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blacksmith, a trowel a stone mason, a pebble a geologist, a flower a botanist, a ray of light an astronomer, and even a word gave him ample suggestion to build up an empire of thought.
He sailed upon the tides and currents of the human heart, and steered through the cliffs and caverns of the brain with greater glory than those who sought the golden "fleece" among the enchanting waters of Ionian isles.
Shakspere conjured the characters of his plays from elemental principles, measures not men, breathing and acting in his divine atmosphere. It is strange and marvelous that he never wrote a line about the great men that lived and wrote in his day and age, although Cervantes, Rubens, Camoens, Bruno, Drake, Raleigh, Calderon, Corneille, Rembrandt, Kepler, Galileo, Montaigne, Beaumont and Fletcher, Sidney, Marlowe, Bacon and Ben Jonson were contemporaneous authors, poets, dramatists, navigators, soldiers, astronomers and philosophers
Licentious phrases and actions were universal in Shakspere's time, and from the corrupt courts of King Henry the Eighth, Elizabeth and King James, to the cot of the peasant and trail of the tavern, morality hid her modest head and only flourished among the puritans and philosophers who kept alive the flame of love and libertv.
Dryden, Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe and Jonson infected literature with a species of eloquent vulgarity, and Shakspere, willing to please, readily infused into his various plays sensuous phrases to catch the rabble cheers and purpled applause. While he worshiped nature, he never failed to bend
the knee for ready cash, and often paid fulsome tribute to lords and ladies, who flattered his vanity and ministered to his "itching palm."
Physical passion, mental license and social tyranny ruled in home, church and state, where Rome and Reformation struggled viciously for the mastery.
There are nuggets of golden thought still scattered through the plays of Shakspere that no author or actor has ever discovered, and although they have read and repeated his lines, for more than three hundred years, there has been no brain able and brilliant enough to delve into or explain the secret caves of Shaksperian wit. Human sparrows cannot know the eagle flights of divine philosophy.
The golden gilt of imagination decorated his phrases and the lambent light of his philosophy shone like the rosy dawn upon a field of variegated wild flowers. The hut and the cottage were transformed into lordly castles while the rocks and the hills became ranges of mountain, whose icy pinnacles reflected back the shimmering light of suns and stars.
Shakspere was a man of universal moods and like a chameleon took color and force from every object he touched. The draughts he took from the deep flowing wells of nature made no diminution in the volume of his thought, that rushed through his seething brain like an underground cataract filled from eternal springs.
Fresh from the mint of his mind fell the clinking, golden coin of universal value, bearing the glowing stamp of his genius, unrivaled in the an
nals of time. Since he wrote and acted, no man ever understood the depths of his wit and logic, or the height of his imagination and philosophy. The human mackerel cannot know the human whale.
Shallow, presumptive college bookworms, arrogant librarians and classical compilers, have attempted to explain his plays and sonnets, in footnotes, but they have only been entangled in the briers and flowers of his fancy, finding themselves suffocated at last, in the luxurious fields of his eloquent rhetoric and universal wisdom.
School-teachers, professors, priests, preachers, popes, and princes are brushed aside by the cutting phrases of Shakspere and go down to earth like grass before the scythe of this rustic reaper. They are dumfounded by his matchless mysterious logic. Religion, law and medicine are pitchforked about by the Divine William on the threshing floor of his literary granary, where he separates wheat from chaff, instanter, leaving the beholder mystified by the splendid result.
Viewing the great minds of the world from Homer to Humboldt, Shakspere never had an equal or superior, standing on the pinnacle of the pyramid of human renown, and lifting his mammoth mental form above the other philosophers of the earth as Mount St. Elias soars above its brother peaks.
Distance lends a wizard enchantment to his lofty form and down the rolling ages his glory will grow greater until the whole universe is luminous with the dazzling lights of his eternal fame.
Such god-like men shall never die;
And thrill the world with truth and love
Shakspere's mind was pinioned with celestial imagination, and his rushing flight circled the shores of omnipotence. He taught us that ignorance was a crime, a murky night without a single star to light the traveler on his weary way.
Those who have attempted to fathom the depths of the Shaksperian ocean of thought, have only rounded the rim or skimmed over the surface of its illimitable magnificence. Tossed about by the billows of Shakspere's brain, for three hundred and forty years mankind like a ship in a storm, still wonders and runs on the reefs of his understanding, to be wrecked in their vain calculation of his divine wisdom.
Leaving the beaten paths of oriental and middle age writers, he dashed deep into the forest of nature and surveyed for himself a new dominion of thought, that has never been occupied before or since his birth. Like a comet of universal light, he shines over the world with the warm glow of celestial knowledge.
With the tuning key of his matchless genius he struck the chords of sorrow to their inmost tone and played on the heart strings of joy with the tender vibrations of an æolian harp, trembling with melodious echoes among the wild flowers of ecstatic passion.
And to clap the climax and fathom the logic of love, he eloquently exclaims:
"Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds!" J. A. J.
Stratford, April 1st, 1616. hny bear school mate and soul friend. It is
my will t testification that after three hundred forty years from my birth You shall tell the world the true history of my personal & litercity life.
all men I have you have the most Love Touth, bravery of imagination. Be justo fear not!
So Sohn Wan Shoppere.