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On the Birth-Day of SHAKESPEAR.

A CENTO. Taken from his Works.

Naturâ ipsâ valere, et mentis viribus excitari, et quasi quodam divino spiritu afflari. CICERO.
1 PEACE to this meeting,
2 Joy and fair time, health and good wishes!
3 Now, worthy friends, the cause why we are met,
4 Is in celebration of the day that gave
5 Immortal Shakespear to this favour'd isle,
6 The most replenished sweet work of nature,
7 Which from the prime creation e'er she fram'd.
8 O thou divinest nature! how thyself thou blazon'st
9 In this thy son! form'd in thy prodigality,
10 To hold thy mirror up, and give the time,
11 Its very form and pressure! When he speaks
12 Each aged ear plays truant at his tales,
13 And younger hearings are quite ravished,
14 So voluble is his discourse Gentle
15 As Zephyr blowing underneath the violet,
16 Not wagging its sweet head yet as rough,
17 (His noble blood enchaff'd) as the rude wind,
18 That by the top doth take the mountain pine,
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19 And make him stoop to th' vale. 'Tis wonderful
20 That an invisible instinct should frame him
21 To Royalty, unlearn'd; honour untaught;
22 Civility not seen in other; knowledge
23 That wildly grows in him, but yields a crop
24 As if it had been sown. What a piece of work!
25 How noble in faculty! infinite in reason!
26 A combination and a form indeed,
27 Where every God did seem to set his seal.
28 Heav'n has him now yet let our idolatrous fancy
29 Still sanctify his relicts; and this day
30 Stand aye distinguish'd in the kalendar
31 To the last syllable of recorded time:
32 For if we take him but for all in all
33 We ne'er shall look upon his like again.


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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): On the Birth-Day of SHAKESPEAR. A CENTO. Taken from his Works.
    Themes: poetry; literature; writing; virtue; vice
    Genres: blank verse; cento
    References: DMI 27903

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 275-276. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.