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Dorset asked him first to construe a passage or two, then asked him to turn an ode into English verse.

Prior performed these tasks so well that, on later visits to the tavern, Dorset and his aristocratic friends often asked him to turn Horace or Ovid into English verse.

Prior objected to Dryden’s poem in content as defending Roman Catholicism by a slanderous attack on Anglicans and Dissenters, and in style as taking the devices of a tradition beast-epic but changing the animals, with unconventional symbolism, into verbose and unrecognizable types.

Despite the great public acclaim received, Prior found no clear professional direction for over a year after his graduation from St. On 3 April 1688, however, he was entered as a Keyton Fellow at St. In that same month he moved into the Fellows’ quarters at St.

During his four years at Cambridge, Prior pursued a curriculum still heavy in logic and divinity.

From early childhood the precocious Matthew wrote poetry, his first hero being Guy of Warwick, the hero of the popular Anglo-Norman verse romance.The Hague was an important outpost in the War of the Grand Alliance (The War of the League of Augsburg), which was already two years underway when Prior was appointed, and was to go on for almost another seven.The struggle for power between the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs pitted France against England, Spain, Savoy, the Netherlands, and the Holy Roman Empire.Prior later praised the training he had received at Westminster, particularly in the making of extemporaneous verses and the composing of declamations in a short length of time.Three years later (about 1675), when Prior was about eleven, his father died.

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