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Best Famous William Shakespeare Poems

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Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare

 MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE,
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US
by Ben Jonson


To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more ?
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE rise ! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses :
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names : but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm !
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all ; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion : and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame ;
Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn ;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou ! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well torned and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.



Source:
Jonson, Ben.
The Works of Ben Jonson, vol.
3.
London: Chatto & Windus, 1910.
287-9.




Written by Rg Gregory | Create an image from this poem

the shakes

 now pay attention
(said the teacher)
and look up here

the children looked up

this is william shakespeare

four centuries up
on a pedestal
was shakespeare's head

he was what we call
a great man

the children got sore necks
looking up
and some began to look down

no no
you mustn't look down
(said the teacher)
apart from winston churchill
shakespeare was the greatest
englishman who ever lived

the children's eyes
drained to their feet
and their minds
played around with
their private parts

shakespeare was once
a schoolteacher who
had a second best bed
and he happened to write
thirty six plays

and sonnets and things
he has a noble brow
as you can see

the children stared

from a dusty old head
and a mothridden beard
two sour eyes
glared down

from being a bit bored
then very bored
the children began to have
explosions going off
in many parts of their
bodies

 mutters came
out of their mouths
and then anger
followed by flames

shakespeare is a chauvinist
pig
 (they screamed)

why don't you piss off
(they shrieked at the teacher)
and take him with you 

now now children
(said the teacher)
shakespeare's language
was always as noble
as his brow
he will be shocked
to hear such words

some of the class jumped
on the teacher
(as the young are inclined
to nowadays)
  and
the rest began to rock
shakespeare's pedestal

no
please no children
(cried the teacher) 

you know not what you do
do you want to destroy
all that is good
in the world

the rocking went on
like an earthquake
and slowly
 up four
centuries of stone
shakespeare's head
began to wobble
and all of a sudden
it seemed to 
jump from its pedestal
and drop
 shaking itself
free of dust and
a beardful of moths

vandals desecrators
(raged the teacher)
wetting himself
no doubt

watch out
(laughed the children)
catch

 and the head
fell safely into
their outstretched hands

the teacher shrank away
(wet wet)
terrified to be so close
to the greatest but one
of the greats

the children flocked round
curious to find
what greatness was

shakespeare blew his nose
cleared his throat
(the last of the dust)
and said

 hello kids
i'm famished
what's to eat
tell me about yourselves
(and things like that)

he had a real face
and he spoke english
with a kind of
birmingham accent
and he didn't seem to know
much more than they did

he was always pissing around
(he told them)
when he was their age

the teacher gradually
came back
 very surprised
and (when he dared to look
at himself) obviously
very relieved

he went away and began
reading the plays
and (discovering
where he'd gone wrong)

got out of teaching
Written by William Topaz McGonagall | Create an image from this poem

An Address to Shakespeare

 Immortal! William Shakespeare, there's none can you excel,
You have drawn out your characters remarkably well,
Which is delightful for to see enacted upon the stage
For instance, the love-sick Romeo, or Othello, in a rage;
His writings are a treasure, which the world cannot repay,
He was the greatest poet of the past or of the present day
Also the greatest dramatist, and is worthy of the name,
I'm afraid the world shall never look upon his like again.
His tragedy of Hamlet is moral and sublime, And for purity of langucge, nothing can be more fine For instance, to hear the fair Ophelia making her moan, At her father's grave, sad and alone.
.
.
.
In his beautiful play, "As You Like If," one passage is very fine, Just for instance in fhe forest of Arden, the language is sublime, Where Orlando speaks of his Rosilind, most lovely and divine, And no other poet I am sure has written anything more fine; His language is spoken in the Church and by the Advocate at the bar, Here and there and everywhere throughout the world afar; His writings abound with gospel truths, moral and sublime, And I'm sure in my opinion they are surpassing fine; In his beautiful tragedy of Othello, one passage is very fine, Just for instance where Cassio looses his lieutenancy .
.
.
By drinking too much wine; And in grief he exclaims, "Oh! that men should put an Enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains.
" In his great tragedy of Richard the III, one passage is very fine Where the Duchess of York invokes the aid of the Divine For to protect her innocent babes from the murderer's uplifted hand, And smite him powerless, and save her babes, I'm sure 'tie really grand.
Immortal! Bard of Avon, your writings are divine, And will live in the memories of you admirers until the end of time; Your plays are read in family ciFcles with wonder and delight, While seated around the fireside on a cold winter's night.
Written by Delmore Schwartz | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet On Famous And Familiar Sonnets And Experiences

 (With much help from Robert Good, William Shakespeare, 
John Milton, and little Catherine Schwartz) 


Shall I compare her to a summer play?
She is too clever, too devious, too subtle, too dark:
Her lies are rare, but then she paves the way
Beyond the summer's sway, within the jejune park
Where all souls' aspiration to true nobility
Obliges Statues in the Frieze of Death
And when this pantomime and Panama of Panorama Fails,
"I'll never speak to you agayne" -- or waste her panting breath.
When I but think of how her years are spent Deadening that one talent which -- for woman is -- Death or paralysis, denied: nature's intent That each girl be a mother -- whether or not she is Or has become a lawful wife or bride -- 0 Alma Magna Mater, deathless the living death of pride.
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To The Memory Of My Beloved The Author Mr William Shakespeare And What He Hath Left Us

 To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
But these ways Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise; For silliest ignorance on these may light, Which when it sounds at best but echoes right; Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance; Or crafty malice might pretend this praise, And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are as some infamous bawd or whore Should praise a matron.
What could hurt her more? But thou art proof against them, and indeed Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage! My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie A little further, to make thee a room: Thou art a monument without a tomb, And art alive still, while thy book doth live, And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses, I mean with great but disproportioned Muses, For if I thought my judgement were of years, I should commit thee surely with thy peers, And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine, Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek, From thence to honour thee I would not seek For names; but call forth thundering Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles to us, Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead, To live again, to hear thy buskin tread, And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on, Leave thee alone for the comparison Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time! And all the Muses still were in their prime When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm Our ears, or, like a Mercury, to charm! Nature herself was proud of his designs, And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines! Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit, As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes, Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please; But antiquated and deserted lie, As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art, My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be, His art doth give the fashion; and that he Who casts to write a living line must sweat (Such as thine are) and strike the second heat Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same, And himself with it, that he thinks to frame, Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn; For a good poet's made as well as born.
And such wert thou.
Look how the father's face Lives in his issue, even so the race Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines In his well turned and true-filed lines: In each of which he seems to shake a lance, As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet swan of Avon! what a sight it were To see thee in our waters yet appear, And make those flights upon the banks of Thames, That did so take Eliza and our James! But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere Advanced, and made a constellation there: Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage, Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage, Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night, And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.


Written by Algernon Charles Swinburne | Create an image from this poem

William Shakespeare

 Not if men's tongues and angels' all in one
Spake, might the word be said that might speak thee.
Streams, winds, woods, flowers, fields, mountains, yea, the sea, What power is in them all to praise the sun? His praise is this--he can be praised of none.
Man, woman, child, praise God for him; but he Exults not to be worshiped, but to be.
He is; and, being, beholds his work well done.
All joy, all glory, all sorrow, all strength, all mirth, Are his; without him, day were night on earth.
Time knows not his from time's own period.
All lutes, all harps, all viols, all flutes, all lyres, Fall dumb before him ere one string suspires.
All stars are angels; but the sun is God.