John Milton

1608 - 1674


On Shakespeare




Text from Thomas H. Luxon's Milton Reading Room

The edition takes the 1645 Poems version for its copytext.








On Shakespeare. 1630


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 to th' 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.