Matthew Prior (1664-1721) was one of the most popular and influential poets of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth-centuries, as well as perhaps the most versatile. He was also a significant political player and one of the most esteemed diplomats of his age, regarded as a chief architect of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) which concluded the War of Spanish Succession. Of humble background, the son of a joiner and grandson of an agricultural labourer, Prior represents a spectacular example of upward mobility, rising to become an intimate of Robert Harley and Henry St John Lord Bolingbroke, and highly regarded by William III and Louis XIV.
Born in London, Matthew Prior grew up physically close to political power in Westminster even if his family was obscure. Thanks to unlikely but welcome
Citation: Brunstrom, Conrad. "Matthew Prior". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 October 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3646, accessed 23 February 2024.]