Matthew Prior

(1664 - 1721 / Dorset / England)

Matthew Prior
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Matthew Prior, poet and diplomat, was born near Wimborne Minster, Dorset. His family moved to London while he was still a child. He was educated at Westminister School, but was taken out when his father died and apprenticed to his uncle, a tavern-keeper. In 1680 he went to Cambridge on a scholarship from the Earl of Dorset and while there he co-wrote with Charles Montague, The Hind and the Panther Transversed to the Story of the Country and City Mouse (1687), a burlesque on Dryden's Hind and the Panther which cuts it down to size by making it absurd.

Prior held various diplomatic posts, and in 1700 entered parliament with the Tories. He was Ambassador at Paris when he was recalled... more »

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Best Poem of Matthew Prior

A Simile

Dear Thomas, didst thou never pop
Thy head into a tin-man's shop?
There, Thomas, didst thou never see
('Tis but by way of simile)
A squirrel spend his little rage
In jumping round a rolling cage?
The cage, as either side turn'd up,
Striking a ring of bells a-top?--

Mov'd in the orb, pleas'd with the chimes,
The foolish creature thinks he climbs:
But here or there, turn wood or wire,
He never gets two inches higher.

So fares it with those merry blades,
That frisk it under Pindus' shades.
In noble songs, and lofty odes,
They tread on stars, ...

Read the full of A Simile

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