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whole matter is to be managed by friends,” writes Lewis to Swift, “in sueh a manner as shall be least shocking to the dignity of a plenipotentiary.” The scheme was helped on by Pope, Arbuthnot, and Gay, as well as by Lord Harley and Lord Bathurst. This was the origin of the gorgeous folio edition of 1718 over which Mr. Dobson makes merry, and for which all the courtiers and literati seem to have gladly paid down their guineas. It is a truly noble and weighty tome, which brought its author the handsome return of £4,000. Nor was this all, for Lord Oxford gave him another £4,000, for the purchase of Downhall, in Essex, which was three and a half miles from Harlow on the road to Hatfield Heath, and being on rising ground, commanded a fine prospect. In the delightful ballad of Downhall, Prior describes the house as a “plaster and lath barn until'd and unglaz'd,” but this is not of course to be taken quite literally, though it was actually constructed of lath and plaster, and was not rebuilt in brick till 1780. Pope's allusions to the Hall after Prior's death, when it had reverted to Lord Oxford himself, according to the original terms of the gift, seem to show that it was a very pleasant place. Reminiscences of the poet were retained up to that time, and we find Pope “admonishing” a place of honour for Prior's lamp, which was no doubt the one on which were inscribed the verses printed in vol. ii. p. 327. Prior was apparently not insensible to the charms of country life under favourable circumstances. “I have repaired my own farm,” he tells Lord Chesterfield, “am cutting walks through a little wood, and making a fish pond that will hold ten carps, and when I have done this in little, pray tell me what had a Cicero or Pliny to wish, what could a Condé or Chesterfield enjoy more than the same thing in a larger volume.” It is said that while Prior was purchasing it the agent praised the water of the neighbourhood, whereupon he asked “whether it was fit for the goddess 6sa, i.e., tea.” The person who contributed anecdotes to the European Magazine at the end of the last century under the heading Drossiana, relates that Prior grew hypochondriacal in his later days. He became deaf, or thought himself so, and when asked whether he had ever noticed his deafness when he was in office, replied that he “was then so much afraid of his head, that he did not attend very much to his ears.” There was, however, a time when Prior thought once more of coming out of his retirement. On the illness of their parliamentary member Dr. Pasch, the University of Cam. bridge had asked Lord Harley to take his place. He declined, and suggested as his substitute Prior, who was thus again in a fair way to represent his University. A slight objection was raised on the ground that Prior had been excepted from the Act of Grace, but he assured Dr. Jenkins (the Mast of St. John's College), that they need have no fears on that account, since he was “admitted at Court, and not in any way under a cloud.” He hinted that his very sufferings in the cause of his country—so he describes them— should recommend him to the University. He formally offered himself as a candidate on September 20th, 1720, but after a visit to his constituency, found that he could not get on with “the old bucks of the place,” as he disrespectfully calls them. He told Lord Chesterfield that “their sentiments were meaner than any he could close with,” but it is quite possible that his own demands were unreasonable, and it is hardly necessary, perhaps, to attach much importance to his testimony that they were “a body of men who were a little afraid lest their interest sustained in Parliament might spoil their preferments at Court.” He probably did not leave Downhall after this, except for visits to his friends, until shortly before his death, caused by a lingering fever, in September, 1721. This took place at Lord Oxford's seat at Wimpole, where he had been a frequent visitor. Two lines" which he wrote on the walls of the library, whose window curtains were made from some fine damask presented to him by Lord Harley, are still to be seen there. In Nichols' Collection of Poems, 1780, there is also the anecdote that “at Wimpole hung a fine picture of Harley in his Speaker's robes, with the roll of the bill in hand for bringing in the present family; which, if I mistake not, was done by his early vote.” In allusion to Harley's being afterwards sent to the Tower, Prior wrote with a pencil on the white scroll, “Bill paid such a day.” Woltaire gives a brief and cynical account of Prior's life in England after his diplomatic work was finished—“Prior n'eut de ressource qu'une edition de ses ouvres par un souscription de son parti; après quoi il mourut en philosophe, comme meurt ou croit mourir tout honnéte Anglais.” After naming Lord Harley and Adrian Drift as his executors, the first clause of Prior's will directs “that I be buried privately in Westminster Abbey, and that after my debts and funeral charges are paid, a monument be erected to my memory, whereon may be expressed the Public Employments I have borne. The inscription I desire may be made by Dr. Freind," and the busto expressed in marble by Coriveaux,” placed on the monument: for this last piece of human vanity, I will, that the sum of five hundred pounds be set aside.” His wishes in this matter were carried out faithfully, and the elaborate eulogy of Dr. Freind may be studied in the Poets' Corner, or at the end of this Memoir. The other item of interest in his will— “drawn up,” as Humphreys says, “in a strain very different from the formal jargon of lawterms;” through which runs “an air of polite. ness and humanity, peculiar to Mr. Prior,” is as follows:— “To the College of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, I leave such and so many of my books as shall be judged to amount to the value of £200 : these books with my own poems in the greatest paper,” (they were published in three sizes) “to be kept in the library, together with the books which I have already given. I likewise leave my own picture, painted by La Belle," and that of my friend and patron Edward Earl of Jersey, by Rigault.” The volumes in St. John's library are mostly bulky and all well bound, and Prior's crest will be found in each. Mézéray's History of France is there, but it does not contain the verses (p. 140) which he wrote in one copy of that work. The collection is really valuable,

* Printed in Vol. II.

* Of whom Pope wrote: Freind, for your epitaphs I griev'd Where still so much is said; One half will never be believed The other never read. * In Cunningham's London the sculptor's name is spelt Coysevox, and the bust is said to have been a present from Louis XIV. WOL. I. d

* In which the industrious Drossiana describes him as being “in a very fine brocaded suit of clothes” and having “very much l’air noble.”

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