and is sent to the printer with the necessary instructions as to printing. After another reading or revision in the reading closet it is sent to the compositors, who make the final corrections in the type and hand the forme to the printing department to deal with. It is this department which contributes most to the success of any printing firm, and it requires a really good man at its head. He must be a thoroughly practical printer familiar with the different kinds of printing machinery. To make the department pay, the machines must be kept fully employed with the many classes of work that a large concern has to deal with; the wheels must be kept running as much as possible, and the time for making-ready curtailed as far as is consistent with the proper preparation of the forme. Here again it is most important that a sharp eye be kept on the materials used. Ink forms a large item in the total expenses of this department, besides which there are: oil for lubricating, turpentine and other solvents for cleaning, paper for proofs and making-ready, &c. When the work is printed it is handed to the warehousemen, who are responsible both for unprinted and printed paper. Lastly, the counting-house deals with all accounts, both departments' and customers'.
Bibliography.—The following books and periodicals may be specially referred to: Books—J. Southward (and subsequently A. Powell), Practical Printing, a handbook of the art of typography (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1900); J. Southward, Modern Printing, a treatise on the principles and practice of typography, &c. (large 8vo, London, 1900); C. T. Jacobi, Printing, a practical treatise on the art of printing, &c. (8vo, 4th ed., London, 1908); W. J. Kelly, Presswork, a practical handbook for the use of pressmen and their apprentices (8vo, 2nd ed., Chicago, 1902); C. T. Jacobi, The Printer's Handbook of Trade Recipes, &c. (8vo, 3rd ed., London, 1905); F. J. F. Wilson and D. Grey, Modern Printing Machinery and Letterpress Printing (large 8vo, London, 1888); Robert Hoe, A Short History of the Printing Press (4to, New York, 1902); T. L. de Vinne, The Invention of Printing (New York, 1876). Periodicals—The British and Colonial Printer and Stationer (London, bi-weekly); The British Printer (Leicester, alternate months); The Printer's Register (London, monthly); The Printing World (London, monthly); The Caxton Magazine (London, monthly); The Printing Art (Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A., monthly); The Inland Printer (Chicago, monthly); The American Printer (New York, monthly); The International Printer (Philadelphia, monthly). See also the bibliography attached to the article Typography. (C. T. J.)
PRIOR, MATTHEW (1664-1721), English poet and diplomatist, was the son of a Nonconformist joiner at Wimborne-Minster, East Dorset, and was born on the 21st of July 1664. His father moved to London, and sent him to Westminster, under Dr Busby. At his father's death he left school, and fell to the care of his uncle, a vintner in Channel Row. Here Lord Dorset found him reading Horace, and set him to translate an ode. He acquitted himself so well that the earl offered to contribute to the continuance of his education at Westminster. One of his schoolfellows and friends was Charles Montagu, afterwards earl of Halifax. It was to avoid being separated from Montagu and his brother James that Prior accepted, against his patron's wish, a scholarship recently founded at St John's College. He took his B.A. degree in 1686, and two years later became a fellow. In collaboration with Montagu he wrote in 1687 the City Mouse and Country Mouse, in ridicule of Dryden's Hind and Panther. It was an age when satirists were in request, and sure of patronage and promotion. The joint production made the fortune of both authors. Montagu was promoted at once, and Prior three years later was gazetted secretary to the embassy at the Hague. After four years of this employment he was appointed one of the gentlemen of the king's bedchamber. Apparently, also, he acted as one of the king's secretaries, and in 1697 he was secretary to the plenipotentiaries who concluded the peace of Ryswick. Prior's talent for affairs was doubted by Pope, who had no special means of judging, but it is not likely that King William would have employed in this important business a man who had not given proof of diplomatic skill and grasp of details. The poet's knowledge of French is specially mentioned among his qualifications, and this was recognized by his being sent in the following year to Paris in attendance on the English ambassador. At this period Prior could say with good reason that “he had commonly business enough upon his hands, and was only a poet by accident.” To verse, however, which had laid the foundation of his fortunes, he still occasionally trusted as a means of maintaining his position. His occasional poems during this period include an elegy on Queen Mary in 1695; a satirical version of Boileau's Ode sur le prise de Namur (1695); some lines on William's escape from assassination in 1696; and a brief piece called The Secretary. After his return from France Prior became under-secretary of state and succeeded Locke as a commissioner of trade. In 1701 he sat in parliament for East Grinstead. He had certainly been in William's confidence with regard to the Partition Treaty; but when Somers, Orford and Halifax were impeached for their share in it he voted on the Tory side, and immediately on Anne's accession he definitely allied himself with Harley and St John. Perhaps in consequence of this for nine years there is no mention of his name in connexion with any public transaction. But when the Tories came into power in 1710 Prior's diplomatic abilities were again called into action, and till the death of Anne he held a prominent place in all negotiations with the French court, sometimes as secret agent, sometimes in an equivocal position as ambassador's companion, sometimes as fully accredited but very unpunctually paid ambassador. His share in negotiating the treaty of Utrecht, of which he is said to have disapproved, personally led to its popular nickname of “Matt's Peace.” When the queen died and the Whigs regained power he was impeached by Sir Robert Walpole and kept in close custody for two years (1715-1717). In 1709 he had already published a collection of verse. During this imprisonment, maintaining his cheerful philosophy, he wrote his longest humorous poem, Alma; or, The Progress of the Mind. This, along with his most ambitious work, Solomon, and other Poems on several Occasions, was published by subscription in 1718. The sum received for this volume (4000 guineas), with a present of £4000 from Lord Harley, enabled him to live in comfort; but he did not long survive his enforced retirement from public life, although he bore his ups and downs with rare equanimity. He died at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, a seat of the earl of Oxford, on the 18th of September 1721, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his monument may be seen in Poet's Corner. A History of his Own Time was issued by J. Bancks in 1740. The book pretended to be derived from Prior's papers, but it is doubtful how far it should be regarded as authentic.
Prior had very much the same easy, pleasure-loving disposition as Chaucer (with whose career his life offers a certain parallelism), combined with a similar capacity for solid work. His poems show considerable variety, a pleasant scholarship and great executive skill. The most ambitious, i.e. Solomon, and the paraphrase of the Nut-Brown Maid, are the least successful. But Alma, an admitted imitation of Butler, is a delightful piece of wayward easy humour, full of witty turns and well remembered allusions, and Prior's mastery of the octo-syllabic couplet is greater than that of Swift or Pope. His tales in rhyme, though often objectionable in their themes, are excellent specimens of narrative skill; and as an epigrammatist he is unrivalled in English. The majority of his love songs are frigid and academic, mere wax-flowers of Parnassus; but in familiar or playful efforts, of which the type are the admirable lines To a Child of Quality, he has still no rival. “Prior's”—says Thackeray, himself no mean proficient in this kind—“seem to me amongst the easiest, the richest, the most charmingly humorous of English lyrical poems. Horace is always in his mind, and his song and his philosophy, his good sense, his happy easy turns and melody, his loves and his Epicurianism, bear a great resemblance to that most delightful and accomplished master.”
The largest collection of Prior's verses is that by R. Brimley Johnson in the “Aldine Poets” (2 vols., 1892). There is also a selection in the “Parchment Library,” with introduction and notes by Austin Dobson (1889). (A. D.)
PRIOR (from Lat. prior—former, and hence superior, through O. Fr. priour), a title applied generally to certain monastic superiors, but also in the middle ages to other persons in authority. Under the Roman Empire the word prior is found signifying “ancestor.” In the early middle ages it was commonly applied to secular officials and magistrates, and it remained all though the middle ages as the title of certain officials in the