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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "[Excerpts from Shakespeare]," manuscript, undated but possibly about 1829, 1 page, 2 sides





[front:]

Shakspeare.


[column 1:]

The very rats
Instinctively had quit it.   Tempest.
 

Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
                                           Ib.
 

               And but he's something stained
With grief that's beauty's canker, thou mighst [[might'st]] call him
A goodly person.   Ib.
 

                          Most sure the Goddess
On whom these airs attend.   Ib.
 

Look ! He's winding up the watch of his wits
And by and bye it will strike.   Ib
 

But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labors
Most busyless when I do it.
                                          Ib.
 

                      I do beseech you
Chiefly that I may set it in my prayers
What is your name?
                                 Ib
 

Every third tho't shall be my grave
                                                  Ib
 

Yet writers say as in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating Love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all
                               2 Gentl: Of Verona.
 

Muse not that I thus suddenly proceed
For what I will I will — and there's an end
                                                     Ib
 

And when that hour oerslips me in the day
Wherein I sigh not Julia for thy take
The next ensuing hour some foul mischance
Torment me for my love's forgetfulness.   Ib
 

For Orpheus' lute was strung with poet's sinews.
                                                                 Ib
 

Are you content to be our general
To make a virtue of necessity
And live as we do in this wilderness?
                                                   Ib
 

What say you to young master Fenton
he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth
he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he
smells April and May — he will every
he will carry't, tis in his buttons, he will
carry't.
                  Merry Wives of Windsor
 

Besides these other bars he lays before me
My riots past — my wild societies
                                               Ib.

Hence bashful cunning
And promt [[prompt]] me plain and holy innocence
I am your wife if you will marry me.
                                          Tempest

[column 2:]

                                 For I can sing
And speak to him in many sorts of music.
                                       12th Night
 

He plays on the viol de gambo, and speaks
3 or 4 languages word for word without
book — and hath all the good gifts
of nature.
                Ib
 

It shall become thee well to act my woes
                                                        Ib
 

And these that are foods let them use
their talents.
                    Ib
 

                       Two faults madonna
That drink and counsel will amend
                                             Ib
 

Misprison in the highest degree
                                          Ib
 

I think his soul is in hell madonna —
I know his soul is in heaven, fool
                                               Ib
 

Lady you are the cruellest she alive
If you will lead these graces to the grave
And leave the world no copy.
                                           Ib
 

I see you what you are — you are too proud
But if you were the devil you are fair
                                                   Ib
 

I am a gentleman — I'll be sworn thou art.
                                                         Ib
 

Antonio: let me but know of you whither
you are bound. Sebastian: No sooth, Sir,
My determinate voyage is mere extravagancy.   Ib
 

Poor lady! She were better love a dream!
                                                         Ib
 

Do not our lives consist of the 4 elements?
I' faith so they say — but I think
it rather consists of eating and drinking.
                                              Ib
 

O what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
In the contempt and anger of his lip
                                                   Ib
 

I pray you let us satisfy our eyes
With the memorials, and the things of fame
That do renown this city.
                                      Ib
 

There comes the countess — now heaven walks on Earth
                                                   Ib
 

More than I love these eyes — more than my life
More by all mores than e'er I shall love wife.
                                                        Ib
 

A contract of eternal bond of love
Attest by the holy close of lips
                                             Ib

[back:]

[column 1:]

Since when my watch hath told me towards my grave,
I have travelled but 2 hours
                                        Ib
 

                       We took him for a coward
But he's the very devil incadinate
                                              Ib
 

Pardon me sweet one even for the vows
We made each other yet so late ago
                                                Ib
 

One face — one voice — one habit — and 2 persons
                                                                            Ib
 

What countryman? what name? what parentage?
                                                           Ib
 

                                      But we do learn
His givings out were of an infinite distance
From his true meant design.
                                      Measure for Measure
 

Falling in the flames of her own youth.
                                                     Ib
 

Lets write good angel on the devil's horn.
                                                      Ib
 

An' he had been a dog that should have
howled thus — they would have hanged him.
                               Much Ado about nothing.
 

O what me may do! what men dare do!
what men daily do — not knowing what
they do!
                Ib
 

The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination.
                                           Ib
 

Done to death by slanderer's tongues
Was the hero that here lies.
                                         Ib
 

And in the spiced Indian air by night
Full often has she gossip'd by my side
                                 Mid: Night's Dream
 

How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears.
                                                              Ib
 

And those things do best please me
Which befall preposterously
                                          Ib
 

The thrice 3 muses mourning for the death
Of Learning late deceased in beggary.
                                                         Ib
 

And one in all the world's new fashions planted
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain
                            Love's Labor Lost
 

But I protest I love to hear him lie
And I will use him for my minstrelsy
                                              Ib
 

Devise wit — write pen — for I am for whole
volumes in folio
                        Ib
 

What judgement shall I dread doing no wrong?
                                  Merchant of Venice.

