Matthew Prior: The Viceroy, A Ballad (1290 words)

Pat Rogers (University of South Florida)
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Editors have remarked of The Viceroy that, ‘Of all his ballads, this is closest to the street-ballads in style’ (Wright and Spears, 2: 941). Since there are a number of poems in that category showing Prior’s mastery of the form, this is high praise. He claimed to tell the story ‘In low, but faithful rimes’ (24), a phrase that expresses the colloquial ease, use of homebred puns and proverbs, and comic archaisms that are strategically placed throughout the text. Equally, this is the most savage and uncompromising of all his poetic works, which number over three hundred (disregarding items in Latin). Even in age of plainspoken satire, The Viceroy stands out for its vicious particularity a…

Citation: Rogers, Pat. "The Viceroy, A Ballad". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 October 2020 [, accessed 22 October 2020.]

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