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compositions, the Carmen Seculare, in which he exhausts all his powers of celebration. I mean not to accuse him of flattery; he probably thought all that he writ, and retained as much veracity as can be properly exacted from a poet professedly encomiastick". King William supplied copious materials for either verse or prose?. His whole life had been action, and none ever denied him the resplendent qualities of steady resolution and personal courage :. He was really in Prior's mind what he represents him in his verses; he considered him as a hero, and was accustomed to say that he praised others in compliance with the fashion, but that in celebrating king William he followed his inclination. To Prior gratitude would dictate praise, which reason would not refuse.

Among the advantages to arise from the future years of William's 14 reign, he mentions Societies for useful Arts, and among them

Some that with care true eloquence shall teach,
And to just idioms fix our doubtful speech;
That from our writers distant realms may know

The thanks we to our monarch owe,
And schools profess our tongue through every land

That has invok'd his aid, or bless'd his hand.' Tickell, in his Prospect of Peace, has the same hope of a new 15 academy:

'In happy chains our daring language bound,

Shall sport no more in arbitrary sound 5.' Whether the similitude of those passages which exhibit the same thought on the same occasion proceeded from accident or imitation, is not easy to determine. Tickell might have been impressed with his expectation by Swift's Proposal for ascertaining the English Language, then lately published '.

In the parliament that met in 1701 he was chosen representative 16 of East Grinstead? Perhaps it was about this time that he changed his party 8 ; for he voted for the impeachment of those

Post, PRIOR, 58. In the last Eng. Poets, xxxii. 308. stanza but one he says (Eng. Poets,

5 16. xxxix. 171. xxxii. 311):

6 Twelve years later. Post, SWIFT, • Snatched from her


40. once must mourn

? Two new parliaments met in The Demi-God; the earthly half 1701. Prior was elected for the first must die.'

only. Parl. Hist. v. 1228, 1324. . Ante, Rowe, 5; post, CONGREVE, 8 Post, PRIOR, 45. The Earl of 37:

Jersey, under whom he had served For Johnson'sestimate of William (ante, PRIOR, 12), was 'a moderate see ante, ROWE, 5 n.

Tory. Macaulay's Hist. viii. 182.


lords who had persuaded the king to the Partition-treaty, a treaty

in which he had himself been ministerially employed'. 17 A great part of queen Anne's reign was a time of war, in

which there was little employment for negotiators, and Prior had therefore leisure to make or to polish verses.

When the battle of Blenheim called forth all the verse-men”, Prior among the rest took care to shew his delight in the increasing honour of his

country by an Epistle to Boileau 3. 18 He published soon afterwards a volume of poems“, with the

encomiastick character of his deceased patron the duke of Dorsets: it began with the College Exercise and ended with the Nut

brown Maid'. 19 The battle of Ramillies soon afterwards (in 1700) excited him

to another effort of poetry. On this occasion he had fewer or less formidable rivals; and it would be not easy to name any other composition produced by that event which is now remem

bered. 20 Every thing has its day. Through the reigns of William and

Anne no prosperous event passed undignified by poetry. In the last war, when France was disgraced and overpowered in every quarter of the globe, when Spain, coming to her assistance, only shared her calamities, and the name of an Englishman was reverenced through Europe', no poet was heard amidst the

* Ante, HALIFAX, 9; ROWE, 20 n. 5 The Earl of Dorset, who died on For Sir James Montagu's explana- Jan. 19, 1705-6. Ante, DORSET, 12. tion of his conduct see Mr. Austin For the character see Eng. Poets, Dobson's Prior, p. 217.

xxxii. 125; ante, DORSET, 1. For · Ante, J. PHILIPS, 5; ADDISON, Johnson's mistake about his title see 25, 130. Congreve also in his Pins ante, DRYDEN, 27; post, A. PHILIPS, 3. daric Ode celebrated the victory. Eng. Ante, PRIOR, 4. Poets, xxxiv. 286. Wesley's father Eng. Poets, xxxiii. 28; post, was one of the verse-men, and was POPE, 63. rewarded by Marlborough with 'a An Ode to the Queen. Post, chaplain's place in one of the new PRIOR, 59; Eng. Poets, xxxiii. 68. regiments. Hearne's Remains, i. Prior, sending it to Sir Thomas 39. John Dennis was another, in Hanmer, wrote :-Prose you see, his Britannia Triumphans. Select Sir, is below me. I have left method Works, 1718, i. 417. See also post, for rage, and common sense for FENTON, 6.

enthusiasm. Hanmer Corres. p. 100. 3 A Letter to Monsieur Boileau 9 Gibbon says of his visit to Paris Despreaux, occasion'd by the Victory in 1763:—'The moment was happily at Blenheim, 1704, Eng. Poets, chosen. At the close of a successful xxxiii. 9; post, PRIOR, 58.

war the British name was respected An unauthorized version was on the Continent. published in 1707, and Prior's own

Clarum et venerabile nomen edition in 1709.

