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"Men are like ants, crawling up and down. "Some carry corn, some carry their young, and all go to and fro―at last a little heap of dust!"
The states' attorney took his seat, with frantic applause rattling in his ears.
Although the sentiments of Bacon were variable, mixed, foreign and epigrammatic, they received great attention; for no matter who may be the speaker at a banquet where royalty and power are the subjects at issue, there will be great and tremendous cheering by little sycophants who expect reward, and of course, by those patriots who have already received favors from the administration pie counter.
Sir Walter at last arose and said "that although the hour was late, or, more properly speaking, early, he earnestly desired the noble gentlemen present to hear one whose fame, in the world of dramatic letters, like the morning sun, had already flashed upon the horizon and rapidly approached the high noon of earthly immortalityWilliam Shakspere, of Stratford-on-Avon!"
Then could be heard roof-lifting cheers by all present, who had often heard the Bard in his lofty language and kingly strides at the Blackfriars.
William, in the flush of self-conscious, imperial, splendid manhood exclaimed: "Gentlemen:
Your toast of glory to the Virgin Queen
Elizabeth, I lift my song to thee,
To echo down the flowing tide of ages!
Within the chronicle of wasted time
Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Rapturous and universal praise and applause greeted William and his immortal sonnets; and if any critical reader or author will take pains to delve into and scan the poetry and philosophy of Spenser and Bacon with that of Shakspere, they will quickly and honestly come to the conclusion that the former writers are merely rushlights to the flashing electric lights of the Divine Bard!
To paraphrase the encomium of Shakspere to Cleopatra would fit the greatness of himself:
"Age cannot wither him, nor custom stale
BOHEMIAN HOURS. WESTMINSTER ABBEY. "LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST."
"I have ventured
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders This many summers in a sea of glory.”
THE literary bohemians of London three hundred years ago were an impecunious and jealous lot of human pismires, who built their dens, carried their loads, and were filled with vaulting ambition just the same as we see them to-day.
The hack-writer for publishers, the actor for theatrical managers and the author of growing renown belonged to clubs and tavern coteries, pushing their way up the rocky heights of fame, and struggling, as now, for bread, clothes and shelter, many of the Bacchanalian creatures dying from hunger at the foothills of their ambition; and instead of winning a niche in the columned aisles of Westminster Abbey, dropped lead in some back alley or gloomy garret, to be carted away by the Beadle to the voracious Potter's field.
They often courted Dame Suicide, who never
fails to relieve the wicked, wretched, insane or desperate from their intolerable situation.
"Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,
How often at the Miter or Falcon taverns have I seen these little great literary men swell like a toad or puff like a pigeon at the flattery bestowed on them by fawning bohemians, meaner than themselves, who sought a midnight snack and a tankard of foaming ale.
Of all the despicable and miserable creatures I have ever known it is the poor starving devil, with latent genius, who attempts to pay court to a cad, snob, or drunken lord around the refuse of literary or sporting clubs in midnight hours.
William was always very kind to these threadbare wanderers, and although they often gave him pen prods behind his back, he never betrayed any recognition of their envious stings, but like the lion in his jungle, brushed these busy bees away by the underbrush of his philosophy.
He mildly rebuked their pretense, but relieved their immediate wants, impressing upon them the study of Nature and not the blandishments of art, having the appearance of Oriental porcelain or Phoenician glass, when it was really crude crockery painted to deceive the sight and auctioned off to the unwary purchaser as genuine material.
How many authors, artists and actors of to-day