Matthew Prior, The Viceroy, A Ballad

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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 and unremitting hostility to its target, the almost maniacal Whig grandee, Thomas, first Earl…

1290 words

Citation: Rogers, Pat. "The Viceroy, A Ballad". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 October 2020 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

39386 The Viceroy, A Ballad 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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