Abbildungen der Seite

Nor shall I e'er believe or think thee dead,
Though miss'd, until our bankrout stage be sped
(Impossible) with some new strain t outdo
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.


To the Memory of MR. W. SHAKESPEARE.
We wonder'd, Shakespeare, that thou went'st 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 went'st 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.

I. M.5

Upon the Lines and Life of the famous Scenic Poet,

Those hands, which you so clapp'd, 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,

* The sense of this line is more clearly expressed in some verses by the same author, prefixed to an edition of Shakespeare's Poems in 1640.

[ocr errors]

“ So have I


when Cæsar would appear,
And on the stage at half-sword parley were
Brutus and Cassius, O, how the audience
Were ravish'd! with what wonder they went thence!


5 Supposed to be the initials of John Marston.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Turn'd all to tears, and Phæbus clouds his rays;
That corpse, that coffin, now bestick those bays,

Which crown'd him poet first, then poet's 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 Nuntius is : For, though his line of life went soon about, The life yet of his lines shall never out.



Prefixed to the folio of 1632.
Upon the Effigies of my worthy Friend, the Author,

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 contraries,
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,

W. SHAKESPEARE. What needs my Shakespeare, for his honour'd bones, The labour of an age in piled stones; Or that his hallow'd reliques 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?

6 The authorship of these lines was ascertained by their appear. ing in an edition of Milton's Poems, published in 1645.


Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a live-long monument :
For whilst, to the 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 sepulcher'd, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.


And his Poems.

A mind reflecting ages past, whose clear
And equal surface can make things appear,-
Distant a thousand years, — and represent
Them in their lively colours, just extent :
To outrun hasty time, retrieve the fates,
Roll back the heavens, blow


the iron gates Of Death and Lethe, where confused lie Great heaps of ruinous mortality : In that deep dusky dungeon to discern A royal ghost from churls; by art to learn The physiognomy of shades, and give Them sudden birth, wondering how oft they live; What story coldly tells, what poets feign At second hand, and picture without brain, Senseless and soul-less shows: to give a stage, Ample, and true with life, voice, action, age, As Plato's year, and new scene of the world, Them unto us, or us to them had hurl'd : '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
Both 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 :

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 steer the affections ; and by heavenly fire Mould us anew, stolen 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; their 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,

I. M. S.?

7 What name these initials may stand for, has not been ascertained. So that the authorship of this great little poem, perhaps the noblest tribute ever paid by one human being to another,- is still involved in mystery. Mr. Collier, a good authority, says, - and Mr. Verplanck, a better, endorses him, – “ I. M. S. may possibly be John Milton, Student. We know of no other poet of the time capable of writing the lines. We feel morally certain that they are by Milton.” And, sure enough, Milton is the only man of that time who has left any similar marks. And the initials may well enough be supposed to extend over this and the preceding piece. It may indeed be urged that if such were the case the latter would naturally have appeared among his Poems in 1645. But perhaps it is a sufficient answer to this, that in 1632 Milton was not too much a Puritan to write such

whereas in 1645 he was too far committed that way to put them forth as his.



« ZurückWeiter »