O for a Muse of fire, that would ascendThe brightest heaven of invention,A kingdom for a stage, princes to actAnd monarchs to behold the swelling scene!Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fireCrouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,The flat unraised spirits that have daredOn this unworthy scaffold to bring forthSo great an object: can this cockpit holdThe vasty fields of France? or may we cramWithin this wooden O the very casquesThat did affright the air at Agincourt?O, pardon! since a crooked figure mayAttest in little place a million;And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,On your imaginary forces work.Suppose within the girdle of these wallsAre now confined two mighty monarchies,Whose high upreared and abutting frontsThe perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;Into a thousand parts divide on man,And make imaginary puissance;Think when we talk of horses, that you see themPrinting their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times,Turning the accomplishment of many yearsInto an hour-glass: for the which supply,Admit me Chorus to this history;Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
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