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Best Famous Matthew Prior Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Matthew Prior poems. This is a select list of the best famous Matthew Prior poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Matthew Prior poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Matthew Prior poems.

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Written by Matthew Prior |

The Merchant To Secure His Treasure

 The merchant, to secure his treasure,
Conveys it in a borrowed name:
Euphelia serves to grace my measure,
But Cloe is my real flame.
My softest verse, my darling lyre Upon Euphelia's toilet lay— When Cloe noted her desire That I should sing, that I should play.
My lyre I tune, my voice I raise, But with my numbers mix my sighs; And whilst I sing Euphelia's praise, I fix my soul on Cloe's eyes.
Fair Cloe blushed; Euphelia frowned: I sung, and gazed; I played, and trembled: And Venus to the Loves around Remarked how ill we all dissembled.

Written by Matthew Prior |

Phylliss Age

 How old may Phyllis be, you ask, 
Whose beauty thus all hearts engages? 
To answer is no easy task; 
For she has really two ages.
Stiff in brocard, and pinch'd in stays, Her patches, paint, and jewels on; All day let envy view her face; And Phyllis is but twenty-one.
Paint, patches, jewels laid aside, At night astronomers agree, The evening has the day belied; And Phyllis is some forty-three

Written by Matthew Prior |

To Chloe Jealous

 Dear Chloe, how blubber'd is that pretty face;
Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurl'd:
Prythee quit this caprice; and (as old Falstaff says)
Let us e'en talk a little like folks of this world.
How canst thou presume, thou hast leave to destroy The beauties, which Venus but lent to thy keeping? Those looks were design'd to inspire love and joy: More ord'nary eyes may serve people for weeping.
To be vext at a trifle or two that I writ, Your judgment at once, and my passion you wrong: You take that for fact, which will scarce be found wit: Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song? What I speak, my fair Chloe, and what I write, shows The diff'rence there is betwixt nature and art: I court others in verse; but I love thee in prose: And they have my whimsies, but thou hast my heart.
The god of us verse-men (you know, child) the Sun, How after his journeys he sets up his rest: If at morning o'er earth 'tis his fancy to run; At night he declines on his Thetis's breast.
So when I am wearied with wand'ring all day, To thee my delight in the evening I come: No matter what beauties I saw in my way; They were but my visits, but thou art my home.
Then finish, dear Chloe, this pastoral war; And let us like Horace and Lydia agree: For thou art a girl as much brighter than her, As he was a poet sublimer than me.

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Written by Matthew Prior |

On My Birthday July 21

 I, MY dear, was born to-day-- 
So all my jolly comrades say: 
They bring me music, wreaths, and mirth, 
And ask to celebrate my birth: 
Little, alas! my comrades know 
That I was born to pain and woe; 
To thy denial, to thy scorn, 
Better I had ne'er been born: 
I wish to die, even whilst I say-- 
'I, my dear, was born to-day.
' I, my dear, was born to-day: Shall I salute the rising ray, Well-spring of all my joy and woe? Clotilda, thou alone dost know.
Shall the wreath surround my hair? Or shall the music please my ear? Shall I my comrades' mirth receive, And bless my birth, and wish to live? Then let me see great Venus chase Imperious anger from thy face; Then let me hear thee smiling say-- 'Thou, my dear, wert born to-day.

Written by Matthew Prior |

A True Maid

 No, no; for my virginity,
When I lose that, says Rose, I'll die:
Behind the elms last night, cried Dick,
Rose, were you not extremely sick?

Written by Matthew Prior |

Cupid Mistaken

 As after noon, one summer's day, 
Venus stood bathing in a river; 
Cupid a-shooting went that way, 
New strung his bow, new fill'd his quiver.
With skill he chose his sharpest dart: With all his might his bow he drew: Swift to his beauteous parent's heart The too well-guided arrow flew.
I faint! I die! the Goddess cry'd: O cruel, could'st thou find none other, To wreck thy spleen on? Parricide! Like Nero, thou hast slain thy mother.
Poor Cupid sobbing scarce could speak; Indeed, Mamma, I did not know ye: Alas! how easy my mistake? I took you for your likeness, Cloe.

Written by Matthew Prior |

To a Lady

 Spare, gen'rous victor, spare the slave,
Who did unequal war pursue;
That more than triumph he might have,
In being overcome by you.
In the dispute whate'er I said, My heart was by my tongue belied; And in my looks you might have read How much I argued on your side.
You, far from danger as from fear, Might have sustain'd an open fight: For seldom your opinions err: Your eyes are always in the right.
Why, fair one, would you not rely On Reason's force with Beauty's join'd? Could I their prevalence deny, I must at once be deaf and blind.
Alas! not hoping to subdue, I only to the fight aspir'd: To keep the beauteous foe in view Was all the glory I desir'd.
But she, howe'er of vict'ry sure.
Contemns the wreath too long delay'd; And, arm'd with more immediate pow'r, Calls cruel silence to her aid.
Deeper to wound, she shuns the fight: She drops her arms, to gain the field: Secures her conquest by her flight; And triumphs, when she seems to yield.
So when the Parthian turn'd his steed, And from the hostile camp withdrew; With cruel skill the backward reed He sent; and as he fled, he slew.

Written by Matthew Prior |

An Ode

 The merchant, to secure his treasure, 
Conveys it in a borrowed name: 
Euphelia serves to grace my measure; 
But Cloe is my real flame.
My softest verse, my darling lyre Upon Euphelia's toilet lay; When Cloe noted her desire, That I should sing, that I should play.
My lyre I tune, my voice I raise; But with my numbers mix my sighs: And whilst I sing Euphelia's praise, I fix my soul on Cloe's eyes.
Fair Cloe blushed: Euphelia frowned: I sung and gazed: I played and trembled: And Venus to the Loves around Remarked, how ill we all dissembled.

