THE TWENTY-THIRD OF APRIL
by: Richard Watson Gilder
English earth and breathéd air
- Made Shakspere the divine: so is his verse
- The broidered soil of every blossom fair;
- So doth his song all sweet bird songs rehearse.
- But tell me, then, what wondrous stuff did fashion
- That part of him which took those wilding flights
- Among imagined worlds -- whence the white passion
- That burned three centuries through the days and nights?
- Not heavens four winds could make, nor the round earth,
- The soul wherefrom the soul of Hamlet flamed;
- Nor anything of merely mortal birth
- Could lighten as when Shakspere's name is named.
- How was his body bred we know full well,
- But that high souls engendering who may tell!
MORE POEMS BY RICHARD WATSON GILDER
"The Twenty-Third of April"
is reprinted from The Century, vol. 41, issue 6 (April