po·e·sy n. pl. po·e·sies 1. Poetical works; poetry. 2. The art or practice of composing poems. 3. The inspiration involved in composing poetry. [Middle English poesie, from Old French, from Latin posis, from Greek poisis, from poiein, to create; see kwei-2 in Indo-European roots.]

My Photo
Location: Canada

Monday, April 23, 2012

Memorial to Shakespeare

William Shakespeare died April 23, 1616 at the age of 52.
396 years after his passing his works are as popular as ever.

Some tributes by poets.


         To the Memory of My Beloved, The Author, Mr. William 
         Shakespeare, and What He Hath Left Us
         by Ben Jonson (1572-1637 / England)

                    To draw no envy, Shakespeare, 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 may light,
                    Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
                    Or blind Affection, which doth ne`er advance
                    The truth, but gropes and urgeth all by chance;
                    Or crafty Malice might pretend this praise,
                    And think to ruin where it seem`d to raise.
                    These are as some infamous bawd or whore
                    Should praise a matron. What could hurt her more?
                    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 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, 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 Marlowe`s mighty line.
                    And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
                    From thence, to honour thee, I would not seek
                    For names; but call forth thund`ring Aeschylus,
                    Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
                    Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead
                    To life 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 Mercury, to charm.
                    Nature herself was proud of his designs,
                    And joy`d to wear he 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 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 face
                    Lives in his issue; even so, the race
                    Of Shakespeare`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
                    Advanc`d, 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 night,
                    And despairs day, but for thy volume`s light.

         An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatic Poet W. Shakespeare
         by John Milton (1608-1674 / England)

                    What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones
                    The labor of an age in piled stones?
                    Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid
                    Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
                    Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,
                    What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
                    Thou in our wonder and astonishment
                    Hast built thy self a livelong monument.
                    For whilst, to th' shame of slow-endeavoring art,
                    Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
                    Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
                    Those Delphic lines with deep impression took,
                    Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
                    Dost make us marble with too much conceiving,
                    And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie
                    That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.


              Shakespeare and Milton
              by Walter Savage Landor (1775 - 1864 / England)

                    THE TONGUE of England, that which myriads
                    Have spoken and will speak, were paralyz’d
                    Hereafter, but two mighty men stand forth
                    Above the flight of ages, two alone;
                    One crying out,
                    All nations spoke through me.
                    The other:
                    True; and through this trumpet burst God’s word;
                    The fall of Angels, and the doom
                    First of immortal, then of mortal, Man.
                    Glory! be glory! not to me, to God.

              by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882 / United States)

                    A vision as of crowded city streets,
                    With human life in endless overflow;
                    Thunder of thoroughfares; trumpets that blow
                    To battle; clamor, in obscure retreats,
                    Of sailors landed from their anchored fleets;
                    Tolling of bells in turrets, and below
                    Voices of children, and bright flowers that throw
                    O'er garden-walls their intermingled sweets!
                    This vision comes to me when I unfold
                    The volume of the Poet paramount,
                    Whom all the Muses loved, not one alone; --
                    Into his hands they put the lyre of gold,
                    And, crowned with sacred laurel at their fount,
                    Placed him as Musagetes on their throne.

              by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888 / England)

                    Others abide our question. Thou art free.
                    We ask and ask--Thou smilest and art still,
                    Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill,
                    Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,

                    Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,
                    Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
                    Spares but the cloudy border of his base
                    To the foil'd searching of mortality;

                    And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
                    Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd,
                    Didst tread on earth unguess'd at.--Better so!

                    All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
                    All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
                    Find their sole speech in that victorious brow


             by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882 / England)

                Dear friend, if there be any bond
                Which friendship wins not much beyond—
                So old and fond, since thought began—
                It may be that whose subtle span
                Binds Shakespear to an English man.

              The Poetry Of Shakespeare
              by George Meredith (1828 - 1909 / England)
                    Picture some Isle smiling green 'mid the
                    white-foaming ocean; -
                    Full of old woods, leafy wisdoms, and frolicsome
                    Passions and pageants; sweet love singing
                    bird-like above it;
                    Life in all shapes, aims, and fates, is there
                    warm'd by one great
                    human heart.

              Shakespeare And Cervantes
              by Robert William Service (1874 - 1958 / Canada)

                Shakespeare And Cervantes
                Obit 23rd April 1616

                Is it not strange that on this common date,
                Two titans of their age, aye of all Time,
                Together should renounce this mortal state,
                And rise like gods, unsullied and sublime?
                Should mutually render up the ghost,
                And hand n hand join Jove's celestial host?

                What wondrous welcome from the scribes on high!
                Homer and Virgil would be waiting there;
                Plato and Aristotle standing nigh;
                Petrarch and Dante greet the peerless pair:
                And as in harmony they make their bow,
                Horace might quip: "Great timing, you'll allow."

                Imagine this transcendant team arrive
                At some hilarious banquet of the gods!
                Their nations battled when they were alive,
                And they were bitter foes - but what's the odd?
                Actor and soldier, happy hand in hand,
                By death close-linked, like loving brothers stand.

                But how diverse! Our Will had gold and gear,
                Chattels and land, the starshine of success;
                The bleak Castilian fought with casque and spear,
                Passing his life in prisons - more or less.
                The Bard of Avon was accounted rich;
                Cervantes often bedded in a ditch.

                Yet when I slough this flesh, if I could meet
                By sweet, fantastic fate one of these two,
                In languorous Elysian retreat,
                Which would I choose? Fair reader, which would you?
                Well, though our William more divinely wrote,
                By gad! the lousy Spaniard has my vote.


              Shakespeare's Kingdom
              by Alfred Noyes (1880 – 1958 / England)                       

                    When Shakespeare came to London
                    He met no shouting throngs;
                    He carried in his knapsack
                    A scroll of quiet songs.

                    No proud heraldic trumpet
                    Acclaimed him on his way;
                    Their court and camp have perished;
                    The songs live on for ay.

                    Nobody saw or heard them,
                    But all around him there,
                    Spirits of light and music
                    Went treading the April air.

                    He passed like any pedlar,
                    Yet he had wealth untold.
                    The galleons of th' armada
                    Could not contain his gold.

                    The kings rode on to darkness.
                    In England's conquering hour,
                    Unseen arrived her splendour;
                    Unknown, her conquering power.

              With a Copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets on Leaving College   
              by Alan Seeger (1888 - 1916 / United States)

                With a Copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets on Leaving College
                As one of some fat tillage dispossessed,
                Weighing the yield of these four faded years,
                If any ask what fruit seems loveliest,
                What lasting gold among the garnered ears, --
                Ah, then I'll say what hours I had of thine,
                Therein I reaped Time's richest revenue,
                Read in thy text the sense of David's line,
                Through thee achieved the love that Shakespeare knew.
                Take then his book, laden with mine own love
                As flowers made sweeter by deep-drunken rain,
                That when years sunder and between us move
                Wide waters, and less kindly bonds constrain,
                Thou may'st turn here, dear boy, and reading see
                Some part of what thy friend once felt for thee.