CHAPTER V
THE FELLOWSHIP WITH PRIOR BEGUN

Ann. Dom. 1710-1711. Aet. suae 42-44

THE conclusion of Swift's residence in London during the administration of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, which covered four years from 1710 to 1714, witnessed the birth of three of his most famous pieces, namely, his Imitation of Horace Epistle Quinque dies, in which he discloses to Oxford that St. Patrick's deanery is a place of more dignity than profit, his Imitation of Horace Satire Hoc erat, in which he relates the harassments that marks of ministerial favour bring on him from those seeking office or intelligence, and the nine hundred lines in which he unfolds the story of Cadenus and Vanessa. In these, as well as in other pieces of that period, a sign of a new influence is apparent. They repeat Baucis and Philemon in metre and intensity, but they surpass it in art and ease. These qualities came to Swift, perhaps insensibly but none the less surely, from Prior, the poet with whom attachment to the tory party brought him in contact. Of the power of Prior, to whom Cowper, Thackeray, and Dobson unite in giving pre-eminence in familiar verse, to impart such

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