1749 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Anonymous, in Westminster Abbey, an Heroic Poem (1749) 29-31.



Here PRIOR rests entomb'd! whose fruitful Vein,
And nat'ral Genius, grac'd the Muses' Train!
His deathless Fame survives the crumbling Dust;
Embalms his Worth, and dignifies the Bust.
Approv'd Fidelity, to Candour join'd,
With Beams resplendent in his Actions shin'd;
And all the Graces which exalt the Mind.
Legate, when William, when great Anna reign'd,
That arduous Task successful he sustain'd.
Courteous to All; in Life's each shifting Scene,
He play'd his Part, collected, and serene:
Dear to his Friends, and held in high Esteem.
Wit flow'd redundant in his free Discourse,
Like Mountain-waters pouring from their Source.
While, wrapp'd in studious Thought, he means to draw
Th' Historic Annals of the Times he saw;
A ling'ring Fever cuts Life's slender Thread,
And dooms the Victim to th' Immortal Dead.
Thy mortal Part, inurn'd, returns to Clay;
The Soul to th' Heav'nly Mansions wings her Way.
Illustrious Pattern to succeeding Youth!
Strict Honour's Standard, and the Test of Truth.