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Commentatory berses on Shakspente,
Bg Contemporary poets.
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On William Shakspeare, who died in April, 1616. Triumph, my Britain! thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe. RENOWNED Spenser, lic a thought more nigh To learned Chaucer; and rare Beaumont, lie
He was not of an age, but for all time;
And all the muses still were in their prime, A lule nearer Spenser, to make room
When like Apollo he came forth to warm For Shakspeare, in your three-fold, four-fold tomb,
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm. To lodge all four in one bed make a shift
Nature herself was proud of his designs, Coul Joomsday; for hardly will a fift
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines; Betwixt this day and that by fate be slain,
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit, For whom your curtains may be drawn again.
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit: But if precedency in death doth bar
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now pot please ;
But antiquated and deserted lie, Scep, rare tragedian, Shakspeare, sleep alone.
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part:
For though the poet's matter nature be, Hoavur hereafter to be laid by thee.
His art doth give the fashion : and that he, WILLIAM Basse, Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat To the Memory of my Beloved the Author, Upon the muses' anvil ; turn the same, Mr. Wiliam Shakspeare, and what he hath left us. (And himself with it) that he thinks to frame;
Or, for the laurel, he may gain a scorn,To draw uo envy, Shakspeare, on thy name, For a good poet's made, as well as born: Am I thus ample to thy book, and fame;
And such wert thou. Look, how the father's face While I confess thy writings to be such,
Lives in his issue ; even so the race As peither man, nor muse, can praise too much;
of Shakspeare's mind, and manners, brightly shines 'Tis true, and all men's suffrage: but these ways In his well-turned and true-filed lines; Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise : In each of which he seems to shake a lance, For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance. Which, wben it sounds at best, but echoes right; Sweet swan of Avon, what a sight it were, Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance To see thee in our waters yet appear; The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance; And make those flights upon the banks of Thames, Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
That so did take Eliza, and our James! And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise : But stay; I see thee in the hemisphere These are, as some infamous bawd, or whore Advanc'd, and made a constellation there :Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more? Shine forth, thou star of poets; and with rage, Eat thou art proof against them; and, indeed, Or influence, chide, or cheer, the drooping stage ; Above the ill fortune of them, or the need:
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mouru'd 1, therefore, will begin :-Soul of the age,
like night, The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light! My Shakspeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by
BEN JONSON. Chaucer, or Spenser ; or bid Beaumont lie A little further, to make thee a room : Tboyu art a monument without a tomb;
Upon the Lines and Life of the famous Scenic Aiad an alive still, while thy book doth live,
Poet, Master William Shakspeare
Those hands which you so clapp'd, go now and I mean, with great but disproportion'd muses :
wring, For, if I thought my judgment were of years,
You Britains brave; for done are Shakspeare's days; I bould commit thee surely with thy peers;
His days are done that made the dainty plays, And tell-how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Which made the globe of heaven and earth to ring: Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
Dry'd is that vein, dry'd is the Thespian spring, A-d bough thou hadst small Latin, and less Greek, Turn' all to tears, and Phæbus clouds his rays; from theace in honour thee, I would not seek That corpse, that coffin, now bestic those bays, For names; but call forth thund'ring Æschylus,
Which' crown'd him poet first, then poet's king. Euripides, and Sophocles, to us,
If tragedies might any prologue have, Pacuvius, Accius,'him of Cordoua dead,
All those he made would scarce make one to this ; To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
Where fame, now that he gone is to the grave, And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on, (Death's public tiring-house) the Nuntius is : Leare thee alone ; for the comparison
For, though his line of life went soon about, Of all that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome, The life yet of his lines shall never out. Seat forth, or since did from their ashes come.
To the Memory of the deceased Author, Master Both weep and smile ; fearful at plots so sad, William Shakspeare.
