Sonnet On Mrs. Kemble's Readings From Shakespeare

by


    O precious evenings! all too swiftly sped!
        Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages
        Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages,
        And giving tongues unto the silent dead!
    How our hearts glowed and trembled as she read,
        Interpreting by tones the wondrous pages
        Of the great poet who foreruns the ages,
        Anticipating all that shall be said!
    O happy Reader! having for thy text
        The magic book, whose Sibylline leaves have caught
        The rarest essence of all human thought!
    O happy Poet! by no critic vext!
        How must thy listening spirit now rejoice
        To be interpreted by such a voice!
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