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(Unwilling now to grow,) Looks like the plume a captain wears, Whofe rifled falls are fteept i'th' tears Which from his last flow.
The piteous river wept itself away,
Long fince (alas!) to fuch a swift decay,
That reach the map, and look
If you a river there can spy:
And, for a river, your mock'd eye
Will find a fhallow brooke.
On the Effigies of SHAKESPEARE, prefixed to his printed Works.
HIS figure, that thou here feeft put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;,
Wherein the graver had a ftrife
With nature, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but have drawn his wit
As well in braffe, as he hath hit
His face; the print would then furpaffe
All, that was ever writ in braffe.
But, fince he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture, but his book.
To the Memory of my Beloved, the Author, Mr. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
And what he hath left us..
O draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy name
Am I thus ample to thy book, and fame:
While I confess thy writings to be fuch,
As neither man, nor mufe, can praife too much.
"Tis true, and all mens fuffrage. But thefe ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praife:
For feelieft ignorance on thefe may light,
Which, when it founds at beft, 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 praife,
And think to ruin, where it feem'd to raife.
These are, as fome infamous bawd, or whore,
Should praife 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!
Th' applaufe! delight! the wonder of our stage!
My Shakespeare, rife! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenfer, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb.
And art alive ftill, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee fo, my brain excufes;
I mean with great, but difproportion'd muses:
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee, furely, with thy peers:
And tell how far thou didst our Lilly out-fhine,
Or sporting Kid, or Marlow's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and lefs Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not feek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Æfchylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy Bufkin tread,
And shake a frage: Or, when thy focks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all, that infolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or fince did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain! thou haft one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the mufes ftill 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 defigns,
And joy'd to wear the dreffing of his lines:
Which were fo richly spun, and wove so fit,
As, fince, fhe will vouchfafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Ariftophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated, and deferted lie,
As they were not of nature's family.
Yet muft I not give nature all: Thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, muft enjoy a part.
For though the Poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion: And, that he,
Who cafts to write a living line, muft sweat
(Such as thine are) and strike the second beat
Upon the muses anvile; turn the fame,
(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 fuch wert thou. Look how the father's face
Lives in his iffue, even fo the race
Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly fhines
In his well torned, and true-filed lines:
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandifh'd at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a fight it were
To fee thee in our water yet appear,
And make thofe flights upon the banks of Thames
That fo did take Eliza and our James!
But ftay, I fee thee in the hemifphere
Advanc'd, and made a conftellation there!
Shine forth, thou ftarre of Poets! and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or chear, the drooping stage:
Which, fince thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like
And defpairs day, but for thy volume's light.
HE attempt to write upon SHAKESPEARE is like going into a large, a fpacious, and a splendid dome, through the conveyance of a narrow and obfcure entry. A glare of light fuddenly breaks upon you beyond what the avenue at first promised and a thousand beauties of genius and character, like fo many gaudy apartments pouring at once upon the eye, diffuse and throw themselves out to the mind. The profpect is too wide to come within the compass of a fingle view: 'tis a gay confufion of pleasing objects, too various to be enjoyed but in a general admiration; and they must be feparated, and eyed diftinctly, in order to give the proper entertainment.
And as in great piles of building, fome parts are often finished up to hit the taste of the con noisseur; others more negligently put together, to
ftrike the fancy of a common and unlearned be holder: Some parts are made ftupendously magnificent and grand, to furprize with the vaft defign. and execution of the architect; others are con⚫ tracted, to amufe you with his neatness and elegance in little. So, in Shakespeare, we may find Traits that will stand the test of the severest judgment; and ftrokes as carelessly hit off, to the level of the more ordinary capacities: Some descriptions raised to that pitch of grandeur, as to aftonish you with the compafs and elevation of his thought: and others copying nature within fo narrow, fo confined a circle, as if the author's talent lay only at drawing in miniature.
In how many points of light muft we be ob liged to gaze at this great poet! In how many branches of excellence to confider, and admire him! Whether we view him on the fide of art or nature, he ought equally to engage our atten. tion: Whether we refpect the force and great nefs of his genius, the extent of his knowledge and reading, the power and addrefs with which he throws out and applies either nature, or learning, there is ample scope both for our wonder and pleasure. If his diction, and the cloathing of his thoughts attract us, how much more muft we be charmed with the richness, and variety of his images and ideas! If his images and ideas steal into our Souls, and ftrike upon our fancy, how much are they improved in price, when we come