1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 71.



From a Picture by Richardson, in the Collection of Lord Hardwicke.

If this be a likeness of PRIOR, and we have the strongest reason to believe it quite authentic, it is undoubtedly the finest head that we have seen of that lively writer. It does not, indeed, coincide with our recollections of some of his verses; but it is an exceedingly striking portrait. It indicates the author of "The Nut Brown Maid," or perhaps the diplomatist, but scarcely the humorous fabler. Prior's stories are neatly and piquantly told. We do not see high poetry or romance in any of his verses, but we look for pleasant narrative, shrewdness, and comic spirit, — and we find them. We shall be excused for recommending this portrait to the particular notice of the reader, as a work of art, full of beauty and expression.