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But yet in all this interchange of all,
Virtue, we see, with her fair grace stands fast:
For what high races hath there come to fall
With low disgrace, quite vanished and past,
Since Chaucer lived, who yet lives, and yet shall,
Though (which I grieve to say) but in his last ?
Yet what a time hath he wrested from time,
And won upon the mighty waste of days,
Unto th' immortal honour of our clime,
That by his means came first adorned with bays?
Unto the sacred relics of whose rhyme
We yet are bound in zeal to offer praise?
THE BLESSEDNESS OF LETTERS.
O blessed letters ! that combine in one
All ages past, and make one live with all :
By you we do confer with who are gone,
And the dead-living unto council call :
By you th' unborn shall have communion
Of what we feel and what doth us befall.
Soul of the world, knowledge, without thee
What hath the earth that truly glorious is?
Why should our pride make such a stir to be,
To be forgot? What good is like to this,
To do worthy the writing, and to write
Worthy the reading, and the world's delight?
WILLIAM SHAKSPERE. [Born 1564.
Published Venus and Adonis, 1593 ; Lucrece, 1594; the Sonnets and the Lover's Complaint, 1609; the dates of the Plays produced and published range from 1592 to 1623. Died 1616.]
PROSPERO'S LOVE OF BOOKS.
Knowing I loved my books, he furnish'd me,
From mine own library, with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.
(Tempest, i. 2.)
TEACHINGS IN NATURE. And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks. Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
(As You Like It, ii. 1.)
Text Books.—0, sir, we quarrel in print, by the book; as you have books for good manners.
(Ibid, v. 4.)
Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
Kent, in the commentaries Cæsar writ,
Is termed the civil'st place of all this isle :
Sweet is the country, because full of riches ;
The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy;
Which makes me hope you are not void of pity.
I sold not Maine, I lost not Normandy;
Yet, to recover them, would lose
life. Justice with favour have I always done ; Prayers and tears have moved me, gifts could never. When have I aught exacted at your
hands But to maintain the king, the realm, and you? Large gifts have I bestowed on learned clerks, Because my book preferred me to the king, And seeing ignorance is the curse of God, Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
(2 Henry VI., iv. 7.)
BOOKS THE TONGUE OF SILENT LOVE.
As an imperfect actor on the stage
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart,
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in my own love's strength seem to decay,
O'ercharged with burden of mine own love's might.
0, let my books be then the eloquence
And dumb presages of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love and look for recompense
More than that tongue that more hath more
0, learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
ET'S MONUMENT TO HIS LOVE.
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The ng record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace
; your praise shall still find
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower ?
O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays ?
O, fearful meditation ! where, alack,
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid ?