Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

To draw do envy (Shakespeare) on thy name,

Am I thus ample to thy Book, and Fame: While I confess thy writings to be such,

As neither Man, nor Muse, can praise too much, 'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways

Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise : For silliest Ignorance on these may light,

Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ; Or blind Affection, which doth ne'er advance

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! My Shakespeare, rise ; I will not lodge thee by

Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie A little further, to make thee a room:

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 Musese

VERSES
PREFATORY
TO FIRST

FOLIO

For, if I thought my judgment were of years

I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell, how far thou didst our Lily outshine,

Or sporting Kid, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin, and less Greek,

From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names ; but call forth thundering Aeschylus,

Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,

To life again, to hear thy Buskin tread,
And shake a Stage: Or, when thy Socks were on,

Leave thee alone, for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome

sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.

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 ha,

vii

Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,

(such as thine are) and strike the second heat Upon the Muses' anvil : turo the same,

(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame, Or for the laurel, he may gain

scorn,
For a good Poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou. Look how the father's face

Lives in his issue, even so, the race
Of Shakespeare's mind, and manners brightly shines

In his well turned and true-filed lines :
In each of which, he seems to shake a Lance,

As brandished at the eyes of Ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon ! What a sight it were

To see thee in our waters yet appear
And make those fights upon the banks of Thames

That so did take Eliza and our James !
But stay, I see thee in the Hemisphere

Advanced, and made a Constellation there ! Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage,

Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping Stage ; Which, since thy light from hence had mourned like night, And despairus day, but for thy Volumes' light.

BEN JONSON,

UPON THE LINES AND LIFE OF THE FAMOUS

SCENIC POET,

MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

THOSE hands, which you so clapped, go now, and wring
You Britons brave ; for done are Shakespeare's days:
His days are done, that made the dainty Plays,
Which made the Globe of heaven and earth to ring.
Dried is that vein, dried is the Thespian Spring,

Turned all to tears, and Phæbus clouds his rays:
That corpse, that coffin now bestick those bays,
Which crowned him Poet first, then Poets' King.
If Tragedies might any Prologue have,
All those he made, would scarce make one to this ;
Where Fame, now that he gone

is to the grave (Death's public tiring-house) the Nuncius is.

For though his line of life went soon about.
The life yet of his lines shall never out.

HUGH HOLLAND

TO THE MEMORIE

OF THE DECEASED AUTHOR MASTER

W. SHAKESPEARE.

SHAKESPEARE, at length thy pious fellows give
The world thy Works: thy Works, by which, out-live
Thy Tomb, thy name must when that stone is rent,
And Time dissolves thy Stratford Monument,
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 loath 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 missed) 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 pobly take,
Than when thy half-Sword parlying Romans spake.
Till these, till any of thy Volumes rest
Shall with more fire, more feeling be exprest,
Be sure, our Shakespeare, thou canst never die,
But crowned with Laurel, live eternally.

L. DIGGES.

TO THE MEMORY OF M. W. SHAKESPEARE.

We wondered (Shakespeare) that thou wents't so soon
From the World's Stage, to the Grave's tiring room.
We thought thee dead, but this thy printed worth,
Tells thy Spectators, that thou wents't but forth
To enter with applause. An Actor's Art,
Can die, and live, to act a second part.
That's but an Exit of Mortality,
This, a Re-entrance to a Plaudite.

J. M,

« ZurückWeiter »