[column 2:]

Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears — soft stillness and the night
Becomes the touches of sweet harmony
                                              Ib
 

And this our life exempt from public haunts
Finds tongues in trees — books in the running brooks
Sermons in stones — and good in every thing
                               As You Like It

 
Tho' in thy youth thou wert as true a lover
As ever sighed upon a midnight pillow
                                          Ib
 

If he compact of jars turn musical
We soon shall hear of discord in the spheres
                                                  Ib

 
What fool is this
O worthy fool one that hath been a courtier
                                                   Ib
 

Wast ever in court shepherd? No truly:
Then thou art d——d— Nay I hope — truly
thou art d——d.
                         Ib
 

The heathen philosopher when he had a
desire to eat a grape would open his
lips when he put it into his mouth — meaning
thereby that grapes were made top eat and
lips to open.
                  Ib
 

And hath been tutored in the rudiments
Of many desperate studies.
                                  Ib
 

What shall Cordelia do? Love and be silent.
                                         King Lear
 

Let me if not by birth have lands by wit
                                             Ib
 

Some time I shall sleep out — the rest I'll whistle
                                                     Ib
 

Mishapen [[Mishapen]] chaos of well-seeming forms!
                                                  Romeo and Juliet
 

O teach me how I should forget to think.
                                                 Ib
 

Turning his face to the dew-dropping South.
                                                   Ib
 

O she doth teach the torches to burn bright
                                                      Ib
 

Your worship in that sense may call him man
                                         Ib
 

                                       Heaven and yourself
Had part in the fair maid — now Heaven hath all.
                                      Ib
 

I saw her laid low in her kindred's vault
                                               Ib
 

                                     O here
Will I set up my everlasting rest.
                                              Ib









Notes:

This one-page document is reprinted here, with permission, from the collection of the Poe Foundation in Richmond, Virginia.

Mabbott comments that these notes are probably from about 1829 (Poems, 1969, p. xxvi, note 6) though without explanation.  These 73 extracts appear to have been first printed by Burton Pollin in "Shakespeare in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe," Studies in the American Renaissance 1985, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1985, pp. 157-186. Specifically, the excerpts are reprinted on pp. 182-186. Pollin retains the original order except for entry 16, which he moves so that all of the excerpts from The Tempest are together.

In 1866, Lambert A. Wilmer recalled that "On Literary subjects Poe held some singularly heterodox opinions. As for Milton, Shakspeare, and the whole array of illustrious British poets, he professed to hold them in great contempt" (L. A. Wilmer, "Recollections of Edgar A. Poe," Baltimore Daily Commercial, May 23, 1866, vol. I, no. 200., p. 1, col. 5. Reprinted in Mabbott, 1941, p. 31.). Mabbott comments, "Poe may have inveighed against the faults of Shakespeare and Milton, but many references in his works show he admired them for all that" (Mabbott, "notes to 'Wilmer's Recollections of Edgar A. Poe," Merlin, Together with Recollections of Edgar A. Poe, New York: Scholar's Facsimiles & Reprints, 1941, p. 28).

The page has been folded in half horizontally, then in half vertically, then in half vertically again, so the page is divided by folds into eight rectangular segments of equal size. Poe may have carried this in a pocket. It is possible that he may have used it as part of one of his lectures, along with his excerpts from Milton.

The spelling of Shakespeare's name was not yet standardized in Poe's day, hence Poe's use of "Shakspeare," without the "e" following the "k."

Sources for the quotations: Front page, column 1 (various plays):

1 - "The very rats . . . "   The Tempest, act I, scene ii  (Prospero: "Well demanded, wench; My tale . . .")

2 - "Nothing of him that doth . . ."    The Tempest, act I, scene ii  (Ariel, singing: "Full fathom five thy father lies . . .")

3 - "And but he's something stained . . ."    The Tempest, act I, scene ii  (Prospero: "No, wench; it eats and sleeps . . .")

4 - "Most sure the Goddess . . ."     The Tempest, act I, scene ii  (Ferdinand: "Most sure the goddess on whom . . . ")

5 - "Look! he's winding up the watch . . ."     The Tempest, act II, scene i  (Sebastian: "Look, he's winding up the watch . . .")

6 - "But these sweet thoughts do even . . ."     The Tempest, act III, scene i  (Ferdinand: "There be some sports are painful . . .")

7 - "I do beseech you . . ."     The Tempest, act III, scene i  (Ferdinand: "No, noble mistress; 'tis fresh morning . . .")

8 - "Every third tho't shall be . . ."     The Tempest, act V, scene i  (Prospero: "Sir, I invite your highness and . . .")