Then laughing at our fear; abus'd, and glad
To be abus'd; affected with that truth Shakspeare, at length thy pious fellows give Which we perceive is false, pleas'd in that ruth The world thy works; thy works, by which outlive At which we start, and, by elaborate play, Thy tomb, thy name must: when that stone is rent, Tortur'd and tickPd; by a crab-like way And time dissolves thy Stratford monument, Time past made pastime, and in ugly sort Here we alive shall view thee still ; this book, Disgorging up his ravin for our sport: When brass and marble fade, shall make thee look -While the plebeian imp, from lofty throne, Fresh to all ages, when posterity
Creates and rules a world, and works upon Shall loath wbat's new, think all is prodigy Mankind by secret engines ; now to move That is not Shakspeare's, every line, each verse, A chilling pity, then a rigorous love; Here shall revive, redeem thee from thy herse. To strike up and stroke down, both joy and ire ; Nor fire, nor cank'ring age,-as Naso said To steer the affections, and by heavenly fire Of his,-thy wit-fraught book shall once invade: Mold us anew, stoln from ourselves :Nor shall I e'er believe or think thee dead,
This, and much more, which cannot be espress'd Though miss’d, until our bankrout stage be sped But by himself, his tongue, and his own breast,(Impossible) with some new strain to out-do Was Shakspeare's freehold; which his cunning brain Passions of Juliet, and her Romeo ;"
Improv'd by favour of the nine-fold train ;Or till I hear a scene more nobly take,
The buskind muse, the comick queen, the grand
And nimbler foot of the melodious pair,
And she whose praise the heavenly body chants,
Obey'd by all as spouse, but lov'd as brother;To the Memory of Master W. Shakspeare.
And wrought a curious robe, of sable grave,
Fresh green, and pleasant yellow, red most brave, We wonder'd, Shakspeare, that thou went'st so soon And constant blue, rich purple, guiltless white, From the world's stage to the grave's tiring-room: The lowly russet, and the scarlet bright: We thought thee dead; but this thy printed worth Branch'd and embroider'd like the painted spring; Tells thy spectators, that thou went'st but forth Each leaf match'd with a flower, and each string To enter with applause: an actor's art
Of golden wire, each line of silk: there run Can die, and live to act a second part:
Italian works, whose thread the sisters spun; That's but an exit of mortality,
And there did sing, or seem to sing, the choice This re-entrance to a plaudite.
Birds of a foreign note and various voice :
Not clouds, nor thunder, but were living drawn; Upon the effigies of my worthy Friend, the Author, But fine materials, which the muses know,
Nor out of common tiffany or lawn, Masler William Shakspeare, and his Works.
And only know the countries where they grow. Spectator, this life's shadow is ;-to see
Now, when they could no longer him enjoy, The truer image, and a livelier he,
In mortal garments pent,—death may destroy, Turn reader: but observe his comíc vein,
They say, his body, but his verse shall live, Laugh; and proceed next to a tragic strain,
And more than nature takes our hands shall give : Then weep: 50,-when thou find’st two contraries, In a less volume, but more strongly bound, Two different passions from thy rapt soul rise,
Shakspeare shall breathe and speak; with laurel Say (who alone effect such wonders could),
crown'd Rare Shakspeare to the life thou dost behold.
Which never fades ; fed with ambrosian meat,
So with this robe they clothe him, bid him wear it;
The friendly Admirer of his Endowments, And equal surface can make things appear,
J. M. S. Distant a thousand years, and represent Them in their lively colours, just extent : To outrun hasty time, retrieve the fates,
An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatick Poet, Roll back the heavens, blow ope the iron gates
What needs my Shakspeare for his honour'd bones, In that deep dusky dungeon, to discern
The labour of an age in piled stones;
Under a star-ypointing pyramid ?
What need st thou such weak witness of thy name?
For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art, As Plato's year, and new scene of the world, Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart Them unto us, or us to them had hurld:
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book, To raise our ancient sovereigns from their herse, Those Delphick lines with deep impression took; Make kings bis subjects ; by exchanging verse,
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving, Enlive their pale trunks, that the present age
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving; Joys in their joy, and trembles at their rage: And, so sepulcher'd, in such pomp dost lie, Yet so to temper passion, that our ears
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die. Take pleasure in their pain, and eyes in tears
An Elegy on the death of that famous wriler and
II. aclor, Mr. William Shakspeare.
Each tree, whose thick and spreading growth hath I dare not do thy memory that wrong,
made Chto our larger griefs to give a tongue.
Rather a night beneath the boughs than shade, I'll only sigh in earnest, and let fall
Unwilling now to grow ; My solemn tears at thy great funeral.
Looks like the plume a captain wears, Por every eye that rains a show'r for thee,
Whose rifled falls are steep'd i' the tears
Which from his last rage flow.
The piteous river wept itself away
Long since, alas ! to such a swift decay, And fill our orb with mournful harmony:
Tbat reach the map, and look But we need no remembrancer; thy fame
If you a river there can spy;
And, for a river, your mock'd Shall still accompany thy honour'd name
eye To all posterity; and make us be
Will find a shallow brook. Sensible of what we lost, in losing thee:
WILLIAM D'AVENANT. Belaz the age's wonder ; whose smooth rhymes Dit more reform than lash the looser times.
