of That great Enterprise here in LONDON, and under the Eye of the Court; with the same Resolution, as His Friend and Fellow - Patriot the late Duke of DEVONSHIRE did in open Arms at NOTTINGHAM; ’till the Dangers of those Times increased to Extremity; and just Apprehensions arose for the Safety of the Princess, our present Glorious Queen: then the Earl of DORSET was thought the properest Guide of Her necessary Flight, and the Person under whose Courage and Direction the Nation might most safely Trust a Charge so Precious and Important.
After the Establishment of Their late Majesties upon the Throne, there was Room again at Court for Men of my Lord's Charaćter. He had a Part in the Councils of those Princes; a great Share in their Friendship; and all the Marks of Distinction, with which a good Government could reward a Patriot. He was made Chamberlain of their Majesties Houshold; a Place which He so eminently Adorn'd, by the Grace of His Person, the Fineness of His Breeding, and the Knowledge and Practice of what was Decent and Magnificent; that He could[Page] only be Rivalled in these Qualifications by one great Man, who has since held the same Staff.
The last Honors He received from His Soveraign, (and indeed they were the Greatest which a Subject could receive) were, that He was made Knight of the Garter, and constituted One of the Regents of the Kingdom, during His Majesty's Absence. But his Health, about that time, sensibly Declining; and the Public Affairs not Threatned by any Imminent Danger; He left the Business to Those who delighted more in the State of it; and appeared only sometimes at Council, to show his Respect to the Commission: giving as much Leisure as He could to the Relief of those Pains, with which it pleased God to Afflict Him; and Indulging the Reflexions of a Mind, that had looked thro’ the World with too piercing an Eye, and was grown weary of the Prospect. Upon the whole; it may very justly be said of this Great Man, with Regard to the Public, that thro’ the Course of his Life, He Acted like an able Pilot in a long Voyage; contented to sit Quiet in the Cabin, when the Winds were allayed, and the Waters smooth; but Vigilant and Ready to resume the Helm, when the Storm arose, and the Sea grew Tumultuous.
I ask Your Pardon, My Lord, if I look yet a little more nearly into the late Lord DORSET's Character: if I examine it not without some Intention of finding Fault; and (which is an odd way of making a Panegyric) set his Blemishes and Imper - fections in open View.
The Fire of His Youth carried Him to some Excesses: but they were accompanied with a most lively Invention, and true Humour. The little Violences and easie Mistakes of a Night too gayly spent, (and That too in the[Page] Beginning of Life) were always set Right, the next Day, with great Humanity, and ample Retribution. His Faults brought their Excuse with them, and his very Failings had their Beauties. So much Sweetness accompanied what He said, and so great Generosity what He did; that People were always prepossess'd in his Favor: and it was in Fact true, when the late Earl of ROCHESTER said, in Jest, to King CHARLES, That He did not know how it was, but my Lord DORSET might do anything, yet was never to Blame.
He was naturally very subject to Passion; but the short Gust was soon over, and served only to set off the Charms of his Temper, when more Compos'd. That very Passion broke out with a Force of Wit, which made even Anger agreeable: While it lasted, He said and forgot a thousand Things, which other Men would have been glad to have studied and wrote: but the Impetuosity was Corrected upon a Moment's Reflection; and the Measure altered with such Grace and Delicacy, that You could scarce perceive where the Key was Changed.
He was very Sharp in his Reflections; but never in the wrong Place. His Darts were sure to Wound; but they were sure too to hit None but those whose Follies gave Him very fair Aim. And when He allowed no Quarter; He had certainly been provoked by more than common Error: by Men's tedious and circumstantial Recitals of their Affairs; or by their multiply'd Questions about his own: by extreme Ignorance and Impertinence; or the mixture of these, an ill-judg’d and never-ceasing Civility: or lastly, by the two Things which were his utter Aversion; the Insinuation of a Flatterer, and the Whisper of a Tale-bearer.[Page]
If therefore, We set the Piece in it's worst Position; if it's Faults be most exposed, the Shades will still appear very finely join’d with their Lights; and every Imperfection will be diminished by the Lustre of some Neighb'ring Virtue. But if We turn the great Drawings and wonderful Colourings to their true Light; the Whole must appear Beautiful, Noble, Admirable.
He possessed all those Virtues in the highest Degree, upon which the Pleasure of Society, and the Happiness of Life depend: and He exercised them with the greatest Decency, and best Manners. As good Nature is said, by a great ** Sprat, Hist. of the Royal Society. Author, to belong more particularly to the ENGLISH, than any other Nation; it may again be said, that it belonged more particularly to the late Earl of DORSET, than to any other ENGLISH Man.