9 - "Yet writers say as in the sweetest . . ."   Two Gentlemen of Verona, act I, scene ii  (Proteus: "Yet writers say, As in the sweetest . . .")

10 - "Muse not that I thus suddenly . . ."    Two Gentlemen of Verona, act I, scene iii  (Antonio: "My will is something sorted with his wish . . .")

11 - "And when that hour oerslips . . ."   Two Gentlemen of Verona, act II, scene ii   (Proteus: "Here is my hand for my true constancy . . .")

12 - "For Orpheus' lute was strung . . ."   Two Gentlemen of Verona, act III, scene ii  (Proteus: "Say that upon the altar of her beauty . . .")

13 - "Are you content ot be our general . . ."   Two Gentlemen of Verona, act IV, scene i  (Second Outlaw: "Indeed, because you are a banish'd . . .")

14 - "What say you to young master Fenton . . ."    The Merry Wives of Windsor, act III, scene ii  (Host, of the inn: "What say you to young master . . .:)

15 - "Besides these other bars he lays . . ."    The Merry Wives of Windsor, act III, scene iv  (Fenton: "Why, thou must be thyself . . .")

16 - "Hence bashful cunning . . ."    The Tempest, act III, scene i  (Miranda: "At mine unworthiness, that dare not offer . . .")

Front page, column 2 (Twelfth Night):

17 - "For I can sing . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene ii  (Viola: "There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain . . .")

18 - "He plays on the viol de gambo . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene iii  (Sir Toby: "Fye, that you'll say so! he plays . . . ")

19 - "It shall become thee well . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene iv  (Duke Orsino: "O, then unfold the passion of my love . . .")

20 - "And those that are fools . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Clown: "Well, God give them wisdom that have . . .")

21 - "Two faults madonna . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Clown: "Two faults madonna . . .")

22 - "Misprision in the highest . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Clown: "Misprision in the highest . . .")

23 - "I think his soul is in . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Clown: "I think his soul . . ." and Olivia: "I know his soul . . .")

24 - "Lady you are the cruellest . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Viola: " 'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red . . .")

25 - "I see you what you are . . . "   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Viola: "I see you what you are . . .")

26 - "I am a gentleman — I'll be sworn . . ."   Twelfth Night, act I, scene v  (Olivia: "What is your parentage ? . . .")

27 - "Antonio: Let me but know . . ."    Twelfth Night, act II, scene i  (Antonio: "Let me yet know of you . . .")

28 - "Poor Lady! she were better . . ."   Twelfth Night, act II, scene ii  (Viola: "I left no ring with her . . .")

29 - "Do not our lives consist of . . ."   Twelfth Night, act II, scene iii  (Sir Toby, "A false conclusion; I hate it as . . .")

30 - "O what a deal of scorn looks . . ."   Twelfth Night, act III, scene i  (Olivia: "O what a deal of scorn looks . . .")

31 - "I pray you let us satisfy our eyes . . ."   Twelfth Night, act III, scene iii  (Sebastian: "I am not weary, and 'tis long to night . . .")

32 - "There comes the countess . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Duke Orsino: "Here comes the countess; now . . .")

33 - "More than I love these eyes . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Viola: "After him I love more than I love these eyes . . .")

34 - "A contract of eternal bond . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Priest: "A contract of eternal bond of love . . .")

Back page, column 1 (various plays):

35 - "Since when my watch hath  told . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Priest: "A contract of eternal bond of love . . .")

36 - "We took him for a coward . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Sir Andrew Ague-Cheek: "The count's gentleman, one Cesario . . .")

37 - "Pardon me sweet one even for . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Sebastian: "I am sorry, madame, I have hurt . . .")

38 - "One face — one voice — one habit . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Duke Orsino: "One face, one voice, one habit . . .")

39 - "What countryman? what name . . ."   Twelfth Night, act V, scene i  (Sebastian: "Do I stand there? I never had a brother . . .")

40 - "But we do learn . . ."   Measure for Measure, act I, scene iv  (Some editions give this as scene v. It takes place in "A Nunnery") (Lucio :This is the point. The duke is . . .")

41 - "Falling in the flames . . ."   Measure for Measure, act II, scene iii  (Provost: "I would do more than that, if more [enter Juliet] Look, here comes . . ." Most authoritative texts for this play follow early editions, reading: "Falling in the flawes of her owne youth. . .")

42 - "Lets write good angel on . . ."   Measure for Measure, act II, scene iv  (Angelo: "When I would pray and think, I think and pray . . .")

43 - "An' he had been a dog that . . ."   Much Ado about Nothing, act II, scene iii  (Benedict: "An he had been a dog that . . .")

44 - "O what men may do! what men . . ."   Much Ado about Nothing, act IV, scene i  (Claudio: "O, what men dare do! what men may do . . .")

