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SHAKESPEARE
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[ Also see Acting Authors Authorship Plagiarism Poetry Poets Quotations Stage Theatre ]

This Booke
  When Brasse and Marble fade, shall make thee looke
    Fresh to all Ages.
      - Unattributed Author,
        Commentary Verses prefixed to the folio of Shakespeare

Few of the university pen plaies well, they smell too much of that writer Ovid and that writer Metamorphosis and talk too much of Prosperpina and Jupiter. Why, here's our fellow Shakespeare puts them all down. Aye, and Ben Jonson too. O that B.J. is a pestilent fellow, he brought up Horace giving poets a pill, but our fellow, Shakespeare, hath given him a purge that made him beray his credit.
      - Unattributed Author,
        The Return from Parnassus; or, the Scourge of Simony
         (act IV, sc. 3)

Among the English authors, Shakespeare has incomparably excelled all others. That noble extravagance of fancy, which he had in so great perfection, thoroughly qualified him to touch the weak, superstitious part of his readers' imagination, and made him capable of succeeding where he had nothing to support him besides the strength of his own genius.
      - Joseph Addison

There is something so wild, and yet so solemn, in the speeches of his ghosts, fairies, witches, and the like imaginary persons, that we cannot forbear thinking them natural, though we have no rule by which to judge of them, and must confess, if there are such beings in the world, it looks highly probable they should talk and act as he has represented them.
      - Joseph Addison

This was Shakespeare's form;
  Who walked in every path of human life,
    Felt every passion; and to all mankind
      Doth now, will ever, that experience yield
        Which his own genius only could acquire.
      - Mark Akenside, Inscription (IV)

The imitators of Shakespeare, fixing their attention on his wonderful power of expression, have directed their imitation to this.
      - Matthew Arnold

Others abide our question. Thou art free.
  We ask and ask--Thou smilest and art still,
    Out-topping knowledge.
      - Matthew Arnold, Shakespeare

Renowned Spenser, lie a thought more nigh
  To learned Chaucer, and rare Beaumont lie
    A little nearer Spenser, to make room
      For Shakespeare in your threefold, fourfold tomb.
      - William Basse (Bas), On Shakespeare

There, Shakespeare, on whose forehead climb
  The crowns o' the world. Oh, eyes sublime
    With tears and laughter for all time.
      - Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
        A Vision of Poets

"With this same key
  Shakespeare unlocked his heart," once more!
    Did Shakespeare? If so, the less Shakespeare be!
      - Robert Browning, House (X)

No man is too busy to read Shakespeare.
      - Charles Buxton

And rival all but Shakespeare's name below.
      - Thomas Campbell

If I say that Shakespeare is the greatest of intellects, I have said all concerning him. But there is more in Shakespeare's intellect than we have yet seen. It is what I call an unconscious intellect; there is more virtue in it that he himself is aware of.
      - Thomas Carlyle,
        Essays--Characteristics of Shakespeare

Shakespeare is an intellectual miracle.
      - Thomas Chalmers

In the first seat, in robe of various dyes,
  A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
    Sat Shakespeare: in one hand a wand he bore,
      For mighty wonders fam'd in days of yore:
        The other held a globe, which to his will
          Obedient turn'd, and own'd the master's skill:
            Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
              And look'd through nature at a single view:
                A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
                  And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
                    Call'd into being scenes unknown before,
                      And passing nature's bounds, was something more.
      - Charles Churchill

Nature listening stood, whilst Shakespeare play'd
  And wonder'd at the work herself had made.
      - Charles Churchill

Voltaire and Shakespeare! He was all
  The other feigned to be.
    The flippant Frenchman speaks: I weep;
      And Shakespeare weeps with me.
      - Matthias Claudius, A Comparison

In Shakespeare one sentence begets the next naturally; the meaning is all inwoven. He goes on kindling like a meteor through the dark atmosphere.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Shakespeare is of no age, nor, I may add, of any religion or party or profession. The body and substance of his works come out of the unfathomable depths of his own oceanic mind; his observation and reading supplied him with the drapery of his figures.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Our myriad-minded Shakespeare.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
        Biographia Literaria (ch. XV),
        borrowed from a Greek monk who had applied it to a Patriarch of Constantinople

Shakespeare, Butler and Bacon have rendered it extremely difficult for all who come after them to be sublime, witty or profound.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

When Learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous foes
  First rear'd the stage, immortal Shakespeare rose;
    Each change of many-colored life he drew,
      Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new;
        Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
          And panting Time toil'd after him in vain,
            His powerful strokes presiding Truth impress'd,
              And unresisted Passion stormed the breast. Shakespeare stands alone. His want of erudition was a most happy and productive ignorance; it forced him back upon his own resources, which were exhaustless. If his literary qualifications made it impossible for him to borrow from the ancients, he was more than repaid by the powers of his invention, which made borrowing unnecessary.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

When great poets sing,
  Into the night new constellations spring,
    With music in the air that dulls the craft
      Of rhetoric. So when Shakespeare sang or laughed
        The world with long, sweet Alpine echoes thrilled
          Voiceless to scholars' tongues no muse had filled
            With melody divine.
      - Christopher Pearce Cranch, Shakespeare

Shakespeare was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of the books to read nature; he looked inward, and found her there.
      - John Dryden

Shakespeare's magic could not copied be:
  Within that circle none durst walk but he.
      - John Dryden


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