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A mind reflecting ages past, whose clear
And equal surface can make things appear,
Distant a thousand years, and represent
Them in their lively colours, just extent:
To outrun hasty time, retrieve the fates,
Roll 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, wondering how oft they live ;
What story coldly tells, what poets feign
At second hand, and picture without brain,
Senseless and soul-less shows: 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 hursd:
To raise our ancient sovereigns from their hearse,
Make kings his subjects; by exchanging verse
Enlive their pale trunks, that the present age
Joys in their joy, and trembles at their
Yet so to temper passion, that our ears
Take pleasure in their pain, and eyes in tears
Both weep and smile; fearful at plots so 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 tickled; by a crab-like way
Time past made pastime, 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 secret engines; now to move
A chilling pity, then a rigorous love;
To strike up and stroke down, both joy and ire;
To steer th' affections; and by heavenly fire
Mould us anew, stoln from ourselves :-
This, and much more, which cannot be express'd
But by himself, his tongue, and his own breast,
Was Shakespeare's freehold; which his cunning brain
Improv'd by favour of the nine-fold train;
The buskind muse, the comic queen, the grand
And louder tone of Clio, nimble hand
And nimbler foot of the melodious pair,
The silver-voiced lady, the most fair
Calliope, whose speaking silence daunts,
And she 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 russet, and the scarlet bright :
Branch'd and embroider'd like the painted spring;
Each leaf match'd with a flower, and each string
Of golden wire, each line of silk : there run
Italian works, whose thread the sisters spun;
And there did sing, or seem to sing, the choice
Birds of a foreign note and various voice:
Here hangs a mossy rock; there plays a fair
But chiding fountain, purled: not the air,
Nor clouds, nor thunder, but were living drawn;
Not out of common tiffany or lawn,
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 less volume, but more strongly bound,
Shakespeare shall breathe and speak; with laurel crown'd,
Which never fades; fed with ambrosian meat,
In a well-lined vesture, rich, and neat.
So with this robe they clothe him, bid him wear it;
For time shall never stain, nor envy tear it.
The friendly admirer of his endowments.
I. M. S.
Upon the Lines, and Life, of the famous Scenic Poet, Master W. Shakespeare.
Those hands which you so clapp'd, go now and wring,
You Britons brave; for done are Shake-speare's days:
His days are done that made the dainty plays,
Which made the Globe of heaven and earth to ring.
Dried is that vein, dried is the Thespian spring,
Turn'd all to tears, and Phæbus clouds his rays;
That corpse, that coffin, now bestick those bays,
Which crown'd him poet first, then poet's king.
If tragedies might any prologue have,
All those he made would scarce make one to this ;
Where fame, now that he gone is to the grave,
(Death's public tiring-house) the Nuntius is :
For, though his line of life went soon about,
The life yet of his lines shall never out.
[The following are Ben Jonson's lines on the Portrait of Shakespeare, precisely as they stand on
a separate leaf opposite to the title-page of the edition of 1623, and which are reprinted in the same place, with some trifling variation of typography, in the folio of 1632.
OF ALL THE COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES CONTAINED
IN THIS BOOK.
Char. Had Yorke and Somerset brought rescue in,
We should have found a bloody day of this.
Baft. How the yong whelpe of Talbots
, raging wood, Did desh hispuny-lword in Frenchmens blood.
Pwc. Once I encountred him and thus 1 faid:
Thou Maiden youth,be vanquisht by a Maide.
But with a provd Majesticall high scorne so mbing ina
He answer'd thus : Yong Talbot was not borne listowel
To be the pillage of a Giglot Wench, Me force
He left me proudly, as unworthy fight.
Bur. Doubtlesse he would have made a noble Knight:
See where helyes inherced in the armes
Of the moltbloody Nursler of his harmes. fit blooding
Baft. Hew them to peeces, hack their bones affunder,
Whose life was Englands glory, Gallia's wonder.
Char. Oh no forbeare: For that which we have fled
Daring the life, let us not Wrong it dead.
Enter Lucy. anda berani dan
Lu. Herald, conduct me to the Dolphins Tent,
To know who hath obtain'dthe glory of the day.
Char. On what submissive menageart thou sent?
Lucy. Submission Dolphin? Tis a meerc French word:
We English Warriours wot not what it meanes.
I come to know what Prisoners thou hast tane,
And to survey the bodies of the dead!
Cbar. For prisoners asks thou? Hell our prison is.
Briefely But tell me whom thou seekin
Luc. But where's the great Alcides of the field,
Valiant Lord Talbot Earle of Shrewsbury?
Created for his rare fucceffe in Armes,
Great Earleofitaftsford,Waterford, and Datenst,
Lord Talbot of Goodrigand Vrchinfield,
Lord Strange of Bluckmore, Lord Verdon of Aloon,
Lord Crompuell of Wingefield, Lord Furnivall of Sheffeild,
The thrice Victorious Lord of tatcontriya,
Knight of the Noble Order of S. George,
Worthy S. Misbaelyand the Golden Flecce,
Great Marshall to our King Henry the fixt,
of all his Warres within the Realme of France.