1721 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Anonymous, "Threnus: or, Stanzas on the Death of Mr. Prior" 1721; A New Collection of Poems on Several Occasions by Mr. Prior and Others (1725) 15-18.



Matt Prior — and we must submit!
Is at his Journey's End;
In whom the World has lost a Wit;
And I, what's more, a Friend.

Who vainly hopes long here to stay,
My see with weeping Eyes,
Not only Nature posts-away,
But e'en Good-Nature dies!

Shou'd grave Ones count these Praises light,
To such it may be said;
A Man, in this lamented Wight,
Of Business too is dead.

From Ancestors, as might a Fool!
He trac'd no High-fetch'd Stem;
But gloriously revers'd the Rule,
By Dignifying them.

O! gentle Cambridge! sadly say,
Why Fates are so unkind?
To snatch thy Giant-Sons away,
While Pygmies stay behind.

Horace and He were call'd in haste,
From this vile Earth to Heaven;
The cruel Year not fully past,
Aetatis, Fifty-seven.

So on the Tops of Lebanon,
Tall Cedars felt the Sword;
To grace, by Care of Solomon,
The Temple of the Lord.

A tomb amidst the Learned, may
The Western-Abbey give!
Like Theirs, his Ashes must decay;
Like Theirs, his Fame shall live.

Close Carver! by some well-cut Books,
Let a thin Busto tell;
In spite of plump and pamper'd Looks,
How scantly Sense can dwell!

No Epitaph, of tedious Length,
Shou'd overcharge the Stone;
Since lofty'est Verse wou'd lose its Strength,
In mentioning his Own.

At once! and not Verbosely tame,
Some brave Laconic-Pen,
Shou'd smartly touch his ample Name;
In Form of — O RARE BEN!