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A Remembrance of some English Poets. By Richard Barnefield, 1598.

And Shakspeare thou, whose honey-flowing vein
(Pleasing the world) thy praises doth contain,
Whose Venus, and whose Lucrece, sweet and chaste,
Thy name in fame's immortal book hath plac'd,
Live ever you, at least in fame live ever!
Well may the body die, but fame die never.

England's Mourning Garment, &c. 1603.
Nor doth the silver-tongued Melicert

Drop from his honied muse one sable tear,
To mourn her death that graced his desert,
And to his laies open'd her royal ear,
Shepherd, remember our Elizabeth,
And sing her Rape, done by that Tarquin, death.

To Master W. Shakspeare.

Shakspeare, that nimble Mercury thy brain
Lulls many-hundred Argus' eyes asleep,
So fit for all thou fashionest thy vein,

At the horse-foot fountain thou hast drunk full deep.
Virtue'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,

True model of a most lascivious lecher.
Besides, in plays 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 own works thine own worth upraise,
And help to adorn thee with deserved bays.

Epigram 92, in an ancient collection, entitled Run and a great Cast, 4to. by Tho. Freeman, 1614.

Extract from Michael Drayton's “Elegy to Henry Reynolds, Esq. of Poets and Poesy."

Shakspeare, thou hadst as smooth a comick vein,
Fitting the sock, and in thy natural brain
As strong conception, and as clear a rage,
As any one that traffick'd with the stage.

In Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatick Poet, W. Shakspeare.*

What needs my Shakspeare for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in piled stones;

Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?

Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a live-long monument:
For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book,
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took;
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,t
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulcher'd, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die.


Upon Master William Shakspeare, the deceased Author.

Poets are born, not made. When I would prove
This truth, the glad remembrance I must love
Of never-dying Shakspeare, who alone
Is argument enough to make that one.
First, that he was a poet, none would doubt
That heard the applause of what he sees set out
Imprinted; where thou hast (I will not say,
Reader, his works, for, to contrive a play,
To him 'twas none,) the pattern of all wit,
Art without art, unparallel'd as yet.
Next Nature only help'd him, for look thorough
This whole book, thou shall find he doth not borrow

*This poem is one of those prefixed to the folio edition of our author's plays, 1632, and therefore is the first of Milton's pieces that was published. It appeared, however, without even the initials of his name. Steevens.


of itself bereaving,] So, the copy in Milton's Poems, printed by Mosely in 1645. That in the second folio, 1632, has -of herself bereaving. Malone.

These verses were written by Milton in the year 1630. Notwithstanding this just eulogium, and though the writer of it appears to have been a very diligent reader of the works of our poet, from whose rich garden he has plucked many a flower, in the true spirit of sour puritanical sanctity he censured King Charles I, for having made this "great heir of fame" the closet companion of his solitudes. See his Emavonλases. Malone.

The Fortune company, I find from Sir Henry Herbert's

One phrase from Greeks, nor Latins imitate,
Nor once from vulgar languages translate;
Nor plagiary-like from others gleane,
Nor begs he from each witty friend a scene,
To piece his acts with: all that he doth write
Is pure his own; plot, language, exquisite.
But O what praise more powerful can we give
The dead, than that, by him, the king's-men live,
His players; which should they but have shar'd his fate,
(All else expir'd within the short term's date,)
How could The Globe have prosper'd, since through want
Of change, the plays and poems had grown scant.
But, happy verse, thou shalt be sung and heard,
When hungry quills shall be such honour barr'd.
Then vanish, upstart writers to each stage,
You needy poetasters of this age!

Where Shakspeare liv'd or spake, Vermin, forbear!
Lest with your froth ye spot them, come not near!
But if you needs must write, if poverty

So pinch, that otherwise you starve and die;
On God's name may the Bull or Cockpit have
Your lame blank verse, to keep you from the grave:
Or let new Fortune's* younger brethren see,
What they can pick from your lean industry.
I do not wonder when you offer at
Black-friars, that you suffer: 'tis the fate
Of richer veins; prime judgments, that have far'd
The worse, with this deceased man compar'd.
So have I seen, when Cæsar would appear,
And on the stage at half-sword parley were
Brutus and Cassius, O how the audience

Were ravish'd! with what wonder they went thence!
When, some new day, they would not brook a line
Of tedious, though well-labour'd, Catiline;
Sejanus too, was irksome; they priz❜d more
"Honest" Iago, or the jealous Moor.
And though the Fox and subtil Alchymist,
Long intermitted, could not quite be mist,

Though these have sham'd all th' ancients, and might


Their author's merit with a crown of bays,

Yet these sometimes, even at a friend's desire,
Acted, have scarce defray'd the sea-coal fire,

Manuscript, removed to the Red Bull, and the Prince's company to the Fortune, in the year 1640; these verses therefore could not have been written so early as 1623. Malone.