See Mr. Austin Gentibus. Dobson's Prior, p. 219.

Our opinions, our fashions, even


general acclamation: the fame of our counsellors and heroes was intrusted to the Gazetteer'. The nation in time grew weary of the war, and the queen grew

21 weary of her ministers. The war was burdensome, and the ministers were insolent. Harley and his friends began to hope that they might, by driving the Whigs from court and from power, gratify at once the queen and the people. There was now a call for writers, who might convey intelligence of past abuses, and shew the waste of publick money, the unreasonable Conduct of the Allies?, the avarice of generals, the tyranny of minions, and the general danger of approaching ruin 3.

For this purpose a paper called The Examiner was periodically 22 published, written, as it happened, by any wit of the party“, and sometimes, as is said, by Mrs. Manley. Some are owned by Swift'; and one, in ridicule of Garth's verses to Godolphin upon the loss of his place, was written by Prior, and answered by Addison, who appears to have known the author either by conjecture or intelligence 6.

our games, were adopted in France, written a gross ballad on her. 16.ii. a ray of national glory illuminated 447, xii. 289, and Swift's Works, each individual, and every English- 1803, X. 94 n. Jacob, in The Poetical man was supposed to be born a Register, i. 167, says that she is now patriot and a philosopher.' Memoirs, called the Atalantic Lady, from her p. 151.

inimitable Atalantis, being deser1. GAZETTEER. A writer of news. vedly esteemed for her affability, wit It was lately a term of the utmost and loyalty.' Pope mentions the infamy, being usually applied to book in The Rape of the Lock, iii. wretches who were hired to vindicate 165:the Court.' JOHNSON, Dictionary. As long as Atalantis shall be read,

Johnson, by the italics, refers to Or the small pillow grace a lady's Swift's Conduct of the Allies. Post,

bed.' SWIFT, 45.

On which Warburton remarks in a 3 For the change of ministry see note :- A famous book written about ante, PARNELL, 5.

that time [1711] by a woman; full of Ante, KING, 13; post, SWIFT, Court and party scandal, and in a

loose effeminacy of style and sentiS Steele wrote in The Guardian, ment, which well suited the debauched No. 53:—' It is nothing to taste of the better vulgar.' whether The Examiner writes against • Ante, GARTH, 12. Addison wrote me in the character of an estranged (Works, iv. 371):—' In what follows friend (Swift), or an exasperated there is such a shocking familiarity mistress [Mrs. Manley].' See post, both in his railleries and civilities, SWIFT, 39.

that one cannot long be in doubt who Swift wrote of her on Jan. 28, is the author.' 1711-12 (Works, ii. 467):- She has On Feb. 9, 1710-11 Swift wrote very generous principles for one of (Works, ii. 168) :-Prior was like to her sort, and a great deal of good be insulted in the street for being sense and invention. Earlier in the supposed the author of it (an Eramimonth he and several hands' had ner].'





23 The Tories, who were now in power, were in haste to end the

war, and Prior, being recalled (1710) to his former employment of making treaties, was sent (July 1711) privately to Paris with propositions of peace'. He was remembered at the French court?; and, returning in about a month, brought with him the Abbé Gaultier, and M. Mesnager, a minister from France, invested

with full powers? 24 This transaction not being avowed, Mackay, the master of the

Dover packet-boat, either zealously or officiously, seized Prior and his associates at Canterbury. It is easily supposed that

they were soon released. 25 The negotiation was begun at Prior's house, where the Queen's

ministers met Mesnager (September 20, 1711), and entered privately upon the great business'. The importance of Prior appears from the mention made of him by St. John in his Letter to the

Queen'. 26 'My Lord Treasurer moved, and all my Lords were of the

same opinion, that Mr. Prior should be added to those who are empowered to sign ; the reason for which is, because he, having personally treated with Monsieur de Torcy’, is the best witness we can produce of the sense in which the general preliminary

iv. 58.

