1767 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Anonymous, in "The Pleasures of Reading" Scots Magazine 29 (June 1767) 313.



For mirth I'm often Prior's debtor:
No mortal told a story better:
His comic tales are full of salt;
His rhymes run smooth, and rarely halt.
With what politeness to the ladies,
Each stroke of pleasing flatt'ry paid is!
And then he treats the tender passion
Exactly like a man of fashion.
Much meaning couch'd in Alma shines,
While sweetly flow the hum'rous lines;
And much morality we find
In this droll picture of the mind:
In such soft language are display'd
The sorrows of the Nut-brown maid,
That while her tender griefs we read,
Our sympathising bosoms bleed.
In Solomon well drawn we see
The lively lines of vanity:
And while strong colours spirit give,
The finish'd portrait seems to live.