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Let the bird of loudest lay,
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.
But thou shrieking harbinger,
Foul precurrer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near !
From this session interdict
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
Save the eagle, feather'd king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.
Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.
And thou treble-dated crow,
That thy sable gender makest
With the breath thou givest and takest,
’Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phenix and the turtle Aed
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they loved, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.

Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.

So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phenix' sight;
Either was the other's mine.
Property was thus appalled,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was called.
Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together,
To themselves yet either neither,
Simple were so well compounded;
That it cried, How true a twain
Seemeth this concordant one!
Love hath reason, reason none,
If what parts can so remain.
Whereupon it made this threne
To the phenix and the dove,
Co-supremes and stars of love,
As chorus to their tragic scene.


Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclosed in cinders lie.

Death is now the phenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity:
'Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.
Truth may seem, but cannot be;
Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.
To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.





Register of Baptism :“1564, April 26, Gulielmus, filius Johannes Shakspere.”

Aubrey's account : “Mr. William Shakespear was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in the county of Warwick; his father was a butcher, and I have been told heretofore by some of the neighbours that when he was a boy he exercis’d his father's trade; but when he kill'd a calf he would doe it in a high style, and make a speech. There was at that time another butcher's son in this towne, that was held not at all inferior to him for a natural witt, his acquaintance and coetanean, but died young. He understood Latin pretty well, for he had been in his younger years a schoolmaster (query : under a schoolmaster) in the countrey." (Lives of Eminent Men, compiled after 1669.)

Rowe's account : “His father, who was a considerable dealer in wool, had so large a family, ten children in all, that tho' he was his eldest son, he could give him no better education than his own employment. He had bred him, 'tis true, for some time at a free school, where 'tis probable he acquir'd that little Latin he was master of; but the narrowness of his circumstances, and the want of his assistance at home, forc'd his father to withdraw him from there, and unhappily prevented his further proficiency in that language.” (From traditions collected by Betterton at Stratford-on-Avon.)

"HESE are the materials for the first chapter of William

Shakespeare's biography. They may seem petty and dull,

but they tell us more than is known of almost any Elizabethan poet or dramatist, excepting Ben Jonson and Shirley. Theirs was not the age of literary gossip; no one troubled to record details of Spenser's birth or childhood, and no one went to Canterbury to glean anecdotes of Marlowe. Of the great successors of Shakespeare we are specially ignorant, above all of Webster ; and the majority of the lesser men are names only, not even the dates of birth and death being known. Milton knew Shakespeare's greatness, at least in part, and Dryden appreciated him to the full; but neither Milton nor Dryden thought it necessary to record the information then accessible, now for ever lost. The best instances of the neglect of literary biography may be found in the folio

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