« PreviousContinue »
A moist spark it is,
A wat'ry diamond ; from whence The very term, I think, was found The water of a diamond.
Such a pearl as this is, (Slipt from Aurora's dewy breast)
The rose-bud's sweet lip kisses :
And such the rose itself, when vext With ungențle flames, does shed, Sweating in too warm a bed.
Such the maiden gem
Peeps from her parent stem,
And blushes on the wat’ry Sun : This wat’ry blossom of thy eyne, Ripe, will make the richer wine.
COME, and let us live, my dear,
Lives again as blithe to-morrow;
THE WEEPER, ABRIDGED.
HAIL, sister springs,
Ever bubbling things !
Thawing crystal ! snowy hills ! Still spending, never spent ; I mean Thy fair eyes, sweet Magdalen.
Heavens thy fair eyes be,
'Tis seed-time still with thee,
And stars thou sow'st, whose harvest dares Promise the Earth to countershine Whatever makes Heaven's fore-head fine.
The dew no more will weep,
The dew no more will sleep,
Nuzzled in the lily's neck.
Not the soft gold, which
Makes sorrow half so rich,
As the drops distill’d from thee.
Not in the evening's eyes,
For the Sun that dies,
Sits sorrow with a face so fair; No where but here did ever meet Sweetness so sad, sadness so sweet.
BORN 1664-DIED 1721.
There are some doubts about the parentage of Prior. At
an early age he appears to have lost his father, and it is certain that, while living with his uncle, who kept a tavern near Charing Cross, in which he officiated as clerk or drawer, his classical attainments became known to the Earl of Dorset, who sent him to Cambridge. He obtained a fellowship at St John's College, and became so well known as a man of talent, that, in 1691, he was appointed secretary to the ambassador at the Hague, and in the same capacity was engaged in the negotiations previous to the peace of Ryswick in 1697, and afterwards at the court of Versailles. On returning from France, he was first made under-secretary of state, and soon afterwards commissioner of trade. Prior was employed in the memorable treaty of Utrecht, at the instigation of
Queen Anne's Tory ministry. The writings of Prior are remarkable for ease, fluency, and
correctness, Of the cold French school he is one of the most successful disciples. His works are embodied in the best editions of the British Poets, and his remains repose in Westminster Abbey. A complete elucidation of his character as a poet may be found in his cold, artificial version of the beautiful old ballad of “ The Nutbrown Maid.”
AN EPITAPH. INTERR'd beneath this marble stone Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan. While rolling threescore years and one Did round this globe their courses run, If human things went ill or well, If changing empires rose or fell, The morning past, the evening came, And found this couple still the same. They walk’d, and eat, good folks : what then ? Why then they walk'd and eat again : They soundly slept the night away ; They did just nothing all the day : And, having buried children four, Would not take pains to try for more.
Nor sister either had nor brother ;
Their moral and economy
the remnant meat, Just when it grew not fit to eat.
They paid the church and parish rate,
No man's defects sought they to know :
They neither added nor confounded ;