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TO THE MEMORY OF MY BELOVED, THE AUTHOR,
MR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ¿
WHAT HE HATH LEFT US.
To draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy name,
As neither Man, nor Muse, can praise too much.
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance, Or crafty malice, might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seemed to raise. These are, as some infamous Bawd, or Whore,
Should praise a Matron. What could hurt her more? But thou art proof against them, and indeed
Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I, therefore will begin. Soul of the Age!
The applause! delight! the wonder of our Stage!
Thou art a Monument, without a tomb, And art alive still, while thy Book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give. That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses;
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses.
For, if I thought my judgment were of years
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy Buskin tread,
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe. He was not of an age but for all time!
And all the muses still were in their prime, When like Apollo he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a mercury to charm! Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines! Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other Wit. The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please; But antiquated and deserted lie
As they were not of Nature's family. Yet must I not give Nature all: Thy Art,
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part. For though the Poet's matter, Nature be,
His Art doth give the fashion. And, that he,
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(such as thine are) and strike the second heat Upon the Muses' anvil: turn the same,
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame, Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn,
For a good Poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou. Look how the father's face
Of Shakespeare's mind, and manners brightly shines
In each of which, he seems to shake a Lance,
To see thee in our waters yet appear
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
Advanced, and made a Constellation there!
Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping Stage;
UPON THE LINES AND LIFE OF THE FAMOUS
MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
THOSE hands, which you so clapped, go now, and wring
Turned all to tears, and Phoebus clouds his rays:
All those he made, would scarce make one to this;
For though his line of life went soon about.
TO THE MEMORIE
OF THE DECEASED AUTHOR MASTER
SHAKESPEARE, at length thy pious fellows give
Shall loath what's new, think all is prodigy
Or till I hear a Scene more nobly take,
TO THE MEMORY OF M. W. SHAKESPEARE.
WE wondered (Shakespeare) that thou wents't so soon