See, my lov'd Britons, see your Shakspeare rise, ature herself did her own self admire,
An awful ghost, confess'd to human eyes!
Unnam'd, methinks, distinguish'd I had been
From other shades, by this eternal green, Thy dressing was her chiefest comeliness.
About whose wreaths the vulgar poets strive, How can we then forget thee, when the age
And with a touch their wither'd bays revive. Her chiefest tutor, and the widow'd stage
Untaught, unpractis’d, in a barbarous age, Her only favorite, in thee, hath lost,
I found not, but created first the stage : And Nature's sell, what she did brag of most ? And if I drain'd no Greek or Latin store, Sleep then, rich soul of numbers ! whilst poor we
"Twas, that my own abundance gave me more: Esjoy the profits of thy legacy;
On foreign trade I needed not rely, And think it happiness enough, we have
Like fruitful Britain rich without supply. So much of thee redeemed from the grave,
DRYDEN's Prologue to his Alleration of As may suffice to enlighten future times
Troilus and Cressida.
Shakspeare, who (taught by none) did first impart
To Fletcher wit, to labouring Jonson art: Sacred Spirit, whiles thy lyre
He, monarch-like, gave those his subjects law, Echoed o'er the Arcadian plains,
And is that nature which they paint and draw. Even Apollo did admire,
Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights did grow, Orpbeus wonder'd at thy strains :
Whilst Jonson crept and gather'd all below.
This did his love, and this his mirth digest : Plautus sigh’d, Sophocles wept
One imitates him most, the other best. Tears of anger, for to hear,
If they have since out-writ all other men, After they so long had slept,
'Tis with the drops which fell from Shakspeare's pen. So bright a genius should appear ;
DRYDEN's Prologue to his Alleration of the Who wrote his lines with a sun-beam,
Our Shakspeare wrote too in an age as blest, Like those that seein to preach, but prate. The happiest poet of his time, and best; Thou wert truly priest elect,
A gracious prince's favour cheer'd his muse, Chosen darling to the Nine,
A constant favour he ne'er fear'd to lose: Such a trophy to erect
Therefore he wrote with fancy unconfin'd, By thy wit and skill divine.
And thoughts that were immortal as his mind.
Orway's Prologue to Caius Marins. That were all their other glories
(l'hine excepted) torn away, By thy admirable stories
Shakspeare, the genius of our isle, whose mind Their garments ever shall be gay.
(The universal mirror of mankind)
Express'd all images, enrich'd the stage, Where thy honour'd bones do lie,
But sometimes stoop'd to please a barb'rous age. (As Statius once to Maro's urn)
When his immortal bays began to grow, Thither every year will I
Rude was the language, and the humour low. Slowly tread, and sadly mourn.
He, like the god of day, was always bright;
But rolling in its course, his orb of light
Was sully'd and obscur’d, though soaring high, L. Remembrance of Master William Shakspeare.
With spots contracted from the nether sky.
Forgive her rashness, venerable shade!
May spring with purple Bowers perfume thy urn,
And Avon with his greens thy grave adorn! Beware, delighted poets, when you sing,
Be all thy faults, whatever faults there be, To welcome nature in the early spring,
Imputed to the times, and not to thee ! Your num'rous feet not tread
Some scions shot from this immortal root, The banks of Avon; for each flow'r,
Their tops much lower, and less fair the fruit. As it be er knew a sun or show'r,
Jonson the tribute of my verse might claim, Hangs there the pensive head.
Had he not strove to blemish Shakspeare's name.
But like the radiant twins that gild the sphere, The British Eagle and the Mantuan Swan
Tow'r equal heights. But, happier Stratford, thou
Thy bard was thine unschool’d,and from thee brought
More than all Egypt, Greece, or Asia taught; An Inscription for a Monument of Shakspeare. Nor Homer's self such matchless laurels won;
The Greek has rivals, but thy Shakspeare none O youths and virgins: 0 declining eld:
T. SEWARD. O pale misfortune's slaves: O ye who dwell Unknown with humble quiet; ye who wait In courts, or fill the golden seat of kings : Far from the sun and summer gale, O sons of sport and pleasure: 0 thou wretch
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
Richly paint the vernal year:
Of horror that, and thrilling fears,
Gray's Ode on the Progress of Poesy. Say to each other : “ This was Shakspeare's form; “Who walk'd in every path of human life, “Felt every passion ; and to all mankind Next Shakspeare sat, irregularly great, “Doth now, will ever, that experience yield And in his hand a magic rod did hold, " Which his own genius only could acquire."
