1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in Library Companion (1824; 1825) 2:735-36.



A word about Prior. On the tables of old halls, or on the lowest shelves of old libraries, you generally see the stately folio edition of 1718, of this poet's works; with a portrait of the author in his velvet studying cap (as you now-a-days see Cowper) prefixed: executed, I believe, by Vertue: and of this towering tome there are even copies on LARGE PAPER! — now, not worth the expense of porterage.... With the exception of his Edwin and Emma, founded on the old ballad of the Nut Brown Maid: of which it were difficult to say, whether the original or the copy be more remarkable for its insipidity, Prior seems to be well nigh forgotten; but he was a scholar, and a man of taste, and an influential personage in his day.