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2002 articles 1985 articles

Matthew Prior's last manuscript: 'Predestination'

H. Bunker Wright and P. J. Croft

Abstract

UNTIL now the only known manuscript of Matthew Prior's unfinished poem, 'Predestination', has been the copy written in the fine italic hand of his secretary, Adrian Drift, which is labelled 'Brouillon of a Poem Began at Wimpole in August 1721. Transcribed From the Authors Papers since his Death.' It was the text of this transcript, now among the Prior Papers at Longleat House (xxviii. 279-96), from which A. R. Waller first published the poem in his edition of Prior's Dialogues of the Dead and Other Works in Prose and Verse (Cambridge, 1907, pp. 345-54). It was from this same manuscript copy that H. Bunker Wright and Monroe K. Spears selected 276 lines for inclusion in their edition The Literary Works of Matthew Prior {Oxford, 1959 2nd edn. 1971, pp. 559-67, with commentary on pp. 997-1000).

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