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Near him fell Jealousy with fury burns,
And into storms the amorous breathings turas;
Then Hope with heavenward look, and Joy draws near,
While palsied Terror trembles in the rear.
Such Shakspeare's train of horror and delight, &c.
What are the lays of artful Addison,
Coldly correct, to Shakspeare's warblings wild?
Whom on the winding Avon's willow'd banks
Fair Fancy found, and bore the smiling babe
To a close cavern: (still the shepherds shew
The sacred place, whence with religious awe
They hear, returning from the field at eve,
Strange whisp'ring of sweet musick through the air :)
Here, as with honey gather'd from the rock,
She fed the little prattler, and with songs
Oft sooth'd his wond'ring ears; with deep delight
On her soft lap he sat, and caught the sounds.
Here, boldly mark'd with every living hue,
Nature's unbounded portrait Shakspeare drew:
But chief, the dreadful group of human woes
The daring artist's tragick pencil chose;
Explor'd the pangs that rend the royal breast,
Those wounds that lurk beneath the tissued vest.
Monody, written near Stratford-upoil-. Avon.
Avon, thy rural views, thy pastures wild,
The willow's that o’erhang thy twilight edge,
Their boughs entangling with the embattled sedge;
Thy brink with watery foliage quaintly fring'd,
Thy surface with reflected verdure ting'd;
Sooth me with many a pensive pleasure mild.
But while I muse, that here the Bard Divine
Whose sacred dust yon high-arch’d isles inclose,
Where the tall windows rise in stately rows,
Above th' embowering shade,
liere first, at Fancy's fairy-circled shrine,
Of daisies pied his infant offering made;
llere playful vet, in stripling years unripe,
Fram'd of thy reeds a shrill and artless pipe:
Sudden thy beauties, Avon, all are fiel,
As at the waving of some magick vand;
An holy trance my charmed spirit wings,
And awful shapes of leaders and of kings,
People the busy mcad,
Like spectres swarming to the wisard's hall;
And slowly pace, and point with trembling hand
The wounds ill-cover'd by the purple pall.
Before me Pity seems to stand,
A weeping mourner, smote with anguish sore,
To see Misfortune rend in frantick mood
His robe, with regal woes embroider'd o'er.
Pale Terror leads the visionary band,
And sternly shakes his sceptre, dropping blood.
Far from the sun and summer gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: The dauntless child
Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smil'd.
This pencil take (she said) whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy;
Of horror that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetick tears.* GRAY.
Next Shakspeare sat, irregularly great,
And in his hand a magick rod did hold,
Which visionary beings did create,
And turn the foulest dross to purest gold:
Whatever spirits rove in earth or air,
Or bad or good, obey his dread command;
To his behests these willingly repair,
Those aw'd by terrors of his magick wand,
The which not all their powers united might withstand.
* An ingenious person, who sent Mr. Gray his remarks anonymously on this and the following Ode soon after they were published, gives this stanza and the following a very just and well-expressed eulogy: “A poet is perhaps never more conciliating than when he praises favourite predecessors in his art. Milton is not more the pride than Shakspeare the love of their country: It is therefore equally judicious to diffuse a tenderness and a grace through the praise of Shakspeare, as to estol in a strain more elevated and sonorous the boundless soarings of Milton's imagination." The critick has here well noted the beauty of contrast which results from the two descriptions; yet it is further to be observed, to the honour of our poet's judgment, that the tenderness and grace in the former, does not prevent it from strongly characterising the three capital perfections of Shakspeare's genius; and when he describes his power of exciting terror (a species of the sublime) he ceases to be diffuse, and becomes, as he ought to be, concise and energetical. Mason.
Oh, where's the bard, who at one view
Could look the whole creation through,
Who travers'd all the human heart,
Without recourse to Grecian art?
He scorn'd the rules of imitation,
Of altering, pilfering, and translation,
Nor painted horror, grief, or rage,
From models of a former age;
The bright original he took,
And tore the leaf from nature's book.
In the first seat, in robe of various dies:
A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
Sat Shakspeare. In one hand a wand he bore,
For mighty wonders fam'd in days of yore;
The other held a globe, which to his will
Obedient turn'd, and own'd a master's skill:
Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
And look'd through nature at a single view:*
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
Call'd into being scenes unknown before,
And, passing nature's hounds, was something more
Yes! jealous wits may still for empire strive
Still keep the flames of critick rage alive:
Our SHAKSPEARE yet shall all his rights maintain,
And crown the triumphs of ELIZA's reign.
Above controul, above each classick rule,
His tutress nature, and the world his school.
On daring pinions borne, to him was given
Th' aerial range of Fancy's brightest Heaven,
To bid rapt thought o'er noblest heights aspire,
And wake each passion with a MUSE OF FIRE..
Revere his genius-To the dead be just,
And spare the laurels, that o'ershade the dust.
Low sleeps the bard, in cold obstruction laid,
Nor asks the chaplet from a rival's head.
O'er the drear vault, Ambition's utmost bound,
Unheard shall Fame her airy trumpet sound!
Unheard alike, nor grief, nor transport raise,
Thy blast of censure, or thy note of praise !
* Thus Pope, in his Temple of Fame, speaking of Aristotle:
“ His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view “ Superior worlds, and look all Nature through.” Steevens. VOL. I.
As RAPHAEL's own creation grac'd his hearse,“
And sham'd the pomp of ostentatious verse,
Shall SHAKSPEARE's honours by himself be paid,
And Nature perish ere his pictures fade.
KEATE to VOLTAIRE, 1768.
* The TRANSFIGURATION, that well known picture of RAPHAEL, was carried before his body to the grave, doing more real honour to his memory than either his epitaph in the Pan. theon, the famous distich of CARDINAL BEMBO, or all the other adulatory verses written on the same occasion. Keate:
Advertisement by Mr. Reed,
Preface to Mr. Richardson's Proposals,
Proposals by Mr. Richardson,
Supplement to the Proposals of Mr. Richardson,
Advertisement by Mr. Steevens,
Rowe's Life of Shakspeare,
Anecdotes of Shakspeare, from Oldys,
Baptisms, Marriages, &c.
Shakspeare's Coat of Arms,
Dedication by Hemings and Condell,
Preface by Hemings and Condell,
Advertisement to 20 Plays by Steevens,
Introduction by Capell,
Advertisement by Steevens,
Preface by M. Mason,
Advertisement by Reed,
Preface by Malone,
to the second edition,
Advertisement to the third edition, :
Farmer's Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare,
Two Gentlemen of Verona,
Midsummer Night's Dream.
Merry Wives of Windsor,
Measure for Measure.
Love's Labour's Lost,
Much Ado about Nothing,
Merchant of Venice.
As you Like it,
All's Well that Ends Well.