1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Robert Lloyd, in "Epistolary Verses [to George Colman], written in the Year 1756" St. James's Chronicle (7 May 1765).



The fam'd Mat Prior, it is said,
Oft bit his Nails, and scratch'd his Head,
And chang'd a Thought a hundred Times,
Because he did not like the Rimes.
To make my Meaning clear, and please ye,
In short, he labour'd to write easy.
And yet, no Critic e'er defines
His Poems into labour'd Lines.
I have a Simile will hit him;
His Verse, like Clothes, was made to fit him,
Which (as no Taylor e'er denied)
The better fit, the more they're tried.

Though I have mention'd Prior's Name,
Think not I aim at Prior's Fame.
'Tis the Result of Admiration
To spend itself in Imitation;
If Imitation may be said,
Which is in me by Nature bred,
And you have better Proofs than these,
That I'm Idolator of Ease.