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For whilst, to the shame of low-endeavouring art,
Thy easy rumbers flow; and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalu'd book,
Those Delphick lines with deep impreffion took;
Then thou, our fancy of itself bercaving,
Doft make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, fo fepulcher'd, in fuch pomp doft lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die,
See, my lov'd Britons, see your Shakespeare rife,
An awful ghoft, confefd to human eyes!
Unnam'd, methinks, distinguish'd I had been
From other Mades, 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
I found not, but created first the stage:
And if I drain'd no Greek or Latin itore,
'Twas, that my own abundance gave me more:
On foreign trade I needed not rely,
Like fiuitful Britain rich without iupply:
Dryden's Prologue to his alteration of Troilus and
Shakespeare, who (taught by none) did first impart
To Fletcher wit, to inbouring Jonfon 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,
Whilft Jonson crept and gather'd all below.
This did his love, and this his mirth digest:
One imitates him most, the other belt.
If they have fince 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 chcar'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 itoop'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 obfcur'd, tho’ foaring higii,
With spots contracted from the nether fky.
But whither is th' advent'rous mule betray'd?
Forgive her ratıness, venerable ihade!
May spring with purple flow's 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 Southeine, 1711.
An Infcuption for a Monument of SHAKESPE A R E.
O youths and virgins: O declining eld:
O pale misfortune's flaves : Oye wło dwell
Unknown with humble quiet; ye who wait
In courts, or fill the golden feat of kings:
O sons of sport and pleasure: O thou wretch
That weep'st for jealous love, or the sore wounds
Of conscious guilt, or death's rapacious hand
Which left thee void of hope: Oye
In exile; ye who through the embattled field
Seek bright renown; or who for nobler palms
Contend, the leaders of a public caufe;
Approach: behold this marble. Know ye not
The features? Hath not oft his faithful tongue
the fashion of your own estate,
The secrets of your bosom? Here then, round
His monument with reverence while
Say to each other : “ This was Shakespeare's form;
“ 'Who walk'd in every path of human life,
" Felt every pallion; and to all mankind
“ Doth now, will ever that experience yield
" Which his own genius only could acquire.”
From the same Author's Pleasures of Imagination, Book 3.
when lightening fires
The arch of heaven, and thunders rock the ground,
When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air,
And ocean, groaning from his loweit bed,
Heaves his tempeituous billows to the sky;
Amid the general uproar, while below
The nations tremble, Shakespeare looks abroad
From some high cliff, superior, and enjoys
The elemental war.
For lofty sense,
Creative fancy, and inspection keen
Through the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild Shakespeare thine and nature's boast?
When learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous focs
First rear'd the stage, inmortal Shakespeare rolc;
Each change of mans-colour'd life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin’d new:
Fxistence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting time toil'd after him in vain:
His pow'rful strokes presiding truth impress’d,
And unrefiftcd pailion storm'd the breast.
Prologue at the opening of Drury-Lane Theatre in 1747.
By Dr. Samuel Johnson.
What are the lays of artful Addison,
Coldly correct, to Shakespeare's warblings wild?
Whom on the winding Avon's willow'd banks
Fair Fancy found, and bore the smiling babe
To a close cavern: (Itill the shepherds thew
The sacred place, whence with religious awe
They hear, returning from the field at eve,
Strange whisp’ring of sweet musick thro’ the air)
Here, as with honey gathered from the rock,
She fed the little prattler, and with fongs
Oft footh'd his wond'ring ears, with deep delight
On her soft lap he sat, and caught the sounds.
The Enthusiast, or the Lover of Nature, a Poem, by the
Rev. Joseph Warton.
From the Rev. Thomas Warton's Address to the Queen on
Here, boldly mark'd with every living hue,
Nature's unbounded portrait Shakespeare drew:
But chief, the dreadful groupe of human woes
The daring artist's tragic pencil chose;
Explor'd the pangs that rend the royal breaft,
Those wounds that lurk beneath the tissued veft.
Monody, written near Stratford upon Avon.
Avon, thy rural views, thy pastures wild,
The willows that o'erhang 'thy twilight edge,
Their boughs entangling with th’embattled fedge;
Thy brink with watery foliage quaintly fring’d,
Thy surface with reflected verdure ting'd;
jooth me with many a penli ve pleasure mild.
But while I muse, that here the Bard Divine
Whose sacred dust yon high-arch'd isles inclose,
Where the tall windows rise in stately rows,
Above th' embowering flade,
Here first, at Fancy's fairy-circled shrine,
Of daisies pied his infant offering made;
Here playful yet, in stripling years unripe,
Fram'd of thy reeds a fhrill and artless pipe:
Sudden thy beauties, Avon, all are fled,
As at the waving of some magic wand;
An holy trance my charmed spirit wings,
And aweful shapes of leaders and of kings,
People the busy mead,
Like fpectres swarming to the wisard's hall;
And Nowly pace, and point with trembling hand
The wounds ill-cover'd by the purple pall.
Before me Pity seems to stand
A weeping mourner, smote with anguish fore,
To see Misfortune rend in frantic mood
His robe, with regal woes embroider'd o'er.
Pale Terror leads the visionary band,
And steruly shakes his fceptre, dropping blood.
By the same,
Far from the sun and summer gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: The dauntless child
Stretch'd forth his little arnis, and smil'd.
This pencil take (she faid) whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy;
Of horror that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.
Gray's Ode on the Progress of Poesy.
Next Shakespeare fat, irregularly great,
And in his hand a magick rod did hold,
Which visionary beings did create,
And turn the foulest dross to purest gold:
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