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for searching only. glibly. And first we must examine it in its context. After a preliminary avowal of intentions, Jonson begins his subject.
I, therefore will begin. Soule of the Age!
The applause! delight ! the wonder of our Stage !
My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye
A little further, to make thee a roome: Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe,
And art aliue still, while thy Booke cloth hue, And we haue wits to read, and praise to giue.
That I not mixe thee so, my braine excuses;
I meane with great, but disproportion'd Muses:
For, if I thought my iudgement were of yeeres, I should commit thee surely with thy peeres,
And tell, how farce thou didst our Lily out-shine, Or sporting Kid, or Marlowes mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latine, and Iesse Greeke, From thence to honour thee, I would not seeke
For names; but call forth thund'ring Aeschilus, Euripides, and Sophocles to vs,
Paccuuius, Accius, him of Cordoua dead, To life again; to heare thy Buskin tread,
And shake a Stage: Or, when thy Sockes were on, Leaue thee alone, for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughtie Rome sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britaine, thou hast one to showe, To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When like Apollo he came forth to warme Our eares, or like a Mercury to channel
Shakspere was the soul of the age. Chaucer, Spenser, and Beaumont are great, but not equal to Shakspere, who also surpassed Lyly, Kyd, and Marlowe. Not only does Shakspere surpass all Englishmen, but though he had small Latin and less Greek, yet Jonson would call forth all the greatest Latin and Greek tragedians to do him honor, and to make the list impressive he adds Pacuvius and Accius, whose works have perished. Nor do the comedians of these countries or any of their successors .in Europe compare with Shakspere. In fact, then,
he was not of an age but for all time.
If Jonson's list of Greek and Latin tragedians gives us any idea of what he would consider great Latin and only less Greek, then