Sonnets on English Dramatic Poets (1590-1650): Epilogue

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Our mother, which wast twice, as history saith,
Found first among the nations: once, when she
Who bore thine ensign saw the God in thee
Smite Spain, and bring forth Shakespeare: once, when death
Shrank, and Rome’s bloodhounds cowered, at Milton’s breath:
More than thy place, then first among the free,
More than that sovereign lordship of the sea
Bequeathed to Cromwell from Elizabeth,
More than thy fiery guiding- star, which Drake
Hailed, and the deep saw lit again for Blake,
More than all deeds wrought of thy strong right hand,
This praise keeps most thy fame’s memorial strong,
That thou wast head of all these streams of song,
And time bows down to thee as Shakespeare’s land.

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