45 - "The idea of her life shall sweetly. . ."   Much Ado about Nothing, act IV, scene i  (Friar: "Marry, this well carried shall on her behalf . . .")

46 - "Done to death by slanderer's tongues . . ."   Much Ado about Nothing, act V, scene iii  (Claudio, reading from a scroll: "Done to death by slanderous tongues . . .") (Most printed texts of the play give "slanderous" rather than "slanderer's")

47 - "And in the spiced Indian air by night . . ."   Midsummer Night's Dream, act II, scene i  (Titania: "Set your heart at rest . . .")

48 - "How came her eyes so bright? . . ."   Midsummer Night's Dream, act II, scene ii  (Helena: "O, I am out of breath in this fond chase! . . .")

49 - "And those things do best please me . . ."   Midsummer Night's Dream, act III, scene ii  (Puck: "Then will two at once woo one . . .")

50 - "The thrice 3 muses mourning for . . ."   Midsummer Night's Dream, act V, scene i  (Theseus, reading: "The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung . . .")

51 - "And one in all the world's . . ."   Love's Labor's Lost, act I, scene i  (King Ferdinand: "Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted . . . ") (Most printed texts of the play give "A man in all the world's . . ." rather than "And one in all the world's . . .")

52 - "But I protest I love to hear . . ."   Love's Labor's Lost, act I, scene i  (King Ferdinand: "Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted . . . ")

53 - "Devise wit — write pen — for . . ."   Love's Labor's Lost, act I, scene ii  (Don Adriano de Armado: "I do affect the very ground, which is base, where . . . ")

54 - "What judgment shall I dread . . ."   The Merchant of Venice, act IV, scene i  (Shylock: "What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong ? . . .")

Back page, column 2 (various plays):

55 - "Here will we sit and let the sounds . . ."   The Merchant of Venice, act V, scene i  (Lorenzo: "Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming . . .")

56 - "And this our life exempt from public . . ."   As You Like It, act II, scene i  (Duke Senior: "Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile . . .")

57 - "Tho' in thy youth thou wert as true . . ."   As You Like It, act II, scene iv  (Silvius: "No, Corin, being old, thou canst not guess . . .")

58 - "If he compact of jars turn . . ."    As You Like It, act II, scene vii  (Duke Senior: "If he, compact of jars, grow musical . . .")

59 - "What fool is this . . ."    As You Like It, act II, scene vii  (Duke Senior: "What fool is this?" and Jacques: "O worthy fool . . .")

60 - "Wast ever in court shepherd . . ."    As You Like It, act III, scene ii  (Touchstone: "Wast ever in court shepherd ?" and Corin: "No, truly," etc.)

61 - "The heathen philosopher when he had . . ."    As You Like It, act V, scene i  (Touchstone: "Why, thou sayest well. I do now remember a saying . . .")

62 - "And hath been tutored in the rudiements . . ."    As You Like It, act V, scene iv  (Orlando: "My lord, the first time that I ever saw him . . .")

63 - "What shall Cordelia do? . . ."   King Lear, act I, scene i  (Cordelia, aside: "What shall Cordelia do ?")

64 - "Let me if not by birth have lands . . ."    King Lear, act I, scene ii  (Edmund: "I do serve you in this business . . .")

65 - "Some time I shall sleep out . . ."    King Lear, act II, scene ii  (Kent: "Pray, do not, sir: I have watched and travell'd hard . . .")

66 - "Misshapen chaos of well-seeming . . ."    Romeo and Juliet, act I, scene i  (Romeo: "Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still . . .")

67 - "O teach me how I should forget . . ."    Romeo and Juliet, act I, scene i  (Romeo: "O, teach me how I should forget to think.")

68 - "Turning his face to the dew-dropping . . ."    Romeo and Juliet, act I, scene iv  (Mercutio: "True, I talk of dreams . . .")

69 - "O she doth teach the torches . . ."     Romeo and Juliet, act I, scene v  (Romeo: "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright . . .")

70 - "Your worship in that sense may call . . ."     Romeo and Juliet, act III, scene i  (Mercutio: "But I'll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery . . .")

71 - "Heaven and yourself . . ."     Romeo and Juliet, act IV, scene v  (Friar Laurence: "Peace, ho, for shame! confusion's cure lives not . . .")

72 - "I saw her laid low in her . . ."     Romeo and Juliet, act V, scene i  (Balthasar: "Then she is well, and nothing can be ill . . .")

73 - "O here will I set up . . ."     Romeo and Juliet, act V, scene iii  (Romeo: "In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face . . .")

For each excerpt, the name of the character speaking and the first line of that section of dialogue is given.







 
[S:0 - MS, about 1829] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Excerpts from Shakespeare (MS notes)