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* Parl. Hist. vii. App. p. 4; Swift's had got information of Mr. Prior's Works, v. 73.

journey.' Prior's History, p. 348. Swift wrote on Aug. 24, 1711 :- Swift wrote on Sept. 11 (Works, People confidently affirm Mr. Prior ii. 344):– It seems he was dishas been in France, and I half believe covered by a rascal at Dover, who it. For Swift's 'formal relation of had positive orders to let him pass.' Prior's journey, all pure invention,' of See also ib. v. 76. which 1,000 copies were sold in one 5 Johnson's authority is Walpole's day, see his Works, ii. 325, 335, 345, Report from the Committee of Secrecy

appointed by the House of Commons * Prior's Hist. of my Own Time, to examine the negotiations for the P. 348.

Peace. Parl. Hist. vii. App. p. 105. Sept. 28, 1711. I supped with • Dated Sept. 20, 1711. 1b. p. 106. Mr. Secretary and Prior, and two On Sept. 30 Swift wrote :- Prior private ministers from France, and a went away yesterday with his FrenchFrench priest. I know not the two

men. ...

The Whigs are in a rage ministers' names; but they are come about the peace, but we'll wherret about the peace. The names the them, I warrant, boys.' Works, ii. Secretary called them, I suppose,

362. were feigned.' SWIFT, Works, ii. ? Colbert's nephew. 'Il joignit la 361. The second minister was the dextérité à la probité, ne donna Abbé Du Bois. See also ib. xv. 458. jamais de promesses qu'il ne tînt, fut For Gaultier and Mesnager see ib. aimé et respecté des étrangers.' v. 61, 76.

VOLTAIRE, CEuvres, xvii. 35. Mac• 'They were seized at Canterbury aulay calls him 'a minister of emiin their way to London by Mr. Macky, nent ability. History, viii. 103. the Master of the Packet-Boats, who

engagements are entered into: besides which, as he is the best versed in matters of trade of all your Majesty's servants who have been trusted in this [the] secret-, if you shall think fit to employ him in the future treaty of commerce, it will be of consequence that he has been a party concerned in concluding that convention which must be the rule of this treaty.

The assembly of this important night was in some degree 27 clandestine, the design of treating not being yet openly declared, and, when the Whigs returned to power, was aggravated to a charge of high treason 3 ; though, as Prior remarks in his imperfect answer to the Report of the Committee of Secrecy, no treaty ever was made without private interviews and preliminary discussions.

My business is not the history of the peace, but the life of Prior. 28 The conferences began at Utrecht on the first of January (171112), and the English plenipotentiaries arrived on the fifteenth 5. The ministers of the different potentates conferred and conferred ; but the peace advanced so slowly that speedier methods were found necessary, and Bolingbroke was sent to Paris to adjust differences with less formality o; Prior either accompanied him or followed him?, and after his departure had the appointments and authority of an ambassador, though no publick character.

By some mistake of the Queen's orders the court of France 29 had been disgusted ; and Bolingbroke says in his Letter,

'Dear Mat, hide the nakedness of thy country, and give the best turn thy fertile brain will furnish thee with to the blunders of thy countrymen, who are not much better politicians than the French are poets.

He had gained his experience as

birth will not entitle him to the a Commissioner of Trade. Ante, character of Envoy? Cunningham's PRIOR, 12. In January, 1711-12, he Lives of the Poets, ii. 201. became a Commissioner of Customs. Parl. Hist. vii. 132. Swift's Works, ii. 471. On March * Ib. App. p. 226. 13 Swift wrote:-Prior hates his

5 Ib. App. pp. 12, 14. Commission of the Customs, because

6 Ib. App. p. 51. it spoils his wit. He says he dreams ? 'Aug: 7, 1712. Lord Bolingbroke of nothing but cockets and dockets and Prior set out for France last and drawbacks and other jargon, Saturday. My Lord's business is to words of the Custom House.' 16. hasten the peace before the Dutch iii. 8.

are too much mauled, and hinder For Bolingbroke's testimony to the France from carrying the jest of knowledge of commerce possessed beating them too far. Swift, Works, by Gibbon's grandfather, who sat iii. 44. See also ib. v. 204 ; Parl. at that Board with Prior,' see Gib- Hist. vii. App. p. 191. bon's Memoirs, p. 16.

The Peace of Utrecht' was popuThe Queen wrote to Lord Oxford larly known as “ Matt's Peace." on Nov. 16, 1711 :-'I doubt his Dict. Nat. Biog. xlvi. 399.

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