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MATTHEW PRIOR
English poet and diplomat
(1664 - 1721)
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No longer shall the bodice aptly lac'd
  From thy full bosom to thy slender waist,
    That air and harmony of shape express,
      Fine by degrees, and beautifully less.
      - Henry and Emma (l. 429) [Beauty]

That air and harmony of shape express,
  Fine be degrees, and beautifully less.
      - Henry and Emma (l. 432) [Quality]

Of two evils I have chose the least.
      - Imitation of Horace (bk. I, ep. IX)
        [Evil : Proverbs]

When Croft's "Life of Dr. Young" was spoken of as a good imitation of Dr. Johnson's style, "No, no," said he, "it is not a good imitation of Johnson; it has all his pomp without his force; it has all the nodosities of the oak, without its strength; it has all the contortions of the sibyl, without the inspiration."
      - Life of Burke [Style]

So much his courage and his mercy strive,
  He wounds to cure, and conquers to forgive.
      - Ode in Imitation of Horace
         (bk. III, ode II) [Character]

The merchant, to secure his treasure,
  Conveys it in a borrow'd name.
      - Ode--The Merchant, to Secure his Treasure
        [Business]

Bid the Devil take the slowest.
      - On the Taking of Namur [Devil]

He ranged his tropes, and preached up patience,
  Backed his opinion with quotations.
      - Paulo Purganti and his Wife (l. 143)
        [Quotations]

At night astronomers agree.
      - Phillis's Age (st. 3) [Astronomy]

Soon their crude notions with each other fought;
  The adverse sect denied what this had taught;
    And he at length the amplest triumph gain'd,
      Who contradicted what the last maintain'd.
      - Solomon (bk. I, l. 717) [Argument]

In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl
  Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul.
    To the late revel, and protracted feast,
      Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest.
      - Solomon (bk. II, l. 106) [Intemperance]

What is a king? a man condemn'd to bear
  The public burthen of the nation's care.
      - Solomon (bk. III, l. 275) [Royalty]

Amid two seas, on one small point of land,
  Wearied, uncertain, and amazed we stand.
      - Solomon on the Vanity of Human Wishes
         (pt. III, l. 616) [Life]

Abra was ready ere I call'd her name;
  And, though I call'd another, Abra came.
      - Solomon on the Vanity of the World
         (bk. II, l. 364) [Constancy]

Thy sum of duty let two words contain,
  (O may they graven in thy heart remain!)
    Be humble and be just.
      - Solomon on the Vanity of the World
         (bk. III) [Duty]

For hope is but the dream of those that wake!
      - Solomon on the Vanity of the World
         (bk. III, l. 102) [Hope]

Who breathes must suffer; and who thinks, must mourn;
  And he alone is bless'd who ne'er was born.
      - Solomon on the Vanity of the World
         (bk. III, l. 240) [Life]

So vanishes our state; so pass our days;
  So life but opens now, and now decays;
    The cradle and the tomb, alas! so nigh,
      To live is scarce distinguish'd from to die.
      - Solomon on the Vanity of the World
         (bk. III, l. 527) [Life]

Instinct and reason how can we divide?
  'Tis the fool's ignorance, and the pedant's pride.
      - Solomon on the Vices of the World
         (bk. I, l. 231) [Instinct]

Or have you mark'd a partridge quake,
  Viewing the towering falcon nigh?
    She cuddles low behind the brake:
      Nor would she stay; nor dares she fly.
      - The Dove (st. 14) [Partridges]

The winds grow high;
  Impending tempests charge the sky;
    The lightning flies, the thunder roars;
      And big waves lash the frightened shores.
      - The Lady's Looking-Glass [Storms]

That all from Adam first begun,
  None but ungodly Woolston doubts,
    And that his son, and his son's sons
      Were all but ploughmen, clowns and louts.
        Each when his rustic pains began,
          To merit pleaded equal right,
            'Twas only who left off at noon,
              Or who went on to work till night.
      - The Old Gentry [Ancestry]

The man who by his labour gets
  His bread, in independent state,
    Who never begs, and seldom eats,
      Himself can fix or change his fate.
      - The Old Gentry [Labor]

But, when the wit began to wheeze,
  And wine had warm'd the politician,
    Cur'd yesterday of my disease,
      I died last night of my physician.
      - The Remedy Worse than the Disease
        [Medicine]

Now fitted the halter, now travers'd the cart,
  And often took leave; but was loth to part.
      - The Thief and the Cordelier [Parting]


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