Dorset asked him first to construe a passage or two, then asked him to turn an ode into English verse.Prior performed these tasks so well that, on later visits to the tavern, Dorset and his aristocratic friends often asked him to turn Horace or Ovid into English verse.John’s and was assigned to one of the two medical fellowships.He was later required to lecture on Galen as Linacre Lecturer (1706-1710). John’s appointment, Prior accepted a position at Burleigh as tutor to the sons of the earl of Exeter.Five years later (in 1681) Prior was named a King’s Scholar there—an important award based upon a distinguished command of classical languages—exempting him from tuition and residence fees, giving him a dress allowance and funds for luxuries like holidays and festivals, and conferring upon him a range of ceremonial and practical rights and privileges.Most Westminster King’s Scholars went to Christ Church, Oxford, but Prior chose instead to try to win one of the five scholarships just established by the duchess of Somerset at St. The scholarship he won paid all his tuition and gave him a living allowance, a shared bedroom, and a private study.Noting his literary bent, his parents sent him, at the age of eight, to nearby Westminster School, ruled rigidly by Richard Busby, who emphasized strict discipline, the traditional classical curriculum, extemporaneous composition in prose and verse, and oratory.
On 1 November 1690 Prior’s political hopes were realized when he was appointed secretary to Lord Dursley at The Hague, a city where Prior was to stay, with growing political power, for the next seven years.
Soon Dorset offered to pay Prior’s tuition to return to Westminster School, if his uncle Arthur would continue to provide his clothing and other necessities.
The family gratefully agreed, and Prior returned to Westminster in 1676.
Prior later praised the training he had received at Westminster, particularly in the making of extemporaneous verses and the composing of declamations in a short length of time.
Three years later (about 1675), when Prior was about eleven, his father died.