A Fable

By Matthew Prior 1664–1721 Matthew Prior
In Aesop’s tales an honest wretch we find,
Whose years and comforts equally declined;
He in two wives had two domestic ills,
For different age they had, and different wills;
One plucked his black hairs out, and one his gray,
The man for quietness did both obey,
Till all his parish saw his head quite bare,
And thought he wanted brains as well as hair.

                        The Moral

    The parties, henpecked William, are thy wives,
The hairs they pluck are thy prerogatives;
Tories thy person hate, the Whigs thy power,
Though much thou yieldest, still they tug for more,
Till this poor man and thou alike are shown,
He without hair, and thou without a crown.

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Poet Matthew Prior 1664–1721

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Relationships, Love, Men & Women

 Matthew  Prior

Biography

Matthew Prior was the most important poet writing in England between the death of John Dryden (1700) and the poetic maturity of Alexander Pope (about 1712). A significant influence on British and German poetry throughout the eighteenth century, Prior had an effect on several different forms: long philosophical poems either serious or half-mocking, Horatian imitations, psychologically realistic tales, and polished, metrical songs . . .

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Poems by Matthew Prior

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Relationships, Love, Men & Women

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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