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What bright soft thing is this ?
Sweet Mary, thy fair eyes' expense ?

A moist spark it is,

A wat'ry diamond ; from whence The very term, I think, was found The water of a diamond.

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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
By the wanton spring put on,

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,
Let us love, and never fear
What the sourest fathers say:
Brightest Sol, that dies to-day,

Lives again as blithe to-morrow;
But if we, dark sons of sorrow,
Set, O! then how long a night
Shuts the eyes of our short light!
Then let amorous kisses dwell
On our lips, begin and tell
A thousand and a hundred score,
An hundred and a thousand more,
Till another thousand smother
That, and that wipe off another.
Thus, at last, when we have number'd
Many a thousand, many a hundred,
We'll confound the reckoning quite,
And lose ourselves in wild delight :
While our joys so multiply,
As shall mock the envious eye.


HAIL, sister springs,
Parents of silver-forded rills !

Ever bubbling things !

Thawing crystal ! snowy hills ! Still spending, never spent ; I mean Thy fair eyes, sweet Magdalen.

Heavens thy fair eyes be,
Heavens of ever-falling stars,

'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 primrose's pale cheek to deck,

The dew no more will sleep,

Nuzzled in the lily's neck.
Much rather would it tremble here,
And leave them both to be thy tear.

Not the soft gold, which
Steals from the amber-weeping tree,

Makes sorrow half so rich,

As the drops distill’d from thee.
Sorrow's best jewels lie in these
Caskets, of which Heaven keep the keys.

Not in the evening's eyes,
When they red with weeping are,

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 ;
They seem'd just tallied for each other.

Their moral and economy
Most perfectly they made agree :
Each virtue kept its proper bound,
Nor trespass’d on the other's ground.
Nor fame nor censure they regarded ;
They neither punish'd nor rewarded.
He cared not what the footman did';
Her maids she neither praised nor chid :
So every servant took his course,
And, bad at first, they all grew worse.
Slothful disorder fill'd his stable,
And sluttish plenty deck'd her table.
Their beer was strong; their wine was port ;
Their meal was large; their grace was short.
They gave


the remnant meat, Just when it grew not fit to eat.

They paid the church and parish rate,
And took, but read not, the receipt ;
For which they claim'd their Sunday's due,
Of slumbering in an upper pew.

No man's defects sought they to know :
So never made themselves a foe.
No man's good deeds did they commend ;
So never raised themselves a friend.
Nor cherish'd they relations poor ;
That might decrease their present store :
Nor barn nor house did they repair ;
That might oblige their future heir.

They neither added nor confounded ;
They neither wanted nor abounded.
Each Christmas they accounts did clear,
And wound their bottom round the year.

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