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TO SHAKESPEARE.

EFFULGENT Presence, who dost ceaseless shine
Unbodied benefaction on the blest, –
Thy lifted myriad-millions, aye possest
Of that wide speech, in whose unwearied mine
Thou art the richest vein, - phrases of thine,
The largest, most embossed, the fiery best,
He needs who, cheered by gratitude, would crest
His love and awe with epithets so fine
They shall exhale some flavor of thy worth,
A fraction speak of what men owe to thee,
Thou lonely one, at whose still modest birth
Were born new worlds of truth and ecstasy,
Thou great emblazoner of man and earth,
Thou secret-holder of humanity.

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SHAKESPEARE.

I.

FIRST DECADES.

IN Stratford on Avon, a small town of Warwickshire, England, in a small room of a cottage on Henley Street, lay, in the summer of 1564, a babe asleep in his cradle. Beside the cradle sat a young woman, with broad, open brow and large hazel eyes, that were a light to clear symmetrical features. This woman was Mary Arden, wife of John Shakespeare, and, three months before, the babe had been christened WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

Evenly came the breathings of the infant; his forehead was cool, and his cheeks, flushed by the healthy currents from his heart, glistened with the warmth of the midsummer noon. But the clear countenance of his mother, as she gazed on her beautiful boy, instead of being arrayed in the joy of such a possession, her eyes beaming with deepest and sweetest mater

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