On Shakespeare. 1630

By John Milton 1608–1674 John Milton
What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
The labor of an age in pilèd stones,
Or that his hallowed relics 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 thyself a live-long monument.
For whilst to th’ shame of slow-endeavouring 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 sepúlchred in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry Third Edition (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1983)

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Poet John Milton 1608–1674

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Poetry & Poets, Theater & Dance, Living, Arts & Sciences, Death, Time & Brevity

Occasions Gratitude & Apologies

Poetic Terms Elegy, Couplet

 John  Milton

Biography

John Milton’s career as a writer of prose and poetry spans three distinct eras: Stuart England; the Civil War (1642-1648) and Interregnum, including the Commonwealth (1649-1653) and Protectorate (1654-1660); and the Restoration. When Elizabeth I, the so-called Virgin Queen and the last of the Tudors, died, James VI, King of Scots, was enthroned as Britain’s king. Titled James I, he inaugurated the House of Stuart. His son and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Poetry & Poets, Theater & Dance, Living, Arts & Sciences, Death, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Elegy, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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