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Here we alive shall view thee still; this book,
When brass and marble fade, shall make thee look
Fresh to all ages; when posterity
Shall loathe what's new, think all is prodigy
That is not Shakespeare's, every line, each verse,
Here shall revive, redeem thee from thy hearse.
Nor fire, nor cankering age,—as Naso said
Of his, thy wit-fraught book shall once invade :
Nor shall I e'er believe or think thee dead,
Though miss'd, until our bankrupt stage be sped—
Impossible-with some new strain t' out-do
Passions of Juliet and her Romeo:
Or till I hear a scene more nobly take
Than when thy half-sword-parleying Romans spake :
Till these, till any of thy volume's rest,
Shall with more fire, more feeling be express'd,
Be sure, our Shakespeare, thou canst never die,
But, crown'd with laurel, live eternally.
Upon the Effigies of my worthy Friend, the Author, MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE and his Works.1
SPECTATOR, this life's shadow is to see
This truer image and a livelier he,
Turn reader. But observe his comic vein,
Laugh; and proceed next to a tragic strain,
Then weep: so, when thou find'st two contrairies,
Two different passions from thy rapt soul rise,
Say-who alone effect such wonders could:
Rare Shakespeare to the life thou dost behold.
An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatic Poet,
WHAT needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones The labour of an age in pilèd stones,
Or that his hallow'd relics should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a live-long monument:
For whilst, to th' shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took;
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
1 From the Second Folio, 1632.
To raise our ancient sovereigns from their hearse,
Make kings his subjects; by exchanging verse
Enlive their pale trunks, that the present age
Joys in their joy, and trembles at their rage:
Yet so to temper passion, that our ears
Take pleasure in their pain, and eyes in tears
weep and smile; fearful at plots so sad,
Then laughing at our fear; abus'd, and glad
To be abus'd; affected with that truth
Which we perceive is false, pleas'd in that ruth
At which we start, and by elaborate play
Tortur'd and tickled; by a crab-like way
Time past made pastime, and in ugly sort
Disgorging up his ravin for our sport:-
1 From the Second Folio.
While the plebeian imp, from lofty throne,
Creates and rules a world, and works upon
Mankind by secret engines; now to move
A chilling pity, then a rigorous love;
To strike up and stroke down both joy and ire;
To stir th' affections; and by heavenly fire
Mould us anew, stol'n from ourselves:-
This, and much more which cannot be express'd
But by himself, his tongue, and his own breast,
Was Shakespeare's freehold; which his cunning brain
Improv'd by favour of the nine-fold train;
The buskin'd Muse, the comic queen, the grand
And louder tone of Clio, nimble hand
And nimbler foot of the melodious pair,
The silver-voiced lady, the most fair
Calliope, whose speaking silence daunts,
And she whose praise the heavenly body chants;
These jointly woo'd him, envying one another,-
Obey'd by all as spouse, but lov'd as brother,-
And wrought a curious robe, of sable grave,
Fresh green, and pleasant yellow, red most brave,
And constant blue, rich purple, guiltless white,
The lowly russet, and the scarlet bright;
Branch'd and embroider'd like the painted Spring;
Each leaf match'd with a flower, and each string
Of golden wire, each line of silk; there run
Italian works, whose thread the Sisters spun;
And there did sing, or seem to sing, the choice
Birds of a foreign note and various voice;
Here hangs a mossy rock; there plays a fair
But chiding fountain, purled; not the air,
Nor clouds, nor thunder, but were living drawn,
Not out of common tiffany or lawn,
But fine materials, which the Muses know,
And only know the countries where they grow.
Now, when they could no longer him enjoy
In mortal garments pent,- Death may destroy,
They say, his body; but his verse shall live,
And more than Nature takes our hands shall give:
In a less volume, but more strongly bound,
Shakespeare shall breathe and speak; with laurel crown'd Which never fades; fed with ambrosian meat,
In a well-lined vesture, rich and neat.'
So with this robe they clothe him, bid him wear it ;
For Time shall never stain nor Envy tear it.
The friendly admirer of his endowments,
On the death of
who died in April, Anno Dom. 1616.1
RENOWNED Spenser lie a thought more nigh2
To learned Chaucer, and rare Beaumont lie
A little nearer Spenser, to make room
For Shakespeare in your threefold, fourfold tomb.
To lodge all four in one bed make a shift
Until Doomsday, for hardly shall a fift
Betwixt this day and that by Fate be slain,
For whom your curtains may be drawn again.
If your precédency in death doth bar
A fourth place in your sacred sepulchre,
Under this sacred marble of thy own,
Sleep, rare Tragedian, Shakespeare sleep alone;
Thy unmolested peace, in an unshar'd cave,
Possess as Lord, not Tenant of thy grave,
That unto us and others it may be
Honour hereafter to be laid by thee.
3 Compare ante, page 5, lines 19-21.
1 From Shakespeare's Poems, 1640.