A kind Husband He was, without Fondness: and an in - dulgent Father without Partiality. So extraordinary good a Master, that This Quality ought indeed to have been number'd among his Defects: for He was often worse served than became his Station; from his Unwillingness to assume an Authority too Severe. And, during those little Transports of Passion, to which I just now said He was subject; I have known his Servants get into his way, that They might make a Merit of it immediately after: for He that had the good Fortune to be Chid, was sure of being Rewarded for it.
His Table was one of the Last, that gave Us an Example of the Old House-keeping of an ENGLISH Nobleman. A Free - dom reigned at it, which made every one of his Guests think Himself at Home: and an Abundance, which shewed that the Master's Hospitality extended to[Page] many More, than Those who had the Honor to sit at Table with Him.
In his Dealings with Others; his Care and Exactness, that every Man should have his Due, was such, that You would think He had never seen a Court: the Politeness and Civility with which this Justice was administred, would convince You He never had lived out of One.
He was so strict an Observer of his Word, that no Consideration whatever, could make him break it: yet so cautious, lest the Merit of his Act should arise from that Obligation only; that He usually did the greatest Favors, without making any previous Promise. So inviolable was He in his Friendship; and so kind to the Character of Those, whom He had once Honored with a more intimate Acquaintance; that nothing less than a Demonstration of some Essential Fault, could make Him break with Them: and then too, his good Nature did not consent to it, without the greatest Reluctance and Difficulty. Let me give one Instance of this amongst many. When, as Lord Chamberlain, He was obliged to take the King's Pension from Mr. DRYDEN, who had long before put Himself out of a Possibility of Receiving any Favor from the Court: my Lord allowed Him an Equivalent, out of his own Estate. However displeased with the Conduct of his old Acquaintance, He relieved his Necessities; and while He gave Him his Assistance in Private; in Public, He extenuated and pitied his Error.
The Foundation indeed of these Excellent Qualities, and the Perfection of my Lord DORSET's Character, was, That unbounded Charity which ran through the whole Tenor of his Life; and sat as visibly Predominant[Page] over the other Faculties of his Soul; as She is said to do in Heaven, above Her Sister Virtues.
Crouds of Poor daily thronged his Gates, expecting thence their Bread: and were still lessened by His sending the most proper Objects of his Bounty to Apprenticeships, or Hospitals. The Lazar and the Sick, as He accidentally saw them, were removed from the Street to the Physician: and Many of Them not only restored to Health; but supplied with what might enable Them to resume their former Callings, and make their future Life happy. The Prisoner has often been released, by my Lord's paying the Debt; and the Condemned has been saved by his Intercession with the Sovereign; where He thought the Letter of the Law too rigid. To Those whose Circumstances were such as made Them ashamed of their Poverty; He knew how to bestow his Munificence, without offending their Modesty: and under the Notion of frequent Presents, gave Them what amounted to a Subsistance. Many yet alive know This to be true, though He told it to None, nor ever was more uneasy, than when any one mentioned it to Him.
We may find among the Greeks and Latins, TIBULLUS, and GALLUS; the Noblemen that writ Poetry: AUGUSTUS and MAECENAS; the Protectors of Learning: ARISTIDES, the good Citizen; and ATTICUS, the well-bred Friend: and bring Them in, as Examples, of my Lord DORSET's Wit; His Judgment; His Justice; and His Civility. But for His Charity, My Lord, We can scarce find a Parallel in History it self.
TITUS was not more the Delicia Humani generis, on this Account, than my Lord DORSET was. And, without any Exageration, that Prince did not do more good in[Page] Proportion, out of the Revenue of the Roman Empire, than Your Father, out of the Income of a private Estate. Let this, my Lord, remain to You and Your Posterity a Possession for ever, to be Imitated, and if possible, to be Excelled.
As to my own Particular, I scarce knew what Life was, sooner than I found my self obliged to His Favor; nor have had Reason to feel any Sorrow, so sensibly as That of His Death. Ille dies — — — quem semper acerbum Semper honoratum (sic Dí voluistis) habebo.
AENEAS could not reflect upon the Loss of His own Father with greater Piety, my Lord, than I must recall the Memory of Your's: and when I think whose Son I am writing to, the least I promise myself from Your Goodness is an uninterrupted Continuance of Favor, and a Friendship for Life. To which that I may with some Justice Intitle myself, I send Your Lord - ship a Dedication, not filled with a long Detail of Your Praises, but with my sincerest Wishes, that You may Deserve them; That You may Imploy those extraordinary Parts and Abilities, with which Heaven has blessed You, to the Honor of Your Family, the Benefit of Your Friends, and the Good of Your Country; That all Your Actions may be Great, Open, and Noble, such as may tell the World, whose Son, and whose Successor You are.
