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Till these, till any of thy volume's rest,
To the Memory of M. W. Shake-speare.
To the Memory of my beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shake
speare, and what he hath left us.
Sejanus too, was irksome: they priz'd more
Whose sound we would not hear, on whose worth look,” &c. ? Perhaps the initials of John Marston, from whom see an original letter to Lord Kimbolton on p. 179.
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
3 Referring to lines by William Basse, then circulating in MS., and not printed until 1633, when they were falsely imputed to Dr. Donne in the edition of his poems in that year. All the MSS. of the lines, now extant, differ in minute par. ticulars : we subjoin them as they appear in “Donne's Collected Poems,” edit. 1633, p. 149, under the following heading :
“ AN EPITAPH UPON SHAKESPEARE.
“ Renowned Chaucer, lie a thought more nigh
To rare Beaumond ; and learned Beaumond lie
And shake a stage: or, when thy socks were on,
Upon the Lines, and Life, of the famous Scenic Poet, Master
Which made the Globe of heaven and earth to ring.
Dried is that vein, dried is the Thespian spring,
corpse, that coffin, now bestick those bays,
All those he made would scarce make one to this;
(Death's public tiring-house) the Nuntius is:
PREFIXED TO THE FOLIO OF 1632 4.
Upon the Efigies of my worthy Friend, the Author, Master
William Shakespeare, and his Works.
An Epitaph on the admirable Dramatic Poet, W. Shakespeare'.
What needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones,
4 In addition to those in the folio of 1623, which were also reprinted in 1632. The folios of 1664 and 1685 contain no others.
5 An Epitaph on the admirable Dramatic Poet, W. Shakespeare.] These lines, like the preceding, have no name appended to them in the folio, 1632, but the
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
On worthy Master Shakespeare, and his Poems 6. 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 :
authorship is ascertained by the publication of them as Milton's, in the edition of his Poems in 1645, 8vo. We give them as they stand there, because it is evident that they were then printed from a copy corrected by the author : the variations are interesting, and Malone pointed out only one, and that certainly the least im. portant. Instead of “weak witness ” in line 6, the folio, 1632, has “ dull witness :" instead of “live-long monument,” in line 8, the folio has “lasting monument:" instead of “ heart” in line 10, the folio has part, an evident misprint: and instead of “itself bereaving,” in line 13, the folio has “herself bereaving.” The last is the difference mentioned by Malone, who also places “ John Milton” at the end, as if the name were found in the folio of 1632.
6 On worthy Master Shakespeare, and his Poems.] These lines are subscribed I. M. S. in the folio, 1632, “ probably Jasper Mayne,” says Malone. Most probably not, because Mayne has left nothing behind him to lead us to suppose that he could have produced this surpassing tribute. I. M. S. may possibly be Iohn Milton, Student, and no name may have been appended to the other copy of verses by him, prefixed to the folio of 1632, in order that his initials should stand at the end of the present. We know of no other poet of the time capable of writing the ensuing lines : we feel morally certain that they are by Milton, and such was Coleridge's opinion, often expressed; but especially in his “Lectures upon Shakespeare and Milton," delivered in 1811-12, when he said :-“ The internal evidence seems to me decisive, for there was, I think, no other man of that particular day, capable of writing any thing so characteristic of Shakespeare, so justly thought, and so happily expressed.” Lecture ix. p. 107, edit. 1856.