Written by Matthew Prior |

The Lady who offers her Looking-Glass to Venus

 VENUS, take my votive glass: 
Since I am not what I was, 
What from this day I shall be, 
Venus, let me never see.

Written by Matthew Prior |

A Letter to Lady Margaret Cavendish Holles-Harley when a Child

 MY noble, lovely, little Peggy, 
Let this my First Epistle beg ye, 
At dawn of morn, and close of even, 
To lift your heart and hands to Heaven.
In double duty say your prayer: Our Father first, then Notre Pere.
And, dearest child, along the day, In every thing you do and say, Obey and please my lord and lady, So God shall love and angels aid ye.
If to these precepts you attend, No second letter need I send, And so I rest your constant friend.

Written by Matthew Prior |

To a Child of Quality Five Years Old 1704. The Author then Forty

 LORDS, knights, and squires, the numerous band 
 That wear the fair Miss Mary's fetters, 
Were summoned by her high command 
 To show their passions by their letters.
My pen amongst the rest I took, Lest those bright eyes, that cannot read, Should dart their kindling fire, and look The power they have to be obey'd.
Nor quality, nor reputation, Forbid me yet my flame to tell; Dear Five-years-old befriends my passion, And I may write till she can spell.
For, while she makes her silkworms beds With all the tender things I swear; Whilst all the house my passion reads, In papers round her baby's hair; She may receive and own my flame; For, though the strictest prudes should know it, She'll pass for a most virtuous dame, And I for an unhappy poet.
Then too, alas! when she shall tear The rhymes some younger rival sends, She'll give me leave to write, I fear, And we shall still continue friends.
For, as our different ages move, 'Tis so ordain'd (would Fate but mend it!), That I shall be past making love When she begins to comprehend it.

Written by Matthew Prior |

For my own Monument

 AS doctors give physic by way of prevention, 
 Mat, alive and in health, of his tombstone took care; 
For delays are unsafe, and his pious intention 
 May haply be never fulfill'd by his heir.
Then take Mat's word for it, the sculptor is paid; That the figure is fine, pray believe your own eye; Yet credit but lightly what more may be said, For we flatter ourselves, and teach marble to lie.
Yet counting as far as to fifty his years, His virtues and vices were as other men's are; High hopes he conceived, and he smother'd great fears, In a life parti-colour'd, half pleasure, half care.
Nor to business a drudge, nor to faction a slave, He strove to make int'rest and freedom agree; In public employments industrious and grave, And alone with his friends, Lord! how merry was he! Now in equipage stately, now humbly on foot, Both fortunes he tried, but to neither would trust; And whirl'd in the round as the wheel turn'd about, He found riches had wings, and knew man was but dust.
This verse, little polish'd, tho' mighty sincere, Sets neither his titles nor merit to view; It says that his relics collected lie here, And no mortal yet knows too if this may be true.
Fierce robbers there are that infest the highway, So Mat may be kill'd, and his bones never found; False witness at court, and fierce tempests at sea, So Mat may yet chance to be hang'd or be drown'd.
If his bones lie in earth, roll in sea, fly in air, To Fate we must yield, and the thing is the same; And if passing thou giv'st him a smile or a tear, He cares not--yet, prithee, be kind to his fame.

Written by Matthew Prior |

Horace Lib. I Epist. IX Imitated

 [To the right honourable Mr.
Harley] Dear Dick, how e'er it comes into his head, Believes, as firmly as he does his creed, That you and I, sir, are extremely great; Though I plain Mat, you minister of state.
One word from me, without all doubt, he says, Would fix his fortune in some little place.
Thus better than myself, it seems, he knows How far my interest with my patron goes; And answering all objections I can make, Still plunges deeper in his dear mistake.
From this wild fancy, sir, there may proceed One wilder yet, which I foresee, and dread; That I, in fact, a real interest have, Which to my own advantage I would save, And, with the usual courtier's trick, intend To serve myself, forgetful of my friend.
To shun this censure, I all shame lay by, And make my reason with his will comply; Hoping, for my excuse, 'twill be confest, That of two evils I have chose the least.
So, sir, with this epistolary scroll, Receive the partner of my inmost soul: Him you will find in letters, and in laws Not unexpert, firm to his country's cause, Warm in the glorious interest you pursue, And, in one word, a good man and a true.

Written by Matthew Prior |

The Question to Lisetta

 WHAT nymph should I admire or trust, 
But Chloe beauteous, Chloe just? 
What nymph should I desire to see, 
But her who leaves the plain for me? 
To whom should I compose the lay, 
But her who listens when I play? 
To whom in song repeat my cares, 
But her who in my sorrow shares? 
For whom should I the garland make, 
But her who joys the gift to take, 
And boasts she wears it for my sake? 
In love am I not fully blest? 
Lisetta, prithee tell the rest.
LISETTA'S REPLY Sure Chloe just, and Chloe fair, Deserves to be your only care; But, when you and she to-day Far into the wood did stray, And I happen'd to pass by, Which way did you cast your eye? But, when your cares to her you sing, You dare not tell her whence they spring: Does it not more afflict your heart, That in those cares she bears a part? When you the flowers for Chloe twine, Why do you to her garland join The meanest bud that falls from mine? Simplest of swains! the world may see Whom Chloe loves, and who loves me.

Written by 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, and talk with gods; Still dancing in an airy round, Still pleas'd with their own verses' sound; Brought back, how fast soe'er they go, Always aspiring, always low.