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Nor shall I e'er believe or think thee dead,
To the Memory of MR. W. SHAKESPEARE.
Upon the Lines and Life of the famous Scenic Poet,
MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
Which made the Globe of heaven and earth to ring.
* 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.
“ So have I
when Cæsar would appear,
5 Supposed to be the initials of John Marston.
Turn'd all to tears, and Phæbus clouds his rays;
Which crown'd him poet first, then poet's king.
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.
ADDITIONAL COMMENDATORY VERSES,
Prefixed to the folio of 1632.
Spectator, this life's shadow is:— to see
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,
On worthy MASTER SHAKESPEARE,
And his Poems.
A mind reflecting ages past, whose clear
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
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
Now, when they could no longer him enjoy,
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.