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which that I may with some justice entitle myself, I send your lordship dedication, not filled with a long detail of your praises, but with my sincerest wishes that you may deserve them; that you may employ those extraordinary parts and abilities, with which Heaven has blessed you, to the honour of your family, the benefit of your friends, and the good of your country; that all your actions may be great, open,' and noble, such as may tell the world whose son and whose successor you are.
What I now offer to your lordship is a collection of poetry, a kind of garland of good-will. If any verses of my writing should appear in print under another name and patronage than that of an Earl of Dorset, people might suspect them not to be genuine. I have attained my present endy if these poems prove the diversion of some of your youthful hours, as they have been occasionally the amusement of some of mine; and I humbly hope, that, as I may hereafter bind up my fuller sheaf, and lay some pieces of a very different nature (the product of my severer studies) at your lordship's feet, I shall engage your more serious reflection: happy, if in all my endeavours I may contribute to your delighit, or to your instruction.
I am, with all duty and respect,
Tre greatest part of what I have written having been already published, either singly or in some as the miscellanies, it would be too late for me to make any excuse for appearing in print. But a collection of poems has lately appeared under my name, though without my knowledge, in which the publisher has given me the honour of some things that did not belong to me; and has transcribed others so imperfectly, that I hardly knew them to be mine. This has obliged me, in my own de. fence, to look back upon some of those lighter studies, which I ought long since to have quitted; and-to publish an indifferent collection of poems, for fear of being thought the author of a worse.
Thus I beg pardon of the public for re-priuting some pieces, which, as they came singly from their first impression, have (I fancy) lain long and quietly in Mr. Tonson's shop; and adding others to them, which were never before printed, and might have lain as quietly, and perhaps more safely, in a corner of my own study.
The reader will, I hope, make allowance for their having been written at very distant times, and on very different occasions; and take them as they happen to come : public panegyrics, amorous odes, serious reflections, or idle tales, the product of his leisure hours, who had business enough upon his hands, and was only a poet by accident.
I own myself much obliged to Mrs. Singer, who has given me leave to print a pastoral of her writing; that poem having produced the verses immediately following it. I wish she might be prevailed with to publish some other pieces of that kind, in which the softness of her sex, and the hueness of ber genins, conspire to give her a very distinguishing character.
I must help my preface by a postscript, to tell the reader that there is ten years distance between my writing one and the other; and that (whatever I thought then, and have somewhere said, that I would publish no more poetry) he will find several copies of verses scattered through this edition which were not printed in the first. Those relating to the public stand in the order they did before, according to the several years in which they were written; however the disposition of our national affairs, the actions or fortunes of some men, and the opinions of others, may have changed. Prose, and other human things, may take what turn they can; but poetry, which pretends to have somea thing of divinity in it, is to be more permanent. Odes, once printed, cannot well be altered, when the author has already said, that he expects his works should live for ever: and it had been very foolish in my friend Horace, if, some years after bis Exegi Monumentum, he should have desired to see his building taken down again.
The dedication likewise is re-printed, to the earl of Dorset, in the foregoing leaves, without any alteration; though I had the fairest opportunity, and the strongest inclination, to have adkled a great deal to it. The blooming hopes, which I said the world expected from my then very young patron, have been confirmed by most noble and distinguished first-fruits ; and his life is going on towards a plentiful harvest of all accumulated virtues. He has, in fact, exceeded whatever the fondness of my wishes could invent in his favour: his equally good and beautiful lady enjoys in him an in. dulgent and obliging husband; his children, a kind and careful father; and his acquaintance, a
faithful, generous, and polite friend. His fellow-peers have attended to the persuasion of his eloquence; and have been convinced by the solidity of his reasoning. He has, long since, deserved and attained the honour of the garter. He has managed some of the greatest charges of the king. dom with known ability; and laid them down with entire disinteressment. And as he continues the exercises of these eminent virtues, (which that he may to a very old age, shall be my perpetual wish) he may be one of the greatest men that our age, or possibly our nation, has bred; and lease materials for a panegyric, not unworthy the pen of some future Pliny.
From so noble a subject as the earl of Dorset, to so mean a one as myself, is (I confess) a very Pindaric transition. I shall only say one word, and trouble the reader no further. I published my poems formerly, as Monsieur Jourdain sold his silk : he would not be thought a tradesman; It ordered some pieces to be measured out to his particular friends. Now I give up my shop, and dispose of all my poetical goods at once: I must therefore desire, that the public would please to take them in the gross; and that every body would turn over what he does not like.
BY MR. PRIOR, 1683.
ON EXODUS 111. 14.
I AM THAT I AM.
WRITTEN 169%, AS AN EXERCISE AT ST. JOHN's
COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. Junctos perpetuâ teneas, Hymenæe, catena; Max! foolish man!
Junctos, Juno, die protege; nocte, Venus ! Scarce know'st thou how thyself began; Exultent simili felices prole parentes,
Scarce hast thou thought enough to prove thou art; l't petat hinc multos natio bina duces !
