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MATTHEW PRIOR
English poet and diplomat
(1664 - 1721)
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No penance can absolve out guilty fame;
  Nor tears, that wash out sin, can wash out shame.
      - [Vice]

Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
  Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,
    The son of Adam and of Eve:
      Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher?
      - [Epitaphs]

Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds,
  Pernicious flattery! thy malignant seeds,
    In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
      Sadly diffus'd o'er virtue's gleby land,
        With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
          And choke the hopes and harvest of the year.
      - [Flattery]

See daily show'rs rejoice the thirsty earth
  And bless the flow'ry buds' succeeding birth.
      - [Rain]

Some folks are drunk, yet do hot know it.
      - [Drunkenness]

Such as she is, who died to-day,
  Such thou alas! mayst be to-morrow.
      - [Proverbs]

Tell me why the ant midst summer's plenty thinks of winter's want.
      - [Instinct]

That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took.
      - [Vagrant]

That fabric rises high as heaven whose basis on devotion stands.
      - [Devotion]

The cradle and the tomb, alas! so nigh.
      - [Life]

The ends must justify the means.
      - [Results]

The victor's pastime, and the sport of war.
      - [Soldiers]

The world agrees
  That he writes well who writes with ease.
      - [Writing]

These pointed spires, that wound the ambient sky.
      - [Spires]

They always talk who never think, and who have the least to say.
      - [Loquacity]

Thou sovereign power, whose secret will controls the inward bent and motion of our souls.
      - [God]

Tired of the last, and eager of the new.
      - [Variety]

'Tis remarkable that they talk most who have the least to say.
      - [Oratory]

To John I owed great obligation:
  But John unhandsomely thought fit
    To publish it to all the nation;
      Sure John and I are more than quit.
      - [Proverbs]

View not this spire by measure given,
  To buildings raised by common hands;
    That fabric rises high as heaven,
      Whose basis on devotion stands.
      - [Spires]

What is this little, agile, precious fire, this fluttering motion which we call the mind?
      - [Mind]

Yet tell me, frighted senses! what is death?
  Blood only stopp'd, and interrupted breath;
    The utmost limit of a narrow span,
      And end of motion, which with life began,
        And smoke that rises from the kindling fires
          Is seen this moment and the next expires;
            As empty clouds by rising winds are toss'd
              Their fleeting forms scarce sooner found than lost.
      - [Death]

Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?
      - A Better Answer [Songs]

For some in ancient books delight,
  Others prefer what moderns write;
    Now I should be extremely loth
      Not to be thought expert in both.
      - Alma [Criticism]

For when one's proofs are aptly chosen,
  Four are as valid as four down.
      - Alma (canto I, end) [Proof]


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