Upon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenic Poet, Master William Shakespeare

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Upon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenic Poet, Master William Shakespeare
by Hugh Holland
Prefatory poem in Shakespeare's First Folio (1623)

Those hands, which you so clapped, go now, and wring

You Britain’s brave; for done are Shakespeare’s days.

His days are done, that made the dainty plays,

Which made the Globe of heav'n and earth to ring.

Dried is that vein, dried is the Thespian Spring,

Turned all to tears, and Phoebus clouds his rays.

That corpse, that coffin, now bestick[1] those bays,

Which crowned him poet first, then poets’ king.

If tragedies might any prologue have,

All those he made, would scarce make a one to this;

Where fame, now that he gone is to the grave

(Deaths public tiring-house),[2] the nuncius[3] is.

For though his line of life went soon about,

The life yet of his lines shall never out.

Notes[edit]

  1. To stick over, as with sharp points pressed in, here probably an allusion to Christ's crown of thorns.
  2. A section of the theatre reserved for actors used for costume changes and entrances and exits.
  3. A messenger.