Which visionary beings did create,
And turn the foulest dross to purest gold:
Or bad, or good, obey his dread command;
Those aw'd by terrors of his magic wand,
The which not all their powers united might with when lightning fires
stand. The arch of heaven, and thunders rock the ground,
LLOYD's Progress of Envy, 1751. When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air, And ocean, groaning from his lowest bed, Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky;
Oh, where's the bard, who at one view
Could look the whole creation through,
He scorn’d the rules of imitation,
Of altering, pilfering, and translation, When learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous foes
Nor painted horror, grief, or rage,
From models of a former age;
The bright original he took,
And tore the leaf from nature's book. Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
"Tis Shakspeare.And panting time toil'd after him in vain :
LLOYD's Shakspeare, a Poem. His pow'rful strokes
, presiding truth impressid, And unresisted passion stormd the breast.
In the first seat, in robe of various dies,
Sat Shakspeare.-In one hand a wand he bore, Upon Shakspeare's Monument at Stratford-upon- The other held a globe, which to his will
For mighty wonders fam'd in days of yore;
Obedient turn'd, and own'd a master's skill :
And look'd through nature at a single view : Yet not to birth alone did Homer owe
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul, His wondrous worth ; what Egypt could bestow,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll With all the schools of Greece and Asia join'd,
into being scenes unknown before, Enlargʻd the immense expansion of his mind : And, passing nature's bounds, was something more, Nor vet unrivallid the Mæonian strain ;
Original Dedication & Preface
To the players' Edition.
The Dedication of the Players. Prefixed to Fellow alive, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by the first folio, 1623.
humble offer of his playes, to your most noble
patronage. Wherein, as we have justly obTo tbe most Noble and Incomparable Paire of served, no man to come neere your L. L. but Brethren, William Earle of Pembroke, &c.
with a kind of religious addresse, it hath bin Lord Chamberlaine to the King's most Ex- the height of our care, who are the Presenters, cellent Majesty, and Philip Earle of Mont
to make the present worthy of your H. H. by gomery, &c. Gentleman of his Majesties Bed- the perfection. But, there we must also crave chamber. Both Knights of the Most Noble
our abilities to be considered, my Lords. We Order of the Garter, and our singular good cannot go beyond our owne powers. Country Lords.
hands reach foorth milke, creame, fruites, or Right Honourable,
what they have : and many Nations (we have
heard) that had not gummes and incense, obWhilst we studie 10 be thankful in our par- tained their requests with a leavened Cake. It licular, for the many favors we have received was no fault to approch their Gods by what from your L. L. we are falne upon the ill for
meanes they could : And the most, though tune, lo mingle two the most diverse things that meanest, of things are made more precious, can bee, feare, and rashnesse; rashnesse in the when they are dedicated to Temples. In that enterprize, and feare of the successe. For, naine therefore, we most humbly consecrate to when we valew the places your H. H. sustaine, your H. H. these remaines of your servant we cannot but know their dignity greater, then SHAKESPEARE ; that what delight is in them may 10 descend to the reading of these trifles : and, be ever your L. L. the reputation his, and the while we name them trifles, we have depriv'd faults ours, if any be committed, by a payre so ourselves of the defence of our Dedication. carefull to shew their gratitude both to the But since your L. L. have been pleas’d to living, and the dead, as is thinke these trifles some-thing, heeretofore; Your Lordshippes most bounden, and have prosequuled both them, and their
John HEMINGE, Authour living, with so much favour : we hope
HENRY CONDELL. that they out-living him, and he not having the late, common with some, to be exequutor
The Preface of the Players. Prefired to the bo his owne writings) you will use the same indulgence toward them, you have done unto their
first folio edition published in 1623. parent. There is a great difference, whether
To the great variely of Readers, any booke choose bis Patrones, or finde them : This hath done bolh. For, so much were your From the most able, to him that can but L. L. likings of the severall parts, when they spell : there you are number’d. We had rather were acted, as before they were published, the you were weigh’d. Especially, when the fate Volume ask'd to be yours. We have but col- of all Bookes depends upon your capacities : lected them, and done an office to the dead, to and not of your heads alone, but of your purses. procure his Orphanes, Guardians; without am- Well! it is now publique, and you wil stand bilion either of selfe-profit, or famo; onely to for your priviledges we know : to read, and keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend, and
Do so, but buy it first. That doch