Matthew Prior (1664-1721) was educated at Westminster School, and with the help of the Earl of Dorset, proceeded to St John's College, Cambridge. He combined his poetical career with a diplomatic one, and, as was apparently his wish, was buried at the feet of Spenser. See W.L. Godshalk, 'Prior's Copy of Spenser's Works, 1679', Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, LXI (1967), 52-5, for an account of his marginalia.
(a) From The Preface to An Ode, Humbly Inscrib'd to the Queen… Written in Imitation of Spenser's Stile (1706), sig. Av; repr. The Literary Works, ed. H.B. Wright, and M.K. Spears (Oxford, 1959), I. 231-2:
My Two Great Examples, HORACE and SPENSER, in many Things resemble each other: Both have a Height of Imagination, and a Majesty of Expression in describing the Sublime; and both know to temper those Talents, and sweeten the Description, so as to make it Lovely as well as Pompous: Both have equally That agreeable Manner of mixing Morality with their Story, and That Curiosa Felicitas in the Choice of their Diction, which every Writer aims at, and so very few have reach'd: Both are particularly Fine in their Images, and Knowing in their Numbers.
(b) From The Preface to Solomon on the Vanity of the World (1718, but written c. 1708), sigs. Ffff2-Ffff2v; repr. Wright and Spears, I. 307-8:
In our Language SPENSER has not contented himself with this submissive Manner of Imitation: He launches out into very flowery Paths, which still seem to conduct him into one great Road. His Fairy Queen (had it been finished) must have ended in the Account, which every Knight was to give of his Adventures, and in the accumulated Praises of his Heroine GLORIANA. The Whole would have been an Heroic Poem, but
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Publication information: Book title: Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage. Contributors: R. M.Cummings - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 237.
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