Yet, steel'd with study'd boldness, thou dar’st try
Through the mysterious gulph of vast immensity. From the Hymenpus Cantabrigiensis, Canta- Much thou canst there discern, much thence imbrigiæ, 1683. This copy, notwithstanding the
part. signature, is beyond a doubt the property of the Vain wretch ! suppress thy knowing pride ; facetious Matt. Prior. See the Miscellany Poems,
Mortify thy learned lust. 1781, Vol. VII. p. 93.—All our college exercises Vain are thy thoughts, while thou thyself art duste are given up, signed only by us, with our surname. -- The dean of the college, to whom, in Let Wit her sails, her oars let Wisdom lend; right of his office, Prior's verses were delivered, The helm let politic Experience guide: not knowing, or mistaking Prior's name, who was Yet cease to hope thy short-liv'd bark shall ride then a freshman, marked them with A. instead Down spreading Fate's unnavigable tide. of M. when he gave them into the university in What though still it farther tend, spectors for their approbation: or, probably, he
Still 'tis farther from its end; might have made so aukward an M. that they And, in the bosow of that boundless sea, mistook it for an A. They bear internal evidence Still finds its errour lengthen'd with its way. of their being written by one, though a freshman,
With daring pride and insolent delight, used to write Latin verse; and to write it too, in a
Your doubts resolv'd you boast, your labours great school, under a great master—as was Prior's
crown'd, Dr. Busby. There is a classical terseness in the And, “ETPHKA! your God, forsooth, is fourid diction, and ease and harmony in the numbers. And the distant imitation of Martial's admirable But is he therefore found ? rain scarcher ! no :
Incomprehensible and infinite. lines on the Happy Married Pair or rather the allu: Let your imperfect definition show sion to that excellent little piece (for it can hardly That nothing you, the weak detiner, know. be called an imitation of it) shows the taste of a master, at the years of a boy, and is not unworthy Say, why should the collected Main the name, or the fame, of Prior.
Itself within itself contain ?
Why to its caverns should it sometimes creep, Then down with all thy boasted volumes, dorng And with delighted silence sleep
Only reserve the sacred one : On the lov'd bosom of its parent Deep?
Low, reverently low, Why should its numerous waters stay
Make thy stubborn knowledge bow; In coinely discipline, and fair array,
Weep out thy reason's and thy body's eyes ; Till winds and tides exert their high command ! Deject thyself, that thou may'st rise; Then proinpt and ready to obey,
To look to Heaven, be blind to all below. Why do the rising surges spread Their opening ranks o'er Earth's submissive head, Then Faith, for Reason's glimmering light, shall Marching through different paths to different lands?
Her immortal perspective;
And Grace's presence Nature's loss retrieve: Why does the constant Sun,
Th n thy enliven'd soul shall see, With measur'd stips, his radiant journies run? That all the volumes of Philosophy, Why does he order the diurnal hours
With all their comments, never could invent To leave Earth's other part, and rise in ours? So pulitic an instrument, Why does he wake the correspondent Moon, To reach the Heaven of heavens, the high abode, And fill her willing lamp with liquid light,
Where Moses places his mysterious God, Commanding her with delegated powers
As was the ladier which old Jacob rear'd, To beautify the world, and bless the night? When light divine had human darkness clear'd; Why does each animated star
And his enlarg'd ideas found the road, Love the just limits of its proper sphere?
Which Faith had dictated, and angels trodo
With prudent harmony combine
PART OF THE LXXXVIITH PS.LV: These unfathom'd wonders try :
A COLLEGE EXERCISE, 1690.
Heavy, O Lord, on me thy judgments lic,
O'erwhelm'd in darkness and despar I groan ; Lord of his new hypothesis he reigns.
And every place is hell; for God is gone. He reigns : how long? till some usurper rise ; 0! Lord, and let thy beam control
And he too, mighty thoughtful, mighty wise, Those borrid clouds, that press my frighted souls Studies new lines, and other circles feigns.
Save the poor wanderer from eternal night,
Downward I hasten to my destin'd place ;
There none obtain thy aid, or sing thy praise.
Soon I shall lie in Death's deep ocean drown'd: And shows his friend's mistake, and thence con
Is mercy there, or sweet forgiveness found? firms his own.
O save me yet, whilst on the brink I stand ;
Rebuke the storm, and waft my soul to land.
Thou that art the God of Power.
Behold the prodigal! to thee I come,
To hail my father, and to seek my home. Each hour repuls'd, each hour dares onwarı press :
Nor refuge could I find, nor friend abroad, And, levelling at Gol his wandering guess,
Straying in rice, and destitute of God.
O leithy terrours, and my anguish end!
Thou that art the God of Love.
move and live.
REI. DR. F. TURNER, BISHOP OF ELY, for every drop call forth a sta, a heaven for every WHO HAD ADVISED A TRANSLATION OF PRO DEXTIUS Let cunning Farth her fruitful wonders hide; It
poets, ere they cloth'd their infant thought, And only lift thr staggering rason up
And the rude work to just perfection brought, To trembling Carany's astonish'd top;
Did still sme gol, or gdlike man invoke, Then meck thy kira beige, and confound thy pride, Whose mi_hty name their sacred silence broke : Fvplaining how Perfection surf rd pain
Your gwdness, sir, will easily excuse Almighty languish d, ant Etemal diedi,
The bished requests of an aspiring Muse; Hon hy her pairat vator Death was slain ; Who, with vont blessins, would your aid implore, And Earth profan d, gee bluas , with Deicide. And in her weakness justify your power.