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approaching at times the cruel, ranks with Alfred and Cromwell as one of the three best and noblest kings of England— best and noblest, because to courage, talent, and patriotism, they all added the fear of God, and a regard for His public cause in the world. Such a man as William might have been a “hero to his valet-de-chambre,” and much more to a man so penetrating as Prior, and who, as gentleman of the bed-chamber and secretary, had occasion to know him so thoroughly, and see him so nearly, and found him to be as great even in his undress as in public, since, unlike Napoleon and some other monarchs, the Prince of Orange was superior to all artifices and tricks of state. In 1700 his university conferred the degree of M.A. on Prior. In the same year he succeeded Locke at the Board of Trade, and in 1701 was elected M.P. of East Grimstead, in Sussex. One inconsistency in his capacity of member was specially noticed. He voted for impeaching the lords who advised the Partition Treaty—a treaty in which he had himself been actively employed. His excuse was, that he had been a mere passive agent in the matter, and no more blameable than the pen which indites a deed of conspiracy. Shortly after commenced the brilliant series of Marlborough's victories; and when Blenheim (Aug. 13, 1704) was fought, Prior, in common with Addison and others, celebrated it in verse, praising it both in his letter to Boileau, and in an ode to the queen. Two years after, when the battle of Ramilies took place, he again wrote a poetical panegyric. The custom of finding subjects of rhyme in victories, had existed at least from Dryden's time, and had now come to its climax. Johnson complains, that in the wars of his day the fame of our counsellors and heroes was entrusted to the gazetteer, while the muses were silent. Since then war-poetry has flourished and faded alternately. Our first wars against the French Republicans were not popular with our poets, who were then all Jacobinically inclined, and hence Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge, left their celebration to Pye. The mighty contests of Napoleon scared and stunned the birds of song all over the world, and Lodi, Marengo, and Austerlitz have never gathered their poetic fame. The glorious uprise of Spain and Portugal against their oppressors, and afterwards the field of Waterloo, aroused the genius of Scott and Southey, while Byron lowered askance, and found in these fights rather a subject for burning invective, and bitter satire, than for poetic enthusiasm. From Waterloo to the Crimean contest, no war, unless we except the struggle in Greece, furnished much material for our poets; and although some genuine bards have sung well of Alma and Inkermann, their strains did not awaken any lively response from the public. In reference to our present war in India, the obscurity of its causes, the various opinions as to its policy, and the horrors of its details, all combine in rendering it unfit for imaginative treatment. Yet Havelock's march to Lucknow was in itself a magnificent episode, although occurring in an epic hitherto as barren as it has been bloody. The nation soon sickened of the war, and became weary even of its pet and pride—Marlborough. A systematic attempt began to eject the ministry, and to terminate the contest; and while Harley and his coadjutors were busy plotting in the cabinet, and declaiming in parliament, a literary cabal was formed against the Whigs, of which the dark-souled Swift was the master-demon; while Gay, Pope, and Prior, ranked among the subordinate agents. Hence came the Eraminer—a paper in which the bitterness is still more remarkable than the talent, and the death of which was reserved for the killing smile and glancing rapier of Addison. Prior had, ere this, from a strong Whig become a flaming Tory, avoided by, and avoiding all his old political friends. In 1711 we find him again in Paris, sent there privately, as minister-plenipotentiary to the court, to negotiate a peace. He remained there for a few weeks, and found that he was not altogether forgotten by his ancient friends. On his return, Monsieur Mesnager and the Abbe Gualtier accompanied our poet, who, however, as his commission from the new ministry had been private, was seized at Canterbury, but speedily released by the queen's orders. The negotiations for peace commenced at Prior's house, and from this time forward his affairs became complicated with those of the Peace of Utrecht, of which he could say, “Magna pars ful.” Appointed our public minister in France — veering between London and Paris as a residence, surrounded by innumerable intrigues, and fascinated by the “fell genius” of Bolingbroke—his situation was, for some years, most uneasy and unhappy. He saw a tempest approaching, and had not the resolution or energy to prepare for it. His motives, nevertheless, were disinterested. His salary was ill-paid, his private fortune was insecure, and he knew that his party was tottering; yet he continued true to their interests, and was soon called to suffer in their cause. Returning home on the 25th of March 1715, he found an order of Council, which committed him to custody, waiting as his salutation. An examination before the Privy Council, an impeachment at the instance of Walpole, close imprisonment, and, in 1717, an exception from the Act of Grace, all followed in succession; and some probably expected that the author of the “Thief and the Cordelier” was to share the fate of his famous hero. Suddenly, however, and unaccountably, he was discharged. It is significant, that one of the principal accusations brought against him and Bolingbroke was, that they had been unseasonably witty during the most important and solemn negotiations. We believe the ruling passion would have been as strong at death with them as during negotiation; and that if tried for their lives and condemned, even as Danton and Camille Desmoulins, in similar circumstances, amused themselves with throwing paper pellets at their judges, Prior and Bolingbroke would have covered their everlasting retreat amidst a shower of word and wit missiles. He was now at large, but it was for some time the liberty of a beggar. During his immersion in public life he had never altogether neglected literature. A good many years before this, he had published a collection of his “Poems,” beginning with his “College Exercises,” and ending with the “Nut-brown Maid.” When reduced to his own resources, he sought to aid himself by collecting all his poems, and publishing them by subscription. The volume included

