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Diltant a thousand years, and represent
Them in their lively colours, just extent:
To outrun hafty time, retrieve the fates,
Rowl back the heavens, blow ope 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, wond’ring how oft they live;
What story coldly tells, what poets feign
At second hand, and picture without brain,
Senseless and soul-lèfs shews: 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 fovereigns from their herse,
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 smile and weep; fearful at plots fo 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 tickl’d; by a crab-like way®
Time past made paltime, 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 fecret engines; now to move
A chilling pity, then a rigorous love;
To strike up and stroak down, both joy and ire;
To steer the affections, and by heavenly fire
Mold us anew, stoln from ourselves :-
This,- and much more, which cannot be express'd
But by himself, his tongue, and his own breaft,
Was Shakespear's freehold; which his cunning brain
Improv'd by favour of the nine-fold train;-
The buskin’d muse, the comick queen, the grand
And louder tone of Clio, nimble hand
And nimbler foot of the melodious pair,
The filver-voiced lady, the moit fair
Calliope, whose speaking filence daunts,
And ihe 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 ruilet, and the scarlet bright:
Branch'd and embroider'd like the painted spring;
Each leaf match'd with a flower, and each ftring
Of golden wire, each line of Gilk: there run
Italian works, whose thread the fifters spun;,
And there did fing, or seem to sing, the choice
Birds of a foreign note and various voice:
Here hangs a mosly rock; there plays a fair
But chiding fountain, purled: not the air,
Nor clouds, nor thunder, but were living drawn; it!
Not out of common tiffany or lawni,
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 lefs volume, but more strongly bound, Shakespeare shall breathe and speak; with laurel crown'd, Which never fades; fed with ambrofial meat, In a well-lined vesture, rich, and neat: So with this robe they cloath him, bid him wear it; For time shall never ítain, nor envy tear it. The friendly Admirer of his Endowments,
J. M. S.
Part of Shirley's Prologue to The Sisters.
And if you leave us too, we cannot thrive,
I'l! promise neither play nor poet live · ;
'Tili ye come back; think what you do, you see
W t audience, we have, what company,
To hakespeare comes, whose mirth did once beguile
Duli hours, and bulkin'd, made even forrow smile:
So lovely were the wounds, that men would say
They could endure the bleeding a whole day.
Extract from Michael Drayton's “ Elegy to Henry Reya
nolds, Esq. of Poets and Poefy."
Shakespear, thou hadst as smooth a comic vein,
Titiing the fock, and in thy natural brain
As strong conception, and as clear a rage
As any one that traffick'd with the stage.
To Master W. SHAKESPEARE.
Shakespeare, that nimble Mercury thy braine
Lulls many hundred Argus-eyes asleepe, So fit for all thou fashionelt thy vaine,
At th' horse-foot fountaine thou hast drunk full deepe. Vertue's or vice's theme to thee all one is;
Who loves chaste life, there's Lucrece for a teacher: Who list read lust, there's Venus and Adonis,
The modell of a most lascivious leacher. Besides, in plaies thy wit winds like Meander,
When needy new composers borrow more
Than Terence doth from Plautus or Menander;
But to praise thee aright, I want thy store.
Then let thine owne works thine owne worth upraile,
And help t'adorne thee with deterved baies.
Epigram 92, in an ancient collection, entitled Run and a great Caf?, 4to. by Tho. Freeman, 1614.
• An Epitaph on the admirable dramatick Poet, W. SHAKESPE A R E,
What needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in piled ftones;
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear fon of memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou fuch weak witness of thy name?
Thou, in our wonder and attonishment,
Halt built thyself a live-long monument:
For whilst, to the shame of flow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalu'd book,
Those Delphick lines with deep impresion took;
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Doft make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulcher'd, in such pomp doft lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die.
See, my lov'd Britons, see your Shakespeare rise,
An awful ghost, confefl'd to human eyes!
Unnam'd, methinks, distinguish'd I had been
From other thades, by this eternal green,
About whose wreaths the vulgar poets strive,
And with a touch their wither'd bays revive..
Untaught, unpractis’d, in a barbarous age,
I found not, but created first the stage:
And if I drain'd no Greek or Latin store,
'Twas, that my own abundance gave me more:
On foreign trade I needed not rely,
Like fiuitful Britain rich without fupply.
Dryden's Prologue to his alteration of Troilus and
Shakespeare, who (taught by none) did first impart
To Fletcher wit, to labouring Jonson art:
He, monarch-like, gave those his subjects law,
And is that nature which they paint and draw.
Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights did grow,
Whilst Jonson crept and gather'd all below.
This did his love, and this his mirih digeit:
One imitates him most, the other best.
If they have since out-writ all other men,
'Tis with the drops that fell from Shakespeare's pen.
Dryden's Prologue to his Alteration of the Tempest,
Our Shakespeare wrote too in an age as bleft,
The happiest poet of his time, and best;
A gracious prince's favour chear'd his muse,
A constant favour he ne'er fear’d to lose;
Therefore he wrote with fancy unconfin'd,
And thoughts that were immortal as his mind.
Otway's Prologue to Caius Marius.
Shakespeare, whose genius to itself a law,
Could men in every height of nature draw.
Rowe's Prologue to the Ambitious Stepmother.
Shakespeare (whom you and every play-house bill
Style the divine, the matchless, what you will)
For gain, not glory, wing’d his roving flight,
And grew immortal in his own despight.
Pope's Imitation of Horace's Epistle to Augustus,
Shakespeare, the genius of our isle, whose mind
(The universal mirror of mankind)
Express’d all images, enrich'd the stage,
But sometimes stoop'd to please a barb'rous age.
When his immortal bays began to grow,
Rude was the language, and the humour low.
He, like the god of day, was always bright;
But rolling in its course, his orb of light
Was fully'd and obscur'd, tho' soaring high,
With spots contracted from the nether sky.
But whither is th' advent'rous muse betray'd?
Forgive her rafiness, venerable shade!
May spring with purple flow'rs perfume thy urn,
And Avon with his greens thy grave adorn:
Be all thy faults, whatever faults there be,
Imputed to the times, and not to thee!
Fenton's Epistle to Southerne, 1731.
An Inscription for a Monument of SHAKESPEARE.
O youths and virgins: O declining eld:
O pale misfortune's slaves : 0 ye who dwell
Unknown with humble quiet; ye who wait
In courts, or fill the golden seat of kings;