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About this Poem 

“To Shakespeare” by Frances Anne Kemble was published in The Book of the Sonnet (1867). 

To Shakespeare

Frances Anne Kemble

Oft, when my lips I open to rehearse
Thy wondrous spell of wisdom, and of power,
And that my voice, and thy immortal verse,
On listening ears, and hearts, I mingled pour,
I shrink dismayed – and awful doth appear
The vain presumption of my own weak deed;
Thy glorious spirit seems to mine so near,
That suddenly I tremble as I read –
Thee an invisible auditor I fear:
Oh, if it might be so, my master dear!
With what beseeching would I pray to thee,
To make me equal to my noble task,
Succor from thee, how humbly would I ask,
Thy worthiest works to utter worthily.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Frances Anne Kemble

Frances Anne Kemble was born on November 27, 1809. A successful actress from a notable theater family, Kemble was also a popular writer, who published memoirs, plays, and poetry. She lived and worked in the United States and England.