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Another Text of a Poem by Matthew Prior?

The editors of The Literary Works of Matthew Prior print the following text of the short poem On Bishop Atterbury's Burying the Duke of Buckingham from Prior's Poems on Several Occasions (1727) and list no other appearances of it:

I HAVE no Hopes, the Duke he says, and Dies;
In sure and certain Hopes—the Prelate cries:
Of These Two learned Peers, I prithee say, Man,
Who is the lying Knave, the Priest or Layman?
The Duke he stands an Infidel Confest,
He's our dear Brother, quoth the Lordly Priest.
The Duke, tho' Knave, Still Brother dear he cries,
And, who can say, the Rev'rend Prelate lies?[11]
What has gone unremarked is a somewhat different text of the poem as printed in the GM in August 1784 (p. 596).

MR. URBAN,

THE following epigram was written by Mr. Prior, on the funeral of the Duke of Buckingham, in Westminster Abbey, as performed by Bishop Atterbury, in 1721; that famous Bishop of Rochester, whose Memoirs, lately published by Mr. Nichols, contain the history of that accomplished, but turbulent, prelate from his advancement to the see of Rochester in 1713, to his banishment to France in 1722—and his own interment in 1732. See vol. I. p. 79.

"I have no hope,"
The Duke he said, and dies:
"In sure and certain hope," the Prelate cries.
Of these two learned peers,
I pr'ythee—say, man,
Who is the greatest liar, the priest or layman?
The Duke he dies
An INFIDEL confest:
"He's our dear brother," says the lordly priest.
The Duke a KNAVE!
Still "BROTHER dear," he cried,
And who dare say "the reverend Prelate lied?"
REMARK.
They neither lied—each spake as undeceiv'd,
What all suspected, and now all BELIEV'D.

Recourse to the first volume, published in 1783, of John Nichols's edition of Bishop Atterbury's Epistolary Correspondence . . . reveals that the poem is quoted in its seeming entirety by Nichols in a footnote to Atterbury's letter of 27 September, 1721 to Alexander Pope. The text, except for accidentals, is the same as that printed by Wright and Spears, and one is therefore faced


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Page 301
with the problems that rise from the text in the GM, for the differences between it and the text in Nichols's footnote are such as to seem to preclude faulty transcriptions. And is the two-line Remark appended to the poem Prior's? If not, whose? What makes the matter especially interesting is that Nichols was one of two managers (the DNB's word) of the GM in 1784, as well, of course, as the editor of Bishop Atterbury's correspondence. What is more, immediately preceding the poem and its headnote in the GM is a communication by "Eugenio" whose running title, "Anecdotes of Dr. Gifford," shares the top of the page with "Epigram by Prior." Now "Eugenio" was one of Nichols's pseudonyms, and one would think that he would have seen the text of the poem below his own communication and the reference to his edition of Atterbury, the first volume of which, with a different text of the poem, had been published less than a year and a half earlier.[12]