1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine (September 1738) 469.



When I turned my Eyes, I saw a genteel Man advance, whose Dress and Air were rather more easy than elegant, and yet upon viewing him narrowly, I could observe nothing in the one that was slovenly, or in the other that was unbecoming: His Robe was of a fine English Cloath, raised with a French embroidery and his Manner spoke him to be as well acquainted with Mankind, as he was with the Muses. That Person, said my Director, is Matthew Prior, he owed much to Nature, but more to Fortune: The Gifts of the former must have languish'd, or at best have qualified him for the Favorite of some assuming great Man, had not Fortune introduced him to the Company and Acquaintance of those, who were too good Judges of Mankind, not to know that a good Poet, must be a Man of good sense; and that a Man of good Sense, together with a fine Genius for the Arts, must form a more useful as well as ornamental Member of Society, than good Sense with little or no Genius at all.