Portrait of Matthew Prior
by Simon Belle
In 1718 Tonson published a folio edition of his
Poems on Several Occasions . This collection attracted many subscriptions
and Prior made in excess of £4,000. This secured his
financial position and enabled him to co-purchase the estate
of Down Hall in Essex. Sadly he died unexpectedly a few months later,
before taking up his new role as Tory squire.
is chiefly remembered for his brilliant pieces of light verse such
as: Jinny the Just, My noble,
lovely, little Peggy and Answer to Chloe Jealous.
However, he also wrote some longer more serious poems e.g.
Carmen Seculare (1700) and Solomon on the Vanity of the World
Prior once said that his career as a diplomat had relegated
poetry to being the "amusement" of his life rather than the
"business" of it.
vers de sociétié.