ON SHAKESPEAR 1630 (POEM) BY JOHN MILTON
John Milton began writing poetry at the age of ten. After finishing his formal education at Cambridge, he read almost everything available in Latin, Greek, Italian and English. He was appointed Latin Secretary where he worked so hard that eyestrain, from years of late night reading, caused him to become totally blind at the age of forty- five. In the final years of his life he wrote (through dictation) Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
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 witness 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 Delphic 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.