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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
For, if I thought my judgment were of years
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
Or sporting Kid, or Marlowe's mighty line.
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
To life again, to hear thy Buskin tread,
Leave thee alone, for the comparison
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,
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
Lives in his issue, even so, the race
In his well turned and true-filed lines :
As brandished at the eyes of Ignorance.
To see thee in our waters yet appear
That so did take Eliza and our James !
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.
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 Phæbus clouds his rays:
is to the grave (Death's public tiring-house) the Nuncius is.
For though his line of life went soon about.
TO THE MEMORIE
OF THE DECEASED AUTHOR MASTER
SHAKESPEARE, at length thy pious fellows give
Or till I hear a Scene more pobly take,
TO THE MEMORY OF M. W. SHAKESPEARE.
We wondered (Shakespeare) that thou wents't so soon