Written In Montaignes Essays. Given To The Duke Of Shrewsbury In France, After The Peace

A poem by Matthew Prior

Dictate, O mighty judge, what thou hast seen
Of cities and of courts, of books and men,
And deign to let thy servant hold the pen.

Through ages, thus, I may presume to live,
And from the transcript of thy prose receive
What my own short-lived verse can never give.

Thus shall fair Britain, with a gracious smile,
Accept the work, and the instructed isle
For more than treaties made shall bless my toil.

Nor longer hence the Gallic style preferr'd,
Wisdom in English idiom shall be heard,
While Talbot tells the world where Montaigne err'd.

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