1721 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Lucius, "On the Death of Mr. Prior" London Journal (30 September 1721).



O if my Tongue had Language to express
The heavy Burden of my Soul's Distress!
My Numbers, charming as thy Strains, shou'd flow;
A comely Mourning, and a decent Woe.

Immortal Bard, if thou can'st deign to see
A Thing so wretched and so low as me;
Howe'er thy Eyes o'er beauteous Prospects roam,
And Angels Songs salute thee to thy Home:
O, to thy Friend below be once more kind!
And grant that these may thy Acceptance find.

But tho' these fail, thou shalt for ever stand
Immortaliz'd by thy own deathless Hand.
Thy ALMA and thy SOLOMON shall shine,
With equal Glory to a distant Line.
Succeeding Ages, as they read 'em o'er,
Shall praise the Poet, and his Fate deplore.
Amazing Beauties thro' the Work unfold,
And practice what their great Fore-father told.

If, O my Friend, kind Heav'n wou'd hear my Pray'r,
And raise me sinking from this deep Despair;
Before I fall, and reach the lonesome Grave,
Let me a Portion of thy Spirit have:
That when the Springs of weary Life decay,
And frighted Nature wings her Course away;
The bounteous Powers may to my Soul assign,
A Rest, a Fame, and a Reward like Thine.