gathered their poetic fame. The glorious uprise of Spain and
Portugal against their oppressors, and afterwards the field of
Waterloo, aroused the genius of Scott and Southey, while
Byron lowered askance, and found in these fights rather a
subject for burning invective, and bitter satire, than for poetic
enthusiasm. From Waterloo to the Crimean contest, no war,
unless we except the struggle in Greece, furnished much ma-
terial for our poets; and although some genuine bards have
sung well of Alma and Inkermann, their strains did not
awaken any lively response from the public. In reference to
our present war in India, the obscurity of its causes, the vari-
ous opinions as to its policy, and the horrors of its details, all
combine in rendering it unfit for imaginative treatment. Yet
Havelock's march to Lucknow was in itself a magnificent
episode, although occurring in an epic hitherto as barren as it
has been bloody.
The nation soon sickened of the war, and became weary
even of its pet and pride—Marlborough. A systematic at-
tempt began to eject the ministry, and to terminate the con-
test; and while Harley and his coadjutors were busy plotting
in the cabinet, and declaiming in parliament, a literary cabal
was formed against the Whigs, of which the dark-souled
Swift was the master-demon; while Gay, Pope, and Prior,
ranked among the subordinate agents. Hence came the
Eraminer—a paper in which the bitterness is still more
remarkable than the talent, and the death of which was
reserved for the killing smile and glancing rapier of Addison.
Prior had, ere this, from a strong Whig become a flaming
Tory, avoided by, and avoiding all his old political friends.
In 1711 we find him again in Paris, sent there privately, as
minister-plenipotentiary to the court, to negotiate a peace.
He remained there for a few weeks, and found that he was
not altogether forgotten by his ancient friends. On his re-
turn, Monsieur Mesnager and the Abbe Gualtier accompanied
our poet, who, however, as his commission from the new

ministry had been private, was seized erbury, but speedily released by the queen's order egotiations for peace commenced at Prior's hous this time

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His writings have been accurately and comprehensively divided by Dr Johnson into his “Tales,” his “Occasional Poems,” “Alma,” and “Solomon.” His “Tales” are, so far as the incidents are concerned, in general, borrowed, but the handling is Prior's own. They are sprightly and amusing, and have been compared to the productions of that “fable tree,” Fontaine. He that touches pitch must run his chance of being defiled, but Prior carries away less of it from his rather ticklish themes than might have been expected. Should any one insist that two or three of these stories are blots, he must, at the same time, admit that they are small in size; that they bear no proportion to the mass of his poetry; and that, as compositions, they are too clever and characteristic to be omitted. His “Occasional Poems ” are of unequal merit. His love verses are often graceful and often very trifling. His translations from Callimachus are called by Johnson “licentious ”—i.e., too free in their rendering—and by other critics, stiff and hard. To us they read very much like a portion of Cowper's “Homer,” and, like it, are full of a grave and true, if somewhat faint and sluggish, fire. His war poetry is, to a great extent, spoiled by its classical allusions, which are dragged in as by cart-ropes, instead of flowing naturally from the poet's memory or imagination. Johnson calls his “Henry and Emma” a “dull and tedious dialogue,” and by doing so has subjected himself to the poetical anathema of Cowper. Certainly, as compared with the ancient ballad of the “Nut-brown Maid,” “Henry and Emma” is artificial and poor; but this arises not from the subject, but from Prior's treatment of it. There is no task more difficult, and few more invidious, than that of modernising an ancient and favourite poem. . It may be doubted if any one save Dryden has fully succeeded in it. Pope, in his “Temple of Fame,” certainly has not; nor has Prior, in “Henry and Emma,” in which, if the numbers are smoother than in the ancient poem, much of the race, and freshness, and the wild woodland charm, is lost. We cannot but count Johnson's criticism exceedingly prosaic and hypercritical, when he says, “The example of Emma, who resolves to fol

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