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To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
When she was far; and not a room but drest
As if it had expected such a guest!
These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all;
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal.
have been taught religion; thence
Their gentler spirits have suck'd innocence.
Each morn and even they are taught to pray,
With the whole household, and may, every day,
Read, in their virtuous parents' noble parts,
The mysteries of manners, arms, and arts.
Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee
With other edifices, when they see
Those proud ambitious heaps, and nothing else,
May say their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.
TO THE MEMORY OF MY BELOVED MASTER, WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE,
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US.
To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor Muse can praise too much,
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For silliest ignorance on these would light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
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 stage !
My Shakspeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further off, to make thee room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still, 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 disproportion’d Muses :
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd or Marlow's mighty line,
And though thou had small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee I will not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Æschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage: or when thy socks were on
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.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury, to charm!
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
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 Shakspeare, 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 face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well-turned and true-filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
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 mourn'd like
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light!
ON THE PORTRAIT OF SHAKSPEARE.
(UNDER THE FRONTISPIECE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF HIS WORKS: 1623.)
This figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakspeare cut,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to outdo the life :
Oh, could he but have drawn his wit,
As well in brass, as he hath hit
His face; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brass :
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture but his book.
In the same age of fertile, seething mind which produced Jonson and the rest of the Elizabethan giants, there flourished some minor poets, whose names we merely chronicle: such as Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, born 1534, and dying 1604, who travelled in Italy in his youth, and returned the most accomplished coxcomb in Europe,' who sat as Grand Chamberlain of England upon the trial of Mary Queen of Scots, and who has left, in the Paradise of Dainty Devices,' some rather beautiful verses, entitled, 'Fancy and Desire ;'-as Thomas Storrer, a student of Christ Church, Oxford, and the author of a versified · History of Cardinal Wolsey,' in three parts, who died in 1604;—as William Warner, a native of Oxfordshire, born in 1558, who became an attorney of the Common Pleas in London, and died suddenly in 1609, having made himself famous for a time by a poem, entitled 'Albion's England,' called by Campbell enormous ballad on the history, or rather the fables appendant to the history of England,' with some fine touches, but heavy and prolix as a whole ;—as Sir John Harrington, who was the son of a poet and the favourite of Essex, who was created a
Knight of the Bath by James I., and who wrote some pointed epigrams and a miserable translation of Ariosto, in which he effectually tamed that wild Pegasus ;-as Henry Perrot, who collected, in 1613, a book of epigrams, entitled, 'Springes for Woodcocks;'—as Sir Thomas Overbury, whose dreadful and mysterious fate, well known to all who read English history, excited such a sympathy for him, that his poems, ' A Wife,' and "The Choice of a Wife,' passed through sixteen editions before the year 1653, although his prose Characters, such as the exquisite and well-known 'Fair and Happy Milkmaid,' are far better than his poetry ;—as Samuel Rowlandes, a prolific pamphleteer in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., author also of several plays and of a book of epigrams ;-as Thomas Picke, who belonged to the Middle Temple, and published, in 1631, a number of songs, sonnets, and elegies; Henry Constable, born in 1568, and a well-known sonneteer of his day ;-as Nicholas Breton, author of some pretty pastorals, who, it is conjectured, was born in 1555, and died in 1624;and as Dr Thomas Lodge, born in 1556, and who died in 1625, after translating Josephus into English, and writing some tolerable poetical pieces.
This was a true poet, although his power comes forth principally in the drama. He was born at Newnham, near Daventry, Northamptonshire, in 1605, being the son of Lord Zouch's steward. He became a King's Scholar at Westminster, and subsequently a Fellow in Trinity College, Cambridge. Ben Jonson loved him, and he reciprocated the attachment. Whether from natural tendency or in imitation of Jonson, who called him, as well as Cartwright, his adopted son, he learned intemperate habits, and died, in 1634, at the age of twenty-nine. His death took place at the house of W. Stafford, Esq. of Blatherwyke, in his native county, and he was buried in the church beside, where Sir Christopher, afterwards Lord Hatton, signalised the spot of his rest by a monument. He wrote five dramas, which are imperfect and formal in plan, but written with con