Verse > Harvard Classics > John Milton > Complete Poems
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John Milton. (1608–1674).  Complete Poems.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
On Shakespeare
 
(1630)
 
 
WHAT needs my Shakespeare, for his honoured bones,
The labour of an age in pilèd stones?
Or that his hollowed relics should be hid
Under a stary-pointing pyramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,        5
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-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart        10
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,        15
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
 

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