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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


On Shakespeare, 1630

By John Milton (1608–1674)

WHAT needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones

The labor of an age in piléd 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 thyself a livelong monument.

For whilst to the 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.