Shakespeare (Poem by James McIntyre)

Suggested Poem

Shakespeare

By James McIntyre

Tercentenary ode on Shakespeare read by the author at the anniversary concert, 1864.


Three centuries have passed away
Since that most famous April day,
When the sweet, gentle Will was born,
Whose name the age will e're adorn.

That great Elizabethan age
Does not leave on history's page,
A name so bright he stands like Saul,
A head and shoulders over all.

Delineator of mankind,
Who shows the workings of the mind,
And in review in nature's glass,
Portrays the thoughts of every class.

That man is dull who will not laugh
At the drolleries of Falstaff,
And few that could not shed a tear
At sorrows of poor old King Lear.

Or lament o'er King Duncan's death
Stabbed by the dagger of McBeth,
Or gentle Desdemona pure,
Slain by the misled jealous Moor.

Or great Caesar mighty Roman
Who o'ercame his country's foemen,
His high deeds are all in vain,
For by his countrymen he's slain.

The greatest of heroic tales
Is that of Harry, Prince of Wales,
Who in combat fought so fiercely
With the brave and gallant Percy.

Imagination's grandest theme
The tempest or midsummer's dream,
And Hamlet's philosophic blaze
Of shattered reason's flickering rays.

And now in every land on earth
They commemorate Shakespeare's birth,
And there is met on Avon's banks
Men of all nations and all ranks.

And here upon Canadian Thames
The gentle maids and comely dames
Do meet and each does bring her scroll
Of laurel leaves from Ingersoll.

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