It’s one thing to compose, as Shakespeare did,
A sonnet in but fourteen sonorous lines,
A page-long scheme that’s worked out on a grid,
Which constant practice readily refines;
But then to dream up dramas, five acts long
The two-hours’ traffic of his wooden stage,
To entertain his varied, boisterous throng,
Required the inspiration of a mage
Who conjures spirits from the vasty deep
And fills their mouths with splendid eloquence
Urging his auditors to laugh and weep,
Making the sound an echo to the sense.
Who, since he wrote, has ever shown such wit
Or honeyed eloquence so meet and fit?