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Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seemed to raise.
These are, as 2 some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron. What could hurt her

But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our

My Shakespeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by


Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room:
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still 3 while thy book doth live
And we have wits to read and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned
Muses; 4

For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lily outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line. 30
And though thou hadst small Latin and less

From thence to honour thee, I would not seek For names; but call forth thundering Æschylus,

Euripides, and Sophocles to us;

Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,5
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were


Leave thee alone for the comparison

Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe. 42
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,

1 vote, opinion 2 as if 3 forever 4i.e. poets not equal to thee Pacuvius, Accius, and Seneca, the most famous Latin tragedians the high shoe of tragedy the low shoe of comedy

When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!
Nature herself was proud of his designs
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines!
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit. 50
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated and deserted lie,

As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame,
Or, for the laurel, he may gain a scorn;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou! Look how the father's

Lives in his issue, even so the race


Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines


In his well turnèd, and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of

That so did take Eliza, and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath
mourned like night,


And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.


To the immortal memory and friendship of that noble pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison.


The Strophe, or Turn

It is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make men better be; Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear: 1 as if 2 attempts 3 instead of

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If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
And, mercy being easy and glorious
To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He?
But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee?
O God, O! of Thine only worthy blood
And my tears make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sin's black memory.
That Thou remember them, some claim as

I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.



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Wit able enough to justify the town For three days past! Wit, that might warrant be

For the whole city to talk foolishly

Till that were cancelled! And, when we were gone,

We left an air behind us, which alone
Was able to make the two next companies
Right witty! though but downright fools,
more wise!

When I remember this, and see that now
The country gentlemen begin to allow
My wit for dry bobs; then I needs must cry,
"I see my days of ballading grow nigh!" 60
I can already riddle; and can sing
Catches, sell bargains; and I fear shall bring
Myself to speak the hardest words I find
Over as oft as any, with one wind,

That takes no medicines! But one thought of thee

Makes me remember all these things to be The wit of our young men, fellows that show No part of good, yet utter all they know! Who, like trees of the guard, have growing souls.

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Only strong Destiny, which all controls, 70
I hope hath left a better fate in store
For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor,
Banished unto this home! Fate, once again,
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and

The way of knowledge for me; and then I,
Who have no good but in thy company,
Protest it will my greatest comfort be
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee!
Ben, when these scenes are perfect, we'll
taste wine!

I'll drink thy Muse's health! thou shalt quaff mine!





A passing glance, a lightning 'long the skies, That, ush'ring thunder, dies straight to our sight;

A spark, of contraries which doth arise,
Then drowns in the huge depths of day and


Is this small Small call'd life, held in such price
Of blinded wights, who nothing judge aright.
Of Parthian shaft so swift is not the flight
As life, that wastes itself, and living dies.
O! what is human greatness, valour, wit?
What fading beauty, riches, honour, praise? 10
To what doth serve in golden thrones to sit,
Thrall earth's vast round, triumphal arches

All is a dream, learn in this prince's fall, In whom, save death, nought mortal was at all.

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