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Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments by William Shakespeare

Took another look at Shakespeare’s sonnets. (internal link) Number 55 is very good, outlining the hope of all poets to live beyond the grave.

Maxwell Nurnberg (A Gathering of Poems, Washington Square Press, 1969) says that the first two lines are from Horace.

Shakespeare has sometimes been charged with plagarism but I think this is not the case here. Rather, educated people of that time probably knew those lines as common knowledge and wouldn’t have been upset.

There in fact may have been inquisitive, knowing glances between people at a recital. The old, I know more than you do. “Did you catch that bit of Horace?”

Some things never change.

Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme,
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
’Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the Judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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