* This, I believe, alludes to some of the company of The Fortune playhouse, who removed to the Red Bull. See a Prologue on the removing of the late Fortune players to The Bull. Tatham's Fancies Theatre, 1640. Malone.

And door-keepers: when, let but Falstaff come,
Hal, Poins, the rest,-you scarce shall have a room,
All is so pester'd: Let but Beatrice

And Benedick be seen, lo! in a trice

The cock-pit, galleries, boxes, all are full,
To hear Malvolio, that cross-garter'd gull.
Brief, there is nothing in his wit-fraught book,
Whose sound we would not hear, on whose worth look
Like old-coin'd gold, whose lines, in every page,
Shall pass true current to succeeding age.
But why do I dead Shakspeare's praise recite?
Some second Shakspeare must of Shakspeare write;
For me, 'tis needless; since an host of men
Will pay, to clap his praise, to free my pen.*


An Elegy on the Death of that famous Writer and Actor,
Mr. William Shakspeare.

I dare not do thy memory that wrong,
Unto our larger griefs to give a tongue.
I'll only sigh in earnest, and let fall
My solemn tears at thy great funeral.
For every eye that rains a show'r for thee,
Laments thy loss in a sad elegy.

Nor is it fit each humble muse should have
Thy worth his subject, now thou art laid in grave.
No, it's a flight beyond the pitch of those,
Whose worthless pamphlets are not sense in prose.
Let learned Jonson sing a dirge for thee,
And fill our orb with mournful harmony:
But we need no remembrancer; thy fame
Shall still accompany thy honour'd name
To all posterity; and make us be
Sensible of what we lost, in losing thee:
Being the age's wonder; whose smooth rhymes
Did more reform than lash the looser times.
Nature herself did her own self admire,
As oft as thou wert pleased to attire
Her in her native lustre; and confess,
Thy dressing was her chiefest comeliness.
How can we then forget thee, when the age
Her chiefest tutor, and the widow'd stage
Her only favorite, in thee, hath lost,
And Nature's self, what she did brag of most!
Sleep then, rich soul of numbers! whilst poor we
Enjoy the profits of thy legacy;

*These verses are prefixed to a spurious edition of Shak speare's Poems, in small octavo, printed in 1640. Malone.



And think it happiness enough, we have
So much of thee redeemed from the grave,
As may suffice to enlighten future times
With the bright lustre of thy matchless rhymes.*

In Memory of our famous Shakspeare.

Sacred Spirit, whiles thy lyre

Echoed o'er the Arcadian plains,
Even Apollo did admire,

Orpheus wonder'd at thy strains:
Plautus sigh'd, Sophocles wept

Tears of anger, for to hear,
After they so long had slept,

So bright a genius should appear;
Who wrote his lines with a sun-beam,
More durable than time or fate:

Others boldly do blaspheme,

Like those that seem to preach, but prate.

Thou wert truly priest elect,

Chosen darling to the Nine,
Such a trophy to erect

By thy wit and skill divine.
That were all their other glories
(Thine excepted) torn away,
By thy admirable stories

Their garments ever shall be gay.
Where thy honour'd bones do lie,

(As Statius once to Maro's urn,)
Thither every year will 1

Slowly tread, and sadly mourn.


To Shakspeare.

Thy Muse's sugred dainties seem to us
Like the fam'd apples of old Tantalus:
For we (admiring) see and hear thy strains,
But none I see or hear those sweets attains.

These anonymous verses are likewise prefixed to Shakspeare's Poems, 1640. Malone.

This author published a small volume of Epigrams in 1651, among which this poem in memory of Shakspeare is found.


These verses are taken from Two Bookes of Epigrammes and pitaphs, by Thomas Bancroft, Lond. 1639, 4to. H. White..

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