Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Prefatory Materials (Folio 3, 1664)


An EPITAPH
On the admirable Dramatick Poet,
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
WHat need my Shakespeare for his honour'd
bones,
The labour of an Age, in piled stones,
Or that his hallow'd Reliques should be hid
Under a Starre-y pointing Pyramid?
Dear Son of Memory, great Heir of Fame,
VVhat need'st thou such dull witnesse of thy
Name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a lasting Monument.
For whil'st to th' shame of slow-endeavouring
Art
Thy easie numbers flow, and that each part,
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued Book,
Those Delphick Lines with deep Impression
took
Then thou our fancy of her self bereaving,
Dost make us Marble with too much con-
ceiving,
And so Sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie,
That Kings for such a Tomb would wish to die
Upon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenick
Poet Mr. VV. Shakespeare.
THose hands, which you so clapt, goe now
and wring
You Britaines brave; for done are Shake-
speares dayes:
His dayes are done, that made the dainty Playes,
VVhich made the Globe of Heav'n and Earth
to ring.
Dry'd is that Vein, dry'd is the Thespian Spring,
Turn'd all to tears, and Phœbus Clouds his
Rayes:
That Corps, that Coffin now bestick those Bays,
VVhich crown'd him Poet first, then Poets King.
If Tragedies might any Prologue have,
All those he made, would scarce make one to
this:
VVhere Fame, now that he gone is to the Grave,
(Deaths publick Tyring-house) the Nuncius is.
For though his Line of Life went soon about,
The Life yet of his Lines shall never out.
Hugh Holland.