On Shakespeare

What needs my Shakespear for his honour’d Bones, 

The labour of an age in piled Stones, 
Or that his hallow’d reliques should be hid 
Under a Star-ypointing Pyramid? 
Dear son of memory, great heir of Fame, 
What need’st thou such weak witnes of thy name? 
Thou in our wonder and astonishment 
Hast built thy self a live-long Monument. 
For whilst toth’ shame of slow-endeavouring art, 
Thy easie numbers flow, and that each heart 
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalu’d Book, 
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took 
Then thou our fancy of it self bereaving, 
Dost make us Marble with too much conceaving; 
And so Sepulcher’d in such pomp dost lie, 
That Kings for such a Tomb would wish to die.

by John Milton


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