What I now offer to Your Lordship is a Collection of Poetry, a kind of Garland of Good Will. If any Verses of My Writing should appear in Print, under another Name and Patronage, than That of an Earl of DORSET; People might suspect them not to be Genuine. I have[Page] attained my present End, if these Poems prove the Diversion of some of Your Youthful Hours, as they have been occasionally the Amusement of some of Mine; and I humbly hope, that as I may hereafter bind up my fuller Sheaf, and lay some Pieces of a very different Nature (the Product of my severer Studies) at Your Lordship's Feet, I shall engage Your more serious Reflection: Happy, if in all my Endeavors I may contribute to Your Delight, or to Your Instruction. I am, with all Duty and Respect, MY LORD, Your Lordship's most Obedient, and most Humble Servant, MAT. PRIOR.
THE Greatest Part of what I have Written having already been Published, either singly or in some of the Miscellanies; it would be too late for Me to make any Excuse for appearing in Print: But a Collection of Poems has lately appeared under my Name, tho' without my Knowledge, in which the Publisher has given Me the Honor of some Things that did not belong to Me; and has Transcribed others so imperfectly, that I hardly knew them to be Mine. This has obliged Me, in my own Defence, to look back upon some of those lighter Studies, which I ought long since to have quitted, and to Publish an indifferent Collection of Poems, for fear of being thought the Author of a worse.
Thus I beg Pardon of the Public for Reprinting some Pieces, which, as they came singly from their first Impression, have (I fancy) lain long and quietly in Mr. TONSON's Shop; and adding others to them, which were never before Printed, and might have lain as quietly, and perhaps more safely, in a Corner of my own Study.
The Reader will, I hope, make Allowance for their having been written at very distant Times, and on very different Occasions; and take them as they happen to come, Public Panegyrics, Amorous Odes, Serious Reflections, or Idle Tales, the Produćt of his leisure Hours, who had Business enough upon his Hands, and was only a Poet by Accident.[Page]
I take this Occasion to thank my good Friend and School-fellow Mr. DIBBEN, for his excellent Persion of the Carmen Seculare; though my Gratitude may justly carry a little Envy with it: for I believe the most accurate judges will find the Translation exceed the Original.
I must likewise own my self obliged to Mrs. SINGER, who has given Me Leave to Print a Pastoral of Her Writing; That Poem having produced the Verses immediately following it. I wish She might be prevailed with to publish some other Pieces of that Kind, in which the Softness of Her Sex, and the Fineness of Her Genius, conspire to give Her a very distinguishing Character.
I Must help my Preface by a Postscript, to tell the Reader, that there is Ten Years Distance between my writing the One and the Other; and that (whatever I thought then, and have somewhere said, that I would publish no more Poetry) He will find several Copies of Werses scattered through this Edition, which were not printed in the First. Those relating to the Publick stand in the Order They did before, and according to the several Years, in which They were written; however the Disposition of our National Affairs, the Actions, or the Fortunes of some Men, and the Opinions of others may have changed. Prose, and other Human Things may take what Turn they can; but Poetry, which pretends to have something of Divinity in it, is to be more permanent. Odes once printed cannot well be altered, when the Author has already said, that He expects His Work should Live for Ever. And it had been very foolish in my Friend HORACE, if some Years after His Exegi Monumentum, He should have desired to see his Building taken down again.
The Dedication likewise is Reprinted to the Earl of DORSET, in the foregoing Leaves, without any Alteration; though I had the fairest Opportunity, and the strongest Inclination to have added a great deal to it. The blooming Hopes, which I said the World expected from my then very Young Patron, have been confirmed by most Noble and distinguished First-Fruits; and His Life is going on towards a plentiful Harvest[Page] of all accumulated Virtues. He Has in Fact exceeded whatever the Fondness of my Wishes could invent in His Favor: His equally Good and Beautiful Lady enjoys in Him an Indulgent, and Obliging Husband; His Children, a Kind, and Careful Father; and His Acquaintance, a Faithful, Generous, and Polite Friend. His Fellow-Peers have attended to the Perswasion of His Eloquence; and have been convinced by the Solidity of His Reasoning. He has long since deserved and attained the Honor of the Garter. He has managed some of the greatest Charges of the Kingdom with known Ability; and laid them down with entire Disinteressment. And as He continues the Exercises of these eminent Virtues (which that He may do to a very old Age, shall be my perpetual Wish) He may be One of the Greatest Men that our Age, or possibly our Nation has bred; and leave Materials for a Panegyric, not unworthy the Pen of some future PLINY.
From so Noble a Subject as the Earl of DORSET, to so mean a one as my self, is (I confess) a very Pindaric Transition. I shall only say one Word, and trouble the Reader no further. I published my Poems formerly, as Monsieur JOURDAIN sold his Silk: He would not be thought a Tradesman; but ordered some Pieces to be measured out to his particular Friends. Now I give up my Shop, and dispose of all my Poetical Goods at once: I must therefore desire, that the Public would please to take them in the Gross; and that every Body would turn over what He does not like.